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Possible new system - appreciate comments

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Triggaaar, Dec 6, 2004.

  1. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I've tried overclock.co.uk, Chillblast, Amari, and Scan, and so far found scan to be the most suitable. They're pretty flexible with what they'll build, and charge £70 for the build, inc years system warrantee.

    My requirements are:
    1) to store all my CDs, uncompressed, and stream to slimp3 style device
    2) to play games on my plasma, using existing sound setup
    3) to archive sky+ recordings to DVD
    Although it doesn't need to be silent (it's going under the stairs), I don't want it to be really noisy.

    I know next to nothing about good and bad components these days, but having spent a few days looking, this is what I've come up with.

    I'd really appreciate it if anyone could point out any poor choices, or where I'd be better swapping an item for something better/cheaper.

    Thanks

    Scan 3XS-64M-939 (Customised)
    Casetek 1018BM Black Metal Case (no PSU)
    425W HiperPower HPU-3s425 3rd Gen Quiet Dual Fan Active PFC
    Asus A8V Deluxe, VIA K8T800Pro, Gbit Lan, 802.11g Wireless Lan, USB 2.0, 1394, 8Ch Audio, SATA, Raid
    Mitsumi FA404M 1.44 Black FDD+Int USB2 7 in 1 Card Reader (SM/MMC/SD/CF/MD/MS) Fits in 3.5" FDD Bay
    50cm 3XS Round ATA133 Certified IDE Cable
    50cm 3XS Round Floppy Drive Cable Certified
    Coolermaster Internal Case Fan 80mm FAS-B83
    Scythe Samurai AMD/P4/64Bit Solid Copper Heatsink with Super Quiet variable fan Speed
    Scan System Configuration
    Scan 3XS System - 1year Onsite Warranty (Mainland UK)
    AMD Athlon 64 3500 32/64Bit CPU S939 Newcastle Retail inc Heat Sink Fan & 3 Years Warranty
    1 Gb (2 x 512 Mb) Corsair TwinX-XL, DDR, PC3200XLPT, Cas 2, Lifetime Warranty
    could save £48 and not have low latency
    2 * 250Gb Maxtor Plus 10 (7200rpm,16MB) SATA NCQ
    only chose the Maxtor due to 16Mb cache – are they any good?
    Pioneer DVR-108 Black x16 Dual Layer DVD Writer, UK OEM
    because KraGorn said
    128Mb XFX GF6600GT AGP DDR3
    £157.45 inc vat – very flexible on card, but that's as much as I could justify spending
    Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Inc. Service Pack 2 OEM
    Norton Anti Virus 2005 (£18.44)
    2 * Coolermaster Internal Case Fan 80mm FAS-B83

    Total price, inc VAT and delivery = £1167

    To be added:
    Wireless keyb/mouse
    Sweetspot SDI card
     
  2. .Griff.

    .Griff.
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    Only have 2 comments.

    I'd suggest more than 1 80mm fan. Ideally you want a fan at the front of the case drawing air in and a fan(s) at the rear expelling air.

    Finally with a system costing over £110 I personally think it's a same not to spend a little more and go for a 6800GT (but thats purely my opinion and you may not have the need)

    Otherwise I think you have done very well with your choices.

    EDIT - Noticed you have 2 fans. Not sure if that was there before or you edited it :)
     
  3. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Fans - I know nothing - that's all from 3XS standard build. It has 1 with the basic case, then another 2 added in (see bottom of system).
    Graphics - make me spend too much you will. Again I know nothing - would it be fair to guess that a 6600GT will be good enough for all current games (with high detail & decent frame rate)? And would getting a 6800GT just allow games 6 months down the line to perform with high detail & decent frame rate?

    Part of the reason I've gone for a decent chip & memory compared to graphics card, is that I can put the former through the company (vat back etc).

    I haven't seen the Maxtor hard drive mentioned (seen lots of rec for Seagate Bar). Will the 16Mb cache make much difference? Also, I'm slightly confused by the motherboard and HD being SATA, while the cables mentioned are IDE ATA133 (SATA is ATA150) - any ideas?
     
  4. wyerd

    wyerd
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    You'll need SATA cables for the SATA drive. They usually come with the mobo, but you might want to check the length for placement in the case.
     
  5. mark88

    mark88
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    I think that will end up being quite a loud system actually. More fans = more noise and you have lots of not the quietest fans.

    According to your spec you'll have a total of 7 fans! in your system. That's just too many IMO.

    The best case fans on the market IMO are Nexus & SilenX, the nexus fans are the best and I could only find them at kustompcs. You should also look into some kind of fan controller too with all those fans..

    Seasonic Super Tornado is one of the best PSU's out there for performance and silence. For a heatsink check out Zalman.

    The maxtor diamondmax 10 drives are new, I got one and thought it was pretty noisy but you can get DOS applications to lower the acoustic levels.
     
  6. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks. Thought that would make sense. A bit weird that the motherboard and cable were part of Scan's basic system, before you even start customising. If Scan are building it for me, they can sort the cable and connection out. I'll just clarify what they're doing over the phone.
     
