Antec Fusion Intel Core 2 Duo - Possible Build

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by Mac Sami, Dec 31, 2006.

  1. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    I'm looking to get and build:

    Antec Fusion 430w Micro ATX Media Centre Enclosure

    ASUS P5B-VM iG965, S775, PCI-E (x16), DDR2 533/667/800, SATA II, SATA RAID, uATX, On Board VGA

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 Socket 775 2.13GHz

    Corsair Memory CM2X1024 - 6400 1GB XMS2-6400 240Pin DIMM CAS5

    Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320GB S300

    MSI GeForce 7600GT 256MB PCIE Dual DVI ViVO True HDR (HDMI connector output)

    Hauppauge WinTV PVR150 MCE PCI Kit c/w remote and nVidia *Bronze* DVD Decoder (for receiving Sky box signal)

    Sony 18x DVD+/-RW/12X RAM Beige

    Total inc del: £730

    For those who have used some of the above components:
    1. Antec Fusion - a good case? How quiet is the PSU and case fans? Is it worth replacing them with quieter components?
    2. Heatsink and fan for CPU - recommendations which will fit in the case? (case is 5.5" height)
    3. Capture card - anything better? I have been looking at the Sweetspot capture cards to take my Sky (not Sky HD) output. How do I deal with recording audio and syncing audio + video?

    Thanks.
     
  2. triplea4uk

    triplea4uk
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    Whats max budget you can go to?

    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe Socket 775 2.4GHz better option
     
  3. PeteD64

    PeteD64
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    Looks like a nice config. Very similar to what I'm planning to upgrade to sometime next year but I'll probably wait for an 8600GT card & maybe a faster Core 2 CPU & HD-DVD drive.

    The fans in the Antec Fusion case are fairly quiet. I don't find them distracting from the other side of living room - it's just the CPU fan on my Pentium M that annoys me at the moment. Hopefully an upgrade to a Core 2 Duo with a Zalman CNPS8000 fan should fix that.

    Sweetspot is supposed to be an excellent capture card because it will handle RGB scart from the Sky box but it isn't cheap. Is only having one tuner going to be a limitation? Also I'm not sure Sweetspot will integrate with MCE if you're planning to use that.

    What TV are you going to connect to? HDMI isn't always the best option for hooking up a PC.
     
  4. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    No real maximum, just want the best possible value for good performance.

    Hadn't spotted the E6600, thanks for the tip - it's another £60 on top of the E6400, so will probably go for the E6600 instead.
     
  5. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    Thanks, I can always upgrade in the future. I figure a decent Core 2 CPU and motherboard at present are the main priority; I can add / upgrade as I go along in the future (and as prices come down!)

    Will look at the Zalman CNPS8000. Let me know how you get on if you get it soon!

    I've only got one Sky feed - if I get a dual or quad LNB on the dish I would look to getting multiple tuners. Problem is, I'm a tenant in a house, so installing lots of cable from the dish to the box isn't really an option until I get my own place (which won't be soon if I go buying this beast of a machine :devil:... I need to get my priorities right!)

    Sweetspot will intergrate with MCE, but the quality won't be as good as using some other program (the name escpaes me). Essentially, I see it as the best analog solution, but I think it is pricey and perhaps not worth it.

    Samsung 26" HD Ready Flat Panel. I can't remember the model number (not at home at the present to see it, boo hoo). Because I will be taking analogue signal from the Sky box into MCE, I might just use VGA. Not too sure yet.
     
  6. akenall1966

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    I have just built my system in a Fusion nice case, fans have three speed settings on low there almost silent. I run one med and one low with no noiticable noise while watching TV. The white light around the power button is a nice touch

    My only complaint is the VFD software aint great, EQ which I assume is suposed to give a graphic EQ on the VFD don't work. Printed manual dosen't even mention the VFD, no updates I can find on the Antec web site. The installer I downloaded from soundgraph for the imon claim it's not an Imon! Oh yeah I belive if you press the volume knob it supposed to mute but it don't.

