Building a AMD64 mini PC


E

Ed Coolidge

I someone asked me to build a PC for Photoshop and office apps, but
didn't want to spend a lot. Here's what I have so far.

Black/ Silver Aspire X-QPACK Aluminum Micro ATX Desktop Computer Case
Gigabyte GA-K8N51GMF-9 Socket 939 NVIDIA GeForce 6100 Micro ATX
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz FSB Socket 939 Processor
Corsair ValueSelect 1GB (2 x 512MB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200)
Maxtor MaXLine Plus II 7Y250M0 250GB 7200 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive
NEC Black IDE DVD Burner Model ND-3550A - Retail

The last one I built for her I did with upgradeability in mind, but she
only replaced a failed CD burner before passing it down to her new
assistant so this time I just want something simple.
 
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E

Ed Coolidge

Sorry. I was just asking if there were any suggestions. If not, I'll
just order these parts.
 
D

Don

Add a second drive for a scratch disk, using the boot disk as a scratch will
slow down photoshop. I would also add an additional 1 GB of Ram.
 
C

Cuzman

Ed Coolidge wrote:

" someone asked me to build a PC for Photoshop and office apps, but
didn't want to spend a lot. Here's what I have so far. "


Maybe you could be more specific on the use of Photoshop. Some users
need an awful lot of RAM.

I take it you aren't thinking of buying two processors, so I'll assume
that's a typo.

What is the PSU like in that case? I wouldn't gamble on some 200W
generic piece of crap as it probably won't be enough. Does it have a
24pin connector? Perhaps you should consider buying a case without a
PSU, and then looking at something like a Fortron/Source FSP300-60GLS to
go in it. http://tinyurl.com/9y7m6

I see that you've listed a Gigabyte motherboard with a GeForce 6100
chipset. One thing I would suggest is to look at the newer GeForce 6150
motherboards:

Asus A8N-VM CSM
Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS
Gigabyte GA-K8N51PVMT-9

One review of the Gigabyte motherboard can be found at
http://tinyurl.com/dgpk3 . However, I would recommend considering the
Asus motherboard as, amongst other things, it has the addition of a
DVI-D port.

Seeing as you planned to buy an SATA-300 motherboard anyway, did you
consider buying an SATA-300 hard drive?

If the list that you gave is already stretching the budget, then perhaps
you should consider saving a little by dropping the Athlon 64 3200+ to a
3000+. You could also save a little bit by getting a slightly smaller
hard drive.
 
J

JAD

PhotoShop is not 'that' demanding. Besides PhotoShop has been around since,
well, forever and production was being done on the current technology of the
time. So if you really want to save money:

Get a cheaper case (cases are the least important of all)
a decent PSU
a gig of memory, or more, but for the sake of the buck..............
2 nice sata's, one just for data and scratch
and skip the 64 stuff, there is really no need. Upgrade potential is only
good to those who do so, otherwise its wasting money. Going with the latest
and greatest most times leads to allot of time overcoming new tech growing
pains.

Also I was trying to find an article about the AMD64's/P4's in relation to
micro cases and a problem with cooling. I don't recall which cases were
involved, however I would avoid micro if there are cooling problems. I don't
much care for the PSU's in standard micro cases either.

Just My 2 cents, and been using adobe software for some time now.
 
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E

Ed Coolidge

Cuzman said:
Ed Coolidge wrote:

" someone asked me to build a PC for Photoshop and office apps, but
didn't want to spend a lot. Here's what I have so far. "


Maybe you could be more specific on the use of Photoshop. Some users
need an awful lot of RAM.

I take it you aren't thinking of buying two processors, so I'll assume
that's a typo.
Yep.

What is the PSU like in that case? I wouldn't gamble on some 200W
generic piece of crap as it probably won't be enough. Does it have a
24pin connector? Perhaps you should consider buying a case without a
PSU, and then looking at something like a Fortron/Source FSP300-60GLS
to go in it. http://tinyurl.com/9y7m6

420w actually. Besides, I usually buy cases from directron.com because
they usually let you chuck the paperweight PSU that comes with the case
and upgrade to a real one.
I see that you've listed a Gigabyte motherboard with a GeForce 6100
chipset. One thing I would suggest is to look at the newer GeForce
6150 motherboards:

Asus A8N-VM CSM
Foxconn 6150K8MA-8EKRS
Gigabyte GA-K8N51PVMT-9

Why? The only thing it really has over the 6100 is a bigger video chip,
which she doesn't need anyway. However, unlike the 410, the 430
southbridge has a hardware firewall and firewire too. Not many 6100
chip boards is paired with the 430.
One review of the Gigabyte motherboard can be found at
http://tinyurl.com/dgpk3 . However, I would recommend considering the
Asus motherboard as, amongst other things, it has the addition of a
DVI-D port.

Seeing as you planned to buy an SATA-300 motherboard anyway, did you
consider buying an SATA-300 hard drive?

If the list that you gave is already stretching the budget, then
perhaps you should consider saving a little by dropping the Athlon 64
3200+ to a 3000+. You could also save a little bit by getting a
slightly smaller hard drive.

Again why? Her monitor doesn't have a DVI port and buying a smaller
hard drive is really out of the question. She's already close to maxing
out her 120GB drive she has now and has a stack of disk full of files
that she had to pull off the drive just to keep it running.

