Starting PC gaming center...........

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I am opening a gaming center here in So Cal because I want my town to have a cool place for the kids to hang out and also something fun for them to do.



I am going to be using my own money for this and wanted your input for what type of machine would get the job done.



Here are some factors to consider in your recommendations:



1. cost, gotta buy 45-50 of these puppies so every dollar helps.

2. stability, gotta keep 45-50 of them up so I don't care about overclocking or even a little performance loss for 100% reliability

3. games being played, I know UT2003 is a killer, but 90% of the people still play CS 24/7.



Here are the likely specs



AMD XP1700+

Via 266a/333 motherboard

512 megs DDR-RAM

Radeon 9000 pro/8500LE video card

audio built in

lan built in

optical mouse, standard keyboard/case/floppy/cd-rom

17 inch flat screen monitor

headphones with mics



other option



AMD XP1700+

Via KT133a motherboard

512 megs SD-RAM

Radeon 9000 pro/8500LE video card

audio built in

lan built in

optical mouse, standard keyboard/case/floppy/cd-rom

17 inch flat screen monitor

headphones with mics



The why consider the SDR system? Most benchmarks I have seen show a maximum gain of 15% but the difference in system price about $100 per machine.



I can get the DDR machines at around $675 each and the SDR at about $575 complete in both cases.



Would you change anything about these recommendations? The machine have to payback the business loan and will likely rent at $2-3 an hour. Obviously things can be upgraded in the future but for the most part these machines have got to do minimum of two years worth of work with at most a graphic card or processor upgrade.



Tell me what you think?



Nick

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    You might be able to buy some of the parts in bulk, but don't trust me. The AMD AthlonXP 1500 is down too about $55/each, and I've heard they rock.



    Do you really need 512MB of RAM? Maybe just 256. Go for DDR, of course.



    Again, you can save $25 by going nVidia. Don't know which is best, but a Geforce 4MX should be great.



    Flat screen's? CRT's are a lot cheaper.



    Don't take this the wrong way. Just trying to help you save.



    Maybe more like $5/hour, considering the cost.





    Wish someone would set up one of these in my town.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    from my own experience, and especially that of a good friend, the cheaper the stuff you buy, the more likely you will need to replace them. Especially true of public gaming computers.



    My friend had a small center (20 or so PCs) and they got TRASHED. By the end of 3 months, 12 were out of service (hardware) and they had to go through monthly reinstalls of Windows. Real nightmare. Pieces canabilized from other computers, etc



    Especially 'nice' stuff, like headphones with microphones on them... by end of week one they were all broken, malfunctioning, or stolen.



    Kids will TRASH them and even steal entire towers... lock 'em down, lock the cases (so they can't get INTO them and steal ram... and even HDs).



    Regarding your specs:



    -256MB ram is sufficient

    -get PCI audio cards (soundblasters for example) because otherwise processor will take a MAJOR hit using onboard audio

    -a better mobo means better future chip upgrading

    -get the XP1700 proc

    -if you have to go the way of ATI, get the 9000. Otherwise, get something like nVidia GeForce 4MX or something similar. As long as they are 64MB.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    An optical mouse isn't really nessiary, for gaming it can be worse than a regular mouse.



    Security is a good idea. Get one of those lock mount with the a big hole, then loop the cords for the the keybord and mouse through it, then fill the rest of the space with the padlel lock to hold the secqurity chain.



    You might want to think about those Shuttle barebones with a good video card, etc.



    Also, you might want to set up a program to restor the computer from a disk image. Because, they will be messed with and you are just going to want to do a clean sweep of everything at once.



    Oh and if you want a domain controler, don't use Windows. The license cost will kill you. Use linux or possibly OS X .



    [ 10-02-2002: Message edited by: smithjoel ]</p>
  • Reply 4 of 17
    serranoserrano Posts: 1,806member
    Norton Ghost is your FRIEND.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    zozo Posts: 3,115member
    [quote]Originally posted by serrano:

    <strong>Norton Ghost is your FRIEND.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    totally agreed



    make a barebones ideal gaming setup and then ghost it. I think you will have to make one for each individual computer since its not like a Mac where you can make a universal bootcd (you CAN make bootcds easily, just that you cant make one with exact image that will be ok for all)
  • Reply 6 of 17
    rodukroduk Posts: 706member
    I know nothing about gaming centres and wish you all the best, but I wonder whether there is still a market for gaming centres, internet cafes etc these days. Everyone seems to have PCs and/or gaming consoles at home, even young kids, which makes me wonder whether anyone would be willing to pay even 2 to 3$ an hour.

    Just a thought.



    [ 10-03-2002: Message edited by: RodUK ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 17
    You might want to start out with a few computers and maybe a few stations were people could bring in their own computers and rent the use of the lan or lan/Monitor. Either way the key to a place like this is making it cool place to hang out.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    der kopfder kopf Posts: 2,275member
    [quote]Originally posted by RodUK:

    <strong>I know nothing about gaming centres and wish you all the best, but I wonder whether there is still a market for gaming centres, internet cafes etc these days. Everyone seems to have PCs and/or gaming consoles at home, even young kids, which makes me wonder whether anyone would be willing to pay even 2 to 3$ an hour.

    Just a thought. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    Yet not a very constructive one, mr. roduk! This guy has a dream. okay? (and moreover: must be very nice to play those cool network games on a hyperfast lan, especially for all those poor suckers who have to dial-up).



    Anyway: the first thought in my mind: optical mice are ideal nickfood: I mean, these young bloods coming in your shop, and then loose mice, you are going to loose them in a very short time. You do need the wires, even if at least to make swiping the things harder.



