Just another new system (help with motherboard mostly)

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K9-Cop
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:09 am
Location: Canada

Just another new system (help with motherboard mostly)

Post by K9-Cop » Sat Sep 16, 2006 2:34 pm

Just to clear something up before we get to far. I generally don't overclock or mod my computers, so I'm looking for out-of-box solutions, as opposed to "this would work if you took your computer apart and put it back together again with duct tape", hehe. Also, my main computer use (besides web browsing) is playing Half-Life 2, several of its mods, and all the episodes as they come out. So my computer will need to be able to handle it.

CPU: Core 2 Duo E6600
Motherboard: Asus A5NSli
RAM: Kingston ValueRAM DDR2-667 2GB Kit PC-5300 (KVR667D2N5K2/2G)
Graphics: XFX 7950GT (overclocked model)
Hard Drive: Samsung Spinpoint T Series 400GB SATA2 7200RPM 16MB 8.9MS
Optical Drive: Pioneer DVR-111D (its a dual cd/dvd read/burner)
Sound Card: Soundblaster Audigy 4 SE
Power Supply: SeaSonic S12-500HT 500W
Case: Antec Solo

(Updated to include new PSU/Case)
(Updated to include mobo/ram and to delete blurb below)
(Updated to include new ram/graphics/sound card)

Thanks for your thoughts.
Last edited by K9-Cop on Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:36 pm, edited 6 times in total.

Yeti
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:56 pm

Post by Yeti » Sat Sep 16, 2006 3:49 pm

Great setup so far, it's very similar to mine except that mines is a couple of notches lower on the CPU and Video Card - E6300 and the passive 7600GT.

I got my P180b for $99 shipped here embedded long URL

If you don't mind the slightly larger size, I highly recommend this one. It's cheaper than most P150s I've seen out there. And I've heard enough commotion over the NeoHE PSU included in the P150 to avoid it. It's a shame, as I love the color & finish on that case!

For the motherboard, I'm exactly in your situation. All I need a straightforward, no frills board. I may overclock the CPU at some point in the future, but really, it's not important. Most of the boards I'm seeing from ASUS are ridiculously priced. This is why I may still go for AM2.

On power consumption, the Conroe outshines AMD on full load. It's something to consider:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/di ... ut_11.html


On RAM, I'm pretty disgusted by the recent price hikes, but I've been thinking seriously on this pair of Crucial Ballistix http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820146565

which has the same timings as the Corsair you posted. I'm no RAM expert by any means, so I'll defer to anyone to correct me, but if you're willing to deal with the $100 MIR, this may be the best deal out now.


I didn't know there was a passive-cooled 79xx. You can't go wrong with that, since going by your stated usage, that card should eat up that game!
I don't believe in buying the latest & greatest video card because developers will never max out the GPU's abilities like they do on consoles, and my gaming needs are casual compared to everyone else.

You may not want to rule out the silent 7600GT which is only $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125025

See how it stacks up against the higher end cards with Half Life 2 here http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/ ... gt_10.html

Let us know how it goes.

Dave S
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Post by Dave S » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:34 pm

If you like the 150, but can accept black, no PSU, and no stealth drive bays, the Antec Solo is the same case.

The price on that memory is about $100 less than I just paid :-(

Dave S
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2006 3:19 pm
Location: Upstate NY

Post by Dave S » Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:48 pm

Sorry: the price on the memory that Yeti posted is $100 less than I paid at crucial.com this week. The newegg price is a good deal.

K9-Cop
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:09 am
Location: Canada

Post by K9-Cop » Sun Sep 17, 2006 5:25 am

Ok, so I've updated to include a new psu/case. Mostly this is because of concerns around the Neo430. I also discovered that if I ever intend to run this comp in SLI mode, I need the dual pciE power connectors. Lots of PSU's don't have them. So while I don't need the extra 70W, I went with the highly-rated Seasonic 500HT.

Ironically, the result is actually about $50 more expensive. To give you a quick run-down on the prices I can get here in Canada...

P150 (with psu) = $170
P180 (without psu) = $160
Solo (without psu) = $100
Seasonic 500HT = $120.


As for RAM, slightly cheaper alternatives include the non-pro version of the same corsair ram (the difference is no LED's, and no special aluminum heatsink). Its $30 cheaper. There's also Kingston HyperX PC2-6400 2X1GB DDR2 800MHZ CL4-4-4-12, which is $25 cheaper. Note, all of these are part of the Nvidia EPP program which is better for me, the non-overclocker. Of course, if you can find non-EPP that is just as fast for less that would be an option too.

