First new build in 8 years

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D Incorporated
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First new build in 8 years

Post by D Incorporated » Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:33 pm

Well, my Celeron 500 finally died a few months ago.

I decided it's time for a whole new rig, since there's not much point upgrading the old unit. Problem was, the last time I was into the PC building scene was when I assembled that thing over 7 years ago. It's taken an incredulous amount of time to catch up with modern hardware, but I think I've finally got what I need. (Yes, I realize that anything currently available on the market is an upgrade to what I had, but I want to optimize regardless.)

Most of the work I'll be doing on it will be audio recording & processing, followed by writing & other office stuff, graphics, video, and of course internet. I do occasionally play some games, but they're either Nintendo emulators or early 90's releases, so this is primarily intended to be a desktop workstation and not a gaming rig (though all-around optimal performance is preferable). OS will be XP Pro.

Budget is decent but not excessive (under $1,500 preferable, $2,000 max). I'm primarily going with 2nd or 3rd rank on the "newest hardware" lists; I'd rather deal with tried and true quality hardware and not brand new developments that are barely beginning to get their stuff together.

Considering that, I've come up with this:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz 4M shared L2 Cache LGA 775 Dual-Core ($270)
Dual-Core necessary for advanced audio work; this seems to be the best of the series.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-P35-DS3L LGA 775 ATX ($90)
Don't want to pay extra for useless on-board options like video; sound is OK since it obviously doesn't boost the price much and is easily disabled. Board fits everything I need just fine; also one of the few to support my parallel port printer, both PS/2 kb & mouse, and floppy, along with IDE/PATA to copy stuff from my old HDs. No useless 2nd PCI-E x16 slot. Rave reviews and top P35 user ratings are a nice touch; most complaints won't effect what I want it for.

RAM: Mushkin 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Model 996576 x2 ($55 / $110)
Yeah, I know: ~3.5GB max, 2GB per application. At $55/2GB, it's not a concern. Chosen as the only [good] RAM rated for 4-4-4-12 @ 2.1V after reading a few motherboard reviews saying they had complications with maxing out RAM @ 2.2V+. Spoke with users at Mushkin forums who confirmed this Motherboard/RAM combo worked for them. Seems to be a high-rated brand in general. Those heat spreaders are nice too.

Video Card: ASUS EN8600GTS SILENT/HTDP/256M GeForce 8600GTS 256MB ($160)
95% of the programs I'll be using will be desktop apps, and almost every game I play is pre-3D-accelation-era, so I was thinking I could save money here and skip the 3D card entirely, except it seems they don't even make 2D cards anymore, so I decided I should at least be able to finally play Doom3 (seeing as I'm an administrator at a Doom site). This was one of the highest-ranked passive-cooled cards available; I have a friend who's had it a while and likes it, says it plays Doom3, WoW, HL2, etc. just great; it's remotely affordable... yeah, fair enough.

Primary HD: Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD 150GB 10,000 RPM SATA 1.5Gb/s ($170)
Another guy I was talking to had a good suggestion: put Windows, along with all HD-intensive items such as programs and perhaps a few newer games, on a superspeed drive while storing large data, such as music and videos and other archives, on standard supersize drives. Then I can also have Windows and other programs quarantined in their own small partition should any formatting or OS reconstruction be needed, which saves me the hassle of partitioning the supersize drives.

I was originally going to get the 36GB Raptor; even on my old PC with full XP, I386 directory, Program Files directory consisting of every program I had available to install, and an overflowing My Documents folder which hasn't been cleaned since 1998, I was barely over 20GB.

But then, I read this review of the new 150GB models, and found out that size was far from the only improvement to the Raptor's evolution. With the 36GB going for nearly $100, I already thought it was a nice deal to double the size for another 50% and quadruple it for another 25%, but after seeing the huge performance increase progression, the WD1500ADFD is the only choice. Selected over Raptor X for cheaper price, double MTBF, and no silly window.

2nd & 3rd HDs: Western Digital Caviar RE2 WD5001ABYS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s x2 ($120 / $240)
The two supersize storage drives. Lots and lots of 32-bit WAV files; many multi-track compositions for many projects, digital output & live session recordings, and God-knows-how-many different mixes & masters of every single song.

Decided on WD5000YS model after reading extended review & comparison here, but the model has since been upgraded to WD5000ABYS and now WD5001ABYS; I hope I'm not being a sucker by assuming the "upgrade" models have equal or better performance than the WD5000YS reviewed. At least one person compared WD5000YS and WD5000ABYS, as well as the "home" model equivalents (WD5000KS and WD5000AAKS), and found no notable performance difference in any tests.

The YS enterprise models barely cost $7-$15 more than the "home". They seem to be specifically engineered for RAID setups and servers, neither of which I will be running. My only interest is in the way they're allegedly built for more intense and extended use. I have no idea how WD accomplishes that, but I'm intending to drag this system's use out as long as I dragged out the Celeron 500. The enterprise models also have 5 year warranty, whereas "home" only has 3 years.

