Upgrading current computer...just want some second opinions.

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psiu
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Upgrading current computer...just want some second opinions.

Post by psiu » Tue Aug 23, 2005 3:20 pm

YAY! 1st post...here at least...

Anyway, as stated I'm finally bringing my computer out of the dark ages and into modern times, and would like some feedback on the route I'm taking from some of the experts here. I hopped on a deal at the beginning of this month and nabbed an ATI X800XT PE (for ~230 shipped!) to replace my decrepit old TNT2.

This will keep me in the AGP era for a bit longer, so I plan on doing what I can to maximize my current system for a nice balance of speed and quiet.

I guess I will run through major system components, some will be kept, some will be upgraded, comments on upgrade paths are especially appreciated.

Case: Antec P180 on order.

PSU: Transfer from current system, Antec Truepower 330.

Motherboard: Asus A7N8X v2.0

CPU: Currently, Athlon XP 1800 with stock cooler. Considering upgrading to Athlon XP-Mobile 2200 or 2400 (35 watt model). Looking at the Swiftech MCX-462-V as new heatsink. Probably something like a Vantec Stealth 92mm mounted on it.

Will be fiddling with either processor to find balance between speed and heat (and thus noise).

RAM: upgrading, will go to 2x512MB in dual channel. Considering something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820227031, nice speed, decent price.

Video: ATI X800XT Platinum Edition. Stock cooler doesn't seem *that* noisy, although the rest of the system helps cover it up. Haven't tested it under any kind of load yet though. Important point is the 3 year warranty, so I'd *prefer* not to void the warranty with a different cooler. No plans to overclock it, it should be plenty fast for years to come.

TV Tuner: Hauppage WinTV Go Plus. PCI tuner card, no hardware encoding.

Audio: Sound Blaster Live! model 0220 -- just a sound card.

NIC: SMC 1244TX V2 -- just a NIC.

Optical Drives: AOpen 5232 CD-RW, and NEC 3520A DVD-RW.

Hard drives: WD 80 GB, 7200 rpm. Maxtor 200 GB, 7200 rpm.

Have a floppy drive, will probably be putting a combo floppy/card reader in the 3.5" slot.

Will probably add a Swiftech MCX-159 chipset cooler as well.

My current case has 3 80mm and 1 60mm case fans. Plus the stock CPU and GPU coolers.

Generic mouse/keyboard/cheap joystick/speakers. Plan to upgrade the speakers at the end of the upgrade process for TV/music. Dell 1905FP for the monitor, will probably add a 17" lcd at some point for a secondary display.

Uses for the computer are game playing, I'd love to start playing some of the flight sims I've missed out on, probably some FPS as well, but not as much of a priority anymore. Serving up audio/video over the wireless network, web design, browsing, encoding, and generally not-too strenous.

It's in a secondary bedroom, generally stays on all day. Not too bad noise wise currently, have the 3 80mm fans connected to Truepower fan headers, 60mm is thermally controlled.

So, certainly not looking for *silent* but muted pretty well. I think the system I'm looking towards should this decently well.

So any comments and suggestions? Thanks for reading my short novel :wink:

Shadowknight
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Re: Upgrading current computer...just want some second opini

Post by Shadowknight » Tue Aug 23, 2005 8:59 pm

psiu wrote:I hopped on a deal at the beginning of this month and nabbed an ATI X800XT PE (for ~230 shipped!) to replace my decrepit old TNT2.

CPU: Currently, Athlon XP 1800 with stock cooler. Considering upgrading to Athlon XP-Mobile 2200 or 2400 (35 watt model). Looking at the Swiftech MCX-462-V as new heatsink. Probably something like a Vantec Stealth 92mm mounted on it.

Video: ATI X800XT Platinum Edition. Stock cooler doesn't seem *that* noisy, although the rest of the system helps cover it up. Haven't tested it under any kind of load yet though. Important point is the 3 year warranty, so I'd *prefer* not to void the warranty with a different cooler. No plans to overclock it, it should be plenty fast for years to come.

Hard drives: WD 80 GB, 7200 rpm. Maxtor 200 GB, 7200 rpm.

My current case has 3 80mm and 1 60mm case fans. Plus the stock CPU and GPU coolers.

Uses for the computer are game playing, I'd love to start playing some of the flight sims I've missed out on, probably some FPS as well, but not as much of a priority anymore. Serving up audio/video over the wireless network, web design, browsing, encoding, and generally not-too strenous.

It's in a secondary bedroom, generally stays on all day. Not too bad noise wise currently, have the 3 80mm fans connected to Truepower fan headers, 60mm is thermally controlled.
As show by the rig in my signature, you can make a fairly powerful, yet extremely quiet system. A few comments.

