Every-Five-Years Build Advice Sought...(longwinded)

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Peter J
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Every-Five-Years Build Advice Sought...(longwinded)

Post by Peter J » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:18 am

Time for my every-five-years build! I don’t really plan it that way but that’s how it seems to work out…go figure.

I’m kinda fascinated with quiet boxes and assembling them, although my needs are modest…Office apps, photo editing, surfing, no real gaming. I like knowing I’ve got something that was orchestrated, not simply a hodge-podge of stuff.

The cutting edge is way more than I need, seems stepping back from that a few ticks gives good value for my uses. I’d like to make this one the quietest yet… I suppose the challenge of that is as interesting to me as the actual use.

Been collecting gear for the last couple of years as deals came along. Also gleaning knowledge here, but not following the industry closely leaves me feeling overwhelmed at times. Long story made short (or at least shorter!), I have some specific questions and would appreciate any comments. I hope the gurus here will take time to review and respond.

Components already owned:

Antec P180
Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R
Ninja Revision B
Enermax Modu 82+ 425 watt
Sparkle SFPX94GT512U2 Fanless GPU
2 – WD3200AAKS Caviar Blue
Asus DRW-201L1T Lightscribe DVD RW
2 x 1 GB Crucial Ballistix DDR2-800
3 - Nexus Real Quiet 120 mm case fans
3 - Yate Loon 120 mm, Nexus look-alikes but I understand they run faster?

You may have noticed no processor yet. I had in mind to use Core 2 Duo E7400, but got to reading and, well, you know how that goes…
Pentium E5200 caught my eye, with a mild overclock it looks like a real contender at about half the $$. Comments?

The biggest questions I have are how to set up cooling. I got the Ninja thinking I’d passively cool the CPU, and run case fans only, replacing the Antec fans with the Yate-Loons or Nexus.

I like the idea of a fan controller like a Scythe Kaze Master or yet-to-be-released Zalman ZM-MFC3, not because it’s really needed, it just looks like a fun toy and my bow to bling. If I go that route would the Nexus fans really make any difference, since I’m gonna slow them down anyway?

HDs will be in bottom compartment set up in Raid 1 for backup.
Would the power supply fan be adequate cooling here?
Should I mess with elastic suspension of drives rather than the cushy mounting provided?

I read lots here about abandoning the top case fan. Is that a noise factor? Eliminate redundancy?

Does it make sense to soft mount the case fans considering their likely speed?

I guess that’s about it. Any glaring oversights or crazy assumptions?
Thanks for reading if you got this far :shock:

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:00 am

Don't know that it's worth it to suspend the HD's unless you actually notice noise from them. Same with the fans, especially as you noted if they are slowed down. Though soft mounting the fans is cake compared to the HDs.

I do think the YL's running at 5V are pretty nice--usually a cost saving vs the Nexus fans. If you did that, you could mount both upper fan locations to compensate for the lower speed and probably go passive.

Maybe add a Kama Bay intake/filter (pull the fan) as well, instead of a fan controller.

Depends on ambient noise level really--I like that I went all out on my P180 this last time as I can't hear anything from it, in the basement, in the middle of the night. But in a louder environment (while still very quiet) I wouldn't notice a slight whoosh of air either. And of course the nature of the sound--hard drive clacking is obviously more intrusive than a slight sound of air moving.

edit: RAID 1 is just the mirrored one right? Would it be better to pull that one out into an external enclosure and do a weekly image (or whatever timeframe) or incremental backups every couple days? That way if you get virus/data corruption/whatever the backup isn't exactly the same? And not worried about matching the RAID hardware or software later on. Just my personal feeling on that.
R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma

Peter J
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Post by Peter J » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:08 pm

Thanks for your thoughts, psiu

As you point out, easy enough to soft mount fans, as I'm changing them anyway. I guess my (probably imagined) concerns were more about why they weren't done that way from Antec in the first place.

