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 Post subject: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:12 am 
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guys

i'm very happy I discovered this site and found some very good reviews. Unfortunately i have a limited budget and can't stretch it to the extent of buying the serenity systems, etc. I have under $700 to spare but really need a silent PC. Can someone recommend me a vendor which will be within this price and if not, recommend me some commercial systems like those from Dell which will come close to being silent?

Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:21 am 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
silentbobbo wrote:
Unfortunately i have a limited budget and can't stretch it to the extent of buying the serenity systems, etc. I have under $700 to spare but really need a silent PC. Can someone recommend me a vendor which will be within this price and if not, recommend me some commercial systems like those from Dell which will come close to being silent?


I would call Dell and ask what there most quiet system is, they may or may not know. The business computer lines may be quieter then the consumer lines. Ask about the Vostro, OptiPlex, and Precision Workstations. The Vostro 460 Mini Tower looks like it might be your best option -- it costs about $650. Be sure that you can return the computer if it is too loud.

If you are willing to build your own computer, it is easy to get a quiet (or almost silent) computer that costs under $700.

Intel Pentium G840 for LGA1155
ASUS P8H67-M LE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI
Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W
Antec Sonata Proto
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner
Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM
HIS H657H1G Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3

Total: $670.00 (+ $20.00 s/h)

You don't have to get the video card (and that saves $70), but it will make no noise and really help with games (and "high-def" video). You could also upgrade the power supply to something that makes even less noise then the CX430v2, but costs go up quickly while noise only drops 3-8 decibels.

How To Assemble A Desktop PC/Assembly


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:39 am 
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Dr.jim

thanks for your response. Are fan and case the main components in making the PC quiet or do all the components you have listed somehow lead to a quieter PC? Also, is this PC a lower power-consumption one comparatively? ALso, how is the g840 different from the i7 I'm okay with any processor as long as it supports Intel EMT64 so that I can install vmware server at a later date and be able to run vmware 64-bit guests. The g840 lacks virtualization for directed I/O, Intel Trusted execution technology - not sure if this would prevent me from doing vmware 64-bit guests

http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/micros ... Id=1003945
Thanks

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 12:37 pm 
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silentbobbo wrote:
Are fan and case the main components in making the PC quiet or do all the components you have listed somehow lead to a quieter PC?


Most of the components I listed contribute to having a silent system. There are lots of alternative parts that can replace these if you can't find them or do not like them.

Intel Pentium G840 for LGA1155 uses only 65 watts at full load, the i5 and i7 processors mostly use 95 watts at full load. Less power used leads to less noise to convert and dissipate that power. The G840 is 10-45% slower then the i5-2500.

XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283 is a quiet CPU cooler. It mounts firmly to the motherboard, and it attaches the fans with anti-vibration rubbers. I have one, and the reviews agree.

CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W is a ok power supply that is often sold on special for about $30 (normal price is $45). It uses a low-noise sleeve-bearing 120mm fan. It is a good deal, but quieter units are available if you are willing to pay three times as much money.

ASUS P8H67-M LE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI the CPU fan control on this board is supposed to be easy to use. Other ASUS boards will have the same fan control. Non-ASUS boards will have fan controls, but you may have to read the manual to activate them.

Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 makes no less/more noise then other RAM. You want 8GB so that you never swap memory out to the hard drive. You want DDR3 1333 RAM, as your processor supports this speed.

Antec Sonata Proto this is one of many lower-cost cases that have features to make them quiet. A hard drive mounting system with rubber vibration-isolators and 120mm case fans (not 80, 92, or 140mm) are the important features you should look for in a case.

Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB this drive spins at 5400 rpm, and makes less noise then 7200 rpm hard drives. Most 5400 rpm drives that are called Eco, Smart Power, or Green will be tolerable when mounted in a good case.

HIS H657H1G Radeon HD 6570 1GB 128-bit DDR3 has no cooling fan. Any card that is passively cooled will make no fan noise. Avoid high-end cards, as they cost a lot of money and use a lot of power. A lot of power turns into a lot of heat. Heat turns into noise (unless you spend even more money).

silentbobbo wrote:
Also, is this PC a lower power-consumption one comparatively?