1. You bought your video card from the refurbished section of ATI
2. Never EVER buy Vantec Stealth. Buy a Nexus fan, much quieter. Consider getting a Scythe Ninja, excellent cooler that is completely passive.
3. I have the same video card you do, and the stock was loud. Consider getting one of the Zalman heatpipe coolers, then mount an 80 or 92mm Nexus on it. Works as well as the stock one, and much much quieter. If the card does die, just put the stock cooler back on it and send it in for RMA.
4. Hard driver: Get a Samsung, preferably with a Nidec motor. Also use some form of hard drive isolation to prevent it from transmitting vibrations to the case. There are several cheap methods mentioned throughout the site.
5. Tricool fans on low should be okay, but try to get some rubber isolators for the back fan. For the bottom PSU fan, attach it with blue-tack - it's the only way to decouple the fan on that bracket, and the stock fan tends to vibrate a bit.
6. Consider replacing the 120mm fans with Nexus. Not really necessary but it will be quieter.
7. Get a fan controller to control how fast the fans move. Lower equals less noise and less airflow. You really don't need that much airflow to cool a system adequately.
[size=75]Asus P4C800 Del., P4 3.0 Northwood w/Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja (fanless), Antec P180 black SPCR edition w/Acoustipack V.2 Deluxe; BBA X800 XT PE w/Zalman ZM80C-HP and 92mm Nexus; Samsung P80 120gb Smart Drive 2002 on foam; Raptor 74gb (turned off); Antec Phantom 350w; 2x120mm Nexus @ 670rpm, diNovo keyboard, Thanko Silent Mouse http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=24308[/size]

psiu
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Re: Upgrading current computer...just want some second opini

Post by psiu » Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:00 am

Shadowknight wrote:
psiu wrote:I hopped on a deal at the beginning of this month and nabbed an ATI X800XT PE (for ~230 shipped!) to replace my decrepit old TNT2.

CPU: Currently, Athlon XP 1800 with stock cooler. Considering upgrading to Athlon XP-Mobile 2200 or 2400 (35 watt model). Looking at the Swiftech MCX-462-V as new heatsink. Probably something like a Vantec Stealth 92mm mounted on it.

Video: ATI X800XT Platinum Edition. Stock cooler doesn't seem *that* noisy, although the rest of the system helps cover it up. Haven't tested it under any kind of load yet though. Important point is the 3 year warranty, so I'd *prefer* not to void the warranty with a different cooler. No plans to overclock it, it should be plenty fast for years to come.

Hard drives: WD 80 GB, 7200 rpm. Maxtor 200 GB, 7200 rpm.

My current case has 3 80mm and 1 60mm case fans. Plus the stock CPU and GPU coolers.

Uses for the computer are game playing, I'd love to start playing some of the flight sims I've missed out on, probably some FPS as well, but not as much of a priority anymore. Serving up audio/video over the wireless network, web design, browsing, encoding, and generally not-too strenous.

It's in a secondary bedroom, generally stays on all day. Not too bad noise wise currently, have the 3 80mm fans connected to Truepower fan headers, 60mm is thermally controlled.
As show by the rig in my signature, you can make a fairly powerful, yet extremely quiet system. A few comments.

1. You bought your video card from the refurbished section of ATI
2. Never EVER buy Vantec Stealth. Buy a Nexus fan, much quieter. Consider getting a Scythe Ninja, excellent cooler that is completely passive.
3. I have the same video card you do, and the stock was loud. Consider getting one of the Zalman heatpipe coolers, then mount an 80 or 92mm Nexus on it. Works as well as the stock one, and much much quieter. If the card does die, just put the stock cooler back on it and send it in for RMA.
4. Hard driver: Get a Samsung, preferably with a Nidec motor. Also use some form of hard drive isolation to prevent it from transmitting vibrations to the case. There are several cheap methods mentioned throughout the site.
5. Tricool fans on low should be okay, but try to get some rubber isolators for the back fan. For the bottom PSU fan, attach it with blue-tack - it's the only way to decouple the fan on that bracket, and the stock fan tends to vibrate a bit.
6. Consider replacing the 120mm fans with Nexus. Not really necessary but it will be quieter.
7. Get a fan controller to control how fast the fans move. Lower equals less noise and less airflow. You really don't need that much airflow to cool a system adequately.
Wow, thanks for the ideas! Responses and a few questions:

#1, err refurbished ATI, yes....what do you mean?

#2, *crosses Vantec Stealth off list* A quick look seems to indicate the Ninja isn't meant for socket-A. Will do some more research into CPU coolers though, am thinking about just putting some new AS5 onto the Northbridge as opposed to going to active cooling on it. It's got the stock cooler, I know they don't always get the best cooling setup out of the factory.

#3, okay will look into alterative cooling for the video card.

