new pc confusion

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maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

new pc confusion

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:30 am

Hi,

I'm trying to upgrade my system to make it quieter and more efficient.

I need to leave it on permanently to run backups and allow remote access, so I'm after a green silent machine. I can't afford to spend the earth, so I was hoping to upgrade as little as possible at this time (although this is probably going to be impossible).

This is how far I've got (any comments welcome):
Enermax Modu82+ 625W PSU
Antec P182 case
Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600


I'm confused about the motherboard: I was looking at the
Asus P5E64 WS Evolution
Because it has impressive claims about efficiency and cpu fan speed control. But I'm worried about memory. I currently have DDR2 in my existing system and was hoping not to have to upgrade that yet. I have also heard that DDR3 is a bit of a waste of money. Is there a DDR2 board which will be as efficient? Should I go DDR3 to futureproof myself?

I also don't know where to start with CPU fans. Does it matter which size I go for? Can anybody recommend a good quiet model?

I haven't looked into graphics yet, as I was hoping not to upgrade at this stage. However, my existing card is AGP, so I guess I'm going to have to go for pci express right? I don't do gaming, but I do do a lot of graphics work and run split screen. Again, efficiency and energy usage are key. Any recommendations?

Thanks for any advice, it is greatly appreciated.

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
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Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Thu Apr 10, 2008 3:49 am

Firstly I wouldn't bother with DDR3, it is far too expensive compared to DDr2 and the cost of a DDR3 capable motherboard is also too much compared to a DDR2 one.

As for a motherboard with energy saving, try the ASUS P5E

As for a CPU cooler, there are a few to chose, bigger is better.
Try the Scyth Ninja Plus, the thermalright 120 Extreme or the new Xigmatek HDT-S1283

If your current AGP card is powerful enough for your graphics needs then try an ATI HD 3650 or a Nvidia 8600GT as yuo will have to change to a PCI-e

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:05 am

wow great! Thanks for the info.
As for a motherboard with energy saving, try the ASUS P5E
I've just twigged that the 3 in the asus product codes relates to the DDR version - dd-durr...

So does this mean that the P5E has the same energy efficiency as the P5E3?

Should I be considering the P5E WS professional?

I've just run a comparison here
http://www.asus.com/products_compare_sh ... ,1935&l1=3
I actually still have one IDE drive, and it's looking like the P5E doesn't support ATX. I'm finding the comparison quite confusing because the same features seem to appear in the differnet boxes for different products. Will they run the same, but just with different features? :S

Also the expansion slots are different, but I'm not sure which is better, or whether it matters for me. The only expansion card I think I need is graphics - (is it possible to run 2 graphics cards for 4 monitors?!)
As for a CPU cooler, there are a few to chose, bigger is better.
So there's no compatibility issue to worry, just head straight for the 120mm ones.

Thanks again for your help! :D

Cistron
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Location: London, UK

Post by Cistron » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:32 am

If you want an economical PC, I wouldn't go for a Q6600 nor for such an over-dimensioned power supply. However, if your graphics applications make good use quad core architecture, you might want to have a look at the new Q9xxx series (should they become widely available soon).

The cheapest solution would probably be an AMD 780G plattform with integrated graphics. Of course only, if your applications don't require too much CPU power.

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:45 am

Thanks for your thoughts.

I use my computer professionally, and am normally running at least half a dozen applications or more at a time, so mutlitasking performance is very important. I sometimes do video editing and rendering work, so a quick cpu would be nice, and whilst I say that I don't have all the money in the world, I'd rather buy what I can afford now then have to spend the money again later. Will a quad cpu use a significant amount more energy than a dual one?

Do you think still think I'm over spec-ing on the CPU and processor? I can't afford to hang around for too long either because I have a blown cpu that I need to replace. What makes you think that the Q9xxx would be a better choice? Are they more efficient or just higher spec?

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:01 am

Yes you can use 2 graphics cards to hook up 4 monitors.

I would say the P5E looks suitable for your needs.

I don't understand this from you....
I actually still have one IDE drive, and it's looking like the P5E doesn't support ATX
The P5E does support IDE drives
ASUS wrote: 1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66/ up to 2 PATA devices
Depending upon how powerful a system you require the AMD 780G platform could fit the bill for you.
The on-board graphics card can support 2 monitors and then you will only need to buy one graphics card to get 2 more monitors hooked up.
Tom's hardware have a review of the 780G showing 4 monitors hooked up.

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:12 am

Unless the applications that you are going to be using can specifically utilise all 4 cores, then a dual core CPU should be just about right.
You could get away with one of the 45nm Intel E8xx CPU's. These don't use that much power compared to the older 65nm Quad core CPU's. They overclock quite well and in some benchmarks (gaming admittedly) run quicker than a quad core.

You do realise that the motherboard you have chosen and CPU are quite expensive?

I've just priced up the case, mobo, CPU, cooler, ram, 2 graphics cards and PSu and it's over £800 :shock:

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:27 am

Aha! Sorry, PATA didn't register with me :oops: So I can run my IDE hard drive and IDE DVD drive from this (slave/master)

So the AMD 780G platform would be cheaper, plus I wouldn't have to buy additional graphics, but it would have slightly lower CPU performance. Are there any other disadvantages? Will energy efficiency and noice be similar? Would I still be looking at an ASUS mobo with similar energy efficiency with the AMD setup?

