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 Post subject: Potential Athlon 64 system - specs inside - thoughts?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 6:02 am 
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I'm assembling a system for the parents with the intent that it can be left on at night with the hard disks spun down (or not, if it's quiet enough) without annoying them in a bed five feet away.

The current spec list is this:

Athlon 64 2800+ (754 pin)

Cheapest A64, fits the 754 pin boards. Absolutely don't care about future CPU upgrades, but I do like this particular CPU.

MSI K8T NEO-FSR (754 pin)

Tom says it's a good board, no fan. Otherwise, I don't care. Hard to screw up a motherboard from a name brand?

eVGA FX 5200 128 MB

DX9 video, inexpensive, no fan! Largely irrelevant; I tried to find something with integrated video, but everything for the A64 is terrible. The Radeon 9100 IGP is OK, but a comparable Intel chip nixes the price advantage leaving out the video card would have afforded.

Seagate Barracuda V 80 GB SATA 7200 RPM

Apparently all the new Seagates are noisy, so even though this is harder to find (Newegg doesn't stock it), I'm keeping an eye out for one anyway. Don't like B4s because they don't have SATA. The Samsung recommended here is the same price for 160 GB and 2 MB of cache, but I question if I'd want to equip any new system with that small of a cache.

Evercase E4252-91

Relatively inexpensive case. This site says it's pretty decent; really, I have no idea. I'm shooting for beige, boring, very quiet, and cheap if possible. Does this have front USB ports? I'd really like those as well!

Seasonic Super Silent 300

Supposedly very quiet, can anyone vouch for this?


There will be no case fans in this system. I expect to replace the stock A64 fan with something; maybe a Zalman 7000, I don't know. Arctic Cooling looks interesting for the price, but their site is down and reviews are hard to come by for anything that'll fit the A64. Ideas? Price is a factor, the chip itself isn't even $120, I'd hate to spend nearly half that just to cool it.

I intend to suspend the hard drive with the double bungee configuration listed on this site. I don't expect to have to add any case insulation; should I?

My current system has five 7200 RPM drives, a GeForce Ti4400 with both stock fans disconnected, no case fans, and a variable PSU set to nearly nothing. I leave it on 24/7; no problems, lockups, anything, despite plenty of Halo and a distributed.net project running constantly. Remarkable the tolerance level of this hardware. Thus, I'm not overly concerned if this new system runs a bit hot; given how little it'll be stressed, noise and price are larger concerns.

I'm fairly new to the silent computing in general. Any comments you may have on the above, I'm certainly open to suggestion!

Thanks,

David I


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 6:32 am 
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Double-post deleted...

WELCOME TO SPCR!!!

:lol:

CPU: Good! I love my NewCastle; undervolts splendidly while providing very good performance all the same.

Mainboard: DFI LANParty UT nF3 250Gb is a better choice, "IMHO..." With this board you should be able to undervolt the 2800+ NewCastle to ~1.15V at its stock speed of 1.8GHz without a hitch and the included ITE Smartguardian is an outstandingly easy to use automatic fan speed control and temp. report software package. I also know for a fact that Alex Van Kaam's Motherboard Monitor works with this board just fine.

Combine it with a decent cooler and a case with a side intake duct and you can likely run the CPU without a fan on its cooler (just rely on the CPU and DFI LANParty UT's undervolting features).

GPU: I used to have that exact card. The DX9 is laughable, but if you're fine with slideshow speed, you're good to go. DX8 and earlier are much more acceptable on it, as is OpenGL.

HDD: Is the 8MB version of the 120 or 160GB Samsung that much more expensive than a 160GB, 2MB model?

Evercase: A fine choice. Also check out Antec SLK3000B.

PSU: Super Silencer 300 is okay; the fan is not the best in the world, but it's set to spin slower due to the PSU's above average efficiency. This is a great choice for swapping the stock fan and cold air ducting the PSU. If you don't want to work so hard, I'd say go with a Super Tornado 300.

If the price is okay with you, I suggest XP-90, but XP-120 fits the DFI LANParty UT nF3 and it's the one I recommend if you want to run the CPU with no fan on it. Having a case fan and no CPU fan is better for overall cooling than a CPU fan but no case fan.

Suspending the HDD is a great idea, particularly if you go with a Samsung, which makes more vibration than whine.

