About to buy -- need sanity check :-)

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carl
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About to buy -- need sanity check :-)

Post by carl » Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:02 am

Hello all. I've been researching the articles at this site and have gotten help from several friendly people here already. I think I'm ready to buy my new system, but I'm hoping to get one last sanity check before plunking down a wad of cash on it. Here it is:

- CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz, 512KB L2 Cache 939-Pin 64-bit Processor - OEM
- Mobo: ASUS "A8V-E Deluxe" VIA K8T890 Chipset Motherboard for AMD Socket 939 CPU
- CPU Heatsink: Thermalright Heatsink for P4 & K8 CPUs, Heatsink Only, Model "XP-120" (will use Arctic Silver Ceramique)
- CPU Fan: Nexus Real Silent 120mm (modified)

- Case: EverCase Black ATX Mid Tower Case, Model "E4252BB-81"
- Case Fan: Nexus Real Silent 120mm (mounted in the rear)
- PSU: Seasonic S12 Series ATX12V 2.0 430W Power Supply, 12cm fan, Model "S12-430"

- HD: SAMSUNG 160GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model SP1604N
- RAM: Mushkin Blue Dual Pack 184 Pin 1GB(512MBx2) DDR PC-3200
- Video Card: ASUS nVIDIA GeForce 6600 Video Card, 256MB DDR, 128-Bit, DVI/TV-Out, PCI-Express
- DVD/CD-RW Drive: Plextor 12X DVD+/-RW Black Drive, Model PX-712SA/SW-BL
- Floppy Drive: NEC 1.44MB Black Internal Floppy Drive

... and that's it! So I have some questions:

- Does this look like it will run quietly?
- Does it look like it will have sufficient cooling?
- Are any parts not compatible with each other?
- Anything else I need to buy?
- Any suggestions that could improve this system?

This is my first time building my own system, so I'm a bit anxious about it. :-)

Thanks,

Carl

ilh
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Post by ilh » Sat Mar 12, 2005 8:46 am

I suspect you won't be happy with that little screamer of a fan on the 6600. You might want to investigate passive cooling options or something like a Zalman VF700. It can't hurt to try it out for a while though.

The same goes for the active cooling on the motherboard chipset. You might be able to get away with passive like a Zalman NB47J, as the XP-120 above it ought to move enough air through it to keep the chipset cool.
Lee

[size=75][color=navy]QX6700 at 3.0GHz, Ninja SCNJ-1100P, 8800GT, Asus P5K-E, Seasonic S12II-500GB, 2x WD5000AACS, Antec Solo
Opteron 170 at 260x10 w/7000B-Cu, 6800 GT w/VF700-Cu, DFI nF4 Ultra-D w/NB47J, Seasonic S12-500, 2x WD5000AACS suspended, Antec SLK3000B[/color][/size]

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Sat Mar 12, 2005 9:36 am

Looks good, just a couple of things really:
1) This is just my opinion, but I went for the 3000+ rather than the 3200+ because the difference in speed is negligable while there is quite a steep difference in price. Also, although I won't be doing so, the 3000+ will overclock to the levels of 3200+ quite comfortably.
2) If you play games you might consider investing in a 6600GT rather than the plain 6600. It is a brilliant card in terms of price vs performance.
3) Investigate alternative graphics and chipset cooling as suggested already.

Good luck.

Kryten
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Compatibility issues

Post by Kryten » Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:11 am

Hi Carl,

According to this German site, you may have a hard time getting your Geforce to run on that MoBo. I've also had a look at that board, but at the mo I'm more inclined to getting the ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe for reasons discussed in my post.

Cheers,

Kryten

carl
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reply

Post by carl » Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:37 am

I checked out the 3000+ on Newegg, and the price difference is about $40, so maybe I should put that money into the 6600GT and get the better video card. The one I'm looking at:

Chaintech nVIDIA GeForce 6600GT Video Card, 128MB DDR3, 128-Bit, TV-Out/DVI, PCI-Express, Model "SE6600G"

I've never heard of Chaintech, but it got good reviews on Newegg; opinions on this card, or suggestions for a different one, are appreciated! As pointed out here, it's gonna be loud :-(. I can get the Zalman VF700-Cu fan to help with this.

As for the chipset passive cooling system -- is this separate from the CPU heatsink/fan? You mentioned the motherboard chipset. Forgive my ignorance, but I am guessing this is different from the CPU, right? Looking at the picture of the mobo on Newegg's site I do see something that sort of looks like a fan.

I just did some forum searches to see what I could find out, but keep getting a SQL error (?).

