Need help making stable comp for bad conditions.

After killing our 3rd comp since approx. the end of 1999, I am once again back on our old 133mhz Pentium. This old Pentium seems to be the only computer to handle all of the problems of our household and area. (And its 5-6 years old.)

I'm looking to put together a computer that will last another 5 years, (I don't think we'll need major upgrades or anything cause I do graphics mostly, will be doing an internet business soon, and my hubby plays games, but he's not a major gamer who needs the fastest, greatest system to play on.)

I have done a BUNCH of research, talked with alot of people about what would be a good setup for us and the conditions the computer has to live in. And all I've gotten is more confused and lots of conflicting info! So I thought I would throw it at you all here at Tom's Hardware, and see what you come up with. (This has been one of my major resources for fixing my comp's and deciding on components to buy.)

The last comp we had, we absolutely loved! (You can look at it here- <A HREF="http:// " target="_new">http:// </A> ). Unfortunately one night we heard this loud pop, and later found out that the CPU & MB had fried, (blackened even), and had knocked off the heavy Silverado fan. End of comp. We don't know for sure whether it was electrical or heat, but we suspect electric because it was at night and cooler.

Now for the list of problems that the computer needs to be able to stand up to.

Electrical- We live in an area with brownouts, sags, blackouts, spikes, erratic current, and the very best circuit in the house for the comp to be on has aluminium wiring with copper at the ends going to the outlets. (The copper is glued and spring attached to the aluminum wiring for safety reasons, so both metals can expand and contract without losing contact or coming apart.)

Heat & Humidity- We have extreme high heat during the summertime, sometimes as much as 80F-90F, though the average in the house is 78F. We also get high humidity during the monsoon season, which can last for 1-3 months, bringing the humidity in the house to 70%-90%. And we have a swamp cooler which blows on the comp, though we try to keep it as far away from the air as possible, because of where the best circuit in this old place is, we can't actually get the comp completely away from being blown on.

Dust, Smoke, & Animals- In 3 days we get the same amount of dust that would be equal to a month in anywhere else I've lived! (And I've lived in MANY places.) The wind blows almost all the time here and often we get gusts of 45-60 miles an hour. Our place is old, the dust gets in easily. We have two smokers in the household, and we also burn incense. (Just lovely for the computer, *rolls eyes*.) And to top it all off, we have several animals, including 6 cats that are indoor (mostly), cats.

I have about a $1000.00 bucks to put together a system. I have on hand for that system-
1 Silverado fan
256mb PC2100 DDR
Radeon7500 DDR vidcard
7200 RPM HD's
At least 2 ATX towers, and one AT tower which has the old workhorse Pentium in it, and I'd rather not use it if possible.

I think anything around a gig for the CPU would work. I liked having the 5 PCI slots from the Tbird, and we need 1 AGP slot for the vidcard. A very good UPS would help, any recommendations on that? The only soundcard we have is from the old workhorse, an ESS1688, and I don't know if it will work with a newer system, so we probably need a new soundcard. We need a linux/hardware modem. Then for the business, a digcam, printer, and then a lil less importantly, a scanner and fax. I don't know if we can do ALL of this on a thousand bucks, but I'm going to try, *grins*. A good, solid, tough comp is most important, the rest secondary.

This has been long, but I wanted to give as much info as possible. I'll be watching the posts closely and will reply to any questions or the like.


"The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi

Here is a link with better access to view the Tbird- <A HREF="http:// " target="_new">http:// </A> Just ignore or kill the cookie that comes up, I didn't make it, I just copied the whole webpage for info purposes when I bought the Tbird, and will take it back down after I figure out & buy my new system. Thanks!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by morrigan3 on 01/28/03 06:00 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
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More about need making stable comp conditions
  1. I'd say get an old Pentium II system with BX chipset and a large passive cooler. But your biggest problems can be solved simply by adding an Uninteruptable Power Supply, aka UPS, which is a power filter and backup unit that runs on batteries. A UPS has two "sides" of the electronics, the inlet side for your crappy power, and the outlet side which is provided by the UPS from the batteries themselves. I believe the batteries are a key part to noise isolation in the system.

    Anyway, I have worse conditions in Michigan. That's right, I live in the "temparate" zone of the Northern U.S., we get heat of up to 100F in the summer at around 92% humidity (peak heat season gives us highs of 90F-100F for a couple weeks, preceeded by a long period of high 80's). Sometimes we get 100% humidity and spontanious rain. And then it gets cold in the winter!