My goal is as quiet as I can get it without resorting to measures much in excess of what I described. Currently using a Lian Li Quiet case with Seagates, the ridgid mount HDs don't seem to bother me as much as the constant whooshing drone of fans, not that loud compared to others I've heard and owned, but annoying in it's constancy.

Your point is well taken on the external drive, I actually do that now, but am not very consistant in my backups. I was thinking the passive nature of the RAID setup might be better. Never had a catastrophic loss of info, knock on wood, or I might feel differently. I'm pretty vigilant about virus protection and keeping a "clean house", so to speak.

jessekopelman
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Re: Every-Five-Years Build Advice Sought...(longwinded)

Post by jessekopelman » Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:47 pm

Peter J wrote: Pentium E5200 caught my eye, with a mild overclock it looks like a real contender at about half the $$. Comments?
Yeah, I think if you are interested in doing an overclock, this one is the right choice. I'd consider the new Wolfdale E6300, as well. Not much more money gets you a higher base clock and virtualization support. Virtualization support is probably useless to you now, but with a 5-year use window . . . The higher FSB of the chip actually might make it a bit harder to overclock, though.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Sun Jun 28, 2009 1:55 pm

Peter J wrote:Currently using a Lian Li Quiet case with Seagates, the ridgid mount HDs don't seem to bother me as much as the constant whooshing drone of fans, not that loud compared to others I've heard and owned, but annoying in it's constancy.
Are you sure that's the fans you are hearing and not the HDD? 7200RPM drives make a very audible whoosh when spinning. I spent a lot of time messing around with my various fans before I realized it was actually the HDD that I was hearing from 6ft away. And this is the (quiet for its day) WD3200KS, mounted on silicon grommets, I'm talking about. Seagates (especially the 7200.7-9 vintage) tend to be the loudest of the 7200RPM drives, too.

Peter J
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Post by Peter J » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:28 pm

Yeah, I think if you are interested in doing an overclock, this one is the right choice. I'd consider the new Wolfdale E6300, as well. Not much more money gets you a higher base clock and virtualization support. Virtualization support is probably useless to you now, but with a 5-year use window . . . The higher FSB of the chip actually might make it a bit harder to overclock, though.
I've never done an overclock or had much interest, but a review I stumbled onto suggested the E5200 was a good candidate for what they called a "free" overclock, which if I understand it right, is raising clock speed without messing with voltages. This Gigabyte mobo looks like it would be an easy task even for a virgin. :D

I'm pretty certain it's fan noise I'm hearing, 3 - 80 mm case fans running full out + PSU fan. This case was before bigger slower fans were common, which seems to have reduced fan noise significantly.

Trav1s
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Post by Trav1s » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:50 pm

I have an e5200 in my current office system and it is very easy to lightly overclock. Temp difference are minimal with the FSB bumped up from 200 to 215 or even 220. I am impressed with the difference between the e5200 and the e2200 in a machine at home.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:31 pm

Actually the upper fan in a P18x series would be more difficult to suspend (even though really, it's the one that needs it the most) because of the tabs in the earlier models, and the P183 changed things more.

If you're not squeamish it's a pretty easy mod though, just line things up twice before making any holes.
R.I.P. Felger Carbon & cpemma

alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:37 pm

The fan in the PSU will easily cool your hard drives, no extra fans needed here. You won't be needing the top case fan, so that exhaust hole should be blocked off. Intake fans are also unnecessary; I never use them.

I've got an E5300, but if I were buying today, I'd get the E6300. As for cooling, I've got a fanless Ninja Mini (with bolt-through kit) and just a single fan as rear exhaust, running at the lowest setting on a Fanmate. The CPU easily stays cool under full load. I recommend getting a heatsink that can be used with a bolt-through kit. Other options here are the HR-01 Plus, and Noctua NH-U12P. I just built a system for a friend with the HR-01 Plus, and I quite like it. You'd have absolutely no problems if you wanted to overclock. If you've already got the Ninja B, then you'll need one of the Xigmatek bolt-through kits.

