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 Post subject: Yeeet another out-of-touch help-me-choose post
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:31 am 
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*** Update: continued at Yeeet another here's-my-new-rig post. ***

Hi.
My current workstation is a 2nd-hand Fujitsu-Siemens P4 desktop that is almost quiet enough but has zero opportunity for further quieting ... plus it takes almost two seconds just to start up KEdit. I also have an Antec Aria/Via M10k system that I guess never really lived up to my expectations.

I have come to the conclusion that silence is more important than size, and I do want speed as well. I've decided that it's time that I get myself a state-of-the-art computer. Someone I know recently built a system that he had a hard time slowing down; it rebuilds its kernel in just over a minute -- quite enticing. But is that kind of power to be had silently?

Now, I'm pretty much out of touch in respect to what cpus are called today, to say nothing of what parts can go together and how to estimate a system's power needs to find an appropriate psu. Heck, I have never even touched a SATA drive. :roll: :wink: I have no idea whether to go for a dual or quad cpu, or if it even matters for my planned usage (see below). I also have no idea if the difference between Kingston and Mushkin is substance or just style.

Therefore, I'll outline what I do know, and hope some gentle soul will enlighten and guide me.

My needs and wants are:
:arrow: Workstation: No fancy rig, no beige box either. Something that will be inconspicuous on the outside and really nice to work with on the inside.
:arrow: Reasonable silence (or "why I'm posting here in the first place): I hope to have a system that can sit on the hard floor next to my desk and make so little noise that it will be barely audible when I'm quietly working at three in the morning. That Zalman TNN monster is over the top for me, though.
:arrow: Number-crunching performance: I plan to run BSD; I want a snappy system. That is to say, quick kernel compiles, a responsive word processor, and a fast browser. I also want to use the same system as a file and streaming music server (slimserver), and I just might want to eventually run a web/mail server off of it, too, rather than having yet another box for that (considering the Wife Acceptance Factor :wink:).
:arrow: Storage: Apart from a system drive, I want to have a storage setup consisting of two software-mirrored disks, obviously anti-vibration suspended and as quiet and fast as possible.
:arrow: Graphics: I will want to be able to run dual-screen. However, this system will never run Windows, so 3D would be nice but relatively unimportant. All I ever play is BZFlag. I'm not at all on top of the situation with NVidia and ATI on the open source scene, so deciding on a graphics card, or a motherboard with onboard graphics, is basically impossible for me.

As for the actual hardware:
(I may update this section of this post based on your responses.)
:arrow: Case: Antec P182 (I am drawn to it, plus the motherboard below is ATX size)
:arrow: Mobo: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3R
:arrow: CPU: Intel E8500 (low-heat dual core, I can upgrade later)
:arrow: CPU cooler: Thermalright HR-01 (with bolt-through kit)
:arrow: Fans: 3x Nexus 120mm Real Silent D12SL-12 should be sufficient to run with positive pressure to avoid dust build-up (Note to self)
:arrow: Graphics: a passively cooled Asus EN8400GS
:arrow: Memory: 2x2Gb Kingston DDR2 (800MHz)
:arrow: Storage - system: WD Scorpio WD3200BEVT 320 GB
:arrow: Storage - data: 2x WD Caviar Green WD7500AACS 750 GB, to be software-mirrorred.
:arrow: PSU: Enermax PRO82+ EPR425AWT
:arrow: DVD: Pioneer DVR 215DBK
:idea: Other stuff: Anything else I need that I've missed? I don't expect to reuse anything except my screen, mouse, and keyboard.

...

Wow, that's a lot of asking and not a lot of having earned your time. Even so, this seems to be an extremely friendly place so I greatly look forward to reading your responses.

Thanks! :)

[Edit 2008-09-14: First time green across the board! Took a while, but I'm happy with these components. Parts are in the mail...]


Last edited by KlaymenDK on Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:57 pm, edited 38 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:42 am 
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For the case: Antec Solo is good compromise: it can fix Atx board, while is smaller than P182 and is as good silent case

Western digital 640 GB Caviar SE ( : WD6400AAKS ) is good quiet harddrive.

for the PSU its pretty useless go passive and pay extra. Enermax Modu 82+ / Pro82+ are excellent PSU's with very, very quiet operation noise. Currently quietest actively cooled PSU what SPCR has tested.

best integrated graphics is currently Ati 780G or nVidia 8200/8300. They allow even decent gaming on board graphics but I am not sure their dual monitor abilties. There are cheap dual DVI-cards like ati X1600-series from sapphire with passive cooling cost less than 75$.

Intel has more raw power in CPU's but lacks bit in chipset section.

