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Old 18th January 2009
Broodjegehaktmetmayo Broodjegehaktmetmayo is offline
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Originally Posted by ephemera View Post
Tell us what you budget's like and maybe someone will be able to provide more helpful advice.
Hi ;-)

Thanks. Like said, budget is less relevant than hardware that just works. That means, I don't plan to buy a EUR 1000 system, but it's also not the case that I care about 10 or 20 EUR more or less. I need to have a system of quality components, that is guaranteed to work (from the hardware perspective): I want to learn FBSD, not have to worry about hardware that conflicts/doesn't work under FBSD.
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Old 18th January 2009
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I don't plan to buy a EUR 1000 system, but it's also not the case that I care about 10 or 20 EUR more or less.
That helps. A reasonably powerful mainstream computer still costs between $800 and $1000 (I'll count EUR and $ that same for the moment). Below $800, you have to cut corners somewhere (usually the case or power supply), and above $1000 you pick up more specialized features, like dual processors, ECC/Reg memory, multiple network adapters, or even more mundane things like BlueRay burners, TV tuners or really powerful video cards. Note that this price range does not include the monitor or any fancy keyboards or mice.
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Old 18th January 2009
Broodjegehaktmetmayo Broodjegehaktmetmayo is offline
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Thanks again DrJ: i am in your dept

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The ATI driver should work for 64 bit. The "nv" driver does. That's an advantage of open-source code. A "binary blob" is a binary driver provided by a manufacturer. One has no real idea what goes on inside of it, since there is no code available to audit. Some people, particularly those who use Open, really dislike them for a number of valid reasons. I personally use the nVidia driver, and it has been great.
Well, you see, here it gets confusing again. You say Nvidia works under X64, but earlier in this thread a lot of people have written Nvidia does not work under X64 Or does it work with the nv/xorg driver (and not with the binary one since that one hasn't been released by Nvidia) but then lacks (important) stuff?

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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
As little as possible is not really that helpful. You can get quite a powerful computer for about $1000.
That would probably be around what I would want to spend, yes.

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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
Otherwise, you might be better off buying a pre-assembled computer, particularly as the price goes down. A home builder really can't compete on price in the $500 range (give or take), though you can make sure that you get everything you want (slots, memory, various compatible chips).
I have very bad experiences with pre-assembled computers. I've learned they don't always put in A-quality components, so I will stick to made to order. Quality is more important to me than price.

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The only reason to get the Q35 is to use the on-board video that is supported by an open-source Intel driver. If you want a gaming computer, that won't really be an option. In that case go with a mainstream P35 or P45 board. I've used both Abit (RIP) and Gigabyte P35 boards, and they are fine. If you go with ASUS, be careful about the Ethernet chip they use. On some, there is no FreeBSD support. Sorry, I don't know the ASUS line well enough to know which ones those are.
That is the problem then for me: how to find out if an Ethernet chip is supported? I can't find anything on the FBSD-site about it

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Again, if quiet computing is something you seek, look carefully at how you can control the various fans from the BIOS. That's where Abit excelled -- the GB board had only one controllable fan header, and you could not adjust that one much.
Yes, but that again is a problem: they don't easily specify what the bios can and can't do in the product descriptions. You see how depressed I get

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That really depends on your work load. If you *really* do a lot of multiprocessing, then by all means go for the quad core. Most people don't do as much multiprocessing as they think, so two cores may be enough. For the same price, the dual cores are usually clocked higher, and clock speed does matter. This is particularly true on FreeBSD if you compile from ports. That is still a single task, though work to parallelize it is proceeding. For ports, raw CPU and disk speed matter more than number of cores. The OS world compilation is parallelized, so cores matter, but for most people compiling ports consumes a lot more time.
This is very useful information, and I think you just convinced me again that I will go for dual core and not for quad core

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Also note the various chip options. The newer generation are made using 45nm technology; they tend to run cooler, which is a good thing. On the other hand, keep an eye out for the virtualization features of the chip. The low-end ones usually don't have capabilities for hardware virtualization. You probably won't need that, since virtualization on FreeBSD is pretty terrible, and you did not mention any virtualization needs on the XP box.
I don't have a clue but I am guessing I won't be needing this virtualization technology () This box for now will only be a desktop, and as my knowledge of FBSD advances I will probably set up some home servers, so I'm not planning to reinstall the Yahoo network ().
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Old 18th January 2009
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IMO I seriously doubt the validity of the first link you posted, all I see there is some idiot whining about his motherboard not working, without any background info whatsoever, he doesn't even seem to be trying to get it working.
He's probably just the kind of guy that boots Ubuntu, sees something doesn't work, blames the hardware, and goes off making useless posts on the internet.

