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 Post subject: Newbie in need of advices building new silent system
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:07 am
Posts: 26
Hi there!
I'm quite new to silent PC and would need a lot of advices building my new system, please bear with me:)

My new system will be used for gaming, multimedia, video processing and maybe even a bit of 3D modelling/rendering.
It's in my bedroom and often I will leave it work over night, that's why it has to be pretty quiet - my current computer is noisy like hell and I can never sleep well when it's on over night:(

I've browsed through SPCR for some time now and with the help of your excellent Recommended List and my local hardware shop portal (I live in Austria and sometimes they are a bit behind in available hardwares;-)), I've pinned down some candidates.
I've listed these in categories (more or less in the order of preference) with price in Euro, and at the end of each category I've given my comments or questions.

Case:
Chenbro PC61166 Gaming System Silver 45Eur
Yeong Yang YY-5603 Midi-Tower 80Eur
Antec SLK 3700AMB Midi-Tower 350W 75Eur
Antec Sonata Midi-Tower 115Eur

Comments: I like the Chenbro XPider most, but it seems that front panel Firewire is only an optional feature, in which case I'd probably go with the Yeong Yang or others.

PSU:
Enermax Noisetaker 375W (German Version) (EG375AX-VE-(G)-SFMA) 75Eur
Enermax Noisetaker 425W (German Version) (EG425AX-VE-(G)-SFMA) 90Eur
Enermax Noisetaker 475W (German Version) (EG475AX-VE-(G)-SFMA) 110Eur
Nexus NX-3500 Special Edition, 350W ATX 80Eur
Zalman ZM300B-APF 300W ATX 45Eur
Zalman ZM400B-APS 400W ATX 75Eur
Zalman ZM300A-APF 300W ATX 55Eur
Zalman ZM400A-APF 400W ATX 80Eur
Silverstone SST-ST30NF fanless 300W ATX SATA 140Eur

Comments: Really not sure what to choose here, please advise me giving the other components in my list. The fanless Silverstone sounds like
a pretty good idea, but not sure if it's adequate when I leave the computer on day and night...


Harddisk:
Samsung SpinPoint P80 160GB (SP1614C) 90Eur
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA 160GB (ST3160023AS) 100Eur
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA 200GB (ST3200822AS) 115Eur

Comments: I would really like to go for a 2 disk RAID-0 setup with the Samsung, but a bit sceptical about the idea of ALL my system and data on a single stripe...

CPU:
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Socket-939 boxed, 2.00GHz, 512kB Cache (ADA3200BIBOX) 210Eur
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 0.09µ Socket-939 boxed, 2.20GHz, 512kB Cache (ADA3500BIBOX) 290Eur
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Socket-939 boxed, 2.40GHz, 512kB Cache 620Eur

Comments: The Athlon64 3500+ 0.09u 939 looks like a pretty good deal for me now.

Heatsink:
Thermalright XP-120 60Eur
Zalman CNPS-7000B-AlCu 30Eur
Zalman CNPS-7000B-Cu 40Eur

Comments: Are these coolers adequate for the 3500+? And will I have problems using the coolers in any of the cases above?

Mainboard:
ASUS A8V Deluxe, K8T800 Pro (dual PC3200 DDR) 110Eur
ABIT AV8 3rd-Eye, K8T800 Pro (dual PC3200 DDR) 110Eur
Gigabyte GA-K8NSNXP-939, nForce3 Ultra (dual PC3200 DDR) 180Eur
MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum-54G Edition, nForce3 Ultra (dual PC3200 DDR) (MS-7025-020) 150Eur

Comments: The ASUS A8V looks really attractive to me now, feature rich and inexpensive, especially the WLAN feature is a real nice touch.
Too bad that non of these boards seems to support PCI-e:( Maybe I should wait till nForce 4 based boards become available?!...

RAM:

Comments: Really at a loss here. I know AMD doesn't have DDR2 support yet, but what does PC3200/PC4000 actually mean?! Which parameters should I look at when choosing RAM anyway? I know I would need at least 1GB of RAM, but would even more RAM (say 1.5G or 2G) prove beneficial for today's applications?

Graphics card:

Comments: I think I'd go for an Nvidia card, probably 6600 because 6800 is still too expensive. Would like a PCI-e one, but first the mainboard limitation and the availability is also a problem. Please advise me which 6xxx card is best from silent pc's perspective.

Sound card:

Comments: Do I really need it? Is the quality of onboard sound good enough now for DVD and gaming?