Giagbyte GA-MA78GPM-DS2H: mTAX board with integrade HD 3200 series vga card with onboard 128MB GDDR3. All solid capacitors and 5 Sata headers. Pair that with X2 5000+ BlackEdition or X2 4850e and you got quite good pair.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:45 pm 
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Welcome to SPCR!!

KlaymenDK wrote:
No fancy rig, no beige box either. Something that will be inconspicuous on the outside and really nice to work with on the inside.
* Reasonable silence (or "why I'm posting here in the first place): I hope to have a system that can sit on the hard floor next to my desk and make so little noise that it will be barely audible when I'm quietly working at three in the morning.

This sounds like an advertisement for the Antec Solo. The Solo looks to fit your needs perfectly. It's simpler to use than the P180. And there are no compromises in terms of noise.

KlaymenDK wrote:
Storage: Apart from a system drive, I want to have a storage setup consisting of two software-mirrored disks, obviously anti-vibration suspended and as quiet and fast as possible.

Looks like you want a laptop drive as your system drive. For your two storage drives, you have many options. Samsung's F1 series are very fast and quiet. They come in 500, 750 and 1TB capacities. Another option would be the Western Digital WD6400AAKS. As its name suggests, it is a 640GB drive. It also, is fast and quiet. Finally you have Western Digital's GreenPower drives. These drives are 5400rpm 3.5in drives. Their noise, vibration, and power consumption are incredibly small. However, performance is average. Not as fast as the F1 or AAKS, but plenty for average use. The GP drives are about as fast as most laptop drives. Their major selling point is they come in capacities of 500, 750 and 1TB, which laptop drives do not. (Think of GP drives as huge laptop drives)

KlaymenDK wrote:
Number-crunching performance: I plan to run BSD; I want a snappy system. That is to say, quick kernel compiles, a responsive word processor, and a fast browser. I also want to use the same system as a file and streaming music server (slimserver), and I just might want to eventually run a web/mail server off of it, too
KlaymenDK wrote:
Graphics: I will want to be able to run dual-screen. However, this system will never run Windows, so 3D would be nice but relatively unimportant. I'm not at all on top of the situation with NVidia and ATI on the linux scene, so deciding on a graphics card, or a motherboard with onboard graphics, is basically impossible for me.

When you say you wanted a "snappy system", I immediately thought of either an Intel E8400 or a E7300. Both these CPUs are made on the 45nm process, so they are very power efficient, and run cool. These CPUs also are [i]very[i] fast. Either would fit your needs perfectly. The major difference between the two is L2 cache size. The E8x00 series has 6mb and the E7x00 has only 3mb.

As for graphics, I am less certain. I think the G45/G43 chipset from Intel would work. I'm assuming the G4x series chipsets can output to two displays simultaneously. Someone needs to confirm or deny this. If G45 can output to two displays, the platform will meet your needs. Nearly any modern motherboard has four SATA ports, so that won't be an issue.

Hope this helps. :)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:45 pm 
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@thejamppa:
Thanks for the fast response (surely I'm not the only one haunting my page reload button after posting... :lol:).

I'll definitely include the 150/Solo case in my considerations; I like the built-in drive suspension, but the rest somehow seems not quite as nice as the 180's.

<strike>I'm a bit puzzled at your mention of the Enermax psu though; while it seems a very good choice, its top-mounted fan disqualifies it for use in any of the cases mentioned.</strike> That's only the case for the Mini, not the Solo.
So far, the Antec Neo HE sounds like it could be very good.

Man, I sound like such a Antec fanboy. I'm not, really.

@angelkiller:
Thanks for the welcome!

Well all right, then, Solo it is. :wink:

Also, thanks for the good comments on hard disks. Looks like I'll have to have a closer look at the F1, as well as the Western Digital one, to consider the noise/price ratio.

As for the cpus you mention, of course I have no idea what you're on about, but I'll assume you're accurate. :) Fast and cool, that sounds like a good plan! I'll go for the bigger option as anything else will just be a bad deal in the long run.

Graphics, I haven't ever seen a mobo with dual onboard video ports, so I don't know if it even exists (would be nice, though, instead of the ever-present printer port). I guess, for my needs almost anything (even a single-headed solution) will do the job; if it can render fancy screensavers and BZFlag that's about all I'm ever going to use I think.

Whatever mobo ends up being recommended, I think I'll have to run it past someone in the BSD forums to make sure I won't run into any nasty driver surprises.

Thanks again, and don't stop sharing!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:10 am 
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Updated my first post; settled on case and some of the hard drives.

Still some things left to find answers to...

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 4:13 am 
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Sub 440W would be plenty. Like Enermax Modu82+/pro82+ 425W Gives you headroom to mount even HD 4850 if you so wish and still leaving headroom.

