Downsizing...

For small-form factor PCs and the (extremely small) people who love them.

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Downsizing...

Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 12:51 pm

...to a SFF system for the wife/family PC.

My wife's Duron 750 / ABIT KT7 based system has served us well, but it's really showing its age. So it's time to update, and downsize. Hoping to persuade her to move her PC to the kitchen or anywhere other than my office, I'm planning a small and fairly quiet system to facilitate that relocation.

As spare cash is a concept I've completely forgotten since leaving the banking industry about 4 years ago, my hardware choices will be partially dictated by what's available from the Damage Labs' "we-shouldn't-need-this-anymore-but-don't-run-off-with-it" bin.

It looks like I'm starting with a Shuttle SN25P, largely because I'd like to have multiple HDDs and we have a couple extra socket 939 CPUs around here.

I haven't yet decided on the graphics card and whether to pull the 60GB drives from her old system or invest in new ones. Yes, yes, I know what I shoulddo.

Anyway, thoughts or input would be appreciated, since everyone in here has done this more than I have, as evidenced by the age of the system I'm replacing.

And, oh yes... the system will be used for general office apps, surfing, media downloading/storage/playback, and regular lengthy sessions of Lego Star Wars and a few other low-demand games.
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:06 pm

As a responsible head-of-the-house I would say:

Re-use what you can since the saved money can go towards "Bonus points" for stuff you forgot to buy the wife before. "My mind was consumed with getting a fully functional and aesthetically pleasing computer that you and the kids would would enjoy" - I love that line. :P

Wireless everything is a complete bonus.

Is the spot with the power plugs a comfortable spot for everyone?

I don't think you need more than 1GB of memory since everything is not very demanding.

TV-tuner card going in there? Bumping the memory up to 2GB and just using the on-board video would be a viable option since - again - nothing is very resource intensive - freeing up space to fit whatever PCI cards you need in there (like a TV-tuner card). On-board sound should be adequate as well.

My $0.02
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:20 pm

lex-ington wrote:As a responsible head-of-the-house I would say:
Re-use what you can since the saved money can go towards "Bonus points" for stuff you forgot to buy the wife before.

Acutually, this is something she really wants. She's frustrated that she can't play Lego Star Wars on her system, and she will be running out of storage space soon. Furthermore, the ancient MaxiMuse sound card in her system doesn't allow 2-way voice chats, which she'd like to try. So, believe it or not, this will score me some major bonus points... besides she thinks that little Shuttle box is a lot sexier than the beige Antec case. :wink:

Wireless everything is a complete bonus.

Agreed. I'll be connecting via the WRT54G already in the house.

Is the spot with the power plugs a comfortable spot for everyone?

Don't know where it's going yet... haven't even convinced her to move it out of the office... I'm hoping once she sees how cute, portable and quite the thing is that she'll agree that it could live anywhere in the house but my office.

I don't think you need more than 1GB of memory since everything is not very demanding.

Agreed.

TV-tuner card going in there?

Not anytime soon.

Bumping the memory up to 2GB and just using the on-board video would be a viable option since - again - nothing is very resource intensive - freeing up space to fit whatever PCI cards you need in there (like a TV-tuner card). On-board sound should be adequate as well.

Maybe, but I don't think the SN25P has integrated graphics.
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:30 pm

I realize that this thread could be more appropriate in the System Builder's Anonymous Forum. However, since I've decided to definitely start with a Shuttle box, and my components will partially be determined by what's available in the above-mentioned parts bin, I'm looking for others' experience with the uniquenesses of the SFF.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations-these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. -C.S. Lewis
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 2:39 pm

SN25P is nForce4 Ultra, so you'll definitely need a video card. I'd like to have an SFF again one day; they're sexy and I don't need a full-size machine.
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:04 pm

Can't go wrong with getting a 7600GT and tossing in there. I'm sure Damage has plenty in the lab :P
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:06 pm

You sir . . .are correct . . . .the SNP25 does not have any on-board video. So scratch the whole 2GB memory thing.

You guys have a passively cooled vid-card lying around anywhere? (no sound)

Make sure the mouse is not the optical crap but the Laser good stuff. How about one of the Logitch DiNuvo's (bluetooth)!!!???

The USB wireless adaptors supposedly works pretty good. My sister bought a Linksys one and the reception is pretty good - especially since the computer is about 40' away and the signal has to go through 8" concrete blocks that's concrete filled. (leaves that PCI slot open).