ANY hints and comments will be appreciated, and many thanks in advance![/code]


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie in need of advices building new silent system
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:17 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:40 am
Posts: 23
Nepenthe wrote:
Sound card:

Comments: Do I really need it? Is the quality of onboard sound good enough now for DVD and gaming?

If you speak of "nForce 2 APU" onboard sound then maybe you will be ok with it, but with anything lower than that i would buy Audigy 1/2 or at least Sound blaster 24bit.
This review shows that its not load cpu so much when u in games to.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:11 am 
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Location: Turkey
Hello and

WELCOME TO SPCR !!!

Case:
The 3700AMB also doesn't have a front firewire. I have no idea about the YY. The Sonata does have a front firewire, but after seeing how superior the 3700AMB is to the Sonata, I always try to steer people away from Sonata. Especially considering the much higher price. MikeC also talks highly of the Xpider too - on par with the 3700AMB IIRC.

Is the front firewire such a necessity for you? I think most Athlon64 boards do not have firewire on board (I didn't check the ones you listed) so you might be buying a 3rd party board anyway. My DFI Lanparty nForce2 board came with lego-like front panels including firewire. You might check out the nforce3 version to see if that's included.

Of the 4 cases you listed, I'd personally go with the 3700AMB.

PSU:
I have no idea about Enermax. Both Nexus and Zalman are Fortron-based. The NX3500 has a faster ramp-up profile than others. I'd advise you to consider the 4090 instead of the 3500. As for Zalmans, the B version is preferable IIRC. You definitely want a 400W with an A64 system. Not necessarily because you'll be using 400W but rather because of the beefeer 12V line.

HDD:
If you can get a Nidec motor Spinpoint, go for it. The JVC nonFDB versions are the same noisewise as the Barracudas. Seagates also run hotter. How much video processing will you be doing? and will it be just ripping DVDs or such or will you be editing video? If latter, you'll benefit from a RAID setup. Otherwise, I doubt you'll gain anything except increased heat. btw, onboard RAID usually takes its toll of CPU cycles.

CPU:
Yes the 3500+ does look tempting. Also remember that Athlon64s can overclock like crazy. No need to spend 300+ Euros when you can just as easily overclock to that speed.

Heatsink:
No difference between the AlCu and Cu versions of Z7000B. All three will cool your CPU nicely. I love the Z7000, haven't tried the XP120. XP120 has things going for it like easier ducting, choosing your own fan, lighter weight. The Zalmans are put-it-in-and-forget-it coolers. They'll work even in restricted airflow situations.

Board:
You definitely, positively want an undervoltable board. I seriously doubt the Abit and Asus will allow undervolting. check. Don't know about the others. Try to get a look at the DFI Lanparty nForce3 too.

RAM:
Get something that's rated a little faster than PC3200/DDR400. That way, you can overclock a little without problems. More RAM depends on what you'll be doing. Heavy 3D modeling requires a lot of RAM, otherwise 1 GB should be plenty. Try to go for as few sticks as possible.

Graphics:
6x00 series run hotter than equivalent ATI cards. btw. isn't 6600 a PCIx card? Plain 6800 (non ultra, non GT) looks pretty decent right now, runs a lot cooler than others too.

Onboard sound:
Personally I never liked on board sound. For that matter I also didn't like other cards either - including the Audigy etc. Best I liked was the nForce2 Soundstorm which is no longer available on A64 systems and the C-Media based on-board sound a distant second. Unless you have a set of really good (read EXPENSIVE) set of speakers, I doubt you'll gain anything with a sound card

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 12:22 am 
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Location: Turkey
OK, just checked the PSUs.

The Zalman 400B has 18A on the 12V. Should be enough. Power might sag a little if you do a fan swap but it's Fortron based and Fortrons take a lot of punishment before sagging.

Stay away from the NX3500. It has 16A on the 12V line which is borderline for your setup. Go for the 4090 instead which has dual 12V lines and is quieter.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:01 am 
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I will just comment on your mobo (I would also recommend the AMD64 3500 Winchester, though you may find availability tough) and here I woudl go with the MSI Neo Platinum - you will even find they do a wi-fi bundled version of that board too if that is important to you.

ASUS boards are far less user friendly if you wish to change andy clock settings or undervolt. Also there is a chance the BIOS will need an update BEFORE it can run with the Winchester CPU, but I know the MSI board is compatible.