If you take AMD line: 5000+ BlackEdition or 4850e are are excellent choices. They lose intel's E7x00 and E8x00 series but you win in chipset side. You have AMD's 780G, 780GX, 780GFX, 690G and nVidia's 8200 and 8300 lines. Ninja might be good for AMD systems. HR-01+ is top performer. Xigmatek HDT-S1283 is always good choice. Asus Triton 75 is good choice aswell.

Intel line cpu: E7x00 or E8x00 give you more raw power than AMD's but you will loose some in chipset section. Hr-01 or HDT-S1283 with boltthru kit would be excellent for this. You will have limited choice for Intel side, maingly old G33/35 or newe G44/45 chipsets, which onboard graphics cannot match AMD's 780G-series or Geforce 8x00 series by properties, power saving nor gaming speed ( the last one is hardly relevant but still good to point out )

GF 9500 GT should be pretty affordable and runs easily dual screen. HD 34x0 would do that too, but many has DVI+VGA. Do you need Dual DVI? Or is DVI+VGA connection enough or would you prefer DVI+Displayport combination?

Ati will release new 44x0 and 46x0 series in next month. They might be worth while contenders too. Ati's Linux drivers keep improving with leaps, thanks to open source development they are making with Linux community. nVidia have had good compatibility with their drivers, albeit I've run in few troubles but my linux box runs now nicely with GF 6100 + MCP430 board with GF 6800GT ( I got it cheap second hand for 20€'s )

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Maturity is just not experience in life but also ability to make compromises.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:13 am 
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thejamppa wrote:
best integrated graphics is currently Ati 780G or nVidia 8200/8300. They allow even decent gaming on board graphics but I am not sure their dual monitor abilties. There are cheap dual DVI-cards like ati X1600-series from sapphire with passive cooling cost less than 75$.

Reminder: All intergrated chipset only supports one digital signal and one analog signal simultaneously. In others words, it'd be embarrassing to connect 2 LCDs from mainboard. Get a passive AMD 3650 if you need 2 digitals at the same time.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:44 am 
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thejamppa wrote:
<snip>

If you take AMD line: 5000+ BlackEdition or 4850e are are excellent choices. They lose intel's E7x00 and E8x00 series but you win in chipset side. You have AMD's 780G, 780GX, 780GFX, 690G and nVidia's 8200 and 8300 lines. Ninja might be good for AMD systems. <snip>

Intel line cpu: E7x00 or E8x00 give you more raw power than AMD's but you will loose some in chipset section. <snip> You will have limited choice for Intel side, maingly old G33/35 or newe G44/45 chipsets, which onboard graphics cannot match AMD's 780G-series or Geforce 8x00 series by properties, power saving nor gaming speed ( the last one is hardly relevant but still good to point out )

GF 9500 GT should be pretty affordable and runs easily dual screen. HD 34x0 would do that too, but many has DVI+VGA. Do you need Dual DVI? Or is DVI+VGA connection enough or would you prefer DVI+Displayport combination?

<snip>

That's exactly the dilemma I faced before I made my recommendation. Intel makes the good CPUs. AMD makes the good chipsets. :? My goal was to eliminate the need for an discrete card. No compatibility issues, less, heat, less noise. Since 3D capabilities are not needed, I would strongly advise against a discrete card.

I also considered the pros/cons of the Intel vs AMD chipsets. In the end, I decided on the Intel platform mostly because the extra capabilities of AMD's chipsets are not needed. The Intel chipset can meet the OP's needs. So the extra power/capabilities of the 780G would have been wasted. Of course the Intel chipset uses more power (electricity) than the AMD platform, but I think the extra performance of a E8400 is worth the ~10W extra from the chipset.

loimlo wrote:
Reminder: All intergrated chipset only supports one digital signal and one analog signal simultaneously. In others words, it'd be embarrassing to connect 2 LCDs from mainboard. Get a passive AMD 3650 if you need 2 digitals at the same time.

I was under the impression that the 780G could output two digital signals. I'll look into this and confirm/deny this.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 3:57 pm 
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Thanks for your new posts. It's clear that you don't just write something but that you put some serious thought into it.

I appreciate that more than you know. Thanks a lot.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:39 pm 
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angelkiller wrote:
I was under the impression that the 780G could output two digital signals. I'll look into this and confirm/deny this.

You could use VGA+DVI or VGA+HDMI, but not DVI+HDMI. In my humble opinion, that's a artificial limitation to protect their discrete VGA business. Just browse Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H or Asus M3A78-EMH-HDMI manuals to verify what I had said. It applied to all AMD/nVIDIA/Intel chipsets, however, I doubt Intel's logics here. Larabee is still far away from us, and a better G45 implementation would improve Intel's image on mediocre VGA part.

