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 Post subject: $3K Budget and Need Silence
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:49 pm 
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Hi, I'm in need of a new computer. I do a lot of opengl rendering and programming. I have $3k to spend, but wouldn't mind spending less. I'm looking for speed, efficiency, and silence (I guess everything). Here's a list of what I would like to have, though I'm open to suggestions.

Socket 939 Athlon 64 3700 or 3800 -
Asus K8V Deluxe -
1 GB Corsair DDR-400 - $385
120 GB HGST Sata 7200 RPM or 74 GB Sata Raptor - $ or $200
HIS's Excalibur X800 XT IceQ II -
Liteon 16-48 DVD/CDRW - $46
Audigy 2 ZS Platinum - $165
Case:
PSU:
LCD: Dell FP1900 w/ DVI - $700
Fans:
Heatsinks -

I don't know if this matters, but this will be my first time to put a PC together. So I hope this will be all of the parts I need.

Thanks a lot for your help.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:39 pm 
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Give me the $3K and don't buy a computer.

Otherwise that $1K Zalman fanless case looks very promising for a powerhouse computer that just doesn't make any noise. Fanless CPU, PSU, and GPU. What more can you ask for?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:02 pm 
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You should be able to get a gig of ram for a lot less than $385...

I've heard Liteons are so so. Get a Samsung or LG CD/DVD drive.

Get a CRT for your monitor. They're a lot less, and are supposed to show colors better than LCDs. Plus, you don;t have to worry about dead pixels.

If you don't want to have to worry about building the thing from scratch, have you considered getting a system through ARMS? It costs more than doing it yourself, but it comes with a warranty. I think their high end systems run around $2300-$2500.

Also take a look in the gallery section for some ideas about what components to buy.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:45 pm 
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Thanks for the responses. The $1000 case had superb reviews, but it's $1000. In addition, I have been using lcd monitors for so long that CRT's make me nauseous. Thanks for the info about the RAM pricing, i'll look somewhere else for a price.

So please respond with some more info as to what case and heatsinks I should be purchasing to accompany these parts.

Thanks again


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:47 pm 
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Take a look at my recent AMD 64 posts for some help. I already have a monitor, so the price might be a little high for you, but the info might be helpful.

I have a dell 2001FP, and love it. Sure, it's not quite a CRT, but it takes up so much less room, and is pretty close.

As for the drive, I've used several liteons with very good results. But I've never considered them in terms of noise. If you're going to put 3K in a machine, why not buy a DVD+/-RW? Plextor is obviously the best, but you can buy a dual-layer NEC for something like $86 on newegg. DVD is a great back-up solution, and if you're going to be working with a lot of large files, you might want that option.

I'm currently debating between the HIS Excalibur X800 XT with IceQ II and a Matrox Parhelia with Zalman heatsink and fan. If you're doing more CAD than gaming, you might be better off with the Matrox.

You might want to look into a Samsung SP1614C SATA harddrive. If you really care about noise, it seems like they're the best. Just make sure it has a NIDEC motor.

I chose the Seasonic Super Silencer 400 (SS-400AGX) PSU. It goes for about $90, and seems to be the quietest 400W supply available.

As for the cpu cooler, you probably want to go with the Zalman CNPS7000-Cu.

I just recently posted a question about 120mm fans. I think I'm going to get a couple Nexus 120mm case fans, unless I'm convinced otherwise. You might want to look into them as well. It depends on the case you want.

In general, check out SPCR's recommended lists. I've found they're a little hard to find, but if you do the following google search you should be to:
Code:
site:silentpcreview.com recommended cases
Replace cases with whatever you're looking for.