If you read further in the thread, you see that there are also people who run Ubuntu on the P5Q mainboard just fine.

Also see this thread:
http://daemonforums.org/showthread.php?t=2546

In short, the P5Q should work just fine.

Quote:
There is no binary ATI driver because ATI did not provide one for FreeBSD. nVidia did. That's why there is only one binary blob, and why it does not run on the 64 bit FreeBSD flavor. Don't hold your breath on getting a 64 bit nVidia driver any time soon.
Just for the record:
The reason there is no nVidia 64 bit driver is because some kernel features are either missing or incomplete, the nVidia people feel that implementing these features is not their job (Rightly so) and are waiting for the FreeBSD people to implement these features.

For more information see:
http://wiki.freebsd.org/NvidiaFeatureRequests
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Old 18th January 2009
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I have very bad experiences with pre-assembled computers. I've learned they don't always put in A-quality components, so I will stick to made to order. Quality is more important to me than price.
It depends where you buy, if you buy a PC from us you will get the exact the components you want, with or without Microsoft tax (Shameless advertising: www.aragorn.nl).
With some other shops like Computerland or MyCom ... It can sometimes be a different story ...
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Old 18th January 2009
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Originally Posted by Broodjegehaktmetmayo View Post
Well, you see, here it gets confusing again. You say Nvidia works under X64, but earlier in this thread a lot of people have written Nvidia does not work under X64 Or does it work with the nv/xorg driver (and not with the binary one since that one hasn't been released by Nvidia) but then lacks (important) stuff?
There are two drivers for nVidia video cards that run on FreeBSD. One is the open source "nv" driver. Since it is open source, it can run pretty much anywhere, including 64 bit. The other is provided by nVidia, called (oddly enough) "nvidia" inside of Xorg. It is a driver that is comparable to the one provided for Windows, Linux and Solaris, and it works very well (at least for me). It works only on 32 bit systems. nVidia has requested support for various kernel features from FreeBSD to allow it to make a comparable driver for 64 bit systems. That has not happened (yet), and it probably will not happen any time soon.

So on 32 bits, you can use either "nv" or "nvidia." On 64 bits, you can only use "nv" if you want an nVidia card.

I'm not trying to endorse nVidia, BTW. It is just what I have used and what I know.
Quote:
I have very bad experiences with pre-assembled computers. I've learned they don't always put in A-quality components, so I will stick to made to order. Quality is more important to me than price.
I agree with that. It is amazing how many corners are cut on most preassembled computers, and it is rather hard to figure out what those are without a lot of research.
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That is the problem then for me: how to find out if an Ethernet chip is supported? I can't find anything on the FBSD-site about it
You have to find out what Ethernet chip the motherboard uses, and then check its compatibility on the FreeBSD site. There are also threads on this board that talk about this, so you might be able to find it here. The problem often is that the manufacturers make it hard to find out this information, since they assume you will be running Windows. Sometimes it helps to download the manual, and look for the hardware specifications.
Quote:
Yes, but that again is a problem: they don't easily specify what the bios can and can't do in the product descriptions.
That's right. You can find out this sort of thing on the web, though. For fan control, silentpcreview.com is an excellent site. Yes, this is a lot of work.
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Old 18th January 2009
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Originally Posted by Carpetsmoker View Post
It depends where you buy, if you buy a PC from us you will get the exact the components you want, with or without Microsoft tax (Shameless advertising: www.aragorn.nl).
With some other shops like Computerland or MyCom ... It can sometimes be a different story ...
I was referring to the manufacturer-made PCs, like from Dell or HP. The inexpensive ones often are not particularly impressive. Their workstations are great, though.

