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 Post subject: A test FAQ for public review.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 5:42 am 
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Hello all. Over the last couple days, I've been compiling and writing a FAQ for SPCR. This really is a FAQ in the truest sense since, every I've seen every question here at least 10 times. This is really meant to be a quasi-generic FAQ that I feel should be stickied in all the forums (or at least an improved version of it), until more appropriate forum-specific FAQs can be written up by either me or another enterprising member of this community.

I shouldn't expect a FAQ to improve S/N, but I hope it does, and the next time someone asks a question that's answered here, you can just post "Read the FAQ!!"

If you have Frequently Asked Question that you'd like to see in the FAQ, let me know, but also let me know what the answer should be. One question I know I missed is an nVidia vs. ATI FAQ. I'm not qualified enough to provide a good answer to that question.

Comments? Suggestions? Corrections?

EDIT: Since some of these questions are frequent to certain areas, I've listed which forums they should be posted under. General should probably be for the General Discussion Forums, Newcomer's forum, and System Advice, since they're fairly general catagories. Questions that are not catagorized should go in all the forums (except the Folding and Off-topic ones, of course). By catagorizing them this way, we can collectively come up with forum specific FAQs quickly.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
This FAQ is an attempt to reduce the level of repetitive traffic in the SPCR forums. Most of these questions can be answered by looking at the recommended pages or searching the forums. Sometimes though, there are no clear answers and I hope that this FAQ will help clarify these types of questions as well.

Q: My computer is too loud, how do I make it quiet?(General Only)
A: This is a question frequently asked by both Newbies and Veterans alike. In both cases, the best advice to follow is MikeC's FAQ for Newbies.

Q: Can someone recommend me a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive)?
A: Yes.

Q: Is this a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive) [On the recommended list]?
A: Well what do YOU think? (i.e. If we recommend it then we think it's a good product).

Q: Is this a good (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive) [NOT on the recommended list]?
A: This is a much trickier answer. Sometimes, there's a product out that none of us have really had a chance to try out. Do a search to find out. If there are results, then READ them and find out what the deal is. Chances are, it's one of four things:
1) It's NOT good for silent computing.
2) It's alright, but some people have had some issues and/or there are better choices.
3) It's great, but since the SPCR staff hasn't had a chance to formally review it, it hasn't made the recommended lists (or it's been reviewed more recently than the last recommended update).
4) No one knows.

Since there are usually a lot of tried and true choices out there, it's best not to get hung up on any one product that we haven't covered.

Keep in mind that although the SPCR community is global, the SPCR staff is primarily North American. So if there's a product that's not really available in North America (the Be Quiet! power supplies come immediately to mind), it probably won't be reviewed any time soon.

Q: Can someone recommend a quiet or silent >500W power supply?(General and Power Supplies Only)
A: Hold your horses there. Very very few people need a power supply that can put out 500W. I have personally measured a fully loaded Dual Athlon XP 2400+ with a FireGL X1 Video card and 4 hard drives to pull less than 255W AC. On the Recommended Power Supplies pages, MikeC has painstakingly explained why bigger is not always better. On THIS forum discussion, people have listed their systems that work fine with various PSUs rated at 300W. Chances are there is at least one system that looks a lot like the one you have or are considering.

Q: Can SPCR review this (heatsink/powersupply/case/fan/hard drive)?
A: Yes. We don't generally buy samples but rely on donations from users and contributions from sponsoring retailers and companies. If you would like to see a product here on SPCR, don't write to MikeC. Write to the company and/or its distributors and ask if they would send a sample to SPCR for review. Or read what MikeC suggests.

Q: Can someone recommend me a retailer that sells silent PC parts in Canada/UK/Australia?
A: Many SPCR members are from Canada, UK, and Australia, and have posted threads on stores that sell silent PC parts in their respective countries. There are some products that are not easily available outside the United States (like Sorbothane). Unfortunately, there's little one can do about it. Your best bet is to make an offer, but be sure to do that in the proper forum.

Q: What processor should I choose, AMD or Intel?(General and CPU Only)
A: There is no clear and easy answer here. The less heat that a processor produces, the easier it is to cool quietly. As of this writing, Intel makes both the hottest processor as well as the coolest processor between the two companies (Prescott and Pentium-M respectively). But AMD has an impressive range too (Athlon 64 FX and Mobile Athlon XP respectively). Check out the CPU List

Via is a company that produces x86 compatible processors that run about as cool as the Pentium-M at its best. If you primarily use your computer for Email, Web browsing and music listening, then Via should be worth at least considering.