I should avoid passively cooled PSUs for this rig. Personally I like the Tagan 480 (I have one) and you will find, I think, you may be surprised how quiet they can be with the fan there just for when the load is heavy....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:29 am 
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Many thanks to all of you! I'll take all your advices into consideration and do a more thorough research, after that I'll revise my list.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 2:17 am 
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After silencing my other components, my Zalman ZM400 quickly became the noisiest component in there, so you're looking at a fan swap/warranty void if you want a silent system. At least that was the case with my setup. On the positive side, the fan does not ramp up quickly so with a swap it can be very quiet ... yet to try though.

Had some very good experience with Nexus fans (not the psu's... yet) so I'd go for the 4090 as burcakb suggested.

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II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 5:06 am 
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OK, now with yous kind helps I've narrowed my list down somewhat, still have a few questions though. Maybe I was not clear enough about my planned usage in my first post, let me try again: I use my computer for EVERYTHING, play most new games, listen to music, watch video (DVD/DivX) and maybe TV (but no TV recording). Occasionally maybe I'd edit some videos, but really not often. I had a lot of fun playing with diverse 3D programs before and hope to pick it up sometime in the future, but 3D modeling is not my main concern either. I also play guitar through my computer (line-in), but I'm only beginning, so my demand on sound processing is not very high yet. To sum it up, I think what's really important to me is high gaming performance and reasonable noise level. While I'm playing games or watching movies, the noise won't be noticed anyway; but since I often leave my computer on over night (e.g. for downloading), it has to be very quiet when the load is not too high.

Case:
Chenbro PC61166 Gaming System Silver 45Eur
Antec SLK 3700AMB Midi-Tower 350W 75Eur
Yeong Yang YY-5603 Midi-Tower 80Eur

Comment: Guess I'll go for the Chenbro Xpider, and only consider the others if it's not available - the toolless design really sounds very attractive.

PSU:
Nexus NX-4090 Special Edition, 400W ATX 110Eur
Enermax Noisetaker 425W (German Version) (EG425AX-VE-(G)-SFMA) 90Eur
Zalman ZM400B-APS 400W ATX 75Eur

Comments: I'll take your advices and make NX-4090 my first choice.

Harddisk:
Samsung SpinPoint P80 160GB (SP1614C) 90Eur
Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 SATA 200GB (ST3200822AS) 115Eur

Comments: I checked and SpinPoint SP1614c does have FDB, so I'll definitely go with it. If I do get a RAID-0 setup (2x160GB), do you advise me to use another maybe smaller HD for system and apps, or should I partition the stripe and put system AND data on it?

CPU:
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 0.09µ Socket-939 boxed, 2.20GHz, 512kB Cache (ADA3500BIBOX) 290Eur
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ Socket-939 boxed, 2.40GHz, 512kB Cache 620Eur

Comments: Well, 3500+ seems the only reasonable choice right now.

Heatsink:
Zalman CNPS-7000B-AlCu 30Eur
Thermalright XP-120 60Eur

Comments: First choice Zalman because it has the fan included and not exorbitantly large.

Mainboard:
ASUS A8V Deluxe, K8T800 Pro (dual PC3200 DDR) 110Eur
MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum-54G Edition, nForce3 Ultra (dual PC3200 DDR) (MS-7025-020) 150Eur
ABIT AV8 3rd-Eye, K8T800 Pro (dual PC3200 DDR) 110Eur
Gigabyte GA-K8NSNXP-939, nForce3 Ultra (dual PC3200 DDR) 180Eur

Comments: The A8V is still my first choice because of the features and price. I don't plan to tweak the settings too much, probably neither overclocking nor underclocking. And I've no idea at all about this "undervolting" business, couldn't find any information from ASUS or MSI either:(

RAM:
Corsair DIMM ValueSelect Kit 1024MB PC3200 DDR CL2.5-3-3-8-1T (PC400) (VS1GBKIT400) 170Eur
Corsair DIMM XMS Kit 1024MB PC4000 DDR CL3-4-4-8-1T (PC500) (TWINX1024-4000) 270Eur
Corsair DIMM XMS Kit 1024MB PC3700 DDR CL3-4-4-8-1T (PC466) (TWINX1024-3700) 350Eur ...
Comments: Still need advices here. I guess for the moment I'd go for 1G DDR RAM, but have absolutely no idea what. Could someone help me by looking at this site http://www.geizhals.at/?cat=ramddr&sort=artikel ? It's the RAM page on my shopping portal (in German, sorry;-)), sorted by model, the third column is the price in Euro (and price/MB). Why is there such enormous price difference? And will my mainboard support the faster RAM (PC4000 for example) if there's PC3200 in the board specification?