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  2. Well firstly, you NEED a UPS (uninterruptable power supply).
    I too live in a area with dodgey power, and can probably attribute at less a couple of hundred dollars worth of damage to bad power.
    A UPS is a godsend, even though it will only last for a few minutes. It protects agains brownouts, blackouts, power surges and insidious dirty power.
    Quite often it will switch on and go beepbeepbeep when everything "seems" normal.
    My UPS is an APC ES500 (500VA). It comes reccomended. How long the UPS can run your computer depends on its VA rating and the power draw of your system. My overclocked tbred rig is goodfor a couple of minutes only... but thats enough for a controlled shutdown.

    Regarding your computer... i suggest protection!
    A good quality case, with dust filters on all intake vents! Not much can be done for cigarrette smoke unfortunately, as it easily passes though all but the finest of filters.
    A sealed system would be better, but then you will probably get heat problems unless you id water cooling.
    That would probably be the best way... a water cooled rig that cools the cpu, gpu hard drives and maybe even the PSU with water. But also the most expensive.

    Humidity and high temps are also generally bad for computers, thats why your slowest computer is the most stable.

    Overall a tough call. If you Do plan on getting an aircooled AMD system make sure you get a REALL BIG heatsink to handle the extreme temps and humidity. A MCX-462 with a slow fan is a good idea.
    Likewise choose your cpu wisely. A low end Tbred XP1700 is a good call as it runs much cooler than many others. or maybe a duron to save $$$.

    PM me if you want more info

    <b>My Computer is so powerful Suron Desires it and mortal men Covert it, <i>My Precioussssssss</i></b>
  3. How high in mhz do the Pentium II's go? And is BX a brand/manufacturer of chipsets or some sort of specific type of chipset? And could you explain, "large, passive cooler"?

    I've been looking at UPS's and I'm happy to see that there are replacable batteries now too! I am getting one, definately.

    LOL, if its any consolation, the temps I gave were IN the house. But your overall humidity definately beats ours! I live in the high desert, with "outdoor" temps ranging -20F to 120F. Peak heat during a couple weeks of summer, 97F - 110ish, occasionally higher. Rain is NEVER spontaneous, and the first time I ever saw 100% humidity was this year. (I've lived here for 7 years now.) Humidity is bad only during the 1 to 3 months of the summer monsoons. (If you were ever exposed to what we call "the monsoons", you'd understand why we have monsoons in the middle of the desert!! *grins*) It does get cold, but not nearly as cold as Michigan, and we only got snow 2-3 times this year, which is more than usual.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  4. PII's go up to 450MHz, two different cores were made (they upgraded to a smaller die process with the higher speed processors) so that the 400 and the 233 output roughly the same amount of heat. A large passive cooler is one that is so large that no fan is needed (often found in OEM systems).

    About weather, spontaneous rain happens on a sunny day (!) when clouds spontaneously form just above the surface of the ground, caused by humidity reaching over 100%. You see the air get hazy, then it sprinkles a little, then stops. Michigan doesn't get severe rainstorms, we do get a lot of small tornados though (so small that they are rarely seen by people). They'll come down, rip up a couple trees, and disappear.

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  5. Oh, the BX, aka 440BX, is a chipset, the most common Intel chipset for the Pentium II. It has the most stability and compatability of any chipset ever produced by any company. So stable in fact that even though it was designed exclusively for 66MHz and 100MHz bus speeds, most boards with bus speed adjustments are stable to 150MHz bus, so long as you have memory good enough for the speed. But in your case you want reliability, I'd stick with a non-overclocked PII 400, passive heatsink, and an Intel SE440BX or SE440BX2 board. Pentium III's are faster, work on most of the same boards, and are just as stable, but you won't get around the cooling fan requirement with them, and cooling fans tend to get plugged up with pet hair, dust, etc.

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  6. Can I use PC2100 DDR ram and a Radeon7500 vidcard that uses DDR with the PII 400 CPU and the BX?

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  7. No, you can use PC133 SDRAM and your Radeon 7500 (video RAM type doesn't matter to motherboard) on a BX chipset and Pentium 400.

