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So what's next ?


gadugger
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I have no idea what it cost's to run a forum

like this but I am gonna guess it's more than

what the banners bring in.

What else brings in money ?

 

Just wondering (and concerned) what the future holds.

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well, good question

 

I'll try to answer a bit, though some things are total unknowns etc.

 

I heard at another forum that there's a discussion that it only costs about $9.99 to $30 a month to run this server.

 

Let me first dispel that myth quickly and swiftly.

 

We started on a $9.99 a month server, shared with 31 other sites. Within two months the host kicked us off and we were given a choice of dedicated server (at many many times the cost), or take our site elsewhere.

 

We took the bottom end server, and it worked well for about 6 months. But as some of you (who are old timers) know, the forums exploded in popularity. Soon, again as some of you remember, the forums would go down about 3AM and wouldn't work until about noon. Eight hours of dowtime or unable to connect or so slow as to be maddening.

 

What was happening was at 3AM the server would begin it's backup (not the forum backup but the entire backup of the server that a good webhost does nightly just to be safe). This normally only takes 30 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on how much data is being backed up, how much incoming traffic and new data is being written while the backup is going on, but also the speed of the server in terms of hdd, cpu, ram, etc.

 

At 3AM it was trying to write a couple gigabytes of data to a backup while hundreds of simultaneous incoming connections were still requesting pages and writing data to pages (making threads/posts). 6 months in, the backup started consuming more cpu cycles, more hdd writes and reads at once, and the machine eventually ran out of RAM.

 

You all know what happens when a rig is out of RAM and has to cache to the pagefile. Imagine caching to the pagefile WHILE doing a backup. Ya, it wasn't pretty.

 

So once again we had to upgrade.

 

Another year in or so, and it got to be time to finally get a server that had a dual core (hyperthreaded) cpu, and lots of RAM, as well as better hdd's. And some bandwidth too, since we were chewing up a lot of it with over a million page views a month.

 

 

The truth is, it ain't no one's business but mine how much a dedicated webserver costs. But you can imagine it ain't cheap. This server is in Los Angeles and it's with a great host who has a shitload of bandwidth. It's a pro operation and I have no plans of going anywhere else because they've always treated me right. In turn, they treat you right because this server has always been reliable (when I haven't hosed it or forgot to turn it on haha).

 

The google banner, it don't really pay the bills. It gets a hell of a lot of page views (since it is on every single page you click in this forum). It pays more when you click it, but I can't talk about that cuz that is against the google terms of service, and they actively check that stuff (I mentioned it in passing once in the forum and they sent me an email like 3 days later). Can't steer anyone to click it so I will make more money. But that's cool because while I'm a jerk, I am pretty honest. I ain't down with scamming google or anyone else just to make a buck.

 

Now with the newegg banner, the site makes a 1% to 2% on purchases through the link. We get the same deal with SVC. The SVC banner credit has been used since day one to provide the moderators hardware to help learn then help others, filling in blanks of what they didn't have and might need. The newegg banner will help pay the bills if everyone is kind enough to use it, combined with the google ad. It won't make me go out and buy a Porsche though. Nor will it make me go out and buy anything really.

 

 

I'm living on our savings account that we built up over the last 8 months (I sorta knew it was all going to come to this). Momma is a student teacher this last semester, then in August she will be a real salaried teacher. Until then, she's had to go back to work a day or three per week (keep in mind she has to teach school mon-friday 7:30AM to 3:30PM for free). I'm selling off bits of hardware (mostly DFI boards now that I have no use for them lol) to help a little so we won't drain the savings quickly.

 

I could just go get a real job, but here I might get $7.00 hour or I might have to go get a degree etc. I'd rather do what I do best, and that is improvise. It's no small secret that all my crazy ideas and strict policies (not just rules but how to approach things like stability vs suicide screenshots) attracted a good crew of moderators, who in turn attracted a good crew of members. I will pat myself on the back about that. DFI never had the imagination to see things the way I see them. They are a corporation though, and companies generally aren't gonna go taking chances when money is involved. (so it ain't just DFI, it's 99% of all companies who find my way of doing things very foreign and downright frightening)

 

So with the urging of my friends on the moderating crew, and with a 99.5% of all the emails that you and other members sent, I decided I did a great job with DFI-Street I had better try to carry it over to a more general gig (which I and others had been wanting anyway, and apparently all of you wanted it too as most of you told me how glad you were that we moved away from a specific mfg).

 

(ok it's getting hard to concentrate on writing this at the moment cuz momma turned the tv to Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and right at the part where they meet themselves and ask "what number are we thinking of then dudes?"

 

"SIXTY-NINE DUDES!!!"