Enjoy your stay here at SilentPCReview; it's nice to see someone who does reading before posting, even if they do double-post. :P

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 6:55 pm 
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Thanks for the welcome!

A few updates and comments:

I called the parents, and they seem to prefer the Athlon 64 3200+ (NC), so that'll be the CPU. It'll run a bit hotter, so I probably won't be able to get away with passive cooling. The CPU fan's still up in the air; my current Athlon 2000+ is attached to a cheap and very quiet Arctic Cooling model. If I can find one for the K8, it seems like a reasonable option. Or at least it did until I changed the spec to a 3200+..

Both the Zalman 7000 and the Thermaltake 90 look very appealing, but both are north of $50 with fans and I question, given CnQ on this motherboard, if I need that kind of efficiency. If I do, that's fine.. but if not.. Arctic Cooling it is.

I like the SS Tornado power supply, but it does have some impact on my choice of CPU heat sink. I doubt I could even fit one of the larger Thermaltake models if I chose this one. Nonetheless, it is now on the list instead of the Silencer.


IF the Tornado and the Thermaltake 120 can fit in the Evercase (how can I find out?), and I can find a case fan that isn't horrendous, I may try the no-CPU fan route. May. I don't know if that's the best idea with this particular CPU.


The motherboard you mention is really decent and I like it, but it's a bit too dear for this system. The main advantage nVidia has (unless I'm missing something) is that I won't have to install a half-dozen drivers, but that isn't enough to negate the $40 price difference.

Good point of the drive, totally didn't see the 8MB models at Newegg, my bad. New spec is Samsung SP1614C 160 GB.

I think that's about it for now. I figured I'd just buy any old DVD-RW, whatever was on sale.. any brands I should keep an eye out for?

Thanks again for your help,

David I


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 7:06 pm 
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Depending on the mainboard you choose, you may or may not be able to fit XP-90 or XP-120 in that case. These pictures show that even XP-120 fits on DFI LANParty UT nF3 250Gb in a case as tight as SLK2650-BQE with a Super Tornado (notice the minimal gap from the edge of the mainboard to the PSU), but that means nothing for other mainboards. As you can also see from that thread, I run a 3200+ at 3400+ speed (it's o/c'd to 2.2GHz), but undervolted to 1.35V (overclock and undervolt at the same time; I love NewCastle!), fanlessly, without a hitch--but that's because of the cooler, of course.

I'd say go with an NEC ND3500A; to me, it's the best price/silence balance.

-Ed

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 7:18 pm 
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Hell of a setup Edward, I may duplicate parts of it! But it says you have a Super Silencer 400 in there instead of a Super Tornado?

DI


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 27, 2004 7:21 pm 
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My bad; thanks--error corrected.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:08 am 
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Hmm... Isn't Zalman CNPS7000-AlCu way less than $50? Fan is included, as is a Fan Mate.

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject: picking a nit...
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:32 am 
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Hello Edward:

The support bracket/tab on the case sticks out pretty far over the Tornado's fan -- if you were to cut it back (or just bend it down), would it make it a bit quieter, and/or slightly better air flow?

Awesome set up BTW -- The DFI LanParty mobo just went to the top of my list! Is it S754, or S939? And it has a passively cooled northbridge? Schwing! :o

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2004 9:49 am 
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Yep; passive from the factory. Socket754, so if you have any concerns about memory timings with 1GB of RAM or more, it might be something to think about. Otherwise, going by the assumption that you're no overclocker and won't be tightening the belt on your RAM timings, it's of little consequence (the single channel memory controller on S754 K8s doesn't handle tight timings well on two 512MB sticks of RAM, and there are no tight latency 1024MB single sticks to speak of). My favorite part of the board (other than the overclocker features and passive chipset cooler) is the included ITE Smartguardian software; great control over two system fans, one based on CPU temp. and one based on PWM temp.

Hmm; I suppose it could cut down on noise (to remove the tab or snip part of it off)--if it were actually noticeable to begin with (maybe with a louder/faster fanned 120mm PSU?). 8) I don't see why it would hurt to do that; next time I'm in or around that PSU tab and can get at it, I'll probably snip off a bunch of it (since I already snipped another spot, might as well not hold back on the snippage). I had snipped off the lip on the expansion card screwdown ledge to allow the VIVO adapter to plug into the new card anyway, and once you snip here, there's no reason not to snip there, right?

-Ed

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