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  8. Where are you buying your stuff. If I were you I would go to they are realy realy cheap. the 7500 isn't the best value card. I'd say the 8500 is, for only 70 bucks including shipping already, its an awesome deal with good technology.
  9. He already has the 7500 dude....

    as for the person who started this topic....

    a P2 will be quite slow (faster than ur 133 ur on now...but still slower especially since u wnated around 1GHz)

    So something I would recomend to you would be the following..

    ASUS A7S333 SiS745 Motherboard
    As for cooling.....especially in ur conditions....get the ThermalTake Volcano 7+

    Now you can use your existing video card....Ram and hard drive and everything else.....almost anyways....also get a couple 80mm Case Fans for air circulation....

    Now the 7+ HSF use the 3 lug's on each side of the ZIFF socket so u wont have to worry about it falling off....the Motherboard is a VERY good board and works in very different and rigorous conditions i have this board and it takes ANYTHING and everything i throw at it.......high heat...low heat......SB Live...Aureal Vortex 2 cards.....anything its perfect.......

    The Athlon XP 1700+ T-Bred will also be realyl good as its got a default voltage of 1.50...which in turn uses less power....uses less wattage and outputs less heat.......infact just for FUN i took the fan completely off of my Volcano 7+'s it was just CPU & Heatsink and i left it running for 30 minutes on full load and it wouldnt surpass 59 degrees celcious.....and thats an 1800+ Overclocked to 2000+ default voltage......these CPU's r quite durable i love mine...and with my recent modification my CPU runs at 31 Degrees Celcious with my 'NEW' fan at full temp. is not an issue....oh and it runs 100% rock solid stable at the high temperatures when i had the fan completely off.......also the quality of the Asus motherboard is doesnt have the bes latest and greatest features like USB 2.0, firewire, SATA, etc....but it is awesome.....

    <A HREF="" target="_new">-MeTaL RoCkEr</A>
  10. I agree with some of the above posters. A UPS should be your first priority. next up are a decent case with dust filters, quality fans and a good quality PSU..

    Forget about the Silverdo, I've had one, and its *crap*. ITs extremely top heavy and will sooner or later break those 2 tiny plastic notches it uses to attach itself to the MB. cooling performance is also a major disapointment. Get a big swiftech, and a large PAbst fan instead. That combo dropped my temps no less than 15-20° on my old 1400 Tbird, compared to the Silverado. Tom my love the Silverado(I think its a German built product), but in my experience, its an expensive piece of junk.

    As for the AMD/intel choise.. I dont think you can go very wrong with either. I just wouldnt buy a top-of-the-line cpu; but something in the XP 2000+ range (Tbred-B if possible) or a P4 2.2 or there abouts. I personnaly would go for an ASUS or Epox nForce2 board, but a decent Intel board with integrated sound & lan should also fit your needs. Choose one without NB fan. Get some big, slow case fans instead.

    Its also a good idea to spend a little more on branded memory with a good guarantee.

    For the videocard, I'd pick up a fanless model, or replace the fan with the Zalman kit. Most videocard fans are crap, and not likely to last many years.

    = The views stated herein are my personal views, and not necessarily the views of my wife. =
  11. I'm expecting my comp to crash again any second.. my win98se disk was stolen, and my backup has a hole in you can see thru, so I won't be back until mon. or tues., after I get another copy. Please keep posting anything you think of, I will read it ALL, as soon as I get windows fixed. I appreciate everyone's thoughts!

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by morrigan3 on 02/28/03 05:00 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  12. Okay, it took me this long to get a damn win98se cd in this PODUNK town! grrr But I'm back, and the comp is working again, though I think my monitor or vidcard is dying. With luck, and all of your help, I'll get a good setup figured out and ordered soon. I'll be going thru all the posts and replying or asking questions over the next few days. Again, thanks all!!

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by morrigan3 on 02/28/03 05:02 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  13. You've already decided on a UPS, so I won't bother recommending one.

    I would recommend an Antec SX1040b case. It has loads of cooling, a great power supply, and a washable filter. Plus it's available almost everywhere. Be warned that it is large though. I believe that Chieftec makes a cheeper knockoff version.

    An Athlon XP 1700+ sounds good for you. Cheep, cool running, yet powerful, and can even be overclocked to the XP 3000+ level. Just make sure that you get a B stepping.

    As for Motherboards, I generally find the Asus brand to be slightly more reliable than other brands. An Asus A7N8X would be my recommendation.

