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Lowest temp PC?

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January 21, 2003 5:33:10 PM

I have been tasked with a challenge, and I need some input.

The Challenge:

I have been asked to build a PC in a mobile DJ stand. This will require rock solid stability, the lowest possible heat production, and enough redundancy that most hardware failures will either take 5 minutes to repair or not require repair until the next day.

Cost is a major factor.

I am considering an ATI Radeon 7000 VE as the video card as a TV out which is independant of the DJs monitor (something like ATI's Hydravision) is a requirement for karaoke.

I would like the DJ's monitor to be a flat panel due to weight, dimensions, and ease of mounting, although a 9 inch monochrome would probably satisfy their requirements as well.

I was planning on using a SBLive! for audio, but possibly an Audigy if my final price is right.

The OS would likely be Windows 2000, as I don't know Linux and don't want to take the time to learn it nor especially the time to teach it to the DJs.

The system needs 2 large hard drives (40gb min, 60gb preferably) which will be running RAID. It will also have either a Plextor CD+R, or a similar quality CD-Rom that will read CD+G for karaoke.

Processing speed, blistering fast system performance, and unreal benchmark scores are not a requirement. It has to be fast enough to decode MP3 or WMA (not sure of their file format) and display video (from a webcam or the karaoke discs) while maybe playing Freecell or doing some other minor app (They want to do something since they won't be searching for the right CD anymore). It must be reliable (There can be no downtime during a show). And, it must run cool enough to sit about 12 inches above an amp in a DJ stand.

Suggestions, critiques, comments?

More about : lowest temp

January 21, 2003 6:16:24 PM

Quote:
The system needs 2 large hard drives (40gb min, 60gb preferably) which will be running RAID. It will also have either a Plextor CD+R, or a similar quality CD-Rom that will read CD+G for karaoke.

RAID 1 I hope. I would also go with 5400 rpm drives. You won't need anything faster, they run cooler, and they usually last longer.
Quote:
And, it must run cool enough to sit about 12 inches above an amp in a DJ stand.

If you can find a VIA C3 processor, that would be very nice for temps. They only need a heatsink and no fan. They are almost impossible to find though and I haven't heard anything about stability.
a b à CPUs
January 21, 2003 9:47:44 PM

I'd get a Tualatin Celeron because they are cheap and reliable, and put out fairly low heat. I'd put it on an old BX board with a Tualatin adapter, because the BX is the most stable chipset.

You want small? Check out <A HREF="http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2301..." target="_new">This Board</A>. I have a super small desktop case that would fit it, too. Or you could go Micro ATX and get an expensive case that looks like high end stereo equipment.

Anyway, check out <A HREF="http://www.softwareandstuff.com/h_mon_unisys105lcd.html" target="_new">This Monitor</A>. It comes with it's own card, you could use two of them for the DJ and Kareoki.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
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a b à CPUs
January 21, 2003 9:51:28 PM

Oh, sense you're talking DJ and not home theater, I have an SB AWE64 Gold that uses two RCA cables for output and has an SP-DIF bracket also. Top quality 2 channel card, and it's ISA, you'd still have 4 PCI slots left on that board!

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 21, 2003 9:57:19 PM

Dude, I'm sorry but that card is crap. That's like mid 90's technology. Those things were buggy. Good luck finding up to date drivers.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
a b à CPUs
January 21, 2003 10:12:35 PM

What, the included video cards? I've never had a problem with any using that video chip, the drivers are BUILT IN for all modern OS's, or are you concerned that he might not be able to play Quake III while doing the DJ sceen?

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 21, 2003 10:15:26 PM

I was talking about that ISA sound card.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
January 21, 2003 10:22:20 PM

I'd look at a <A HREF="http://us.shuttle.com/specs2.asp?pro_id=163" target="_new">Shuttle SN41G2</A> they're running about 400 bucks but have TV out, dual monitor, 6 channel sound, every port you could possibly want, and a unique heat pipe solution. I'd also skip the raid and just get a high rated 120gb drive.

Why exactly do you need a raid? Music files are relatively not taxing towards your HD. I mean sound is encoded in kilohertz not megahertz, and compressed its even smaller. Unless you need some data redundancy, of course.

