Skip to comments.Need tech advice on abit kt7a raid board
Posted on 12/09/2001 5:24:14 PM PST by damnlimey
I've just been given an abit kt7a raid board along with a 800mhz athlon .
Rather than spend hours or days searching the net for advice I thought I'd throw it
out to the techs at FR first.My questions are:
Is there an appreciable speed advantage to using the raid technology and 2 drives?(stripping?)
What video card should I get?
Are there any heatsink/fan choices that work better than others?(dual fans?)
What type of memory ,I know this board supports pc133 but is it DDR compatible.
Any other advice would be greatly appreciated,
I use a Swiftech 462A. Great CPU cooler!
I'd say you done real good, RA ;) Hehe
$20-$30 case + eBay. Be afraid. Be very afraid.... You'll regret getting a cheapo case I promise you. The best case I've experienced for the money is a $49.99 AMD approved 300w case from TigerDirect. I've installed a bunch of systems with it. It just came down in price. Was $60 a couple of months ago. Check it out on their site. It's very well made with nice strong metal and no rough edges to cut you up (like most cheap cases). Lots of space in it too for adding disks and such. It's a bargin considering the quality. Think hard about saving $20 on a crappy case. You'll kick yourself everytime you have to open it up to change something. Just a thought based on experience....
I also love fine hardware. My main gaming machine is a 1.8Ghz P4/Asus P4-T with 512Megs dual channel RDram 800, 16x DVD, 40x Plextor CDRW, Audigy platinum Sound card with fire wire and optical out, 75Gbyte IBM HD, Hercules Prophet III (Geforce3), Swiftech 462A cooler, Lian case, Enerex 465W PS, LS120 drive, floppy, 2.0 USB, optical mouse, and a 10/100 ethernet card. I Also added rounded IDE cables for greater cooling.
Sounds like a great machine! :)
You maybe should consider saving your pennys a bit longer and upgrade your motherboard/CPU combo too. But, then that usually means a new case due to needing a 300w power supply. So, you get into money when you only wanted a better video card.
Stay away from the GeForce2 PCI video cards. They can be had inexpensively. But, the performance is awful on most things from what I've read. The PCI interface would over come your problem, but you'd still be disappointed with the performance. The memory bandwidith is just not enought to feed that chipset on a PCI bus. It's a suckers market card I believe. It's like putting a 4 cylinder engine in a corvette....
I just wouldn't advise a new motherboard for someone with a processor of less than 800MHz today. Seems like a waste of money for something you won't be happy with in a year. It does depend on what you want to do with the PC. If you are not a power user, that would mean a slower PC would do fine for you longer. But, if you want to play games all bets are off. Nothing pushes PC sales and upgrades like PC game playing.
How would you answer the same question for someone looking to put together a system to run Photoshop, working with 130 Meg files...i.e. memory type, RAID, video card (2D mainly), ?.
RAID: Now, I do RAID systems for the hospitals at work. I design hospital computers for a living. But, those systems host data that peoples LIVES depend on. For a home PC or most business PC's I don't think it's necessary. If you want speedy disks, get something faster than a 5400RPM disk. 7200RPM or 10kRPM is a good choice. Each getting a bit more expensive. But, like I said earlier, the 7200RPM 100MB/sec UATA 40GB disks are just $98 now (for Seagate). And, those are darn quick and a good value. Disk drives are really very dependable these days in general. I've actually NEVER had a hard disk fail on me at home on multiple systems. I really have faith in Seagate drives because of this and it's all I buy for my systems. Just based on experience. I'm sure others with disagree with me. Stay FAR away from IBM drives. Trust me there....I won't get into it. Very bad quality.
Video card: For your application you probably don't need a 64MB video card. I know, I know it seems to defy logic considering the size of the graphics files you are working with. But, the truth is on these video cards most all of that memory is used up for 3D graphics buffering. In a 2D business application it doesn't mean jack. BUT, I would still get the 64MB GeForce2 MX400 card. Why? Well, it's a well supported card, with great looking output, super drivers from nVidia. You can get a Jaton brand card like this for $68 right now (again I shop a lot at Shentech.com - they are just my most recent inexpensive/reliable supplier). Don't use the drivers that come with the card. On any nVidia chipset card just download the nVidia drivers and use theirs. Super controls for brightness, contrast, and gamma right there on the control panel. Color enhancment supplied by the drivers is super - sliding bar that lets you adjust the color saturation. Very nice driver features. So, best card for the money all around to me.