In summary, apart from the PSU, you only need one fan in your system. Either Nexus or YL on rear exhaust and connected to CPU fan header on the MB. I'm pretty sure that your MB supports both voltage and PWM fan control, selectable in BIOS. You'll end up with simple, quiet system.

Finally, from experience I've usually found the amount of RAM to be the major limiting factor when it comes to the PC's longevity. I'd recommend getting 4GB now if you can afford it.

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:11 pm

Peter J wrote: I'm pretty certain it's fan noise I'm hearing, 3 - 80 mm case fans running full out + PSU fan. This case was before bigger slower fans were common, which seems to have reduced fan noise significantly.
Ok. No doubt that 3X 80mm fans at full will be noisy!

jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Mon Jun 29, 2009 12:19 pm

alleycat wrote: Finally, from experience I've usually found the amount of RAM to be the major limiting factor when it comes to the PC's longevity. I'd recommend getting 4GB now if you can afford it.
Not disagreeing with you, but RAM is pretty much the easiest thing to upgrade. No files to back up, drivers to install, or even TIM to mess with. I think I've upgraded the RAM in every PC I've ever owned in the post DOS era. If you are going to keep a system for 5 years, I think it is almost obligatory to upgrade the RAM at some point. So, my advice is to not buy what you think will last 5 years, but buy what is adequate now and plan on upgrading in the future. Buying 4GB today and upgrading to 8GB in two years is cheaper than buying 8GB today -- especially so if the upgrade just involves adding modules. I think you can still do fine with just 2GB, for a normal desktop, but the price to to step up to 4 GB is so low you might as well start there.

danimal
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Post by danimal » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:37 pm

it looks like you have some great parts already!

i would stick with a fan on the cooler, running at a really low rpm, so you won't be able to hear it... fans inside the case are going to be quieter than fans on the surface of the case.

same thing applies to the fan in the lower compartment... many people think that removing it will be quieter, but that's not logical, because then the power supply fan has to do all of the work that the compartment fan was doing... the worst case scenario is a small fan at the back grill of the power supply.

use the fan location that's the quietest.

qviri
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Post by qviri » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:10 pm

jessekopelman wrote:Buying 4GB today and upgrading to 8GB in two years is cheaper than buying 8GB today -- especially so if the upgrade just involves adding modules.
Bear in mind that the OP's motherboard is DDR2. If DDR prices are any indication, by the time 8 GB goes mainstream, DDR2 will be twice as expensive per GB as DDR3, which might put a damper on an upgrade somewhat.
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alleycat
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Post by alleycat » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:24 pm

Jesse, you could be right, however I have been caught out in the past where supplies of a particular type of memory have dried up and the costs increased once the industry had moved on. With memory being cheap these days, I just fill the computer with as much memory as I can and enjoy it from the start.
i would stick with a fan on the cooler
It's really not necessary with that CPU/heatsink combo.
the power supply fan has to do all of the work that the compartment fan was doing... the worst case scenario is a small fan at the back grill of the power supply
Unless you're suggesting removing the PSU fan and placing it elsewhere, there's not much that can be done about this. Also, cooling 2 HDDs is not much work.

ACook
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Post by ACook » Mon Jun 29, 2009 6:44 pm

even cooling 4 hd's can be done without a fan in the bottom.

you're not going to run the hd's constantly defragging them or whatever.

sure, they won't be 30C, but 45C is perfectly fine as well.

(4x 1tb samsung)

the board is a breeze to oc btw. certainly wiht one of the lower c2d models, getting a 10-15% OC is easily done, even with a slight undervolt sometimes.
[size=75]Antec P182 | Seasonic S12II-380W | Asus EAH3450/HTP/512M
Asus M3A-H/HDMI | AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E @ +5% | Ninja Rev B
Sony-NEC AD-7200S & Lite On LH-20A1H | Samsung HD501LJ & 4x F1 1TB.
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Peter J
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Post by Peter J » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:45 pm

Thanks for all the responces, just what I'm looking for.

