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Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:29 am
by Logan[TeamX]
I haven't posted here in FOREVER, since the Shintai wars or somesuch.

I've been going through the motions to finally replace my pretty much 5 year-old Opteron 170-based system.

Current specs are: DFI LanParty UT SLI-DR S939 motherboard, Opteron 170 dual-core @ stock clocks, 2GB OCZ Platinum Rev. 2 DDR-400 (2 x 1GB), Venus 12 HSF, Raidmax Smilodon ATX case (I love it for some reason), ATI X800XL 256MB video card, Nikao 520W PSU (has already been replaced by a new Antec TruePower 750W SLI-cert., but for continuity's sake), 1 x 320GB Seagate Barracuda SATA2, 2 x 80GB Maxtor Diamondmax 9 SATA1 in RAID-1 (will be discontinued), ATI TV Wonder 550 PCI-E or somesuch (can't remember, but will carry over to new box), LG DVD+-RW DL SATA1, 500GB WD My Book USB/eSATA HDD.

Also, I've picked up a Powercolor Radeon HD 4890 1GB "Plus" card.

Given the cost of things and my lack of aspiration for top overclocking these days, I'm considering sticking with AMD, going AM3/DDR3-based and thinking of the following. If you suggest an alternative, I'd appreciate a Canadian site / NCIX.com link if possible.

Guesstimated build:

Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz - I still game a lot for an old guy and I'm still doing a lot of BOINC-based D.C. work, so I figure this is a good place to start. Plus, I hear they ramp nicely on air if required.

HSF for above - recommendations over stock, please :) I've been out of the "game" for too long.

Motherboard - I was set on this Gigabyte board but will consider other options that include a decent amount (6+) of SATA2 ports, chip-level RAID, CrossfireX support and not too many "toys". Although, I do love that my current board has Memtest86+ built into it.

RAM - I'm admittedly an OCZ guy. Superior RAM timings don't horribly interest me, but good-quality RAM does. If I OC, it'll likely be via a raised multipler and a slight RAM speed bump. I'm going 64-bit with the new build so 4GB and 8GB kits interest me. Suggestions please :)

PSU - the Antec is weeks old. Bought it on sale. Love it, especially the fact that it's modular.

Video card - will install the new HD 4890.

Hard Drives - will likely go with 2 x 300GB Raptors in a RAID-0. Will then migrate my current 320GB to a support RAID-1 environment after buying an additional 320GB... or I'll just get two more HDDs. The 500GB will hold a copy of my data during the transition, as well my FreeNAS box at home. Ultimately, the Opteron 170 will get a raft of new HDDs and either FreeNAS as an OS or something else Linux-based.

Case - something full ATX at least, if not E-ATX. I have clearance issues right now with my HD4890 and my SATA drives... as in the HD 4890 JUST clears the SATA drives. More depth is definitely required. Tool-less would be nice, as the Smilodon is tool-less and I love it. Something funky-fresh like drop-out motherboard trays or entire sides (ala the Smilodon) would be a wicked bonus.

Optical reader/writer - LG DVD+-RW DL burner will carry over, for now, till BR drops some more.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:34 am
by randomtask
You are going to be spending $$$ on HDD... why not go with an SSD. window install and all your programs should take up more than 64GB, if you put your documents on another hard drive.

a decent SSD will still be waaaay faster than even raptors in RAID and completely silent.
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.as ... 6820227394

and you could get a 1TB and a SSD for cheaper than 2 raptors.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:50 am
by Logan[TeamX]
I tend to have a lot of games loaded - new school and old school. CS: Source, GRAW2, Test Drive Unlimited, EVE: Online, NFS series, etc. I also do a fair amount of digital photography with a DSLR - D50 for now, going to a mid-range Nikon chassis shortly.

My two 80GBs are just over 50% used right now for a full "my docs" first-level backup. My current install image is 115GB incl. page file. I also do video conversions for family and friends, few others on the side.

The SSD performance fall-off as shown by Geoff and Scott kinda bothers me. It seems like SSDs are still going through a alot of growing pains currently and I don't want weekly / monthly firmware updates to be part of my rituals for my storage device.