As for the SATA 300, I'll look again to see what the price difference
is. Anyway, it doesn't really add much as I haven't seen a drive that
has a burst rate that can max out a SATA-150 port. The only reason for
the 3200 is that it's that lowest Venice core CPU, which I've heard runs
a bit cooler has SSE3 for what it's worth. Besides, with a smaller PC,
a cooler CPU is a big deal.
 
E

Ed Coolidge

JAD said:
PhotoShop is not 'that' demanding. Besides PhotoShop has been around since,
well, forever and production was being done on the current technology of the
time. So if you really want to save money:

Get a cheaper case (cases are the least important of all)
a decent PSU
a gig of memory, or more, but for the sake of the buck..............
2 nice sata's, one just for data and scratch
and skip the 64 stuff, there is really no need. Upgrade potential is only
good to those who do so, otherwise its wasting money. Going with the latest
and greatest most times leads to allot of time overcoming new tech growing
pains.
Cheap cases have typically have poor ventilation.
As for the memory and hard drives, I'll see budge will allow for. How
big does a scratch disk really need to be anyway?
Also I was trying to find an article about the AMD64's/P4's in relation to
micro cases and a problem with cooling. I don't recall which cases were
involved, however I would avoid micro if there are cooling problems. I don't
much care for the PSU's in standard micro cases either.

Just My 2 cents, and been using adobe software for some time now.
Again, cheap cases have typically have poor ventilation, regardless of
the size. The reviews I've seen for the Aspire X-QPACK used AMD64 CPUs
and didn't have problems.
 
J

JAD

Ed Coolidge said:
Cheap cases have typically have poor ventilation.

That's really not true.. I use codegen cases with antec PSU's very often.
Codegen have some of the lowest cost cases around. But they do come with the
vent and mounts for case fans, and by adding one to the rear, they cool just
fine.
As for the memory and hard drives, I'll see budge will allow for. How big
does a scratch disk really need to be anyway?

not a matter of BIG (unless you use premier) but a matter of having it off
the OS(source) drive. IOW a separate HD as far as scratch is concerned.
However, if she will be keeping many projects on disk or starts to use
INdesign and has many PDF projects going, storage space may become a
problem. 120 gigs should be enough and tell her that backiing up data is the
best way to protect it.
 
E

Ed Coolidge

JAD said:
That's really not true.. I use codegen cases with antec PSU's very often.
Codegen have some of the lowest cost cases around. But they do come with the
vent and mounts for case fans, and by adding one to the rear, they cool just
fine.

I did in fact say "typically". There are obviously decent cases that can be
found a low cost. While many of the ones I've seen have a fan in front, most
have very little ventilation for air to pass through the front bezel.

not a matter of BIG (unless you use premier) but a matter of having it off
the OS(source) drive. IOW a separate HD as far as scratch is concerned.
However, if she will be keeping many projects on disk or starts to use
INdesign and has many PDF projects going, storage space may become a
problem. 120 gigs should be enough and tell her that backiing up data is the
best way to protect it.

She does backup her data, it's just that she has to keep moving projects off the
drive because there just isn't enough space. She doesn't use in design or PDF
either.

I really think that the issue with having the scratch on the same drive is that
if windows runs low on memory it'll start hitting the page file a lot while
photoshop is trying to access the scratch at the same time. Whether or not this
situation occurs depends the PC and the memory demands of the apps being used.
 
J

JAD

Ed Coolidge said:
I did in fact say "typically". There are obviously decent cases that can be
found a low cost. While many of the ones I've seen have a fan in front, most
have very little ventilation for air to pass through the front bezel.



She does backup her data, it's just that she has to keep moving projects off the
drive because there just isn't enough space. She doesn't use in design or PDF
either.

I really think that the issue with having the scratch on the same drive is that
if windows runs low on memory it'll start hitting the page file a lot while
photoshop is trying to access the scratch at the same time. Whether or not this
situation occurs depends the PC and the memory demands of the apps being
used.

it has has do do with the program itself on drive 'A' trying to execute the
instruction from the 'A' hard drive and then the rendering to same drive.
accessing and outputing to the same drive as it were, without sounding too
techno.
 
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E

Ed Coolidge

That's not how it works at all. First of all, windows typically loads the
entire program into memory before windows even starts to execute a single
instruction. Also, if windows had to resume execution of a program that has
part of its code in the page file on the hard disk, windows would have to copy
that part back to memory before it can continue to run the program. Besides,
PCs simply cannot execute program instructions directly from the hard disk as
doing so would be insanely slow!
 
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J

JAD

Ed Coolidge said:
That's not how it works at all. First of all, windows typically loads the
entire program into memory before windows even starts to execute a single
instruction. Also, if windows had to resume execution of a program that
has part of its code in the page file on the hard disk, windows would have
to copy that part back to memory before it can continue to run the
program. Besides, PCs simply cannot execute program instructions directly
from the hard disk as doing so would be insanely slow!

Sigh----- why do you asked questions about subjects you know everything
about?
Thats not even close to what I was referring to, If you REALLY want to know
how PHOTOSHOP works in relation to scratch disks, go to adobe. There they
will spell it out in 30 paragraphs or so, I on the other hand, am a man a
few words and when its goes off topic, even fewer.
 

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