Graphics card:

Comments: After reading some more reviews yesterday, I find the 6800GT to be a pretty good choice. But since burcakb recommended the normal 6800, I'll consider that too. Can the 6800(GT) be efficiently and quietly cooled (by the NV Silencer 5 for example)? Is there major difference between the providers, or should I just get the cheapest one I can find and put my own cooling part on it?

Sound card:

Comments: Well, I guess I'll first stick with the onboard sound and only add one when necessary.

Eagerly awaiting any comments!
Thanks in advance


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2004 1:15 pm 
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Case: don't forget to order some decent case fans and a means of undervolting them if you don't want to mess around with 5V/7V mods... thinking of Zalman fanmates or more elaborate fan controllers here. Nexus is a good choice for case fans and they do not necessarily require undervolting.

HSF: why would you care about the size of the XP-120? If it fits (which I haven't checked) I'd go for that one unless the price is holding you back... in which case the 7000 is a very good choice.

Mobo: if features are equal I'd try to get a board with passive northbridge cooling (Asus has that I think, again, haven't checked). Saves you a mod for silence... or a noise-annoyance.

Harddisk: I think all new SpinPoints are FDB equipped, it's more about the motor (JVC vs. Nidec or something). No experience myself but IIRC worst-case is a SpinPoint @ Barracuda noise levels so I'd say Samsung. RAID-0 works fine, would not put the system on a different drive myself or you'll lose some startup time and introduce another harddisk in a wannabe quiet system. Just realise that your chance of disk failure doubles. This means: either don't care or do frequent back-ups.

CPU: envy :wink:

RAM: at stock speeds it needs dual channel DDR400, which means 2 identical PC3200/DDR400 modules. If you intend overclocking get faster RAM, if you don't there's no need. Get two 512Mb modules as one package, that will mean the are tested to work together, otherwise YMMV. I only have experience with Corsair XMS but the prices at the moment are not too friendly. So I'd suggest the [Corsair DIMM XMS Kit 1024MB PC3200 DDR CL2-3-3-6-1T (PC400) (TWINX1024-3200C2) 2x 512MB module] for 229Eur as a middle-of-the-road-between-value-and-performance. But get faster RAM for OCing.

Graphics card: envy again!

/scratches head

All of a sudden, I get this urge to... upgrade! :D

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I: E5200 OC, Ninja II, Gigabyte P45, ATi HD4850 w/ S1, Raptor + Samsung disks in Quiet Drive, Enermax Modu82+ 425W, Lian Li V1000, 2x Nexus 120 PWM
II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:24 am 
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Many thanks teejay! Guess I'll take your advice and order some Nexus Case Fans then.
Does anybody have hands-on experience with the Chenbro Xpider case and XP-120 and the ASUS A8V board? Do they fit together well?

My upgrade policy is normally building a new system from scratch every 2 to 3 years, which means I rarely (if ever) upgrad single components. In my case, will I have ANY real benefits if I wait another month or so for the Nforce 4 (with PCI-e etc.) boards to surface?

And is there anything "on the horizon" that I should be aware of? I know I'm gonna regret ANY buying anyway in the future, but don't want it to happen too soon:D


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 Post subject: Nforce4
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:43 am 
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May I refer you to this link http://www.tomshardware.com/motherboard/20041020/index.html

I think you will be able to conclude from this that unless you plan to hang on to your Nforce4 board and upgrade components (and you just said this is NOT your policy) then there is NO benefit (in fact you will just pay more for marginally slower performance and no doubt a more buggy BIOS!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 9:15 am 
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Nice rig!

I am using the xp-120 right now, it is a giant race engine... Like what other people have mentioned, case fans are important because generally, the temperatures can get quite hot!

If you can, have a case fan that can blow air to the hard drive to keep it cool =) Also, im not too sure about the nvidia 6xxx series, but if you do find their graphics cards a bit noisy, maybe a Arctic Cooling vga cooler can help!

Im not too sure about PSUs... try for a efficient one and if you do find it noisy, mod it and swap the fan :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 12:44 pm 
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Location: Minnesota
Resently built a simular computer.
The MSI boards are saying 24a of 12v rail for the AMDs and I have 28a and my 12v line is at about 11.72v and I am not OCing.
The AMD cpus you are looking at do not seem to allow 1t timings with 4 sticks of memory at least they don't with my mobo.
The AMD line is about to come out with PCI-E support may want to wait and get that with a 6600gt instead of the 6800gt.
The Leadtech is the quiest stock 6800s but I think the best thing to do is buy the cheapest and buy an aftermarket cooler for it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2004 2:30 pm 
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Location: Turkey
Quote:
And I've no idea at all about this "undervolting" business, couldn't find any information from ASUS or MSI either:(


Undervolting is the cheapest (free!), easiest (adjust your BIOS once and you're done) and most effective thing you can do to reduce the heat of your CPU.