Since I have the fans already, and I'm curious, and well, I think they just look cool, I'm gonna run a fan controller / temp display. I'll be interested to see how fan speed (or no fan) affects temps and noise. It's research, mind you, I got this need to know...

and need for a plaything, truth be told.

Figure I'll save on the processor and splurge on this gizmo. Any favorites or duds you steer clear of? At one time had rudimentary version in current case, a Silverstone I think, it was mostly a POS and found it's way to daughter's garage sale.

Y'all got me thinkin' on more RAM. Most of this stuff was purchased when a deal popped up so I'd just spend a little here and there. I bet I've had it for a year, and it seemed like plenty at the time...you know the drill.

I'm almost ready to jump on the E5200, could always move up later, if need be.

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Post by LodeHacker » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:50 pm

Peter J wrote:I'm almost ready to jump on the E5200, could always move up later, if need be.
Sounds like you are going to stick with this new PC for a long time and Windows 7 is almost around the corner, maybe you want to take your new CPU choice up to something like the Pentium Dual-Core E6300 with Intel Virtualization Technology support? You won't miss out on Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 then :mrgreen:
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Peter J
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Post by Peter J » Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:40 am

From what I've read, it's likely Windows 7 is to Vista what XP was to Windows ME. I jumped from '98 to XP, never got on board with Vista. So, if history repeats, I'll get on the 7 train.

I've read about actualization, but don't really know the practical aspects of not having vs. having. Can you shed some light for me?[/quote]

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Post by Trav1s » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:08 am

I have run Win7 on several systems (one AMD and one Intel) with similar specs. It runs great on an e2200 with 2 gigs of ram but moving up to 4 gigs in that machine on in the AMD HTPC makes an incredible difference. With the cheap price of DDR2 I would HIGHLY suggest upping RAM to 4 gigs. :wink:

LodeHacker
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Post by LodeHacker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:19 am

Peter J wrote:From what I've read, it's likely Windows 7 is to Vista what XP was to Windows ME. I jumped from '98 to XP, never got on board with Vista. So, if history repeats, I'll get on the 7 train.

I've read about actualization, but don't really know the practical aspects of not having vs. having. Can you shed some light for me?
Personally I haven't touched Windows 7 yet, only seen screenshots and read what others have to say about it. Maybe this article will help you understand what I am talking about: http://www.withinwindows.com/2009/04/24 ... windows-7/

Basically it allows you to run any Windows XP application within Windows 7 with an Intel VT or AMD-V enabled CPU. It's not available in all Windows 7 versions though, think carefully before making a conclusion.
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jessekopelman
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Post by jessekopelman » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:37 pm

qviri wrote:
jessekopelman wrote:Buying 4GB today and upgrading to 8GB in two years is cheaper than buying 8GB today -- especially so if the upgrade just involves adding modules.
Bear in mind that the OP's motherboard is DDR2. If DDR prices are any indication, by the time 8 GB goes mainstream, DDR2 will be twice as expensive per GB as DDR3, which might put a damper on an upgrade somewhat.
But the issue is not DDR2 2yrs from now vs. DDR3 2yrs from now, it is DDR2 2yrs from now vs. DDR2 today. I actually bought some RDRAM for a 3yr old system, a couple of years ago. It was expensive as hell compared to SDRAM and especially DDR, but it was still a lot cheaper than it was at the time I bought the original computer . . .

