Time to builid a new mid-tower pc

Info & chat about quiet prebuilt, small form factor and barebones systems, people's experiences with vendors thereof, etc.

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cmkrnl
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:48 pm
Location: US

Time to builid a new mid-tower pc

Post by cmkrnl » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:29 pm

I’ve got a tower PC that’s rather long in the tooth. It runs Windows and is used for everything from the typical email/web browsing to software development and graphic design and desktop publishing. I also boot Ubuntu Desktop from a separate partition. I’d been hoping to put off replacing it for a while longer, but I’ve discovered that it does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for Visual Studio 2010, so now it’s time.

My budget is about $700, which eliminates any of the EndPCNoise prebuilt systems. My current system includes a full tower Antec case and power supply. The only thing in the case that has not been replaced over the past 9 years is the Antec power supply. As such, I have no fears of building a new quiet system.

I’m looking to build a mid-tower system. I will reuse my monitor, keyboard, mouse, wired and wireless PCI NICs. I have a preference for AMD processors and my current Antec case has served me well so I’m leaning in that direction, but am open to other options.

When it comes to CPUs, so much has changed in the past 9 years; multi processors, multi cores, L3 cache, etc. I know what those terms mean, but with so many possible combinations of clock speed, multi cores/processors, and cache, I’m pretty much lost.

My wish list looks something like this:

Mid-tower case with 2+ front USB connectors, 1 eSata, audio optional.
Motherboard – no preference but must support 8GB+ RAM.
CPU – Must have hardware support for virtualization – AMD preferred.
Video card – must be Windows Aero capable and Linux supported.
Memory – min 6GB, prefer 8GB.
Hard Drive – will start with one, add another later. I currently have 120GB and 160GB IDE drives and a 300GB external USB drive.
Audio - I'd prefer something better than onboard AC97, but not required.

I'm looking to build something that is reasonably quiet, but can't afford absolutely silent. Considering that my current system sits about 2 feet from my head and has 2 intake fans on the front, 2 output on the back, and the power supply fan, no sound deadening, and no padding on the feet, building something significantly quieter shouldn't be too difficult.

I appreciate any and all suggestions.

ces
Posts: 3395
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: US

Post by ces » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:42 am

1. Get a Vertex 60GB SSD.

2. Pick some cheap memory on sale, then get a motherboard for which the memory will work.

3. Buy a cheap four CPU AMD chip. Why are you not interested in Intel CPUs?

Calgarian
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Dec 18, 2006 4:17 pm
Location: Calgary, AB. Canada

Post by Calgarian » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:17 pm

Hmmm. I've done some exploring and $700 sounds like a high compromise budget.

I'll agree with ces, make a SSD the first choice. It truly is worth the cost. OCZ, Corsair or Kingston in the 60-64 GB range.

Here's one example.....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820139132

I don't follow AMD much, but you might like this.....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819103706

I also agree that you're going to spend the least on your memory to stay close to your budget.

Now, if you decide a new case is important.....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... -_-Product

....and a power supply......

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817139012

I've played with the EndPCNoise AMD Value Quiet system and got to $754 with 4GB of PC5300 memory. This doesn't include a SSD and only includes your existing drives.
[size=75]P150 with E6600 not O/C, Asus P5B Deluxe, with Win7 and one Intel 160GB SSD, one Caviar Green 1TB advanced format drive plus - eVGA 7900 GS KO, 8 GB Mushkin XP-2 8500, Corsair 520HX and Noctua NH-U9F with 1 Noctua 92mm/ 1 Nexus 92mm fan, 1 Noctua 1200rpm rear fan and 2 Noctua 92mm front fans (whew)[/size]

cmkrnl
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:48 pm
Location: US

Post by cmkrnl » Sun Feb 28, 2010 3:09 pm

ces wrote:1. Get a Vertex 60GB SSD.

2. Pick some cheap memory on sale, then get a motherboard for which the memory will work.

3. Buy a cheap four CPU AMD chip. Why are you not interested in Intel CPUs?
We need competition. If AMD goes under, Intel has no competition.

Thanks for the reply.

cmkrnl
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 8:48 pm
Location: US

Post by cmkrnl » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:13 pm

Calgarian wrote:Hmmm. I've done some exploring and $700 sounds like a high compromise budget.

I'll agree with ces, make a SSD the first choice. It truly is worth the cost. OCZ, Corsair or Kingston in the 60-64 GB range.

Here's one example.....

I don't follow AMD much, but you might like this.....

I also agree that you're going to spend the least on your memory to stay close to your budget.

Now, if you decide a new case is important.....

....and a power supply......

I've played with the EndPCNoise AMD Value Quiet system and got to $754 with 4GB of PC5300 memory. This doesn't include a SSD and only includes your existing drives.
Thanks for your response. I had to remove your urls from my reply as I'm not allowed to post urls yet:-(
Since my budget is somewhat constrained, I've got two priorities:
1) Spend more of my budget on things that are difficult and/or expensive to replace. In my existing system, only the Antec case and power supply are original, everything else has been upgraded.
2) A reasonably quiet, but not silent, system.

Given these two priorities, I'm willing to sacrifice some performance and quietness up front and upgrade later.
If this is NOT the correct way to go about things, please let me know.

As such, I'm willing to to sacrifice some quietness for disk space so I'm leaning towards one of the recommended 7200 RPM 3.5" drives.

Your choice of CPUs is definitely one of the ones I'm considering. At this price-point, it seems to be a trade-off between cores and L3 cache. My development tools will take advantage of 4 cores and Virtualization Technology is a requirement. My development software also requires the ability to run the Windows Aero interface, so if the motherboard graphics don't support it, I'll have to add a video card that does.

I like the case, but I've never worked with a microATX motherboard form factor. Are there any disadvantages to the microATX vs. standard ATX form factor?
Also, since I'll be going with a non-SSD hard drive, what about vibration isolation on the HDD enclosure?

What are modular power supply cables?
Would the Nexus VALUE 430 430W Active PFC Power Supply be a viable option or am I being too skimpy on the PSU? Once again, I'd post the url, but I'm not allowed to post an url yet :-(

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