Hope that helps. I'm nothing near an expert, but this is what I've found over the past few days of research.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:49 pm 
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Also, the Zalman case is HUGE! There are some pictures somewhere on this site that compare it to others, and it's just enormous.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 7:54 pm 
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I second the Dell 2001FP recommendation.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:04 pm 
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The Dell 1900FP is supposed to be just as good, it's definitely cheapter, and it's native resolution is 72ppi rather than the 2001FP's 96ppi. I definitely find that sites with a fixed font size at something like 10px I have a hard time reading (and I'm 20 with perfect vision). Unless you really want that 1 inch and 1600x1200 resolution, the 1900FP should be fine.


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 Post subject: zalman fanless case
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 8:15 pm 
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i second that recommendation.
yes, it's huge.
yes, it's expensive.
but you can get it and still come in under 3k, and not have issues about fan voltages, temperature problems, etc.

good luck!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:25 am 
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Quote:
Socket 939 Athlon 64 3700 or 3800 -
Asus K8V Deluxe -


You'll probably want an A8V unless you feel like finding a creative way of interfacing a socket 939 chip in to a 754 board :wink:

If you've got $3K, I'd look into getting some dual opterons for your render box. If you don't plan on doing lots of gaming, the Audigy 2 ZS is rather unnecessary. Spend that money on more RAM for the system. 1 gig is standard for a regular gaming box, but you'll probably appreciate having 2 gigs (or more).

Pick the Raptor for speed. You may need storage too, I'd go with a Samsung or Seagate drive for some more space.

Oh and don't throw the money away on a zalman case. You can do just fine with traditional cases. You could even try water cooling although that is a bit ambitious for a first build.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:26 am 
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Ok, thanks a lot guys. I've pretty much found inxil's post to be what i'm looking for. Well here's what I've picked out. Please let me know if i've left anything out. Like rounded cables or an intake fan. I don't know if they come with the case, motherboard, or what?

CPU: Athlon 64 3800 Socket 939 (Maybe I'll do the FX)
Motherboard: Asus A8V Deluxe
Memory: 2 x 512 MB Corsair XMS Extreme Memory Speed Series
Hard Disk: Samsung 160GB SP1614C SATA (with NIDEC MOTOR)
Optical 1: Samsung DVD/CDRW SM-352NENB
Optical 2: Waiting for Dual Layer DVD-R to take off
Sound Card: Audigy 2 ZS Platinum
Video Card: HIS's Excalibur X800 XT IceQ II
Thermal Paste: Arctic Silver 5
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS7000-Cu
PSU: Seasonic Super Silencer 400 SS-400AGX
Case: Antec SLK3700AMB
Fan Controller: Zalman MFC
Case Fans: 1xPanaflo L1A 120 mm
Monitor: Dell 1900 FP LCD

I chose the 1900 FP, because I'm going to be getting a second 1900 sometime soon.

Thanks a lot guys (and thanks inxil)

So please let me know what I'm missing


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:40 am 
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Posts: 17
Looks good. The only problem I can see is that if you want to put it together very soon, you won't be able to get the X800 in there. The plain X800 XT won't ship from CompUSA until July 6th, so I can't guess as to when the X800 XT with IceQ II will be available. For that reason I've started leaning to the Matrox Parhelia.

The Matrox is very good for dual/tri screens. If you want to run two DVI 1900FPs, the Parhelia might be a good choice.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:34 pm 
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Would I even need the fan controller? I'm not going to be overclocking, and I only have one fan, unless someone suggests that I use two.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 12:44 pm 
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Probably not, unless you just like the looks of it. If you want something for your single fan, you might check out the NoiseMagic NMT-2... You just plug your fan into it, and it into the mobo, and it adjusts the fan's voltage based on temp.