To the OP -- if all of this has you confused and frustrated, by all means let CS make one for you. There is more to putting together a computer than buying good parts and assembling it. You also have to test it, and parts do fail. Most are OK, but finding subtle problems can be difficult. Let a custom builder do it for you.

There is also the issue of cable routing. I'm fanatical about it, but many people simply stuff them in. That has consequences for case air flow, cooling and reliability. A well-chosen case helps, but it takes a while to get the hang of it.

I looked briefly at the computers CS's company offers, and they seem at first glance to be quite reasonable. None of the standard builds include discrete video cards, but that is trivial to change. You would also get one that he would guarantee (right?) would work for FreeBSD.
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Old 18th January 2009
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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
There are two drivers for nVidia video cards that run on FreeBSD. One is the open source "nv" driver. Since it is open source, it can run pretty much anywhere, including 64 bit. The other is provided by nVidia, called (oddly enough) "nvidia" inside of Xorg. It is a driver that is comparable to the one provided for Windows, Linux and Solaris, and it works very well (at least for me). It works only on 32 bit systems. nVidia has requested support for various kernel features from FreeBSD to allow it to make a comparable driver for 64 bit systems. That has not happened (yet), and it probably will not happen any time soon.

So on 32 bits, you can use either "nv" or "nvidia." On 64 bits, you can only use "nv" if you want an nVidia card.

I'm not trying to endorse nVidia, BTW. It is just what I have used and what I know.

I agree with that. It is amazing how many corners are cut on most preassembled computers, and it is rather hard to figure out what those are without a lot of research.

You have to find out what Ethernet chip the motherboard uses, and then check its compatibility on the FreeBSD site. There are also threads on this board that talk about this, so you might be able to find it here. The problem often is that the manufacturers make it hard to find out this information, since they assume you will be running Windows. Sometimes it helps to download the manual, and look for the hardware specifications.

That's right. You can find out this sort of thing on the web, though. For fan control, silentpcreview.com is an excellent site. Yes, this is a lot of work.
You again have helped me a lot: if, in return, you need advise on training dogs, just give me a call, no matter what time

Ok, for the video I will stick with Nvidia then, since I have had good experiences with it in the past.

The Asus P5Q-mainboard has been advised by Carpetsmoker as a solid choice too, and only for me to find out is the ethernet chip compatibility, as you wrote. That's homework for tomorrow (it's 19.08/7.08 PM here now, and her majesty my wife has just made a formal announcement that dinner will be served to the dogs if I don't report below in 10 minutes ).

In the meantime I've googled a lot on SATA-II (sata300, as advised in this thread), but I think that would be overkill for my intentions, so I will just stick with the Seagate 7200.11 disk(s).

Pfoei, it seems I'm finally approaching the end of this (horrible) search for a new PC. That's really, really, a relief. I understand quite a lot of FBSD (for a noob, keep that in mind, please ), also because of the excellent FBSD-book I have, but when it comes to hardware specs and do's and don'ts my brain suffers horribly.

So I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for so generously helping me out: thank you (!)

In return, I will soon gladly answer any FBSD-questions you have: please note january 1, 2035 as the date to contact me with any questions you might have on FBSD ()

Thank you
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Old 18th January 2009
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I was referring to the manufacturer-made PCs, like from Dell or HP. The inexpensive ones often are not particularly impressive.
You and I were thinking exactly the same :-) I have owned HP, Compaq and Dell, and all of them, relatively low-priced, appeared to contain stripped down OEM-versions of A-brands or no-name components, and posed numerous problems. Then again, I am typing this message on an 8 years old custom made 'no-name' Pentium that to date has performed without any problems whatsoever. So I prefer the custom built PCs from the 'non-big companies'. Problem is, nowadays it's difficult to find these companies. They all translated into rather 'vague' web shops with post orders and PO-boxes, and I like to know a store, e.g. not somebody 'hiding' behind a post box. Old fashioned, I guess

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
To the OP -- if all of this has you confused and frustrated, by all means let CS make one for you. There is more to putting together a computer than buying good parts and assembling it. You also have to test it, and parts do fail. Most are OK, but finding subtle problems can be difficult. Let a custom builder do it for you.

