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Gigabyte G41-M-ES2L/Intel E5200 C2D nearly silent system
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Author:  graysky [ Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:41 am ]
Post subject:  Gigabyte G41-M-ES2L/Intel E5200 C2D nearly silent system

# Video type: HDTV or SDTV
# Type of system: MBE/FE
# Noise level: Nearly silent - I can't hear it sitting on the couch with TV off.
# Video type: HDTV or SDTV
# Type of system: MBE/FE
# CASE: Silverstone GD04
# PSU: 300W that came with another case. Rated as an active PFC/80+ efficiency.
# MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte G41-M-ES2L
# CPU: C2D E5200 (see note below)
# RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Blackline (2 x 1GB) @ 800 MHz 4-4-4-12
# CPU HEATSINK: The stock Intel one
# NORTHBRIDGE HEATSINK: (the one that came with the MB)
# CD/DVD-RW: None, I don't want one
# HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 ST3640323AS 640 Gig (old one I had lying around)
# GRAPHICS CARD: 8400GS w/ big HS and no fan (PCI Express 2.0 but the board is only a PCI Express 1.0)
# SOUNDCARD: (Onboard)
# REMOTE CONTROL: PVR-250's remote

Potential Turn-offs to this MB:
-No thermal sensor for the chipset
-See this post for a list.

General notes: I didn't actually install R6 from the CD. I had R6 installed on my HDD that I used in my old AMD/Athlon box. I followed this howto to transfer the system to the new blank HDD. I did an R6 install on a very similar system P45 motherboard/E6500 chip and had no issues.

You can use a larger HDD, I just had the old 640 lying around and I only do SDTV right now. The system can do HD no problem, just add an HD capture card or use the PVR-1212.

Note on sound driver: THIS MAY BE UNIQUE TO MY MYTHTV CONFIGURATION but I wanted to document it anyway. The problem is that when oss loads, there is an annoying high pitch beeeeeeep sound ever present. It goes away if you load up ossxmix and check the "mix1-mute" button in the middle for some reason. Be SURE that you run "savemixer" as root when you exit ossxmix or else it won't remember the setting. Easy fix and I wanted to post it. Or use ALSA :) See this thread about redefining ALSA in mythtv for a potential fix to use ALSA.

Note on video drivers: I'm outputting to SDTV via s-video cable so I had to use the 190.42 nvidia drivers to get overscan/underscan correction. See this thread for instructions (it's easy).

Chip was $64
MB was $55
RAM was $56
Case was $99

PSU was a spare that came with an old case I never used so $0
HDD was a spare so $0
PVR-250 was purchased a long time ago
8400GS was a pull but I think I paid $40 for it way back when.

Note on the CPU: it's running at the stock 12.5x200=2.5 GHz but this board allows users to adjust the voltages lower than the stock VID which is way WAY overkill. In other words, the stock VID is set SKY HIGH to allow for stability across 99.9 % of the processors. In fact, many 45 nm FAB C2D chips like the E5200 can run stable WAY lower than the factory VID of 1.2875 V. For example, I am running this one stable (24 h of prime95 large FFTs and 200 iterations of Linpack) at 0.9750 V which is 312.5 mV less. That is a huge number. The full loads temps running at this Vcore never exceeded 45 C during the stress testing/the Intel HSF never throttled up (trigger is 50 C) so it always runs more or less silently @ 800 RPM.

MB voltages I found to be stable and that are minimized (note these are FYI only and every chip is different so don't just plug my numbers into your system):
CPU Vcore = 0.97500 V
CPU Termination = 1.10000 V
CPU Reference = 0.738 V

FYI, according to processorfinder dot com, the CPU Vcore range for this series of chip is 0.85 V - 1.3625 V so 0.9750 V is totally within Intel specs.

Gigabyte boards mislabel the GTL Ref voltage as "CPU Reference" and they also display it as an absolute voltage rather than a dynamic percent of the CPU Termination (VTT). The default value should be 0.67x the VTT. In this case the VTT is 1.1 V and 1.1 times 0.66667 = 0.733 V. Just as an FYI.

I can post more about stress testing/minimizing vcore if someone wants.

Author:  marc.aronson [ Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:58 am ]
Post subject: 

Graysky, any idea how many watts of power the setup uses?

Author:  graysky [ Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:57 pm ]
Post subject: 

Yeah... kind of. I originally built the system on a bench out of the case so no fans to draw power and I didn't have my PVR-250 plugged in while stability testing. Also, the OS was windows because when stability testing, it's better to crash out of XP than it is to crash out of Linux since the potential for FS damage is greater under Linux. Finally, I don't remember the voltages I set up when I took these readings, in fact, I think they were stock:

CPU Vcore=1.2875 V
VTT = 1.20 V

Here are the readings I got off my kill-a-watt:

1) Using on board video/no nvidia card install: 43W / 58W (idle/load)
2) With the nvidia board plugged in: 53 W (idle) and didn't record load

Load was produced using prime95 v25.9 using large FFTs.

Author:  graysky [ Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:34 pm ]
Post subject: 

Update: with 2x120 mm fans and the setup described above w/ the 8400GS, idle is 57 W and load while watching SDTV is 61 W.

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