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About to build first PC-would welcome comments

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by nunew33, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. nunew33

    nunew33
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    I am just about to build my first PC and would welcome any feedback or someone to point out flaws in my logic:

    Purpose: Not a HTPC, but definately a DVD creation PC. Will use Mpeg files created by Tosh, so no Mpeg capture now, but maybe later when Camcorder goes digital.

    the PC
    Mobo&CPU
    Asus K8SE Deluxe + Athlon 64 3000
    I know its not 939 but I dont suffer upgradeitis until the PC dies or is 1/5 the latest speed. Am assuming that I will get more punch for my pound with AMD and when 64bit sw, which will arrive, comes out I will be at an advantage.

    Also PCI xpress cards are still at a premium and current PCI cards would not benefit from xpress (ie a creative 1024 Sound blaster from my old PC and a 56K modem) so no PCI express. Mobo can also handle Sata drives and has a wifi card addon. Assuming this will be ok for point to point communication with laptop.

    galaxy nvidia 6800 128M
    This is the bit I am most worried about. Dont want to pay more than £200 for a card. Seems to me you get more bang for your buck with the 6800 even when its the 128M model and not the GT/Ultra models. but this comes with HW Mpeg compression/decompression, should I need it later. The ATI cards dont seem to do this, not even the X?00 cards. Chose tha galaxy because I am worried about heat and it uses a PCI slot exhaust so not contributung to internal heat. Would I be better of with ATI 9800XT or even high spec nvidia 5??? card?

    memory
    512. Thinking that benefits of going 1G are marginal with Windos XP pro

    HDD
    160G SATA 7200 8M cache. Would raid striped pairs be better or is this overkill for my purpose? (ie like using a range rover for the 500yard school run - whoops isnt that most londoners? - Im a southerner before you start the flames!)

    DVD Writer NEC 3500, dont think this is canbe questioned. Will be partnered with a Tosh 4 speed DVD-R/RW/RAM writer from my old PC.

    case and PSU
    Was going to get a scan clio junior with a 350W HiperPower HPU-3s350 3rd Gen Quiet Single Fan Passive PFC. This is the area that concerned me most. Im worried about heat. I intend to get a couple of 80mm chassis fans. The CPU will be retail with the AMD cooling bits. How can I tell if 350W will be anough for the fans, GPU and drives?

    Screen I am simply after a 17 inch TFT that gives <20ms response. There is an acer on Comets website thats about £200. Dont know enough to know wether this is a good choice or not.

    OS &SW XP Pro SP2, key software will be apps like TMPGenc DVD author and the womble products. Will most prob go for the premiere cheapo app too.

    Any feedback would be welcome as Im not new to PC tinkering but have never gone this far in building one.
     
  2. KraGorn

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    Some initial thoughts. :)

    Does the 6800 have on-board MPEG encoding? I know they do MPEG and WMV decoding, and ATIs do MPEG and maybe even WMV (Catalyst drivers now support that option). If price is a concern then maybe a 6600 would serve, it also has a working WMV decoder unlike the broken ones on 6800s if that's ever going to be an issue. PCI-e only right now, AGP shortly.

    IMHO onboard sound is now on a par or better than Soundblasters so I wouldn't let that stop you going for a PCI-e mobo.

    Go for 1Gb memory if funds permit, perhaps a luxury but you'll need it some time. 'Marginal'? I find 1Gb very noticeable if I start running a couple of large programs, 250Mb each for instance, I wouldn't know about MPEG encoding apps though.

    Also, if you ever want to run a 64-bit O/S and programs I'm sure 512Mb will be insufficient and looking further down the road IIRC Longhorn is expected to require a 1Gb system.

    Why XP Pro? Home does everything you'll seem to need.

    RAID 0 I'd have thought was less ideal than two separate drives for large-scale encoding, with the drives on separate controllers you'll get better performance since there'll be neglible head movement on either the input or output files and of course seek times are the killer here even with striping.

    HTH.
     
  3. HMHB

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    I would go for the 1GB RAM option and also a bigger hard drive - something above 250GB, maybe even the Hitachi 400GB one if I was feeling wealthy.
     
  4. nunew33

    nunew33
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    ThanksKragorn.

    XP Pro because I do websites and like to prototype on PC. Im pretty convinced that IIS only comes with Pro. I havent seen Home but Im assuming you dont get all the administrator utilities such as event and alert monitor. If these are in home then I would go that route to save money (fund the extra 512M!!!)

    Nvidia's website stated this "Full MPEG Support
    Delivers a stunning video experience through encoding and decoding of analog and digital content". I read that as mpeg encoding and decoding. Could be a bad assumption! 3 main resons for this card 1 is the exhaust mechanism, 2 is the mpeg support (not bothered about wmv) and the other is, and here i am slightly embarrassed to admit, I want to play Doom 3 with all bells and whistles at a decent frame rate. 6800 seem to be the card of choice for this.
     
  5. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Thanks JohnG,

    I get the hint on RAM. Although it blows my budget It sounds as though it will be worth it.
     
  6. dsp fan

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    nunew33,

    blows you budget, check out overclockers.co.uk, they have Geil memory 1 Gig for a little over £100.

    I think in deal of the week, i just purchased some, i think provided you are 478 socket it should be ok.
    My other tip as I am about to take delivery of a bunch of stuff to do similar so i am terrified is speak to whoever you purchase from to ensure that the motherboard, memory and processor work together.

    I think from there you should be plane sailing. A magazine out this week called the ultimate PC Hardware handbook, new pcexplorer essentials series has given me hope and faith and a little guidance.

    good luck and let us know how you get on. By the way if you go for the SATA drives remember to go into your bios on boot up and disable the IDE drive and make the sata the primary. I think that windows home/pro not sure assume IDE is the primary and you may have trouble installing windows as it cannot look find the drive.

    regards,
     
  7. KraGorn

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    Ah right, for IIS you do need 'Pro', not sure about the admin side since I don't use that much on XP systems I use, but IIS is the clincher in any case.