Furthermore, I was looking at this comparison of leading 500GB drives, and the performance of the Hitachi Deskstar T7K500 impressed me. Of course, once again newegg doesn't even stock the drives indexed in the reviews. Rather than T7K500 or 7K500, we have E7K500 and P7K500. Neither have much review coverage, and AFAIK Hitachi got a bad rap for a string of drives which failed incessantly and are now no longer popular. Not sure I want to venture into such obscure and uncommon territory.

Or... I guess I could just try one of each?

DVD: SAMSUNG Black 20X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 16X DVD+R DL 20X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA 20X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe ($32)
Well... it's a DVD drive with the best stats from a top brand. What else to say?

TOTAL THUS FAR: $1072

Sound cards are something I'm still discussing at audio production forums, but right now I'm looking at the E-mu 1212M PCI Digital Audio System which could run up another $150-$200.

Power supply is also undecided. Right now I'm torn between the SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-550HT ATX12V / EPS12V 550W 100 - 240 V ($106) and the PC Power & Cooling S610EPS EPS12V 610W Continuous @ 40°C 100 - 240 V ($120). The SeaSonic is quieter, the PC P&C is a tad louder but is single-railed.

Cases are a whole other nightmare for a whole separate thread. Let's just say a 17.1"/435mm height limit really kills the selection. For now, I'd just like to focus on what's going in the case.

So, that's the planned setup. I have to admit, after all the time I've spent researching, I'm not too concerned with 0.5% - 1% performance tweaks as much as I just want to be sure I don't have any glaring errors or stupid mistakes that could be easily corrected/improved in the setup. Regardless, any feedback would be greatly appreciated, and I'll look into any and all suggestions or recommendations.

psiu
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Post by psiu » Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:34 am

What Doom site?

Seasonic will be quieter. Notice that they (Power PC&C) don't even get mentioned here as an option generally. Might want to consider a lower model also--you won't be getting anywhere near 300w even at peak load. Pick a 400-500 range model and you will be fine. Maybe that new Enermax Modu82 SPCR just reviewed (well, pick the lower model which one would hope is similar).

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sat Mar 08, 2008 6:32 am

Hello,

You only need a 300watt PSU to run this machine. Really.

I would use a single 1TB WD Green Power for storage, and I think I would use a new single disc 320GB WD for the boot drive.

17" H Antec Solo case

Greg F.
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cpu

Post by Greg F. » Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:35 am

Why not get an Intel 2180 and save yourself 200 bucks. It o/cs to 3 gigs and will seem like greased lighting next to the Celeron. I am waiting for someone to come on here and tell us he is upgrading from a Zilog 80A. Remember when they were the big new thing?

Rewdoalb
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Post by Rewdoalb » Sat Mar 08, 2008 8:55 am

I really don't think a E6850 is your best bet at a CPU.
Overclocking or not, with your budget, if you can find an E8400 in stock anywhere, it's your best option. Other options would be E6750, E4500 if you overclock, and E2180 or similar if you overclock.


Also, in terms of video cards try getting some more feedback before you get that 8600GTS. I'm not going to say it's a completely bad choice, but keep looking and asking around before you make a call. Here's one 8600GTS with all spec's the same as yours posted except maximum resolution. (This card is lower). However it's a good bit cheaper, especially after rebates.

bonestonne
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Post by bonestonne » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:48 am

advanced audio work? i run a DAW with a Pentium D 940, and 3GB DDR2-667 RAM, and it gets the job done. An E6850 would be nice, but the E6xxx series is not exactly the best choice anymore.

E8xxx is now what's going to give you the best performance from a Core 2 Duo.

my personal advice for a soundcard however, is either E-mu or M-Audio. it depends on the budget though. certain M-Audio cards that have the same features as E-mu cards are cheaper, but some E-mu cards with the same features as M-Audio cards are cheaper. i don't do multi-track until post editing (i prefer over-dubbing, or all at once in a single track), and i get by very well with an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96...hasn't failed me yet ever.

toki_c
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Post by toki_c » Sat Mar 08, 2008 10:53 am

1. DVD burner: look seriously at Plextor's drives! Those ones are quite expensive but you will definitely get for your monies.

2. Storage: instead getting a Raptor X and 2xWD 500GB SE16, I will recommend you to get instead 2 WD GP RE2 1TB and make a raid 5 or so on if you want to secure your data.
Or else, just make a 32GB for the OS (1st), 64GB for working (2nd), and store your data on to the 3rd partition. You can even make a 3th 860GB and 4th 32GB partition. And use the last partion to back up your OS+Softwares. You can restore in 8 minutes your OS+Softwares partion in that way.
And you can duplicate your important data plus the 32GB OS back up to the second drive.
That solution will definitely be more cheaper, energy saving, useful, quiet! and you get plenty of space at the same time for futur use! What else do you need for 300$?! You can bring your PATA drives to the hardware museum! You shall just ever need to plug 2 SATA drives... And not any shitty SATA ones, those WD GP RE2 series are really good. Just check out SPCR's and AnandTech's article to make up your mind.