Q: What's up with those annoying green advertising links? Is there any way to turn them off?(General Only)
A: They're "IntelliTXT ads" by Vibrant Media. The short answer is that SPCR is expensive to operate and those ads help generate much needed revenue, in the same way that they do on many other tech sites. SPCR gets paid for click-throughs, so please click on IntelliTXT, Google and main banner ad links to support this site. Read the details of the IntelliTXT program.

Q: There's a question that ought to be in the FAQ. Why haven't you answered it?
A: As much as I hate to admit it, I don't know everything about silent PCs. I'll be happy to add your question to this FAQ if you can post both the question and answer to this thread.


Last edited by sthayashi on Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:21 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 6:11 am 
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Good job!


You get three thumbs up from Ralfie, and I'll give you the keys to the Monte Carlo condo for the weekend (and of course you get the use of the SPCR Gulfstream)


Edited for interesting typos...

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Last edited by Ralf Hutter on Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 7:00 am 
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Quote:
If you have Frequently Asked Question that you'd like to see in the FAQ, let me know, but also let me know what the answer should be. One question I know I missed is an nVidia vs. ATI FAQ. I'm not qualified enough to provide a good answer to that question.


Just a thought.....

Q: I want to make my computer quieter, where do I start?
A: Offers ?????

Q: I want to build a new quiet computer, where do I start?
A: Offers ?????

Probably no quick answers..... :roll:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 7:28 am 
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Q: I want to make my computer quieter, where do I start?
A: The noisiest part is always noisier than the rest combined (trust me on this one)! You can find it by stopping fans one by one. When you find the part that makes the most noise, swap it for one from our recommended list.

Q: I want to build a new quiet computer, where do I start?
A: Start by reading the recommended product listings. Get ready to mod your case. Read previously posted tips befor asking.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:01 am 
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This is an excellent idea! Maybe we could do the FAQ with Wiki. I'm not a Wiki fanboy, but there's a recent thread doing something similar w/ Wiki.

Q: Doesn't 500W PSUs run cooler than 300W ones under light load?
A: (I actually posted this here today, and I thought that it'd be an excellent FAQ entry.)
Jan Kivar wrote:
It's a common misunderstanding that a higher wattage model would run cooler under light load than a lower wattage model. This is not the case, however.

If we take two PSUs, a 300W and a 400W one, and attach them to a 200W load, both PSUs will have to evacuate same amount of heat (caused by the AC-DC conversion), assuming that the efficiencies are the same. Usually efficiency rises to the peak value when running a PSU at ~2/3 of the max. rated power, so the 300W model would have a slight advantage compared to the 400W model.

Even if the components in the 400W PSU are rated for higher wattage, the situation is usually that if You take a 300W and 400W model from same manufacturer, the heatsinks will be more or less identical.

If assumed that the efficiencies are the same for both PSUs, running both supplies at their max. rated output means that the 400W model will have to dissipate more heat (from AC-DC conversion). In general this means that the manufacturer will have to opt for a faster spinning fan to keep the temps in spec. The manufacturer could also opt for larger heat sinks with same fan, but most likely the PCB layout would then have to be revised, so the fan switch will be far more profitable.

Which then means that the noise will be louder throughout the entire power range when compared to the 300W model, as the fan is a louder one.

Also, the higher-wattage units are more expensive than your-average-350W model. The price difference could be used for a replacement fan.


Cheers,

Jan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:11 am 
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CharlieChan wrote:
Quote:
If you have Frequently Asked Question that you'd like to see in the FAQ, let me know, but also let me know what the answer should be. One question I know I missed is an nVidia vs. ATI FAQ. I'm not qualified enough to provide a good answer to that question.


Just a thought.....

Q: I want to make my computer quieter, where do I start?
A: Offers ?????

Q: I want to build a new quiet computer, where do I start?
A: Offers ?????

Probably no quick answers..... :roll:

These questions are answered thoroughly in the existing FAQ for Newbies -- http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=4094. I think a link to should go into the general FAQ suggested above.

Also, detailed questions about PSUs etc really should remain in those forums rather than repeated and spread all over the place. The 300w/500W issue, for example, don't belong here, but perhaps in an FAQ in the PSU forum. Some of the stickies there can be adapted / renamed to FAQ... I just don't want to see multiple instances of this info everywhere just for lazies. The really lazy posts should just be deleted with a curt email / PM msg anyway...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 12:43 pm 
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Thanks MikeC for keeping on top of this S/N issue. It seem that this site is becoming more newbie friendly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 1:05 pm 
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mpteach wrote:
Thanks MikeC for keeping on top of this S/N issue. It seem that this site is becoming more newbie friendly.

