$2500 build based on P5AD2?




I'm in the process of putting together a system (w/o monitor) with a
max limit of $2500 (including shipping). The fuzzy areas are a) case,
b) power supply that fits in said case, c) cooling system (stock?,
Zalman?, water cooled?), and d) to raid or not to raid... I won't be
OCing this machine, and it will run 24x7.

For various reasons that I can't go into, all components need to come
from one or two places at most -- so I can't shop around too much.
Seems like Newegg and ZipZoomFly (ZZF below) have good
prices/service/reputation. I've ordered from Newegg recently, no

Here's what i'm looking at so far:

ASUS P5AD2 Premium, 800 FSB, ATA 100, 4xDDR2, 1xPCIe16, 2xPCIe1,
3xPCI, USB, Dual LAN
Price: $257 (ZZF, in stock), $261 (newegg, out of stock)

Intel Pentium® 4 550 Processor Prescott 3.4GHz, 800MHz FSB, Socket
775, 1MB Cache
Price: $277 (ZZF, in stock), $289 (newegg, in stock)

Cooling: Suggestions?
ZALMAN CNPS7000A-Cu Pure Copper CPU Cooler for AMD XP Socket 462/
754 and Intel Socket 478, with additional clip for 775.
Price: $41 (newegg, in stock)
Thermaltake Jungle512 CPU Cooler for Intel LGA775 Prescott FMB2,
Model "CL-P0037" -RETAIL
Price: $40 (newegg, out of stock)

CORSAIR XMS2 Series Dual Channel Kit 240-Pin 2GB(512MB x 4) DDR2
PC2-5400 with Heat Spreader- Retail
Price: $778 (ZZF, in stock), $728 (newegg, in stock)

Video Card: Not picky about this, it's not going to be much of a
gaming machine, but I want to be able to push 1600x1200 at 85 refresh
ASUS ATI RADEON X600 XT Video Card, 128MB DDR, 128-Bit, DVI/TV-Out,
PCI-Express, Model "AX600XT/TD/128" -RETAIL
Price: $225 (ZZF), $220 (newegg, in stock)
ASUS nVIDIA GeForce PCX5900 Video Card, 128MB DDR, 256-Bit,
TV-Out/DVI, PCI-Express, Model "EN5900/TVD/128" -RETAIL
Price: $229 (ZZF), $232 (newegg, in stock)

Hard Disks: Goal: Raid 5
3x Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000RPM SATA Hard Drive, Model
Price: $173 each (ZZF, no cables), $175.99 x 3 = $527.97 (newegg,
cables unknown)

Case: This is where I need suggestions, I'm a "simple is elegant" kind
of person -- don't need any acrylic windows or neon lights. I like
Aluminum cases mostly, and with this setup I think it should have at
least 3 fans, not including PSU fans. Quietness is NOT a big issue.
Just want something that looks elegant, keeps things nice and cool,
and has a reasonably intelligent design. So far I'm considering
(suggestions encouraged!)
Lian-Li Silver ATX Mid Tower Case, Model "PC-V1000" -RETAIL
Price: $192 (newegg, in stock)
Cooler Master Wave Master Black MID-TOWER CASE, Model "TAC-T01-EK"
Price: $142 (ZZF, in stock), $148 (newegg, in stock)

Power Supply: Since the mobo power connection is 24 pin, the PSU
should also be 24 pin (I'd like to stay away from adapters.)
Antec 550W Power Supply, 24-Pin, Model "TRUE550 EPS12V" -RETAIL
Price: $110 (ZZF, in stock), $112.50 (newegg, out of stock)

Base Price: $110+$142+$528+$229+$778+$40+$10+$277+$257 = $2371

(I realize this will top $2500 with the inclusion of a DVD burner,
Keyboard, Mouse, Tax, and Shipping+Handling.) I have a monitor
already. So this represents a upper end of components.

I'm looking for component suggestions, anticipation of problems, and
your experiences (good and bad, especially with similar builds).