As for 1 fan vs. 2. I asked the same question, and someone made a good point. You might be better off having 2 fans -- if you don't need the second one all the time, you can just unplug it or turn it off... If you do need it, it's there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 1:32 pm 
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One other thing -- though the SLK3700AMB is a great case, you might want to look into their version made specially for quiet computing. Read the recommended case section -- they talk about the two.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 2:50 pm 
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look for cheaper but still quality ram and get 2 gigs. Mem is everything

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 2:24 am 
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I can comment on the case. I had the same question about what case to get, which I discussed in this thread. Coolcases makes a very nice modded case, or you could get the LX-6A19 ($39) from directron.com and mod it similar to coolcases. This is the case I am getting for my rig I'm going to build soon. The LX-6A19 is basically the same case as the Antec SLK3700AMB, with a different front bezel and true black paint (AMB is more greyish than black). Your other choice could be the Evercase 4252 from Newegg. Both appear to be very popular amongst the hardcore silencers here, as a base for true silence modding. Try a search of the forums for more info.

If you want good looks get a Antec Sonata or better, get the Antec SLK3700-BQE. Either case offer really great looks, but not as good airflow/silence. More pictures of the cases here. The key here is, get these cases from Directron.com, and choose to remove the power supply (-$32 off price) and then put in a 120mm psu such as the Seasonic suggested above. This brings the price of the Sonata to 59.00, and the BQE to 45.99. BQE is more popular among silencers than the Sonata, partly because the Sonata is so shiny every fingerprint shows up. Also because the Sonata does not provide a space for a 120mm fan in the front of the case.

As another twist, you could look at the mnpctech.com SC195 case, which is yet another mod of the LX-6A19.

As for fans, 120mm Evercool Aluminum fans are what I am getting. I chose these after some extensive research, since they seem to be the silencers fan of choice to undervolt to 5v. Read this thread for more info.

Zalman 7000A AlCu? If you read the review of it within the Thermalright SP97 & other heavyweights review on this site, you will see it has a ways to go to be truely silent, due to a unpredictable fan. However, this thread describes exactly how to make it silent as can be. Again, Evercool Aluminum is the fan of choice. Which, I might add, the 92mm one Directron carries differs from the picture of it on their site. It comes with RPM monitoring, and a 3 pin molex connector for the motherboard.

One final thing worth noting is the Zalman 7000A does not fit all motherboards, so check the Zalman site for compatibility. Also even if it does fit the motherboard, it may not fit inside a specific case mounted to that specific motherboard. So when you choose your case you might want to ask around if the combo will fit the case you choose. The cases I mentioned are very popular, so it's highly likely someone with that specific motherboard, and a Zalman 7000 mounted to it, has installed them in one of the cases I suggested, and can confirm they will fit. Pheww, long sentence.... hope it's not to confusing... I probly shouldn't write at 4AM :lol:

You choice of hard drive mirrors my choice, after some extensive research. One thing to note is that the hard drive needs to be decouple-mounted to be truly silent. There is a topic here discussing a way to do this. Stretch magic cost me 2.99 shipped, and can be streched a staggering ammount at which point it will strech no more... with all my strength I failed to get it to tear or break. But then maybe I'm just weak. :lol: Some really amazing stuff. It can also be used to decouple the fan on the Zalman 7000 (see page 2 of the link above).

Have you checked into NEC DVD drives? They are said to be the most silent DVD drives on the market. Mine is almost inaudible while playing a DVD. I have the extremely popular NEC 2500A. For lotsa info on this drive visit CDFreaks NEC forum. This drive offers some of the cleanest DVD burns available (at least at the time I researched it), and offer unlocked DVD rip speeds with a modded bios (which I use).

Anyway, hope some of this info helps. :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 4:24 pm 
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NetTechie, thanks a lot for that great reply. I chose to go with the Evercase 4252 case. It looks great and has had great reviews. So I will be getting two of those 120mm Evercool Aluminum Case Fans. I'm still a little confused on the heatsink. The site mentions that the Thermalright SP97 is a little harder to install. I've never put a computer together, would this be a problem. Also, would I need to purchase a fan for the heatsink, like that 92mm one?