MrDisco
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:09 pm

Post by MrDisco » Sun Sep 17, 2006 8:04 pm

K9-Cop wrote: Ironically, the result is actually about $50 more expensive. To give you a quick run-down on the prices I can get here in Canada...

P150 (with psu) = $170
P180 (without psu) = $160
Solo (without psu) = $100
Seasonic 500HT = $120.
I have the P180 black and it came to $135 (before tax). I strongly recommend you check out directcanada. same owners as ncix but better prices and free shipping (for now).

for motherboard i'm leaning towards the asus p5w dh (also on sale there). it seems to be pretty highly rated. for ram frankly i'm waiting as the latest price hikes have just been ugly. let them boost production and get prices back in line and then i'll pick up sticks. i want either mushkin xp 6400 or those corsair sticks you posted.

what is the nvidia epp program?

jaQa
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:58 am
Location: Koblenz, Germany

Post by jaQa » Mon Sep 18, 2006 2:07 am

Hi,

since you don't intend to overclock the type of RAM and motherboard
is not really important.

Different RAM (DDR 533/667/800) doesn't influence performance much (max. 5% difference between 533 and 800 depending on application).
And all those motherboard chipsets (945/965/975/VIA 8xx/Intel 570) also perform more or less on par (max. 3% difference).

Even if you opt for the cheapest RAM and motherboard you can find the PC will handle Half-Life 2 with ease.
If you play HL2 with 180FPS or 165FPS doesn't really matter does it?

The bottleneck in gaming will be the graphics card, if you look around
reviews of Core2Duo @ sites like Anandtech/TomsHardware you'll see that
most games are graphics card limited when you enable 4xAA (Antialiasing) and 16xAF (Texture Filtering) in resolution 1024x786 and higher.
I don't say that your graphics card choice is bad, the Nvidia card is probably the best passive card one can get, but highend RAM and motherboard aren't worth the price with this configuration since you won't notice the difference anyway.

To recommend some parts:
Motherboards:
Gigabyte 965 DS3
Asus P5B (the non deluxe)

RAM:
Value RAM is fine, DDR 667 or 800 - nothing fancy for extra $ .. ok, you can pay 100$ extra for 3% performance difference if you like .. but ...
i think you got the point ..
If you get a Nvidia chipset based motherboard get DDR 800 since Nvidia chipsets scale better with faster RAM, or to say it more correct:
They perform not as good as other chipsets with slower RAM.

About SLI:
SLI only makes sense if you want to play @ very high resolution (1600x1200) and above with all eyecandy. Besides this, putting 2 higher end passive video cards into the case will probably result into thermal issues (extra case fans needed).
There will always be a single card solution which is able to manage any game out there. SLI is an invention to give people with lots of money a chance to spend it :)
800$ for a high end SLI combo - LOL - i build an entire PC with that and be fine.

Christian

NyteOwl
Posts: 536
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:09 pm
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

Post by NyteOwl » Mon Sep 18, 2006 10:07 am

If you like the 150, but can accept black, no PSU, and no stealth drive bays, the Antec Solo is the same case.
And if you want all black, the Atlas is also the same case with a few of differences:

- different front bezel
- no drive dampeners
- no dampening sheet on the side panels
- has a side vent/duct
- comes with a Truepower 2.0 550 PSU
Obsolesence is just a lack of imagination!

K9-Cop
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:09 am
Location: Canada

