Futureproof and Quiet System

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Futureproof and Quiet System

Post by Kheoinn » Sat Jan 01, 2005 8:17 pm

I am building a new computer for myself (my first homebuilt computer) to replace a slow prefabricated one. This computer will go in my room and will be used as a web and MUD server, so it needs to be at least decently powerful, but also quiet because I sleep around 10 feet from it.

I'd also like the computer to be as futureproof as possible without spending too much money, because I want to have upgrade paths open for me. I am not paying in full for this computer (I am splitting the price with my dad), but I will be paying for all upgrades, so I want to get a _lot_ of use out of this computer.

So, here's the layout.

Case: Lian Li PC-V1100B - $230.
I'm using this because it has both attributes I want in a computer. It is futureproof in that it can cool much more effectively in its BTXesque form, and thus will be able to handle processors and video cards that run higher temperatures. It also is extremely quiet, from what I've heard, even though its aluminum. I've heard many good things about this case, but I am not _too_ hardset about it.

Motherboard: Chaintech Nforce4 VNF4/Ultra (Socket 939) - $129.
This is also another futureproof attempt. I picked this because I didn't feel that I needed SLI as the computer wasn't really meant as a gaming machine, but I wanted to keep my options open with PCI Express. I didn't want to invest too heavily in Nvidia's SLI Technology, because I have also heard about ATi's new technology coming out soon that only needs one PCIe bus for similar performance. I've seen some good reviews for this board, and it is at a good price compared to similar motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, or MSI. Again, if I can find something better than this, I will go for it. The main idea is PCI Express here.

Video Card: Chaintech GeForce 6600GT - $192.
I didn't think I needed the speed of the 6800GT, so this was a decent PCIe Video Card that would allow me to play games if I wanted to. I've heard some good reviews of other cards, but I haven't really looked at all of the cards out there, so I'm not sure this is the best company to get things from. I also haven't taken a large look at ATi's offerings, so one of their cards might be better suited to me.

Processor: Athlon 64 3000+ (Winchester) - $152.
A nice, cheap 64 bit processor, there wasn't a huge amount of debate here on what I would choose. Athlon 64 was a for-sure because it is 64 bit (I run Linux as well as Windows), is very fast, and runs cooler than Intel's chips. Socket 939 was a futureproofing step. The only real debate was between this and the 3200+, but I figured I can just learn how to overclock and get it to a similar performance level anyway.

Power Supply: Antec Neopower 480 Watt ATX2.0 - $119.
Again, I chose this because I wanted an ATX2.0 PSU, and this was the best I could find. I want an ATX2.0 because I have many other new technologies like PCIe and SATA drives and the new standard helps a lot with that. I'm not sure whether this is compatible with my motherboard, and I've heard that the PC-V1100 has a small PSU compartment, so I wonder if it will fit in there. I'm looking for a replacement, possibly from Nexus or Seasonic. I definitely need some advice here. This could be a large source of noise, so I want it to be quiet. I'm not sure how well the Antec does here.

Memory: 2x Corsair Value Select 184 Pin 512MB DDR PC-3200 - $135.
I no nothing about Memory, so the memory I chose probably isn't the right choice. I want at least 1Gb of RAM, and 2x 512Mb seemed the best solution. I also wanted something reliable, and I've heard good things about Corsair. I'd like some suggestions on the best memory for my situation. Overclocking isn't a huge consideration since I don't know how to do it, but I may in the future. Reliability is more important.

Hard Drive: 2x Seagate 80 GB Barracuda 7200RPM SATA II with NCQ Hard Drive (In Raid 0) - $144.
I wanted SATA II because... Well, I don't really know the advantages, but I'm sure there are some. Another futureproof decision. I have heard many comments about how Seagate has the quietest Hard Drives around, so I picked them. 160Gb should be enough space for me, but if I need more, I could probably just pick up a 3rd of the same and put them all into a Raid 0 (with probably a 4th for a Raid 5 at that point). Is Seagate still quiet, or are there better Hard Drives out there?

Monitor: LG Electronics L1710SK 17" LCD Monitor - $280
This is based mostly off of reviews, and what I want a monitor to look like. I want a black, 17" monitor that is clean and minimalist. This monitor fit the bill, but I'm sure there are others. This is also a little expensive, so if there is anything cheaper out there of similar quality, please tell me.

Total: $1381

Also, I already own the Bose Companion 3 speakers and the Logitech MX Duo keyboard and mouse pair which will be carried over to my new system.

Along with all of this, I will probably also have a few accessories. I have never built a computer before, so I really don't know what else I'll need. I will most definitely need some extra PCI cards for USB2.0 and Firewire (is Firewire 800 out yet?), maybe a sound card, definitely CD/DVD and disk drives (1 floppy and 2 CD Burner/DVD Reader drvies in any combination) and I'll probably end up replacing some fans to quiet the thing down. I've heard stuff about Arctic Cooling gel of some kind to cool things down, so I'm curious about that. I have never built a computer before, and I will have no one to help me, so I'm really going with exactly what I've typed up here. Please tell me if I'm missing cords that don't come with the things I'm buying, and things like that. Also, if you have suggestions about other accessories like webcams, please chime in.