EDIT: Yes, the above list would build a low-power system, as compared to most systems sold in the past 5 years.

If you want low power consumption, you want to pick efficient components and reduce your component count. All of these power savings will either cost more money, or reduce performance.

Use a dual-core 65 watt processor rather then a 95 watt processor, saving 3-30 watts. Use integrated video, rather then powering a discreet card saving 20+ watts. Use fewer case fans (block unused holes with strong tape), saving 2-6 watts per removed fan. Use 2 sticks of ram instead of 4 sticks, saving 4-10 watts. Use one hard drive rather then two hard drives, saving 5-12 watts. Use a SSD rather then a spinning hard drive, saving about 5 watts.

silentbobbo wrote:
ALso, how is the g840 different from the i7 I'm okay with any processor as long as it supports Intel EMT64 so that I can install vmware server at a later date and be able to run vmware 64-bit guests. The g840 lacks virtualization for directed I/O, Intel Trusted execution technology - not sure if this would prevent me from doing vmware 64-bit guests
http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/micros ... Id=1003945
Thanks


I do not know much about this, and don't have time to look it up.

I know that the G840 has 64-bit addressing and the virtualization that is needed for VirtualPC and Microsoft's virtual Windows XP software. I expect that if you run Vmware Server on top of Microsoft Windows, you will not need the extra features of the i5 & i7 processors. I bet you do need the i5 & i7 features for ESXi, when VMware takes over the whole computer (bare-metal hypervisor architecture).

I must repeat that I do not know about the details of this situation at this time.

You are welcome, spread the generosity that you receive to others.


Last edited by Dr. Jim Pomatter on Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:17 pm 
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First, I'll try to clarify the situation with VM extensions a bit:
VT-d, the extension under discussion, is not currently needed for anything as far as I know. It's certainly not needed to have 64 bits guests. What it can do is boost performance in some situation if your software, BIOS and so on support it. But it's likely to become more important in the future, as has happened with the basic virtualization extension.
Not all i5 models have VT-d. This i3, i5 thing and similar names are vaccuous branding. Don't imagine they actually mean anything as far as what the CPU can or can't do! In any case Intel seems determined to make their customers pay a lot of money with a chip with that extension.

Second, you should really try to be explicit about your requirements. This might require some analysis on your part. That would be a very productive way to spend your time.
How much power you need has a massive impact on how complicated and expensive it is to build a computer. If you didn't need much power (like a lot of people), you could buy a barebone, some RAM and an SSD and build a totally silent PC in no time which would most likely cost you less than $300. But it seems you do need more power. How much more we can't say. We also don't know what features you want.
And we don't know how silent you want this PC to be either.
So many of the components advised above could be unnessary or even in some cases make your computer pointless noisy.

Some PC builders like Dell have (or at least used to have) data on how much noise their systems make. The quietest ones are quiet enough for most people... but is that quiet enough for you? We can't tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 8:20 am 
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Thank you guys once again

I have another Gateway SX2800 and it's quiet enough for me - not sure how many db and could not find any info on gateway's website

I did some analysis and brainstorming and came up with this

1) I researched the G840 you suggested and I have no qualms about going with a processor that maybe 10-50% slower - even though I always have 10-15 tabs open in my browser and another 5-10 windows open (word, pdf, office communicator, outlook, etc) - I only have two fingers and having open tasks requires a lot of memory and not so much CPU horsepower since I'll only be using 1-2 apps at the exact same time. Do you agree with my analysis?
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... tml#sect0I

2) I do use vmware maybe once a month with 1-2 Windows guests - wondering if I should pay the extra $50 for the i3-2100 which has intel hyper-threading. From the above URL, it seems the i3 is about the same in power consumption as the g840

3) I must note that my bedroom in NYC does get warm in the summer months - For about 2 weeks, it would be about 90 degrees during the day and the average summer temp would be about 80

