Friday, March 30, 2012

My iBuyPower Gaming Rig Experience - Part 4

All of a sudden, there seems to be a flurry of progress on my new computer. It's built now, has passed quality control (though I'm not sure how much testing they really do), and it's been shipped! I'm so excited! I received a total of six emails, three of which were all shipping messages telling me that some part of my order has been sent out.

This email was received at 1 PM on March 28th:

Assembly Completed
Your system has been assembled and your order has been forwarded to the Quality Control (QC) department’s queue. During the QC phase your system will be inspected for assembly and physical defects and then it will have MS Windows and needed driver software installed. All systems will also undergo a series of tests during this phase so depending on the complexity of your build, your system may spend one or more days in the QC phase before moving to the Burn-in phase, or may even return to an earlier phase if a problem is found. Your status will be updated online and you will receive an email update when QC is completed.

The Next Step: Quality Control (QC).
The next email you will receive will be notification that has been passed QC testing.

This email was received at 3 PM, on the same day:

QC Completed
Your system has passed the initial Quality Control (QC) inspection/testing, and your order has been forwarded to the Burn-in department’s queue. During the Burn-In phase your system will undergo a final inspection and put through a series of grueling stress tests designed to identify any issues that may not have been caught during the QC testing. Depending on the complexity of your build, your system may spend one or more days in the Burn-in phase before moving to the Shipping phase, or may even return to an earlier phase if a problem is found. Your status will be updated online and you will receive an email update when Burn-in is completed.

The Next Step: Final Burn-in Testing and Inspection.
The next email you will receive will be notification that has been passed Burn-in testing and inspection.

This email was received at exactly the same date and time as above, which leads me to believe that no kind of burning-in was done here. Even on their website, they have the two status messages one second apart (see below). I'd never even heard of the term, "burn-in." It turns out that it's either a kind of stress test, or just leaving electronic equipment running for awhile, to make sure it's running at optimum efficiency. It doesn't look like I received either, from the information given. Here's that email:

Burn-in Completed
Your system has successfully passed all inspections/testing and your order has been forwarded to the Shipping department’s queue. During this phase your system will be carefully packaged and shipped according to the method selected. Due to shipping cut-off times, it is possible that your order will not ship the same day that burn-in is completed. Your status will be updated online and you should receive an email update with the shipping tracking number the evening it ships out.

The Next Step: Shipment Complete/Tracking Number.
The next email you will receive will be notification that your order has shipped; the tracking number will then be provided.

Here's one of the shipping emails that I received on March 29th, at 10 PM, of all times. Working late, iBuyPower? I didn't think Fedex was open at that hour. Oh, okay. Fedex picked up the package at 4:28 PM. This must have been connected to Fedex's shipping from their own local facility, since they have their departure time listed as 10:06 PM. And I'm an hour ahead of them anyway, me being in Arizona (Mountain Time, currently), and they in California (Pacific Time). Anyway, here it is, with the tracking number and other info obfuscated. One of my favorite words, obfuscated:

Your order#BlahBlah has been shipped! Your shipping and tracking information is below:

Tracking Number: 5203blahblahblah
Ship Date: 3/29/2012 10:10:40 PM

We’d like to ask you to take a quick survey. In order for us to provide better products and services, to our customers we need your input! Your opinion is very valuable to us, and the survey will only take a few minutes to complete. To participate, please click the following link: Thank you.

I don't find it necessary to paste in the other two shipping messages. They're identical, save for the tracking number. I knew that the computer and monitor would be shipped separately, and I guess the third box is the accessories, such as the keyboard and headset.

Here's the rundown of the progress on iBuyPower's website:

Status DateStatusNotes/Tracking#
3/29/2012 9:59:28 PMShippedShipped: FEDEX 520blahblahblah
3/29/2012 9:59:28 PMShippedShipped: FEDEX 520rewrewrew
3/29/2012 9:59:28 PMShippedShipped: FEDEX 520roarohnogodzilla
3/28/2012 2:50:08 PMProcessingBurn-in inspection/testing is complete and has been sent to Shipping.
3/28/2012 2:50:07 PMProcessingQuality Control inspection/testing is complete and has been sent to Burn-in.
3/28/2012 12:50:06 PMProcessingAssembly of the computer has been completed and has been sent to QC.
3/23/2012 2:50:29 PMProcessingThe materials needed for the order have been gathered.
3/7/2012 4:50:45 PMProcessingMaterials are now being gathered to complete the order.
3/1/2012 4:00:49 PMProcessingPayment has been successfully received/approved.
2/29/2012 4:46:00 PMProcessingThe order has been received and will be reviewed/processed by a sales rep.
2/29/2012 2:39:02 PMSubmittedOrder Submitted by Customer