You're welcome... I think?

IMO, SPCR forums have always been incredibly newbie-friendly with helpful people eager to lend a helping hand at any time to whoever. As the collective knowledge of the site grows & deepens, the gap between newbies and old pros gets bigger all the time. Yet the perennial newbie questions don't stop, they even seem to accelerate as the pace of newcomers (immigrants and refugees from OC sites? :lol: ) increases. So this is an initiative to address those questions, reduce white noise and keep the forums useful for everyone without alienating nebiew, oldies or those in between. Let's hope it works!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 2:58 pm 
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I consider myself an aging pro, not quite old yet ;)

When i was new, i happily read the limited FAQ and articles we had. Anything that i could quickly find, saved me the time of posting and waiting for an answer. Searches for common terms like supending hard drives or panaflos result in hundreds of threads, many advanced subtopics or barely related to the definition of the word.

I admit that i did ask a few stupid questions because i didnt know about the recomended section, untill someone pointed it out to me. I believe a link to reviews, recomended and articles should be at the top of every Forum FAQ list. Easy definitions and instructions for newbies will also save them from the wrath of frustrated oldtimers.

Civil Forums are hard to come by these day. Thanks to the Big Cheese(as youv'e been so affectionaly called by n00bs)for all the Hard work ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 5:52 pm 
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Added the "How do I make my Computer quieter?" question. How to buy a new computer that's quiet seems exceptionally lazy, even for newbies.
Also added information on which questions should go in what forums. That way, we can get a head start on forum-specific FAQs, and keep other FAQs clean.

FAQs that need answering that I don't feel like doing homework on (i.e. searching) just yet:
"nVidia vs. ATI?"
"recommend me a 92mm fan? 120mm?"

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 3:58 pm 
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So... Does anyone else have comments on this before I post this to the other forums?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 4:16 pm 
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sthayashi wrote:
So... Does anyone else have comments on this before I post this to the other forums?

I made a couple of minor edits to the above -- mostly for emphasis & clarity. I'm ok with it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:13 pm 
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I've added two more questions, IntelliTXT ads and Add a FAQ. Last chance to comment before I post it to the forums.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:23 pm 
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Well done! (I jumped in and made a couple minor changes...)

I think it's good to go. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 8:39 pm 
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FAQs have been posted in the following forums:
  • Newcomers Briefing Room
  • System Advice/General Gallery
  • General Discussion
  • Cases & Dampening
  • Power Supplies
  • CPU Cooling
  • Fans & Control
  • Cool & Quiet VGA
  • Silent Storage
The other forums I felt were too low traffic or inappropriate for the FAQ (i.e. Few people there really ask FAQs)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 9:47 pm 
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Alot of newbies have questions about measuring temperatures, and also ask what temperatures are acceptable. I think some temperature FAQs should be added to these forums.
  • Newcomers Briefing Room
  • System Advice/General Gallery
  • General Discussion
  • Cases & Dampening
  • Power Supplies
  • CPU Cooling
  • Fans & Control
  • Cool & Quiet VGA
  • Silent Storage


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 10:22 pm 
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mpteach wrote:
Alot of newbies have questions about measuring temperatures, and also ask what temperatures are acceptable. I think some temperature FAQs should be added to these forums.
  • Newcomers Briefing Room
  • System Advice/General Gallery
  • General Discussion
  • Cases & Dampening
  • Power Supplies
  • CPU Cooling
  • Fans & Control
  • Cool & Quiet VGA
  • Silent Storage

Hmm.... I'm reluctant to mention temperatures in ALL those forums. Perhaps the Generals and the CPU Cooling forum at most. Anything beyond that tends to be off-topic (w/ the possible exception of VGA cards. I have no idea what their temp. ratings are).

I'll ponder the question and answer for a while.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 10:49 pm 
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Dont get me wrong, but i believe that nearly every facet of silent computing involves both noise and temperature.
Thats why i think that most of these noise related forums should have at least 1 FAQ question regarding temperature, or a link to a Temperature FAQ!!!.

Some things are not alway obvious to newbies, especially recomended temps.
  • Sytem advice needs a link to the general FAQ on temp.
  • Cases effect airflow and thus case temp, nevermind damping
  • [Power supplies like cool temps and run quieter with them
  • Fans and Cortrols determine total aiflow/temps.
  • Silent Storage operates safely with certain temps/ HD damping temp FAQs, Samsung SMART temp errors etc.
  • And the other ones you already listed


EDIT Good job on the FAQ's; thier coming along quite nicely.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:18 pm 
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mpteach, you have to consider this. Although temperatures are directly related to nearly all forums on SPCR, how often have questions on temperatures been asked in those forums?