Basically it's telling your CPU to operate at less voltage than specified. This has the effect of drawing less current. Since heat is proportional to the SQUARE of the current drawn, even a little undervolting can reduce CPU heat significantly, allowing you to use a slower/quieter fan for cooling.

Athlon64s especially undervolt very well. I believe no one has tested it yet but the 90nm winchesters are supposed to undervolt even better.

Unfortunately some manufacturers (Asus and Abit to name two) don't support undervolting in the BIOS. I did it with a third party utility and swear every time I forget to run it.

You won't get anything form Asus, MSI, Abit or any other place on the net except from here, where the real goodies always are :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 1:05 am 
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oakdad wrote:
The MSI boards are saying 24a of 12v rail for the AMDs and I have 28a and my 12v line is at about 11.72v and I am not OCing.

Hehe, I'm really a bloody newbie and don't understand what you are saying, is what you get a good or bad thing?!;-) And which MSI board are you using?

oakdad wrote:
The AMD cpus you are looking at do not seem to allow 1t timings with 4 sticks of memory at least they don't with my mobo.

Hm, could someone please explain what's meant here? Does it mean I can't use all the RAM slots on the MB even if I have 4? I'm planning on getting 2X512MB anyway, but would be nice to have some room for future expansion.

[quote='burcakb']
Undervolting is the cheapest (free!), easiest (adjust your BIOS once and you're done) and most effective thing you can do to reduce the heat of your CPU.
[/quote]
Hm, I thought undervolting is something like underclocking, but obviously it's different. If I understand correctly, with undervolting you get the SAME CPU speed with less current/heat, right?! That'd be wonderful. But I only see 754 boards listed in the Recommended Undervoltable list, and the LAN Party board you suggested I couldn't find in Austria:(
Would the CPU really work reliably, and as fast when undervolted? And what third party utility are you using and how well does it work?

The passively cooled Gigabyte 6800 really seems tempting, too bad it only has 128MB! At the moment my vote is still for a 6800GT.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:55 pm 
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Nepenthe wrote:
oakdad wrote:
The MSI boards are saying 24a of 12v rail for the AMDs and I have 28a and my 12v line is at about 11.72v and I am not OCing.

Hehe, I'm really a bloody newbie and don't understand what you are saying, is what you get a good or bad thing?!;-) And which MSI board are you using?

Don't feel bad. Neither do I :lol:

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I: E5200 OC, Ninja II, Gigabyte P45, ATi HD4850 w/ S1, Raptor + Samsung disks in Quiet Drive, Enermax Modu82+ 425W, Lian Li V1000, 2x Nexus 120 PWM
II: A64 3000+, Ninja, DFI nForce3, headless, Samsung disks suspended, Enermax Pro82+ 385W, Antec 3000B padded & dampened, 2x Nexus 120 B&W


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2004 2:15 pm 
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Quote:
you get the SAME CPU speed with less current/heat, right?!


That's right. Depending on your hardware (includes everything, the PSU, memory, etc) you can get wonderful results. In one configuration (unfortunately it was noisy) I ran my Athlon64 3000+ at 2300 MHz (that's faster than a 3200+) at 1.25V (default is 1.5V). Rough calculation says this CPU created 50% less heat !!!!!

Right now, I'm back to default speeds (2000 MHz) but still at 1.25V. (My PSU doesn't like my RAM at high speeds) At default voltage and folding@home running, my CPU temps would easily hit 58C. But with 1.25V, I'm running 47C.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:39 pm 
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Well, it's almost done now. Just spent the whole evening placing orders of the following items:

Chenbro PC61166 Gaming System Silver
Nexus NX-4090 Special Edition, 400W ATX
Nexus Case Fan 120cm
2xSamsung SpinPoint P80 160GB (SP1614C)
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ 0.09µ Socket-939 boxed, 2.20GHz
Zalman CNPS-7000B-Cu
ASUS A8V Deluxe Wireless Edition
Corsair DIMM XMS Kit 1024MB (2x512)

I've had a hard time finding ANY available Geforce 6800 GT in Austria though, guess I'll have to wait a while and use an old card to install the system first then. I'm pretty sure that with this setup, the 6800 GT will be the most noisy component anyway, just hope there will be better solutions than the NV Silencer 5.

Thanks for all of your priceless advices and I'll let you know how well this new babe does!


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