New system build for hot climate

Got a shopping cart of parts that you want opinions on? Get advice from members on your planned or existing system (or upgrade).

Moderators: NeilBlanchard, Ralf Hutter, sthayashi, Lawrence Lee

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

New system build for hot climate

Post by SoftLanding » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:04 pm

I've never had a qiuet computer before, and I don't know a great deal about it.

I'm currently thinking about which components are best for a qiuet home server/workstation (I'll only need the onboard VGA).

It needs to operate in a hot climate. I get an ambient room temperature of 40C or 104F in Summer (I'm in Australia)

Here's what I've chosen so far:

Case: Antec P180
Power suply: Zalman ZM460B-APS
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (socket AM2)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M55plus-S3G
RAM: GeIL 1Gb 800MHz DDR-II Memory Kit (2 x 512Mb)
Hard drive: 400Gb Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 7200rpm S/ATA-II
DVD: LG GSA-H10ABBK
CPU cooler: Thermalright XP-120 + some 120mm fan

Does anyone know whether the XP-120 will be compatible with my motherboard? If not, is the SI-120 just as good?

Also, would the above system still be quiet in a room at 40C, assuming that the CPU is at full load?

Thanks in advance.

Howard
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:33 pm

Post by Howard » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:00 pm

The Seasonic S12 PSUs are slightly quieter than the ZM460APS IIRC.

The SI-120 performs about as well as the XP-120.

Perhaps it would be wise to go with a single stick of 1GB. That way, you can go to 2GB without hassle later on (I hear about problems with 4 DIMMs every now and then), if you find that 1GB isn't sufficient.

The HD isn't one of the quietest, but you don't have too many options at 400GB.

McBanjo
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:40 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Post by McBanjo » Thu Jun 08, 2006 1:47 pm

Some motherboard has issues with 4 sticks of ram. But even if they work you'll have to have the memorys in T2 that is a bit slower than 2 sticks in T1.
Atleast that's how it works for socket 939, should be the same for AM2
So either 1 or 2 sticks of 1Gb is recommended.

The cpu rarely works at full load but you shouldn't have a problem with that unless you overclock the cpu.

Your not considering Scythe Ninja? A little bether than both SI and XP (I think)

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Thu Jun 08, 2006 2:46 pm

Thank you Howard and McBanjo.

I will get the Scythe Ninja, as it does seem better, and a single stick of 1GB RAM sounds like a good solution (with the option of getting a second stick later on).

The S12 PSU does seem better than the Zalman, but I got a quote from a supplier who will build the system for me, and they don't stock the S12.

I'm reluctant to build the system myself, partly because I've never done it before and I don't have a lot of time, and partly because I live pretty far from any city, and if I'm missing any pieces (such as screws or bits of cable) then I'd have to order them in by post.

Does anyone know of an Australian PC supplier who can build quiet systems?

Howard
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:33 pm

Post by Howard » Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:41 pm

SoftLanding wrote:Does anyone know of an Australian PC supplier who can build quiet systems?
As far as installation goes, it's basically the same for any system, meaning any competent installer could do it. It's just the parts that are different.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Thu Jun 08, 2006 3:57 pm

Hi Howard,

I suppose what I meant is a supplier who stocks all the best quiet components, as well as being able to build them. A lot of suppliers don't have all the best quiet components which means they wouldn't be able to build a really quiet computer.

Howard
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:33 pm

Post by Howard » Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:20 pm

SoftLanding wrote:Hi Howard,

I suppose what I meant is a supplier who stocks all the best quiet components, as well as being able to build them. A lot of suppliers don't have all the best quiet components which means they wouldn't be able to build a really quiet computer.
I'm sorry, I can't help you there.

McBanjo
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:40 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Post by McBanjo » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:21 am

Don't you have a geek around? Building your own computer is more fun and most likely a lot cheaper but I wouldn't recommend you to build your first on your own. You can do it but it's probibly nicer and easier to have some help.
Create a contact-thread in this forum? There is a couple aussies here

alleycat
Posts: 740
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2002 10:32 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Post by alleycat » Fri Jun 09, 2006 6:02 am

Agree with the Seasonic and Ninja recommendations.