If I remember correctly, Ground Shipping is supposed to take... wait a minute! These are Fedex tracking numbers! They upgraded me from Ground Shipping to Fedex Express Saver! That's probably because of the length of time it took to put my system together. (Hey, they didn't see my blog, did they...? Nahhh!) Anyway, that was pretty cool of them, and now it should get to me in 3 - 4 business days.  Fedex says I should have the packages by 4:30 PM on April 3rd; 4 business days. Seriously, though I wasn't able to reproduce this while typing, I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was dealing with Fedex, when this was supposed to be UPS Ground! Here's the info from Fedex's website (click to enlarge!):

As for this survey they mentioned above, I'm not filling anything out until a week after I have the computer running fine, with no issues whatsoever. I hope that'll be a week after April 3rd.

I'll probably pop in with a post or two before the packages arrive (hopefully all at the same time), just to report on where my package is at the time. I'm not worried about Fedex, but things do happen (knocks furiously on wood), and it's good for posterity, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Let's Play Hacker

Platform: PC/DOS 
Released: 1985 
Genre: Adventure/Strategy 
Setting: Science Fiction/Cyberpunk 
Developer: Activision, Inc. 
Publisher: Activision, Inc. 

First and Only Video:

Come along with me as I play through Activision's Hacker. This is a very short LP. It's yet another game that bested me when I was younger, and I'm only too happy to beat it now. You stumble into Magma, Ltd.'s computer network (note: you don't actually hack your way in), and find yourself able to control a robot through a series of subterranean tunnels. You find out that this company is actually up to no good, and you negotiate with spies to get pieces of an official document which you can then turn in to Washington, D.C. Spy satellites, blackouts, and a time limit impede your progress. This game differs in other versions, but this is how it's done in the PC version.

[Total Game Time - 00:32:29]

Selected Comments From YouTube:

I loved it, I was like 6 when I first tried my luck at this. What a fantastic choice.

lol i had this on the speccy as a kid. i never had a clue how to play it xD 

Links of Interest:

Hacker on Wikipedia

Sunday, March 25, 2012

My iBuyPower Gaming Rig Experience - Part 3

Wow. Just a short update here. But wow. iBuyPower took a long time (16 days; 12 business days) to gather the parts for my new gaming rig. From what I've read elsewhere, this often happens when they have a part (or parts) on backorder. Unfortunately, they won't tell you that this is going on, unless you call them to inquire. The funny thing is, I was going to call them on Friday the 23rd, but I had misplaced my phone, preventing that and a few other calls I wanted to make that day. They must've felt the vibe from Tucson, because that very day, I finally received the email I'd been waiting for:

Parts Gathering (Completed)
The parts and custom materials needed for your system build have been successfully gathered. Your order will now be forwarded to the assembly department’s queue to be assembled. Please note that those orders with a rush option selected will receive expedited processing, but it is not uncommon for regular orders to take some days before our expert technicians begin to hand-build your system. Depending on the complexity of your build, your system may spend one or more days in assembly before moving to the Quality Control (QC) department’s queue. Your status will be updated online and you will receive an email update when assembly is completed.

The Next Step: System Assembly.
The next email you will receive will be notification that your system has been assembled.

Again, to be a completist about the whole thing, here's the info from their website:

Status DateStatusNotes/Tracking#
3/23/2012 2:50:29 PMProcessingThe materials needed for the order have been gathered.
3/7/2012 4:50:45 PMProcessingMaterials are now being gathered to complete the order.
3/1/2012 4:00:49 PMProcessingPayment has been successfully received/approved.
2/29/2012 4:46:00 PMProcessingThe order has been received and will be reviewed/processed by a sales rep.
2/29/2012 2:39:02 PMSubmittedOrder Submitted by Customer

That's a rather long wait. Here's hoping that when I get the computer and all is said and done, I can just say, "You can't rush perfection," or, "Good things come to those who wait," or something along those lines.

By the way, we fixed the truck, and we have the workstation now. We just have to put it together. (The truck has since gotten a flat and we can't fix it until payday, which is Friday, but that's another story.)

Another post to come once the next email arrives...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Wasteland 2, Baby!