    I'd recommend a Thermaltake Volcano 7+, but your Silverado will probably be good enough for now. Be warned though, that the Silverado isn't very reliable. I've had some people call it the best thing since liquid cooling. Others say that it's worse than using a cement block. Almost everyone reports lowered efficiency when they remove and re-install it though.

    Knowan likes you. Knowan is your friend. Knowan thinks you're great.
  14. Yes I agree. The 1700+ T-Bred Bcore and the Asus A7N8X will give you reliable durable mobo/cpu with sound and a NIC.
  15. Then from what you've listed get yourself an, MSI KT4V-L Motherboard, with an AMD XP2100+ CPU, you can obtain both online for less than $200.00, that M/B will run the RAM you already have, and RAM wise the M/B will go up to 400Mhz PC3200, M/B supports 266(PC2100),333(PC2700),400(PC3200) and CPU wise that M/B presently will go up to the AMD 3000+ Barton Core, and beyond with BIOS updates, so do that for yourself now, and later when the prices drop, you can do an extreemly nice upgrade, without buying another M/B.
    Take the previous suggestions and get yourself a very good UPS.

    Details, Details, Its all in the Details, If you need help, Don't leave out the Details.
  16. I know this will sound a little extreme, but based on your life expectancy and the environmental factors you tell me about, you should use your computer in an isolated room. That is, make a small office to house your computer in. Do what you can to keep air circulation down. Then, use a dehumidifier and air filtration system. This could easily double the life of your computer.

    Humidity and dust/dirt are the worst enemies of a computer. I worked at a pool where we had a computer. It needed to be repaired every 6 months or so because the humidity would eat the components like a termite eats wood. Get a big, open case with lots of airflow, a large heatsink (the bigger, the better, so it can keep heat away from the processor in case of temp. fluctuations, especially if your air conditioning goes down!

    As far as components go, even though I loathe Intel, I must recommend them in this case. AMDs run warmer than Intels, and this will make temperature monitoring more difficult. You can probably get a used PIII system at around 1Ghz fairly easily. Just ask your local computer shop on where to look.

    Also, as people have said, air filters will be a godsend, as they will help keep the airways clear in your computer.

    The UPS has already been recommended, but I cannot emphasise enough how important it is. I know all about the US's power and telecommunications network, and it is marginally better than what you can get in Zimbabwe. I know about how expensive copper is there, and that massive numbers of people electrocute themselves each year down there because they are stealing copper wire from overhead lines and they trip the circuit. Now you use aluminum. Sheesh....

    Might I suggest moving to Canada? Where I live, we have the cheapest power in North America. We are surrounded by fiber optic cables for telecommunications. This is the greatest place in the world for computers and telecom. Maybe that's why we are the largest call-centre centre in North America (I myself do tech support for AT&T Worldnet, and we aren't even in the US. It's not even funny the number of calls I get from California and New York, easily 80%, mostly because of their POS power and telecom networks). Ah well, it's just a suggestion.

    Finally, a suggestion if you want the most durable computer in the world. They manufacture military-grade portable computers. They make among the most durable computers in the world. They test them by dropping them, holding them under running taps, and the like. This, of course, is all while the computer is running. There are also other companies, look here for a huge list of them: . These boys are made to play, and play rough. Though, again, these are probably out of the question. Just a suggestion.

    XP 2500+ Barton
    A7N8X Dlx
    2x512MB Corsair PC3200
    MSI GF3 Ti500 w/64MB DDR
    16x DVD-ROM
    2x80GB 7200RPM Maxtor
    Onboard audio

    My computer is bigger than your computer....
  17. Just a thought:

    I see you already decided on the PSU, good. As for a processor, get a Duron 1300 (about 39 bucks new) and undervolt it. I have mine Overclocked to 1417 MHz and undervolted to 1.68 volts (1.75 Volt core) and it runs indefinitly. When not overclocked, and a cheap HSF, it runs about 34C under heavy load (seti@home). The room is about 72F, so you can expect a higher temp with 78 in house. But with a better HSF, you should be able to keep it under 45C no problem.

    If your video card gets hot, try underclocking and undervolting it too, unless you don't want to lose any performance (which wouldn't be much).

    Come to think of it, you might try venturing into the water cooling thing. If you have 1000 bucks to throw at a computer, get whatever MB/CPU you want, and put a good water cooling system on it. Keep air flowing through the radiator with twin 120MM fans (if possible, they run much quieter while flowing more air). Use water cooling on all aspectsof the computer, including; CPU, Chipset, RAM, Hard-drives, Video card and anything else that makes heat.