Btw, if you want to use Intel's G45 HDMI or Displayport, you've to sacrifice PCI-E x16 to accommodate a ridiculous ADD2 riser card.
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Intel-03 ... 2655.shtml


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:23 am 
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I would be very happy to use VGA+DVI.

I do not plan to use this machine as a home theater, if it comes to that I may build another, separate box to replace my current Pioneer HDR.

It's just that I'm in love with my dual-monitor setup at work, which is far superior to having several virtual screens.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:05 am 
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KlaymenDK wrote:
Whatever mobo ends up being recommended, I think I'll have to run it past someone in the BSD forums to make sure I won't run into any nasty driver surprises.
My "back-off-the-head-accumulative-knowledge-with-no-known-origin" whispers that Intel devices are always very well supported in the open source world.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:03 am 
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Workstation: the Solo is a good value, but any Antec that you find used around here will fit. Honestly, almost every Antec tower I've built from or worked on has been a pleasure, compared to most others. Don't short the P182...but also consider how it would look (seems to be a love/hate thing), and that it almost guarantees more time will be needed for cable management.

Silence/cooling: HR-01 Plus, Scythe 800RPM Slipstream fans, and Zalman Fanmates for convenience. Or, just wire them up 5v. I was ready to build a whole PIC-based fan controller...and then these fans came out, and they're plenty good enough wired straight 5v (400-450 RPM). Of course some decent easy to use TIM, too, like Ceramique.

Storage: WD GP, or a nice 2.5" drive, for real silence (the new Hitachi P drives are allegedly good, too). The GP does really feel slow, so 2.5" are decent desktop options. In terms of transfer speed, the 2.5" lag, but for normal desktop use (where seeking is the bottleneck), they feel as fast as a normal 3.5". I haven't used the really new Scorpios, but my experience with the previous generation was excellent. Same with Seagate's Momentus drives.

I ended up going with a 80GB Scorpio /, and 750GB GP /home (noisy Samsung spun down 99% of the time as /home's backup drive).

For a little extra snappiness, add "elevator=deadline" to the kernel parameters. The deadline scheduler effectively causes your drive to be waiting for you to ask for a read more often than with the fair scheduler, bursting writes when reading is taking too long, rather than...um, being fair to every operation from every process, as the fair scheduler is. The differences aren't night and day, but since most of us are paying for quiet storage with drive performance trade-offs, it's a nice little edge to have.

Video/mobo: multiple displays throw a wrench into things with xorg. My thoughts would be to budget for an nVidia or ATi dual-DVI card, but try a G45-based mobo with an added DVI (via ADD2 card) first. Intel has long had open X drivers, and the GMA series IGPs aren't crap.

http://www.intellinuxgraphics.org/dualhead.html
Confidence booster, no?

Get a midrange C2D (E7xxx/E8xxx). My E6750 (2.66Ghz) is the first CPU I've ever not felt the need to have overclocked. I checked that it would go right on up, and it did...and it's been back at stock ever since, rarely ever being a meaningful bottleneck in daily use.

RAM: yes. If you can Spend more for some quieting gadgets, you can limit your RAM choices to 4GB and 8GB :). Your CPU cooler, TIM, and a CPU fan will cost nearly as much as 8GB of RAM.

PSU: 450-650. Without a video card added in, 300W is enough, but you (a) want some potential headroom, (b) want to be in the peak efficiency range when the system is under load, and (c) want to leave some headroom for PSU longevity purposes. Corsair and Seasonic are good quiet bets.

P.S. Man, I need to do some work for my gallery thread...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:54 am 
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I love how you all keep coming with long, thought-out posts. Wow.

Cerb wrote:
Workstation: the Solo is a good value, but any Antec that you find used around here will fit. [...] Don't short the P182 [...]

Yeah, I've had my eye on the P180's for the longest time, but just a few days ago I fell even more in love with the factory-supplied hard disk decoupling the Solo offers.

Cerb wrote:
Silence/cooling: HR-01 Plus, Scythe 800RPM Slipstream fans, and Zalman Fanmates for convenience. [...] Of course some decent easy to use TIM, too, like Ceramique.

Thanks. I was kinda leaning towards the Scythe Ninja, because that seems to be what everyone's using, but this get's a pretty darn good review as well. Any opinion on that comparison? I am a little bit concerned about the weight, though, so I like the through-board mounting of the HR-01.
You say Scythe Slipstream fans, do you figure two of these (case fan + cpu heatsink fan), or what?
I have almost no experience with thermal paste, so it's good to get a hint here. What's so good about Ceramique?

Cerb wrote:
Storage: WD GP, or a nice 2.5" drive, for real silence (the new Hitachi P drives are allegedly good, too). The GP does really feel slow, so 2.5" are decent desktop options. In terms of transfer speed, the 2.5" lag, but for normal desktop use (where seeking is the bottleneck), they feel as fast as a normal 3.5". [...] I ended up going with a 80GB Scorpio [...].

