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Thread: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

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    Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    I've resisted doing this as long as I can, but like all newbies here, it's finally time for my own component advice request thread

    Myself and my partner are long overdue new computers. After spending far too many months planning and plotting, I believe I've finally pieced together a pair of systems that come in at just over £1000 each, but I'm still in a quandary over a few aspects of the build...

    Strangely enough, we have fallen for the Antec 900 case. We don't like case doors and are perhaps too much into sci-fi I'm aware that these cases however can benefit from some small cheap additions to reduce noise and protect them from dust, what would you advise?

    I was originally planning on using raptors in the systems with a secondary storage drive, but after reading into intel matrix raid, I've decided to go with a P5K-E and use three drives with a road 0 boot volume, and a raid 5 volume for storage. Picking out nice hard drives for this, however, is not an easy task! I'd like the total cost of the three to be under £135 (what I would have been paying for the single raptor), as I would like to keep the budget from growing. My current thoughts lean towards these 300Gb Seagate 7200.10 drives, which seems to have an excellent price point! Any thoughts on their usage?

    RAM is of course rather confusing these days. If you're not overclocking, then sticking with DDR2 PC6400 or less makes perfect sense. We, however, are going with E6750's which start at a FSB of 333MHz, and I hope to push them to over FSB 400MHz. Whilst good PC6400 dimms often do overclock to such speeds, I'd rather not take the risk and start off with modules that the manufacturer rates to run fine at such higher FSBs. Some advice on picking quality faster ram would be really appreciated!

    Finally, DVD-Rs are all so surprisingly cheap, and it is very hard to tell the difference between all the brands. I'd prefer an optical drive that did not make a right racket, as I'm far too used to them being the loudest component and it's quite annoying when they spin up to top speed. I don't care about lightscribe, I just want a well made and fairly quiet writer! Any suggestions?

    Thank you all for your help, and thanks for the nice community

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    If you are looking at capacity, I would recommend going for 500GB Samsung / 500 or 750GB Western Digital drives . 500GB drives are more or less the same price per GB compared to 300GB drives. Also, when you upgrade your RAID5, you need to buy a new set of harddrives to replace, unlike when you add a harddrive you can use it instantly. High-end RAID card allow you to add new drives, but with onboard it is not quite possible.

    If you are not needing a lot of storage I would suggest going for 2x500GB RAID1 rather than 3x300GB RAID5. RAID5 does not really shine with just 3 drives, 4-5 drives would be the optimal number.
    Last edited by arthurleung; 18-08-2007 at 02:44 PM.
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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    The problem with 500Gb drives is that although their price per Gb is good, their total price pushes the cost outside of my budget
    There's some very nice ones available, but I can't go with them without having to spend significantly more.

    As the bang per buck is somewhat important (being limited in the ammount I can spend), I cannot in any seriousness go with raid 1, which basically means halfing the value of the drives. Two thirds value is much more like it, hence raid 5

    I'm looking to use Intel Matrix RAID, so remember that it's not 3x300 raid 5, but rather allocating 30Gb off each drive for raid 0, and using the 270 from each for raid 5.

    Although you are tempting me to get another matching hard drive now, as that might just fit within the budget I'm a bit worried about the accompanying seek time increase, however.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    I personally don't like the Nine Hundred, too much 'gamer' for me. I would suggest something like this Silverstone:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=318079
    Understated, yet very solid and clean look.

    About the optical drives, read up http://www.cdrlabs.com, they do all-things-optical reviews. Take a SATA drive only, its cable won't restrict airflow and you'll be able to disable the IDE controller, will speed up OS boot time a bit
    Last edited by Queelis; 19-08-2007 at 11:57 AM.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    That's the joy about cases, there are so many to pick from Makes it an utter pain to decide which one you want, but thankfully reviews and case stats are all fairly simple to understand
    Thanks for the suggestion of the alternative case, that's the sort I would normally go for if I was going for something simplier and, well... not gamer

    The worst thing about cases is that some are soo tempting for all the wrong reasons... I wish I had the money for an acrilic cube for no reason other than to have Orac sitting on my desk

    Many thanks for the link to cdrlabs! That's exactly the kind of place I needed!
    Last edited by Rosaline; 19-08-2007 at 12:12 PM.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Rosaline, great choice on the case, just got one the other day. However, I've also noticed the new Coolermaster RC690 Case, although not out, does look nice.

