Opinions on new machine - ram in particular


J

Jeff

....about to order the parts for a new machine. I'm looking for opinions or
for things I may have overlooked. I want to keep the price to about $1600
(the below comes to $1636 from Newegg), but if there is something worth
buying I can go slightly higher. The primary purpose is for business type
software that will work with large data files (e.g., over 1 million
records). ...no games. I want something relatively quiet, but a bit of noise
won't be bad. I'm planning on using the 2 Sata drives in a raid 0 for speed
(will keep daily backups plus a periodic clone of the OS partition in the
event of a drive going bad). I have another machine with a WD 10K raptor,
but I'm looking for something a bit less noisy and less expensive. I figured
that 2 of the seagates in raid 0 would actually outperform a single raptor
and would cost less, hold more, and run quieter. The tyan board is a few
bucks more than some of the other brands, but handles ECC ram and has a
reputation for quality and stability. It will only handle 1 PCIe-16 video
card, but that is all I want (to run 2 digital monitors). The Gigabyte video
card is fanless, will handle dual digital, and looks like it is all I need.
What I'm most undertain about is the RAM. From everything I've read, I may
want to go with the ECC ram even though it is a bit more expensive and a bit
slower than non-ECC. The Kingston ram that is below is ECC but not
unbuffered/registered (which I think are the same thing). ...as near as I
can tell, the registered ram is most important for servers that have
multiple sticks, but less important if you are going to run only 2-4 sticks
of ram like I will in this machine. The DDR2-800 is the fastest the MB will
handle, but this particular ram is not listed in Tyan's compatibility charts
(which is one of my concerns). Similar ram is listed, however.

So, any comments? ...particularly about the ram - should I be concerned
that the manufacturer has not tested this specific model number with this
exact motherboard?

Thanks
Jeff


LIAN LI PC-S80 Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: PC-S80
$269.99

TYAN S2925A2NRF Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce Professional 3400 ATX Server
Motherboard - Retail
$209.99

GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 Silent
Pipe II, Lead Free Video Card - Retail
$149.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power $169.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz Socket AM2 Processor - dual core
$289.00

Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) ECC Unbuffered
Dual Channel Kit Server Memory Model KVR800D2E5K2/2G - OEM
$275.49

2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3400620AS 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard
Drive $119.99 each

SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe
$32.49
 
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P

Paul

Jeff said:
...about to order the parts for a new machine. I'm looking for opinions
or for things I may have overlooked. I want to keep the price to about
$1600 (the below comes to $1636 from Newegg), but if there is something
worth buying I can go slightly higher. The primary purpose is for
business type software that will work with large data files (e.g., over
1 million records). ...no games. I want something relatively quiet, but
a bit of noise won't be bad. I'm planning on using the 2 Sata drives in
a raid 0 for speed (will keep daily backups plus a periodic clone of the
OS partition in the event of a drive going bad). I have another machine
with a WD 10K raptor, but I'm looking for something a bit less noisy and
less expensive. I figured that 2 of the seagates in raid 0 would
actually outperform a single raptor and would cost less, hold more, and
run quieter. The tyan board is a few bucks more than some of the other
brands, but handles ECC ram and has a reputation for quality and
stability. It will only handle 1 PCIe-16 video card, but that is all I
want (to run 2 digital monitors). The Gigabyte video card is fanless,
will handle dual digital, and looks like it is all I need. What I'm most
undertain about is the RAM. From everything I've read, I may want to go
with the ECC ram even though it is a bit more expensive and a bit slower
than non-ECC. The Kingston ram that is below is ECC but not
unbuffered/registered (which I think are the same thing). ...as near as
I can tell, the registered ram is most important for servers that have
multiple sticks, but less important if you are going to run only 2-4
sticks of ram like I will in this machine. The DDR2-800 is the fastest
the MB will handle, but this particular ram is not listed in Tyan's
compatibility charts (which is one of my concerns). Similar ram is
listed, however.