There is also the issue of cable routing. I'm fanatical about it, but many people simply stuff them in. That has consequences for case air flow, cooling and reliability. A well-chosen case helps, but it takes a while to get the hang of it.

I looked briefly at the computers CS's company offers, and they seem at first glance to be quite reasonable. None of the standard builds include discrete video cards, but that is trivial to change. You would also get one that he would guarantee (right?) would work for FreeBSD.
Well, actually, DrJ, I might do that, I really might. After all, if CS will guarantee me everything will just work, why not? In the process I'll sponsor a local shop instead of the multi-billion 'couldn't care less about quality and customer service () companies', and I'd be getting free lifetime support for FBSD ( only kidding). No, seriously, I might just do that.
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Old 18th January 2009
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I think DRJ has made a lot of good points.

BTW, you might want to consider one of the lower end (single socket, e7300/e8400) workstations from HP. As a matter of fact you can't go wrong with any of the workstation products from the major manufacturers.
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Old 18th January 2009
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That all looks fine. One comment, which I hope does not muddy the waters too much. You could still get a motherboard with a Q35, and add a video card for the XP box. You then would have the Intel video and its associated driver for FreeBSD, and the horsepower for gaming on the other computer. Everything else would be the same, and that might be good enough. It would save you $120 or so.

On cases and power supplies, I like the Antec Solo and Seasonic and Corsair models. The Solo enables you to build a quiet computer, with well-routed cables, quite easily. It is a bit snug, and conservative in style (which I like, actually) but it is overall a good choice. In the US you can often find them on sale or as refurbished units (which are perfectly OK). I don't know if you have that option.

Seasonic and Corsair supplies in the 400-500W range should be fine. Seasonic makes the supplies for Corsair, so it is mainly a difference in features. Detachable cables are very nice, since the only cables you have to manage are those you need. Neither of your computers should consume that much power unless you use a second high-performance video card or a huge disk array, which it does not sound like you will do.
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Old 18th January 2009
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Originally Posted by ephemera View Post
BTW, you might want to consider one of the lower end (single socket, e7300/e8400) workstations from HP. As a matter of fact you can't go wrong with any of the workstation products from the major manufacturers.
That's true -- I have old HP and IBM workstations (dual CPU Presontias) that I love. HP in particular makes great products in this space. They do tend to be costly, but the parts quality is outstanding, and they will outlive us all.
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Old 18th January 2009
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For power supplies check 80plus.com site and get a high efficent one.
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Old 30th January 2009
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It's me again

So, I'm this far away from jumping from a bridge: my my, what a horror it is to pick hardware

So, it's almost wrapped up, except for the PSU. Earlier, I already decided to follow your recommendations to buy Seasonic, so that's not the question. The question is: how much watt?

The config so far is:
- Intel CD E8400
- Asus P5Q-E
- 4 GB Kingston Ram (2x2)
- Arctic Freezer cooler
- Creative Audigy sound card
- Geforce 9600GT
- Seagate 7200.11 750 GB (SATA)
- 1 DVD-rom
- 1 DVD-writer
- 8 zillion all in one card-reader incl. floppydrive
- LPT-card
- Extra USB-adaptor (to get most of the 12 USB-ports on the mobo to be accessible from the outside)

So, I am in doubt whether or not the Seasonic S12II 430W will do? The problem is, the guys over at the computer store remain that it is sufficient (they say this will use 300W), but I tend to (strongly) disagree. I've input as much as possible in one of those online 'wattage-calculators', and that one says that if I later extend the system with 3HDD's (RAID), put in 'some slack' for future extra PCI-cards(2, for example, an extra NIC and an extra whatever), and take into account the aging factor of the PSU (seems to be less efficient over time) of 25% (recommended according to the site), I arrive at 616W

Now, two things are important here:
1. I have no clue what I am doing when it comes to hardware, and:
2. I have absolutely no clue what I am doing when it comes to hardware.