At that point, I think a striped Raptor array would make more sense than a single SSD. With enough SATA ports, I'd have a 2 x 1TB "scratch" array for raw video writes and then write the finished product to the Raptor array. I'm definitely keeping a local mirrored array for file-level backups of all my critical data. I'm also considering a decent SATA RAID card if I can find one that's PCI-E x4 and if the board has one available. Throughput is king for me as far as storage media goes.

Also, didn't Geoff just crap all over the Vertex series with his latest review? If their concurrent read/writes are that bad, I'll pass.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:13 am
by randomtask
they've won awards from other sites and been shamed by others. They have decent performance... for the price they have excellent performance. The intel SSD are the best but cost 2x as much.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 9:29 am
by JustAnEngineer
Logan[TeamX] wrote:
Raidmax Smilodon ATX case, Antec TruePower 750W SLI-cert., ATI TV Wonder 550 PCI-E, LG DVD+-RW DL SATA1, 500GB WD My Book USB/eSATA HDD, Powercolor Radeon HD 4890 1GB "Plus"
These pieces can probably be re-used.

Logan[TeamX] wrote:
Processor - AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz
HSF for above - recommendations over stock, please :) I've been out of the "game" for too long.
I'm using the AMD HSF off of a socket-939 Opteron 175 on my Phenom II. My HDT-S1283 is too tall for my very compact micro-ATX case.

Logan[TeamX] wrote:
Motherboard - I was set on this Gigabyte GA-MA790FXT-UD5P board but will consider other options that include a decent amount (6+) of SATA2 ports, chip-level RAID and CrossfireX support.
The GA-MA770T-UD3P is an inexpensive socket-AM3 motherboard without Crossfire. For more features, the GA-MA790XT-UD4P, GA-MA790FXT-UD5P or M4A79T Deluxe could meet your criteria.

Logan[TeamX] wrote:
Hard Drives - will likely go with 2 x 300GB Raptors in a RAID-0. Will then migrate my current 320GB to a support RAID-1 environment after buying an additional 320GB... or I'll just get two more HDDs. The 500GB will hold a copy of my data during the transition.
The 640GB WD Caviar Black drives offer excellent bang for the buck, but if you've really got your heart set on a pair of Velociraptors or an SSD, it's your money. I wouldn't bother installing that 320 GB Seagate in your new system when new 640 GB or 1 TB drives are so affordable.

Logan[TeamX] wrote:
Optical reader/writer - LG DVD+-RW DL burner will carry over, for now, till BR drops some more.
Blu-ray may be cheaper than you expect.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 12:33 pm
by wibeasley
JAE, if I click on your NCIX link to buy one of the products and switch from the Canadian to US site, does NCIX loose track that I originally came from TR? I'm not going to buy something soon, but when I do, I'd like TR to get credit for routing me there.

Maybe I should have started by asking, "What's the best way for me to buy something from NCIXUS, while giving TR the credit it deserves for routing me to there?" Maybe it doesn't matter if they're no longer sponsoring podcasts.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:00 pm
by Coran Fixx
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=26048&vpn=RC-690-KKN1&manufacture=COOLERMASTER

I like the 690, have had it through two builds. Plenty of 140mm fan mount points, smart cable routing, powersupply vent on bottom of the case. NO removable motherboard tray though.

Re: Hey fellas, an old-time lurker needs a hand

Posted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 6:13 am
by Logan[TeamX]
JustAnEngineer - thanks for your suggestions! I guess I'll let go of the "past" and retire the 320GB to another box. I might just start with two 640GBs that you linked to, or step up to two 1TBs. A scratch volume will be coming, though. I'm liking that motherboard you've suggested, also! Looks like a return to a Gigabyte board is in my near future.

Corran Fixx - thanks to you as well! I like that particular Coolermaster case. Now I have a cheaper alternative to the Tt Armour case I was going to buy.

If anyone else has suggestions, I'll gladly take them. As it stands, I'm really impressed with what was offered so far.

The Velociraptors are if I manage to squeeze a bit extra from my budget, but likely only if I get a "huge" case. If I stick with 7200 RPM drives, the Coolermaster case will be fine. I'm going to retask my Raidmax case and Opteron guts as a NAS / crunch box, so re-using as little as possible is the name of the game.

Thanks again, guys. :)