  7. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks Mark. Selected that system online, and just changed a couple of bits. Having spoken to Scan though, I think they'd make it with anything they sell if I asked.
    Fans. Yes, I guess it is a lot (all part of their std 3XS system). I may be able to swap the last 2 for 'SilverStone FMC3XW (White) 120mm Dual ball bearing Case Fan' they have listed on another system, although that may then require a different case.

    Do you not believe the 'Solid Copper Heatsink with Super Quiet variable fan Speed
    ' and 'Quiet Dual Fan Active PFC' comment on their power supply?

    How loud do you think the above would be (it will be under the stairs - thin wood door - I'll be in living room - old pine door).

    And what are the alternatives? Different PSU and Zalman Heatsink?
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    The graphics card is tricky right now ...

    For an HTPC I think the 600GT is the card to go for simply because it seems to be offer as much as the 6800GT and also includes WMV decoding, which may or may not be of interest.

    OTOH, if you factor in gaming then it becomes more of a debate, certainly a 6800GT will give you higher FPS with better AA and AF than a 6600GT. That said, you're looking at nigh on twice the price if you're talking of AGP versions.

    If you were to got with the 6800GT then I'd recommend the Galaxy since it comes with a pre-fitted Arctic NV5 cooler that's a LOT quieter than most others.

    I'd also agree that Silenx fans are to be highly recommended.

    Corsair is good memory, I'd probably save the £48 because frankly I've never seen really low CAS make any difference in 'real world' applications.

    Those disk drives are as good as any .. any brand you choose you'll get people who love 'em and those who hate 'em .. that said, Seagate Barracuda 7s will be quieter.
     
  9. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I don't fancy building my own PC, so I'll have to see if Scan (or whoever I go with) can do them.
    Hurray! I didn't think I'd get a single suggestion for saving money.
    Will they be as quick (I'd like to be able to play games while music is being streamed to another room) or do you think the 16Mb cache could make a difference?

    Thanks
     
  10. mark88

    mark88
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    Have you ever made up a simple flat pack furniture cabinet? or used lego?

    Building your own PC is so simple most people don't even realise. There's really noting involved that ANYONE can't do. You stick this here, that there. Turn it out, put in your windows CD and install. It's that simple.
     
  11. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    If it REALLY is THAT simple, I'm happy to do it. Even when I added a CD writer some years ago it was more complicated that IKEA. I had to change a jumper!

    Part of what I'm concerned about is knowing where to put fans - where to attach their power - what order to fit things in. Its not like furniture, where you have one instruction sheet telling you what order to do everything.

    I'm considering Scan, as their prices seem better than competitors, and there's a decent range of bits to choose from, to which they'll add £70 for build, test & warrantee. I assume they'll send me XP OEM even if I'm building it myself (it has to be sold with a system I think). If I do use Scan to build it, I can change anything in the above Spec, although they don't seem to do the PSU or Heatsink you suggested. They have a range of Tagan PSUs though.
     
  12. mark88

    mark88
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    http://www.hardwarecentral.com/hardwarecentral/tutorials/109/1/ (this guide might be a year or two old, chances are components you buy today will need less steps to get setup)

    have a read of that. Just ask on forums about what you don't know, it really is simple & once you're done you'll be pleased.

    Regarding fans, the idea is to take cool air in through the front of the case to then have a fan at the rear to exhaust all the hot air so you have a constant stream of cool air going over you components.

    It's not always the same for every system though. I don't have any front intake fans, just 1 exhaust on my Athlon 64 system & it's as cool as a cucumber.

    With your system you won't have to worry about jumpers. Both your hard drives are SATA so they'll be master devices, you have one optical drive so that'll be master too. The IDE cables that come with your mother board usually have master/slave written on the connectors.

    The fans are attached to the motherboard, you'll know where because it will be labelled on the MB "fan1" albeit small. Connecting the powet to components is like putting a square peg in a square hole etc. Just read a couple of guides and you'll be good to go and you'll have some yourself some money & you'll be able to do upgrades in future.
     
  13. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Right, so now I'm building it myself (that's halved its 2nd hand value).

    This slightly complicates what I'm buying:
    PSU - you mentioned Seasonic Super Tornado. I see the Tagan's are also popular. What power rating do I need for the spec above? (note - I want it on 24/7, and although I don't want to hear the machine all round the house, it doesn't have to be silent, as its going under the stairs)
    Heatsink - I'll check out Zalman - where does it go? The CPU comes with heatsink & fan.
    Fans - how many should I have? 2 case fans - 1 air in, 1 air out (80mm or 120mm?) - then how many dircetly on components? (should GPU, CPU & PSU have their own?)
    Case - I have no idea. No one will see it. Needs to be big enough, easy to get to bits, and should I get aluminium to help dissipate heat?

    Thanks
     
  14. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Referring to my suggestion of Seagate disks:

    The 16Mb cache won't make a blind bit of difference for any application where you're reading or writing large chunks of data sequentially, which is what HTPC's do and what games do much of the time.