 

/air guitar solo)

 

omg please turn this movie off I love it so much for some reason

 

 

 

 

*ahem*

 

anyway

 

 

since I decided to try and make something out of myself, I took a chunk of all the money you've donated and purchased hardware for the boys, like an AM2 mATX board for Praz to review, an mATX 939 board for dr_bowtie to review, 965 MSI board for ExRoadie to review (and an X1600 VIVO card for him to learn HTPC stuff with also), Thunda bought an E4300 so I sent him a 975X/G and 2GB DDR2 kit to learn on (he's never touched the core2 stuff yet), Technodan a TT HTPC case, the Gigabyte 965 I've been gushing over for a week or two and a Creative HTPC Dolby Decoder thing (you guys will love this thing) to get us all started.

 

On top of that, soundx98 has the NF590 SLI board, 2GB Buffalo Firestix 1000, Sempron AM2, and Antec psu so he gets familiar with DDR2 and AM2 (and soon a Core2 we hope). Praz has another AM2, Crossfire AM2 board, Antec psu, Value 667 2GB etc that is being passed around, so that everyone can get familiar with the new DDR2 platforms.

 

I've still got a lot of contacts with companies from working at DFI, but I'm not ready to start calling in favors yet, until the content side of DIY-Street is up and running. We wanted to get a few items that were non-DFI to review to open with.

 

We got the forums up, which is good. Now we are waiting on the guys to get their hardware and finish reviewing them.

 

But more importantly, the HTPC Guide that Technodanvan is working on and we are all going to contribute to. Think DFI-Street Overclocking Guide in completeness and quality, but better.

 

An all-complete guide on HTPC's. From what they are, to what parts to pick, to how to build the rig, to how to connect them to your HDTV and home theater system, to how to actually use the HTPC and the software/hardware for things like gaming, TIVO (DVR/PVR), whatever HTCP's can be used for. Both XP and Windows Media Center etc.

 

I've envisioned this as the next hot 'fad' as everyone and their dog has purchased (or will purchase) an HDTV. PC components and software are gravitating towards Home Theater integration.

 

We'd like to make ourselves famous by hitting this subject head-on and in the only way we know how: completely addicted to it so we can learn every aspect and begin teaching everyone else (ie, we ARE diy-street now right?).

 

 

this idea just came to me one day before I actually got myself fired, and now it's my top priority.

 

And we will do it in episodic content. I figure four HUGE parts to the complete HTPC Guide. So we'll not blow our load on day one. Plus this guide...it has grown to be a monster beyond our initial imagination. Truthfully, HTPC stuff is so....vast and so many options and configurations and uses and all that that we I guess underestimated the task at first.

 

Dan already has a triple-Angry_Games rant (in length) done on just part 1, what is HTPC and what parts do I want for what I want the HTPC to do. It's daunting really, but we feel like this is going to make us famous. (or we'll die trying).

 

 

Uh, yeah this is Deputy Van Halen down at the station

 

 

Our other main focus is going to be what I've been preaching for the last few years:

 

Bang-For-The-Buck & Stability.

 

 

Gone are the days of the super-mega-overclocking supreme quests. For me and most of us anyway. It's too narrow of a focus, and the cost is just too prohibitive.

 

So I've turned the corner and decided that my goal would be to show everyone how to get the most for their money.

 

If I can take any $100-$200 cpu and easily (and on multiple motherboards/memory modules) make it do the top cpu (ie FX AMD or Extreme Intel, $800-$1000+ cpu's) speeds, I've saved you $800+ on cpu alone.

 

If we can show you how to get $500 worth of video card out of $250, that's our goal.

 

If we can overclock with a $125 kit of RAM as well as a $250 kit of RAM, that's our goal.

 

Royal Ugly Dude: "Put them in the iron maiden"

 

Bill & Ted: "Iron Maiden? EXCELLENT!"

 

/air guitar solo

 

Royal Ugly Dude: "Execute them!"

 

Bill & Ted: "BOGUS!!!"

 

 

 

 

We'll also be doing our reviews differently. I've decided that I don't want us to be like every review site on the net. I'm not saying that they are bad, as there are some I really like. But they are all...the same really. Cookie-cutter review sites.

 

I'm tired of the benchmark to benchmark junk. I'm tired of the focus on the high-end hardware for the most part. I'm tired of the fact that they only do a review in 7 days or less almost all the time, and then they claim overclocks in their review but never show anyone how they got those overclocks, what settings (other than basic "4-5-4-12 timings" or crap like that) they used to get there, and never any proof of stability.

 

To me a review should be more than just "hey i like this board for this reason and here's a general recap of what I did with it, and here's some benchmark scores to compare".

 

It should be more than that. If we are reviewing a board and we like it (and I'm confident that 9 out of 10 times or more we will like something more than dislike it), it means that readers out there will be inclined to buy it based on our word that it's good...but more than that, based on the fact that all reviewed boards will have at least one (hopefully multiple) Stock Speed Database Entries with different kits of RAM, and hopefully (if applicable) Overclock Database entries.

 

We want to show users that we liked the board enough to recommend it and we'll even show you how exactly we got it to work.

 

Same with RAM, we want to make SSDB/OCDB entries on multiple boards/chipsets because not everyone is going to use a single board (let alone the exact board we are using).