3. CPU: You definitely do NOT need the E6850! Just get a cheapest E8000 series cpu if you want more power, passive cooling possibilty, energy saving cpu. Or else, just get a cheapest E4000 series cpu because those ones would be more than enough for your use. Not to mention that, whatever you pick you can speed up to 3GHz. And it will absolutely run cool and got an unreachable performance/price rate! Do not say that you do NOT want to o/c cause some pc manufacturers, Dell likes, do that! You are still saying that it will harm your cpu?! D:

4. CPU heatsink: a Noctua NH-12F or NH-12S will be enough to keep a C2D run cool while quiet at the same time. The main advantage of a NH-12F or 12S is: you get a good heatsink while getting a quiet 120mm fan... it's a 'cheaper' but still wise solution!

5. VGA: I would advice you to look at a 3850. You can get one for 130 bucks, but you got for your money! moreover, a 3850 is energy saving, run just cool, really good h264 decoding and give you the possibility to play modern games for only 130$! What else do you need?! Especially that you are going to keep that one for... 7 years?

5: Mobo: look at Abit IP35 mobo.

6. Case: A P182 would obviously be a wise solution but if want a compact case, a Solo will be more than enough. You can check out on multiple threads in the forum for more info.

7. DDR2: Firstly try to get DDR2 CAS4 for 1.9! CAS4 for 2.1V?! Are you kidding?! I think that too much considering the fact you get hardly nothing better in everyday computing. In fact, it's the tRD latency that can bring noticeable performance. You can check out a great article on AnandTech about Intel MCHV tango and tRD latency for more details.

Else, you can check out G.Skill DDR800-CL4-PK --> CAS4 for 1.9 not 2.1V! As I said the CAS is not the main latency issue. I can smoothely push 'em up @ 2000MHz 2.15V CAS5 while my E4300 is at 3.0GHz 1.35V.

8. Mobo: check out Abit IP35 series... too lazy to write anymore... (:-

D Incorporated
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Post by D Incorporated » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:01 pm

Greg F. wrote:Why not get an Intel 2180 and save yourself 200 bucks. It o/cs to 3 gigs and will seem like greased lighting next to the Celeron.
Haha, I'm sure it would.

Truth is, my last remaining grandparent died a few months ago, and the funding is coming from some of the inheritance. So I can treat myself to a bit of luxury (nothing like DDR3 though), and the processor is the one thing I want the best option for.
Rewdoalb wrote:I really don't think a E6850 is your best bet at a CPU.
Overclocking or not, with your budget, if you can find an E8400 in stock anywhere, it's your best option. Other options would be E6750, E4500 if you overclock, and E2180 or similar if you overclock.
bonestonne wrote:E8xxx is now what's going to give you the best performance from a Core 2 Duo.
Aieee, good catch guys!

Yeah, the processor was the first thing I selected when I started this ordeal last year, I should have known something better would be available by now.

I'd heard the E8400 mentioned before, but I saw the cheaper price and made the stupid assumption that it was some kind of budget model.

I just spent some time looking into it and comparing it to the E6850 - seems the primary differences are 45nm core (up from 65nm), 6MB cache (up from 4MB), and SSE4 (up from SSE3). Runs cooler and uses less power too. This was a decent comparison, and the charts beginning here in xbit's extended comparison were quite sexy and I quickly fell to the seductive power of the E8400 :P

The only thing that worries me is some people seem to have been subject to "bad batches", with a hotter core temp and less overclockability and power efficiency. I'm not sure how I could tell if mine came from a good batch or not.

...that is, provided I could even find one of these things in stock anywhere! Guess I'm going shopping after work today.
psiu wrote:Notice that they (Power PC&C) don't even get mentioned here as an option generally.
Indeed. I spent a lot of time searching the forums for information on them. Most people suggest it's because they don't send samples to the site. Regardless of the reason, the 610 was noted by multiple users as both a tolerably quiet model and by far the quietest model from that company. I don't mind a bit of excess power if it's quieter. Though really, it's the single rail that got my attention.
NeilBlanchard wrote:You only need a 300watt PSU to run this machine. Really.
Heh, I had a feeling this would be one of the first responses.

I read a lot of power supply topics before registering, and despite the gross overestimation of required power the vendors are pushing on the buyers, people seem to prefer ones that run around 1¾ - 2x the system's primary capacity both as a means of future-proofing as well as running the supply considerably below intended maximum output for cool and thus quiet performance (presuming multi-speed cooling settings are in effect). I didn't mention I have enough USB devices that draw power directly from the MB, I may get more, and I'm not quite final on the video card either. Plus fans and such. When the price difference between good 400W-600W PSUs is mere pocket change, the extra overhead to ensure I could run every single thing I could ever think of adding to the system ends up being a very small concern.

I was originally looking at the Antec Phantom 500, but since that seems to be unavailable, I came to the other conclusions instead. Corsair's 520-HX-or-something seems to be a big hit here. I had no intention of going above 500-ish, but like I said, the single rail on that 610 got my attention :)
NeilBlanchard wrote:I would use a single 1TB WD Green Power for storage, and I think I would use a new single disc 320GB WD for the boot drive.
Yeah, looks like the 1TB drives are getting cheaper.

