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 Post subject: about to build new system - need advice
PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 3:29 pm 
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hi, i'd like some advice before ordering components. I'd like to build a pretty quiet PC (i.e. much quieter than the average ready-made desktop) but am not fussed about it being totally silent or anything. Most important is that it should be quiet when idling (e.g. overnight, when the only thing it's doing is either nothing, or just downloading stuff). For comparison, my current PC is a ready-made Dell Dimension XPS600T which is a P3 600MHz which i bought in 2000. It is way too noisy.

I have done a lot of reading on SPCR and other sites, as i've never built a PC before, but think i'm up to the challenge, plus have a friend who should be able to help. I also want to mention that SPCR is an excellent resource, I am eternally grateful to the creators, and will be contributing as soon as I start earning! (graduate this summer)

The components I'm considering are as follows:
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case: antec 3700BQE

mobo: asus P5GD2 deluxe (intel 915P)

CPU: intel P4 3.0GHz socket 775

CPU HS: thermalright XP-120 or XP-90, but think 120 should fit

CPU HS fan: not sure - suggestions? what is best 120mm fan for XP-120?

grease: arctic silver ceramique (but is this necessary? is it much better than stuff which comes with thermalright XP-120?)

PSU: either the 350W one which comes with 3700BQE, or antec NeoPower 480

graphics: geforce 6600gt 128mb (PCI express)

sound card: will buy a semi-pro one at later date

RAM: 1gb ddr2 240pin, either PC-5300 or PC-4300

tv card: will purchase at later date. possibly digital TV card.

HDD: new HD will be boot HD (partition 1) plus data (part. 2), for which i'm going for 160GB samsung spinpoint - either IDE or SATA versions; also have existing 120GB IDE HD which i'll put in as extra backup for random files, plus maybe swap file partition or sthg.

DVD-RW: NEC-ND2510A (already have this)
______________________________________________

any general thoughts / opinions / help / advice / comments are welcome.

however, specifically, i need help on these things:

1. i want to chuck my current (120gb IDE) HD in the new machine too - can I have one SATA HD and one IDE HD? or should i just buy the new one as IDE too?

2. my DVD-writer is IDE - is that OK too, potentially with the new SATA HD and old IDE HD etc.?

3. does my adoption of a mid-high range PCI express video card, & of a SATA hard disk *require* an ATX v2.0 compliant PSU e.g. antec NeoPower, or will the cheaper one coming with the 3700BQE be OK?

5. will the Intel P4 3.0ghz will come with the stock heatsink-fan already on the CPU? i.e. will i have to remove it in order to install the Thermalright HSF?

6. i have read in several places that geforce 6600gt offers excellent performance for cheaper than 6800, but what difference does 128MB vs 256MB make? Any difference to, e.g. speed of Photoshop tasks, or TV-card tasks? or is 128 enough for most users?

7. Samsung Spinpoint 160GB - is the SATA version as quiet as the IDE version (i presume it must be, but just checking :) )

8. is there anything i'll need to buy that i've missed off the list? (except obvious peripherals e.g. mouse, keyboard)

9. are there any compatibility issues between any of the listed components that anybody can identify?

Many thanks on any comments / help / advice / thoughts


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2004 6:02 pm 
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I'm gonna go through each thing you listed.

Quote:
case: antec 3700BQE

Seems fine

Quote:
mobo: asus P5GD2 deluxe (intel 915P)
CPU: intel P4 3.0GHz socket 775

Is there a reason you aren't looking at Athlon 64? I can't recommend going the Intel route right now... much harder to cool quietly. Please browse around the site and see whats written about the A64. Also, if you'll be keeping this a few years like your last PC, it may be nice to be 64-bit ready once the new windows 64-bit rolls around.

Quote:
CPU HS: thermalright XP-120 or XP-90, but think 120 should fit
CPU HS fan: not sure - suggestions? what is best 120mm fan for XP-120?

These will be terrific, but if you want to save the trouble of finding a fan you can go the Zalman 7000 AlCu route... many have been happy with it.

Quote:
grease: arctic silver ceramique (but is this necessary? is it much better than stuff which comes with thermalright XP-120?)