SoftLanding... I've sent you a PM

jaganath
Posts: 5085
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 6:55 am
Location: UK

Post by jaganath » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:06 am

I suppose what I meant is a supplier who stocks all the best quiet components
PCCaseGear is the place for quiet bits in Australia I think:

http://www.pccasegear.com/category202_1.htm

They have Nexus fans, Seasonic PSU's, Scythe Ninja heatsinks, all the standard SPCR stuff.

smilingcrow
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 1809
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:45 am
Location: At Home

Post by smilingcrow » Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:41 am

McBanjo wrote:Some motherboard has issues with 4 sticks of ram. But even if they work you'll have to have the memorys in T2 that is a bit slower than 2 sticks in T1.
Atleast that's how it works for socket 939, should be the same for AM2
So either 1 or 2 sticks of 1Gb is recommended.
On the subject of performance, don't forget that if you use a single stick of RAM you will also lose performance as K8 has a dual channel memory controller.

whoatethepies
Posts: 125
Joined: Sun May 14, 2006 5:30 am
Location: Cheshire, England

Post by whoatethepies » Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:52 pm

The Scythe Ninja isn't compatible with the AM2 socket yet unfortunatly. Apparently Scythe will have an adapted version in 3 to 5(!) months. If you can bear to live with the stock cooler for that long then you'll be able to get one. Otherwise, guess you'll have to go with the SI/XP-120..

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Sun Jun 11, 2006 1:21 am

Wow - you've all been really helpful - thanks heaps!

PC Case Gear do stock a lot of stuff - I was going to buy the PSU & heatsink from them. The only thing is they don't build systems for you - it seems to have to buy the components and build it yourself.

I think I'm going to have to take the plunge and build it myself. I think I know someone who might be able to help me - which would be good.

It's very useful to hear about the performance hit of using a single stick of RAM, and that the Ninja isn't compatible with AM2 - thanks for telling me.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:53 pm

According to this article neither the SI-120 nor the Ninja are compatible with AM2.

Is it possible to set up the system so that the fans (either just the CPU fan, or the CPU fan plus some of the case fans) change speed automatically? My laptop's fan gets faster or slower automatically, depending on the sytem load, and I wonder whether this is possible for desktop systems.

NeilBlanchard
Moderator
Posts: 7681
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Contact:

Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:59 pm

Greetings,

Seagate hard drives (the newer ones) run fairly hot. I would look to Samsung for cooler, and likely a quieter HD.

McBanjo
Posts: 671
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:40 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Post by McBanjo » Tue Jun 13, 2006 12:20 am

SoftLanding wrote:According to this article neither the SI-120 nor the Ninja are compatible with AM2.

Is it possible to set up the system so that the fans (either just the CPU fan, or the CPU fan plus some of the case fans) change speed automatically? My laptop's fan gets faster or slower automatically, depending on the sytem load, and I wonder whether this is possible for desktop systems.
Yes, it's called "fan controll" ;-)
Some motherboards has it built in but if you want a good solution you need to spend +50USD or so on a fan controll.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Tue Jun 13, 2006 6:13 pm

Seagate hard drives (the newer ones) run fairly hot. I would look to Samsung for cooler, and likely a quieter HD.
I've asked a question about this here
Yes, it's called "fan controll" Wink
Some motherboards has it built in but if you want a good solution you need to spend +50USD or so on a fan controll.
I've asked about this here

Thank you both for your replies. I'm slowly getting there :)

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:08 pm

Thanks everyone for your help so far - here's an updated spec:

Case: Antec P180B black
Power supply: Seasonic S12 500W (I can't find the 430W in Australia)
CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ (socket AM2)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-M55plus-S3G
RAM: Corsair TwinX 2Gb PC6400 DDR2-800 RAM
Hard drive: 2 x Samsung SpinPoint 250GB 7200RPM SATAII
DVD: Plextor PX-760A IDE
CPU cooler: Scythe Ninja + 120mm fan (when the AM2 version is out)

I might get a fan controller (such as the T-Balancer) later on.

I can't use an s939 Athlon because they don't have the virtualisation extensions - only AM2 chips do (as well as some Intel chips). I'm getting 2 Samsung HDs for a total of 500GB. The motherboard is the only one I can find that has integrated graphics and is full ATX sized (all the rest are micro-ATX).

I'll be running Linux & Windows under Xen.

Will this setup be quiet do you think?