    AK
     
  7. mushii

    mushii
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    OK I have built 2 MCE machines using Antec Fusion Cases - they work very well. I run the case fans on lowest setting and they are pretty much silent at 6ft away. Contrary to the above poster the VFD works brilliantly with MCE. It tells you what channel you are recording or watching, DVD info, chapter, disk etc, for music it gives u album name, artist and track name / number, for photos it gives you the file name. One piece of advice though, disable the graphic equaliser, it affects the system coming out of S3 suspend - it is a known bug.

    Ideally you want an MCE as quiet and as cool as possible, therefore the cooler the processor the better - I would actually downgrade that E6400 to an E6300 and it would still be overkill plus I would replace that 2gb of ram with 1gb unless you are running Vista - I have an XP MCE on 1/2gb of ram that runs just fine (although I only have 1 tuner in that machine).

    As for HS&F I used Zalman 8000s in Fusion cases which run quieter than the case fans. The PSUs in the Fusion Cases are silent.

    Also I would run 2 HDs. One for the OS and one for recording to. That way if you have to reinstall (and I guarantee you will) you wont lose your recorded media. Plus MCE doesnt like fragmented drives. With 2 drives you can schedule regular defrags without having to go through un-necessary defragging of OS files.

    If you check out my photos in this thead http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=446782

    you can see the zalman installed and my builds in progress

    The Seagate drives are a good choice.

    Simon
     
  8. triplea4uk

    triplea4uk
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    If you sort out how much you can spend max that would be easier to pick few different parts.

    I suggest 2 1gb sticks off ram
    2 hard drives say 250gb each
    2 tv cards so you can watch one channel while record another
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 well worth the price also very good at overclocking and should be enough power for HD content.
    Maybe a better graphics card like x1950pro only bit extra
     
  9. mushii

    mushii
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    Again I will argue differently on this. Yes 2 HD's but get a small 120gb for OS and as big as you can afford for media 300Gb+
    Do not under any circumsatnces even think about overclocking an MCE machine unless you really know what you are doing. Having spent 10 years overclocking I have burnt out more than enough video cards and sound cards and had some very very unstable rigs. If you are considering OCing via FSB you have a strong chance of damaging your tuner cards - they are very sensitive to bus speeds.

    For an MCE rig you want quiet, stable and reliable and it is hard enough to achieve this at the best of times, throwing overclocking into the equation is a recipe for disaster.

    There is a lot of garbage talked about what is needed for HD on an MCE rig. An intel D series processor, with a Gb of ram and something like a Radeon X1650Pro is more than adequate for HD, you do not need a monster rig.
    Remember this is a media machine, not some 100fps nitro gaming machine - they may both be PC based but are 2 totally different animals
     
  10. triplea4uk

    triplea4uk
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    LOL

    I take it mushii you don't know what requirements are for HD then or even blu-ray

    Why go for 120gb when 250gb is only few quid more just create partition for the OS simple and it has been proven drives over 250gb have reduced life.

    Quiet, stable is easy to do even with OC system you just don't go over the top like lot of gamers do that E6600 can easily go up to 3ghz and be stable.
     
  11. mushii

    mushii
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    Overclocking most E series processors is done on the FSB not multiplier. The problem with FSB clocking is the further that you move from the 33mhz multiplier (or multiples of) the more unstable pci components especially soundblaster sound cards and agp graphics cards can become. Infact SB soundcards can quite easily die if you increase the fsb too much. Likewise TV tuner cards become extremely unstable.

    Blu-ray I cannot comment on, but I have run plenty of HD clips through my media center and it certainly wasnt maxing out my meagre Athlon64 3700 and radeon1650. Actually I dont believe that microsoft have announced specs for Blu-Ray but they have for HDTV

    From Microsoft's Website http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/musicandvideo/hdvideo/ChoosingPC.aspx

    Optimum Configuration
    (to play 1080p video with 5.1 surround sound)

    Windows XP
    Windows Media Player 9 Series
    DirectX 9.0
    3.0 GHz processor or equivalent
    512 MB of RAM
    128 MB video card
    DVD drive
    1920 x 1440 screen resolution
    24-bit 96 kHz multichannel sound card
    5.1 surround sound speaker system


    I am also curious as to where you get your information on shortened lives of 250Gb+ drives. I googled it, found nothing.
     
