View Full Version : Building a new desktop, would appreciate feedback on the hardware setup

7th May 2009, 02:36 AM
Hi all,

I'm planning on building a new pc (the first one since 2001) and was hoping to get a second opinion on the components, how well they will work together, and with linux. Honestly, I don't think I will have problems with fedora, but this forum has very smart people in it and I figured I should get their opinion about the hardware before I spend my money in this messed up economy =)

My goal is to build a pc that:
1) hits the sweet spot on the price/performance curve (upper-mid level power). With the last one I managed to pay a decent price for a pc that ran for 7 years (before the motherboard burnt out 6 months ago :D )

2) runs linux well. I doubt I have any problems, though it would be nice if it could drive my two monitors (which have different resolutions) properly (I've been unable to get them going in a decent config since fedora 9.

3) Is very quiet.

With that in mind, I'm thinking of getting a:

- Phenom II X3 2.6
- Asus 790GX (HD3300 integrated graphics)
- an Enermax EMD625AWT (625 watt) power supply.
- Antec p183 case (it's expensive, but should be very quiet).
- I haven't figured out about the ram, but something between 2 and 3 GB (it should be enough for linux, and nothing will ever be enough for windows...).

The plan is to use the components on the motherboard for now (the integrated graphics and sound "cards") and upgrade to a radeon 4xxx series whenever I feel I need better graphics (or want to play a game).

A few general hardware questions:
1) Do you see anything horribly wrong with this setup?
2) How much power will I need? This pc will, eventauly, have 3 HDDs, one or two optical drives and an HD4xxx graphics card in addition to the pieces mentioned above. I think 625watts is enough. Is it too much?
3) Any other thoughts? I welcome your comments/suggestions =)


7th May 2009, 02:48 AM
It's the ATI based GPU that you will have issues with as i am sure you have seen from the length of a few threads around here hopefully ATI get there act together soon.

Enjoy the Choice :)

8th May 2009, 12:28 AM
Yeah... I've seen that post. I have an ATI card in my laptop too. My strategy so far has been to completely ignore both fglrx and catalyst drivers and just stick with the defaults =|

I'm hoping things will be different with the new desktop (my laptop has some funky setup with switchable graphics, etc.). i.e. I'm hoping the proprietary driver will work. (I guess I can live without plymouth till the open-sourcerers make stable drivers).

I don't like the stuff that you have to do to get fglrx working in the newer fedoras (they switched X or something, right?).

8th May 2009, 12:35 AM
Everyone from Ubuntiu to Fedora are using a new version on Xorg so it's broken for most distros unless they hold off updating Xorg to below 1.5 IIRC

Enjoy the Choice :)

8th May 2009, 01:51 AM
3) Is very quiet.

I can say that the Antec P18X cases are really good and quiet, this is my main development machine:


Asus P5E, Intel Q6600, 8GB RAM, Nvidia XFX 8800GT video card, 500 GB SATA disk.

I used a Antec P182 case. The key to making it quiet was I used only 120mm fans and I dual used the rear case fan as the cpu cooling fan by using a large cooler (thermalright ultima-90) to which I ducted the rear case fan flow through via a duct made of aluminium duct tape and cellophane packing tape. This has the added advantage of keeping all vibration off the heat sink so the thermal compound is less likely to loosen. I only used the quietest 120 mm fans (scythe and noctua). The power supply was a Corsair HX620 (got that on sale when Compusa was going under). The last quiet tweak was using a Kaze Master fan controller so I can turn down the rpms. The reason I was so strict about the noise is I have a really good pair of speakers in that room and play music and want to hear zero computer noise. Of course shortly after the PC was working the fan on my UPS decided to run on high all the time and APC couldn't figure out why. So now I have a silent PC and a loud UPS.

8th May 2009, 02:02 AM
I have an Antec 300 it's not bad in the noise generation department i haven't bothered tiring to quiet it down as it's much quieter than my previous box with a generic case.

Enjoy the Choice :)

8th May 2009, 02:13 AM
I'd suggest something like so:

Evga 750i FTW Mothboard
Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo processor
4G of Kingston HyperX or Corsair XMS2 DDR2
Antec Sonata III w/500w PSU
Evga 9800GT or 9800GTX VIdeo

I find the Sonata III a bit quieter than the P180 series, I have both and a Titan 650 which is even quieter but more expensive.

Will outperform every AMD based system.
Will outperform most Intel Xcept i7 940 and higher.
Best Bang for your buck available.

8th May 2009, 03:28 AM
Loki, I am in no way complaining about fedora. I'm a big fan =)

Jaguar, I'll take a look at your config (even though I'm a bit of an amd fanboy). Is the Sonata III actually quieter? Is the noise in the p18X from the case failing to dampen noise properly or is it from the PSU/fans/etc.?
I'm also wondering if the 500W psu is enough, any thoughts?

9th May 2009, 06:06 AM
Yes. Sonata III 500 is quieter than P182. I have four computers to my immediate left. With those 3 cases and an Antec 1080 AMG. The 1080 AMG is the loudest of the four. I like the looks of the P182 better than the Sonata III 500. Titan 650 is the quietest of the four. Titan also runs the coolest without extra cooling.

Depends on what you plan to put into the case as to how much power you really need.

If you plan to go with the specs I suggested, the 500W PSU that comes with the Sonata III 500 is beyond what is necessary. I could probably use a 350W PSU. The case I bought comes with a 500W PSU. Why downgrade it?

Want to actually check what you really need instead of guessing?

Corsair's PSU calculator (http://corsair.com/psufinder/default.aspx)