When I began assembling the system, 500GB drives were ~$130 and 750GB drives were ~$300, so I decided I'd rather get 2 500GB drives for $260 than 1 750GB for $300. I've since come to like the idea of having 2 storage drives. The total space is the same, the price-per-gig is cheaper, and I like having 2 in the event of a failure; I can keep trucking while one gets replaced, and I can mirror the more important things across both.

I'll try to find some more recent comparisons now.
Rewdoalb wrote:Also, in terms of video cards try getting some more feedback before you get that 8600GTS. I'm not going to say it's a completely bad choice, but keep looking and asking around before you make a call. Here's one 8600GTS with all spec's the same as yours posted except maximum resolution. (This card is lower). However it's a good bit cheaper, especially after rebates.
Another good catch. Looks like that would ventilate up into the rear fan as well.

On the other hand, I suppose passive cooling may not be entirely necessary. I've had ATI's 3850 and Nvidia's 9600GT, both notably superior cards, recommended for barely $10 more. Honestly, I don't mind if they make extra noise while gaming, as long as they go quiet during desktop usage (i.e. recording). It's just that I've heard some friend's super-dedicated gaming rigs, and those things sound like they're going take off and fly around the room. There's probably a middle-ground solution of a better card with minimal noise, but since I do so little modern gaming, I didn't want to spend too much time researching possibilities and took the first thing somebody suggested and verified to play Doom3.

I'm open to suggestions though. I'm just not too keen on extensive hardware modding - I'd like it to be nice and quiet out-of-the-box.
bonestonne wrote:advanced audio work?
Actual composing, recording, mixing, mastering, etc.

Y'know, "Beyond Sound Recorder" ;)
bonestonne wrote:i run a DAW with a Pentium D 940, and 3GB DDR2-667 RAM, and it gets the job done.
Oh really? What kind of work or music do you do with it?
bonestonne wrote:my personal advice for a soundcard however, is either E-mu or M-Audio. it depends on the budget though. certain M-Audio cards that have the same features as E-mu cards are cheaper, but some E-mu cards with the same features as M-Audio cards are cheaper.
Those are the 2 options I'm always getting recommendations for. I looked at the M-Audio Audiophile 192 & the M-Audio Delta 1010LT, they both looked great, but the E-mu 1212M is the closest match for my purposes. The only thing that's putting me off is whether or not I'll have to deal with that PatchMix thing. I'd like to just... say, go to SoundForge and select to record straight from the line-ins, not run it through some crazy frontend.
Greg F. wrote:I am waiting for someone to come on here and tell us he is upgrading from a Zilog 80A. Remember when they were the big new thing?
Ahaha, that was 5 years before I was born :P

My earliest computer memories are Tink Tonk in the Land of Buddy Bots on my friend's dad's 8086 (with the 150 baud modem, that he paid over $3000 for and sold at a garage sale 8 years ago for $15) and Frogger on a monochrome display at my dad's work. Then there was that catch-the-falling-babies game. Oooh, and Intellivision! ...bah, now I wish I was a kid again.
psiu wrote:What Doom site?
Doomworld.

Alright, thanks for the input everybody! Much appreciated! :D

[edit] Whoa, toki, you jumped in as I was writing this reply :P I gotta run to work now, I'll check your reply when I get back!

AVT
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Post by AVT » Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:19 pm

I would recommend an E8400 for CPU and a 9600GT for GPU. If you can't find an E8400, look around for a Xeon E3110, it's basically the same CPU, except for marketing.

Also, you could probably save on the memory. I'm getting this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820145175

Also, for PSU, I would recommend the Corsair 520/620, if for no other reason, then for the cables. Quite simply the cables are easier to work with than any other PSU I've owned. It's also whisper quiet.

NeilBlanchard
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Post by NeilBlanchard » Sat Mar 08, 2008 7:23 pm

Hello,

The 300watt PSU is probably almost 2X more power than you need.

If you do buy a high-powered PSU, then look seriously at the Enermax just reviewed.

bonestonne
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Post by bonestonne » Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:35 pm

i do live recording generally, however i avoid multi-track recording, because my soundcard isn't able to handle multi-track, and i don't have the midi plug for it.

i'll also restore older audio, digitize vinyl (old records), cassette tapes, and other stuff, i'm good at it now, having been doing it for 3 years now. my main program of choice is Adobe Audition, however i've also used Logic Pro 8, Audacity, and a few other open source applications.

in working with it for so long, my ears are so picky about what i hear. but also with working at a radio station, i've ended up buying my own studio condensers, a mixer, and making cables for it all, and i do recording for my friends sometimes.

at my highschool we do daily Morning Announcements, which has given me the nickname of "(my name) my Sound Technician" by my friend who gives the weather every day...its good times, i will miss it after i graduate in 2009.

also, today i was helping out my old middle school with their play Beauty And The Beast, and i was talking to the guy who was hired to video tape it, and it ended with an exchange of info because of us bringing up our side jobs, it was good, and hopefully it'll prove to be successful.

i prefer studio and very controlled live situations. i'd rather not have to worry about acts, scripts, someone swapping mics, or all that, but only being 16, experience will never hurt, and almost every time i do something, i meet someone new that has something new to teach me.