    Water cooling is for the weak. Get liquid nitrogen.
  18. Quote:
    I believe that Chieftec makes a cheeper knockoff version.

    No, actually it's the other way around. Chieftec makes Antec's cases, so Chieftec cases are not knockoffs. Antec simply charges for their name.

    <font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
  19. 70 bucks?!! Might want to check out ebay. I picked up 3 of them for $39 total sealed and brand new.
  20. You have proof of this? I would be interested in knowing for sure.
  21. I can't remember where I found the information, but anyway:

    Antec is not a case manufacturer. They don't make any cases whatsoever, so they must buy them from someone, no?

    The farthest I could track back was Chieftec. They make Antec, Alienware, and Thermaltake cases for certain.

    <font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
  22. Something to consider using in an area of high humidity (I think the northern Gulf Coast where I live definitely qualifies)-- look for a product called ProGold by Caig Laboratories ( and consider using one of their products on all the electrical connections within and without on your computer. I'm not here to give a testimonial, but I have had far less trouble with electrical gear when the contact surfaces have a quick wipe with their products.

    I have used this on all the computers in my house and at work, my stereo gear, and my bass guitar rig. A friend who runs a recording studio (48 track digital-- hard drive recorders, Neve console, Roland digital mixer) uses this stuff religiously once a year to keep the contacts clean and noise-free. We use this on our sound rig at church too, which is about 50 yards from the bay.

    It is especially important to use this on electronics where the contacts aren't made and broken a lot (most of us don't regularly remove and replace our AGP and PCI cards just to keep the contacts clean), as the heating and cooling cycle will cause just a little condensation and the bugbear of corrosion along with it. Since you can't do much about the humidity, try to keep the contacts from corroding.

    Sounds a lot like you live in the Southwest somewhere. Care to clue us all in?

    Some folks here are probably gonna complain about using "magic juice" (the liquid equivalent of pixie dust), but all I can say is that at least this product works and does what it claims to do. Used SPARINGLY, so as to not attract more dust and pet hair.
  23. I'll have to look up the Antec SX1040b case and the Chieftec version. I've got a good midtower, but I'm thinking I need more fans. I won't be overclocking, but I don't know what you mean about "B Stepping"?

    I wonder why the lowered efficiency with the Silverado, after removing & reinstalling?

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  24. I continue to think a laptop might be the solution to your problems. You can easily attach a normal monitor, keyboard, mouse and speakers attached to your laptop if you want. It has a built in UPS, if it is a mobile processor should have low heat dissipation and is built to withstand alot more [-peep-] than your average desktop.

    <A HREF="" target="_new">My PCs</A> :cool:
  25. Thanks for the clarification Crashman. *smiles* I'll be looking at full tower cases, most likely, as I think I'm going to need more fans. (And I have no wish to drill, modify, or tear up my midtower, lol.)

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  26. I have thought about the laptop idea. I keep wondering if you can put a laptop/mobile CPU into a tower. *grins*

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  27. Thanks for the info & url.. no one has said much about the humidity factor other than you. Now, the question is, if I use the ProGold, just how badly will it attract dust, dander, and hair? (Providing I use it lightly, of course.) The dust, dander, and hair is a major problem as well, since I have 6 cats, 2 dogs, & 2 smokers in the house, and I burn incense. We also have a truly serious dust problem, due to the area we live in, the high winds that carry the dust, and the age of our home. (The house isn't very well sealed.)

    LOL, yes, I live in the Southwest. Northern Arizona actually, though I'm not in the part that has trees. High Desert, with both very hot and cold temps, lots of dirt, few bushes and fewer still trees. We use a swamp cooler to cool the house in the summer, so there's a bit of added humidity from that, and for 1 to 3 months of the summer, we have what are called "Monsoons". Torrential rains & flooding, the humidity goes up to 80% minimium and even higher, and the swamp cooler doesn't help then. We got a full 100% humidity last year. That was the worse IN the house, so far.

    (The Monsoon's are heavy, hard rains that dump a hell of alot of water all at once, onto hardbaked, clay, desert soil. So of course the soil doesn't soak up the water and all the water stays on the surface of the soil til it runs off into washes or flood areas. We get washes running as hard as a fast river because of the amount of water that comes down so quickly. Flash floods too. Deaths every year cause of idiots who don't know to stay out of the washes and not to try to cross them during rain.)