Sorry, I'm confused about which specific board/cpu I'd get with the AMD platform.

In terms of budget, I'm happy to spend around £600+, and would rather give myself options for further upgrades later. I have 2GB of DDR2 that I can use for the moment, so am hoping not to buy any further RAM until a bit later. I don't need two graphics cards yet, so buying just one at the moment is fine if there is room for a second later. So I think that the Quad processor is still in budget. However...
Unless the applications that you are going to be using can specifically utilise all 4 cores, then a dual core CPU should be just about right.
I am still running Windows XP 32bit. Does this mean that I can't use all 4 cores anyway (or am I barking up the wrong tree)? Upgrading to Vista 64bit was another upgrade I was planning on doing at a later date, so I'm still thinking that the quad processer is worth a punt if I can utilise it at a later date. (I don't want to waste money on a 2 core if I need to replace it when I want to upgrade to 64bit OS).

I'm not going to be overclocking or tinkering, stability and simplicity is probably more important to me than a few extra hz.
You could get away with one of the 45nm Intel E8xx CPU's. These don't use that much power compared to the older 65nm Quad core CPU's
I'm sorry, I'm a bit of a noob with hardware, so this doesn't really mean anything to me... Do I need to brush up on what this means?!

Thanks again for all your help, I'm aware that I may be leaning on you a bit more than is polite, but honestly, this is saving me so much stress and time, I really appreciate it.

Cistron
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Location: London, UK

Post by Cistron » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:42 am

If you do rendering, a quad core is probably a wise choice (you should probably read your software's instructions though to double check). Afaik, most of these professional software make use of all the resources. The Q9xxx's architecure is of smaller scale (45 vs. 65nm), therefore, they require less energy and also less cooling, equal less noise.

Upgrade to a 64bit OS makes sense if you'd like to use more than 3.xGB of RAM. I'm sure, your system would benefit, especially if you run several memory hungry applications at the same time. 8GB is currently the maximum on most mainboards.

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:00 am

If your current system is working as you need it to and are upgrading to get more upto date components then the 780G platform and AMD CPU's will work fine for you.

If on the other hand you feel the need to have more processing power to enable you to do the work you need then hell yeah get the Intel kit.

Here are some prices from Ebuyer for an Intel based system:

Code: Select all

ASUS P5E AiLifestyle Series iX38 Socket 775 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard.....£129.51
MSI NX8800GT Zilent 512MB GDDR3.................................................£164.97
Scythe Ninja-PLUS Rev B CPU Cooler..............................................£29.67
Antec P182 Gunmetal Grey Super Mid Tower Case...................................£83.18
Seasonic S12-550E+ 80Plus 550W PSU - Active PFC.................................£71.47
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 2.5GHz 1333FSB 6MB L2 Cache OEM Processor...............£164.82

Total price including VAT and Free Shipping.....................................£643.62
And here is a price for an AMD based system:

Code: Select all

Scythe Ninja-PLUS Rev B CPU Cooler..............................................£29.67
Antec P182 Gunmetal Grey Super Mid Tower Case...................................£83.18
Seasonic S12-550E+ 80Plus 550W PSU - Active PFC.................................£71.47
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G Socket AM2+ Motherboard.............................£56.95
AMD Phenom 9500 Quad Core 95watts AM2+ 4MB Cache 2200MHz Retail Boxed Processor.£118.73

Total price including VAT and Free Shipping.....................................£360.00



maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:07 am

Oh, OK, that makes sense.

Something like this:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/142898
(I should be alright with OEM if I'm buying my own fan right?)

or this:
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/143412

All of the Intel Core2 chips are Socket 775 from what I can see, so none of this affects my choice of mobo, unless I decide to go AMD right?

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:11 am

Fantastic!! :D

Thanks for the summary, this perfect for me, I shall look closely. It seems as you say that it is a big jump for that bit of extra processing, but temptation is a sucker...

Decisions decisions...

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:14 am

Apart from the diffence in processing, I'm wondering whether the gigabyte board is likely to be noisier or less energy efficient (asus make a lot of attractive claims about being reducing fan speed when idle - does the gigabyte board compare?)

There is a hell of a difference between the prices of asus/gigabyte, especially since the gigabyte has built in graphics. Surely something has to give...

Thanks again!

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:24 am

The Gigabyte board will use less energy than the Intel board due to the GPU being on-board.
The GPU I have chosen for the intel rig is fairly expensive, you could get a GPU for a lot less than £100 that would run just as well as the one on-board the Gigabyte system.

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:34 am

OK, well looks like it's make you're mind up time! Thanks for all your help, I think I can make a properly informed decision now.

Cheers. :D

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Thu Apr 10, 2008 6:49 am

Can anybody just confirm that the Scythe Ninja-PLUS Rev B will actually fit in the ASUS P5E with the antec P182 case?

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:06 am

Have a look at this P182 rig he has a huuuge heatsink in there.

maniacal
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:15 am
Location: UK

Post by maniacal » Fri Apr 11, 2008 3:35 am

I got sucked into the higher spec intel setup :oops:

Got it all the this morning (exactly your spec), and it works like a dream :D

I found the heatsink a bit fiddly to install (but aren't they all), but it fits fine.

Thanks again!

nitram_tpr
Posts: 96
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Sarf of Engerlund

Post by nitram_tpr » Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:01 am

Nice one, so how quiet is it?

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