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 Post subject: So how much has changed in the last five years?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:01 am 
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2005 is when I built my rig. Then Nexus 120 mm fans and Antec cases seemed to be all the rage. Intel chips were largely out because of high energy consumption.

So now it's 2010. SSDs are getting reasonably cheap, memory has gone from DDR to DDR3, there's something called USB 3.0, and everything has moved to PCI-e. We've also gone from SATA 1 to SATA 2 and SATA 3, and CPU clock rates have remained about the same although everything seems to be multicore now.

In looking in the gallery, I've noticed some very large heatsinks, lots of Intel chips, not quite so many Antec cases, and not very many SSDs. So, I haven't been to this site much during the last five years. What all have I missed? What is the state of PC silence?

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:28 am 
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There has been great improvement in PSU efficiency, the best models having around 90% efficiency on most of their operating range.

The highest performing single-core GPU (Ati Radeon 5870) draws just 20W DC at idle.

There are huge, very effective CPU coolers, but CPUs idle at lower power.

SSDs are awesome, but still too expensive. Mass storage is cheaper per GB than ever.

Antec P182 is still a good choice for a case.

Full HD video can be played perfectly smoothly by a cheap system.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:44 am 
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Personally, if price is not an issue it seems like the Intel processors have the best performance per watt these days, but I am sticking with AMD for non-gaming purposes. As before, if you need ECC, AMD is your man.

For projects requiring little processing power, the Sempron 140 is attractive (it is a Regor Athlon II X2 240 with one core disabled, if I remember correctly). This is what I am using in my HTPC and I am shocked at how quiet the stock HSF is with Cool N Quiet and ASUS' QFAN enabled. It is quiet enough that I have turned the machine off thinking I was turning it on (in an otherwise quiet room).

And finally there is the Atom! My 24/7 HTPC backend is currently a D945GSEJT, which is one of the few Atom boards out there with the mobile chipset (945GSE). The board w/ 1GB RAM idles at ~12W, compared to ~20W with the 945GC boards (guess, please correct me others). Also some atom boards (D945GSEJT included) have integral DC-DC regulation, so they require a single 12V input from a wall wart.

Oh, and was the PicoPSU popular in 2005? It (or its forum equivalent from electrodacus) lets you use a wall wart for a single 12V input. They are pretty neat (although roughly equivalent in total AC-DC efficiency to larger 80+% efficiency rated PSUs).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:19 am 
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I would say one of the biggest changes in 5 years besides OEM's acknowledging that customers do care about noise, is the increased power efficiency while still increasing speed.

I am still a bit leery of SSD...

...probably because of getting burned so bad with the CD manufactures claims that my music collection would last 100 years only to find out that after 20 years my CD's are rotting and unplayable while some of my 50+ y/o vinyl still works just fine.


I am really looking forward to "stem cell processors" like the zii from creative.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:07 am 
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What about these huge heat sinks? Don't they exceed the maximum weight limit of the CPUs and motherboards?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:08 am 
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andymcca wrote:
As before, if you need ECC, AMD is your man.


My RAM is ECC and my mobo (Intel X38 chipset) supports it. The mobo was middle priced.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:10 am 
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halfpower wrote:
What about these huge heat sinks? Don't they exceed the maximum weight limit of the CPUs and motherboards?


Yes, but doesn't seem to matter. You might not want to carry the machine to lan parties and if you move apartments you should remove the sink for transportation.

The better ones have a hefty metal plate support on the backside of the mobo, which should eliminate any concerns.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:12 am 
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xan_user wrote:
I am still a bit leery of SSD...

...probably because of getting burned so bad with the CD manufactures claims that my music collection would last 100 years only to find out that after 20 years my CD's are rotting and unplayable while some of my 50+ y/o vinyl still works just fine.


How about this scheme: SSD for OS and programs, hard drive for media storage. Weekly "backup" of the whole SSD image to the HDD.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:25 pm 
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If you do forgo SSDs for the time being, there are now quite a number of hard drives that are extremely quiet, some of them with very large capacity.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:58 pm 
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SSD's are coming on and multicore CPU's are the norm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 1:42 pm 
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Graphics cards are a lot cheaper. For about 100$ you can get a card suitable for all but the most demanding games unless you play at both high res and with max settings.

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 Post subject: Re: So how much has changed in the last five years?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:23 pm 
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halfpower wrote:
So, I haven't been to this site much during the last five years. What all have I missed? What is the state of PC silence?

More cores, more integration, less power, SSDs.