Also, places to buy these things would be very helpful. I've only ever bought from a local store or from Newegg, and I've only ever bought a few things from Newegg. I am not at all well versed in which sites to order off of. As you can see, I have linked to Newegg every time, as that is how I browse through selections most of the time. If you have any advice on where to buy from, it would be grately appreciated.

Thank you so much everyone for your help!


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Post by Likif » Sat Jan 01, 2005 11:33 pm

Here's my unqualified advice...

Case: The general opinion here is that aluminum cases are more prone to noisy resonance than steel. See if you can find a steel one.

Video card: You will definitely need a 3rd party heatsink on this, or come up with some home-brewed method of cooling quietly. Look up Zalman on SPCR forums.

Processor: Best choice there is right now, I think.

Power Supply: Antec generally don't make quiet PSUs. But since you want an ATX2.0 PSU, I'm uncertain about what to recommend.

And, if this is the first time you put together a PC, do some research on the internet about it. It's really easy to mess up for the uninitiated...

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Post by ONEshot » Sat Jan 01, 2005 11:39 pm

Haha there's no such thing as future-proofing a computer. Believe me, I tried.

Just wait till the Intel dual-core 64-bit CPU comes out. Teamed up with Microsoft's Longhorn, computing is going to be soo faaaaast.

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Post by NamJangNamJa » Sun Jan 02, 2005 8:14 am

Lian Li PC-V1100B
Like Likif said, alumiminum cases are possibly noisier than steel ones in general. But if you insist on Lian-Li, there are some more choices from Lian-Li. There are some nice post(1,2) about Lian-Li case.

Chaintech Nforce4 VNF4/Ultra
Nice looking fanless motherboard. I would've bought it if it had a Firewire/IEEE1394 port.

Chaintech GeForce 6600GT
I believe:
  • 6600GT/X700PRO = 0.11 micron
    6800GT/X800 = 0.13 micron
And 6600GT is generally better than X700PRO. However 6600GT is natively PCI-E. You may want to look at some ATI 9600 to 9800Pro.

Corsair ValueSelect 184 Pin 512MB DDR PC-3200
It is not bad. But if you need better RAM, find lower latency. Lower latency may not is worth depending on what you are going to use your computer for.

Seagate 80GB Barracuda 7200RPM SATA II with NCQ Hard Drive
SATA II and NCQ for SATA is new technology. But some reviews show there is not much advantage of NCQ, and NCQ increases a little bit of CPU usage. I don't think Seagate BarracudaSATA II with NCQ is a bad choice. But, If you have an extra hard disk drive now, use it for a while before buying new technology.

I will most definitely need some extra PCI cards for USB2.0 and Firewire (is Firewire 800 out yet?), maybe a sound card, definitely CD/DVD and disk drives (1 floppy and 2 CD Burner/DVD Reader drvies in any combination) and I'll probably end up replacing some fans to quiet the thing down.
There have been Firewire 800 for a long time, but there are not many Firewire 800 devices yet. The shape of Firewire 800 is different from Firewire 400. So I wouldn't buy Firewire 800, unless I have a Firewire 800 device. I recommend NEC 16x ND-3500A for DVD±RW.

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Post by Kheoinn » Sun Jan 02, 2005 1:57 pm

Thank you everyone for all of your comments!

Case: I picked the V1100 because its inverted motherboard provides better cooling. I have only seen one other case like that, but it definitely did not seem as good. I picked the V1100 over the V1000 because it is supposedly quieter. Now, both of these are just guesses on my part from reading reviews and looking at the case. I have never actually tried one. Is there a better case out there that runs as cool as the V1100, is as quiet with little to no modding, and looks good? I don't want something flashy. I like the classic smooth look.

Videocard: Does the Arctic Cooling NV Silencer 5 work for the 6600GT? It says it works for the 6800GT, but I can't find a cooler from them that works with the 6600GT. I've heard very good things about Arctic Cooling VGA coolers and how they are effective and quiet. Because of the flipped motherboard, the passive Zalman cooler will likely not work without modding, but I haven't looked into any other Zalman coolers. Would Zalman or Arctic Cooling be better for a VGA cooler?

Processor: Should I use the stock cooler (does it come with a Heatsink + Fan?) or should I go out and get a quieter one?

Motherboard: If anyone knows of any better PCIe motherboards than the Chaintech VNF4/Ultra, please tell me. As of now, I will probably put in a PCI card for Firewire/USB2.0, so the lack of Firewire doesn't bother me too much.

Power Supply: Does anyone else know of some good ATX2.0 power supplies that are quieter than Antec's?


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Post by Likif » Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:00 pm

hm, I can sympathize with choosing Lian Li because it looks good, because, well, it really looks good...Antec is ugly...I'm sure any Lian Li case can be made quiet with the right skills and tools.

The Nvidia Silencer has, like every one of Arctic Cooling's new line of Silencer products, suffered a setback in quality. You can listen to the mp3 files in the SPCR review yourself, IMO it sounds bad even at 5V, the low setting.