As for processor, although in short supply they're selling out fast. The new version of <A HREF="http://www.newegg.com/app/Viewproduct.asp?DEPA=1&submit... &srchFor=BOX2100DMT3C" target="_new">TBredB</A> runs very cool and can often be found at under $110 for 2100+(1.73mhz) speeds.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
a b à CPUs
January 21, 2003 10:40:59 PM

The AWE64? It's one of the most standard cards in the industry! It offeres excellent 2 channel sound, which is all he likely needs from the computer, and it's also supported by all modern OS's. You don't run into driver problems with Creative cards until you get to the PCI cards.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 21, 2003 10:43:22 PM

ISA is 80's technology. Tout it all you want. To me its just as valuable as Enron stock.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
January 21, 2003 10:59:45 PM

theres nothing wrong with isa, personaly i dont know why sound cards ever went pci.

my computer is so fast, it completes an endless loop in less than 4 seconds!
January 21, 2003 11:30:52 PM

There is nothing wrong with serial cables either; however, they are still 80's technology and are definitely being phased out. There is nothing wrong with a 1980 Honda Civic Hatch back either, but you wouldn't question me calling it crap.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
a b à CPUs
January 21, 2003 11:43:27 PM

You're forgetting what he asked for. He wants low heat and the most reliability possible. The latest features are unneeded. That spells BX. Now, I would suspect he wants a small package, and I just so happend to have a Baby AT style board and mini desktop case. Why would I suggest anything so outdated? Because it has more SLOTS than a Micro ATX board, and is very small. Micro ATX would be a good solution also.

So why would I suggest an ISA card? 1. It has RCA outputs for his sound equipment. 2. It offers great 2 channel sound, and I don't think his ap requires more than that. 3. It has very low overhead 4. It has almost universal compatability with ALL sound programs 5. It spares his PCI slots for other uses.

Sometimes the IDEAL solution is not the LATEST solution. What would a PCI card give him, more channels that he doesn't need? 3D surround (not needed in a club that uses stereo only). The need for adapter cables? "Better Upgradability" on a system that will never need to be upgraded?

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 22, 2003 12:12:41 AM

I personally believe that newer single chip solutions will produce much less heat and have an overall cleaner footprint. I can't argue that what you offer is a solution, but in my opinion it is not an optimal solution. He requested video out as an option, how does your advice support that? He's looking at a raid and the board you are offering has max ATA66 drive support. Does it support large drives? Although I have never had any trouble with my BX systems, I never felt they match up to modern solutions.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 12:34:47 AM

I have one of these for the kids, and it can even do divx decoding:

P1 233MMX (can't remember chipset, some intel on an old Asus MB), 128MB (EDO, FP whatever), Sis 8mB 2D card, Voodoo2 8MB, SBAwe32, Random large HDD @ 5400RPM, cheapo ATX case w/ 300W generic supply, generic CDplayer, all on Win98SE.

For your case don't worry about a Voodoo2, not necessary. Also I might consider bumping up to a RAID 1 array since uptime is so valuable, but that probly aint even necessary. A well built system like I described will be plenty stable for a nights work, and should be nice and affordable on the used market. The hardware included is probably approaching the bare minimum necessary (except the CDplayer, you prolly want the plextor) that is why I posted.

edit: oh yeah your ATI card is a way better idea if it is available in a PCI card.



<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by knewton on 01/21/03 06:39 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
January 22, 2003 1:26:30 AM

serial is far from being worthless. it can do so much more than usb.

my computer is so fast, it completes an endless loop in less than 4 seconds!
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 1:29:44 AM

I've completely given up on "modern solutions" for the PIII as my BX boards are faster than any other PIII boards, tested it personally on a dozen or so high end units.

I forgot about the RAID request, but he certainly could use a RAID card in it. Having the RAID on a separate card would reduce repair time considerably.

Of course the board supports large drives.

The main reason I suggested the Tualatin Celeron is low heat. It performs twice as good per clock as the C3 but is less likely to have stability problems, and produces only a small amount more heat. It's also inexpensive.

He was looking at a video card, the Radeon 7000, because he needs dual independant outputs. I suggested two of those Flat Panel monitors with two video cards that are included based on his need for a small screensize and portability.

Cheap, reliable, moderate performance, small, and low heat. This is the best solution I can suggest. The second best solution would be an underclocke/undervolted XP CPU at 100MHz bus on an nVidia chipset.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 22, 2003 1:57:39 AM

USB = Universal Serial Bus. It's just a different package.

Even if he's the last DJ who plays what he wants to play. I would rather have the option of having a needed type of connector or having more than 2 channel sound than not.

As for RCA, they make adapters.

I still think it's a bad ideal to go with old parts.

I definitely think he doesn't need a raid. At most a two drive System/Slave setup.

