My new system

ddrueding

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I've had it with this Celeron 466...so I'm building my new system right now.

AMD Athlon64 3200+
MSI K8T NEO (K8T800)
1GB PC3200 DDR
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro
2x Raptor 360GD (the new ones, not in RAID)
Pioneer DVR-A07
Sony DRU-510A
Sony 52x24x52
Antec P160 Case
Zalman CNPS7000A-Cu (CPU)
Zalman ZM80C-HP (VGA)
COOLMAX 300W CX-300, 120mm fan, PS

So far I'm pretty pleased. More mini-reviews coming later.
 

Stereodude

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Mercutio said:
If he's not going to be installing anything else in the case. 300W is more than enough.
I don't share your overly optimistic opinion of the situation. He has 3 optical drives, 2 thirsty HDs, a thirsty video card, and a thirsty CPU. I'd have a good 450W in that bad boy.
 

Mercutio

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If he's using a quality 300W PSU, he can almost certainly afford to fill his PCI and DIMM slots. Probably add another HDD, too.
I've got machines with similar specs on similar PSUs.
 

The JoJo

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A good 300W goes a long way.

My machines using a HEC 300W and running an X15, 3 other SCSI drives, 3 optical ones and a Geforce 4200. I've built many similar systems, and nowadays regard a 300W good enough for most systems, just based on my experience.
 

Bozo

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Ive install 8 Raptors in two RAID 5 systems. They have been running for about 6 months. Seem to be doing fine.

Bozo :mrgrn:
 

timwhit

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They're Western Digital, right? I don't think reliable is the right word for any hard drive made by Western Digital. From what I've heard they can hardly be considered top echelon in that department.
 

ddrueding

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I'll be able to give you some more info on the Raptors in a few months. I've been running 4 of them in my personal machines for quite a while, but I have 25 of them at my feet right now, along with 25 A64 3000+, and 20GB of PC3200 :mrgrn:
 

Handruin

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I'm curious to know how stable your machine is. I'm considering something very similar. I was going to chose the gigabyte board, but after Merc mentioned some stability problems, I'd like to avoid that.

After my last experience with MSI, I'm very hesitant to ever buy another one.
 

ddrueding

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Well, it's been running about 12 hours now...playing with the DOT (Dynamic Overclocking) too much caused a few crashes, but that's to be expected. I'm really impressed with the set of tools that MSI offers as well, including automatic drive and BIOS updates. Very pleased so far, but I'll be able to give you more information after I use these 2 cases of motherboards next to me.
 

ddrueding

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eh, I added a WD2500JD as well...WTF.

I'm still not worried about the PS at all. This is a high-end PS with a true 300W and plenty of cooling. It can take a lot more than this.
 

Handruin

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Did you buy your parts from newegg? What brand ram did you buy for it? Also, how's the built-in audio so far? (sorry for the 20 questions)
 

Pradeep

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Stereodude said:
ddrueding said:
I'm still not worried about the PS at all. This is a high-end PS with a true 300W and plenty of cooling. It can take a lot more than this.
That's too bad.

http://www.sharkcageonline.com/power.asp

Run the numbers yourself. You're underpowered.

That tool is borken. It told me I need a 620W PSU for my dual athlon machine, that runs just fine on an Antec 420W. That's four 15K drives, 3 IDE 7200rpms, SCSi card PCI IDE controller, two cpus, two HSFs, two system fans.
 

mubs

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Tells me I need a 319 Watt + 30 Watt safety margin = 349 Watt power supply. I've been running on an Antec 300 Watt since the time I built this system - 12/2000.

I think part of the problem is that the questions are very generic, and so the calculation has to provide enough margin - probably computing for worst-case.
 

Pradeep

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True mubs. I imagine my XP1700s don't take up near the power of those greedy T-bird 1.2s etc.
 

Onomatopoeic

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Santilli said:
Problem is the initial startup, isn't it?

Yes, for the most part. You have to deal with startup peak demand from just about everything. If you have the option for delayed spin-up options on your hard drive(s), it's not a bad thing to enable it with a computer that has a relatively small power supply.

An "oversized" power supply can last longer than an "merely adequate" power supply. Power supplies can get weak over time, and in theory, an oversized power supply could provide an extended service life for those into keeping their computer 6 or 7 years.