Thanks!

Carl

carl
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Re: Compatibility issues

Post by carl » Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:44 am

Kryten wrote:Hi Carl,

According to this German site, you may have a hard time getting your Geforce to run on that MoBo. I've also had a look at that board, but at the mo I'm more inclined to getting the ASUS A8N SLI Deluxe for reasons discussed in my post.

Cheers,

Kryten
Ah, this is a big help. I checked Thermalright's website and this board is compatible with the XP-120, and has both IDE and SATA controllers, so I think it's good to go with the rest of my stuff. Excellent user reviews on Newegg also, so I'll add this to my list officially :-)

Thanks!

Carl

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Post by sthayashi » Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:19 pm

Don't ever use NewEgg reviews for anything. NewEgg openly states that their reviews are biased. People here have noted that their negative reviews mysteriously disappear.
[size=75][url=http://www.twolf1300.net/sthayashi/SPCR/systems.html]My Power Rig, Storage Rig, HTPC and Main Rig[/url][/size]

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Sat Mar 12, 2005 2:21 pm

Carl,
The chipset is the bit that "does the rest" on the motherboard - storage controllers, expansion slot control, control any onboard devices like sound, networking etc.
On the board you first mentioned, it is directly to the left of the CPU socket in this photo - the silver thing with a fan in it. They create an annoying high pitch whine, so really have to go if at all possible.
The usual solution in these parts is a Zalman heatsink - the top one is best, but the bottom one will fit some places the top one wont.

Check out the flash installation guides - they're really quite helpful. The instructions you get with Zalman stuff tend to be a little cryptic at times so a quick glance at the flash movie should answer any doubts.

nici
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Post by nici » Sat Mar 12, 2005 3:13 pm

The K8T890 chipset runs much cooler than the NF4 judging by what i have read, and it seems all boards except the asus has passive heatsink as standard. So i would say its perfetly safe to replace teh noisy fan with a NB47J.

carl
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Post by carl » Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:07 pm

nici wrote:The K8T890 chipset runs much cooler than the NF4 judging by what i have read, and it seems all boards except the asus has passive heatsink as standard. So i would say its perfetly safe to replace teh noisy fan with a NB47J.
Now I'm thinking of going with the nVidia chipset, based on what Kryten wrote, and on what someone said in another thread: the Thermalright XP-120 won't work with the K8T890 version of this ASUS motherboard. So instead of the A8V-E Deluxe, I ws thinking of getting the A8N-SLI Deluxe.

Do you think it would be OK to use the NB47J on this motherboard?

carl
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Post by carl » Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:11 pm

meglamaniac wrote:Carl,
The chipset is the bit that "does the rest" on the motherboard - storage controllers, expansion slot control, control any onboard devices like sound, networking etc.
On the board you first mentioned, it is directly to the left of the CPU socket in this photo - the silver thing with a fan in it. They create an annoying high pitch whine, so really have to go if at all possible.
The usual solution in these parts is a Zalman heatsink - the top one is best, but the bottom one will fit some places the top one wont.

Check out the flash installation guides - they're really quite helpful. The instructions you get with Zalman stuff tend to be a little cryptic at times so a quick glance at the flash movie should answer any doubts.
Thanks (again!) meglamaniac. This makes things much clearer. Looking at the picture of the A8N-SLI Deluxe on Newegg the fan is in kind of an odd position. I wonder if a passive heatsink would interfere with the video card. But maybe I worry to much! :-)

Carl

carl
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Post by carl » Sat Mar 12, 2005 4:12 pm

sthayashi wrote:Don't ever use NewEgg reviews for anything. NewEgg openly states that their reviews are biased. People here have noted that their negative reviews mysteriously disappear.
Thanks for the warning. I'm used to sites like Amazon that tend to let negative reviews stand. I'm going to do some more research on that video card.

Carl

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Sun Mar 13, 2005 2:18 am

Well Carl, I have the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe board, A Geforce 6600GT, a Zalman ZM80D-HP passive cooler for the graphics card an NB47J passive cooler for the chipset.
As it happens, I'm going to try and fit them this afternoon, so I'll let you know.