Z24
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:51 am
Location: Italy
Contact:

Post by Z24 » Sat Jun 17, 2006 2:22 am

SoftLanding wrote: I'll be running Linux & Windows under Xen.
Hi, I'm building a new pc and I plan to run linux and win xp under Xen too, but I am builing my system on a 939 socket because it seems that AM2 has some performance problem with DDR2.
Do you think there is much difference in performance between Pacifica and software virtualization?

(I have just posted my next system at http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=32165)

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:18 pm

Hi, I'm building a new pc and I plan to run linux and win xp under Xen too, but I am builing my system on a 939 socket because it seems that AM2 has some performance problem with DDR2.
Do you think there is much difference in performance between Pacifica and software virtualization?
From what I understand, you won't be able to use Xen to run Windows unless you use a chip that has hadware virtualization built in. I haven't used virtualization software before, so my knowledge is scant, but I think Xen uses modified kernels to run the virtual OSes, which apparently means they run really fast (between 0-3% slower than native).

For things like Linux and FreeBSD, this isn't a problem because the kernel is open, but they're not allowed to modify Windows code so Windows won't run in this way under Xen. The only way to run Windows under Xen is to have a chip that supports hardware virtualization such as the AM2 chips and some of the Intel chips. Here is a list of all the relevant chips.

You can use other types of virtualization software, such as VMWare (e.g. you can run an instance of Windows on VMWare running on Linux). I know a few people who've done this and say it's easy, but I reckon the virtual copy of Windows will run a lot slower than it would if it were running natively, but all this can be done without having to use special hardware.

If you do want to use Xen to run Windows + Linux you may also need to get a BIOS that supports it (this is something I need to find out myself).

Howard
Posts: 275
Joined: Wed Feb 08, 2006 5:33 pm

Post by Howard » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:34 pm

If you're going to wait until the new Ninja comes out, you may as well go with Core 2 Duo.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:41 pm

If you're going to wait until the new Ninja comes out, you may as well go with Core 2 Duo.
I'm going to use the bundled AMD heatsink & fan until the new Ninja comes out. If Conroe was out before July 1 I'd buy it.

Chris Chan
Posts: 436
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:15 pm
Location: Michigan

Post by Chris Chan » Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:46 pm

Surprised nobody has pointed out this article....

Z24
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:51 am
Location: Italy
Contact:

Post by Z24 » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:33 am

SoftLanding wrote:From what I understand, you won't be able to use Xen to run Windows unless you use a chip that has hadware virtualization built in. I haven't used virtualization software before, so my knowledge is scant, but I think Xen uses modified kernels to run the virtual OSes, which apparently means they run really fast (between 0-3% slower than native).
[...]
Thank you so much! I wasn't aware of this "little" detail, I had just got preliminary info about Xen... and I thought it was like vmware.
My purpose is using Windows and Linux (running on my pc) from an old notebook via wireless, so that my notebook gets the X11 desktop into which there's a Xen window with the Windows desktop. Do you know if this is doable with Xen? (I think there would be no problems using software virtualization)

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Sun Jun 18, 2006 11:39 am

SoftLanding wrote:Hard drive: 2 x Samsung SpinPoint 250GB 7200RPM SATAII
If you're getting two just for the capacity, consider the new WD SE16 500GB -- see review posted yesterday. It's the new low noise champ.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:19 pm

Chris Chan wrote:Surprised nobody has pointed out this article....
Thanks - I read this when it came out but I'll have to read it again in detail.

I'm not too keen on performing case mods though - I'm hoping that by using the P180 I won't need to.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:26 pm

Z24 wrote:
SoftLanding wrote:From what I understand, you won't be able to use Xen to run Windows unless you use a chip that has hadware virtualization built in. I haven't used virtualization software before, so my knowledge is scant, but I think Xen uses modified kernels to run the virtual OSes, which apparently means they run really fast (between 0-3% slower than native).
[...]
Thank you so much! I wasn't aware of this "little" detail, I had just got preliminary info about Xen... and I thought it was like vmware.
My purpose is using Windows and Linux (running on my pc) from an old notebook via wireless, so that my notebook gets the X11 desktop into which there's a Xen window with the Windows desktop. Do you know if this is doable with Xen? (I think there would be no problems using software virtualization)
I'm not sure what you mean. You want to run Windows/Linux on Xen on your PC and view both from your laptop? If so, I think you can use an X-server on your laptop to connect to Linux on your Xen PC, and you can use Remote Desktop to connect to Windows on your Xen PC. You can also use VNC to view both I think.

