Please comment on these specs for quiet system

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tadwick
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:21 am

Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by tadwick » Mon Dec 27, 2010 10:05 am

I got the following specs from a local computer store after I asked for a basic but quiet system with Windows 7 as primary OS and various VMs for development in various Windows/Linux environments. I would appreciate any opinions on the parts from both a noise and performance perspective. Some specific questions I have are:

1. Is 60GB enough for Windows 7 and all the inevitable service packs etc.
2. Assuming 60GB is plenty for the boot drive is it worth trying to squeeze a 20GB linux VM on the boot drive as well or should I just leave it on the Seagate?
3. Is 4GB RAM enough for Windows 7 and a couple of 1GB VMs?
4. Is there another case you'd also recommend?
5. Would a Seasonic X-400FL (400W fanless) PS put out enough power for this system?
6. Is the Radeon adequate or overkill for my basic graphics needs?

Thanks,

-----------------------------------------------
Boot - Corsair F60GB SSD
Data - Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB HDD

CPU - Intel i5 960 + Corsair A50 fan
MB - Asus P7P55D-E LX
RAM - OCZ DDR3-1333 2x2GB
Case - Fractal R3
PS - Seasonic M12II 520W
GPU - Asus Radeon 5450
-----------------------------------------------

RoGuE
Posts: 540
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Location: Massachusetts, USA
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Re: Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by RoGuE » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:29 am

1. Yes, 60 gigs is plenty for windows 7 and future updates. However, it doesn't leave you a whole lot of room for other stuff to be perfectly honest. I read that SSD's drop in speed if you fill them up entirely...I'm not sure if that's true anymore since the technology is changing rapidly, but I don't doubt it still holds some water. If you restrict your boot drive to windows, and a few commonly used applications, you should have plenty of room.

2. It's hard to say if you'd have enough room for your 20gig VM. If it's really important to you, I would suggest an 80gig SSD and then you won't have to worry about filling it, so long as you don't put too much besides your OS and VM. It's been my experience that your boot drive tends to fill up with misc items over some time, even if you're vary good about saving only to your storage drive. It's for this reason I don't think you'd want to squeeze it on a 60gig SSD.

3. I have 4 gigs installed on my win 7 x64 machine. At idle, my OS and several lightweight applications consume about 30%, or a little over a gig. If you run 2x 1gb VM's you should be able to stay under that limit. I would start with 4, and if you notice any lag due to writing to a page file, add in some more ram.

4. Don't know much about that case, but it seems to be in Antec p183 territory. Not sure if it's that expensive, but if it is, you're probably better off with the antec in terms of quietness. I don't like cases with side fans.

5. The seasonic 400W will be more than enough to feed this machine. It's when you start getting into overclocked graphics cards that you really begin to draw more power from the wall.

6. I'd say that graphics card is adequate for your needs. A brief price check shows that it's in the sub 50 bucks territory, which is about right considering you don't need it to do any crunching. As a blanket statement, get the best graphics card you can for under 40-50 bucks. Not all cards with the same chipset are equal by the way...look for the biggest heatsink you fan find, with the most thermal mass. You definitely want to keep the card passively cooled. Also, I wouldn't rule out Nvidia..I like their drivers a LOT more than ATI's.

HFat
Posts: 1753
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Location: Switzerland

Re: Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by HFat » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:39 am

You don't state your needs. For what I'd call a "basic" system, the gear would be seriously overkill but running 2 VMs on top of Windows is hardly what I'd call "basic". Care to elaborate?
tadwick wrote:1. Is 60GB enough for Windows 7 and all the inevitable service packs etc.
2. Assuming 60GB is plenty for the boot drive is it worth trying to squeeze a 20GB linux VM on the boot drive as well
yes
yes, depending

It might be worthwhile to go for a Crucial SSD instead. It seems people are less likely to have issues with these. Or you could go for a higher capacity Intel. It's somewhat slower but should be enough given your unspecified requirements.
tadwick wrote:3. Is 4GB RAM enough for Windows 7 and a couple of 1GB VMs?
yes
tadwick wrote:CPU - Intel i5 960 + Corsair A50 fan
MB - Asus P7P55D-E LX
I don't know what prices are like for you but I'd only buy this used or heavily discounted. You may well have access to better gear within a month...

speedkar9
Posts: 307
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:39 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by speedkar9 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:37 pm

CPU - Intel i5 960 + Corsair A50 fan
Since when did they make an i5 960? If you meant the Socket 1366 i7 960, that won't work on the stated Asus P7P55D-E LX Socket 1156 motherboard.
A Scythe Mugen 2 or Ninja might be a better choice for the cooler.

Since your only looking at putting 2 hard drives in the case, you can go for the smaller and easier to silence Antec Solo case.
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=60019]Antec 302-S Project[/url]
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=516201#516201]Solo PC with flipped PSU & Mobo[/url]
[url=http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=59157]Basement PC flipped and converted[/url]

[img]http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/9425/img0230copy.jpg[/img]

tadwick
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by tadwick » Tue Dec 28, 2010 6:58 pm

I meant i5 760 - thanks for checking the fine print

Thanks also for the case suggestion

quest_for_silence
Posts: 5275
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:12 am
Location: ITALY

Re: Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by quest_for_silence » Wed Dec 29, 2010 3:08 am

tadwick wrote:1. Is 60GB enough for Windows 7 and all the inevitable service packs etc.

It's more than adequate. However, I would go for a 90-120GB one (Crucial, Intel or OCZ, not Corsair which seems to suffer some reliability issue).
tadwick wrote:2. Assuming 60GB is plenty for the boot drive is it worth trying to squeeze a 20GB linux VM on the boot drive as well or should I just leave it on the Seagate?

It should fit, but however, as already said, I'd rather a 120GB Intel SSD (Crucial and OCZ should be less resilient in a not-TRIM environment).

More important, I wouldn't go for the alleged Seagate: a 7200rpm data disk is pretty useless and needlessly noisy, while a 1-1.5TB WD Green would perform quite well and a lot quieter. Another option is going for a notebook drive (750GB-1TB size) enclosed in a Scythe SQD. Take care to address the 4k adv. format issue (the 750GB Seagate Momentus address it automagically, IIRC).
tadwick wrote:3. Is 4GB RAM enough for Windows 7 and a couple of 1GB VMs?

It definitely depends on your actual usage pattern but IMO usually no (32bit Windows may address just less than 4GB).
If you can opt for 64 bit environment, I'd suggest going for an 8GB kit.
tadwick wrote:4. Is there another case you'd also recommend?

There are a lot of, see SPCR charts: as your system has only one drive, an Antec Solo should be quieter and less obtrusive.
Having no PCI-E card but the VGA, I would consider a mATX solution, also.
tadwick wrote:5. Would a Seasonic X-400FL (400W fanless) PS put out enough power for this system?

It's an overkill but IMO there isn't any viable alternative among less powerful PSUs, right now. But I see you pointed out an M12-II, so which is your proposal?
tadwick wrote:6. Is the Radeon adequate or overkill for my basic graphics needs?

IME it cannot be call an overkill, however in a Linux environment (and for F@H/CUDA capabilities, if in case) a NVidia solution might be preferred (even if less efficient).

Last but not least, I think the Corsair A50 is an unproven design, so I mean it should be better to pick any alternative from the relevant SPCR charts.
Regards,
Luca

Support SPCR, use these links when you buy: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg

tadwick
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:21 am

Re: Please comment on these specs for quiet system

Post by tadwick » Wed Dec 29, 2010 8:13 am

Thank you for all those excellent suggestions

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