Mats
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Re: First new build in 8 years

Post by Mats » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:42 am

CPU: Xeon E3110, E8200 or E8400. It's up to you.

RAM: Use 2 x 2 GB. Why fill up all the slots at once?

Video Card: Seriously, you should consider a better card. 8600 GTS is not really good, compared to the latest generation. The 9600 GT is MUCH faster, but lacks a fan control IIRC. The HD 3870 have a pretty good fan control and a two slot fan. You can either find a fanless version of one of these, or use a different fan, like the Zalman VF1000.

I think you really should read up on this topic, quite important. Especially if you want the components to last for a while, the video card is the FIRST component that gets outdated.

Case: Don't worry, there are solutions for ATX that are less than 17", like the 15" Lian-Li PC-A05. The reason is that the PSU is placed in the front. They have more models under 17", I found 4 of them here. The PC-V600 have a 120 mm side panel fan next to the video card, could be useful if you buy a passively cooled video card.

I'm sure there are other manufacturers with low height cases.

Just take your time and ask us if you need help!

pyrrhon
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Post by pyrrhon » Sun Mar 09, 2008 8:43 pm

Just wanted to say that the m-audio 2496 did not provide vista drivers last fall and I sold mine at that time. I would look at the asus xonar d2 if youre into music or movies.

Mats
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Post by Mats » Sun Mar 09, 2008 9:22 pm

pyrrhon wrote:Just wanted to say that the m-audio 2496 did not provide vista drivers last fall and I sold mine at that time. I would look at the asus xonar d2 if youre into music or movies.
The card he wants is supported in Vista, see link.

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Post by Cerb » Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:18 am

Processor: E2xxx or E8xxx. If you are going Intel, anything else is too much, or not very good for your money. The 45nm E8xxx offer great OC with undervolting. Yes, YMMV, but they are ridiculously fast. If you get no OC out of it, it will still hold you over for a few years.

Mobo: sound is OK? Dude, you really have been out of it! Video is actually there, it's just disabled. Much like the old add-a-gear-and-disable-it trick, it's now cheaper to do it that way for Intel. You can get boards as low as $70. You are paying more for better parts used in the board. The features add less to the cost. The P35-DS3R (the one I have) adds a e-SATA bracket in the box, too. I couldn't be happier with mine, and I doubt there is a substantial difference between them. But, check out the IP35-E, anyway.

RAM: get 2x2GB or 4x2GB. Being stuck to Windows, go 2x2GB. Mushkin may work well in that board, but I would trust Corsair (ValueSelect), Kingston, A-Data, etc. more. Cheap RAM doesn't mean bad, these days, and in terms of compatibility, is often superior to expensive RAM. 5-5-5-15 at 1.8V, max timings and voltage ratings. Up to 2.0V should be acceptable for a 4 stick kit, if you still want to go that way.

Video looks good. Performance isn't great, but silent ones that perform better are not so easy to find.

Drives: again, if you're on Windows, do the Raptor thing. For extra drives, go with quiet. WD and Samsung both seem to have several good ones. Don't worry about performance. Just get a new one. A 5400 RPM WD GP will feel faster than a 7200 RPM Hitach that isn't brand new. All the little firmware tweaks and such really do add up. Use SPCR's resources to find a quiet one you like of the current generation.

You could just get a couple 1TB drives, instead, but you will feel the difference more on Windows, using the Raptor.
The SeaSonic is quieter, the PC P&C is a tad louder but is single-railed.
A 500-600W SeaSonic will be ideal.

NeilBlanchard already pointed you to your case.

CPU heatsink: Get a Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme, with AS 5 or Ceramique. Install and move on.

CPU and other fans: 120mm Scythe Slipstream 800RPM or 500 RPM. 800RPM offer performance headroom and good undervolting capability, and the 500 RPM will be quiet enough out of the box at 12v.

bonestonne
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Post by bonestonne » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:04 am

Mats wrote:
pyrrhon wrote:Just wanted to say that the m-audio 2496 did not provide vista drivers last fall and I sold mine at that time. I would look at the asus xonar d2 if youre into music or movies.
The card he wants is supported in Vista, see link.
yeah, its not last fall anymore. there are Vista drivers as well as x64 drivers.

i use my 2496 with XP x64 SP1 and haven't had a problem with it. (it also works well with Linux.

D Incorporated
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Post by D Incorporated » Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:34 pm

OK, let's see, where were we...
toki_c wrote:1. DVD burner: look seriously at Plextor's drives! Those ones are quite expensive but you will definitely get for your monies.
I looked at these: seems Plextor doesn't make their own DVD drives anymore (they are all just rebadged from other makers) and people say they've gone downhill from 10 years ago when their SCSI stuff was bulletproof.

