Help on near silent multi purpose build

I'm building a system that will be used for mainly for gaming and home theater. I need to keep it as quiet as reasonably possible. I'm hoping to keep the total cost on the low side (under $2k). I don't plan to overclock much if at all. The main game I am planning to play is Vanguard. This is kind of long, so please bear with me. My thoughts so far are;

Intel 6600 dual core CPU

Scythe Ninja+ CPU cooler

2GB RAM, recommendations on what please.

Antec Sonata II case, hopefully with the included PS

Have not decided on a motherboard. I'm not worried about cutting edge game performance and don't know if I need SLI or not. I'm a little lost in the importance of x16 or x8 PCIe slots. Is it really worth all the extra $$ to have 2 x16 slots? Would a non SLI board be enough for Vanguard?

I'm seeing some of the Asus MBs come with sound cards, do those take the load off the CPU the same as adding a sound card, or are they just something that plugs in for the ports?

I'm planning on just a fanless 7600GT at the start and switching to a DX 10 card (or 2) later when the prices drop a lot.

I'll need to run the sound and video for the home theater around the room to my receiver. I can use component or HDMI inputs for the video, and optical or co-ax for the sound (unless there's a way to get that via HDMI too?). What's the best way for a 25' distance?

A Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD3200KS 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb HD. Unless some 500G drive is as quiet and fast? Possibly 2 of them in a RAID array, I'll need the space and might as well get the bit of speed increase I figure. Everything I've read says RAID does not get much speed increase?

Some DVD burner. Blu-ray eventually.

Any recommendations on an external 802.11g wireless adaptor least bad for gaming? I know wireless is not the best for gaming. I want to go external to keep the heat out of the case. Can be USB or Ethernet.

Any suggestions on which Hi-Def tuner card, Ideally dual tuner?

thanks for ideas on any and all parts of this!
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  1. If you don't care about cutting-edge graphics and ain't going for playing Oblivion on the absolute maximum, 2 GB isn't really that neccesary. I have 1 GB of RAM and it's works fine with the games I play like Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, C&C: Generals, Call of Duty 2 etc. But I will recommend these RAM manufactors; Corsair, GeIL, OCZ or Kingston. The clock speed etc. isn't so important again, but amke sure you pick some which supports your motherboard. Also if you can, buy 2 x 1 GB sticks, so you can upgrade your PC in the future.

    If you wan't a silent computer, then try go for a Silverstone PSU. I friend has one and it's almost totally silent. This is the one; ST40F. If you want something more silent, try a NorthQ 4001.

    I will recommend a motherboard from ASUS, Gigabyte. MSI is also good, but they are alittle difficult with RAM, so if you arn't that good with computers go for another board brand.

    You don't really need 2 PCIx16 ports, only if you wan't to play BF2 on 80 FPS with full graphics or something like that.

    Most of all motherboards come with a onbord sound "card", maybe that's what you mean. I have onboard sound, and it sound very clear enough, for me at least.

    Good GPU, shold be enough for playing games at a resonable level.

    I think you need a TV-card, if you want to use it for home theater. I want to say that I'm not that perfect in this HDMI to TV stuff and anything like this. So try consult others on this forum or ask your local computer store.

    If you want a silent HDD, try this; WD Scorpio WD1200UE (120 GB)

    Try a Pioneer DVR-110 optical drive. Blue-ray burners are still way too expensive, easily coming up to 1000$ alone.

    There is no problem in using a normal internet connection with a normal router. The heat will come out anyways.
  2. If you REALLY want quiet, then I think you're shooting in the wrong direction on some items. For example:

    -hard drives. I own Seagate, Western Digital, and Hitachi. For all intents and purposes, they are all very silent. You have to put your ear beside an open case to hear them. So either will work, you don't need some special "silent" hard drive.

    -power supply. Take a look at the Seasonic S12 Energy Plus. Whatever size you need.

    -VGA. You don't need a fanless cooler. It can't dissipate heat as well as a silent Zalman VF700 or VF900 for example, plain and simple. A Zalman VGA HSF is silent and will keep a vid card (especially a 7600GT) very cool too. It's not the cheapest solution, but it is a whole helluva lot quieter than the stock cooler on a BFG 7600GT.....WOW, talk about a jet engine....that one little stock cooler will cause more noise than anything else and will render all your time and money on other silent components a waste just because of that.

    -You talk about heat inside the case for the wireless adaptor, but again, I'd be more concerned about heat from a passive VGA cooler than a wireless adaptor.

    To keep things silent with respect to heat, simply invest in a couple good 120mm silent fans, ones that run about 17dB. And/or get a fan controller. GOOD fans don't cost that much more than regular ones overall, but will be alot quieter.

    Lastly, look at noise dampening material, either mats or foam. Both will work. You can find Thermaltake's noise dampening mats at an affordable price at regular stores. The noise dampening foam (that you cut and fit against the inside of your case) is a bit harder to find, but is available online or stores that have "modding" supplies. It's good stuff but more bulky. THAT will help with noise, alot more than a passive cooler. Combine that with a couple silent fans and you're laughing. The loudest thing in my rig is my PSU, and simply because I can't find an affordable 700w Seasonic ;) So I've got an OCZ....fine but not a whisper. So I'm just gonna put some noise dampening in when I get my new case :)
  3. Part of the reason I'm planning on 2gb of ram is I hope to use Dragon Naturally Speaking to type for me while playing Vanguard.

    I definately want one of the new 600 series MBs, the 680i, 650i, etc. Just don't know which yet. I saw one that includes an optical sound output, that caught my eye.

    All of the MBs include sound, just some directly onboard, some, Asus Striker Extreme (big $$$ sigh) for example include a sound card. I was wondering if that has the same effect as putting a sound card in a PCI slot of reducing the CPU load.

    I don't plan on recording TV from any source other than the tuner card, so unless I'm not understanding something, I won't need more than that.

    What caught my attention on that WD HD is the "perpendicular recording technology".

    Been looking at this video card;

    Already planning on a couple 120mm fans w speed contols.

    Noise dampening material inside a Sonata II case?

    I'll check those PS out.

    thanks much!
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