    Seems pretty clear to me, I've never gone to their web site .. and yes, for high-end gaming then the 6800 is going to be preferable.
     
  8. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Deed done.about to pick up from scan with 1Gb of memory!!!!

    Thanks for the advice
     
  9. KraGorn

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    Be interested to hear how noisy (or otherwise) that 6800 is.
     
  10. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Sorry Kragorn, didnt quite hear that!!

    3 case fans, a cpu fan, a gpu fan and its pretty noisy. Case only has grill at side!!!!

    PC works though. 2 days to install windows!!! (SATA drives werent detected).

    Other than that. It appears ok
     
  11. KraGorn

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    What fans did you use? I must say I'm now a convert to water cooling, though I'm still waiting for Zalman to bring out a block for the 6xxx series.

    So, when does the FFDSHOW tweaking start then? :D
     
  12. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Ok I bought the scan clio junior. came with 2 chassis fans and a third came free. The clio fans are sited at the back and side. I placed the extra one at the front to draw air over the HDD (clio came with a HDD cooler). They were cheap 80mm fans. I may disconnect them tonight and see how loud the CPU, power and GPU ones are on their own.

    The three fans are so noisy I cant tell you how loud the MSI 6800 is. However I did read a review that said it was a good poor mans 6800 but that its only downside was that it was a little noisy!

    Im so new to PC building I dont know what FFDSHOW tweaking means!

    i ran a bench mark last night and it showed the CPU as operating at 1Ghz even though its an AMD 64 3000 (which actually runs at 2GHz). I get the feeling I need to look at the BIOS settings and learn/change the configuration! the bench marks also showed on a whole that it was slower than an AMD 2600XP.
     
  13. KraGorn

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    FFDSHOW is a video post-processor which can give you a greatly improved picture quality, but requires an amount of tweaking and twiddling to get set up. You need to use a DVD player like TheaterTek, WinDVD, ZoomPlayer et. al. that you can configure to use it.

    Two suggestions as far as fan noise in concerned:

    1) Silenx fans are pretty much the quietest around.
    2) you could try some sort of fan-throttling, something like a Zalman Fan-Mate allows you to vary the speed of the fan to balance noise/air movement, very useful for case fans, can also be used on CPUs and graphics cards as long as you're careful and monitor the temps. closely.
     
  14. KraGorn

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    Thought you may be interested in this quote from NVidia posted on AVS in a thread dealing mainly with the broken WMV decoders:

    This is presumably why little has been heard of this feature yet, basically nothing currently available uses it.
     
  15. KraGorn

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    I *may* have one somewhere, I have a small collection of CDs which came with various hardware bits and pieces. I know I have at least one CD from a Creative product, black label IIRC, whether it's for a Live! or not I won't know till I get home. If I do I can send you a copy.
     
  16. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Thanks kragorn

    I think ive found what im looking for ill pm you if It doesnt work!
     
  17. Zef

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    As mentioned, i would turn off each fan one at a time and keep checking temps - you may not need them all - If you do then swap them for good slient ones.

    As for the Processor setting, It sounds like you need a bios update to the motherboard - go check with the manufacturer to see if theres a flash update availible.
     
  18. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Thanks Zef.

    I left the PC on over 24 hours and the cpu/mb temps didnt go above 34C. Whats average?
     
  19. Zef

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    yours are very normal. You shouldn't worry about your cpu temp unless it is getting into the high 50's under load.. and even then its not really that big of a deal. The temps you just said are fairly low Athlon 64's tend to run quite cool anyway - one my rig is up and running I will let you know my temps, but you look safe enough
     
  20. KraGorn

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    I'd also suggest you get out the longest-running DVD you have and play it with FFDSHOW running so you use 100% CPU most of the time and check the temperature periodically, that'll be your worst-case scenario .. do remember to check the ambient temperature because in summer that could be a factor depending on the machine's location and your house's layout.
     
  21. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Ok Thanks everyone for their help and comments. Im going to ask one more question.

    FDDShow: What is it? How is it used? What benefits does it bring? Ive found the windows ss2 version which i assume is the one for me. Are there any god sites to get up to speed with what ffdshow offers?
     
  22. KraGorn

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    Best intro to FFDSHOW I've seen is this one on HTPC News, this is what managed to get me up and running using it.

    There's a humungous thread on AVS about it but frankly that's got so big and hasn't been moderated at all so it's pretty much useless for finding nuggets of info .. but it you're an insomniac you may want to have a read here .. at least read the initial post for some useful links.

    There's also this one where people are posting their settings, how much use this is I'm dubious given the vast variety of filters available and projection/display systems in use but it perhaps gives ideas.

    Have fun .. and remember, the object is to improve PQ to WATCH MOVIES, not spend all your time tweaking for tweaking's sake. :D
     
  23. .Griff.

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    There's one small problem with that. The 6800 series has onboard video processing so CPU usage is reduced to circa 5%. There are stories, "rumours" floating arround that this does not work succesfully but all nvidia user's I've come across have seen CPU usage drop to 5% level's after upgrading to 6800 series cards.
     
  24. KraGorn

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    Er, AIUI if you select FFDSHOW you'll run in software mode, certainly that's how TT2 runs .. but in any case, even if using something like ZoomPlayer the 6800 can run in hardware when using software post-processing, you can still crank-up FFDSHOW's filter settings to consume all available CPU cycles.
     
  25. .Griff.

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    What not just use Prime95 to check temperature.After all that's what it was designed to do.
     
  26. KraGorn

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    Well, if one has never heard of that program ... ;)
     

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