But then again, if you were to Zalman it with a ZM80-C or D, you do run a greater risk of GPU failure...simply because a Zalman passive heatsink is difficult to install.

What to do, what to do...

Perhaps if you knew someone with modding skills, you could trust him or her to put it on.

Processor: Buy the Zalman AlCu-7000 heatsink, and use it at lowest setting.

btw, if you expect to overclock, you will need some very expensive ram...something that runs a bit faster than strictly necessary.

There actually is a SPCR review of the Antec PSU...go take a look. I think it sounds alright with a low power processor like the 0.09 3000+ Athlon 64 you suggest. But if you overclock, it could get noisy.

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Post by Cams » Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:05 am

Sounds like you've done your research. I echo what others have said about the aluminium case for noise. I've opted for an Antec SLK3000B for my new system but looks aren't important to me.

For the PSU, I'd probably opt for a Seasonic S12 if I could find one locally, but, as I can't, I'll likely choose the Nexus NX4090 instead.

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Post by VERiON » Mon Jan 03, 2005 4:13 am

You can skip RAID-0, it is faster only on paper and in a synthetic benchmarks. Real-life tests shows little preformance gain. With 2 HDDs in RAID-0, 1 drive fails and all your data are history. And 2 drives means you have to handle 2x 1 drive heatand +10% hdd noise.

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Post by Kheoinn » Mon Jan 03, 2005 7:06 pm

Are there any other actively cooling products for the 6600GT that will work in a V1100 if Arctic Cooling's are too loud? Or is that still the quietest there is. I have a feeling Zalman's passive cooling won't work so well in the V1100.

About modding, I can probably do some simple modding like the HD modding I've seen some V1100 owners do, but probably nothing complex. What kind of modding are we talking about to silence the computer?

If I wanted to overclock, say, just the CPU, would I need better RAM? I've heard that higher latency RAM is only for people who want to squeeze a bit of extra power out of their system, and that it will only add 2%-3% more speed.

For Power Supplies, if I overclocked the 3000+, would that make the Antec NeoPower significantly noisier? Is there any better ATX2.0 power supply out there? Is either the SeaSonic or Nexus PSU mentioned ATX2.0?

Also, is that fact about RAID-0 true? I was always a little nervous about drive failure in that setup, so buying another hard drive and setting it up into a RAID-5 would add to security, but it may make the computer noisier by having it seeking on multiple drives at once. Is there a significant noise difference?

Thanks for all of the comments!

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Post by DanaG » Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:20 pm

Check out the Aerocool VM-101 -- it looks to be more easily reversible than the Zalman. It also may be possible (don't quote me on this) to bend the heatpipes so the heatsink does not block the PCI slots. have the ZM80D, and I like it, but upside-down will likely not work well with it.

Here's an idea: Use it on a hot northbridge. Major overkill!

Edit: The point of this is the reversibility of this design, and the lack of a fan as in the NV Silencer.
Last edited by DanaG on Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Edward Ng » Mon Jan 03, 2005 8:26 pm

A quick and proper search in these forums would most definitely have yielded this.


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Post by Kheoinn » Tue Jan 04, 2005 2:20 pm

I think that, because I don't want any of my components dying, I'd like to stick with something less risky and more reliable, so an active cooler on my GPU would probably be the better solution. It doesn't make that much noise, does it?

My main questions now are about the PSU and the Case. Is it worth it to get the V1100 to deal with future processors running hotter, and keeping things quiet? What is the best, quiet ATX2.0 PSU?

Thanks to everyone for all of the help!

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Post by Likif » Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:16 pm

I don't know about the case, but the PSU:

Nexus says their 4090 unit is ATX 2.0 compatible, and the feedback here on SPCR is mostly very positive. I'd go for that one.

You will probably need a case fan, though. Nexus. Did I tell you I like Nexus? :mrgreen:

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Post by Kheoinn » Tue Jan 04, 2005 6:22 pm

"Version 2.0 compatible!

The Nexus NX-4090 is version 2.0 compatible and can be used on 24-pin motherboards using the special 20-pin to 24-pin adapter cable. This adapter cables is sold seperatly and is not included in the package.

Adaptercable available for 24-pin motherboards!"

It doesn't look like it is natively ATX2.0, as it says you need an adapter in order to use 24-pin motherboards with it. Does anyone know for sure whether it is ATX2.0 or ATX1.3?

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Best PSU

Post by velvet45 » Wed Jan 05, 2005 10:43 am

Kheoin, IMHO the best V 2.0 PSU right now is the Enermax Noistaker 701 series. Yes it is $169, but it is quiet powerful and meets all requirements for the most futureproof system,. 600 watts may be overkill, but you asked for the best. I cannot even hear mine the fans are turning so slow. QUiet, powerful, and loads of low end grunt, strong 12v rails if you intend to overclock. The cable is 24pin with a unique split feature that allows you to use it as a 20 pin without an adaptor. I am using it that way on my DFI nF3 250 Lanparty mobo. Great system so far. You also might look into the Silverstone Temjin 6 case. Just as good looking as the Lian Li and BTX style, but probably quieter than the Aluminum Lian Li.

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