4) It seems 3TB drives are the maximum size available these days and I'm guessing this would be a good choice. It would also work with Windows 2008
Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRSDTL
However, I can't figure out if the ASUS motherboard will support a 3TB HDD

5) Does the ASUS P8H67-M LE have an integrated video card? It seems to have HDMI & DVI Ports. If so, I can perhaps skip buying the HIS RADEON video card. I don't do any gaming but will be playing HD video

Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:00 am 
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silentbobbo wrote:
even though I always have 10-15 tabs open in my browser and another 5-10 windows open (word, pdf, office communicator, outlook, etc) - I only have two fingers and having open tasks requires a lot of memory and not so much CPU horsepower since I'll only be using 1-2 apps at the exact same time. Do you agree with my analysis?

Yeah. If that's all you'll be running, get a G620 instead which should be even cheaper. That's very easy to cool.
In fact, if that's all you're doing and assuming you don't want to play high-res video on your browser, you'd be fine with an Atom which is even easier to cool, and not by a small margin.
A huge heatsink like the one recommended above would be overkill for any of those CPUs.

silentbobbo wrote:
2) I do use vmware maybe once a month with 1-2 Windows guests - wondering if I should pay the extra $50 for the i3-2100 which has intel hyper-threading. From the above URL, it seems the i3 is about the same in power consumption as the g840

The i3 most likely consumes a bit more. The upgrade is probably not worth $50 unless you do something else than browsing and office stuff on your PC. But in that case why are you running VMs? Depending on the reason, you might need a better CPU than the i3 unfortunately...
8G of RAM is excessive for 1-2 Windows guests by the way unless they're running something special.

silentbobbo wrote:
4) It seems 3TB drives are the maximum size available these days and I'm guessing this would be a good choice.

Only if you really need the capacity. Otherwise it makes noise and wastes electricity for nothing.
Having an SSD on top of that would make your PC seem faster and would reduce its noise by the way. Having only an SSD would be even better.

silentbobbo wrote:
However, I can't figure out if the ASUS motherboard will support a 3TB HDD

Not a problem. Worst case: you'd need more than one partition.
silentbobbo wrote:
5) Does the ASUS P8H67-M LE have an integrated video card?

The video "card" is in the CPU. You can skip the dedicated card.
I would recommend something else than the Asus unless you want some of its features. ASRock has the cheapest boards and Intel the ones which consume the least power.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:33 am 
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HFat is mostly right.

HFat wrote:
Yeah. If that's all you'll be running, get a G620 instead which should be even cheaper. That's very easy to cool.
In fact, if that's all you're doing and assuming you don't want to play high-res video on your browser, you'd be fine with an Atom which is even easier to cool, and not by a small margin.
A huge heatsink like the one recommended above would be overkill for any of those CPUs.


Atom on the desktop is a waste of a Microsoft Windows Licence. It will feel slow and old, even when it is new. Atom + IGP is roughly the speed of a mainstream Pentium 4 from 2004.

The point of a huge CPU cooler is that it does not need to spin the fan quickly. A 120mm fan tower will cool a non-overclocked 65 watt processor at the slowest fan speed, as they are designed for the 120-150 watt loads of overclockers. This means it will still be quiet on the 90 degree days.

I would not get the G620, it can not work with 1333 Mhz RAM. It only works with 1066 Mhz RAM. As the G620 and the G840 only have 3 Mb of cache, and you might want to use integrated video, I believe that you need all the main memory bandwidth you can get.

silentbobbo wrote:
I have another Gateway SX2800 and it's quiet enough for me - not sure how many db and could not find any info on gateway's website


The parts (CPU cooler and power supply) LOOK loud, as they use smaller fans with big hubs/motors. Nothing on Gateway's site has tech specs about the noise of the SX2800.

silentbobbo wrote:
1) I researched the G840 you suggested and I have no qualms about going with a processor that maybe 10-50% slower - even though I always have 10-15 tabs open in my browser and another 5-10 windows open (word, pdf, office communicator, outlook, etc) - I only have two fingers and having open tasks requires a lot of memory and not so much CPU horsepower since I'll only be using 1-2 apps at the exact same time. Do you agree with my analysis?
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... tml#sect0I


