SebRad

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  1. Hi xSTLx, if you're serious about building a quiet computer I suggest you take a look at SPCR. You can easily lose a few days (or weeks) there if you haven't visited before, you'll also find spod there in the forums. If you decide you want a quiet PC then it's best to start with that aim rather than quietening a loud one afterwards. A quiet PC is all about air flow (unless you go water, but that’s harder and more expensive and, IMO, only worth considering for the very top end SLI/crossfire systems), a fully passive PC is the holy grail but MUCH harder then a very quiet air cooled PC. How quiet can a PC with fans be? Well my PC has 4 80mm fans (Panaflow L1As), one intake, two exhaust and another in the PSU, it also has 92mm fan in the Zalman CPU cooler and another in the VGA Silencer. With all the case fans turned down to 5v (~1000rpm) and the CPU cooler also ~1000rpm the main noise source it the hard drive. It's about as loud as the hum from the monitor and a car on the road 100m away (it's midnight in a rural location) drowns it out, it's seriously quiet. What I'm trying to say is with good air flow paths and good fans (properly quiet ones not just any that claim quiet/silent) you can have a very quiet PC. Beware the silencing game can become very addictive More general comments: at this time AMD is preferred over Intel, faster chips and much easier to cool quietly. Definitely buy dual core, it's the way of the future, more and more software will take advantage of it, I'm told a dual core machine has a "feel" and responsiveness, especially under load, that single core can't match. With regard to cache memory I'm not sure, different people and different benchmarks tell different stories. This review shows a Sempron (single channel s754) with 128KB cache overclocked to 2.6GHz being about 5% slower than FX57 (2.6GHz, dual channel memory, 1MB cache) in gaming benchmarks. When you consider the FX57 is ~TEN TIMES the price If I was buying I would probably aim for 1MB cache CPU anyway...just to be sure! Not very up on graphics at the moment, there are just so many, older ones, newer ones at all different price points. I would suggest going for Nvidia 7x00 or ATI X1x00 as they are the latest and support all the latest features, which may become more important than a bit of extra speed from an older but equally priced model. The 7600 series looks like it’s going to offer a good balance of performance, features and low power consumption, which is easier to cool quietly/passively. If you have any intension of ever having two graphics cards, maybe as an upgrade path be aware that ATI crossfire requires an ATI (or Intel not that it's relevant to you) chipset and Nvidia SLI requires an Nvidia chipset, it's unlikely they will ever allow each others dual cards to work with the others chipset. For single cards it doesn't matter. The nforce 4 is the current favourite chipset for s939 but the latest ATI chipsets also seam competitive and they are lower power meaning much easier to cool with a simple northbridge heatsink rather than needing a whining little fan. Also the fact the nforce 4 chipset is placed under the graphics cards further complicates the quiet cooling of it, but it can be done. The integrated memory controller is a great performance equaliser so ULi or even VIA chipsets don't really give anything up in performance if you happened to be tempted by a board with such a chipset. www.anandtech.com have reviewed most of the available chipsets, CPUs, graphics cards etc. Probably worth your while spending a few hours digging through the reviews there. I agree with you the Tenor case is very pretty but I have reservations about it as the base for a quiet PC. 2000rpm 80mm and 2500rpm 60mm fans are not silent, they won't even rate as quiet by SPCR standards. It's the 60mm fans that worry me most, there aren't any good options for moving enough air through that size fan. Possibly slowing the fans down and using a PSU with 120mm fan to increase the exhaust would work. It doesn't look like there is room to cut the case to take 80mm fans in place of the 60mm ones, it might be possible to cut the grills out of the holes (for best airflow) and mount two 80mm fans out the back of the case either using standard adapters if they fit or a custom made one. (I've used thin card and stick tape as an easy and effective way of making ducts and adapters!) If you do go with the Tenor case don't use a passive PSU, do use a 120mm fan one as you need it's exhaust contribution, the Seasonic S12 series is the current favourite. You haven't mentioned a hard drive at all that I noticed, serious silencers find 3.5" HDDs too loud so they use 2.5" laptop HDDs Many people going down the quiet route eventually find they need to decouple the HDD from the chassis to avoid amplifying it's hums and rattles. I would recommend a single HDD of whatever size you need as the quietest option against two or more smaller (possible each slightly quieter) drives. If you need huge amounts of storage then consider a network server that can be hidden out of ear-shot. I would get at least 1GB of RAM, possibly 2GB if the budget will handle it. Not sure if it applies to you but advice I give to people buying a complete new system is don't skimp on the monitor(s), don't skimp on the monitor(s) and don't skimp on the mouse & keyboard. They are the bits of the PC you interface with and have a large impact on how you feel about it and how nice it is to use. I'll stop rambling now, good luck, Seb
  2. SebRad

    A survey: What is correct:

    I think it depends by what you mean as correct. 1280x1024 is an older standard, most older hardware doesn't support 1280x960. It's 5:4 aspect ratio doesn't match the "traditional" 4:3 ratio of monitors, some software eg CAD sometimes corrects for this so things look right on screen. I believe 1280x1024 TFT actually have a 5:4 physical aspect ratio so things should look right on screen (unless it's already been corrected!) TFT are always best run at their native resolution. I run my CRTs at 1280x960 as it's 4:3 on 4:3 monitors and, to me, gives best compromise of desktop area and easy of viewing. Seb
  3. SebRad

    Quietest 250+GB SATA?