Yeah, the Recommended Hard Drives page could use a few new 2.5" disks. I'll look into your suggestions!

Cerb wrote:
For a little extra snappiness, add "elevator=deadline" to the kernel parameters. [...]

I have never ever heard of this, and the FreeBSD Handbook makes no mention of it. Is this for Linux?

Cerb wrote:
Video/mobo: multiple displays throw a wrench into things with xorg. My thoughts would be to budget for an nVidia or ATi dual-DVI card, but try a G45-based mobo with an added DVI (via ADD2 card) first. Intel has long had open X drivers, and the GMA series IGPs aren't crap.

http://www.intellinuxgraphics.org/dualhead.html
Confidence booster, no?

Neat, thanks! DesktopBSD seems to have rather complete support for multiple monitors, but without the hardware I can't really tell. The main thing is to find out whether to go NVidia, Ati, or Intel. As far as I can tell, NVidia has the better support (in FreeBSD), but I don't know what effects that has on my mobo options. (I have some idea that AMD boards come with onboard video by Ati, and Intel boards with NVidia? Man, I'm out of touch.)

Cerb wrote:
Get a midrange C2D (E7xxx/E8xxx). My E6750 (2.66Ghz) is the first CPU I've ever not felt the need to have overclocked. I checked that it would go right on up, and it did...and it's been back at stock ever since, rarely ever being a meaningful bottleneck in daily use.

Let me guess: C2D means Core 2 Duo means Intel. Would there be an idea in going for a Quad, since it's more modern? Or is it less better than expensive, so to speak?

Cerb wrote:
RAM: yes. If you can Spend more for some quieting gadgets, you can limit your RAM choices to 4GB and 8GB :). Your CPU cooler, TIM, and a CPU fan will cost nearly as much as 8GB of RAM.

I'll take four, please. I can't fathom eight. ;)

Cerb wrote:
PSU: 450-650. Without a video card added in, 300W is enough, but you (a) want some potential headroom, (b) want to be in the peak efficiency range when the system is under load, and (c) want to leave some headroom for PSU longevity purposes. Corsair and Seasonic are good quiet bets.

That is good help, sizing these things up really makes my head spin. 525W will do fine, then.

Thanks again! Much appreciated.

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Last edited by KlaymenDK on Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:36 am 
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KlaymenDK wrote:
Cerb wrote:
Silence/cooling: HR-01 Plus, Scythe 800RPM Slipstream fans, and Zalman Fanmates for convenience. [...] Of course some decent easy to use TIM, too, like Ceramique.

Thanks. I was kinda leaning towards the Scythe Ninja, because that seems to be what everyone's using, but this get's a pretty darn good review as well. Any opinion on that comparison? I am a little bit concerned about the weight, though, so I like the through-board mounting of the HR-01.
I have a Ninja. The new TR beats it, and Thermalright heatsinks have generally been very nice to work with. My Ninja was not my favorite heatsink install.
Quote:
You say Scythe Slipstream fans, do you figure two of these (case fan + cpu heatsink fan), or what?
Pretty much. The Solo doesn't give you room for many fans w/o modding. However, without 50-100W extra of video card to cool during hours of gaming with the CPU running hot too...the big heatsinks do good enough.
Quote:
I have almost no experience with thermal paste, so it's good to get a hint here. What's so good about Ceramique?
Ceramqiue performs well, it is thick, and easy to apply compared to most greases, it is nonconductive, and noncapacitive (for practical purposes, electrically inert). So, you don't have to be a surgeon. Spread on a thin layer, screw down the heatsink, and keep track of your temps for the first few days.

Quote:
Yeah, the Recommended Hard Drives page could use a few new 2.5" disks. I'll look into your suggestions!
Maybe so. I can't speak specifically for the largest drives currently, as most of my 2.5" experience is using drives out of notebooks, and replacing them (but typically giving them some use outside of the destination PC beforehand, if new). So, if there are changes to the sonic signature of the 320GBs v. the 160GBs, I don't know of them. But, I haven't found any of the normal Scorpio or Momentus drives to be loud by any stretch. I haven't heard the new Hitachi drives myself, either.

Quote:
Cerb wrote:
For a little extra snappiness, add "elevator=deadline" to the kernel parameters. [...]

I have never ever heard of this, and the FreeBSD Handbook makes no mention of it. Is this for Linux?
Yes. I take it then, you're using FreeBSD? In the OP, you just mentioned no Windows, and KEdit, so the most popular option is what I assumed.