I agree with you. 95% of the time, you are a normal desktop user. Your web browsing and video playing are the most demanding tasks. That last 5% of the time you are running VMs. I would not pay more in parts, noise, and power to make a small difference in that 5% of your work.

silentbobbo wrote:
2) I do use vmware maybe once a month with 1-2 Windows guests - wondering if I should pay the extra $50 for the i3-2100 which has intel hyper-threading. From the above URL, it seems the i3 is about the same in power consumption as the g840


Hyper-threading on the i3 might make the experience more smooth, but I think that it is not worth the $50. With VMs (Virtualbox) I have always run out of hard disk bandwidth and RAM before running out of processing power. Keep that $50 of money in the bank, so you can start saving for an SSD, or to see what other products are released in the next year.

If you want a faster CPU, I would get the ever-popular i5-2500k (costs $120 more). You will not be overclocking on the H67 board, but the "K" gives you faster graphics. I bet you are better served by buying the G840 now, and perhaps getting a mid-range ($225) Ivy Bridge processor to put on your board in the summer of 2012.

silentbobbo wrote:
For about 2 weeks, it would be about 90 degrees during the day and the average summer temp would be about 80.


That is why you should go for oversized CPU cooling, and extra case airflow. That way the computer will stay quiet in a 90 degree room.

silentbobbo wrote:
I don't do any gaming but will be playing HD video.


Do you run a single monitor (not dual or tripple monitors)?

If "yes" then does that one monitor have a resolution of 1900x1200 or smaller?

If "yes" again, it sounds like you should not get a video card at this time. (Saving you $70 off the price above.)


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:53 am 
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I plan to connect my computer to my TV via HDMI maybe 3 hours a week but at that time to watch HD video, etc but it's unlikely I'll be using the computer at the same time.

I'll go with integrated graphics to save the 20 watts and see how well it works. If not, I can always add one at a later date

I'm also going with the 8GB of RAM so there should be plenty of RAM for everybody to share without paging

SSD still seems to be at a high price point. Maybe a year from now, I can upgrade to to Ivy bridge & SSD

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 11:59 am 
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Is there a comparable motherboard that comes with HDMI & USB 3.0 ports?

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:08 pm 
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Sorry - the motherboard you posted does have USB 3.0. I was just looking at the case which has two front USB 2.0 ports but that doesn't really dictate the speed, they are only connectors back to the motherboard

Thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:33 pm 
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silentbobbo wrote:
I plan to connect my computer to my TV via HDMI maybe 3 hours a week but at that time to watch HD video, etc but it's unlikely I'll be using the computer at the same time.


Ok, make sure that you have a long enough cable to reach from your PC to your TV. You should also either have a wireless keyboard and mouse, or a USB extension cable for each. (No point in ordering these later and paying more shipping.)

silentbobbo wrote:
SSD still seems to be at a high price point. Maybe a year from now, I can upgrade to to Ivy bridge & SSD


If you want to use a smaller and cheaper SSD when that time comes, you should consider the Z68 chipset and Intel's Rapid Storage Technology (SSD Caching). ASUS currently does not make any low-cost z68 boards with HDMI. The cheapest Z68 board with HDMI from ASRock will cost an extra $10 to buy, but this flexibility in the future should be worth that cost. The cheapest Z68 board from Intel (AKA Foxxcon) will cost an extra $30 to buy, and I doubt that it will ever give you a total savings of $20 in electricity.

ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX
OR
Intel BOXDZ68DB LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:14 pm 
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Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
Atom + IGP is roughly the speed of a mainstream Pentium 4 from 2004.

My users don't think so (and neither do I of course)...

Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
I would not get the G620, it can not work with 1333 Mhz RAM. It only works with 1066 Mhz RAM.

That makes no sense. My G620T works with 1333Mhz. So why would the G620 not work?


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:00 pm 
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HFat, I moved the off-topic "how fast is Intel's Atom" discussion to a new thread.

HFat wrote:
Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
I would not get the G620, it can not work with 1333 Mhz RAM. It only works with 1066 Mhz RAM.