Post by K9-Cop » Mon Sep 18, 2006 1:46 pm

what is the nvidia epp program?
Like lots of things there is a standard for Ram specs. Nvidia has extended that standard a little bit and called it EPP. If you buy a motherboard and ram thats compatible, then the ram will automatically start at slightly faster settings, without any manual overclocking.
Different RAM (DDR 533/667/800) doesn't influence performance much (max. 5% difference between 533 and 800 depending on application).
Yah, I've been reading about the memory issues too. http://www.xbitlabs.com has a couple of articles on choosing memory for Core 2 Duo, and the first one touches on this. Its basically saying that at the default FSB of 266mhz, getting anything more than drr-533 will see only limited returns (the 5% you quoted). If you get the FSB up to 400mhz (which they seem to think you can do real easy in one go) then ddr2-800 becomes more of an option. And they agreed with you that the latency of the memory makes little difference.
About SLI: SLI only makes sense if you want to play @ very high resolution (1600x1200) and above with all eyecandy. Besides this, putting 2 higher end passive video cards into the case will probably result into thermal issues (extra case fans needed). There will always be a single card solution which is able to manage any game out there. SLI is an invention to give people with lots of money a chance to spend it Smile
800$ for a high end SLI combo - LOL - i build an entire PC with that and be fine.
Oh, I agree 100%! The idea is basically, I buy this relatively high-end card now (which has the advantage of being passive), and then a year or two from now I can buy another one considerably cheaper. Or not. Whichever. At any rate, I'd like a mobo that's SLI capable to give me the option. Come to think of it, if thats what I'm doing, then why should I really care about ensuring I have two 16x pciE slots with the nvidia 590? Meh, I think you've convinced me to go with something else.

I think I like the looks of the Asus P5NSli. It has limited overclocking ability and doesn't seem to easily take ddr2-800 ram, so that means I'll change to some Mushkin ram. Its a lot cheaper, and as discussed above, doesn't make that much difference performance wise anyways.
I strongly recommend you check out directcanada.
Wow! Are you ever right. I searched google for Canadian computer companies but never ran across them. Thanks, thats going to save me a pile of cash. Actually, adding up real quickly and its around $120 CAD (not including the 6% tax savings on top). Cool.

I'm just disappointed they don't have the Solo or xfx 7950 gt in stock. They're both on my wish list though, so maybe they'll get them in. :)

jaQa
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:58 am
Location: Koblenz, Germany

Post by jaQa » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:49 am

Hi again,

the Asus P5NSli is a nice board for the price!
About the xbitlabs article - they compare memory performance on the Intel 975 chipset - it's representive for all Intel chipsets but on the Nvidia 570 chipset the situation is a little different -> http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2820&p=1
Still no major difference between DDR533/DDR800, but it's bigger than on the Intel chipsets.

Christian

MrDisco
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2006 7:09 pm

Post by MrDisco » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:59 pm

K9-Cop wrote:Wow! Are you ever right. I searched google for Canadian computer companies but never ran across them. Thanks, thats going to save me a pile of cash. Actually, adding up real quickly and its around $120 CAD (not including the 6% tax savings on top). Cool.

I'm just disappointed they don't have the Solo or xfx 7950 gt in stock. They're both on my wish list though, so maybe they'll get them in. :)
yeah they just started about a month ago and are owned by netlink. same service as ncix, similar shipping methods, etc. i've already ordered my case, cpu, and psu from them so i'm really pleased. the only negative with them is that they dont price match and they have little stock (and you can't order out of stock items)

nvidia epp: oh is that there new SLI branded RAM? i read they're using the space in the spd area to clock validated memory faster.

K9-Cop
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:09 am
Location: Canada

Post by K9-Cop » Wed Sep 20, 2006 12:44 pm

MrDisco wrote:nvidia epp: oh is that there new SLI branded RAM? i read they're using the space in the spd area to clock validated memory faster.
Yep, that's it precisely. Seeing as though I'm going for a P5NSli mobo now, though, there wouldn't be much point in EPP branded ram. I'm just going to get some compatible ddr2-667 ram and be done with it. At least, whenever directcanada/ncix gets my vid card in stock.

K9-Cop
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:09 am
Location: Canada

Post by K9-Cop » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:58 pm

Ok, so I went and had a look and wouldn't you know it but the overclocked version of my video card is now in stock at DirectCanada. The ram isn't, but I can buy that separately from http://www.CanadaComputers.com at a decent price. So new questions now, since I'm about ready to buy.



HOW DO I COOL THIS COMPUTER??? LOL (Sorry for the caps.)

To summarize we have:

Passively cooled graphics card
Passively cooled mobo chipset
Actively cooled PSU.
I assume the cpu comes with a stock fan?
One TriCool fan mounted at the back (comes with the Solo)
All sitting inside a pretty good case in the Antec Solo.

Ignoring SLI (I won't be runing that for a while yet) what would you suggest? Should I consider passive cooling the cpu? What fans do I need, if any, and where to put them, hehe.

(I've never built my own comp before, but I don't mind a bit of a challenge.)