I'm not going to have any info on Wasteland 2 that you won't find (or have found) anywhere else, but in case you don't know a thing about it, read on. (All are invited to read nonetheless!)

Rewind back to 1988. A game called Wasteland is released to an unsuspecting public. (How trite, blog author!) Interplay developed the game, while Electronic Arts published it. Set in an unforgiving post-apocalyptic (ahem) wasteland, the game found success in the PC gaming market in which it spawned. It's been seen as a classic ever since.

A sequel of sorts was released, titled Fountain of Dreams. It was not advertised as a sequel, and Interplay did not develop it. It was poorly received. Onward.

Fast forward to 1997. Fallout was released, developed and also published by Interplay, who stated that it was a spiritual successor to Wasteland. Interplay could not use the Wasteland name since it was owned by Electronic Arts. Needless to say, Fallout met with huge success, spawning several sequels and spin-offs.

Now fast forward to 2003. Brian Fargo is no longer the head of Interplay (he resigned after Titus Interactive bought the company and shifted its focus to console games), and recently founded InXile Entertainment. He bought the rights to the Wasteland name, which had been acquired at some point by Konami.

After several years, Brian tried to find a publisher for Wasteland 2. None of them were interested in funding a sequel to such an old game. In February of 2012, Brian announced that he had assembled all the key team members of the original Wasteland game, and was going to try to gather funds for the project, using a crowd-funding website called Kickstarter.

On March 13th, 2012, the Wasteland 2 page on Kickstarter went live. The goal for funding was $900,000. The project met its goal in 42 hours. At the time of this writing, over $1.5 million has been donated. What does this mean? More stories and quests, more maps, more music, and a more complex story. Plus, the game will be available for Mac and Linux!

$1.5 million... and 24 days of funding to go! I wonder how high this will go? I knew that Wasteland had a sizable cult following, but this? Wow!

Personally, I'm going to try to donate $75 to this project. It's not completely altruistic, especially given the fact that I'd really be scraping the barrel for this - if I can do it at all. For $75, you'd get:

• A mysterious "unique and quirky" skill for your party in the game. Hmmm.
• A DRM-free digital copy of the game.
• A digital soundtrack.
• A Wasteland 2 art book.
• A Big boxed copy of Wasteland 2, with cloth map and old-style game manual! Oh, drooool...
• Parts 1 and 2 of an early release novella with hints and such on the game world and story. Yay!!!
• You'd get signed up for an early-release beta of the game, playable on Steam. Exciting!

Oddly enough, I've never played the original Wasteland game. However, I have experienced the game in a way, first by watching the excellent Let's Play by mynameisnotlilly. (Click here for that.) Secondly, through the bloggy musings of The CRPG Addict. (Click here for the first post.) I highly recommend both!

Click here to go to the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter page.

Click here to read the Wasteland 2 blog.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

My iBuyPower Gaming Rig Experience - Part 2

In my last post, I was wondering when iBuyPower was planning on at least starting to collect the materials for my custom-built computer system. Less than 24 hours after I posted that entry, I received an email from iBP. It reads:

Parts Gathering (Beginning)
Your order is now with our inventory department and they have begun gathering the parts needed for your build. Please note that those orders with a rush option selected will receive expedited processing, but it is not uncommon for regular orders to take some days before this parts gathering process is completed. Your status will be updated online and you will receive an email update when the parts process is completed.

The Next Step: Parts Gathering Completion.
The next email you will receive will be notification that we've gathered your system parts. 

Just to be thorough (and to include it on this blog), I went to their website to check if they had updated their order status there.

Status DateStatusNotes/Tracking#
3/7/2012 4:50:45 PMProcessingMaterials are now being gathered to complete the order.
3/1/2012 4:00:49 PMProcessingPayment has been successfully received/approved.
2/29/2012 4:46:00 PMProcessingThe order has been received and will be reviewed/processed by a sales rep.
2/29/2012 2:39:02 PMSubmittedOrder Submitted by Customer

They took my money, yet decided to wait six days (okay, four business days) to start looking for the parts. Like I said before, the main complaint that people have about iBuyPower is that they are slow in getting the systems together and shipped out. Anyway, I'm excited, yet I feel that I'm being rather patient thus far. I have a bunch of other things to attend to in the meantime. Such as this desk, or workstation:
I tried to keep the desk at a low price (hence, WalMart), since I'd already paid so much for the system. This desk doesn't appear to be made out of pressed woodchips, or whatever their cheaper desks are made out of. I want the tower up off the floor, to help avoid cat hair and kids' feet, and improve ventilation. And besides, that case is made for showing off. With that shade of pink, I'm sure it'll catch the eye of anyone walking in the room, and I don't mind that. Anyway, this desk seems a bit stronger. I'm hoping it will easily support the weight of the tower, but I am going to be putting that on the left-hand side of the desk, so the legs should help support the weight. The tower is 24 pounds when empty! 