 

Then, step two comes in of the review process. Reviewers will have the item for a week or two or three or even four. This is to test it with multiple bits of hardware if applicable. The review goes up live on the site, and the item gets sent on to the next reviewer who has 2-4 weeks to do the same thing. The second reviewer gets his review done, and we do a "Revisit" to the original. 30 days later or whatever. Now here's a second guy who's played with the hardware in different combinations and settings.

 

Then once again it goes on to hte next guy, next two guys or whatever, and we do a final 90 day Revisit. So on the 90 day final revisit, you got not only the initial review, a second review, but also up to 3 other reviews.

 

There is no hardware that I can think of that is no longer current and valid within 90 days of release. I think we'll grow stronger in the readers' eyes by showing that after 90 days of abuse by multiple reviewers, whether or not the damn product works, is reliable, etc. And after 4+ reviewer takes on a product, readers will be better able to judge whether the product is worth the money.

 

 

Plus you know how I feel about buying a product the day it comes out. New adopters get the most heartache. It's better to wait up to 90 days to see if a product is mature, has mature bios, etc.

 

 

Anyway, that's just a bit of what we plan on doing.

 

I've already sorta thought of another 'killer' project after the HTPC, but I want to focus on HTPC and setting a standard review routine etc so we can attract all those mfg's more than ever, as well as bring site traffic up and gain more out advertising (tasteful advertising that is targeted to you guys, like stuff from Corsair, OCZ, Abit, whatever, instead of lame 'punch the monkey' ad bull crap, and . that isn't chewing up all the real estate on the pages. I sorta dig those dual ads at the top. Keeps the place clean and neat looking.

 

 

 

 

the hard part is the line between being totally and completely independent and being able to say exactly what is on our minds, and maybe having to curb what we say because it might offend advertisers (which in turn could take away site money and product to review).

 

I think you all know where I stand when it comes to being honest with readers. It's a fine line though, and we'll do everything we can to keep the integrity and honesty that you've all come to appreciate.

 

 

so thats a little bit i guess of what I and the rest of hte moderators and Tmod (the guy who has rebuilt this place for us) have been up to over the last couple of weeks.

 

It's a lot of work.

 

I'm frightened to death about all of it because I have zero income coming in, but I am sure I can help this place be a success. So I got no choice but to put everything I have into it.

 

It's slow though. Took a long time (year+) for the whole Database thing to catch on, slowly we've all caught on to the stability-over-suicide .. The things we do around here have attracted the attention of major mfg's and companies because of how we won't allow nonsense and how we focus on reality (and the reps are protected here as long as they follow the rules too, which is why you don't see reps at places like XS or others...the community runs them off quickly by being jerks and the forum admins do nothing to stop it).

 

 

ok, I'll stfu again now.

 

 

thats just a bit of what we got planned. hope it all works out.

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Angry, something I was looking at but have no luck finding for HTPC is the Mini-ITX (6.7"x6.7") motherboards. Everything currently out is embedded Via C7 processors, all except for one: Asus A8N-BR. It's an AM2 board, and would finally bring REAL processing power to the living room. It was used in those super-duper-mini HP Slimlines, and of course the damn boards aren't available through HP as "replacement" parts. So my next idea is to wait for Albatron's upcoming Mini-ITX AM2 board. They currently have a Socket 754 M-ITX, but obviously there's no dual core, and no DDR2. Ideally, I can't see why something like this couldn't integrate the GPU section of say a GeForce Go7600 instead of just the 6150, make a slot or something for it! I'd just like to see something done on this front, because HP had all of that power (35W 3800+ X2), DVD Burner, etc, all running on a 108W PSU that is silent up to about 2 inches away. Why should HP get all the choice parts, and then be able to charge a testicle and your big toe for it? These parts should all be mainstream. I'm currently thinking about sacrificing one of my Tivo boxes to integrate something into it, who knows. In that light, is there any word out about the Albatron board time to retail? I'd be willing to pick one up and review it, after getting that tiny case in my hands I just have to put something desktop-powerful in it. Not ultra-gamer powerful, but enough to use it to feed a DLP projector and make nice shadows on the living room wall. Love the ideas!

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Well I don’t know what real bandwidth your host has. Maybe a T1, T3 or OC3, which every it is, it's expensive even for a fraction of it.

 

If we the forum members make DIY-Street a Welcomed, Informative and Fun place the popularity of this forum will grow to its hay days. Then AG you can wheel and deal the cash flow.

 

I’m planning some simple things like posting some 939 non DFI motherboard OCDB entries. It may not be much but it’s a start. New users may start to get drawn to the Street and I see that as a good thing. More people equals more exposure. Then does that lead to sponsorship? Well that’s up to you AG, I guess.

 

I’ll continue to do what I can as far as donations go. We all need to stick together and help AG and the crew through these hard times.

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Great post ANGRY! Bill and Ted yeah baby! Love that movie! How do I implement the SVC and NewEgg banners into my sig? I know you guys have a lot of work with all of this and would like to help you a little more. Fell free to delete the links etc. in my sig if it takes too much space and put the banners into place. LONG LIVE THE STREET! :)

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