Really, 99% of my optical drive use is ripping CDs, so if it does that nice & fast, then it's fine by me :P
toki_c wrote:2. Storage: instead getting a Raptor X and 2xWD 500GB SE16, I will recommend you to get instead 2 WD GP RE2 1TB and make a raid 5 or so on if you want to secure your data.
It's a good point, but if I'm going to be buying that much space, I'd like the majority of it to be unique. I had considered the Raid 5, but the amount of identical data I'd need/want backed up would be so small compared to the total drivespace that I didn't find the spacial sacrifice worth it. Plus that MB doesn't have onboard Raid, so I'd need an expansion card too. (They make a Raid model, but they change the rear ports to a less desirable configuration).
toki_c wrote:Or else, just make a 32GB for the OS (1st), 64GB for working (2nd), and store your data on to the 3rd partition. You can even make a 3th 860GB and 4th 32GB partition. And use the last partion to back up your OS+Softwares. You can restore in 8 minutes your OS+Softwares partion in that way.
And you can duplicate your important data plus the 32GB OS back up to the second drive.
That solution will definitely be more cheaper, energy saving, useful, quiet! and you get plenty of space at the same time for futur use! What else do you need for 300$?! You can bring your PATA drives to the hardware museum! You shall just ever need to plug 2 SATA drives... And not any shitty SATA ones, those WD GP RE2 series are really good. Just check out SPCR's and AnandTech's article to make up your mind.
Another good idea. I wasn't aware of these GP drives until a few days ago. They definitely look like a good option, and the speed reports for the 640GB are very impressive, though again RE2 is preferable and I only see 750GB.
toki_c wrote:3. CPU: You definitely do NOT need the E6850! Just get a cheapest E8000 series cpu if you want more power, passive cooling possibilty, energy saving cpu.
Yeah, everybody everywhere I went corrected that mistake. E8400 it is.

...soon as I can find one for sale :|
toki_c wrote:Do not say that you do NOT want to o/c cause some pc manufacturers, Dell likes, do that! You are still saying that it will harm your cpu?! D:
Haha, no, not saying that at all.

I'll be overclocking, but only once I get everything up and running, and I won't be pushing it to some crazy 4.2GHz with some nutty custom cooling system as complex as the computer itself... I hear 3.6GHz is a good average standard for the E8400's.
toki_c wrote:4. CPU heatsink: a Noctua NH-12F or NH-12S will be enough to keep a C2D run cool while quiet at the same time. The main advantage of a NH-12F or 12S is: you get a good heatsink while getting a quiet 120mm fan... it's a 'cheaper' but still wise solution!
NewEgg doesn't have a single thing from Noctua. Or Nexus, for that matter. Guess I'll have to expand my shopping horizons.

As for CPU heatsinks, it would be nice to find one that blows straight outward instead of left or right, as well as doesn't fill up the entire middle of the case. One of the cases I was looking at had modifiable side-processor exhaust and I was hoping to take advantage of that.
toki_c wrote:5: Mobo: look at Abit IP35 mobo.
I did. They were a very close second to the DS3L. I just have a few trusty older peripherals that the DS3L is better suited for.
toki_c wrote:7. DDR2: Firstly try to get DDR2 CAS4 for 1.9! CAS4 for 2.1V?! Are you kidding?!
...no, not really?

Is there some kind of problem with going over 1.9V? When most people are OCing these 3.0GHz core2duos to ~4.0GHz (along with just about every other component possible), I wonder why the panic over upping RAM by 0.2-0.3V? By contrast, it's quite a minimal difference.

Regardless, IIRC I can still run those RAM sticks @ 1.8V 5-5-5-15 if it's really some kind of emergency.

Otherwise I guess I can pick some other 1.8V 5-5-5-15 sticks. Those Muskins did seem like a perfect fit though.
Mats wrote:RAM: Use 2 x 2 GB. Why fill up all the slots at once?
That's just my preference. Like the latest review says, "All the memory manufacturers come up with a bad stick or two occasionally. That is why I purchased 2 sets of 2x1G instead of 1 set of 2x2G for 4G. If I had to return a set, I didn't want to be dead in the water for lack of memory." Similar to my HDs I suppose.
Mats wrote:Video Card: Seriously, you should consider a better card. [...] I think you really should read up on this topic, quite important. Especially if you want the components to last for a while, the video card is the FIRST component that gets outdated.
Yes, good suggestion.

The passive-cooled Sapphire HD3850 & PowerColor HD3870 have now caught my attention. I just got done reading this review of the PowerColor HD3870 (which does a great job comparing it with other cards, including the HD3850 and 8600GTS), and I think I've found my new video card. It's only running about $226 on NewEgg as well!

The only issue now is the fit. I'd considered the HD3850 and spent a while resizing/cutting/pasting pictures to get an idea for how well it would fit. I think the top heatsink is gonna hit the RAM. So I did another (quicker) comparison with the HD3870, and its top heatsink is smaller and should eliminate the RAM issue, but it also adds a much larger bottom heatsink, and I think that one's gotta be veeeeeeery close to the south bridge - perhaps the 2 heatsinks will even be touching eachother. True, they're only heatsinks and shouldn't short out, but I'd rather not have components pressing against eachother. I wonder, though, if I could snip off a few of the fins on HD3870 if the heatsinks were indeed touching - it would only be removing less than 1% of the heatsink, I doubt it would cause an epic disaster.