The last SFF system I had was in an Antec Minuet 300 case. I couldn't find anything that was low-profile, so I had to Dremmel all my cards.

Bought a Gigabyte 9250 vid-card (passively cooled), a Trendnet 423PCI wireless card and a Leadtek WinTV2000 card for capturing video from the VCR (never actually tried it though and I NEED to). All that was on a Foxconn uATX board with 512MB of DDR400 memory and an XP2400 Proc. Still have the Logitech EX110 KB/Mouse combo and all the add in cards - sold the system though.

I'll be jumping into this soon though.
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Postposted on Tue Feb 27, 2007 11:59 pm

Yeah, I'm hoping for passive cooling on the video card; not sure if we have one available, though. And I'm wondering about total airflow through the box... it should be sufficient... maybe even more currents flowing in there than in a traditional case given that there's probably no room for dead space in there.

Although I'd like to go wireless on the mouse and keyboard, I'm not sure I can justify that expense. Maybe if I don't have to shell out much for the other components I can do it, but I already know I'll be buying a couple HDDs... and I'm thinking that an LCD monitor, which I don't have, will help in my mission to locate it somewhere other than the office.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 01, 2007 4:29 am

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Last edited by nightmorph on Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:12 am

The eVga 7600GS card is only 1 slot wide. So is the XFX version of that card - like this one, which is the one I currently have.

Inkling, if the comp won't be more than 5-6 feet from the KB & Mouse, then the Logitech EX110 will be a good buy AND cheap. It's slim and barely takes up any table space - you'll just need a mouse pad.

How about this for a monitor? High Gloss will make the pictures "pop" out.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 13, 2007 9:45 pm

OK, here's what it's looking like I'll be putting in the SN25P:

Athlon 64 4000+
1 GB of Crucial Ballistix RAM
Sapphire Radeon X800 256MB
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 320 GB
LITE-ON DVD R/W
Logitech EX110 cordless keyboard & mouse... great suggestion lex-ington -- thanks
AOC 17" LCD... yeah I know it's a cheapie, but it was $120, delivered, with a coupon from Office Max.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:02 pm

I missed this the first time round.

Is there a good reason to go for the X800? ex review sample? The extra fan noise will be annoying. A 7600GS should handle what you want.

I've always been more of a fan of the G series cases (5 is slick). They take a DVD and 2 harddrives. The P series is ok, but the noise level can be higher than the G's and your moving into mATX size.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:27 pm

Instead of Inkling paying a good chunk of money for a new card, he will be using he doesn't have to pay for and maybe just change the cooler on the card. Much cheaper solution.

After all . . this comp is for his wife, so she'll complain about he noise when ready which is a perfect excuse for modding.

Damn . . .for Lego Star Wars, I'd say you have a killer there. I don't think the name brand of the monitor makes a difference as long as the wife likes it, and likes the location of where you're going to put it.
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Postposted on Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:20 pm

Yeah, the SN25P, 4000+ and X800 choices were based on best available. I may consider a quieter/cooler graphics card down the road; we'll see.

System's up and running fairly well. It hangs for 2-3 seconds a couple times shortly after booting and loading an app... I suppose I'll check drivers first. I'm running XP Pro and so far only have MS Office Pro & FF 2.0 on it. I put an SiS USB wireless adapter to connect to the net... that may be my culprit, as it seems to be a little flaky.

The AOC LCD was DOA. :( Oh well, their RMA policy promises a new one within 72 hours... we'll see.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations-these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. -C.S. Lewis
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Postposted on Wed Mar 14, 2007 6:41 pm

DOA must be unacceptable for a new, never-opened product.

Sis network adaptor? Do they come recommended.

My sister has this one and hasn't had a fault yet. Quite a few months now with no hiccups.

The X800 must be able to play Star Wars fine? I would think you could just change the cooler and be done with it.
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Postposted on Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:11 pm

In my book, one DOA item is no biggie... there are too many variables with shipping electronics to expect 100%, or even 98%, reliability at plug-in. (It shipped via UPS, so, hey, who should I blame?) But how the RMA goes will tell me loads about the company.

The SiS adapter was trade show swag, IIRC, so my expectations were low. You can't even buy the thing now. Hey, it's smaller than a thumb drive! If it proves to be troublesome, I'll replace it in a heartbeat.

Haven't loaded Star Wars on the Shuttle... so no report on that yet.
Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations-these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. -C.S. Lewis
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