I'm only guessing of course - I've never set it up. I recommend asking on a Xen mailing list, and there's probably documentation on this sort of thing already at the Xen site somewhere.

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:26 pm

MikeC wrote:
SoftLanding wrote:Hard drive: 2 x Samsung SpinPoint 250GB 7200RPM SATAII
If you're getting two just for the capacity, consider the new WD SE16 500GB -- see review posted yesterday. It's the new low noise champ.
That's excellent - thank you!

psiu
Posts: 1201
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2005 1:53 pm
Location: Plymouth, MI
Contact:

Post by psiu » Thu Jun 22, 2006 5:58 pm

Out of curiosity, what do you use to stay cool in the summer?

I'm assuming since you say the ambient in the room is 104 F that you don't use the A/C, it's probably hideously expensive (though it seems you might be a splendid candidate to have solar panel/windmill powering the A/C).

Do you use regular fans?

In that case, you would simply want a *quiet* computer with good noise coming out (by which I mean, no high-pitched squealy noises), since the fans would cover most computer noise.

I have a P180 right now, during the winter I ran it with just one ducted fan cooling the CPU and case, plus the videocard exhaust. In spring time as ambients went up, I ended up putting a fan on the CPU, both that and case fan were undervolted.

Now that it is full bore summer and we are too cheap to run A/C in the apartment, I have an intake, and CPU and case fan at full voltage. However, it's still a *quiet* computer, and with all the noise from outside and box fan in the window, I can't hear anything.

*** a few years ago I wouldn't have cared at all about the noise--it's still easily as quiet as any Dell or some such thing ***

I also have the case fan in my wife's computer at full voltage for summer, and I can't hear my router/firewall anymore (crap PSU, PIII dual fan cooler). And yes, I have more silencing work to do (going to add fan controls next winter and quiet down the router box).

At 40 C, you will definitely want ample airflow, you might strongly consider an intake fan (especially with the integrated video--get some air over the chipset) and an exhaust, when the Ninja is available line it up with the exhaust for maximum effect. Pick out some nice, quiet 120mm fans and see how the temps are. Depending on how much you want to fiddle with things right away, you could put off a fan controller until later (is it the middle of winter for you right now?) or just add it in now and run things undervolted until summer.

edit before even posting: for that matter, with a 40C ambient, you will definitely want some air over those hard drives, methinks. So either a fan in the lower chamber with the PSU and drives, or put the drives in the upper with a fan clipped onto the drive cage.

As far as an Aussie PC place, http://www.auspcmarket.com.au/ if I remember right they will build and test systems, Dan (of Dan's Data) recommends them.

Oh...here's a fan controller I've been eyeing for my P180 for awhile: http://www.frozencpu.com/bus-13.html pretty simple and easy to know where things are set :)

Anyway, good luck!

SoftLanding
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:44 pm

Post by SoftLanding » Thu Jun 22, 2006 7:32 pm

Thanks psiu for your helpful post.

I actually live in a shed, a large shed, but a shed nevertheless (shed living is quite common in the Australian bush). An A/C would be next to useless here because there's little insulation and a lot of draught. Because of this, the shed gets hotter than a normal house in summer. We even get the occasional 45C.

As you rightly point out, I will be using (floor) fans in summer and this will make some noise, but we only use these during the daytime, and I'll be sleeping about 5m from the PC which will have to be on all night - hence I want to keep it qiuet. On the other hand, the ambient sound is louder during summer nights because of all the buzz of insects, so perhaps I won't notice the increased PC fan noise.

As you say, it should be easy to keep it cool & quiet this time of year, but it will be interesting to see how the system fares as it gets warmer.

I'm concerned about what you said about the hard disk. I suppose I'd have to buy a temperature sensor and attach it to the HD to see exactly how hot it is. I think the limit for my HD is 55C. Perhaps I'll get an automatic fan control with sensors and attach one to the HD.

I've already ordered all the parts now and I'm waiting for them to arrive. I'll post a message when I've built it, and then again in the middle of summer when it's hot.

Post Reply