So, any comments? ...particularly about the ram - should I be concerned
that the manufacturer has not tested this specific model number with
this exact motherboard?

Thanks
Jeff


LIAN LI PC-S80 Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail
Model #: PC-S80
$269.99

TYAN S2925A2NRF Socket AM2 NVIDIA nForce Professional 3400 ATX Server
Motherboard - Retail
$209.99

GIGABYTE GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16
Silent Pipe II, Lead Free Video Card - Retail
$149.99

CORSAIR CMPSU-620HX ATX12V v2.2 and EPS12V 2.91 620W Power $169.99

AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz Socket AM2 Processor - dual core
$289.00

Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) ECC
Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit Server Memory Model KVR800D2E5K2/2G - OEM
$275.49

2 x Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 ST3400620AS 400GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s
Hard Drive $119.99 each

SAMSUNG 18X DVD±R DVD Burner With 12X DVD-RAM Write, LightScribe
$32.49
There are three common types of memory:

Unbuffered without ECC <---- most common desktop RAM
Unbuffered with ECC <---- good business RAM (better chance of detecting errors)
Registered with ECC <---- register is used to buffer address bus, good for
servers, good business RAM. Register adds one
cycle to initial latency. Register also allows
a larger number of DIMMs to be used.

The purpose of ECC is to:

1) Correct single bit errors. As memory density climbs, the odds of a bit
flipping increases. Cosmic rays would be one source of bit flips.
2) May detect certain multiple bit errors. So you'd at least know something
went wrong. Unbuffered without ECC cannot do that.
3) Take certainty over speed. Unless you enjoy double checking your work a lot.
The machine I'm typing on, is unbuffered without ECC. The machine is for
gaming and not serious work. If a game errors out, I can always restart the
game or reboot the computer. You may not want to do that, especially if you
haven't done a save lately of whatever you're working on.

If you want a bling computer case, go for an Antec P180B. Only $130.
The power supply goes in the lower bay, so the cables have to be long
enough to reach up to the motherboard. The only thing I don't like about
the case, is the front door. Personally, I'd rather just dump doors like
this, as they're a nuisance. There are some reviews of this case, if you
need to see more pictures.

http://images10.newegg.com/NeweggImage/productimage/11-129-017-09.jpg

Your motherboard has two PCI Express slots, so in the future, if you
wanted to get another video card, you could use the second slot.
And considering the Tyan board is priced at $210, that is really
reasonable. The only slight downside of the Tyan, might be the
amount of support you can get from other users. At the very least,
register at forums.2cpu.com and use their search engine, to see if
there is any feedback about the Tyan board. I'm not a member there,
so I cannot use the search engine right now and check.

It isn't essential that every stick of memory be on a manufacturer's
tested list. If you do find someone has discovered a bad trend, then
by all means, avoid certain types or brands of memory. But if construction
details are scarce, it is pretty hard to vet any memory in advance and
be sure of what you're getting. Manufacturers reserve the right to change
the brand of RAM placed on a module, on a daily basis if necessary. So
even if you read a review that says a certain module works, the module
may not be made the same way when you buy it. So as long as the
retailer and manufacturer have decent policies regarding product that
doesn't work, just get it and test it.

The power supply you are getting, has plenty of juice for this project.
Maybe a 450W supply would be enough. So there'll be lots of room for
expansion later. And the review here, suggests it is actually made
by Seasonic, so should be a nice efficient unit. And being an actual
single rail supply, there should be no problems when hooking it
up.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/other/display/atx-psu5_14.html

Paul
 
J

Jeff

Paul said:
There are three common types of memory:

Unbuffered without ECC <---- most common desktop RAM
Unbuffered with ECC <---- good business RAM (better chance of
detecting errors)
Registered with ECC <---- register is used to buffer address bus, good
for
servers, good business RAM. Register adds
one
cycle to initial latency. Register also
allows
a larger number of DIMMs to be used.