Other than that, an oversized power supply will not draw all that much more current out of the wall than a smaller power supply with a given load. The larger volume (CFM) fan will in the oversized power supply will be responsible for most of that extra current draw (and extra fan noise, too).
 

Tea

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Just to prove that I'm not a complete monkey, here is the rule-of-thumb I use:

For a standard system such as:
  • Any current-model Athlon up to 2700MHz
  • Any current-model video card below a 256MB FX5700
  • 3 drives total (e.g, 1 hard drive, 2 opticals, or etc.)
  • Non-excessive add-on cards (NIC & modem is OK, for example)
Use a quality 250. (A-Open, Bliss, or etc.) Alternatively, a cheap but half-decent 350 to 400 will be OK.


For a slightly more than standard system - i.e., one that has the above but:
  • Extra PCI cards that draw a fair bit (multiple sound cards for e.g.)
  • or more than 3 drives
  • or a seriously fast Athlon (3000 or similar)
  • or an old-style hi-drain Athlon (XP 1900, Thunderbird 1333, & etc.)
  • or a serious video card (Gforce 4ti, big current models, and etc.)
  • or it is an important business machine
  • or it is going a long way away where it will be difficult to service
  • or I like the customer
Use a quality 300 (Bliss or etc.).


For a big system which combines several of the above:

Use a quality 400 or 420.

But we are missing the point here. It isn't the start-up drain that matters. Sure, it has to have enough grunt to boot, but the days of start-up being the critical time are over. Well over. That went out with Baby AT form factor.

Power supply choice is all about stability. You can boot almost anything on a good 250 or a half-good 400. (Hell - most things will boot with even a really cheap 400 - you know, the sort that costs $28 plus tax, weighs as much as two floppy drives, and puts out a genuine, measured 400 Watts all day long: 200 in the morning, and another 200 in the afternoon. So long as you don't need both 200 Watts at the same time, they go fine.)

It ain't the start-up that brings the problems. It's the "will it come back because it's crashing three times a day?" that does you in. This is where you sort the qualiy power supplies from the crap. Any number of times I've replaced a cheap "400" with a Bliss or Seventeam or A-Open 250 and cured the system right away.

But if in doubt, go straight to a 300. Again, use a decent brand.

Only twice in recent times have we found a Bliss 300 insufficient. I'll tell you about the first one of those in a moment, as it makes an interesting case study.
 

Tea

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Andrew had a high-end system. Tannin built it a year or two ago, and, possibly because he was having an unusually good day, managed not to stuff it up. It was approximately as follows: Athlon XP 1800 (old style), 512MB, Leadtek 256MB Gforce 4ti, Sound Blaster Live (or possibly an Autistic, I forget), CD burner, DVD. Over the nest year or two, we added a second hard drive, swapped the CD burner for a DVD burner, and Andrew fitted two more sound cards. (Yes, three sound cards. He is pretty serious about his sound, young Andrew is. Does a lot of recording stuff.)

It was powered by a good quality 300 - I forget the brand, but a specialist low-noise one - it worked fine. I think we wanted a bit bigger than 300 in the first place, but you couldn't get 350s or 400s in low noise back then, and the low-noise was important to him.)

It may or may not have started misbehaving later on in life - I'm not sure about that, as it wound up with a phenomenal amount of software loaded, and any issues may have been masked by that. Being Win 2000 based, it put up with that surprisingly well. A Win 98 machine with that amount loaded would never have booted, never mind about useful work.)

It came in for upgrade a month or so ago. The plan was to slip in a new main board with USB 2.0 and an XP 2800, plus up the RAM to 1GB. If possible, we were to retain the Windows installation.

I bolted all the nice new bits in and immediately struck problems. Mostly it wouldn't even complete the boot process, though in safe mode it would usually stagger along OK. Despite some video corruption, power was my first thought, so I swapped in a Bliss 300 - a power supply that until then had practically never been proved wanting. A little better, maybe, but still clearly sick. Not the power supply, it seemed. I tried another one though, just in case. It occured to me to try a bigger PSU again, but the only 400s I had on paw were middling-cheap ones. I tried an Omni but, as expected, without making a noticable difference.

So then I started fault-finding. Several times I thought I had an answer but the results were inconsitent. It was only when I swapped the video card that things started to come clear. As soon as I flexed the 256MB ti and popped in a Gforce 4MX, it improved a good deal. We fiddled about and got it so that it seemed to run, meanwhile ordering a Leadtek Gforce FX5700. When that arrived, it immediately presented the same minor video corruption problems as the ti had done. Both cards worked fine in other machines.