:)

iamthedruman
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Post by iamthedruman » Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:44 am

FYI, Anandtech has 6600GT roundup from just before Christmas.

http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2295

According to it, the Leadtek is worth checking out. I don't have any experience with this model so I can't give an opinion one way or another. The model I'm looking into for my machine that should have some legs is a passively cooled X800 by Gigabyte. The couple of reviews I've seen of it look promising and it's only about $60 - $80 more than a 6600GT plus it comes with 12 pixel pipelines and a 256bit memory bus. :lol:

http://www.giga-byte.com/VGA/Products/P ... 80256D.htm

Cheers!

iamthedruman

carl
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Post by carl » Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:18 am

meglamaniac wrote:Well Carl, I have the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe board, A Geforce 6600GT, a Zalman ZM80D-HP passive cooler for the graphics card an NB47J passive cooler for the chipset.
As it happens, I'm going to try and fit them this afternoon, so I'll let you know.

:)
Excellent! :-) I look forward to it. Could you let me know which GeForce card you have? I took a look at the ZM80D-HP on Zalman's site. Very interesting. Please let me know how easy it is to install, and which thermal paste you chose to use.

Carl

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Sun Mar 13, 2005 8:44 am

The exact 6600GT I have is a Gainward one, as shown here. I have dual DVI-D displays so I needed a card with dual DVI outputs, and this one has the advantage of being "over engineered" - both the GPU and the memory run at a higher than the nVidia reference design out of the box and are guarunteed to be stable. This is why it is a fair bit more expensive than most 6600GT cards.

As for the install:
Image
Image
Image

Don't be worried by the slight tilt of the card in the first photo - that is because the board is out of the case and free standing on the table so the card is not properly secured.
As you can see, things are rather tight and one of the heatpipes touches up against the chipset cooler, but the important thing is that everything does fit. Regarding thermal paste, I used some Arctic Silver 5 left over from installing the processor on the base of the chipset cooler and on the part of the graphics cooler that directly contacts the GPU core. For the rest of the graphics cooler I used the supplied silicon based paste.

Installation was fairly straight forward. The instructions for the ZM80D-HP are a little unclear in parts but you can figure it out using common sense, or glance at the installation movie on the website if you want to be certain.
I cleaned both the GPU core and the chipset with high concentration methanol on a cotton bud before installing the coolers, to remove the old thermal paste. You should be able to pick some up from a hardware store or similar.

I can't give you temps yet as I've got some other modifications to do before I can put everything back together and see if it still works!
I'll try and remember to post results when I can though.

carl
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thanks

Post by carl » Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:45 am

Thanks for the pics! I'm now thinking of going with a passive cooling solution (I keep changing my mind).

I've been thinking about it, and I don't really do a lot of gaming at home (I use my work machine for gaming after-hours, which has a Radeon 9800). So maybe I'll go with a cheaper video card, like a 6600 or a Radeon 9700 that already has passive cooling (there's a sticky thread in the Cool VGA forum with lots of options). That way I won't need to mod the card (and I'll save $40).

Carl

Kryten
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Radeon 9700 is AGP

Post by Kryten » Sun Mar 13, 2005 10:51 am

Carl,

Unless I'm mistaken, the 9700 series are all AGP cards - so you can't use them on a PCI-e board! Passively cooled PCI-e Radeon cards are harder to come by, I believe.

Kryten

nick705
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Post by nick705 » Sun Mar 13, 2005 11:08 am

carl wrote:
nici wrote:The K8T890 chipset runs much cooler than the NF4 judging by what i have read, and it seems all boards except the asus has passive heatsink as standard. So i would say its perfetly safe to replace teh noisy fan with a NB47J.
Now I'm thinking of going with the nVidia chipset, based on what Kryten wrote, and on what someone said in another thread: the Thermalright XP-120 won't work with the K8T890 version of this ASUS motherboard. So instead of the A8V-E Deluxe, I ws thinking of getting the A8N-SLI Deluxe.

Do you think it would be OK to use the NB47J on this motherboard?
Carl, there's a long thread on the Anandtech forum devoted to this specific question, so that may give you some ideas.

The A8N-SLI looks like one of the better nforce4 boards for converting to passive (or "passive-ish") cooling at least as far as the location of the graphics card(s) is concerned. If you have a big heatsink/fan on the first (or only) card it might take a bit of fiddling, but seems generally doable...

bookman
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Post by bookman » Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:48 pm

You can check out this passively-cooled 6600GT
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... ode=322263

The benefit of going with this Gigabyte card is that you wont void the warranty since it comes passively cooled (and overclocked) by the manufacturer.

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Sun Mar 13, 2005 3:12 pm

Yeah I'd have got that one if only it had dual DVI. I don't see why more manufacturers don't do this, as it's very easy to include an adaptor to convert a DVI-A signal to a VGA signal, while it's impossible to convert VGA to DVI-D.
Oh well at least I got the stock overclocking.

