K-12 schools and colleges are adding esports teams and clubs to their curricular and extracurricular offerings. Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed is a provider specializing in building custom esports hardware, enterprise networking solutions and professional IT services for educational institutions nationwide. In the past, the company’s technicians and experts worked with two components vendors. One vendor sold what Gravity Gaming’s purchasing manager called “unreliable components.” The lack of quality resulted in frequent support calls and total equipment failures. Supply chain is a constant concern for the industry, making it difficult to provide fast turnaround times for new PC builds.
Top-notch performance and reliability are crucial for all components we use to offer a great experience with our machines. - Kyle Beckius, purchasing manager at Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed
About Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed
ByteSpeed has been a leading IT solutions resource since 1999. They provide customized computer hardware, enterprise networking solutions and professional IT services nationwide. Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed was founded on the principles of long-term partnership and support. They are not just a hardware provider for esports, but a company that is truly invested in the future of esports.
Gaining reliability and speed without sacrificing ease of use
For any true gaming machine, a PCIe® SSD is assumed. For reliable performance in the growing world of esports, specifically in schools, it’s an essential component to include in the build. However, schools may not know which SSD to choose, and financial constraints can make it difficult to replace storage and keep pace with evolving standards.
ByteSpeed helps K-12 schools, colleges and universities across the country upgrade their computers with PCIe SSDs. But four years ago, as the esports trend started ramping up, the company’s technicians and experts were struggling to find components that were reliable and rugged enough to support long-term student use. As a result, ByteSpeed technicians were receiving support calls daily due to equipment failure — and since drives were dying, student gamers and their teachers were being taken out of the esports action. To make matters worse, the supply issues the vendors experienced had significantly slowed down the time it took for the esports custom manufacturer to make new builds and repairs.
“We were probably sending at least a couple, if not a handful, of drives out to customers every day,” explained Kyle Beckius, purchasing manager at Gravity Gaming by ByteSpeed. This was considered a major problem since, in a class of 25, a few systems going down meant a number of students wouldn’t have anything to work on while their classmates made progress.
A high-quality storage offering with little downtime
Beckius and his team researched several storage vendors and ultimately opted for Samsung SSDs due to their speed and reliability. He said the company was especially excited that Samsung technologists could help with specifications. “When you’re working with customers, especially in the education market, some know what they want to do and how they want to do it, and some really have no clue and need a fair amount of guidance to get started. Working with Samsung storage does help to make that easier,” he said.
ByteSpeed chose Samsung’s 980 for its performance and speed, as these attributes are ideal for esports, which require low latency and nimble response time. The SSD features read/write speeds of 3,500 MB/s and 3,000 MB/s, respectively. ByteSpeed also offers the Samsung 980 PRO to its customers, which features sequential read/write speeds up to 7,000 MB/s and 5,000 MB/s. With the use of this device, students see games load faster and experience little or no lag or wait time during tournaments and practices.
Other advantages to installing Samsung’s SSD devices included the powerful controller designed to support larger input and output queues for PCIe. This resulted in lightning-fast speeds and high-performance bandwidth and throughput for heavy-duty applications in gaming, graphics and data analytics. In terms of security, which is a must-have in the educational space, the devices have a built-in AES 256-bit security to ensure student gamers are always secure.
“Samsung works particularly well with their product specialists at distribution. If you don’t have people advocating for you and doing their due diligence for you at distribution, you’re probably not going to be in the supply position that you want to be. Samsung makes that happen for us,” said Beckius.
In the end, Samsung’s supply chain resilience, advanced product and affordable price point enabled ByteSpeed to be a reliable partner for esports clubs in education.
Attractive performance at an attractive price
Switching from its previous vendors to Samsung provided a more reliable solution for ByteSpeed. Today, Beckius says his company rarely needs to send anything back for warranty service.
“Considering the number of systems that we push out, we send very few Samsung drives back for warranty, and that’s something that’s really important to us because we do all the backend service and support ourselves,” he says. “Top-notch performance and reliability are crucial for all components we use to offer a great experience with our machines. Having the confidence to know our solution helps avoid any downtime for our customers is certainly a selling point. A failing SSD, especially during a tournament doesn’t go over real well.”
Samsung’s SSDs also save ByteSpeed personnel time, as they don’t have to work to get as many machines up and running again, Beckius adds. “You’re only as strong as your weakest link, so if you’re not taking a comprehensive look at what you’re going to do for system integration and you let something lapse, the whole system isn’t working. Samsung’s always there with support and a solution. Not only are they coming to the table for ByteSpeed with the speed and reliability we need, but they also work very well with me and our partners to make sure the products are always there,” he says.
According to Beckius, from a performance perspective, ByteSpeed customers are excited about improved performance. By offering both the Samsung 980 and the Samsung 980 PRO, ByteSpeed can hit two price points and provide superior machines.
“Samsung is our drive of choice for most of our products. With the 980, you can offer very attractive performance and a very attractive price, too. It is my bright, shining example of making PCIe storage for everybody,” he says. “As an esports vendor, we always have to find a careful balance between cost of components, performance, quality and reliability. We constantly get great feedback from our customers because the systems with Samsung just allow them to get more done in the time that they have every day.”
1Sequential and random performance measurements are based on IOmeter 1.1.0. Performance may vary based on the SSD’s firmware version, system hardware and configuration.
2Disclaimer: Performance may vary depending on the SSD’s firmware version and the system hardware and system configuration. Performance measurements are based on Iometer 1.1.0. The write performances were measured with Intelligent TurboWrite technology being activated. The sequential write performances after Intelligent TurboWrite region are up to 500 MB/s (250GB), 1,000 MB/s (500GB) and 2,000 MB/s (1TB).
3Test system configuration: Intel® Core i7-7700K CPU@4.2GHz, DDR4 2400MHz 32GB, OS-Window 10 Built 10240, Chipset-ASUS PRIME Z270-A