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 Post subject: Need the SPCR stamp of approval (system build)
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2004 4:03 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Louisiana/USA
-- edited: Tue Sep 28 00:17:00 UTC 2004 --
Hello SPCR -- My first Silent PC post. Flame away.

Please tell me what you think of these specs. I plan to buy in the next few weeks, if possible.
Has to survive the hot Louisiana summer.

Case: EverCase E4252 (w/o PSU)
PSU: Seasonic "Super Tornado" 300W -- Will this supply enough power?
MB: MSI "K8N Neo Platinum" (nForce3 250, Socket 754) -- I have heard a few complaints. Recommendations?
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3000+, 512KB L2 Cache (Newcastle)
CPU Cooler: Thermalright XP-90 + good fan -- Which fan?
RAM: 2x Mushkin 512MB DDR PC-3200
Storage: 2x Samsung SP1614N, 160GB
DVD-RW: NEC ND-3500A, 16X Double Layer DVD±RW Drive
DVD: Samsung TS-H352A, 16X DVD Drive
Diskette: Samsung SFD321B, 1.44MB 3.5inch Floppy Disk Drive

Any word on the 90nm A64s (Winchester and Oakville)?

Thanks


    Updated:
      2004.09.25:
        RAM: Replaced Geil Value Series 512MB DDR PC-3200 (w/ Heat Spreader) with Mushkin 512MB DDR PC-3200
      2004.09.26
        CPU: Replaced AMD Mobile Athlon 64 2700+ (35W) with AMD Athlon 64 3000+, 512KB L2 Cache (Newcastle)
        Diskette: Added Samsung SFD321B, 1.44MB 3.5inch Floppy Disk Drive
      2004.09.27
        PSU: Replaced Seasonic "Super Tornado" 350W with Seasonic "Super Tornado" 300W
        CPU Cooler: Replaced Zalman CNPS7000A-AlCu with Thermalright XP-90 + good fan
        Storage: Replaced Samsung SP1614C, 160GB with Samsung SP1614N, 160GB

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Last edited by sean on Mon Sep 27, 2004 5:45 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Sean, welcome to SPCR!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 5:45 pm 
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Hello Sean, and welcome to SPCR:

I doubt that you'll get flamed; we're pretty civil 'round here in general... :o

Looks like you have a good start on a system. I have a couple of questions/things to check (that you may have already considered):

Is the MSI compatible with a mobile chip? If not you should consider a Athlon 64 2800+ and/or an undervoltable motherboard like the AOpen.

The trick with a Zalman 7000 and the Evercase is to make sure the socket is located far enough down from the top of the motherboard so that it fits. The Evercase, while excellent for air flow, is vertically compact. There is only about 3/8-1/2" from the top edge of the mobo and the bottom of the PS. And some motherboards (like the Neo Platinum) seem to possibly have the CPU socket fairly low and thus might cause the 7000 to conflict with the video card -- though this is just cautionary speculation on my part...

Heat speaders on RAM are probably not helpful or necessary, and it might even prevent better cooling. I would check MSI's RAM compatibility list. I have only used Mushkin in the four Athlon 64 machines that I have built, and in one case it was their "economy" sticks of 512MB -- they worked fine, and they are an incredible value:

http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=20-146-219&depa=1

The great thing about the nForce3 250 chipset is that it seems to be able to run 3 (and even 4) sticks of RAM at DDR400. It's too bad the AOpen board still used the 150 version...

As for the Linux video card, this is always a challenge, isn't it? I have Suse 8.2 Pro running on three machines, and frankly, IIRC ATi had better driver support. One of the other machines has a Matrox P650, and it works, but "barely" with no 3D. The third one has onboard nForce video and I have had real issues getting 3D to work. Also, you'll want to confirm support for the onboard LAN -- I had to add Realtek cards on the two Athlon/nForce machines.

You'll also want two good quiet 120mm fans, (though maybe one if you have AC?): the Nexus works quietly even at 12v, or the Enermax is quiet (and moves more air) at 5v or below than the Nexus at 12v.

A little tip on keeping two HD's cooler in the Evercase: mount the drive that is below the other upsidedown so that the circuit boards on the two drives "face" each other. This will let a lot more air flow pass between the drives... :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:03 pm 
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Neil's got some good tips there. Might I just add...

If the Zalman CNPS7000A's fitment is in question, the smaller, yet better performing (but more expensive) Thermalright XP-90 is an excellent alternate option.

I share his concern about CPU compatibility with that board you chose; from what I heard, the DFI LAN Party UT NF3 has full compatibility with Mobile A64s, so it's likely your best bet...

That it offers the largest assortment of user controls over voltage, frequencies etc. certainly won't hurt. :wink:

The GeIL memory is excellent stuff; don't buy it for the heatspreaders, but do buy it for the quality (and at good price for that quality, to boot!).

Do you really need 320GB of space?!? If you don't need more than 160GB, try to keep it down to one drive to cut down on drive noise; it's hard to silence drives, as opposed to silencing other components. If you're planning on RAIDing them, please let us know what your usage pattern is, and we can help you ascertain whether or not you stand to gain any serious benefits from RAID, if at all, particularly for the higher risk of data loss/corruption.