    Hi, for everything you could possibly want to know about computers and making them quiet see SilentPCReview. Specific to your question: recommended HDDs, page 1 with the testing methodology and notes is also worth reading. But my advice is not to start as it will become a terrible addiction and when your computer is inaudible you'll start on everything else in your home and life until it's consumed your money and your life! Ummm where was I, oh yes on a more serious note there is a lot of good information over there. Good luck, Seb
  4. Hi, I ghosted some IBM R50e laptops for work. I used a 2.5 -> 3.5 adaptor to take an image of the first one, once was setup, on to a desktop machine. I used ghost 2003 (dos mode) and had to set the HDD mode to "large" not LBA for it work. The hidden partition got copied too. Would have been happy not to have it though. Seb
  5. SebRad

    Two PCI-e video cards WITHOUT SLI?

    Another card that may fit the original request. XFX GEFORCE 6600 PCI-E 128MB DUAL DVI *Passive Heat Sink* for sale here Couldn't find it on XFX's website but I'm sure this is correct as I've seen other places selling it too. Seb
  6. Hi, I didn't find much of help on Compaq (HP) website. You say it has AMD northbridge and VIA southbridge so I looked up Asus A7M266 which also uses AMD northbridge / VIA southbridge. The manual (on page 25) shows a max memory config of 2GB, 1GB in each slot. If this is similar to your board then the chipset itself is capable of supporting 2GB, it comes down to Compaq’s implementation / BIOS. Also are you sure you need expensive low latency memory? Most of the big name PCs I've seen don't use SPD timings, they set very conservative timings automatically and you can't change them. You could check your existing setup using CPUZ, Everest, etc to see what its running now. If you can set manual timing, very often generic DDR400 will run tight timings at lower speeds, e.g. the 266 you need. Seb
  7. SebRad

    Maxtor Coffee Grinder

    Hi, I would try setting the SATA to "combined" mode. If that doesn't work try the Hitachi feature tool, it seams to be good at finding drives on SATA channels, add in cards etc. Regarding seek noise its my understanding that SATA Seagates are set to performance (loud) mode and PATA are set to quiet mode. It is not possible to change the setting of a recent Seagate drive. I just got a Diamondmax 10 and it has pretty crunchy seek noise; setting AAM makes a lot of difference. If you're bothered by noise you should "decouple" your drive so it cannot pass vibration/noise in to the case's structure, which then acts as an amplifier. Common methods for this are resting on soft foam or hanging on elastic. For everything you could possible want to know about quiet hard drive see this forum and you may want to look at the rest of Silent PC Review as well. [Warning - Quietening PCs can become a terrible addiction!] Seb
  8. SebRad

    2.5-inch vs. 3.5-inch on a desktop

    Hi, take a look on Silent PC Review. There the over-riding concern is noise level, and to some extent heat as it requires fans / airflow to control. Although not all 2.5" drives are quiet, some are very very quiet, probably many people would never experience a quiet enough environment to hear them. A couple of things I remember reading: for general use, office use, browsing the net etc the perceived difference is very small, as long as you have enough RAM in your PC and it's not swapping like crazy. MikeC (the guy that runs the site) was talking about making recordings of the ambient noise level in the early hours and was getting 14~15dB. He also mentioned that if you listen very carefully you can just hear a car in the middle of the recording. The car was several blocks away, if that gives you an idea how quiet we're talking. This article may well be of interest, as may be the Silent Storage forum As you're saying noise, heat and space are issues I would say a 2.5" drive would suite you well. Seb
  9. SebRad

    enabling DMA on old Win98 machine

    I'm pretty sure all the Intel 430 series chipsets supported DMA (the highest being DMA Mode 2 - 16MB/sec). Possibly some of the earlier Pentium chipsets too. IIRC the first Ultra DMA (DMA 33) chipset was the 430TX. I believe there is/was a DMA Mode 3 (~40MB/sec) hence why UDMA 66/100/133 are modes 4/5/6. An old version of HD-Tach will tell you if DMA is on/off by looking at CPU usage score. Seb
  10. SebRad

    enabling DMA on old Win98 machine

    Hi, what I used to do when faced with this problem was to go to device manager and remove the "disk drives", "CR-ROMs" and "Hard disk controllers". When really in trouble there is a regkey, don't remember exactly but think its called "MF". Search for it and it should be obvious and delete that as well. Reboot and let it redetect everything, don't reboot when it suggest, get all the way into windows and then reboot. Then back to device manager and enable DMA and reboot again (this is windows 98 remember, reboots galore) Hope this helps, Seb
  11. SebRad