    Playing music barely registers on a disk activity monitor and XP most spare memory for cacheing, a 2Mb disk cache would be fine, the 8Mb on the Seagate will be fine.


    To be frank, thinking a PC has any second hand value is only going to disappoint IMHO. :)


    An aluminium case is good for heat dissipation. I have a Chieftec for my main system where noise isn't a prime concern (not aluminium but the innards are the same) .. I see you've said it'll be in a cupboard .. one of the big advatanges of this is that the hard disk drive cage, holding thee disks, can have a fan blowing air from the front which makes a lot of difference in their running temperatures.


    The Zalman is a combined heatsink and quiet fan that replaces the stock cooler you'll get with a 'retail' CPU .. you can save money by buying an 'OEM' CPU which doesn't come with one at all. Again though, if noise isn't an issue then this may not be needed.
     
  15. mark88

    mark88
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    Here's how I'd change your list:

    Coolermaster Wavemaster £100 Alluminium case
    400w PSU £50 (400W Zalman, seasonic is good)
    Asus A8V Deluxe (this will come with all cables you need) £80
    Zalman CNPS 7000B-CU Cooler £32
    AMD Athlon 64 3500 £180
    1 Gb Corsair TwinX-XL, DDR, PC3200C2PT £140 (or XLPT + £48)
    2 * 200Gb Maxtor Plus 10 £73 X 2
    NEC 3500A DVD writer (black) £43
    128Mb XFX GF6600GT AGP DDR3 £150
    Microsoft Windows XP Home SP2 £54
    Norton Anti Virus 2005 (£18.44)
    2 * SilenX 80mm fans £12 x 2

    Total approx £1017 inc VAT

    AFAICS that includes everything you want? it includes far superior components IMO, not to mention it would be alot quieter. I went for 2x200GB drives just because there's a big price leap between 200GB & 250GB drives. 3 x 200GB drives will cost you £217, 2 x 250GB drives will cost you £210

    http://www.tekheads.co.uk
    http://www.ebuyer.com
    http://www.dabs.com
    http://www.scan.co.uk
    http://www.kustompcs.co.uk
    http://www.microdirect.co.uk

    prices I gave were rough, but I always use the above stores and find the best price and order. Never had problems with any of them. Don't be afriad to order from seperate stores as some have certain products alot cheaper than others. With the extra money youi could add:

    Coolermaster silver beizel (looks great) £8
    Acoustipack sound proofing £25
    or put it towards your sweetspot card :)
     
  16. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    Thanks guys, I appreciate you taking the time to help
    Ok, I'll just go for quiet then.
    Yes, I wasn't being serious.

    Noise is of less concern than many with an HTPC, but I guess not 'no concern'. Keeping those disks cool would be handy.

    That Zalman looks cool (no pun intended)
    Yeah, I'm not sure. No need to go mad trying to keep it quiet, as long as its not too noisy.
    Isn't that overkill? No ones even going to see it.
    Looks like the ALCU maybe better. Aluminium instead of copper, so although its not quite as good at cooling (still better than std), its a lot lighter.

    NEC 3500A vs Pioneer DVR-108 DVD writer. Is there any difference between the two?

    No problem with SilenX fans.

    Depending on where I look, the price per Gb of 200, 250 and 300Gb disks are very simillar, but I will check before buying.

    I could look at soundproofing after its built, if it's too noisy, but if I'm building myself, with quite fans etc, I think that's unlikely.
     
  17. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    And should I go for PCI-e (same price, but I'd have to wait a week or 2)? Just reading the tests on Toms hardware. It seems that we won't be needing 16*PCI for some time, but 2 GPUs running at 8* each could be fun.

    Do you think that's likely to be a good upgrade in 2 years (a 2nd hand 6600GT/6800GT to go with the one I have now, rather than a new card altogether)?
     
  18. KraGorn

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    I think it's way too early to know what will become of SLI .. remember this is 10-year-old technology and it did precious little for its' original inventor, 3DFX. Right now I think it's inconceivable that SLI will be of interest in an HTPC, I suppose that maybe 1920x1080p would be more viable but I'm not aware of any plans to go that high in hi-def at present.

    OTOH, I think I'd probably go PCI-e simply because I think it's possible that when HDMI-equipped graphics cards appear that they may be like the 6600s and appear in PCI-e form first .. and it's not impossible to imagine that perhaps some cards wouldn't find their way to AGP at all.
     
  19. philipb

    philipb
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    Just to add to the mix - why not fit a PCI SDI capture card (£175 from Sweetspot) and sell the Lumagen ;)
     
  20. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    I will add an SDI card, but am keeping existing setup for watching DVDs. Then I can play games while wifey watches tv.
     
  21. Triggaaar

    Triggaaar
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    PIC-e motherboards

    Are dabs reliable with dates of stock?
    Scan have the Asus A8N-SLI (standard) Socket 939 nForce 4 SLI PCI-E ATX arriving on 20th Dec
    dabs say they have 3 * Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe Socket 939 nForce 4 SLI PCI-E ATX arriving in 1-2 days.

    If I can get a decent PIC-e board that quick (for Athlon), that's what I'll go for
     

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