And, maybe, as nr 3, I shouldn't be trusting these 'website watt-calculators', but, then again, see points 1 & 2.

So, with the above components and taking into account 'your average future additions to the system', do you all think 430W will do? Will it be the 616W the site said? Or can I suffice with 500W

I'm almost there, could anybody perhaps tell me what it the wisdom to do here?

Thank you - again (!) - very much in advance

PS1: I'm not really somebody who says 'if I need a bigger PSU later, I'll buy it then'; I'd rather make sure the system is ok right now, as to avoid double costs.
PS2: I need a holiday break now because of all the endless hours that have gone into this
PS3: the site that calculates the watts I used is: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculator.jsp
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Old 30th January 2009
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The 430W unit should be OK, but I'd go with about 500W to be safe. It probably will be coasting, but that's fine (as long as you stay in the power range where the supply is efficient).

A couple of other comments: overall the hardware looks good. I'd personally use the on-board audio, but check to see that it is supported. The Creative cards have a bad reputation for drivers, but I've not used them in years, so can offer no specific advice.

There is one other detail you should check: the nVidia driver ("nvidia", not "nv") had issues with using 4GB memory, though this is reputedly fixed in the 177.70 driver. The old work-around was to enable memory remapping in the BIOS, but the BIOS has to support this feature, and not all motherboards do. I *think* ASUS has it, but you should download the manual to check. Again, the new driver reputedly fixes the problem, but I would want to be safe if I were buying a new motherboard with 4GB memory.
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Old 30th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broodjegehaktmetmayo View Post
- Creative Audigy sound card
Integrated Intel HDA does not do the job?

Quote:
- Seagate 7200.11 750 GB (SATA)
Bad choise, give it back while you wtill can, all seagate 7200.11 searies is fucked up, even their firmware upgrade does not help, more here: http://www.techpowerup.com/index.php?82331

Get WDC Black series drive (640GB for example) or Seagete 7200.12 with 1 platter 500GB series.

Quote:
- 1 DVD-rom
- 1 DVD-writer
Why DVD-ROM when you have DVD-RW?

Quote:
So, I am in doubt whether or not the Seasonic S12II 430W will do?
~20W max for motherboard
~45W max for CPU (TDP says 65W but people reported that it uses about 35-45W at most)
~8W max for RAM
~10W max for DVD
~10-15W max for HDD
~100W max for 9600GT

To sum up it will be about 200-250W max usage, so you need 350-450W PSU.

PCU gets maxumim efifcency at half of their power, for example if you get 430W, you will get highest PSU efficency at abou 215W usage.

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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
There is one other detail you should check: the nVidia driver ("nvidia", not "nv") had issues with using 4GB memory, though this is reputedly fixed in the 177.70 driver. The old work-around was to enable memory remapping in the BIOS, but the BIOS has to support this feature, and not all motherboards do.
Asus's BIOS supports that feature.
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Old 30th January 2009
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Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
The 430W unit should be OK, but I'd go with about 500W to be safe. It probably will be coasting, but that's fine (as long as you stay in the power range where the supply is efficient).

A couple of other comments: overall the hardware looks good. I'd personally use the on-board audio, but check to see that it is supported. The Creative cards have a bad reputation for drivers, but I've not used them in years, so can offer no specific advice.

There is one other detail you should check: the nVidia driver ("nvidia", not "nv") had issues with using 4GB memory, though this is reputedly fixed in the 177.70 driver. The old work-around was to enable memory remapping in the BIOS, but the BIOS has to support this feature, and not all motherboards do. I *think* ASUS has it, but you should download the manual to check. Again, the new driver reputedly fixes the problem, but I would want to be safe if I were buying a new motherboard with 4GB memory.
Thank you, DrJ

Ok, so actually you are saying that website with its 616 Watt is rubbish. I suspected that already, and I was also more or less 'drifting' towards the 500W, even 'though its twice the cost of a 430W ().

As to the sound: the main reason is that my experience with onboard sound is that as far as quality of the output is concerned it doesn't go far beyond the 'bleep' of my first 286 (). DSP doesn't sound anywhere near a separate Creative sound card, in my experience.

I checked the memory remapping: the Asus-board supports that.