#4, hmmm....I'm probably stuck with the WD & Maxtor's....dunno about trying to convince my wife I need different drives, however, would the built in silicone grommets for the hd in the P180 be good enough, you think?

#5, Well, I think I'll be taking the included fan out of the power supply wind tunnel anyway as my Truepower has 2 fans anyway. There is also the padded PSU bracket, hopefully this should be sufficient. Will definitely do something with the rear 120mm fan.

#6, will consider, but see #4, subsection "wife", above.

#7, will consider...

I just got the case today, so a lot of this will be based on how loud it is here. Thanks for the advice so far, I've got a lot of reading to on the site/board, this gives me some places to start with :D

Shadowknight
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Post by Shadowknight » Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:32 pm

#1. Nothing, I just wanted to let you know that I figured out where you got the deal from. I got in on the same deal :)
#2. Try some of the older Thermalrights such as the 900U, it was socket A compatible and allowed use of 92mm and 80mm fans.
#4. Samsungs are fairly vibration prone. I installed one in the upper drive cage, and the grommets did an excellent job of soaking up the vibrations, the only noise was the gentle "whoosh" of the drive. As long as your drives don't produce a lot of whine, you should be fine.
#6. Don't worry about the Nexus too much. If the Tricools on low are too noisy for you (many SPCR'ers try to get quieter and quieter, it's an addiction), THEN consider getting the Nexus. But don't worry about it. You can always get them later, or else get the cheaper Yate Loons from jabtech or tekjems.
#7. You can get some fairly cheap fan controllers, depending on your budget. Once set on the "low" setting, I'm not sure how much you could undervolt the Tricools before they won't have enough power to start up when you do a cold boot.
[size=75]Asus P4C800 Del., P4 3.0 Northwood w/Scythe SCNJ-1000 Ninja (fanless), Antec P180 black SPCR edition w/Acoustipack V.2 Deluxe; BBA X800 XT PE w/Zalman ZM80C-HP and 92mm Nexus; Samsung P80 120gb Smart Drive 2002 on foam; Raptor 74gb (turned off); Antec Phantom 350w; 2x120mm Nexus @ 670rpm, diNovo keyboard, Thanko Silent Mouse http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=24308[/size]

psiu
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BAM!

Post by psiu » Fri Aug 26, 2005 4:57 pm

Sweet, got my new P180 up and running.

First impression is that I will definitely need an alternative CPU and GPU cooler.

Other priorities will be sheathing the PSU cables and doing a better bit of cabling on the inside, I need some new round cables, the floppy cable just didn't reach at all and I had gotten rid of my previous round cables a few months ago when having some problems with data corruption.

Airflow is pretty crappy at the moment, so things should only get better.

Only have the rear 120mm fan at the moment, removed the upper and lower fans.

Amazingly enough, the video card is running 10C cooler than before when I had 2 front intakes and a side intake blowing directly on it.

The case is great though!

bishop
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dont run rounded cables into the p180 Hdd's!

Post by bishop » Sat Aug 27, 2005 5:12 am

if you mounted the hard drives on the bottom assembly on the p180, dont run rounded cables to them! the opening through the bottom of the main compartment is made to take ribbon cables to close off the bottom compartment from the rest of the system. you'll vent heat into the rest of the system!!! :cry:

mattthemuppet
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Post by mattthemuppet » Sat Aug 27, 2005 6:46 am

thermalright SI-97 with Nexus 92mm fan on top sounds like the cooler for you - it's what I'd get if I had the cash :)

cpu - check out the Skt A Semprons - cheap, reasonable speed, v. easy to unlock to adjust multiplier (ie using CrystalCPUID)

trouble with thinking some things are fine now is that when you quiet other noise makers down (HSF, case fans etc) you'll start hearing other components :)

if you start thinking your PSU is too noisy (I had a smartpower 350W - too noisy even with a fan swap on the exhaust), check out some of the newer, more efficient PSUs - like the Seasonic S12 series and Fsp Greenpowers (what I have, very nice)

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sat Aug 27, 2005 9:56 am

mattthemuppet wrote:thermalright SI-97 with Nexus 92mm fan on top sounds like the cooler for you - it's what I'd get if I had the cash :)

cpu - check out the Skt A Semprons - cheap, reasonable speed, v. easy to unlock to adjust multiplier (ie using CrystalCPUID)

trouble with thinking some things are fine now is that when you quiet other noise makers down (HSF, case fans etc) you'll start hearing other components :)

if you start thinking your PSU is too noisy (I had a smartpower 350W - too noisy even with a fan swap on the exhaust), check out some of the newer, more efficient PSUs - like the Seasonic S12 series and Fsp Greenpowers (what I have, very nice)
Actually I just started looking at some of the heatsinks, I'm wondering if the Zalman CNPS6000-Cu would be up to passive cooling with that big 120mm case fan directly behind it.