This won't give you greatly enhanced cooling, but its long term stability may be better than your standard silicon goop. Its less likely to dry out. Since you say you bought your last computer in 2000, its probably not a bad idea to get the good stuff since it sounds you are unlikeley to be mounting a new HS to the processor any time soon.
Quote:
PSU: either the 350W one which comes with 3700BQE, or antec NeoPower 480

The one that comes with the BQE should work fine. If you think its too loud thats another story. If you don't want the PSU that comes with the BQE, then you're wasting some money there. You could maybe buy a nicer case that doesn't come wth a PSU like a Lian Li or something.

I can't comment on the video or sound card... don't know TOO much in this area.

Quote:
RAM: 1gb ddr2 240pin, either PC-5300 or PC-4300

Unless you'll be overclocking you don't gain anything by getting PC-5300, in fact you may wind up with memory with slower timings than what you could get for the same price in PC-43(2)00. Do some research into this and make sure thats what you really want.

You can mix and match SATA with IDE, there should be no problems here. I would go SATA if its not a problem because eventually you probably wont use your older IDE drives anymore, and you'll be happier with the cable management of the SATA drive.

Whatever processor you get, if you get the retail version of it, it will come with the HS alongside the processor, not already mounted. You may be able to save a few bucks if you get the OEM version of the processor without the fan if you plan on replacing it anyway.

That about raps up what I can comment on, hope it helps.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 5:57 am 
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hi, many thanks for your useful comments. My friend (the one who's going to help me build this rig) tried to build an AMD machine last year and had a really tough time, he ended up getting a celeron instead! he recommended intel as being easier to build and just more compatible with things generally. However, I do appreciate what you said about cooling, and i know nothing about 64-bit anything, so i've got some reading cut out...Thanks again for bringing up the issue.

How much of a difference is there in terms of performance, and cooling, between the P4 and Athlon? if it's a small difference, then I probably don't mind buying intel, but if it's like, you'll need your CPU fan at 5V for the AMD to cool the same amount as at 12V for the Intel then it might be worth considering. Will the AMD board & chip be compatible with everything else? I do worry about compatibility with AMD, but i know that's a seriously amateur thing to say (but then, i am an amateur, having never built a machine before)

About the CPU HSF - I got the impression that the Zalman 7000AlCu is heavier than the thermalright XP-120, and I know for a fact that I will be moving the machine around - i'll be taking it in a car across a ferry and all sorts of stuff. So i just thought the lighter the better.

About thermal grease stability, are you saying that with normal (cheap / standard / included) grease, it breaks down or degenerates after a few years?

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 Post subject: Re: about to build new system - need advice
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:11 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:37 am
Posts: 1310
Location: Finland
as530 wrote:
however, specifically, i need help on these things:

1. i want to chuck my current (120gb IDE) HD in the new machine too - can I have one SATA HD and one IDE HD? or should i just buy the new one as IDE too?
2. my DVD-writer is IDE - is that OK too, potentially with the new SATA HD and old IDE HD etc.?

There's one potential problem. All i9x5 boards have only one PATA channel. You have two choices in this case:
1. Put both the PATA hard drive and the DVD-burner to the same channel (cable). This might be problematic as the 3.5" and 5.25" bays are far apart.
2. Use the onboard PATA RAID for the hard drive. The problem here is that some RAID cards don't tolerate single drives.

as530 wrote:
3. does my adoption of a mid-high range PCI express video card, & of a SATA hard disk *require* an ATX v2.0 compliant PSU e.g. antec NeoPower, or will the cheaper one coming with the 3700BQE be OK?

I don't think so. The stock supply that comes with 3700BQE doesn't have SATA power connectors, nor the new 6-pin PCI-E power connector. Just make sure that You have the adapters if they are required.

Not all SATA drives have those legacy power connectors (=Molex) anymore, and the 6600GT might come with a new 6-pin PCI-E power connector. Most likely the 6600GT will have such adapter cable in the box, but better check for those SATA drive power connectors before ordering.

as530 wrote:
5. will the Intel P4 3.0ghz will come with the stock heatsink-fan already on the CPU? i.e. will i have to remove it in order to install the Thermalright HSF?