(e-mail address removed)
p.s. alternate configurations are appreciated, especially those that
are known to work "well" in Linux under high CPU/memory utilization.




Well I'll be, sounds like something I just built. Only I changed my Mobo to
a Supermicro P8SAA. I tell you why in a sec.

I started with the Chassis (or case), because it…well…defines what the
system “looks” like and has a lot to do with its capabilities. First I too
wanted to go to all SATA HDD's because of all the advantages and today they
are really no more expensive. I love the small red SATA data cables…more on
that. So…I started looking around and finally came to Supermicro's web site
and started looking at their chasses. They now have a stable of unique
mid-towers designed around multiple SATA (& SCSI) drives. I purchased their
SC742T-550 model from NewEgg.com. This chassis has a built-in "hot-swap"
backplane-enclosure for Seven(7) SATA drives. (You add two power connectors
to the backplane and it feeds power to all 7 drives, as needed) Yea, it's
really designed for use as a server. Who cares, it's just a case…right?
Wrong! If you intend like me to run the system 24/7, a server chassis is a
good choice. Plus this built-in 7-SATA backplane allows one to
add/modify/replace your HDD's from the front without ever opening up the
chassis! (yes, to do this you will have to connect all 7 SATA data cables
from the controllers to the backplane before closing up the case, but they
are soooo small and don't block air flow!) The bad news is that the chassis
is not cheap, at about $330. But…there is always a “but”…it does come with
a killer 550W power supply, plus the thing will stop bullets. The single
biggest draw back is that the fans are a bit noisy, but I could case less
about that. I like the sound of the fan(s), it's comforting!

I put a single 10,000rpm 37GB Raptor HDD in slot “0” for my System and
I added a second 250GB SATA HDD in slot “1” for use in HDTV “TiVo” like
Lastly I added three 120GB SATA HDD's in slots “4, 5, & 6” under a Promise
FastTrak S150 SX4 RAID 5 controller PCI card. You need to add at least a
125MB DIMM to the card before you use it.

Now I was all set to use the Asus P5AD2 Premium Mobo, when I started looking
at the SATA controllers. I wanted RAID 5 because of the built-in redundancy
plus stripped speed...and storage efficiency. I didn't like the P5AD2's use
of “software” implementation (it uses the CPU for RAID 5 parity
calculations) of RAID 5. Plus the board also had more than I needed in LAN
and a few other things. Then I saw Supermicro's new P8SAA Mobo, and I
figured it was a perfect match. It doesn't have a second SATA controller,
but that's just what I wanted because I planned to use the Promise
Controller card and do RAID 5 all in Hardware! It's also a 925X Chipset
board with all of Intel's bells and whistles.

OK, I did have to add a $30 Firewire PCI card, because the P8SAA doesn't
have IEEE1394 built-in. The Mobo and chassis plus Promise card were a
perfect match for each other. The thing is just made to run 24/7 because
Supermicro's Mobo's are designed for just that kind of service. Oh, I got
the Mobo from Acme Micro Systems at this URL:
<http://www.acmemicro.com/estore/listprod.ihtml> . They charged me $242 for
the Mobo including shipping. DO NOT get caught by commercial vendors that
cater to corporations, because some are asking up to $500 or more for this
Mobo. Shop around! I got almost everthing from NewEgg.com. I also have a
MemCard reader in one 5.25" bay.

I also used the Asus X600 Video card, but I added ATI's “HDTV Wonder” TV
tuner card to the mix, as I own a HDTV and have always wanted to be able to
record HD Over-the-Air broadcast programs…and now I can. Works great and
there are NO restrictions. Total system cost is also about $2500. Oh, I
went with 1GB of RAM.

Email me at (e-mail address removed) <mailto:[email protected]> if you would
like to chat a bit on building your system. I'm typing this on mine.





Built almost the same system and used an Antec LanBoy 350 Case. I took out the
stock 350w PS and replaced it with the same 550w you are looking at. I used the
stock Intel fan because I can't find anyone who has the LGA 775 bracket to
attach my Zalman CNPS7000-Cu.

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