Well, the mobile Athlon XP are really the best of the best as far as Socket-A is concerned, especially as their stock voltage is so low, you can get a great overclock at your lowest motherboard voltage, and they come multi-unlocked, so that's pretty much what I'm looking at, I will check into the Semprons though.

Yeah, it's kind of one thing after another with improvements. I'm starting to get a plan for what I need to really polish this rig off. About the only negative is that it will happen in stages, my wife has *approved* the expenditures, but in stages, ~ $100/month. So there will be some taking apart and putting back together.
bishop wrote:if you mounted the hard drives on the bottom assembly on the p180, dont run rounded cables to them! the opening through the bottom of the main compartment is made to take ribbon cables to close off the bottom compartment from the rest of the system. you'll vent heat into the rest of the system!!! :cry:
Hmmm....great. Now I will have to learn origami. Maybe some mods on the flat cables with some sheathing and heatshrink to downsize em while keeping em flat would work :idea:

Hmmmm....thanks for the tips so far, it's definitely making me think more about some of this stuff. :D

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Post by ~El~Jefe~ » Sat Aug 27, 2005 4:24 pm

like dood, you really are in like early antiquity with the word XP in your system. i would wait a month, gain some cash and go 939 like the slowest one out there on a cheapest board that has a name brand on it. youll be going 2x as fast as an athlon xp.

3000 venice system is cheap

and cold, can almost go passive if you dont game.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sun Aug 28, 2005 1:42 pm

~El~Jefe~ wrote:like dood, you really are in like early antiquity with the word XP in your system. i would wait a month, gain some cash and go 939 like the slowest one out there on a cheapest board that has a name brand on it. youll be going 2x as fast as an athlon xp.

3000 venice system is cheap

and cold, can almost go passive if you dont game.
The options for AGP are quite limited in those sockets though....considering maybe a 754 board though. Of course that will set the upgrade path farther behind. Almost would prefer to stay behind a bit so whenever I do upgrade it will be to a completely modern system.

I hope to game finally, as in my OP I'm going from a 32mb TNT2 model 64 (aka crippled version) to an X800XT PE. And you thought my CPU was an antique?!? :shock:

Gonna head over to Anandtech and Newegg to start looking at options :D

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Post by autoboy » Sun Aug 28, 2005 2:37 pm

the options for socket 939 with AGP are better than PCIe. The Nforce4 runs too hot and the Nforce3 can be easily passively cooled with stock coolers. Via and Sis also make decent AGP boards but their PCIe boards are scarce. What motherboard are you using? if you have an 1800+ I doubt you can run the lastest processors on that old board at high speeds (fsb 200?) Socket 754 is also slated for replacement but i love those speedy 754 semprons. Boards are cheap anyways. Gonna have to upgrade them when you upgrade your processor nowadays. No more socket A forever!

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sun Aug 28, 2005 6:37 pm

autoboy wrote:the options for socket 939 with AGP are better than PCIe. The Nforce4 runs too hot and the Nforce3 can be easily passively cooled with stock coolers. Via and Sis also make decent AGP boards but their PCIe boards are scarce. What motherboard are you using? if you have an 1800+ I doubt you can run the lastest processors on that old board at high speeds (fsb 200?) Socket 754 is also slated for replacement but i love those speedy 754 semprons. Boards are cheap anyways. Gonna have to upgrade them when you upgrade your processor nowadays. No more socket A forever!
It's an nForce2 board, Asus A7N8X version 2.0, it'll run 400 FSB. No problems with the board...or the 1800 really, once I get some good RAM in here I'll be interested to see what it can really do.

I've had it running stable in real life use at 2.09Ghz (stock is 1.53) for XP 2600 speeds, but my PC2100 ram can't handle Prime95 at those speeds.

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Post by SoopahMan » Sun Aug 28, 2005 9:50 pm

I'm running a DFI nForce4 LanParty and its heat is a non-issue.

That same board will let you skip bothering to get a soundcard; the risers it uses for the sound ports combined with nVidia's sound (even without SoundStorm) gives me the best audio quality and performance I've ever had. Its primary advantage over any SoundBlaster I've had is the smoothness of 3D games; SoundBlasters have always made 3D games a little less smooth for me.

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Re: dont run rounded cables into the p180 Hdd's!

Post by kesv » Sun Aug 28, 2005 11:43 pm

bishop wrote:if you mounted the hard drives on the bottom assembly on the p180, dont run rounded cables to them! the opening through the bottom of the main compartment is made to take ribbon cables to close off the bottom compartment from the rest of the system.
Ever heard of duct tape ? ;)

Seriously, there are so many ways of covering the extra holes, no matter what cabling you use, this comment seems like totally unnessesary.

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