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nudone's new pc

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i know what you mean, brotherS, but it's the geek in me telling me to do it.

i really hate noise - computers have driven my mad for years. it seems to me i can either put the computer in the next room to where i'm sitting and feed cables through the wall or less drastically try to get 'silent' hardware components.

the choice of hardware i've made so far has been low noise based - but with water cooling it could potentially be quieter, so i've very tempted. there is even a totally silent case on the market that uses heat-pipes (no moving parts like fans or anything)  but it costs nearly £1000. it's something i'd eventually buy if i can't find satisfaction with other hardware.

having water inside your pc can be avoided even with water-cooling. there is a substitute liquid that doesn't conduct electricity that you can buy - can't remember the name but it's something like £50 a bottle. how big is a bottle - probably not very.

Carol Haynes:
Seagate do some really quiet drives ...

I have to confess I had a bad experience with Seagate - they released a batch of drives a few years back which were described as good for RAID setups but were completely useless (a RAID 0 was slower than the individual drives). All fairness to Seagate they owned up and gave replacements or refunds. At the time I opted for refunds and went for WD Caviar drives. In may ways I wish I had stayed with the Seagate option as they were lightening fast (as fast or faster than the Caviars) and almost silent.

Is run my system with SpeedFan running, and most of the time the only sound I get is the drive noise and the PSU noise. Having water cooling wouldn't affect these noise levels and I would say they are at least 90% of the overall sound. If I disable Speedfan (so I have 3 fans then at full speed) I notice a slight rise in noise level but not much.

point taken, Carol, for water cooling not reducing PSU and drive noise. this is why i've chosen the Seasonic S12 600W Silent ATX 2.0 power supply - should be quiet. as for drive noise the Samsung SpinPoint P SP2504C 250GB SATA-II is meant to be the quietest on the market but unfortunately the raptor drives are the complete opposite.

the amount of money going into this project makes me want it to be perfect - probably i should just calm down a bit and accept i'm going to have to change things over the next few months as i learn from experience.

the initial idea was to build a system that i could adapt of the next 12 months. starting with the quietest air cooled system i could build (hence the antec p180 case), then in a few months swap things over to water cooled (Zalman Resorvator based) and then if i'm still in the same frame of mind i'd get that totally passive cooled case (also by Zalman). a very expensive journey, i agree, but it's not something i'll be doing every year.

if noise is a big deal then make sure that every single component with a moving part has been reviewed by someone who says it is quiet as can be.  this means graphics card fan, powersupply fan, case fans, hard drive, etc.  all can make substantial noise.

another thing is this, if i had to rate the most important part of my computer, it would not be the cpu, memory, or hard drive. it would be the 2 monitors. we've talked on the forum about using 2 monitors and everyone i know who's tried it agrees it makes such a difference.  i'd easily go down to a slower cpu, less memory, etc., but giving up having two monitors, never.

Yes, RAID-0 aka striping *will* give you a decent speed boost - don't trust those silly magazines. I assume the raptors are SCSI since they're only 74GB in size? If not, go SCSI since you have the money to burn ;). 10k RPM might be a bit noisy though.

You could also consider RAID-5/parity which is a compromise between speed and security. Check out for more info.

You could even look out for an iRAM "drive" - a PCI card with up to 4 gigs of ram that connects as a SATA drive, is backed by PCI bus power when the PC is off, and a 72-hour battery when you unplug the machine. Doesn't get much faster than this :)

Yes, hyou can partition RAID drives, and I suggest that you do this. You can easily have multiple operating systems installed, but it's safer if each goes on their own partition (for example, DO NOT TRY to install 32- and 64-bit XP on the same partition, your 32-bit install will be messed up).

This is great if you want to do things like video editing which needs fast writing, but really doesn't make much difference if you are simply installing Windows on the array.

--- End quote ---
I beg to differ - I used to run a striped RAID on my P4 box, and that helped a good deal with windows and app startup times, and when copying data around. Things like unpacking large RAR archives went a lot faster, too.

If you use RAID 1 (mirroring) you won't see any speed improvement, in fact you may find the speed degraded slightly.

--- End quote ---
Theoretically, you can get the same read speedup that striping offers; the controller doesn't have to read both drives and compare, since harddrives can report read failures, so the same disk alternation that stripe offers can be done with mirror. I've never benchmarked this, though.

SATA drives aren't really that much faster than PATA drives, it's just that the interface allows for higher throughput - which means you have a higher theoretical maximum. A single drive can never reach this speed sustained, and I've never seen it reached in bursts, either. The higher theoretical maxium speed of the interface (combined with the smaller and less cluttery cables) makes SATA nicer for large raid arrays, though :)

The way I got around this when I used to run Windows on the RAID array was to unplug the other drives during installation.

--- End quote ---
Good point! I had to do a couple of reinstalls when I installed to raid because of this. You can get around it by manually installing a MBR and the NTLDR files on your raid array and messing around after install, but the drive letter assignments won't be "right" then, and I don't think you can easily change the letter assignment for the "system drive".

I can recommend the ASUS A8N-SLI premium motherboard, I have good speeds and the system seems rock stable. I really enjoy that the chipset is passively cooled, since those chipset fans tend to be NOISY. And dualcore AMD64 is pure sweetness.

as for the hardware or software raid management - you know, i didn't even realise this. i shall have to investigate - if the Asus motherboard doesn't have hardware raid management then i guess it's not worth going the raid way.

--- End quote ---
Both the NForce4 and Silion Image RAIDs (which are on most NForce4 based motherboards) are "software" raid, in that those chips do some raid jobs, but leave some to the drivers. Still good speed and low CPU usage, though. If you want "real" RAID, check out controllers from 3ware or adaptec. Stay clear from promise, since that's just soft-raid as well.

Stock CPU coolers from AMD tend to be very silent - and so are decent 120mm fans. The noisiest components in your system will probably be the GPU fan and your 10k rpm disks. Even if you go watercooling, you'll want 120mm fans to cool down the drives, and the drives are hard to silence anyway. So watercooling probably doesn't make too much sense. And you *WILL* want to cool down your drives, even if you go for regular 7200rpm. Placing a 120mm fan infront of my drives lower their temperature about 20C, and improves lifetime.


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