Burner looks good--do you really need a secondary reader?

Great PSU choice.

The case, well, I don't know; perhaps you'll get some good suggestions for the case, just not that one. But then again, at least it's cheap?

Sorry, no recommendation on video card from me; I haven't used Linux since RedHat 5.X...

-Ed

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 Post subject: Re: Sean, welcome to SPCR!
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:29 pm 
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Location: Louisiana/USA
NeilBlanchard wrote:
Is the MSI compatible with a mobile chip? If not you should consider a Athlon 64 2800+ and/or an undervoltable motherboard like the AOpen.

Would I be better off with a motherboard that supports Mobile Athlon 64, or using a non-mobile Athlon 64 CPU?
By better off I mean, quiet and cool.

NeilBlanchard wrote:
Heat speaders on RAM are probably not helpful or necessary, and it might even prevent better cooling. I would check MSI's RAM compatibility list. I have only used Mushkin in the four Athlon 64 machines that I have built, and in one case it was their "economy" sticks of 512MB -- they worked fine, and they are an incredible value:

Cheaper and recommended. I will go with that for now (updated in original post).
Anyone disagree with the choice of mushkin economy RAM?

NeilBlanchard wrote:
As for the Linux video card, this is always a challenge, isn't it? I have Suse 8.2 Pro running on three machines, and frankly, IIRC ATi had better driver support.

Well I have Debian Linux running on my current computer, a laptop with an Nvidia Geforce2Go. It has worked great.
I also ran Gentoo a few years back. I need to find some "on linux" ATI vs NVIDIA performance comparisons.

Thanks Neil

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:37 pm 
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I'd go with the Mobile A64 and the DFI board.

That Mushkin Value RAM (the blue sticks) are also extremely good.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 6:46 pm 
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Edward Ng wrote:
Do you really need 320GB of space?!?
...
If you're planning on RAIDing them, please let us know what your usage pattern is

Now what kind of question is that? Of course I need 320GB of space!
Well maybe not need, but I want. =P
I can handle the RAID decisions. At work I have servers with endless RAID arrays. But noise isn't considered in that environment (imagine wearing earplugs in your office :( ).

Edward Ng wrote:
Burner looks good--do you really need a secondary reader?

For ripping and other stuff, I know more optical drives will just add noise. =(
But I can deal with their noise when in use, as long as they shutup when idle.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 9:59 pm 
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Edward Ng wrote:
I'd go with the Mobile A64 and the DFI board.


I would like to use a Mobile A64 (DTR), but after further reading I have seen nothing but problems. Mostly motherboard incompatiblity and trouble getting good contact with the heatsink.

I hope you can turn my decision around. The Mobile A64 would keep things cooler.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2004 10:10 pm 
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Read Anandtech's review of that board (the DFI LAN Party UT NF3 250); they state that the board is absolutely compatible with Mobile Athlon 64s.

Your choice of cooler will affect whether it's going to be compatible or not; the XP-90, because of the way the clips are designed, will certainly work fine with a Mobile A64. The only thing you must do is to be more careful when mounting it; do not pressure down insanely hard on the cooler, or you might risk chipping the corner of the die. Only press down on the clips, not on the cooler (hold the cooler still so that it can mount properly, but don't press down to hard on it directly, just the clips). Clip opposite corners in first, as it will facilitate the last two corners.

-Ed

EDIT: Here's a link to the review for you.

EDIT2: I'm having difficulty finding their statement on Mobile A64 compatibility, all of a sudden; let me try to find it again for you, so I an point it out...

EDIT3: Alright, I'm sorry, but I can't find it anymore. I have no idea why I can't find this comment. I do remember it being the main reason why it is the only Athlon 4 board I'm cosidering right now, but I can't remember where the statement was made. It might be in the comments section.

EDIT4: Okay, I just checked through all the comments and can no longer find it there, either. I give up. :cry:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 3:19 am 
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Do I remember incorrectly that the current mobile Athlon64s weren't as energy efficient as the mobile XPs and that when you want performance the energy expenditure is nearly identical to a desktop CPU?

I also kind of hasily remember that the mobile A64 was going to come into its own with the move to 90nm and 35W range for a 3000+

I'd say there's another "against" for a mobile. I thanked that heatspreader many many times while installing my Zalman 7000B. Even though I'm very careful, had that been a mobile chip I'd probably crack it. The 7000B is a very bad idea for a mobile A64.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:00 am 
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burcakb wrote:
I also kind of hastily remember that the mobile A64 was going to come into its own with the move to 90nm and 35W range for a 3000+

Yeah, I am going with a standard Athlon 64 now.
Thanks for the reminder about 90nm. Aren't those due for release in the next few weeks?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2004 6:07 am 
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Yes they are.

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 Post subject: "DFI LAN Party UT NF3-250" and Cool'n'Quiet
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:33 pm 
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Location: Louisiana/USA
Edward Ng wrote:
Read Anandtech's review of that board (the DFI LAN Party UT NF3 250)

Has anyone tested Cool'n'Quiet on the DFI LAN Party UT NF3-250?

Is Cool'n'Quiet even worth worrying about?

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