New video card, more memory, or 2nd case fan?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by Hardtailed, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Hardtailed

    Hardtailed Guest

    I finished assembling my new DAW last night and I have a part I need to return (bought a ball bearing "silent" 80mm fan but ended up buying a case with a 120mm fan already installed). They don't take returns, so I have to exchange.

    I'm trying to decide what I should do: exchange for a 120mm ball-bearing fan to put on the front (Antec SLK3000 case, it has room for an additionnal fan in front of the hard drive cage), or instead buy a second stick of 512MB ram (I don't do that much softsynths, just Battery 2, and I was happy with the 256MB in my previous DAW) or replace my video adapter (I kept the Radeon 7500 I already had).

    Temperature doesn't seem to be a problem, CPU is running pretty cold as it stand, but my HDs feel hot to the touch. However I'm afraid the 2nd fan will only had more noise (as if there wasn't enough). I didn't even have a fan case in the previous DAW (Celeron 1000MHz, seems it wasn't necessary at the time...)

    The video adapter is working well, but it had this tiny little baby of a fan that spins like crazy and sounds like a jet plane (of not that loud, but annoying), the Asus AGP A9520TD uses a heatsink in place of a fan, and would enhance the occasionnal game a bit...

    And memory... well 1GB of ram sounds cool, but 256MB was working well...

    BTW, I'm running (well I will be once I get time to reinstall it) Sonar 4 Producer, I rarely exceed 16 tracks, run mostly EQ, compressor and reverb. The only soft synth I use is Battery 2.

    What would you do if you were me?
  2. Hardtailed

    Hardtailed Guest

    Forgot to add: I currently use a Delta 44 for audio I/O, looking to upgrade to a Mackie 400F soon
  3. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    Get more RAM.
  4. GregP

    GregP Guest

    I agree. Your post seems to indicate that you have half a gig. If you only have 512 now, get another 512.

    If I read the post incorrectly and you have 1GB already, get the new video card.

    The last thing you need is another case fan. All hard drives will run fairly warm, so as long as they're not cookin', a case fan won't be strictly necessary.

  5. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    "All of the above" would not be an outlandish choice, ey? The fan certainly is a "non-issue", cost-wise, compared to either the RAM or the video card?

    A video card with passive cooling would/could be nice, an extra case fan could be nice, more RAM won't likely hurt(Though I think we go a bit f-a-r on this "RAM thing", at times.)...

    Frankly, I wonder which hard drives you are using? My Seagate Baracuda's run at near room temperature and make no noise at all. My old "XXXXXX" drives ran V-E-R-Y hot - so I replaced all 3(The Seagate 40/80's, were "only" about $75 bucks apiece, which I consider quite affordable.).

    Far as the overall "noise" goes, I have my computer box in the next room - no noise at all, even with the up to 10(!) fans running(Unless you're IN the next room! Ha!).

  6. GregP

    GregP Guest

    I agree that people overestimate the usefulness of RAM. If you're not loading tonnes of samples into memory, 1GB is about the right amount for getting smooth system and sequencer performance. Beyond that it's very diminished returns since the extra pretty much just becomes "storage". If the storage isn't being used, it won't boost performance.

    For sample-happy people, though, running from RAM instead of HDD can be a real life-saver.
  7. Hardtailed

    Hardtailed Guest

    That is correct, I have 512mb right now.

    However, I think I'm gonna go with the video card cause the whine from the current card is getting annoying. Problem is that the new cases have some openings on the side for providing fresh air to the video card (the new Intel certified TAC cases) which means I hear it much more than before. Plus, a Radeon 9200 or 9600 based card isn't much expensive (like 40$) and most have passive cooling.

    I have two hard drives, a Seagate 40Gb and a WD 250Gb (media drive). I know Seagate are known to be quiet but mine is very old. I'm eyeing those Barracuda 7200.9 (my new board has a SATA controller so no problem). Ideally, I'd get two of them and replace my current drives but I can't buy everything at once... I'll do some more testing to see how much my HDs contribute to the noise.

    I've also thought that the front case fan would allow me to put the computer in a box without having additionnal fans in the box. All I have to do is provide a path to the exterior and the front case fan would help draw the air inside. The hole is for a big 120mm fan. A Lantec Steatlh DBB fan isn't much expensive.

    Guess I'll still have to get to the memory at some point, but I've never needed more than 256mb before...
  8. Hardtailed

    Hardtailed Guest

    Well, they were blowing out ATI Radeon 9600SE cards at Future Shop so I went and picked one up. Nice, the annoying high-pitched fan whine is gone! So of course now, all I hear is the hard drives...
    I guess this is kinda like witch hunting! Maybe I should stop worrying and crank the speakers up, it's not like I'm doing ultra important projects at the moment :)
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