That makes no sense. My G620T works with 1333Mhz. So why would the G620 not work?


I'm just looking at Intel's Ark site for the G620 and G620T. Intel can always give you more features on a processor then what they list, but you can't be sure that every G620 will work with 1333 Mhz RAM when Intel only lists "DDR3-1066". (Perhaps your board supports memory overclocking?)


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:50 am 
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I'll go with the AsRock motherboard. Should i keep all other components the same?
ASUS P8H67-M LE (REV 3.0) LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI
Intel Pentium G840 for LGA1155
Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 Model KVR1333D3N9K2/8G
XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W
Antec Sonata Proto
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner Model AD-7261S-0B
Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRSDTL 3TB
Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 6:19 am 
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Personally, I'd use none of these components and I'd use extra components for various reasons (see above).
What I didn't mention yet:
-Z68 is pointlessly expensive (best spend money on an SSD and a better PSU, but you could save money on other stuff as outlined above)
-that PSU might be too noisy
-that case is pointlessly large
-an external optical drive is more versatile and allows you to use a smaller case


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:01 am 
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silentbobbo wrote:
It would also work with Windows 2008. However, I can't figure out if the ASUS motherboard will support a 3TB HDD


Any of the top name-brand boards will support hard drives larger then 2 TB. Both Windows Server 2008 or Windows Home Server 2008 should work with 3 TB drives, but there are some (usually minor) issues.

silentbobbo wrote:
4) It seems 3TB drives are the maximum size available these days and I'm guessing this would be a good choice.
Western Digital Caviar Green WD30EZRSDTL


HFat mentioned that drives with a larger storage capacity have more mechanical parts (heads and platters) inside. These can lead to more heat and more noise.

If you are going to use the capacity (a huge collection of photos, movies, music, etc.) it makes sense to buy the capacity now. If you are not sure if you will use the capacity, then a smaller-capacity drive will make a tiny bit less noise (and cost less to buy).

Over the last couple of years, I have become a fan of the Samsung hard drives. I believe that they have had a higher resistance to shock damage, when compared to my Western Digital drives. The Samsung drives also have a really quiet seek and a pleasant-sounding spin up.

Samsung's largest drive is just 2TB: SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB

HFat wrote:
-Z68 is pointlessly expensive

I agree that most Z68 boards are, due to the milk-the-enthusiast factor. But the listed ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX is only $115 and that is only $10 more then the H67 board.

The Z68 chipset has Rapid Storage Technology. This lets you use a smaller SSD then would hold your whole system to act as a cache. That way silentbobbo can add a cheaper SSD without re-installing Windows.

If silentbobbo is going to keep this board for a couple of years, and possibly upgrade to an Ivy Bridge CPU, he should get the most advanced & most recent chipset available.

HFat wrote:
best spend money on an SSD

That $10 is going to buy a SSD?

HFat wrote:
a better PSU [...] -that PSU might be too noisy

Silentbobbo has a limited budget. I thought that he should start with this supply, and upgrade if the noise is too much.

The ]url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139026]CX430 ($25 after MIR today)[/url] is chosen because it is cheap and some people here have been satisfied with the low noise level. As I mentioned above, you can buy a much better PSU (power supply unit) if you are willing to triple the amount of money you pay.

As silentbobbo thought that an off-the-shelf Gateway SX2800 produced a tolerable amount of noise, I do not think he heeds to spend $100 on a power supply. I also expect that he will not feel that Antec's "Tri-cool" fan is too noisy, as others on this forum have suggested.

HFat wrote:
-that case is pointlessly large

It is a $65 case that has many features that help it to make less noise, like hard drive anti-vibration rubber grommets. The Sonata Proto has a volume of 44 Liters. That is the same as other mid-size ATX cases like the Antec Three Hundred.

Silentbobbo never mentioned that he wanted a smaller computer, and smaller often makes more noise and costs more money. Smaller cases also limit the upgrades that a user might choose in the future.