Sure enough, when I bolted in the lavisly expensive 420 Watt PSU I'd ordered earlier, the system finally sat up and kicked arse. It now works perfectly.

Now we handle a good many systems, and that is at this stage the only one we have met anytime recently that we can definately state needs more than a good quality 300. There is a second one that the jury is still out on, but I think that might be the same thing. He (the second customer) doesn't have the outlandish sound gear that Andrew has, but he does a nice line in multiple hard drives and works his system hard. I'll know in a week or two.
 

Bozo

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I use the following as a guide to sizing a power supply:

AGP Video card 30-50w
Average PCI Card 5-10w
10/100 NIC 4w
SCSI PCI card 20w
Floppy 5w
CD-ROM 10-25w
DVD-ROM 10-25w
CD-RW 10-25w
DVD RW 10-25w
7200 RPM IDE drive 5-20w
10,000 SCSI drive 10-40w
Fans 3w each
Motherboard (no cpu or RAM) 25-40w
RAM 8w per 128MB
P-3 38w
P-4 70w
Athlon 70w
SCSI RAID card 50w

By using a 'worst case' estimate I usually come up with a power supply that will handle the load with some power to spare. IE: CPUs don't draw their maximum power until they are being worked hard. Same with hard drives. At idle they use very little power.

Bozo :mrgrn:
 

Mercutio

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Buck

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Type 21: Who are you?

This is the unusual customer, but incredibly endearing. I had one the other day. They gave me a ring, we made an appointment, and I visited their home-office to make their switch from an older Pentium II machine to their new Dell Laptop. They requested assistance with two items:

1) They need Microsoft Office Small Business Edition
2) Help them migrate from one system to the other (involves data and internet connection...this can end up eating a lot of time)

Unbelievable! I arrive, and begin by asking some basic questions. I come to find out that they have already backed up all of their necessary files to floppy diskettes and they are going to put these files onto the laptop. (Nice. That should make my stay shorter.) Besides Office, the other two programs they need have already been installed. (Nice. That should make my stay even shorter.) So, I go to physically move the old desktop system out of its computer niche and they actually help take the parts out, plus they set the desktop system up in another part of the room. (Thanks for the help, my back appreciates it, and my stay should be shortened a bit more.) They clean up the computer area, we place the laptop into this niche, plug in their cable modem connection and we’re live. After installing MS Office, briefly setting up their email accounts, and running some Windows XP updates, they’re ready to go. All of this took an hour (less time then I expected), so I charged them for my time and the MS Office suite – suddenly we’re done.

They were very friendly, asked if I wanted anything to drink or eat, but I declined. I must have been in shock from the experience.

Population Density: Not Enough
How to Deal With: Enjoy the moment, it won’t come around again for quite some time.
 

ddrueding

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ddrueding

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Handruin said:
Did you buy your parts from newegg? What brand ram did you buy for it? Also, how's the built-in audio so far? (sorry for the 20 questions)

1. Yes
2. Mushkin (cheapest 512MB PC3200 "known" brand at the time)
3. Great, though the speakers they're currently connected to suck (SBS350 2.1). I'll have one jacked into my klipsch 2.1 pretty soon and have a better idea.
 

ddrueding

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Oh, I guess all my other threads have been at the other place...so here it is.

I'm opening a computer gaming center in Monterey, CA. It will include 20 workstations (with similar spec to mine above), 22" Mitsubishi CRTs, Dedicated servers and a full T-1. I took out a $100,000 loan to make it happen, and it's taken over 8 months so far. I got my business permit 2 days ago and I plan on opening April 3rd.

The website is still under construction but can be found @

http://www.tweakt.com

So if any of you are in the vicinity, please come on by.
 

ddrueding

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Buck said:
Congratulations David, I hope this venture proves to be fun and successful.

Thanks, It's already been tons of fun (and quite a bit of work), and the success would be a good thing, too. I'm already looking for more funding to open more of them. As soon as this one is "in the black" I'll be moving towards additial stores locally and franchising.
 

ddrueding

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Bartender said:
Woot! Dave is putting a gaming center behind the bar! That should increase patronage. I hope this works out Dave - drinks on the house!

:wink:

I was actually looking at a more adult-oriented market originally, including a full bar and some form of "entertainment", but getting the necissary permits is hard enough as it is.
 
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