Maybe I should start a thread in the "Cool and Quiet VGA" forum. I searched the forum and found somebody who owned both individual components (HD3870 & DS3L MB) but didn't verify a fit.

(Also, some Sapphire HD 3850 stats for reference)
Cerb wrote:The 45nm E8xxx offer great OC with undervolting. Yes, YMMV, but they are ridiculously fast. If you get no OC out of it, it will still hold you over for a few years.
True enough; that's what I was planning for. The chip's decided (E8400), I'll deal with the overclocking later; it's too much to take in for now. I'll figure out this undervolting business eventually.
Cerb wrote:Mushkin may work well in that board, but I would trust Corsair (ValueSelect), Kingston, A-Data, etc. more.
Heh, I noticed they weren't on the official "support" list at the Gigabyte website.

I'll see what the deal is with some of the ones on the official "supported" list, but because I might get that HD3870, I'll have to be sure they don't have some big heatclip that notably extends their width.

But it was this EOC review of the Mushkin that made me decide on it. (Just saying.)
Cerb wrote:For extra drives, go with quiet. WD and Samsung both seem to have several good ones. Don't worry about performance. Just get a new one. A 5400 RPM WD GP will feel faster than a 7200 RPM Hitach that isn't brand new. All the little firmware tweaks and such really do add up.
I see. I should put most of my attention on test results then. I've got some massive comparison charts to go through now.

This Samsung Spinpoint F1 review shows some incredible stats, but user reviews and comments across hardware sites show a frighteningly high DOA/sudden-failure ratio.

I'll look for more GP stats. If anybody knows any good comparisons, I'd appreciate some links.

Regarding PSU: looks like SeaSonic or Corsair. I've since read many good things here about both. I think I'll wait a few days though, on the off-chance that I somehow win that Enermax draw :D

bonestonne: cool stuff, if you don't mind I'll reply later in Private Message, else I'll probably derail this into an audio thread.

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Post by bonestonne » Mon Mar 10, 2008 2:16 pm

knock yourself out on the PM, they never bother me.

as per the hard drives, i think the one thing that keeps me away from Western Digital GP drives is the platter speed. its variable 5400-7200, which is why they only use on average 7W....at times, in any box that works with audio, getting to project files is a rough process, you'd want a drive that's full speed to make it all happen.

Maybe a Samsung Spinpoint T series? i can't say i heard much about the F1 series failing, otherwise that would be what i'd have said.

and about the RAM...official support lists are kind of silly. what you really need to watch out for is non-ECC or ECC compatibility. past that, its my firm belief that RAM is RAM regardless of the motherboard (not going into dual channel or speeds).

i'm also not sure if anyone mentioned the cooler, but there are a few ways to take a 45W CPU. a Scythe Ninja Mini would be great, a Scythe Ninja (full size) would take it fanless without a sweat. I've also seen someone (not sure where) but they took an original Q6600 stock fan (before the G0 stepping model) so that PWM would keep it quiet, and the much larger size of the older heatsink would help as well (keeping in mind that the new 45W C2D's have coolers nearly half the height of the original ones.

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Post by Jokoto » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:05 pm

bonestonne wrote:as per the hard drives, i think the one thing that keeps me away from Western Digital GP drives is the platter speed. its variable 5400-7200, which is why they only use on average 7W
They are not variable, all reviewed GP drives have been 5400 rpm. The vagueness with the rpm was that WD reserved the possibility of releasing drives with different platter speeds, but none over 5400 rpm have been seen, which makes sense when aiming for low power.

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Post by bonestonne » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:20 pm

RPM - 5400 to 7200 RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822136150

straight from the specs...you make sense of that.

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Post by Jokoto » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:44 pm

Please read the fifth paragraph of the second page of the SPCR review and the third paragraph of the 2nd page in StorageReview.com's take at it. The consensus seems to be that they have all been 5400 rpm so far, but the possibility of faster versions has not been ruled out in the manufacturer's specs.

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Post by bonestonne » Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:14 pm

:roll: thanks for that clarity (took it almost for granted at first).

well, in seeing that the drive is 5400RPM, i'm not sure that a 7W drive is priority over access time for data.

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Post by Cerb » Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:06 pm

D Incorporated wrote:If you can spend on the new ATI/AMD, go for it. The passive 8600GTSs can be had for $120-140. Trade it against RAM cost...
Cerb wrote:Mushkin may work well in that board, but I would trust Corsair (ValueSelect), Kingston, A-Data, etc. more.
Heh, I noticed they weren't on the official "support" list at the Gigabyte website.

I'll see what the deal is with some of the ones on the official "supported" list, but because I might get that HD3870, I'll have to be sure they don't have some big heatclip that notably extends their width.

But it was this EOC review of the Mushkin that made me decide on it. (Just saying.)
Check that review, again. I did not see one performance test of that RAM. Not one. All I saw were tests that verify it is running to specifications, and works at 1050 5-5-5-15 at 2.4V . Go to somewhere like Anandtech and check RAM reviews, where they actually test performance of software that uses said RAM. Decent RAM at lower voltages will respond well to raising voltages and lowering timings, if you want to go above 400MHz FSB.

