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Ati cards.. im a CPU OClocker. and also video card.. but have quit on vido cards as i Only run 2440 x ???? ( man i forget).. and my SLI setup handles anything stock.. but I have fried 3 ATI cars with OC.. never fried a Nvedia. Now Im not sying anything with that.. just my luck and I am currenlty using ATI (AMD).. but my luck with them has been so-so... Amazing you found it.. I guess once you knew it was the video card it would help. frustrating when they mess it up!
What helped me find it was that my PC maker - Cyberpower - seems to use all off-the-shelf parts that are clearly labeled. Without that I would have been on a rather more generic hunt, but once I was able to identify the beep sequence of my specific motherboard, I could at least narrow down the issues. Otherwise, I would have suspected my power supply, since that seemed overly warm, but that was only because of what the video card was doing.
Speaking of PCs, I went through a period of time where, since I didn't game much on them, I would buy for me or my wife the occasional cheaper computer or laptop without discrete graphics and occasionally other performance drawbacks. Big mistake, as these systems pigged out far faster than I could have anticipated. My last two purchases for myself - the Sager gaming laptop and this Cyberpower gaming PC - have taught me the error of my ways. If it's optimized for gaming, it's optimized for everything, plus you have the benefit of better parts, design, etc., over a more generic, mass market system (HP, many Dells, etc.). Obviously gaming systems do have their downsides--more heat, more power draw, more noise, if it's a laptop lower battery life and increased weight, etc., but the benefits in performance (even in every day tasks) far outweigh them.
One thing I wanted to do with this last PC purchase, but I wasn't in the position at the time, is that I wanted to eschew overclocking, but still deck out a PC with all the latest watercooling and silencing treatments. This way it would run super cool and quiet and not be taxed in any way (my theory, any way). My budget at the time stopped me from doing that, but I really do love what I got for half the price of what I would have spent otherwise making an "ideal."
One area where I'd go against my own advice is with an ultrabook or MacBook Air as my next general purpose, carry friendly, laptop (considering I already have an oversized behemoth of a gaming laptop). With the new Sandybridge processors with improved video performance and the extreme portability and battery life, I think it would serve its purpose just fine, even for the occasional game or video editing. Every device with its own purpose I guess...
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