Quote:
Neat, thanks! DesktopBSD seems to have rather complete support for multiple monitors, but without the hardware I can't really tell. The main thing is to find out whether to go NVidia, Ati, or Intel. As far as I can tell, NVidia has the better support (in FreeBSD), but I don't know what effects that has on my mobo options. (I have some idea that AMD boards come with onboard video by Ati, and Intel boards with NVidia? Man, I'm out of touch.)
Multiple monitors are usually a PITA to set up, if a GUI gizmo makes the slightest mistake. Nobody seems to like getting them done in a common, accepted, way. nVidia has a better closed-source driver. The open driver for older Radeons, like 8xxx and 9xxx, though, is quite good. But, you know, PCI-e and all :). Intel has good open drivers, and they are fairly active with them.

Mobos/IGPs: yes, you're out of touch :). ATi = AMD. AMD bought them. Up until then, ATI, SiS, VIA, and Intel offered IGP on Intel platforms. VIA's is not worth bothering with on a new box, and the same for SiS (they just don't offer anything but cheapness). Upon the AMD buyout, strangely, the Intel chipsets from ATi dried up :). nVidia has been itching for more Intel options for a good long while. So, now you have good choices of Intel and nVidia. For the sake of completeness, AMD/ATi, nVidia, VIA, and SiS have IGP chipsets for AMD. VIA choices seem to be dwindling, though. BTW, AMD probably would have been recommended if you were going for Windows-based penny-pinching build, especially a value-oriented HTPC.

In the days of yore, Intel IGP sucked. After making a good chipset with the 865, 845PE and family, they stumbled a bit with the 900 series, causing latency and IRQ sensitive users to avoid them like the plague. Not terrible, but they weren't what you chose Intel for, you know? One bright spot, though, was the GMA series of graphics cores, which rock. Gaming performance suffers compared to the AMD or nVidia options, but they have more than enough features and power for most other desktop use (fine 3D for Compiz, hardware acceleration for many aspects of video playback, etc.), and they have had solid drivers since release, more or less (there were some initial licensing issues, surprise, surprise).

They followed up with the P35/G33 (same chip), which is a rock solid, "just works," chipset, the likes of which we haven't seen since the i810 (the last 440, really) and older AMD chipsets, like th 751 and 760. So, now, there's an Intel chipset that, for all intents and purposes, "just works," and has good IGP. The P45 (more PCi-e), P43, G35, and one or two others are updated versions. Some boards seem to still have BIOS issues (Gigabyte's mainstream P45, FI), but most are going to be fine boards.

I'm sure nVidia's chipsets are generally good, but with Intel's being back up to the standard that kept people from saving with AMD or Cyrix in ages past, I don't see the value, if there isn't a killer Geforce chipset feature that you need.

Look for sleeved/potted toroids, since you're on SPCR, and out of touch. Just in case your eyes glaze over there:
Newegg
The gray boxes in that L configuration around the CPU might otherwise look like:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toroidal_i ... ansformers
As they are loaded, the wires tapping each other and the core as they vibrate can cause high pitched whining. Potting them doesn't allow that.

Quote:
Let me guess: C2D means Core 2 Duo means Intel. Would there be an idea in going for a Quad, since it's more modern? Or is it less better than expensive, so to speak?
Yes, Core 2 Duo. If you run applications, like certain video encoders, that can use many cores, the quads will benefit you greatly. Otherwise, you'll be better served by slightly faster dual cores, for the money spent.

Quote:
That is good help, sizing these things up really makes my head spin. 525W will do fine, then.
Certainly. Choosing a series/brand is more important than wattage, and then it's more or less making sure you have some power to spare, and keeping it cool. For a sub-200W system (w/o quad core or video card, it will be hard to hit 200W), there won't be a real difference between a 500W and 750W PSU, except that 750W is kind of a waste.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:40 am 
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Cerb wrote:
KlaymenDK wrote:
Cerb wrote:
Silence/cooling: HR-01 Plus, Scythe 800RPM Slipstream fans, and Zalman Fanmates for convenience. [...] Of course some decent easy to use TIM, too, like Ceramique.

Thanks. I was kinda leaning towards the Scythe Ninja. Any opinion on that comparison?
I have a Ninja. The new TR beats it, and Thermalright heatsinks have generally been very nice to work with. My Ninja was not my favorite heatsink install.

Cerb wrote:
Quote:
You say Scythe Slipstream fans, do you figure two of these (case fan + cpu heatsink fan), or what?
Pretty much.

Good to know. I've put the TR in my shopping basket, along with two Scythe Slipstream fans and Zalman Fanmates. If it turns out to be too much, I can turn them down. I'll also choose an Intel board, in part because the TR review says it's a little impractical with AMD boards.

Quote:
Keep track of your temps for the first few days.

I'll want to do that in any case (see my other thread, FreeBSD monitoring tools).