So I thought I'd try a new video card. But that was difficult for the reasons we discussed. So I thought to just build another system. I did my homework and priced out the parts. But I ended up buying a Micron refurbished (they are here in town). I got a P4 2GHz system cheaper than I could buy the parts.
Problem was I got it home and it was so noisy from the 4 fans I couldn't live with it. I went to take it back but they wouldn't accept a return; all refurbished sales are final.
To make a long story short, I gave it to my kids, and I'm back where I started, $1500 poorer, trying to find a video card.
My ABIT MB is maxed out. PIII600, PC100, AGP 1.0. I need to build a new system, but I want a quiet machine and that adds a whole level of complexity to the problem. I've been researching it and will probably start after the holidays.
I was hoping to find a video card to tide me over but it looks like a no go. Thanks for your input.
Of course any computer is a dead end street if you wait long enough. I get one or two upgrages it seems before the whole thing is obsolete, and it's time to start over.
I'm there. This time around I'm going to focus on reducing noise as opposed to blinding speed.
I thought about reistalling windows, but don't I need to reformatt the hard drive and start fresh? Eek.
Not necessarily. Mirroring is nominally slower writing, but fastest reading.
Just make sure you have a decent power supply. I use AOpen cases with a 250 w PSU, and it runs the overclocked Athlon, 512 M or RAM, three 20 GB HDDs and a CD-RW just fine. However, cheaper PSUs would choke on that. AMD recommends at least a 300 W PSU for normal operation.
It used to be a lot more usefull than it is now. I don't recommend it unless you want to fool around with it for entertainment sake. Or unless, like me, you are a die hard computer-hardware-geek-wannabe. If that's the case, overclocking your CPU is mandatory.
I use Asus mother boards, but the Abits also use what is called jumperless settings. You set the CPU clock and memory bus speeds through the bios. There's several newsgroups and web sites that specialise in how to do it. You can ask board specific questions, and get replies within hours. One such site is Overclockers.Com.
I've overclocked both Pentium and AMD chips, and the AMDs are by far the best performers. You can realise performance gains of 33% quite easily. I've had my T-bird 800 running at 1 GHz rock solid stable for over a year, and a 1 GHz T-bird running at 1.33 GHz for nine months.
The two biggest enemies in overclocking are heat (hence the need for a good heatsink/fan) and flakey cheap memory modules.
Finally, you'll need a good motherboard monitor. Most of the ones that come with the motherboard are inaccurate. MBM, which can be downloaded here, is probably the best. It's also free.
Lian PC-68 with front USB out.
Sony CDP-G520 21.
Enermax 468W with two cooling fans.
ABIT TH7II-RAID (I850 chipset) Dual channel RD-RAM.
Pentium-4 2.0GHz Micro PGA (socket 478). (with stock INTEL CPU cooler and fan)
Four 512Meg RDRAM-800 memory sticks. (2Gbytes RAM).
Geforce3 Titanium 500.
Sound Blaster Audigy Platinium with both optical and Firewire I/O linked to a DENON Surround sound processor (with optical in) and 5 speakers with an additional subwoofer.
USB 2.0 four port USB card.
160 Ultra wide 4 port SCSI card.
Two Western Digital WD-1200 7200 rpm 8Meg cache 120Gbyte hard drives. (stripe 0)
Pioneer DVD-106S 16X DVD.
Plextor Plexwriter 24/10/40A.
Floppy Drive / Drive B:
Generic 1.44 and an LS-120 (120Mbyte floppy).
Netgear 10/100 ethernet card.
Logitech optical wheel mouse.
Logitech Wingman Rumble Pad.
Logitech Extreme Digital 3D Joystick.
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro.
"How to Quiet Down Your Computer"
Matt Sigman - 12/6/01
I recently built a 1.4Ghz Athlon XP based system that I intended to overclock substantially. I purchased a Golden Gate (all copper) with a 26CFM fan. I hoped that this would provide sufficient cooling but still be relatively quiet.
When I started it up the first time, to my disappointment, it sounded like somebody was mowing their lawn in there. Not good! I tried to cover up the sound by placing the computer under the desk, to no avail. So I decided to install a simple potentiometer (also called a variable resistor or rheostat) to limit the speed (and therefore noise) of the CPU fan. It is a simple project and I am extremely pleased at the results. Here is how I did it...