LodeHacker
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Post by LodeHacker » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:43 pm

At least here DDR2 and DDR3 cost about the same; upgrading a motherboard with support for either type of RAM will not have an effect on total price. How's the situation there?
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Post by danimal » Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:44 pm

alleycat wrote: It's really not necessary with that CPU/heatsink combo.
i bet that i can make that combo work hard enough to require a fan :-)

how serious is the photo editing?
alleycat wrote: Unless you're suggesting removing the PSU fan and placing it elsewhere, there's not much that can be done about this. Also, cooling 2 HDDs is not much work.
it's not all about the hdds, it's more about preventing the p.s. fan from ramping up... making the loudest fan do all the work is not good for silent computing.

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Post by Rewdoalb » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:22 am

LodeHacker wrote:At least here DDR2 and DDR3 cost about the same; upgrading a motherboard with support for either type of RAM will not have an effect on total price. How's the situation there?
DDR2 is still cheaper although that's changing as DDR3 drops.

If this was a DDR3 system I would stick with 4GB or less and upgrade as the price drops. Since it's DDR2, MINIMUM 4GB. 4 or 8. There's no reason to upgrade later if the price is only going to go up, and if he wants the system to last 5 years, possibly Windows 7 x64, there's really no reason to be skimpy on memory.

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Post by Trav1s » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:38 am

Rewdoalb wrote:
LodeHacker wrote:At least here DDR2 and DDR3 cost about the same; upgrading a motherboard with support for either type of RAM will not have an effect on total price. How's the situation there?
DDR2 is still cheaper although that's changing as DDR3 drops.

If this was a DDR3 system I would stick with 4GB or less and upgrade as the price drops. Since it's DDR2, MINIMUM 4GB. 4 or 8. There's no reason to upgrade later if the price is only going to go up, and if he wants the system to last 5 years, possibly Windows 7 x64, there's really no reason to be skimpy on memory.
My thoughts exactly... At this time I would load it up with DDR2 and be done with it. Win7 with 4 gigs is impressive... 8 gigs would be downright awesome.

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Post by Peter J » Wed Jul 01, 2009 4:44 pm

Basically it allows you to run any Windows XP application within Windows 7 with an Intel VT or AMD-V enabled CPU. It's not available in all Windows 7 versions though, think carefully before making a conclusion
Thanks for the link, that's certainly worth knowing. It also nixes the E5200 'cuz it's a likely scenario given I just pre-purchased Win7, which is way outside my normal MO, but stranger things have happened, I suppose. The Pentium E6300 has taken it's place for budget choice, I'm still on the fence.

The ram advocates will be glad to know I'm putting in 4gb right out of the chute. I'll show my age here a little and tell you I remember when 1 gb was a big hard drive...and dinosaurs roamed the earth...

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Post by alleycat » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:25 pm

I remember being impressed with a 20MB hard drive, and it cost a fortune.

croddie
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Re: Every-Five-Years Build Advice Sought...(longwinded)

Post by croddie » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:50 pm

Peter J wrote:You may have noticed no processor yet. I had in mind to use Core 2 Duo E7400, but got to reading and, well, you know how that goes…
Pentium E5200 caught my eye, with a mild overclock it looks like a real contender at about half the $$. Comments?
No need to overclock, especially since you are coming from an old system. Intel has well-designed default clock and power management. E7400 will be fast.

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Post by jessekopelman » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:51 pm

alleycat wrote:I remember being impressed with a 20MB hard drive, and it cost a fortune.
My first computer, from 1988, had a 20MB HDD. I think it was around a $300 component back then. I think 1MB of RAM cost almost as much. Anyway, what's interesting is I remember looking at someone's old computer magazine collection and seeing the ads in a 1985 issue for 5MB HDD for like $2,000! Of course, considering that in 1985 the only HDD most people had ever encountered were 500+lb iron core drums attached to file servers, to be able to get something you could actually hold in a single hand must have seemed an astounding feat at just about any price.

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Post by danimal » Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:55 am

i used to work at kaypro.

who remembers those computers, lol

there was a huge shortage of those big floppy disk drives at the time :-/

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