Integrated graphics on all platforms now good for almost everything except demanding games. So less and less discrete graphics. Graphics now integrated on CPU chips.
Low power multicore chips. You can now build a high performance system that idles at about 25W.
Fewer and fewer desktop PCs as more and more fits into notebook dimensions and power envelope. Desktop form factors becoming smaller.
Home Servers and HTPCs catching on. High-definition video.
SSDs giving performance boost but only used by techophiles currently.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:29 am 
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xan_user wrote:
I would say one of the biggest changes in 5 years besides OEM's acknowledging that customers do care about noise, is the increased power efficiency while still increasing speed.

I am still a bit leery of SSD...

...probably because of getting burned so bad with the CD manufactures claims that my music collection would last 100 years only to find out that after 20 years my CD's are rotting and unplayable while some of my 50+ y/o vinyl still works just fine.


I am really looking forward to "stem cell processors" like the zii from creative.


I have the very same experience between CD's and LP's. The sound in vinyls is also better in my opinion - it sounds like the band is closer to you in the room.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:48 am 
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maalitehdas wrote:
xan_user wrote:
...probably because of getting burned so bad with the CD manufactures claims that my music collection would last 100 years only to find out that after 20 years my CD's are rotting and unplayable while some of my 50+ y/o vinyl still works just fine.


I have the very same experience between CD's and LP's. The sound in vinyls is also better in my opinion - it sounds like the band is closer to you in the room.


A bit off topic, but :

CDs - can be poured into a RAID NAS with no effort and therefore can live for ever.
LPs - much more difficult to do (I spent 2 years converting mine) and then the final sound can be muddy if the original is not in 100% condition.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:44 am 
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Obviously big changes, but depends on where in the purchasing spectrum you lie.

At a minimum, you will be going dual core IMO. Intel has made some tremendous improvements, but AMD is still viable. And obviously there are tri/quad/hex cores out there now depending on your needs.

Video cards--massive, massive improvements at all levels. The $80 midrange cards will smash the top cards of 05. Faster, cooler etc. Much better cooling options available as well.

Big coolers. The Ninja really seemed to kick off that trend. I'm still happy with my rev. B model :D

Cases. I think there was a bit of a backlash on here against Antec cases, only so many Antec/Ninja/Accelero gallery shots you can look at before they run together. Also Antec started putting holes in the doors and "fast, cool, V's in their grilles" and that might not be to everyone's taste. I like my mini-fridge P180.

The big coolers either come with or you can get a backplate for them to offset the weight problem and not worry about the cooler ripping the bracket off the board.

Integrated video has come a long way. If you're not gaming or into a specialty that uses video card acceleration (distributed computing, graphic design, video work, engineering) you will be fine with the modern IGPs.

Vista. Windows 7. And the Linuxen. I'm not too up to date on Linux at this point, but if it's been improving at the rate it was (and it sounds like it) you could be interested in it. If you missed Vista you'll have a bigger adjustment to make to W7, but you might be lucky as well. As happy as I was with Vista post-SP1, W7 is a definite improvement.

If you spend $500 you will get a machine that runs rings around your 2005 box, consumes less power, and is probably quieter with much less effort. Enjoy!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:45 pm 
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the bigest change that i noticed has been componants that are aimed squarly at the silent pc nitch without having to make some silly compromise.

5+ years ago we were fighting with Barton CPU's and had to have massive stickys showing which 3 out of the 500 motherboards could undervolt them. We had some silly video card coolers that requiered 3 hours to install on hot video cards, we had to use external fan controlers and turn them up every time we opened our games up.

We had to do everything from eccentric cablegammie, Elastic suspentions and ducting to eccentric boxing in of computers to Rusty's Desk PC, all to get the cooling just right in order to make sure nothing got baked, Vibrated or let out any more noise then was absolutely necessary.

All that work would send many of us down that slow silent spiral of insanity trying to achieve the holy grail of inaudibility.

Now we have things like Cool n'Quiet, Q'Fan, Simple Sata cables with cheap Laptop drives or SSD's and all on a $50 motherboard. Its 3 bios options and done.

All-in-all it has taking the real fun and love out of building "that next rig". Where the choice of componants was excruciating and painstaking, Where cases were modded and parts were hand made from things found in 'housewares'. It wasn't building a computer, it was the birth of a companion.

I miss those days......

d

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Reachable wrote:
If you do forgo SSDs for the time being, there are now quite a number of hard drives that are extremely quiet, some of them with very large capacity.


How do they compare to the Samsung SpinPoints with Nidec motors?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:57 pm 
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halfpower wrote:
Reachable wrote:
If you do forgo SSDs for the time being, there are now quite a number of hard drives that are extremely quiet, some of them with very large capacity.


How do they compare to the Samsung SpinPoints with Nidec motors?

Great !
There are some very good drives out there. Samsung SP are still good drives but there are better ones out there.
Check out the "recommended" section here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:26 pm 
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Everything's more efficient + wait on SSDs till they're cheaper.


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