Thanks a lot


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 5:31 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
just a suggestion. water cooling. it's not cheap, but simply the best way you can cool your computer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 12:10 am 
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thunkerdo wrote:
NetTechie, thanks a lot for that great reply. I chose to go with the Evercase 4252 case. It looks great and has had great reviews. So I will be getting two of those 120mm Evercool Aluminum Case Fans. I'm still a little confused on the heatsink. The site mentions that the Thermalright SP97 is a little harder to install. I've never put a computer together, would this be a problem. Also, would I need to purchase a fan for the heatsink, like that 92mm one?

Thanks a lot


Your welcome :)

SP97 requires a fan. My suggestion for a fan would be the 92mm Evercool Aluminum, which comes with rpm monitoring (directron) and the aluminum fan frame probably helps with heat dissipation.

I don't think either would be more difficult myself. Their both going to require care and attention to detail. I'm inclined to say the SP97 would actually be less trouble to install. However, I can't say for sure since I have not installed either (yet).

I just noticed you listed the 7000A Cu (all-copper) model of the zalman as your choice. I would recommend the Aluminum-Copper model far more than the all copper, from all I have read. The copper is very heavy, and places a great deal of stress on it's mounts, and does not really cool any more effectively than the AlCu model.

Are you sure the Zalman will work on the Asus A8V Deluxe? Might want to confirm it will before you purchase. One way to find out is to start a topic to attract someone who is using that board and might know first hand what it takes to work. Also internet searching/forum searching ofcourse.

Does the SP97 work on athlon 64's? I just checked newegg, and it lists compatibility "Athlon XP Palamino, Thoroughbred, and Barton 2800+ and up". Compare that with the compatibility listing on newegg for the Zalman 7000A AlCu "Intel socket478 Pentium 4 / socket478 Celeron, AMD socket462 CPU, AMD socket754 Athlon 64 / socket940 Athlon 64 FX / socket940 Opteron (Single / Dual)". Kinda different? Oh, and I checked on the official Zalman site, and it doesn't say anywhere whether it is or is not compatible with socket 939 or your specific motherboard. It does however day "CNPS7000(A) is compatible with all socket 754 motherboards" on the Zalman official site. So... maybe that means any Athlon 64 board, dunno.

All-in-all, I would say the SP97 has a safer mount on the board, and the Zalman is cheaper and comes with a fan (which I would replace since it's known to click sometimes). If you want to buy either again I emphasize check into Jab-Tech.com prices, they are the cheapest for either of these by a considerable margin, even with shipping. You can't go wrong with either, and if you don't care about sound the SP97 is about the best air-cooled heatsink in existence. Zalman 7000A AlCu dissipates heat better so it can run in a hotter case with less case airflow, and can be made more silent with a few mods than any other heatsink out there, or so it appears based on my researches.

Hope this helps answer a few of your questions... though it probly creates a few more questions than it answers :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 12:12 am 
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intx wrote:
just a suggestion. water cooling. it's not cheap, but simply the best way you can cool your computer.


On the subject of watercooling this one looks like fun. But keep in mind, as a first system build watercooling has a lot more complexities and risks than a regular heatsink.... wouldn't want to scare him off of building computers for good by frying his first by having a water leak or something. :lol:

Do check into it though, just because it's good to know your options.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 8:59 am 
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Dooood. Get a dell. 1. you get the warrenty, 2. less hassle, 3. the prices are cheaper if not the same. (if you buy at the right time) AND 4. The cases are already professionaly engineered for optimal air flow and silence. These things are mass produced so you can bet it's PERFECTLY engineered.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:12 am 
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matva wrote:
Dooood. Get a dell. 1. you get the warrenty, 2. less hassle, 3. the prices are cheaper if not the same. (if you buy at the right time) AND 4. The cases are already professionaly engineered for optimal air flow and silence. These things are mass produced so you can bet it's PERFECTLY engineered.

No, not from Dell, but from ARM Systems.

SPCR review. BTW, get the A64, not the PIV solution. I'm not sure whether ARM finished their A64 systems yet, so You might have to wait.

Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:59 pm 
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matva wrote:
Dooood. Get a dell. 1. you get the warrenty, 2. less hassle, 3. the prices are cheaper if not the same. (if you buy at the right time) AND 4. The cases are already professionaly engineered for optimal air flow and silence. These things are mass produced so you can bet it's PERFECTLY engineered.


Doooood, just say no to Dell. Actually, we've got a bunch of 'em at the office (Powerstation 340's) and they are quiet for mass produced machines. However, everything is proprietary -- PSU connector, fan connectors, mobo's, etc.

You can get a quieter system from ARM and you're not proprietary if you want to upgrade something in the future. Much better option IMHO and that is the way we're going when the time comes to upgrade the Dell's at work...


Dave


EDIT and ARM does have A64's and FX's on their configurator page for their Stealth PC's


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 8:54 pm 
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I gotta tell you... If you're going to get such a high quality sound card, you better get CRAZY speakers.

I recommend the Z-680's, or since you have a THREE THOUSAND dollar price cap, you could just get a reciever and two stereo speakers and hook that up. If I had to choose between the two, I would get two BIG HONKIN Yamahas. The surround sound that you get from two of those bad boys sitting on your desk is better than any 6.1 system out there.

Shouldn't the video card be cooled by a VGA silencer? That exalibur cooler takes the heat and shoves it right back into the case.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:41 pm 
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ONEshot wrote:
Shouldn't the video card be cooled by a VGA silencer? That exalibur cooler takes the heat and shoves it right back into the case.

Care to explain to me how the HIS Excalibur x800XT IceQ II is different from using a VGA silenter?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:44 pm 
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They're the same, I think, except the Exalibur cooler shoots the hot air back into the case, not evacuated like the VGA silencer.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:25 am 
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ONEshot wrote:
They're the same, I think, except the Exalibur cooler shoots the hot air back into the case, not evacuated like the VGA silencer.


I sincerely doubt you're correct on this. Can you provide any evidence that the airflow is reversed on the Excalibur, compared to the VGA Silencer? Everything I've heard or read so far implied that both implementations exhaust GPU heat out the back.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 7:57 am 
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ONEshot wrote:
I recommend the Z-680's, or since you have a THREE THOUSAND dollar price cap, you could just get a reciever and two stereo speakers and hook that up. If I had to choose between the two, I would get two BIG HONKIN Yamahas. The surround sound that you get from two of those bad boys sitting on your desk is better than any 6.1 system out there.


Except that stereo speakers don't give you surround sound, they give you stereo sound. Maybe you can use the sound card to try and fake surround sound, but even a cheap surround set (like most computer surround speakers) will provide a better surround experience (ie., the sound is behind you on the left side).

Now, audio quality is a different story -- you're music will definitely sound better on a good set of stereo speakers. Decent speakers (for the $$) are PSB, Paradigm and some Boston Acoustic. Almost all of the Canadian manufacturer's provide bang for the buck (since, for some reason, the CA govt underwrites R&D -- I guess CA likes it's music :wink: )

Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 9:04 am 
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If you want real sound, get something made by M-Audio or Terratec. All the Creative sound cards really distort the sound. Their chips only handle 48kHz, and as virtually everything is natively in 44.1 kHz, get distorted when the sound card tries to upsample them. M-audio and Terratec cards on the other hand will variably adjust the sampling frequency to match the source.

They don't really cost more (at least not their consumer geared line), but they sound much better. So much so that the Audigy line doesn't even compare. Their only downside is that they don't have all the fancy features of the Audigy for games (though M-Audio's Revolution 7.1 might be capable enough in this respect).

Now, the next step is avoiding the intensive EMI found in computers. The best way to do this is the perform the D/A conversion outside the machine. Use the digital output of the sound card and feed it into a seperate DAC. Optimally, a stand alone unit, but a good reciever can also do the job. At this point, prices can really go up though...and only worth it if you have the amp and speakers to match.


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