The CPU and HSF come separately. The only use for the stock HSF is if You need to RMA the CPU.

as530 wrote:
6. i have read in several places that geforce 6600gt offers excellent performance for cheaper than 6800, but what difference does 128MB vs 256MB make? Any difference to, e.g. speed of Photoshop tasks, or TV-card tasks? or is 128 enough for most users?

To the best of my knowledge, the amount of memory in a GFX card helps just in games. But since I don't game so much nowadays, maybe someone else could give better insights?

as530 wrote:
7. Samsung Spinpoint 160GB - is the SATA version as quiet as the IDE version (i presume it must be, but just checking :) )

Yes, it should be. The only problem is that there are two kinds of Spinpoints in the market - ones that are equipped with Nidec motor, and ones with JVC motor. Nidec is the one to look for, JVCs tend to have a high pitch noise. There are few shops that allow to select the motor type, but most are reluctant to do so.

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:56 am 
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In random order some contributions: cheap, no-brand thermal grease (or TIM) can degrade seriously over time. Arctic Silver or Ceramique is worth the small extra expense. AMD64 cpu's are easier to cool and can be dynamically underclocked (Cool 'n Quiet technology; search around for it). IMO they are the cpu of choice for a quiet rig. Performance-wise there is not much difference, assuming you compare cpu's of similar specification. It is no more difficult to build an AMD system than it is to build an Intel one. An AMD setup will be compatible with every normal PC component you can think of, so you don't have to worry about that. Whatever you do, do not get a Celeron. It's hot and slow which just... sucks, for lack of a better word.

For lugging your rig around I would recommend the XP120 over the 7000... well, actually, I'd recommend it over everything else, period. In combination with an AMD64 I'd get a Nexus 120mm fan, for a hot Presscot P4 I'm not entirely sure if that would be enough airflow-wise... perhaps others can comment on that.

You could try the stock PSU and see how you like it... I'm guessing you won't though. It is definitely not up to SPCR's standards but it might be good enough for you. Otherwise, Nexus 4090 or the right Seasonic model , check the recommended section.

dshreter hit the nail on the head: get regular PC3200 memory unless overclocking... AMD64 does not use DDR2.

There will be no noticable performance difference between the 6800 or 6600 (or an ATi 9200se for that matter) when using photoshop etc. since that is a regular desktop application. The main difference between simple and expensive cards is their 3D performance (games, specific apps, etc). The only games that show performance difference between 128Mb en 256Mb models are HL2 and Doom3 AFAIK (and of course newer games) so I'd only get more memory if you actually use it.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:01 am 
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hi guys, thanks for all your help. i've since been doing some reading about going the AMD way, and it seems that the Athlon 64 3500+ or sthg similar would be a good choice. However, i would like to get a PCI express graphics card and mobo - does this mean i have to wait for nForce4 mobos t come out (i think Asus will be first)?

Also, if i do go the Intel, socket 775 way, will my PC simply not work with the new 64-bit version of windows, whenever it comes out?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:14 pm 
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Speaking of ASUS and pci cards...

http://usa.asus.com/news/2004/20041117.htm

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 24, 2004 1:33 pm 
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AMD64 vs Intel, there are some reviews floating around in the web that suggest that an AMD64 chip at full load uses about the same power as an Intel chip of the same performance level in idle. Now, that bit of information is severely suspect but is still indicative of the HUGE power draw difference between the two architectures. With an Athlon64 system, you can be sure that your CPU cooling will NOT be your loudest component if you use correct components (The XP-120, XP-90 with Nexus fans or the Zalman 7000 fall into correct components) With a s775 system, I won't be too sure.

Athlon64 CPUs are both 32bit and 64bit compatible at the same time. Intel's own 64bit architecture was somewhat different but it seems they may be abandoning their design - at least for desktop platforms - and going with a design similar to Athlon64. (I may be wrong but I think there was a rumor that Win64 was delayed simply because Intel couldn't get its act together) I'm not too up-to-date on Intel CPUs (except their horrendous power draws) but no their present CPUs do not contain 64bit capability. (I used to be an Intel fan, even when using AMD barton chips, but with Athlon64, AMD has certainly leaped ahead)

Current generation of PCI Express cards offer no speed advantages. It will only give you a wider range to choose from and a possible upgrade path in the future. If you don't intend to touch your system for a long time, I wouldn't worry about PCI Express.

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