I also wanted to make sure that the keyboard tray is high enough to slide over my legs. I like to sit in a cross-legged style when sitting at the computer, and the tray we have on this desk now (as I'm typing this) is just too low to slide over my legs when sitting that way. I don't want to sit too far away from the computer, so I end up sliding the tray just partly out, and placing the keyboard diagonally. I'd like to type like I used to. The desk is 30 inches high, and the tray is pretty close to the top, so I should make it. We'll see. If not, I'll just have to get an office chair with a pneumatic lift and no arms.

I had the tower shipped to a nearby store (free shipping, gotta love that!), but we're waiting on the repair of our truck. It's a Ford Bronco, and it needs a bit of work to pass emissions. Once it's fixed and registered, we can easily pick up that sucker (a 50" long box) and bring it home. Then we get to put it together, and hopefully correctly. I can't wait. /sarcasm off

Here's a link to that desk on if anyone is really that interested:

In my last post, I failed to mention all the games I got. These are games that I'm unable to even play on our older computer, much less record. The first three games listed here will really show off the graphics capability of this system.

S K Y R I M (`Nuff said.)

Crysis 2 (Yes, I do like FPS games. The jury is still out on whether I'm any good at them, though.)

Battlefield 3 (Ditto. I want to see how it runs at max settings across the board. I'm sure the FPS will drop drastically when recording, though.)

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Cheesy title, and you'd think it would be bad, but look at this video review here! There's an original story, though somewhat a rehashing of the first movie, and the original actors came back to do voice acting! Bill Murray is the man!)

Planescape: Torment (Yes, I'm finally going to be playing this!)

Orange Box (Containing Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2 (all of which I'll get around to playing at some point), Team Fortress 2 (which I probably won't play at all), and Portal (which is my main reason for getting this))

Portal 2 (I'm going to be playing Portal 1 and 2 with my daughters, as Let's Plays. I got a desk mic just for this little experiment. This should be interesting.)

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (Yes! I love this game. I played it quite a bit on my friend/roommate's PlayStation 2. I never owned the game or the system, and I never really followed the main quest/story. I would just fulfill a task to open up more of the city, so that I could run over more people, and drive cars off of more rooftops. Mwah ha ha ha! In the PC version, you can drop MP3 files into a certain folder, and they'll play when you turn on the car radio. That'll be so much fun for a Let's Play, to subject viewers to some of my crazy tastes in music. I just so happen to love 80's songs, which are featured in the game, but there's so much more I could throw in there, hehe!)

So I think those should keep me busy for awhile.

Speaking of games and Let's Plays... since I can now play more modern games, I'm going to be changing the format/schedule of my channel a bit. I'm going to be focusing on RPG games more extensively than before, while also playing Adventure Games, and adding in First-Person Shooters. My schedule right now is:

1 RPG upload a day.
1 Adventure Game upload a day.

Now `twill be:

2 RPG uploads a day, one a classic/older game, and one a newer game (Example: Skyrim and Planescape: Torment).
1 Adventure Game upload, or FPS upload, or Horror/Survival, or possibly another genre, 3 to 4 times a week. This could be an older or newer game.

The RPGs are usually lengthy games, and Adventures and FPSs usually are not, so they should break up any tedium, and allow me to keep adding games to my list. As for other genres, they'll show up from time to time. I'm very selective, though, as far as anything not fitting into RPG, Adventure, Horror, or FPS. The only one I can think of right now is Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee. I love that game. "Hello!" "Hello." "Follow me." "Okay."

More to come as things develop!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My iBuyPower Gaming Rig Experience - Part 1

Guess what? CHICKENBUTT!

Guess why? iBuy... Power!

i... Ahem. I have purchased an almost-top-of-the-line gaming computer from iBuyPower. Tax returns rule. Gone will be the glitches, the slow-downs when trying to record even rudimentary full-motion video. Gone will be the inability to play games like S K Y R I M , much less record them.  ;)

I can hear Damon Wayans from the Homeboy Shopping Network now: "Lookit all the stuff we got, lookit all the stuff!"

