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Hi,

I'm planning on building a Home Theatre/Gaming PC to work on a Plasma (I have none of the above at the moment!). I want something that'll play Half Life 2 in good detail and do all the usual HT stuff but I need it to be quiet (and want to try and avoid all sorts of sound dampening things like the Zalman case, hard drive enclosures etc).


Has anyone used a laptop hard drive in a gaming PC and slapped in lots of RAM to compensate? I realise the "load times" for the levels will take considerably longer but I was wanting to know about big in-game differences. I have a spare 60 Gig latop drive at the moment (4400rpm) and was thinking of using it with ~2 Gigs of RAM.


Cheers,

Stuart.
 

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I wouldn't do it. Load times in Half-Life 2 are all ready bad enough. They would be miserable with such a slow hard drive. Other HTPC chores will suffer as well, and no, the extra RAM won't compensate for the slowness of the drive.
 

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Anything under 5400 rpm would be too slow for level loading. chris5977 is right when he says that Half-Life 2 level loads are long enough on a faster drive. I personally have 2 7200 rpm drives in raid 0 and still find some games to have somewhat lengthy load times. HorrorScope is right in his mention that there are indeed quiet 7200 rpm drives in existence. A Seagate or a Maxtor drive should be plenty quiet. A case that supports rubber grommets for the hard drives is a great way to reduce any sound and vibration that these quiet drives may emit. I think pretty much every quality case today uses rubber grommets for their hard drive cages.
 

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Counterpoint:


5400RPM drives work just fine. You can use a laptop drive in a HTPC if you want, but the performance will dog (Does that Laptop drive have any appreciable buffer?) and it will make a bad situation worse. A 5400 rpm drive wont be as fast as a 7200rpm drive, but in many cases the differences arent perceptible, unless you are one of the people who really does get upset when something loads in 20 seconds instead of 10. More often than not the delay in loading a level is when there is insufficient ram, and the drive is doing double duty both loading data into RAM *and* moving data to virtual memory.


The problem is people are too used to the "Loads in 2 seconds" Quake2 days. If you can't sit patiently for 20 or 30 seconds (worst case scenario compounded by lack of RAM) while a level loads you need to find a new hobby.


Any Seagate drive should be very, very quiet...just remember the bigger the drive, the faster it turns, the greater the heat generated...in a cramped HTPC environment that may mean something.


Rubber Grommetts for hard drives didn't seem to make any difference on any of the cases I had in the past, of course I wasn't using a $10 dollar case either so your mileage may vary.

The only thing that really helped me was buying a case that had "Hard Drive Securing" latches built in, so no screws, just plastic levers that secure the drives in the bay.


For the most part, most HTPC cases I've seen (quality ones) have a heavyness to them that helps keep any vibration and sound down to a minimum.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadRusch
Counterpoint:


Rubber Grommetts for hard drives didn't seem to make any difference on any of the cases I had in the past, of course I wasn't using a $10 dollar case either so your mileage may vary.

The only thing that really helped me was buying a case that had "Hard Drive Securing" latches built in, so no screws, just plastic levers that secure the drives in the bay.


For the most part, most HTPC cases I've seen (quality ones) have a heavyness to them that helps keep any vibration and sound down to a minimum.
Plenty of reviews have shown that rubber grommets do in fact make a difference even in many quality cases. I can't tell for myself because my Antec P180 requires the use of rubber grommets for the most secure installation. Then again, there could be a double standard amongst HTPC cases and Mid Tower cases.
 
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