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  28. I not sure you have come to the best place as the same guy that tell buy a t-bird that have fried like may tof there brothers will tell you to buy a AXP that will also be dead soon or unstable.On xbitlab show a P4 still working at 90 degree.So do as you want

    [-peep-] french
  29. The AMD XP2100+ CPU puts out more watts of heat than my old Tbird did! I'm trying to go with less than 50 watts of heat, maybe even less than 40 watts, if I can. Do you know what the smallest CPU is that the MSI KT4V-L Motherboard would take? I copied the M/B's name and will look it up.

    I've already picked out the UPS I'm getting, *grins*!

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  30. There is no possible way to isolate the computer in this house, UNTIL I knock out some walls and put a new floor in one area. (Otherwise the comp would have its own room, and I would spot cool that room, and do the other things you suggested. But that renovation is not likely to be done til sometime in the next 3 years.)

    I'm looking at a good heatsink, if it will fit with my fan, have to check though. And we DON'T have air conditioning at all.. we have a swamp cooler. (More humidity.)

    I've heard Intel runs cooler than AMD and this is mostly true, but if I get the right AMD CPU, some put out less watts of heat. (Depending on the CPU.)

    The local computer shop sucks. But I have a friend who sells used computer stuff, when he can get it. Otherwise, I shop for everything computer, online or drive to either Las Vegas or Phoenix.

    I've figured out how to make good dust filters, IF I don't buy a bigger tower. If I buy a tower, it will be one with dust filters already made for it.

    "Stealing copperwire from overhead lines", ROTFLMAO! No, people have not gone to using aluminum wiring, its that we have a very old home that came originally WITH aluminum wiring. It was made in 1967, a time when aluminum wiring was highly used. But yes, I've found a good UPS that should work for any system I put together right now and leave some growing room.

    Not going to happen! Why would I want to move to someplace even colder than here in the winter?? *grins* I'll leave the anti-Canada retorts alone for now, *winks*.

    I'll look at those urls for the tough comps. I doubt if they will be in my pricerange but who knows, perhaps they will give me more ideas too?

    BTW, if you want to look at the last & favorite system that we killed- <A HREF="http:// " target="_new">http:// </A> . It also had a 24x10x40 cd-writer and a 24x cdrom, and a 7500 Radeon DDR, 256MB DDR, 2x40G Western Digital 7200RPM harddrives, and nice speakers with a subwoofer, of course. LOL We don't really need anything above 1GHz.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  31. That Chieftec/Antec case (the one with the door on front) is a huge midtower, and has two exhaust fans behind the CPU, two intake fans (one in front of a hard drive cage), two 3.5" drive cages that can hold 3 drives each and quick remove, 4 5.25" drive bays (rail mounted drives for quick release). Overall I don't think you could ask for a much better case.

    Oh, you can also get that style case with a fan hole over the video card.

    <font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
  32. i I keep wondering if you can put a laptop/mobile CPU into a tower

    Yeah, would be handy. The low voltage and ultra low voltage PIII CPUs do not require a fan for cooling, just a passive heatsink. I figured that would be ideal in your case. Trouble is they fit into the u-FCBGA socket and I never ever saw a motherboard with such a socket.

    <A HREF="" target="_new">My PCs</A> :cool:
  33. Yes, APC has a good UPS that I like. The Duron 1300 puts out a max. of 60 watts of heat, and I'm trying to stay under 50 watts, under 40 would be even better. The Duron 1100 or 1000 might work though. I don't know anything about overclocking nor undervolting. Is undervolting just a matter of setting jumpers, and how do you know how much lower you can set it for? I'm assuming that undervolting allows the CPU to run cooler? Will this damage the CPU or anything else on the comp?

    The average house temp in the summer is 78F, but we also get even higher temps of 80F-90F at times during the summer. I'm looking at one of the MCX462+ heatsinks. I've got to email them and find out if I can use it with my Silverado fan, plus the MCX462+ only works with certian motherboards.

    I do the seti@home packets too, when my comps are running well. I have looked a little at water cooling, and will look at it more when I look for a tower, but I have to admit, I'm real leary about water cooling. If I end up doing water cooling, I think it will be some sort of total system that comes all together. Something I can't screw up too bad, hopefully! *grins*

    There is a fan on the vidcard and it seemed to stay cool enough, in the other system anyway. But I have been looking at other heatspots and how to cool them too.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  34. Yes, the 1700 Tbred is one of the CPU's I'm looking at, but I don't know what you mean by "Bcore"? I'm also looking at the A7N8X, its on my list of motherboards to check out, I've heard alot of good things about it!

