Section 3.6. Final Words


3.6. Final Words

Overall, we're happy with our new mainstream PC system, although it's a bit louder than we hoped it would be. The problem isn't the Antec power supply or the Seagate Barracuda hard drive, both of which are nearly inaudible. The culprit is the CPU cooler fan, which produces a noticeable buzz.

That surprised us, because recent Intel ATX CPU coolers we've used have been quiet enough to be inaudible in a typical home office environment. This one is definitely audible, although not loud enough to be intrusive. Still, others who have built similar systems have commented about how quiet this BTX cooler is, so we wonder if our CPU cooler fan is defective. When we get a chance, we may disassemble the system and replace the CPU cooler fan with a Panaflo or similar quiet model.

The other thing that surprised us was the CPU temperature. Running in a room at 23°C ambient temperature, the sensor on the Intel motherboard reports the CPU temperature as 58°C at idle and 75°C or more under load. Although those temperatures are within acceptable limits, they're about 20°C higher than we'd like to see.

Still, there's no doubt that the Pentium D 940 is a hot processor in every sense of the word, so perhaps we'll just have to get used to it. Also, motherboard temperature sensors are notoriously unreliable. In the past, we've used a thermal probe on various systems and found that the actual CPU temperature was as much as 10°C or 15°C lower than the temperature reported by the CPU temperature sensor. We hope that's the case here, although there's no convenient way to test it because the humongous BTX CPU cooler leaves us no way to get a temperature probe in contact with the processor.

But those are mere niggles. Sure, we'd like the system to run a bit quieter and a bit cooler, but its performance is top-notch. It's also rock-solid stable, as we proved by running the Passmark burn-in utility for 72 hours without a single glitch. We can't ask for much more.

For updated component recommendations, commentary, and other new material, visit http://www.hardwareguys.com/guides/mainstream-pc.html.




Building the Perfect PC
Building the Perfect PC, Second Edition
ISBN: 0596526865
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 84

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