Just wondering the logic here of some of these systems... If you are going to put in a 6800 or like 3 fans or something, why not save a bunch of cake and get a AMD 3500+ 90nm chip?? Certainly the power consumption of the chip is a bit more and all, but it's not that bad. The P-M is nice and may be able to be passively cooled, but, I guess I don't see it being any more quiet than an A64 if you are going to put in all those fans and high power consumption equipment.
Of course, if it O/Cs to 2800, that's a difference story, but I think that's the exception and not the rule. Plus, in a couple months A64's will have SSE3 and at some point a 64 bit OS.
Well, I actually though about this a fair bit. My first choice for my new gaming machine was the 939. But... this was to be the second box at my desk (a PowerMac G5 is the other), so this presented some additional considerations. My list of "requirements" came out something like this:
- A SFF case. Portability and desk space an issue.
- A cool and quiet machine with great gaming performance.
- A fast Graphics card that provides BIOS POST screens on an Apple Cinema Display when connected via a DVI KVM switch (long story...)
Based on this list of criteria, it came down to either a barebones SFF case, or similar mini mATX case. For CPUs, I wanted either a 939 or P-M. I passed on the 754 for several reasons, including age, heat load, and chipset/GPU issues. The only shuttle 939 barebones available is $$$, only has a 240W PSU, and its noise factor isn't clear. It's also a proprietary form factor, so no upgradeability. The Antec Aria I eventually chose allows me an upgrade path for mATX boards.
When you look at fast P4s + GPUs with gaming performance comparable to the P-M (at 2.3Ghz), you start pushing the PSU and heat extraction (and noise) limits of small quiet cases. Most people have to add fans to the Aria when using >40-50W CPUs and a gaming video card.
With the Aria, P-M, and 6800, I get great gaming performance, full display compatibility, and a very cool, low power, quiet box. The only thing audible is the NV5 cooler fan, and it runs at about 50% speed. The CPU and PSU fans are inaudible from 2-3 feet away.
The downside, as you state, is that this setup definitlely costs a bit more than a 939 system, and it won't run 64-bit OS's... Nevertheless, it's a great little box, and I'm finally able to hold my own in online games! My son can borrow it for LAN parties too, as it's very convenient to transport.
I'm not sure my logic/rationalization is flawless, but it does show there was some method to my madness