    If your looking at RAID, then I would suggest looking at the Western Digital RE version drives, as these are specifically built to be used in RAID configurations. The ones with the 16Mb Cache come with a 5 year warranty like the Seagates. I think Scan and other etailers have them at around 45 quid.

    As for the RAM, it's per choice, really, just stick with low timings whatever speed.

    On the optical drive side, if your looking at something on the quiet side I would suggest a Samsung SATA writer, as they are quiet, well from what I've had in the past. The SATA just to reduce the clutter on the inside of the case. That said, I find that Pioneer drives tend to have no problems just about reading anything I've thrown at them, heavily scratched discs for example, my next drive is the Pioneer 212D in Black, if I can get my hands on one. They do however, make a racket when reading at high speeds.

    Good luck on choosing your parts!


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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Quote Originally Posted by Queelis View Post
    I personally don't like the Nine Hundred, too much 'gamer' for me. I would suggest something like this Silverstone:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=318079
    Understated, yet very solid and clean look.
    I've got that case and bought it for the same reasons - it's a quiet little stunner. Would I be putting 3 HDD's in RAID configuration in it, an 8800 gts (for example) and overclocked goodies in it ? Not a chance.

    You'll get two HDD's, one top, one bottom of the drive cage, an 8800 gts backing up onto them in the middle of the cage with comfortable air intake to percolate round everything, and round the case. That third HDD would cause problems in that case.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Thanks for the suggestion for the hard drives Not sure if I'm going to change from my initial thoughts just yet, though, as they seem to have a very good value. It's just good to hear no one cry out "they blew up and destroyed my house!" about them or similar

    With the ram, I appear to be suffering the curse of the live pricing/stock systems! Misco had 2Gb of Crucial Balistix PC8500 for around £90, but it's not listed anymore! But knowing that it is possible gives me confidence that I can find some again

    Thanks for the samsung recommendation for SATA DVD-Rs

    Do you think that regular ol' rubber washers would suffice to reduce vibrations instead of fancy ruber component mounts? I'm obviously not looking for a silent system, but if spending a couple of quid on a bag of rubber washers would actualy work, I may as well give it a try!

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    I suggest going to cdfreaks http://club.cdfreaks.com/. cdrlabs is good, but cdfreaks review just about drive going. And the forums are very friendly. The best strategy these days is to get two different drives depending on what features you'll use. I suggest SATA is a must. If you are like me and do a little bit of everything I'd recommend the Samsung SH-203 and the ASUS-1814. The ASUS has Lightscribe and is very quiet in reading, making it ideal for playing back music or video. The Samsung is a very fast and capable writer.

    The one issue with the 900 case is dust. You need some sort of filter. There's a thread around somewhere here about modding the case which had a neat solution IIRC.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Thanks for the CD Freaks link! SATA I already knew was excellent, but the idea of picking two drives for different activities is a new one for me, I wouldn't have thought of it but it seems to make sense!

    I recall reading such a thread, yes. The neat solution I can remember from it off the top of my head however is the use of used bounce sheets, which is impractical for someone without a tumble drier How often would you expect to have to clean the fan filters do you think?
    Last edited by Rosaline; 19-08-2007 at 01:19 PM.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosaline View Post
    Misco had 2Gb of Crucial Balistix PC8500 for around £90, but it's not listed anymore! But knowing that it is possible gives me confidence that I can find some again
    Sure it is: http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/...&sourceid=2021

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    I think the problem is that the fans don't have filters. Certainly not the big one. And it wan't the bounce sheets I was thinking of. Someone bought some mesh - it's in the case and modding forum: http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=101351. Mesh Tulle is what he used.

    Oh and I have to clean my filters every few weeks.
    Last edited by Thorsson; 19-08-2007 at 01:48 PM.

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Quote Originally Posted by godsdog View Post
    Thanks! Strange, I didn't see it when I checked in their DDR2 listings
    (I'm at work, the links to components are all at home)

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Oh and here is where he described the Mesh Tulle installation:

    http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=102144

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    Re: Yet another system advice request - HDDs, RAM, optical drives

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorsson View Post
    I think the problem is that the fans don't have filters. Certainly not the big one. And it wan't the bounce sheets I was thinking of. Someone bought some mesh - it's in the case and modding forum: http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=101351. Mesh Tulle is what he used.

    Oh and I have to clean my filters every few weeks.
    That's a great thread that I didn't even find when I last looked, thanks!

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