  12. PeteD64

    PeteD64
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    I agree about separating out your own files from the OS but you don't have to buy 2 drives, just create more than one partition on the disk.
     
  13. lazysod

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    The Antec Fusion (designed by Mike Chin) is great and can be made silent by upgrading some components .
    Read here http://www.silentpcreview.com/article698-page1.html.

    The modded Imon VFD software can be a bit tempremental and the EQ has problems working with the Realtek HD audio chipset but I use Frontview very easy to set up and adapt for your system.
     
  14. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    Thanks for your replies guys. I'm not putting 2gb in, only 1gb (per my opening post), and I think for the price difference, anything less than a E6400 isn't economical).

    I have another networked PC in the house with 1TB storage, which holds all of my movies and recordings. With my current media PC, recordings are moved automatically overnight from the media PC. I see no point in having two drives in the Fusion, it will just add to heat and power usage.
     
  15. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    There's the advantage of not losing saved recordings if you have to reinstall MCE (but if you configure it properly the first time, you shouldn't need to go reinstalling it ;) ). But also there will be a slight performance advantage by having your files, programs etc. on a second hard drive with the OS on a first (possibly smaller) drive. You've essentially got double bandwidth - the OS dedicated on one channel (drive), your recordings being sourced from another channel (drive).
     
  16. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    As I said, I don't have a particular budget - if a particular part is worth getting, I'll get it. I see no point in scrimping on components because of a budget (although there's much good to be said about having a budget).

    I take the feed from my Sky box at the moment and don't have dual LNB. Until I get my own place, I'll only need a single TV capture card (but will want the possibility of adding a second in the future).

    Essentially what I want to do is create a decent specification machine that will handle today's requirements of TV, video and music, as well as tomorrow's requirements of HD, dual tuners etc - even if achieving those requirements requires component upgrades. I want flexibility so that I get a good life out of the machine overall, if that makes sense.
     
  17. Phoenix_TT

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    The URL to silentpcreview article that lazysod posted is very useful and will help anyone wanting to use a Fusion case. In my Fusion build I have noticed the noise from the stock fans and PSU, but they can be replaced by quieter items at a later date if necessary. Also I noticed this, because it was sitting on my computer desk close to me, as opposed to being in a hifi rack/table near a flat screen TV, i.e some distance away!

    I have used a Zalman CNPS8000 Ultra Quiet Low Profile CPU Cooler in mine, which is currently cooling just a Celeron D 2.8Ghz CPU. I'm also using the 2 stock 120mm fans as exhaust fans set at the lowest setting.

    Something to bear in mind is the HDs and temps. I have 2 in mine and I noticed during the summer that they did get warm/hot. There is no active cooling where the HDs are, just holes on the bottom.

    Something worth reading ...

    http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=2890&p=1
     
  18. akenall1966

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    Ahha... When I said the VFD software anit great this is exactly my audio chipset I will give frontview a try see if I can get the graphic EQ going.

    I am probably and old git half blind and all but the weather or media info scrolling by too smal to read from the comfort of the sofa is no use to me double height characters so I can see the time would make the software much better. Yeah it works in MCE but is it useful??
     
  19. lazysod

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    Sorry the EQ will not work in Frontview it`s only the Imon software that can use it. But the good thing about Frontview is you can adjust the scrolling speed.
     
  20. akenall1966

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    Yes - discovered that when I installed last night, oh well hopefully Antec will release a patch or upgraded software sometime..

    AK
     
  21. Perky

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    Hi All

    My Antec Fusion case arrived yesterday..... installed the hardware last night and all running OK........... I like the VFD & have disabled the EQ following the advice in this thread. I just need to tidy up the cabling tonight and it is done.