HFat wrote:
-an external optical drive is more versatile and allows you to use a smaller case

But the OP did not request a small case. Also, more external stuff always annoys me as you have more to move around and more to plug/unplug. I think that the growth of All-In-One computers means that more people agree with me that external components are a hassle.

HFat wrote:
Personally, I'd use none of these components and I'd use extra components for various reasons (see above).


Remember, silentbobbo wants to keep the whole systems under $700. When I hear that someone has a limited budget, I assume that they would like to spend even less then the budget they state if they can still get a nice computer. If silentbobbo follows my recommendations, he will spend about $630 (including slow shipping), and get about $20 back someday in mail-in rebates (MIR).

Intel Pentium G840 for LGA1155
ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX
Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W
Antec Sonata Proto
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 10:28 am 
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Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
The Z68 chipset has Rapid Storage Technology. This lets you use a smaller SSD then would hold your whole system to act as a cache. That way silentbobbo can add a cheaper SSD without re-installing Windows.

Cheaper? Not necessarily.
And you wouldn't get the same result. There's a use-case for SSD cache. Unless there's something the OP isn't telling, this isn't it.

HFat wrote:
When I hear that someone has a limited budget, I assume that they would like to spend even less then the budget

Which is why I would basically recommend paying less for everything but the SSD (the one thing that makes a significant subjective difference, performance-wise) and possibly the PSU.
I agree a cheap PSU is best if you want to save money but I would get one which has been reviewed by SPCR.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:19 am 
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Dr. Jim Pomatter wrote:
silentbobbo wrote:
Remember, silentbobbo wants to keep the whole systems under $700. When I hear that someone has a limited budget, I assume that they would like to spend even less then the budget they state if they can still get a nice computer. If silentbobbo follows my recommendations, he will spend about $630 (including slow shipping), and get about $20 back someday in mail-in rebates (MIR).

Intel Pentium G840 for LGA1155
ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX
Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333
XIGMATEK Gaia SD1283
CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 V2 430W
Antec Sonata Proto
Sony Optiarc CD/DVD Burner
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit - OEM


The build seems good, I would drop the Z68 board for a H67/H61, no reason to go with Z68 if no K cpu, no ssd cacheing ($10-30), drop the memory to 4gb ($30) and since it was on $630 still has $70 + saving should allow an ssd for OS/APPs like Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB

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Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:39 am 
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HFat wrote:
There's a use-case for SSD cache. Unless there's something the OP isn't telling, this isn't it.
What is or are the use-case(s) for SSD cache?

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:09 pm 
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ces wrote:
HFat wrote:
There's a use-case for SSD cache. Unless there's something the OP isn't telling, this isn't it.
What is or are the use-case(s) for SSD cache?
Its basically what Seagate did with its Momentus XT but using an ssd and mechanical hdd separated, if you want to read more, check Cache: What Is It Good For?

Quote:
Caching makes it possible to install everything on the 1.5 TB disk, and then transparently throw in the SSD to accelerate recently-read data. A 40 GB drive is ample for that task. As a result, the technology will actually appeal to the contingent of enthusiasts who don’t have enough cash for a large-enough SSD and user storage, but can still afford to get a foot in the door with a nice big hard drive and an affordably-small SSD.

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:19 pm 
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The people at Tom neglected to tell that this doesn't apply to people who have a clue. If all they run is regular office apps, they can easily install everything on a small SSD and get consistently good performance as well as better reliability.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:32 pm 
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In other news, it sounds like AVADirect is going to try making quiet systems:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4487/avadirect-moves-to-silent-running

I doubt they'll be as quiet as the Puget systems, but it sounds like they're going for lower price points. Might be worth a look, if you haven't resigned yourself to building your own system.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:06 pm 
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I think I'm nearing my final build with the ASrock Z68

A friend aid he has a few Samsung 4GB chips from a decommissioned server - M393B5170FH0-YH9. This seems to be ECC memory - can one tell me if it'll be compatible with the board & CPU? I know I don't need ECC memory but if I'm getting it for free, I don't think I'm losing much performance-wise

Do I need any other tools or connectors I would need that won't come with the parts themselves like SATA cables, etc?