My RAM, FI (A-Data's cheapest 2x2 kit...at 3x the current price, ugh!), goes to 950MHz by moving to 6-6-6-15, and I got it to 1100 6-6-6-18 by bumping the voltage up one notch (I think 2.14V--the Gigabyte P35 boards have odd handling of voltage), allowing for 550MHz FSB. That's where I stopped, since all I wanted to make sure I had the headroom.

There are many things not to save your pennies on. RAM just isn't one of them.
Cerb wrote:For extra drives, go with quiet. WD and Samsung both seem to have several good ones. Don't worry about performance. Just get a new one. A 5400 RPM WD GP will feel faster than a 7200 RPM Hitach that isn't brand new. All the little firmware tweaks and such really do add up.
I see. I should put most of my attention on test results then. I've got some massive comparison charts to go through now.

This Samsung Spinpoint F1 review shows some incredible stats, but user reviews and comments across hardware sites show a frighteningly high DOA/sudden-failure ratio.

I'll look for more GP stats. If anybody knows any good comparisons, I'd appreciate some links.
Well, of course there is http://www.silentpcreview.com/article29-page2.html :)
Also there's a 1TB review still on the front page.
If you stick with the Raptor + big drive scenario, I don't think worrying over access times is worth it (you've got the Raptor to take care of that for lots of your files!). With only 'normal' drives, it is a good consideration, and con of the WD GP.
Regarding PSU: looks like SeaSonic or Corsair. I've since read many good things here about both. I think I'll wait a few days though, on the off-chance that I somehow win that Enermax draw :D
Sure thing. I have nothing bad to say for Seasonic...

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Post by D Incorporated » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:37 am

Alright, I've just about got this nailed! :D Thanks so much for the input, you've all been very helpful, I wish I could just hug you all!! ...but I'm not gonna.

OK, I have one last question regarding RAM voltage:

I read JEDEC's official specs that insist 1.8v is the maximum stable/ideal voltage for RAM. However, almost all the good/popular/most-used RAM packs available are running 2.1v+, despite enough people who decry it.

So I've been thinking - there's two options:

1) Get a 2.1v+ rated RAM pack. In theory, there should be no issue with buying higher spec and underclocking. I could drop the timings to get them running at 1.8v if I decide to go with JEDEC's recommendation, but then I also have the option of going higher if I wanted to go with the rated specs.

2) Get a 1.8v JEDEC rated RAM pack. Meets official ratings, but going higher isn't guaranteed. I mean, yeah you can OC the 1.8v's, but if you're going for those speeds, it's probably better to get one designed for them by default - they hardly cost any more. I was hoping for 4-4-4-12, but the best timings here seem to be 5-5-5-18, or maybe 5-5-5-15.

So basically, I was wondering if underpowering the 2.1v+'s to 1.8v was somehow worse than just getting a 1.8v JEDEC-rated.
what you really need to watch out for is non-ECC or ECC compatibility.
Oh yeah, how could I forget ECC... necessary/recommended or not?

(Or is that just a warning to be sure all sticks are the same?)

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Post by bonestonne » Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:45 pm

well, seeing as you aren't exactly running a computer that will likely be on 24/7/365 which needs to warn you of any potential failure, ECC is hardly necessary. its also much more expensive, so when not needed, its better to do without.

5-5-5-15 is what i have in my computer, 3GB of it, and i do a lot of audio work (in fact right now its about 1/3 the way through a 5 hour recording session of my friends' radio shows. i don't think its really important at all to have ECC, so why spend the money. a perfectly good system can be built with 1/3rd the budget you're able to spend. cheapest isn't always greatest, but neither is most expensive.

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Post by MikeC » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:16 pm

The SeaSonic is quieter, the PC P&C is a tad louder but is single-railed.
Nope, just not true. There are no true multiple 12V rail PSUs except the ones rated for ~1kw with two 12V transformers. All others are basically single rail. Seasonic, afaik, doesn't make a single true multiple 12V rail PSU.... and it so happens that the PCPC 610 is made by Seasonic.

If I was buying, I'd go with an Enermax Modu82+ 425.

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Post by D Incorporated » Fri Mar 21, 2008 1:37 am

Alright, so no ECC (I hardly see RAM packs with it anyway), PSU manufacturers are mostly liars (that wouldn't be a first), and Enermax's PSUs are the best option now.

I'm assuming the 425w Modu82+ is equal in its quiet performance to the 625w version? IIRC only the 625 was reviewed and it was presumed that the 425 matched it.

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Post by MikeC » Fri Mar 21, 2008 5:32 am

D Incorporated wrote:I'm assuming the 425w Modu82+ is equal in its quiet performance to the 625w version? IIRC only the 625 was reviewed and it was presumed that the 425 matched it.
At present, I'd be presuming too -- haven't had a chance to even plug in the 425W version yet, just arrived a day or two ago.

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