    One question though - the volume control on the front doesn't work with Windows Vista - Any ideas? (the VFD shows the volume going up and down when you move it).

    Presumably this is due to the software being incompatible with Vista MCE at the moment?

    Cheers

    Ceri
     
  22. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    You're right, HDMI isn't the best option! I recently purchased an ATI X1600 PRO HDMI 256mb DDR2 AGP card. It took a lot of tweaking to get the colours to look good, and even then I wasn't impressed. I think this is down to my LCD being an older Samsung model; it also decided that the blue language bar icon was red. So I've gone back to using the VGA input.

    I'm also having another thought; at present I use my media PC just for watching TV, recording TV, watching DVD's and playing music. It's been really stable, only having to restart it for Windows Updates (and I only do that every few months). I would like to progress this on slightly with the new media PC to play games.

    With that in mind, does the original spec seem suitable for TV / DVD and playing games (although not at the same time, obviously).
     
  23. Mac Sami

    Mac Sami
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    Which buggers up the title of this thread really, having done some measurements of my new stand, the Fusion won't fit as it is too deep :(

    So I'm looking for a case with dimensions:
    W: 40cm
    H: 15cm
    D: 30cm

    This (so far) narrows me down to the following options:
    Silverstone LC02 (http://www.silverstonetek.com/products-lc02.htm)

    I know there are other Silverstone cases which match the dimensions, but they have peak 80W power supplies which I don't think will be enough, given my original spec.

    The LC02 talks about a riser card - that's fine - but from my reading it seems they do PCI or PCI + AGP riser cards, or just a PCI-Ex16 riser. Does anyone know if they do a PCI + PCI-Ex16 riser card, as I need PCI for my Hauppauge PVR150MCE, and the PCI-Ex16 for the graphics.
     
  24. akenall1966

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    I found that installation of the VFD driver can be funny had to uninstall and reinstall to get the volume control to work (under MCE) EVEN THEN IT ONLY WORKS ON THE ANALOGUE out so if you using a digital link as I am it is redundant. also as I think i was complaining about it discover the push to mute feature of the vol knob was withdrawn form production even though it says it has it in the manual.
     
  25. akenall1966

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    http://www.antec.com/uk/support_faqDownload.html

    Don't know if this has already been reported but, theres a new version of the VFD drivers and application the graphic EQ now works with my onboard realtek audio, volume knob now scales 0~100 not 0~25.

    Would be nice if the pluggin mode in the imon version can be included in the future so DVBViewer can display media info.
     
  26. lazysod

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    I`m having mixed results with the Realtek HD chipset.It does display 0-100 on the volume until it boots into MCE and then either reverts to 0-25 or sometimes rotating the volume knob left mutes it and rotating right unmutes it? But the GEQ is now useable and stable
     
  27. akenall1966

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    OK - I am not using MCE so had not observed that also as I am using HDMI to my TV for sound and video the volume knob has never had an effect on the digital out volume.
     
  28. lazysod

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    Yes I use the digital out to my Pioneer amp but it still manages to mute the sound?
     
  29. spaniard

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    I have built a number of systems based around the Fusion Case for a Hi Fi Retailer in Cheshire and have tried just about every combination of components and too be honest many are overkill
    My current spec runs an AMD 64 x2 4600, 1 gig of ram, single sata hd, sata dvd, SI-128 heatsink for the cpu (fits perfectly), fanless, 7600gs silent card. and a few secret extras!!
    My systems have a variety of options eg, freeview card, Satellite receiver to receive BBC HD, audiophile upgrade (the system sounds at least as good as a +£1000 cd player..let your ears decide, and is being sold to certain people as a piece of HIFI with audio visual extras!!)
    It runs cool while watching and recording BBC HD and is virtually silent unless you stick your ear on the case and the case fans are always on low
    Having picked up many tips from this forum I am always happy to help others


    www.bastion-media.co.uk
     
  30. Phoenix_TT

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    I'd be interested to know what sound card you use to get the audiophile grade sound, which the optical media drives and brand of freeview cards you use also ?

    Cheers
     

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