Do I need to get silicon or it'll come with the CPU? This is the first time I will be assembling a system!

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:35 pm 
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silentbobbo wrote:
I think I'm nearing my final build with the ASrock Z68


I think that is the best choice. While you can save $10 by getting a H67 board, you might want to use the features of the Z68 chipset in the future.

silentbobbo wrote:
A friend aid he has a few Samsung 4GB chips from a decommissioned server - M393B5170FH0-YH9. This seems to be ECC memory - can one tell me if it'll be compatible with the board & CPU? I know I don't need ECC memory but if I'm getting it for free, I don't think I'm losing much performance-wise


It would be good if you could use that ECC RAM but Intel is obsessed with selling each processor feature for more money. Just as you lost VT-d when you go to a "Pentium", you lose the ability to use ECC RAM when you stop paying the Xeon premium. Most of Google's servers do not use ECC RAM.

I had read that in Sandy Bridge release articles. I also found an Anandtech thread about ECC on Sandy Bridge processors. Wikipedia also agrees that you can't use ECC ram with your system.

silentbobbo wrote:
Do I need any other tools or connectors I would need that won't come with the parts themselves like SATA cables, etc?


You will need a Philips-head screwdriver. A nice one will make the job of putting the computer together faster. Be careful to never rest your magnetic screwdriver or magnetic bits near your hard drive. You should have a grounding anti-static wrist strap, so that you don't kill components with ESD.

Cases usually come with the screws to mount drives and the motherboard. I believe that you will only need 2 SATA cables, and the ASRock Z68 Pro3-M comes with two SATA cables.

As I mentioned before, you will need a HDMI cable that can reach both your monitor and your TV. If you want to use both your monitor and your TV at the same time (clone the output), you will need to use HDMI for the TV and buy a DVI or a VGA cable for the monitor.

You will also need a keyboard, a mouse, and extension cables for them to reach (if needed). I'm a fan of Logitech and I don't like number pads on my keyboards. I use a Lenovo ThinkPad Black USB Wired Ultimate Compact Keyboard with TrackPoint on a 10ft. USB extension cable and a Logitech G700 Black 13 Buttons 1 Wheel USB RF Wireless Gaming Mouse. A wireless set for the budget minded would be Logitech MK520 USB RF Wireless Ergonomic Desktop. The ultimate money-saver would be to just re-use your mouse and keyboard.

You will need a set of speakers, or a pair of headphones. You might want a bluetooth adapter (like ASUS USB-BT211 Mini Bluetooth Dongle USB 2.0), so that you can use a phone headset with your computer and sync files to and from your phone.

If you want to use Skype, or other video chat, you will need a webcam. Most webcams have built-in microphones. I like Logitech webcams, and they start at $40. I use the Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 for $70.

silentbobbo wrote:
Do I need to get silicon or it'll come with the CPU? This is the first time I will be assembling a system!


By silicon, I expect that you mean the zinc & silicon thermal compound. Hardware Secrets reviews thermal compound, and shows that compounds are tightly grouped in effectiveness. I bought the Xigmatek PTI-G3606 thermal grease as they are all similar and it was half its normal price when purchased with a CPU cooler. Xigmatek also includes a plastic spreader that can be useful.

Thermal Compound Roundup - June 2011


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:33 pm 
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I see a lot of new faces around here lately. I haven't been posting as much because I've been working more, but I'll throw in a few cents here and there...


1) Philips head screwdriver, or a multi-bit screwdriver is nice to have. If you can get one with 10 interchangeable ends, that's great, and condenses the toolbox a lot. You really don't need many other tools than this. A nice pair of needle-nose pliers is good for working with jumpers.

I've never had a problem keeping magnetic items around hard drives. Don't forget that there is a very strong magnet inside the hard drive. I take apart dead hard drives, and use these magnets around the shop, as they're very effective, and I know they wont just fall off the edge of a shelf.

Also, I have tons of anti-static gear at work, I've never used any, and I've never had a problem, and yes, the work area is carpeted, with three rubber mats. Killing components with ESD is very hard to do, and you'll drop it and break it before ESD kills it.