Yes, it's PINK, inside and out! Not only that, but it's actually functional. This is the Pink Phantom case from NZXT. It's a full tower, and just over 21 inches tall, and 24 1/2 inches long. It has space for five fans, with four included (more on that in a bit). The black mesh works well for ventilation, and hey... pink and black have always gone well together. There are handy clip mounts for putting in more optical drives or what-have-you, and bay slots for adding more hard drives.

Here's a close-up shot of the fan controller on the top of the rig. The LED lights are blue, but can be turned off if one so desires.

And here's a pic of the swinging door open, showing the optical bays inside. The door attaches magnetically.

If you want more info on the case itself, click here to read the review on Overclockers Club... written by a girl, of course.

Enough on the case, because it's what's inside that matters the most!

I have two graphics cards in this thing. They are both nVidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti cards, and will be running in SLI mode. What the hell is SLI mode? It stands for Scalable Link Interface, and it allows two graphics card to run together. The result is better performance, and stability as well. Two 560 Ti's will create a gaming experience that is smoother and faster than even the GTX 580. (Ref:

Below is a benchmark of Battlefield 2: Bad Company, from Hardware Canucks (original article), in which you can see the two 560 Ti's coming real close to the framerate of nVidia's most powerful GPU yet, the GTX 590!

My CPU is a neural net processor, a learning computer. Ummm, wait.

*turns off Terminator movie running in background* 

Okay. My CPU is an Intel Core i5-2550K Processor. They had a free upgrade deal, from 2500K to the 2550K. The 'K' at the end means that I can overclock it easily. I declined on having my CPU overclocked by iBuyPower, just for this reason. I can do it myself, and for free.  ;)

Memory? 16 GB (4 GB sticks; quantity 4.) These are the standard DDR3-1600.

Hard drives? Two, please. Well, one is a small (yet very speedy) 120 GB SSD drive from AData. This is where the operating system, and often used programs and games go. SSDs (Solid-State Drives) are basically huge flash drives. With no platter to spin around, the data on a SSD is read or written much quicker. The other is a 2 TB drive, standard 7200 RPMs and all that. 

My motherboard is an Asus P8 Z68-V. These also come in Pro and Deluxe models, but the only differences are more SATA ports for hard drives (there are six already, so no, I won't be needing more), firewire (I don't use that), and a higher version of Bluetooth (I don't use that either).

My power supply is a 1050 Watt unit from Corsair. I'm not sure I need that high of a power supply, but with the two graphics cards added into iBuyPowers configuration menus, they recommended an 800 Watt power supply at minimum. Given the options listed, I could've gone for an 800 Watt (pushing it), an 850 Watt (maybe a bit too close to the minimum for my tastes), or a 1050 Watt. Sold.

I also got a 12X Blu-Ray re-writer drive... in purple. Yes, purple. It'll be covered up by the door on the front of the case, but oh well.

Now, remember where I said that one of the fans weren't included in the Pink Phantom case? I did purchase a liquid cooling system, with push-pull airflow. I'm not sure if that will go in the empty fan slot or not. Maybe they would just replace one of the other fans. The size of those top fans are not a standard size (probably so that you'd have to buy the missing fan from NZXT as well), but we'll see.

As for the monitor. I got a 27", namely the Sceptre X270W. It's a 1080P monitor, which of course, means you can achieve a maximum resolution of 1920x1080. I've heard mixed things about Sceptre's monitors, mostly having to do with color wash. I've read some good reviews on this one though, and if you don't have 700 bucks or more to spend on a monitor, this is a good way to go.

Now, if anyone is still reading, on to the accessories and other miscellaneous crap.

I got the standard Logitech Internet Mouse, but for the keyboard, I chose Thermaltake's eSports Challenger Pro. I've heard a lot of good things about this keyboard, and it has red backlighting, which will go nicely with the Pink Phantom. There are also multimedia keys, 2 USB ports, and 10 macro keys, which can be used in conjunction with four profiles to create up to 40 macro keys. More than I'll ever use. There is also this cute little fan attached to the upper left-hand corner. It's pretty neat, but I don't suppose I'd be using that very much.

I've got case lighting! It was only 15 bucks, so why not? It's called a Meteor Light, and it has eight settings, I suppose to make the light strobe at different speeds and such. I got it in blue. It also comes in red and green. I felt that the red would be washed out somewhat by the pink of the case interior, and I like blue better than green, so... this is going to one colorful system.