First I needed to calculate what value potentiometer I need to purchase, so I used Ohm's law which states:
I knew that the fan was running at 12v and drawing about 300 milliamps, so by plugging the numbers in (12 / .3) I got 40 ohms. That is the current resistance the fan is experiencing. This now gives us a base to start with. Referring back to Ohm's law, you can see that doubling the resistance halves the current (and therefore speed) of the fan.
My fan was running at about 5700 RPMs and I thought that I should set 2500-3000 RPMs as my target speed. If we used a 50 ohm resistor for example, the highest resistance (which yields the lowest speed) would be 40 + 50 = 90 ohms of total resistance.
We can determine that the current at 90 ohms (The maximum resistance possible) would be 12 / 90 or 113mA. 113mA is only 38% (113mA / 300mA) as much current, so at that setting the fan would be spinning at about 2166 RPM (5700 * .38). And guess what? That speed is perfect because it covers the speed range I wanted but doesn't allow the fan to be completely stopped. That means my new range of adjustability is about 2100 RPM to 5700 RPM, which would allow excellent flexibility and includes my goal of 2500-3000 RPM.
I went out to my local electronics store and bought the 50 ohm linear taper potentiometer as well as a knob (to make it look more professional.)
IMPORTANT: You must purchase one rated at 3 Watts minimum.
Five watts is the best bet, to be safe. Any less and you will fry it, causing it to stop conducting current and thereby stopping your CPU fan entirely. Any potentiometer that is in the 30-70 ohm range would work well too. Don't go higher than 100 ohms though, because that won't provide accurate control and it would be very easy to cut off all power, causing your fan to stop.
There are three tabs on the potentiometer. For our purposes, we will only be using two of them. I spliced into the middle red wire (+12v) from the CPU fan and connected it to one terminal on the potentiometer. I then connected another wire from the center tab of the potentiometer into the wire leading to the motherboard. Here's a diagram to help clarify things:
Note: It doesn't matter if you choose reverse the connection, because this isn't a diode so it doesn't care which direction the current is flowing.
Now that the potentiometer has been connected, it needs a nice mounting spot. I chose to mount mine in an easily accessible spot, on the front of the case directly below the power button.
First I removed the front panel to expose the sheet metal up front. Then I drilled a 5/16" mounting hole (specified on the potentiometer packaging) into the sheet metal, making sure I wasn't going to hit anything inside the case!
Next, I put the plastic bezel back on the case and stuck a pencil through the hole and marked on the plastic bezel where I should drill a hole. I took off the panel one last time, then I drilled the hole in the appropriate spot.
Next, I inserted the potentiometer (already connected) and screwed it down. I put the plastic bezel back on, made sure everything fit properly, then I put the knob on the end of the potentiometer and screwed it on. Viola! Done at last!
Test everything out and make sure that it works properly. I installed Motherboard Monitor and set the fan alarm to go off at 1500RPM (in case something fails, I don't want to have a fried processor!)
Here is what the final product looked like:
The noise difference is incredible! There is no more high-pitched noise and it's probably only half as loud. Interestingly enough, I only noticed a slight increase in temperature. Before the modification the CPU was hovering around 38*C idle, now it's usually around 42*C. Not too bad...definitely a worthwhile trade in my book, and all for under $10.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
You bragging bastard!! LOL!
And yes, I did take those myself. And more, which I haven't gotten around to posting yet.
Photography is not(yet) an occupation that supports me, but I'm working in that direction. (Maybe by retirement age.)
I noticed in researching this subject that Europeans are a lot more interested in the subject of quite computers than are americans. Swedes in particular. I'm guessing that envirmental regulations have something to do with it.
It's definitely a Nero problem, because I installed the software on another workstation with an Acer CD-RW. The eject button on the Acer is likewise rendered useless, but the software eject works.
Did you have any problems with your Plextor?
Whenever I build a machine I go the the usual places like Anandtech.com, Tom's Hardware, motherboard.org, and then I also google on say "reviews computer cases" and other components. It's a lot of research work initially, but it really pays off. (Then of course you get to experience all those disappointments when you can't find anybody locally selling your first choice of a component.)
The only problem with my older version of ECDC is it probably won't support 24 x write. The new version has some major issues in Win2K.
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