Thanks, that pretty much confirms what I've been reading, but this is
confusing so I'm glad that your understanding was the same as mine. I think
that I saw that you can have registered without ECC, but that isn't common.

After reading further, the Tyan board I'm looking at supports ECC but not
buffered/registered. This would seem to fit in with the intention of the
board to be used for business/workstation use but not an actual server at
one extreme or a game machine on the other extreme.
If you want a bling computer case, go for an Antec P180B. Only $130.
....looks like nice case - I already have two other Lian-Li's and will
probably stick with that brand. Both of them have the PSU on the bottom
also.
Your motherboard has two PCI Express slots, so in the future, if you
wanted to get another video card, you could use the second slot.
I'm still fuzzy on this, but although the board has two PCIe-16 slots, one
is labelled as being only 8 speed if you read the fine print.
I believe that this means that although a card designed to fit into a
PCIe-16 slot will fit, it won't run as fast. I haven't seen this spec on any
MB other than Tyan. The only reason that I could forsee wanting another
video card for would be to run a third monitor (since I don't do games).
That 3rd monitor would be nice on occasion, but not critical. I'm not
completely clear on the realistic results of plugging in a decent quality
PCIe-16 card into a slot rated at 8x for the type of non-graphics intensive
stuff that I do should I want to add a second card and third monitor in the
future.
The only slight downside of the Tyan, might be the
amount of support you can get from other users. At the very least,
register at forums.2cpu.com and use their search engine, to see if
there is any feedback about the Tyan board.
I'll have to check there. That place was a help when I built my server based
on a tyan dual processor board.

It isn't essential that every stick of memory be on a manufacturer's
tested list.
Good to confirm this. I thought as much, but wasn't 100%.

The power supply you are getting, has plenty of juice for this project.
Maybe a 450W supply would be enough. So there'll be lots of room for
expansion later.
I already have the Corsair 620watt on my home system and have had absolutely
no problems with it. The modular cables are handy, and the specs suggest
that it is efficent and doesn't throw off much heat. I can't hear it above
the drives. I tend to keep adding drives over time, so I want some power to
spare. Before replacing my home machine, I was up to 4 internal drives and 4
(scsi) external drives. The new machine is down to 2 because they are much
larger. In time, I'll fill them up and will need a small bit of extra power
when I add more drives. I didn't mention that I run a dual channel scsi card
on both the proposed machine and my current home machine, and often have 2
portable USB drives attached. The home machine has a TV tuner card also.
Corsair also makes a 525watt model that I was considering for about $50
less. I was considering that one because I think that it is enough for my
usage, but I wouldn't do so just to save $50. If it threw off less heat I
might consider it, but I don't know enought to understand whether a 525 watt
supply will throw less heat than a higher wattage one if the same hardware
is attached to both and all else is equal (efficiency). I suspect that both
will produce the same heat under those conditions, so the only thing that a
small PSU would do is to save about $50. I'm picturing that this small
amount is good insurance in the event of an unexpected future upgrade.

Jeff
 
J

John Weiss

Jeff said:
I'm planning on using the 2 Sata drives in a raid 0 for speed (will
keep daily backups plus a periodic clone of the OS partition in the event
of a drive going bad). I have another machine with a WD 10K raptor, but
I'm looking for something a bit less noisy and less expensive. I figured
that 2 of the seagates in raid 0 would actually outperform a single raptor
and would cost less, hold more, and run quieter.
After the initial builds of the Raptor 36, the later 36s (from reports) and
all the larger (74, 150) versions (from experience and reports) have been
quiet.

If you're looking for performance and capacity, I'd go for the new Seagate
barracuda ES perpendicular-oriented media HDs (ST3500830NS 500 GB and
ST3750840NS 750 GB). The 500 GB model is $250 at Newegg. it's your choice
whether to go for price (7200.10) or performance & reliability (ES).