Thanks again: appreciated
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Old 30th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Broodjegehaktmetmayo View Post
Ok, so actually you are saying that website with its 616 Watt is rubbish. I suspected that already, and I was also more or less 'drifting' towards the 500W, even 'though its twice the cost of a 430W ().
I've built two overclocked Intel quad core systems that are outfitted a lot like yours, but with extra drives. 500W is more than plenty. 430W is fine too, but I like detachable cables, and those came in a 520W Corsair (if I remember right).
Quote:
my experience with onboard sound is that as far as quality of the output is concerned it doesn't go far beyond the 'bleep' of my first 286 ().
I find computer speakers to be a lot more limiting than the DSPs on the motherboard. I've not checked their quality on my big stereo, so I cannot say anything about their ultimate quality, but typical computer speakers are awful. Good enough for their application -- yes. But as audio devices they are terrible.

Listen to Vermaden, too. I've seen rumblings about the Seagate drives, but I've not been in the market recently. The last two builds I did I used mirrored 500GB WD drives. They have been fine so far.

What case do you intend to use?
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Old 30th January 2009
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Originally Posted by vermaden View Post
Integrated Intel HDA does not do the job?


Bad choise, give it back while you wtill can, all seagate 7200.11 searies is fucked up, even their firmware upgrade does not help, more here: http://www.techpowerup.com/index.php?82331

Get WDC Black series drive (640GB for example) or Seagete 7200.12 with 1 platter 500GB series.


Why DVD-ROM when you have DVD-RW?


~20W max for motherboard
~45W max for CPU (TDP says 65W but people reported that it uses about 35-45W at most)
~8W max for RAM
~10W max for DVD
~10-15W max for HDD
~100W max for 9600GT

To sum up it will be about 200-250W max usage, so you need 350-450W PSU.

PCU gets maxumim efifcency at half of their power, for example if you get 430W, you will get highest PSU efficency at abou 215W usage.



Asus's BIOS supports that feature.


So just when I thought it was almost finally done, this nightmare of picking hardware, this message about the HDD arrives

BUT: I appreciate your warning very much (!) - Thank you

Carpetsmoker has also suggested a HDD, the Western digital Caviar 500GB 16MB Raid Edition, which seems to be completely different from the 'normal' WD retail HDDs (of which I am not too fond).

Too bad, because I have sworn by Seagate for many, many, years (in fact, there's one thing I have always said: all things are discussable, but the HDDs need to be Seagate).

I will dive in which other HDD to choose then, tomorrow.

As to your other points:
1. Integrated HDA: as I just wrote in reply to DrJ's post: its my experience that integrated audio doesn't do Digital Sound Processing very well, so I thought, lets just take a separate audio card (I'm a bit of an audio freak ).
2. DVD-rom + DVD-RW: I've been told DVD-RW will die faster when you also use it for ROM only.
3. PSU: thank you, but taking into account then 'to be on the safe side' as DrJ wrote, 500W seems the smart thing to do?

Thanks again Vermaden
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Old 30th January 2009
Broodjegehaktmetmayo Broodjegehaktmetmayo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJ View Post
I've built two overclocked Intel quad core systems that are outfitted a lot like yours, but with extra drives. 500W is more than plenty. 430W is fine too, but I like detachable cables, and those came in a 520W Corsair (if I remember right).

I find computer speakers to be a lot more limiting than the DSPs on the motherboard. I've not checked their quality on my big stereo, so I cannot say anything about their ultimate quality, but typical computer speakers are awful. Good enough for their application -- yes. But as audio devices they are terrible.

Listen to Vermaden, too. I've seen rumblings about the Seagate drives, but I've not been in the market recently. The last two builds I did I used mirrored 500GB WD drives. They have been fine so far.

What case do you intend to use?
Thanks, DrJ

I will listen to Vermaden, yes I will

As to the case, I've picked an 'Antec New Solution NSK4000 EC'. Its not a well thought out choice, its actually a 'I don't care what the case looks like, so have it be cheap choice'

Actually, my wife wants a desktop case (I need two PCs), but desktop cases don't seem to be around anymore
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