    Maxtor DM9 vs DM10

    Hi, the Diamondmax 10 is basically the same drive as the MaxLine III, performance comparison with the Plus 9 here. In terms of technology the plus 9 is based on 60-80GB platters and the 10 is on 100GB platters and as you note the 250 & 300GB sizes come with 16MB cache. Also the SATA versions support NCQ. I've heard a rumour that a 200GB, SATA, 16MB version does/will exist. The 10 is (probably) quieter than the plus 9. (For all things PC noise related see SPCR) Seb
  12. SebRad

    8MB Cache vs 2MB Cache.

    Hi Ctwizzy, if it's not to difficult to back up all your data elsewhere I would recommend using the 160GB drive as the boot drive / main drive. FAQ FAQ There are also ways of getting a performance advantage using two drives but they depend on what you use your PC for and what programs you use. If you give us more details we can give you more specific answers. Seb
  13. SebRad

    Suggestions for large, quiet system drive?

    HDD have two main different noises. The idle noise, which is the sound made by the spinning motor, bearings and platters, is constant. In older drives with ball bearings it tends to be loud and high pitched, often a "whining" sort of noise. Fluid bearing drives tend to be more muted in pitch and volume. The other sort of noise is seek noise, this is the sound made by the actuator moving the heads across the disc, it is a clicking, clattery sort of sound. Sometimes referred to as disc thrashing. Some drives also make noises for calibration and reliability reasons, e.g. IBM's infamous "mee-ow" and some Seagates have faint clicking/scratching periodically. Idle noise is present all the time and is only reduced by sound deadening. Seek noise is only present when the drive is looking for data, some drive support AAM which is a method that reduces the seek speed and therefore noise. On drives that support it AAM can be altered by software e.g. IBM/Hitachi feature tool. The PC case and the mounting method of the HDD will greatly affect the perceived seek noise. A drive screwed tight in a cheap case could have very loud seeks as the case amplifies the seek vibrations. The same drive in elastic suspension in an expensive (thick metal) case could be very quiet. People vary in whether they find it easier to put up with/ignore/tune out the intermittent seek chatter or the constant idle whine/drone. I believe that recent (7200.7 & 7200.8) Seagate drives have AAM set at the factory and it's not adjustable by the user. The P-ATA ones are set to quiet and the S-ATA are set to noisy. I think this accounts for some people reporting Seagates as quiet and some as noisy. I believe other brands are adjustable. People also vary in their definition of quiet depending on their hearing and level of back ground noise. To me quiet is 2am in a rural location where the ambient noise is below my threshold of hearing, I suspect many people very rarely experience this degree of quiet. Making my PC quiet to this standard has taken quite a lot of work, the fastest fan spins ~1100rpm. Anyone who's interested can read about it here. The Samsung SP80 probably has the quietest idle and seek of any current 3½†drive. The Seagate 7200.7 (and probably 7200.8) are a close second for idle but seek noise may be louder. In my opinion for most people in most circumstances any recent FDB (fluid dynamic bearing) drive will be fine for idle noise. Seek noise will depend on the case and mounting method. Think I've gone on long enough; hopefully I've help a few people. Seb
  14. SebRad

    Should I get a Raptor 74 GB

    Hi, SR Database comparison. From your description of your usage I would say the "Office DriveMark" and probably "Bootup DriveMark" are the ones relevant to you. As you can see the Raptor is 40% faster than the slowest (Seagate) drive, this would be very noticeable in use. The Maxtor closes the Office performance to 20% with the Raptor and matches it for Bootup. The 300GB 16MB cache Maxtor costs about the same too. For your use any modern 7200rpm drive will be very acceptable, you can buy them with twice the Raptors capacity at half the cost. You pays your money and takes your choice. Seb
  15. SebRad

    Samsung SP1614N vs. Seagate 7200.8 200gb

    Hi Nick, for all things related to PC noise (or preferably lack of) check out Silent PC Review. The general consensus over there is that the Samsung drive you have at the moment is part of the quietest available 3.5" drive family, followed by the Seagate 7200.7. The Seagate 7200.8 hasn't been reviewed and is so new that users' experience isn't conclusive yet. This is generally talking about IDLE noise, SEEK noise wise Seagate drives are not that quiet (Samsung ones generally are) but most people who are serious about reducing PC noise will have physically decoupled the drive from the case which renders seek noise negligible. For minimum noise you need 2.5" HDDs and/or enclosures. Performance wise I would guess the Seagate would be a little faster. Maybe enough to be noticeable in use, if/when 16MB cache ones become available they should be noticeably faster (than the Samsung). Seb