I signed up for iBuyPower's noise reduction system. I've heard that these gaming rigs can sound like a jet engine. I kind of doubt that, as many households would become completely deaf, but I get the idea that it's loud. LOL.

I got an AeroCool Touch1000 fan controller system. Handy for keeping an eye on temps and such when overclocking, or just in general.

I chose iBuyPower's default network card and sound card. I was originally going for their in-house brand speaker system as well, but after hearing some bad things about it, I spent an extra $37 for Logitech's Z313 2.1 speakers. 5.1 is nice, but I was spending enough already, and I'll be gaming with a headset a lot of the time anyway.

Speaking of headsets, I splurged and got Logitech's G330. I knew this is a good one, since this is one that is used by a Let's Player that I knew before there even were Let's Plays, Tord a.k.a. mynameisnotlilly. (He was in my Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition group back in 2003.) Listen to his narration here, speaking through the Logitech G330. I think my days of audio hiss are going to be gone as well (jumps for joy).

I chose Windows 7 Professional. It was only $31 more than the Home version, and the selling point for me is the ability to run programs in "XP Mode." I'm not sure how well this really works, but I'm sure to find out at some point, since some of the games I want to play are old Windows games. They won't run in DOSBox since they don't run in DOS, and they won't run in Vista or 7, especially the 64-bit versions. It's nice that Microsoft is finally making a real attempt towards backwards compatibility. I look forward to trying out XP Mode.

I also sprung for iBuyPower's "pro wiring," so that the cables and wires inside won't look like a total mess. I also rung up their "advanced packaging system." It's just added padding that they put around, and I believe to some extent, inside of the case, but hey, better safe than sorry.

Something interesting: I managed to get free shipping on the tower ($50 for the monitor). iBuyPower has custom configuration menus that let you choose what components you want to add, delete, or change to a more expensive (or inexpensive) part. What you do is choose a processor family (Intel i5, i7, AMD whatever (I have no idea about anything AMD)), and go from there. What I did is click a link near the top of the page, "Weekly Special." I chose "Intel System," then "Special-A." I configured my system from there. The weekly specials come with FREE shipping. My rig came out to be the same exact price that I got from going the more obvious ways, by selecting one of the configurators (is that a word?) proudly displayed in the middle of the web page. In short, I saved $75.

So now that we're talking money, how much did this all cost, you ask? $2,692.00 + $50.00 shipping (for the monitor, can't avoid that one, lol) = $2,742.00. Now I know I could've saved up to $1,000 by buying the parts from Newegg or somewhere similar, but while I am pretty computer savvy, I'm just not confident that I could assemble a system like this without messing something up. I actually just learned about several things while doing research on this system, like liquid cooling and SSD drives. I want this thing to work well, and last a long time. Replacing or upgrading a part is one thing (and seems easy with the case set-up), but from scratch? No thanks.

I bought this system on February 29th. I'm guessing that I have two to three weeks until it arrives. Firstly, it takes a week and a half for iBuyPower to assemble the system. Most of their business comes from custom computer sales, so they must be working furiously, like little builder ants, putting all this stuff together, and testing the configuration for stability, etc., etc. Secondly, to get the free shipping, I chose the US Postal Service, ground shipping. Ground takes around 5 to 7 business days to ship. So I figure another week and a half, at most, once the system is shipped.

What I do notice though, is that they have not in any way indicated that they've started putting my system together. They have a "status check" page on their site, and here's the info:

Status DateStatusNotes/Tracking#
3/1/2012 4:00:49 PMProcessingPayment has been successfully received/approved.
2/29/2012 4:46:00 PMProcessingThe order has been received and will be reviewed/processed by a sales rep.
2/29/2012 2:39:02 PMSubmittedOrder Submitted by Customer

I should be seeing the next phase by now, namely: "The materials needed for the order have been gathered." I get that it takes awhile to get the parts assembled and tested, but why haven't they started? Perhaps one (or more) of the parts are on backorder? If not, why not a simple message on the website, or to my email address, to let me know? Methinks I will be making a call to them if I don't see a change soon. Actually, meknows.

The main qualm that most people have with iBuyPower (if they have a qualm at all), is time. The secondary qualm is damaged parts, which could likely happen during shipping. I have been told that their customer service is excellent, and if something is damaged, they will replace the part. It just delays things. I can be patient though. I'd rather wait and get a good product. Yes, I want the thing (want want want!!!), but I'm surely not suffering without it.

Questions and comments are welcome. More to come...