Again, thanks for all the feedback!

jaQa
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 7:58 am
Location: Koblenz, Germany

Post by jaQa » Tue Sep 26, 2006 12:06 am

Hi,

i little late, but better late than never.
What fans do I need, if any, and where to put them, hehe.
To make it short, you probably will get away with one 120mm fan at the top-back of the case, you don't need intake fans at the front since the fan at the back will generate a negative pressure inside your case so air will move into the case from the front/side anyway.

The only situation a front intake fan might be benificial is when you can place one directly in front of the harddrive, this will give your harddrive i little more "dedicated" airflow and will cool it a little better. But you only need to do this if youre not happy with you harddrive temperatures.

Check out the software "Everest Home Edition", its a system diagnostic tool with which you can read out the temperatures of the CPU/Motherboard/HD's etc. ..

Some save temperatus for your components are:
Core2Duo - up to about 65°C under load

XFX 7950GT - graphics cards can get pretty hot these days, 70-90°C is not unusual for a passive card, don't be to too concerned about it, they are designed to survive this

Samsung HD - up to 50°C is save - but if it runs that hot all the time (in idle) I would give it dedicated airflow - my Samsung 250GB runs at 39° idle and up to 43°C when stressed (e.g. defragmentation).
I assume the cpu comes with a stock fan?
Yes it does, you might get away with it, stock coolers aren't designed to be
quiet, the Intel stock cooler might be quiet when the CPU is idle but under load it'll ramp up in speed and get pretty noisy.
Should I consider passive cooling the cpu?
Passive cooling, i would say NO. I've once cooled my AMD 3200+ passivly with the Scythe Ninja, it reached about 62°C during gaming which i didn't like, after mouting the supplied 120mm fan @ 5V on the cooler the CPU never exceeded 54°C. Conclusion - even very little airflow will drop CPU temps considerably - the 120mm fan @ 5V is inaudible so there's no point not to use it.

Christian

ninethirty
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:55 am

Post by ninethirty » Tue Sep 26, 2006 2:38 pm

Do you need a 500W PSU for that? I don't know much about the video card, but the CPU and HD are very low-power. Normally, the Seasonic 380 seems to be far more than enough for a Core 2 Duo build.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, of course.

K9-Cop
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:09 am
Location: Canada

Post by K9-Cop » Fri Oct 20, 2006 6:10 pm

Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate all the help.

POST-BUILD UPDATE:

I went with the build in my first post. As far as fans go, I have the 120mm Antec Tricool set to low at the rear, and I went with two 92mm Nexus real silent fans at the front intake. This was to provide better airflow to my gpu with little noise impact, as opposed to increasing the Tricool to medium speed.

I went with the 500w psu simply because I may eventually go SLI and/or overclock the cpu so I want to be guaranteed I've got the power.

I would say it has been very successful. Since it was my first build I went very slowly, so it took about 7 hours. However, as a result, I've had zero problems. To this point the only minor annoyance has been the Audigy card. I wish it hooked up to my front-case speaker/headphone jacks. Creative has a proprietary thing on their cards that are specific to Dell cases, and there is really no easy way to hook it up to my case.

As for temps, when I'm just sitting here browsing the web the mobo is around 35C and the cpu is around 48C. If its warmer than you'd expect its probably because the north-bridge on the asus p5nsli while passively cooled also runs very hot, and sits very close to the cpu, and the gpu for that matter. Thus its keeping things a little on the warm side. Interestingly, if I hop out of a game like Day of Defeat:Source and check my temps, the mobo seems to be around 42C and the cpu around 55C. I'm certainly not pushing the cpu with this setup.

POST-BUILD QUESTIONS:

So my computer is definitely very quiet. However, I think I could do even better if I replaced the stock cooling on the cpu. I think at this point its the cpu that is the nosiest component. Perhaps thats because I'm hearing it varying its speed? Again, while I'm sitting here web browsing it tends to sit around 1500rpm, and then gets up to around 1700rpm while I'm playing Dod:S.

I guess there are two real options. One is a tower heatsink of some sort. This will more or less be right in front of my rear case fan (about 1-2 inches away). That means heat from the gpu will be passed through the cpu heatsink and out via the rear case fan. If I went with this sort of setup would I still need a 120mm cpu fan? (probably oriented downwards in this setup?)

The other option would be something smaller. I would be thinking something like the Themalright XP-120. This wouldn't be blocking the rear fan. Again, I'd probably orient it downward to help cool the extra hot northbridge, but that may also suck in some heat from the gpu. So I'm not sure.

Then again, surely its no the psu?? Tell me what you think!

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