Silicon is a decent Thermal Interface Material, however not for computers. Not at all. In all of my testing here, The Innovation Cooling Diamond 7 stuff came out a good 6C cooler than the stuff I used from Thermalright. I'm not big on all the hype, and no, you don't need to use a spreader, but if you follow the "grain of rice" size in the center of the IHS, you're going to be pretty set. Pressure from the cooler will spread it as needed, just don't take the cooler off to check it. Set it, and forget it. The stuff that's included with heatsinks is good enough, but if you really want to change it, that's fine too, I'm not going to start a war over what TIM is best, but the quantity does not change. Never overdo it, and if you go with the grain of rice size, you wont be wasting any by spreading it around, and getting half of what you put on onto the spreader.

If you're buying the motherboard brand new, it should come with enough cables to tide you over.

I see a bit of hot air blowing around here, so I don't want to jump in too far this late into the thread, but I'm going to say that if Virtual Machines are in the question, you're going to need a bit more power than a dual core, but there's no need to get into Server OS's. Personally, I swear by Western Digital drives, but I stay away from the highest capacities, because of the extra platters/heat.

I'm not even going to start on Solid State, but I don't trust those either yet. Seen a few too many dead ones, and to me, it's too soon to trust data on them. Yes, I know the speed is a benefit, and I'm sure if properly maintained, they could last, but is the home user going to do all of that?

If silence is the issue, then a Quad Core i5, some DDR3 RAM (4-8gb), and an ATI 6xxx series will do wonders. Make sure it gets a quality power supply, and good hard drives, and you're set.

I'm going to also say that smaller does not "often make more noise and cost more money," nor does it "also limit the upgrades that a user might choose in the future." Component choice needs to be done carefully in respect to what the user will need to use, and expect to expand to later.

There are plenty of very well built, mATX and even ITX systems that suit people very well, because they are planned out builds.

On my last note for the night, I would not put an EcoGreen hard drive as the main OS drive in a computer that will be running virtual machines, nor would I ever suggest that to someone else. Start with a smaller drive for the OS and apps, and keep your data separate. What was that saying about putting all of your eggs in one basket?

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:21 am 
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I don't suppose you have credible data to back up your assertions about reliability.

The notion that some drives are reliable enough to entrust your data to them is downright dangerous. All drives fail and splitting the data between drives doesn't affect the risk unless you also mirror.
The way to secure your data is with backups. Backing up an SSD is quick and easy. Recently there was a foolish gentleman who said backing up wasn't practical, that he's been fine without backups for years and so on... and then he had a drive failure.


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:46 am 
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I completely forgot - I need a mobo with 2 LAN NIC's. Can recommend me one with Smart response SSD caching? previously I was going to go with ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel but it only has a single LAN port

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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:42 am 
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silentbobbo wrote:
I completely forgot - I need a mobo with 2 LAN NIC's. Can recommend me one with Smart response SSD caching? previously I was going to go with ASRock Z68 PRO3-M LGA 1155 Intel but it only has a single LAN port


All the Z68 boards that I can find that have dual LAN ports are really expensive, meaning $225+.

I think you are better off getting a PCI or PCIE card for the ASRock Z68 board. I have always liked the Intel NICs: Intel EXPI9301CTBLK Network Adapter 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI-Express OR Intel PWLA8391GT Desktop Adapter PRO/1000 GT 10/ 100/ 1000Mbps PCI.

Are these two ports for using for teaming, fail-over, or for gateway (WAN/LAN)?


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 Post subject: Re: Cheaper systems
PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 11:56 am 
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That's what i found too - very expensive. The second NIC is to sniff traffic from the switch for an application i use. Won't be doing it very often but may need to do it from a remote location hence always need the NIC connected

I don't think a NIC card should use more than a couple of watts, especially when not being used. I'll turn off the Ethernet port from the switch-side

Also, if I connect my computer's HDMI to TV and DVI to monitor but my TV and monitors are turned off, does the video card use any electricity?

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