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  35. Yes, I've picked out a UPS, haven't decided between an Enermax or Antec PSU yet, looked at dust filters, fans, and the Thermaltake MCX462+ heatsink, providing it fits whatever CPU & MB I get.

    Its good to hear from someone who has used the Silverado, personally. I've noticed people seem to either love it or hate it and nothing inbetween. I hadn't thought about those 2 plastic notches breaking off, and looked at the old M/B and I DEFINATELY agree. Swiftech's Thermaltake heatsink is already on the list, but I am unfamiliar with "PAbst" fans, so I will look them up. I actually had the best results ever, with the Silverado. But before we got the Silverado, we just used regular, cheap, metal ballbearing fans, so I don't think thats saying much.

    Actually, the XP 2000+ puts out more heat watts than I wanted. (The same as our old, blown up 1.33G Tbird had.) I'm trying to stay under a max dissapation of 50 heat watts, 40 or less would be even better, *grins*. I agree about not getting top of the line, not unless I get liquid cooling, lol! I've added the Epox board to my list of motherboards to check out.

    What is a NB fan? Yes, the big, slow fans.. right now I have the idea of using at least 3 of the Thermaltake Smartfan2's, I'm just worried about getting the airflow right.

    I didn't even know memory CAME with a guarentee! I looked at my 256 stick of DDR, I'm not sure what brand it is, it just says Samsung. Is that the brand name or just the name of the manufacturer?

    I really like my Radeon 7500, it does have a fan on it though, just got it last year and hardly used it cause of the computer problems. I'll take a look at the Zalman kit.


    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  36. I think Juin is on to something. I saw that Xbitlabs article. They were testing the thermal throttling function of the P4. If you don't know what this means what this does is if the processor is running too hot it is gradually slowed to control the temperature. In theory, no crashing.

    <A HREF="" target="_new">Xbitlabs put a P4 through one heck of test.</A> Disabled the case fan. Stuck the case and all inside an incubator. Gradually raised the temperature to 50 degrees C (122 Fahrenheit). Case temp reached 67 degrees C. All the while they were running UT2003.

    Granted it wasn't a durability test but...

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  37. This solution may not be for everyone and is somewhat unorthodox looking.. err ok, it is just plain wierd. Use a UPS for the voltage problems would probably work, but for the heat and dust, submerge it. Get some sort of waterproof container (a fishtank if you want it to look fancy, but a garbage can will do) and fill it up with mineral oil. Connect all of your stuff and throw it all in minus the optical and harddrives. The CD/DVD drives for obvious reasons, and the hdds because they need air and to be able to change air pressure. You can toss in all the rest, motherboard, PCI cards, vid card, and yes the power supply. Leave the hfs's on everything just they way they should be normally. Have a resovoir and a water pump to circulate the oil and put a filter on it to catch any dust that falls in. This would solve your heat and rapid heat change problems as well as dust and humidity. Stick a grate at the bottom to collect any water that my enter the "case". Any water will sink right to the bottom and can be sucked out by itself without having to drain the thing. From what I have read, if you get tired of having your rig swimming, just take it out and let the mineral oil evaporate. I have an old 486 50mhz computer that I think I may dunk for the heck of it to see how it goes. I have read many good things on using this technique of cooling and it costs much less than water cooling. It is very very quiet as well.
  38. Pepperoni and onion pizza before bed?

    You're having nightmares. Wake up!

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  39. >Pepperoni and onion pizza before bed?

    >You're having nightmares. Wake up!

    lol, people actually do submerges. I had about the same reaction when I first read it. But I have read that a few people have done this with great results. is one I found.
  40. I've heard about submerges. I've even seen it done with a chemical, I think it's called Florinert. I never would have thought of mineral oil and never heard of it being done with a system the normally needs a lot of cooling.

    Isn't heat buildup a problem? Is the fluid pumped through a radiator.