I haven't read that many posts about about Case temperatures (Is my Case temperatures alright?). Most questions about temperatures are usually about "My processor is too hot, HELP!!". What's more though, I don't think there's a good answer to case temps except "Your motherboard's case sensor is not always indicitive of the actual case temps."

Power Supplies do better in cooler temperatures, but no one is asking if their particular power supply is running too hot (certainly not enough to justify a FAQ). Though I will give some consideration to those who ask "Is my modded PSU running too hot?", but I think that if they're modding on this forum, they're not newbies.

As for fans, yes, fans affect temperatures within a case and on a processor, but I don't recall many pestering questions directly involving temperatures in the fan forums.

You may be right with the Silent Storage forums. Sadly, drive temps is an area I know nothing about and I don't think I can contribute reasonably formed answer for that topic and area.

But try and rethink your suggestions in the form of actual questions and possibly answers. This FAQ isn't meant to address all subjects on all topics. It's just supposed to address the frequently and commonly asked ones (and if you come up with good or decent ones, I'll try and answer them, or pass them off onto others who can). It does sound like you've got some good advice for Forum-specific FAQs and this will be very useful in the future. Though I cannot promise that I'll be in charge of all FAQs in all forums.

Thanks for the support otherwise though :)

EDIT: I must have misread or something. I missed your suggestion of a Temperature FAQ. I can think of a border-line article that ought to be written (unless I've missed it already). "How hot is too hot?" and all the necessary areas can have a question that links to that article.

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Last edited by sthayashi on Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:21 pm 
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On second thought, "What temps should i expect?" are not as basic as the "Exactly how loud will/should my ..... be?" which could be a repititous question in most of the forums.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 11, 2004 11:25 pm 
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styashi i answered a newbie question on case temps tonight ( a question that we' all obviously know), thats how i started thinking about it.

Though i might have gone overboard i prefer long FAQ;s. Even linked FAQ;s

I wil come up with individual questions for you next time.

EDIT I didnt play the "search the forums line" because case temp would bring up a zillon garbage hits"


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2004 12:01 am 
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CactusInvasion wrote:
The fan question will be answered more thoroughly whenever Mike has the time to complete his fan comparison project that solicited fans a while back.


While that would be the best, I won't be holding my breath unless some university or kind soul donates Mike a huge grant to live off. That's a huge undertaking. However, we did have a "calling all good fans" thread. If we could tidy it up a bit, it would give newbies a place to start. The recommended list is both outdated and inadequate and search function turns up a gazillion answers.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 5:24 am 
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edited all FAQs for some grammar errors. Changed "It Sucks" to "It's NOT good for silent computing" to be respectful to the manufacturers that may lurk here. Thanks to Spod and Aphonos for their watchful eyes and good suggestions.

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 Post subject: ati vs nvidia
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 1:46 am 
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registered to ask some other stuff and saw this, figured i could help. don't see an answer to the nvidia vs ati question you suggested yet, for silent PC purposes this is possibly the hardest (or alternately, least important/most indeterminate) question imaginable. definitely no clear-cut answer as far as the new cards go, if i just needed something usable i'd probably go with like a Radeon 9700 or 9700 AIW.

whole bunch of miscellaneous things to remember/consider:
- newish nVidia cards (anything newer than GF4?) will all lower GPU speed automatically in 2d; afaik, even the X800 still leaves the GPU running at the same speed regardless. the x800 allegedly doesn't ramp up its fan speed very smoothly either (http://www.nordichardware.com/reviews/graphiccard/2003/Radeon9800XT/index.php?ez=2). however, I own an ATI X800 Pro and even after pushing the core to 75-80C for long periods of time with ATITool I couldn't hear its fan over the quiet fan in the front of my case (so sue me, I have a normal pc :P point is it's definitely not bad for one of those stupid small GPU fans).

- X800s and 6800s both use ridiculous amounts of power, but the X800s all use substantially less power in idle/2d than anything better than a GF5700/R9600XT; under full load an X800XT "only" uses as much as a GF5950U or R9800XT. looks like the GF6800U sits about 20W AC above that, and the X800 Pro about 20W AC below that (http://www20.graphics.tomshardware.com/graphic/20040504/ati-x800-09.html, think someone referenced the same data at a different TH review on a different thread).

- stock X800 cooling is all single slot, stock 6800U cooling is all double slot (and exhausts out the back of the case through the second slot), though resellers will probably change that at some point if they haven't already, and I think the "normal" 6800 and GT are single slot as well. Godsend or major PITA depending on how you like your current airflow (no pun intended) and whether you want all that heat being dumped inside your case or not.