    Also, I'd second the remark on flat screens: they are not worth the cost at all in your case. Plus, I think the nature of your place does not really invite the use of the more delicate and fragile flatscreens.



    I do think you really need to brace yourself for the continuous trashing of what you are trying to build up slowly. If you know you are going to get down on that, think twice then.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    rodukroduk Posts: 706member
    [quote]Originally posted by der Kopf:

    <strong>



    Yet not a very constructive one, mr. roduk! This guy has a dream. okay?



    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I'm all for having dreams, it's just that the reality can be somewhat different. Sometimes dreams are best left as just that, dreams. I think it's important that someone who is investing money in starting a business has a fairly objective view, that's all.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    emaneman Posts: 7,204member
    [quote]Originally posted by der Kopf:

    <strong>



    Also, I'd second the remark on flat screens: they are not worth the cost at all in your case. Plus, I think the nature of your place does not really invite the use of the more delicate and fragile flatscreens.

    </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I think he meant flat CRTs, not LCDs.
  • Reply 11 of 17
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,457member
    EmAn is correct, the screens are flat crt's. The mice are optical but do physically connect to the computer via USB. The mice and headphones are handed out and returned when the person rents the computer.



    Nick
  • Reply 12 of 17
    xmogerxmoger Posts: 242member
    I don't see any problems with your hardware except the need for a hard drive. Also you'll need some way around cd checks for various games. I'd stay away from the kt133(and preferably VIA entirely) because most motherboards don't support cpu speeds above 1.3Ghz. It would be nice and cheap to drop in 2Ghz+ barton's in a year or two. Quality and speed of on-board sound can vary a good deal between motherboards and chipsets. You'll need to evaluate this on an individual basis. 256M of memory is fine, except for battlefield 1942, it really does better with 512.



    If it were my shop, I'd lock away the cases entirely. Maybe setup a partition 1' away from the wall and run cables thru it, with the desks on the other side. You may want to buy a few units of different mice & keyboards to see which last the longest in public use.



    I assume you're using win2k or xp. Norton's ghost or driveimage are good. You only need one image if all the hardware is the same, If it isn't, you can use sysprep. To avoid imaging all the time, lockdown the machines entirely, most games like write access to their install directories though. Disable taskmanager, maybe run a kiosk program that can only launch games as a service, password protect the BIOS, etc.



    Have a couple couches, food and drink, maybe a console and a tv around for hanging out. Good luck.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    You probly don't need the floppy, it's not that nessiary and it's another source for people screw stuff up. I know it's only $10-15, but for 50 computers it adds up. Buy one and keep it in the back.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    cubedudecubedude Posts: 1,556member
    I heard the 2800XP is coming out in a few months, so wait awhile and the price of the 1700XP will probably come down some.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,457member
    [quote]Originally posted by xmoger:

    <strong>I don't see any problems with your hardware except the need for a hard drive. Also you'll need some way around cd checks for various games. I'd stay away from the kt133(and preferably VIA entirely) because most motherboards don't support cpu speeds above 1.3Ghz. It would be nice and cheap to drop in 2Ghz+ barton's in a year or two. Quality and speed of on-board sound can vary a good deal between motherboards and chipsets. You'll need to evaluate this on an individual basis. 256M of memory is fine, except for battlefield 1942, it really does better with 512.



    If it were my shop, I'd lock away the cases entirely. Maybe setup a partition 1' away from the wall and run cables thru it, with the desks on the other side. You may want to buy a few units of different mice & keyboards to see which last the longest in public use.



    I assume you're using win2k or xp. Norton's ghost or driveimage are good. You only need one image if all the hardware is the same, If it isn't, you can use sysprep. To avoid imaging all the time, lockdown the machines entirely, most games like write access to their install directories though. Disable taskmanager, maybe run a kiosk program that can only launch games as a service, password protect the BIOS, etc.



    Have a couple couches, food and drink, maybe a console and a tv around for hanging out. Good luck.</strong><hr></blockquote>





    Well yeah, HD...



    I was the most adament intel guy and wouldn't touch Via at all because of all their issues with 4 in 1 drivers, etc. However Intel's premium right now is just too large. Their minimum PIV is about $140 whereas the most expensive AthlonXP is barely $150. The KT133a can actually handle up to the XP2200 last time I checked at an updated site like MSI. However all those issues have basically been resolved with WinXP as I discovered personally when I made my own system the test system. I think I will just stick with 512, especially if we go sd-ram because it is just dirt cheap right now.



    Nick
  • Reply 16 of 17
    klinuxklinux Posts: 453member
    Have you considered just getting it from Dell? Yes, I know there are people out there who have bad personal experiences with Dell but you are starting a commercial operation here. Would the supplier of your PC be able to give you any warranty and what are the terms of service?



    On sites like http\\\www.techbargains.com and http\www.gotapex.com you can often see Intel 2.4ghz machine for $500.



    Or, maybe wait for the nforce2 platform (integrated dual nic, DD 5.1 sound integration, nvidia graphics so on) to come out? It should be a much cheaper solution than your proposed set-up.



    Although I have no experience with gaming center, I do believe the #1 factor in gameplay at the center is the speed/latency of the network and not the specs of the individual machines (e.g. 256 MB RAM should be fine, etc).
  • Reply 17 of 17
    resres Posts: 711member
    [quote]Originally posted by smithjoel:

    <strong>You probly don't need the floppy, it's not that nessiary and it's another source for people screw stuff up. I know it's only $10-15, but for 50 computers it adds up. Buy one and keep it in the back.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Actually you really need the floppy. Customers like to bring in a disks with their custom ini files for the games.
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