Cerb wrote:
Quote:
Yeah, the Recommended Hard Drives page could use a few new 2.5" disks. I'll look into your suggestions!
Maybe so. I can't speak specifically for the largest drives...

The huge disk I've got on my shopping list is one of the few reasonable ones available here. The 80 gig ones cost exactly the same! Anyhow, I'm sure it will be fine; there'll be room for a few other distros and that can't be a bad thing.

Cerb wrote:
I take it then, you're using FreeBSD? In the OP, you just mentioned no Windows, and KEdit, so the most popular option is what I assumed.

Well, I did note FreeBSD, but it's not very prominent down in the 'number crunching' section, that's true. No matter, I'll do without. :)

Cerb wrote:
In the days of yore, Intel IGP sucked. After making a good chipset with the 865, 845PE and family, they stumbled a bit with the 900 series. One bright spot, though, was the GMA series of graphics cores, which rock. They followed up with the P35/G33 (same chip), which is a rock solid, "just works," chipset. So, now, there's an Intel chipset that, for all intents and purposes, "just works," and has good IGP. The P45 (more PCi-e), P43, G35, and one or two others are updated versions.

As for your odyssey about graphic cards, I have to thank you yet again. You are a fountain of information! ...and I'm drinking from the firehose. All those chip names got me confused a little ... I'll check out the vendors to verify, but what I think you're saying is that the P45/P43/G35 are what I could be looking for, and the others you mentioned as part of a history lesson.

Cerb wrote:
Look for sleeved/potted toroids, the gray boxes in that L configuration around the CPU. As [unpotted toroids] are loaded, the wires tapping each other and the core as they vibrate can cause high pitched whining. Potting them doesn't allow that.

Another tidbit that I had no clue about. I'm making notes here!

See? The shopping list is slowly settling into something concrete. I have to say, if any of you guys ever find yourself in Copenhagen, come by I'll buy you a beer! :D :wink:

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 Post subject: Parts procurement problem
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:17 pm 
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Oops.
I seem to have trouble procuring some of the parts. :cry:

No Thermalright TR-01.

No Scythe Slipstream.

Nor a Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja.
However, a Scythe Ninja PLUS SCNJ-1100P Rev. B is available; I can't tell what the difference might be.

Also, I think I may have looked at the wrong kind of RAM earlier. With the Intel e8400 running a 1333MHz FSB, I suppose the memory needs to do that, too? The memory I had selected previously was rated at 800MHz -- but for 1333MHz the price is just a little over double. This is getting a bit expensive! :cry: Plus, this is then DDR3 SDRAM, I thought I wanted DDR2, but they don't go all the way up to 1333MHz ... I'm back to being all confused again! :? This has led me back to reconsider the CPU, and I'm amazed to see AMD being consistently 1/2 to 3/4 the price (per MHz). Where's the catch?

This was so much easier back in the 486 days... :wink: :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 12:48 am 
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I found the Thermalright at shg.dk they expect it to be available on the 15th if you can wait that long ;). You could also try to find it in Germany.

The German store also got the slipstream. Proshop.dk have 1200rpm version and midtdata.dk got the 800rpm version.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:23 am 
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Thanks, kimx. I really should be doing other things (:oops:) so I didn't spend all that much time on research.

Odd that it's not listed in the portal if they have it for sale. Oh well, thanks for finding it!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 5:08 am 
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For RAM, no, you don't need 1333MHz. Intel's FSB does run at the same bandwidth as RAM per clock, so it's not too confusing, except that 1333 is really 333MHz, with data read four times per source clock.

Anyway, the chipset is dual-channel capable. If you run in single-channel mode (the manual will tell you which slots are for which channel), then you would need 1333MHz DDR2 to saturate the FSB. But, with dual-channel, 667MHz RAM is enough for the job. We typically recommend and get 800MHz due to being about the same cost as 667.

Er, and, you do want DDR2 (and make sure you get a DDR2 board--there are boards that take either, and DDR3 boards with single-digit model # differences from the DDR2 version!). DDR3 is more expensive, and offers no performance benefit at the same speed. It's wide availability now will be good as it gets to be mainstream memory, but for now, it's only good if you want to seriously overclock with an Intel chipset.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 6:37 am 
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Cerb wrote:
For RAM, no, you don't need 1333MHz. Intel's FSB does run at the same bandwidth as RAM per clock, so it's not too confusing, except that 1333 is really 333MHz, with data read four times per source clock.

How can you call that "not confusing"? :wink:

Cerb wrote:
with dual-channel, 667MHz RAM is enough for the job. We typically recommend and get 800MHz due to being about the same cost as 667. Er, and, you do want DDR2

Thanks, that's a relief. I just thoroughly confused myself up there.