So, any comments? ...particularly about the ram - should I be concerned
that the manufacturer has not tested this specific model number with this
exact motherboard?
Use of ECC and/or buffered RAM is dictated by the MoBo mfgr. Use the type
called for by the mfgr, or expect problems. Call Crucial or check their web
site (or the Tyan web site) for complete compatibility details.
 
J

Jeff

John Weiss said:
If you're looking for performance and capacity, I'd go for the new Seagate
barracuda ES perpendicular-oriented media HDs (ST3500830NS 500 GB and
ST3750840NS 750 GB). The 500 GB model is $250 at Newegg. it's your
choice whether to go for price (7200.10) or performance & reliability
(ES).
Um, I just asked about the Seagate ES (Enterprise Storage) versus non-ES on
this group the other day. Someone pointed me to a review site that explained
the difference. According to that site (sorry, can't remember which one) the
ES performed either the same as the lower priced non-ES drive or actually
slighty slower. The difference, apparently, was that the ES had some
vibration dampening mechanisms that were designed primarily for situations
where a large number of drives were squeezed into a small space as in a
server. This to compensate for the vibration of many other drives in the
vicinity. ...also something about something dealing with excessive
temperature that also seemed related mostly to servers.
 
J

John Weiss

Jeff said:
Um, I just asked about the Seagate ES (Enterprise Storage) versus non-ES
on this group the other day. Someone pointed me to a review site that
explained the difference. According to that site (sorry, can't remember
which one) the ES performed either the same as the lower priced non-ES
drive or actually slighty slower. The difference, apparently, was that the
ES had some vibration dampening mechanisms that were designed primarily
for situations where a large number of drives were squeezed into a small
space as in a server. This to compensate for the vibration of many other
drives in the vicinity. ...also something about something dealing with
excessive temperature that also seemed related mostly to servers.
Maximum PC (http://www.maximumpc.com/2006/07/seagate_barracu_1.html) appears
to differ in opinion with the other review. Note that there are 2 different
versions each of the 500 and 750 GB Barracuda 7200.10 AS series, in addition
to the ES series. Only the ES has the perpendicular recording technology.
 
J

Jeff

John Weiss said:
"Jeff" <none@none.com> wrote...
Maximum PC (http://www.maximumpc.com/2006/07/seagate_barracu_1.html)
appears to differ in opinion with the other review. Note that there are 2
different versions each of the 500 and 750 GB Barracuda 7200.10 AS series,
in addition to the ES series. Only the ES has the perpendicular recording
technology.
You may wish to check again. The Seagate site is down at the moment, but
Newegg and other places report that the
7200.10AS series do use the perpendicular technology. I'm not positive, but
the maximum pc site, which is 6 months old, seems to be comparing an older
500 gig seagate WD500KS to the newer 500 gig ES series. The site to which I
was referring earlier is below that directly compared the ES to the non ES
series.

http://techreport.com/reviews/2006q3/seagate-barracuda-es/index.x?pg=1
 
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J

John Weiss

Jeff said:
You may wish to check again. The Seagate site is down at the moment, but
Newegg and other places report that the
7200.10AS series do use the perpendicular technology.
My mistake; you're right. I missed the statement among all the other stuff.

I'm not positive, but the maximum pc site, which is 6 months old,
seems to be comparing an older 500 gig seagate WD500KS to the newer 500
gig ES series. The site to which I was referring earlier is below that
directly compared the ES to the non ES series.

http://techreport.com/reviews/2006q3/seagate-barracuda-es/index.x?pg=1
From the slate of single-drive tests, it appears there is little performance
difference between the AS and the ES. However, at the beginning of the
article they talk about firmware enhancements in the ES that better optimize
it for RAID arrays. If the OP plans on using a RAID0 array and is really
doing database intensive tasks that will cause the HDs to run hotter than
average, the ES may be worth the $$. Otherwise, since the 7200.10 AS is
using perpendicular recording, they may be the better choice from a cost
standpoint.
 

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