:)

carl
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Post by carl » Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:38 pm

bookman wrote:You can check out this passively-cooled 6600GT
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDe ... ode=322263

The benefit of going with this Gigabyte card is that you wont void the warranty since it comes passively cooled (and overclocked) by the manufacturer.
I'm probably going to go with the less-expensive passively cooled Gigabyte 6600 -- it costs about $120. I figure if I ever do more gaming at home I can upgrade if I need to, but I was thinking about it and don't have a need for the extra horsepower at the moment -- not for $100 extra, anyway.

I'm also thinking I'll wait on the motherboard fan replacement. Once I get everything put together I can see how much space I have to put in a heatsink, or a more quiet fan. I'm a bit nervous about just putting a system together for the first time (particularly installing the CPU and heatsink), so I'm going to keep it simple for now. The motherboard fan replacement looks to be something that can be done after the system is already put together.

Thanks everyone for all for the advice! I'm probably going to put in an order for the parts tomorrow, and hopefully have them all by the end of the week!

Carl

carl
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Re: Radeon 9700 is AGP

Post by carl » Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:41 pm

Kryten wrote:Carl,

Unless I'm mistaken, the 9700 series are all AGP cards - so you can't use them on a PCI-e board! Passively cooled PCI-e Radeon cards are harder to come by, I believe.

Kryten
I think you are right. I went and looked and the card I was considering is indeed AGP. I'm not used to this idea of PCI-express vs. AGP, so sometimes I forget to check!

Thanks again,

Carl

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:41 pm

You can replace the chipset fan after the system is set up, but be advised that you will need to remove the motherboard so it will be a lot of hassle.
Just a word to the wise.

carl
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Post by carl » Sun Mar 13, 2005 4:52 pm

meglamaniac wrote:You can replace the chipset fan after the system is set up, but be advised that you will need to remove the motherboard so it will be a lot of hassle.
Just a word to the wise.
Aw, crud. Yet another assumption of mine is bad lol. I figured I could do it while it was in the case.

Maybe I'll get the heatsink after all. I'll do a bit more research, maybe delay buying for a day or two. Thanks for the warning!

:-)

carl
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Post by carl » Sun Mar 13, 2005 5:01 pm

meglamaniac wrote:You can replace the chipset fan after the system is set up, but be advised that you will need to remove the motherboard so it will be a lot of hassle.
Just a word to the wise.
(should have put this in my last reply...)

Can you tell me one thing about your system: how are you planning on keeping everything cool? I'm wondering if I have a passive cooling system for the video card, and one for the motherboard chipset, won't that put a lot of heat into the case? Is a single 120mm fan (I'm planning on using a Nexus "Real Silent" case fan) in the rear of the case going to be enough to cool everything? I guess the CPU and the PSU have fans also, but I'm not sure how effective they are for actually cooling the inside of the case.

Are you using more than one case fan, or do you think it will be sufficient to use just one?

Thanks!

Carl

meglamaniac
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Post by meglamaniac » Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:48 am

Unfortunately I only have 80mm exit/intake vents.
I have two 80mm one at the front, which I have fitted two Nexux 80mm fans to. I have one 80mm vent at the back which also has a Nexus fan on it, and then there is the power supply which has a 120mm fan in it.
I also have a 120mm Nexus fan covering the graphics card and one on the XP-120 of course.

All of the fans except for the CPU cooler and the power supply are wired to a fan controller at the front of the case so that I can keep them undervolted but make changes if necessary, so they run very quiet.
Both the CPU fan and the power supply fan are thermally controlled.

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Post by bookman » Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:22 pm

That case can take an intake fan - so another Nexus 120 on the intake, blowing over the suspended harddrive and into the passive northbridge and video cards will be helpful. Though the case says its set for an 80MM intake fan, the pictures suggest a larger 120 mm fan will also fit.

carl
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Post by carl » Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:38 pm

bookman wrote:That case can take an intake fan - so another Nexus 120 on the intake, blowing over the suspended harddrive and into the passive northbridge and video cards will be helpful. Though the case says its set for an 80MM intake fan, the pictures suggest a larger 120 mm fan will also fit.
I just ordered three Nexus 120mm fans. Not sure if I will need the third one, but if I do I'll have it. And if I screw up modifying one of them to work with the Thermalright XP-120 heatsink (which is not unlikely), I'll have a backup... :-)

carl
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ordered today...

Post by carl » Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:39 pm

I wanted to say thanks to all those who gave me advice; I ordered my system today.

Now the waiting beings... :-)

Carl

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