Dichromatic for your viewing plesure...
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 2:25:26 AM

Yes, if I were running this board I'd ditch the Serial/Parallel brackets for that use.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 22, 2003 5:48:32 PM

I LOVE THAT MONITOR!! The only problem is that I would still need a solution for outputting karaoke lyrics, visualizations, and web cam output to a TV. So, even though I am getting the monitor, I still need a TV out that is independant of the DJs monitor.

As for the rest, I worry about using such a small CPU like a 233, as these guys are probably going to be running something to computerize all the paperwork they normally did. I don't know if it will be Access or just notepad, but they keep track of about how many people danced to certain songs and rotate their playlist based on this info. They also want to keep their contracts on the PC, so they know what type of music was requested. None of these other apps are real processor intensive, but switching between them might cause a "burp", which is absolutely unacceptable. As for using a C3...welll, the things I've read don't exactly excite me. It doesn't actually appear that stable nor 100% compatible. I am actually leaning towards an underclocked Celeron.

These guys require RAID for survivability. I thought one 60gb hard drive would be plenty, but they won't have any CDs with them, so if the hard drive should fail, they'd be screwed. I can see their point, so RAID1 is a must.

The sound card issue has troubled me some. I recently read something about problems playing MP3s with a SBLive! in a system running Win 2k. It supposedly creates noise artifacts. I haven't heard this, but if such a thing could be confirmed it would kill the whole SBLive idea. The DJ program these guys are looking at buying apparently will use DSP to raise and lower the pitch of songs without affecting the speed of playback. This is used for karaoke singers so they can still sing songs that are normally out of their vocal range. Will the AWE64 handle that? Having more channels would be nice, but they really do only need 2 channels.

The CD drive has to be something capable of reading the rw subcodes from karaoke CDs. I know other brands are capable, but I'm not sure which off the top of my head.

New parts or old parts doesn't much matter. Common parts are the important thing. If 5 years from now they bring the system back to me and say something is broken, I need to be able to get the part.
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 6:07:42 PM

I'm not too keen on DSP, but I do know the ASE64 has an EMU 8011 DSP and can do some things, I only used the Bass and Trebel controlls myself. I thought a DJ would have everything running through a sound board?

You could get a Celeron 1200 and underclock it to 800, but making it cooler would require you to drop the core voltage as well. All that can be done with a Slot-T adapter on any VRM 8.4 spec motherboard. At stock speed, the quiet Intel cooler with 2800RPM fan makes these things COLD. Underclocking would probably allow you to use a passive cooler.

I could actually set you up with an entire pint sized system based on an AT mini desktop case, AWE64, Celeron Tualatin, and a TV-out VGA card. You would want to add the other PCI card from that flat panel monitor (they say it includes a card that's proprietary to the monitor). I would personally rather use two of those flat pannels than a TV and flat pannel.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 6:09:18 PM

Auction on that board ends in an hour, my next AT BX board will be a P2B-B, which has fewer slots and usually goes for a lot more money, due to it's overclocking features, which you don't need.

<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 22, 2003 6:47:55 PM

I would personally use that stuff too, but then hooking into a bar's TV system would be tricky. The TV out means they just have to use a coax splitter.

I don't think fan noise will be a big issue, as the amp in their system looks to have two 120mm fans to cool it down. Even if the computer fans could be heard over them, all the equipment is inside the DJ stand (a large padded wooden box). If the fan noise were still audible, the music will likely drowned the rest out.

Send me a private message with contact info, as I am interested in hearing more about the mini desktop.
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 7:13:53 PM

OK, 2 minutes left on that board btw


<font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
January 22, 2003 7:36:41 PM

It might be a bit late to make suggestions, but here is my thought:

If this thing is going to be around DJs, chances are they'll be next to big woofers and/or subwoofers that'll pound a regular hard drive into a fatal crash and/or cause the heads to collide with the platters and make scratches. Plus setup and teardown aren't likely to be gentle with the way I've see most musicians and DJs haul their equipment around.

So get adapters and use 2.5" <b>laptop</b> hard drives in a RAID1 array. They're a lot more shock resistant than 3.5" PC hard drives and they run cooler as well. :)  After all, if speed isn't an issue, why not?


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January 22, 2003 7:58:33 PM

Man, I think that's a hell of an idea for sure!! Never thought of it myslef.

I'm still learning & having fun doing it!!!!!!
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
January 22, 2003 11:58:13 PM

you took the words out of my typing fingers. I considered that too, and couldn't really think of anything good.
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