Most importantly (imo), if you have a silent pc, keep in mind that if you play games at 1024x768 and don't have a habit of using 6x FSAA for no particular reason, you will most certainly be CPU limited in almost any game. It's next to impossible to consistently max out any of the new cards' fill rate in any current game unless you happen to have an FX-53 or P4 EE... would be hard pressed to keep all that silent unless you use water blocks supplied by house plumbing. :)
Anyone pondering this might also be interested in http://www.guru3d.com/article/article/136/1/. This is why I chose the X800 Pro over the 6800U or GT myself, considering its' IQ's still a bit better (and hopefully a lot better once something actually uses 3DC), particularly aniso/FSAA, which also still entail a smaller performance hit on an X800 than on a 6800 for various reasons.
The obvious consequence of this, though, is that you could presumably underclock any of these cards with rather nice results.

probably missed a couple things and/or said something stupid, but I spent almost 3 months waffling around waiting for these cards to be released/deciding what to get after my GF4 died (had to study for finals anyways!) and i've seen just about everything written about the 6800/X800s, so i'd be happy to correct myself.

Also just wanted to mention, in light of some random thread here mentioning X800s allegedly "barely ocing", that my Pro *easily* runs at 530/540MHz (GPU/RAM respectively, stock HSF; stock speeds are 475/450MHz). Of course this brings the core temp up ridiculously high though, like ~75C, in a case with a ~30C mb, ~50C CPU under full load and ~20C ambient. There are some other results at http://forums.ocfaq.com/showthread.php?t=2199 and http://www.genmay.net/showthread.php?t=391984. Might be able to get even better results using one of those X800 Pro VIVOs with the 1.6ns ram, regardless of whether or not it turns out to be a relabeled XT with no laser cut.

hoo boy this post is turning into a mess, a few more practical things to keep in mind are that the X800 can be vmodded easily (http://www.vr-zone.com/?i=852), availability of the 6800 is still horrible, and the regular 6800 doesn't even use the same GPU as the 6800U/GT.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 7:05 pm 
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Re temperature questions in the FAQ's on various areas - I think some mention should be made in each area. Probably not a full dissertation, since as was mentioned, there aren't always a lot of temp questions in a given forum, but at least pointing out the relevant temp related issues that a newbie should be aware of. (I.E. that case temps aren't always accurate, vary a great deal w/ sensor location, and aren't as critical as other temps. Or that drives are temp sensitive to some degree (list typical values) and that any drive silencing approaches need to be designed to also provide adequate drive cooling.)

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 6:29 pm 
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Well, here's one newbie who has the perennial question 'how hot is too hot' and can't find an FAQ on it. Was one created? I've looked and can't find it--and I've spent more time than the average person would to avoid starting a new thread.. If it's in the forum somewhere, it's not in an obvious--or semi-obvious--place. If you want people to stop asking the same questions over and over again, you've got to put the FAQs in a place where one will find them with a minimum of effort. The only FAQ I've found is very short (only about 10 questions).

Stickies are a great invention. I think they should be used more. If they are organized well, by directing newbies to appropriate FAQs/discussions/search tips, they can greatly reduce the number of redundant topics.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:10 pm 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Hmm... this is a tough question to answer. I haven't seen this question a lot, but it does come up now and then.

For processors, the generally agreed limit is between 60-70C, assuming a calibrated thermal diode.

For hard drives, the general upper limit would be 50 (lower is better in this case).

For video cards.... I don't know.

For other random devices. it usually doesn't matter.


If someone can answer the video card question, I may add this Q&A to the Silent Front FAQ
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Also, should I remove the IntelliText question. I'm not seeing the green links anymore.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:12 am
Posts: 2831
Location: USA
dglevy wrote:
Well, here's one newbie who has the perennial question 'how hot is too hot' and can't find an FAQ on it.

Depends on what you are measuring. CPU, GPU, Hard Drive, etc.

Some CPU's run hotter than others by design. For example Intel Prescott P4 chips run noticeably hotter than AMD64 Winchester/Venice CPU’s, so it would be unreasonable to compare them.

Some motherboards report the core CPU temps, and some report the temp on the CPU heat spreader. This is a major source of confusion. Most temp probes are not that accurate anyway, and some bios' fudge the numbers. Some people run AMD64 machines with Cool and Quiet, which lowers temps noticeably for typical PC uses.

Probably the best thing is to list your complete rig and the temps you are getting, and see how it compares to others with the same or similar set-up. No need to go overboard about a 5°C difference, unless you really enjoy tinkering with your PC.


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