Now I just need to pick a motherboard, and decide on one of the DVD drives, and I'm set! Yay!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:53 pm 
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KlaymenDK wrote:
Thanks, kimx. I really should be doing other things (:oops:) so I didn't spend all that much time on research.

Odd that it's not listed in the portal if they have it for sale. Oh well, thanks for finding it!


Unfortunately edbpriser doesn't seem to be as updated as it was a few years ago. I find myself browsing the individual dealers far to often because I can't find what I'm looking for at edbpriser.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 2:06 am 
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I haven't read this entire thread so I may be contradicting or repeating things.

If you plan to compile anything of any size even somewhat regularly more cores is the way to go. I'm currently running gentoo and can attest that a properly set up gcc combined with a quad core speeds up compilation dramatically (KDE svn in under 3 hours, probably 2 haven't timed it).

Graphics wise I would stick to Intel integrated if you don't need the extra performance of a discrete card. Intel's OSS driver is significantly better supported than either nVidia's or Ati's binaries (Intel's OSS driver is the official driver).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2008 6:10 am 
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Aard wrote:
If you plan to compile anything of any size even somewhat regularly more cores is the way to go.

Thanks. It's not like I do any rendering, but I do expect my pc to frequently build packages and general updates while I do other things on it. I've been reading up on multicore cpus on FreeBSD, and it seems to happily take lots of cores, so I should consider a quad cpu. Especially because once this box is put together I want to leave it alone for as long as possible. :wink:

It's frustrating to be futzing around so near the 'finish line' of this build thread, but I'm so incredibly confused about the choice of motherboard, cpu, chipset, display ports, FreeBSD support ... gah! :cry: So many things need to fit together that I have no clue about.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:54 am 
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[Edit:] Okay, I think I've finally decided on all the components. Phew.
[Edit:] [Edit:] No I havent. :?

:arrow: :arrow: :arrow: THANK YOU ALL so very much for spending time answering all my questions.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:51 pm 
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+1 for Pioneer DVR 215DBK

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:53 pm 
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I only skimmed through the thread, but if the concern about 780G on-board video being able to drive dual displays hasn't been put to rest, I just want to throw in my experience with the Gigabyte MA78GM-S2H : it definitely does do dual displays, but as a previous poster mentioned it will not do dual digital out (HDMI+DVI) or dual analog out (if you use a DVI->VGA adapter). Only DVI+VGA and HDMI+VGA will work. Also, the VGA-out is very good quality @ 1680x1050. I've used previous generation chipsets' vga outputs and had to switch to discrete since the image was blurry, but the 780G is truly excellent. I ran a 22" Viewsonic LCD on the VGA and a Panasonic 53" HDTV on the DVI (it only has DVI & component inputs), and the display quality was at least as good as the 6600GT that I'm using on the pc I'm using now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:07 am 
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@Liacon: Thanks! Noted.

But ... tima notes that he "won't be using the Pioneer [215D] to rip any more CDs" due to ripping artifacts. I have made a habit of ripping all my cds (to flac, using Grip) and I'd hate to have artifacts in there. Any opinion/experience on that?

@Hybrid: Thanks, I was on the lookout for a board with dual onboard video out, but I haven't looked much into AMD boards due to worries of support/performance issues with FreeBSD. Frankly, I have yet to look deeper into the matter -- especially since I've learned that AMDs generally run cooler.

But I suppose you're saying that I can't use dual VGA (by way of one direct VGA plus one DVI-to-VGA converter), hmm that's too bad; I have two Samsung SyncMaster 913N's that only have VGA inputs. Do you know if this is a general limitation, or are there boards that can do dual VGA one way or another?

I might just bite the bullet and get a separate card, it seems so much easier (though more costly and hot-running).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 4:57 am 
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I've not read your question for a while, but it seems your project progressed very well. Congratulations, KlaymenDK.

As I said before, you are locked to one digital signal and one analog signal simultaneously from all intergrated chipsets including Intel, AMD, nVIDIA. Intergrated chipset is DVI-I that can't be converted to D-Sub. Bear in mind that only DVI-D on discrete VGA can be converted to D-Sub. I think it's their policy to protect discrete VGA business. Get a passive-cooling AMD 3450, it's quiet, energy-efficient and cheap if you really want dual digital or dual analog.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:05 am 
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KlaymenDK wrote:
But ... tima notes that he "won't be using the Pioneer [215D] to rip any more CDs" due to ripping artifacts. I have made a habit of ripping all my cds (to flac, using Grip) and I'd hate to have artifacts in there. Any opinion/experience on that?
he said his CD was at fault anyway, and he used Easy CD-DA Extractor, i've ripped some audio CD's in the mean time, but they're new, and i rip with EAC to FLAC, and they sound fine

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