    <b>99% is great, unless you are talking about system stability</b>
  41. Crashman-

    At one point I was thinking along the same lines, getting one of the faster PII's, but after looking at my old midtower, and having the 1.33G Tbird, and with everything I've learned in this quest for a stable comp, I think I can do a CPU around 1G, providing I get one with lower heat watts, a full tower with good dust filters, and some more fans. I'm hoping with dust filters, my fans won't go bad as quickly, or get so gunked up, and I'm going to use the Thermaltake Smartfan2, so I "should" be able to recognise if the RPM's slow down too much by monitoring it. I can set 'Motherboard Monitor' to put out an alarm if the RPM's get too slow. What do you think?

    (My midtower is good, for a midtower, *grins*, but on looking at other "full" towers, and towers with more fans, I think the midtower just didn't have enough airflow to keep the Tbird cool. So I suspect that that was another contributing factor that I didn't list cause I didn't realise. And the other tower that came with one of the other MB & CPU's that we blew up, is even smaller!

    I copied those motherboards names down so I can look them up though, just in case the final decision is a PII, *smiles*!

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  42. Cool! That makes alot of this easier, though I already 256mb of DDR RAM that I'm hoping to use, at least I'm not stuck with one type of RAM cause of my vidcard, *grins*.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  43. Ahh. Do you know of any webpages that give the size of the die's on various CPU's?

    I do have a motherboard & PII cartridge CPU that I got real cheap, (like $5 or $15 bucks), somewhere around here. The cartridge is either a 400 or 450, and I don't know what the motherboard is. I picked those up to put together a system for our daughter, so she'd stay off OUR comp, *grins*! After reading everything from you all on the boards and all my research, I realise I'll have to get a UPS, dust filters, etc.. for that system too, when I put it together.

    Yuck, tornado's! We didn't used to get tornado's here, but in the last 7 years that we've lived here, we got 3! tornados!?! And we are surrounded by mountians!! My grandfolks have lived here almost 30 years, and never saw nor heard tale of tornado's in this area til recently. The 3 we had were small, but still its wierd.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  44. That sounds NICE! Beats the hell out of my "good midtower", *grins*! I'd rather do a midtower, because of the space factor, but had figured I'd have to live with a full tower.

    That fan hole for the vidcard, do you know if it will work with the Zalman kit? (I haven't looked at the kit yet, but its on my list.)

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  45. Actually, I already own the 7500 Radeon.. bought it a year or so ago for $124.00 including sh& h. I think the 8500 had just come out cause it was quite a bit more expensive at that time.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  46. Ouch! Well that makes me sick, *grins*.

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  47. I wrote an article on that actually, but I don't feel like looking up the info, because I believe I can give you enough from memory:

    Pentium II 300 and faster: .25 micron
    Pentium III with off die cache: .25 micron
    PIII with on die cache (Coppermine core): .18 micron
    PIII (Tualatin core): .13 Micron
    Celeron (Menidicino): .25 Micron
    Celeron (Coppermine): .18 Micron
    Celeron (Tualatin): .13 Micron

    I'll assume you were interested in this info for heat purposes. The Tualatin Celeron can be underclocked/undervolted and passively cooled, but you'd need a way to set the voltage below stock. The PII can be passively cooler due to it's huge size, requireing a huge cooler.

    Anyway, dust filters IMO don't help much because they restrict the air. You'll plug a filter faster than you'll plug a fan or heatsink. Best bet is to simply blow the dust out every few months. Or if you do go with the filters, clean the filters once a week.

    <font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
  48. As far as the P2 being slow, thats part of the problem.. after tasting the 1.33gig Tbird, the 133mhz is driving me freakin batty! On the otherhand, at this point I'd probably be happy with anything faster, LOL. I really did love that 1.33gig Tbird!

    Do you think the Volcano 7 would be better than one of those big MCX462+ heatsinks with a fan, and why?

    What do you think of the ASUS A7S333 SiS745 Motherboard compared to the ASUS A7N8X? Have you ever used the A7N8X? I've copied the name of your motherboard and will look it up, thanks! Oh, is this the first ASUS A7S333 SiS745 motherboard you've used, and do you know others who have used the same motherboard?

    Is that enough questions? *grins*

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
  49. Actually, I already had a Tbird at one point. No one told me to buy a Tbird, though some have suggested the Tbred. I'm just taking everything people suggest, doing the research, and figuring it out from there. I wouldn't know where to start if it weren't for the folks here on the boards, but thanks for the warning!

    "The sword has to be more than a simple weapon; it has to be an answer to life's questions."- Miyamoto Musashi
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