Tyan and Antec?

Discussion in 'Tyan' started by rhys, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. rhys

    rhys Guest

    Hi, there.

    I posted earlier this month in alt.comp.homebuilt on my next "god box"
    workstation ideas.
    I've narrowed down a few specs and want opinions as to whether I'm on
    the right track.

    Intended use is as a graphics design (2-D) workstation and file
    server, with multi-tasking/multi-threading capacity today, and with an
    upgrade path to full 64-bit computing over a five-year work cycle.

    All prices current today from my usual assembler and in Canadian

    Currently looking at:

    Tyan Thunder K8WE S2895A2NRF $549 (see
    http://www.tyan.com/products/html/thunderk8we.html )

    2 x AMD Opteron 242 1.6GHz CPU 2 x $248 (May go for a faster pair)
    under Windows 2K to start, then Win XP64 in 2006. Probably will add
    Zalman processor fans.

    8 x Kingston 1GB Reg ECC KVR400D4R3A/1G 8 x $267

    4 x Corsair CM72SD1024RLP-3200/S PC 3200/DDR400 sticks...See a
    Canadian price of $180 for these at
    http://www.atic.ca/index.php?page=showall&man=129&cat=4 .

    If I am running a 32-bit OS for the near term, it's stupid to install
    RAM the OS can't see until I go to Win XP64, right? This will save
    money, unless anyone thinks there's a reliability problem with
    Corsair. Other recommended makes/prices?

    Western Digital 74GB SATA 10K $219 I like this model, and that
    price is OK. This computer will likely have at least two more drives
    and/or be linked via Gigabit Ethernet to my current dualie PIII as a
    RAID backup/file server.

    ATI Radeon X1600XT 256MB PCIE $169 I like this model, and that price
    is OK. This won't be a game box.

    Antec Titan Server Case $159 If this case (which I like A LOT)
    comes with the True Power 2.0 550 W power supply (TP2-550EPS12V) and
    the included HD fan, then I have to do more research on other power
    supplies, but that's also a good price. There is currently some debate
    over this PS and the Tyan board I favour. Any alternatives that
    emphasize QUIET and COOLER will be favoured (Zalman, Silverstone?), as
    will alternative case recommendations that can deal with the Extended
    ATX form factor.

    rhys, Dec 24, 2005
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  2. rhys

    Jim Guest


    I've got a few comments. First, I love the Tyan Thunder K8WE
    S2895A2NRF board. I've had great luck with mine. Second, I'd at least
    consider dual core processors. If you move to Win64, this give you the
    possibility of having up to four equivalent processors for a $140.00
    operating system. (www.zipzoomfly.com). Third, I would probably *not*
    buy a case and a power supply together. The K8WE potentially uses far
    more power than any 550 watt power supply can deliver. You have to
    look, in particular, for how many amps on the 12 volt rail. Many of us
    have PC Power & Cooling 850 watt power supplies. I'd also consider
    Lian-Li aluminum cases. Fourth, you can get cheaper memory. I bought
    generic Samsung 2 GB sticks from MemoryForLess.com for $385.00 per
    stick. That leave you more slots--which you'll probably never
    uses--but it also saves you money. I had to bargain over the phone to
    get this price.

    I hope this at least gives you some ideas.

    Have a Merry Christmas! :)

    Jim, Dec 25, 2005
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  3. rhys

    rhys Guest

    I did, and thanks. I do hear decent things about Lian-Li, but I hear
    the PC P&C power supplies are noisy. Noisy is bad. This will be a
    business/graphics workstation with at most three drives. I won't be
    overclocking, but I will be multitasking/threading a LOT, same as I
    have done on my dual CPU rigs since' 97, both ASUS and both still
    functioning. But I am just hearing that Tyan's K8WE is the mainboard I
    can stick with for the next few years and just pop in dual core
    Opterons and more RAM should I need to, and better video cards if I

    So I can stick with 550-600 watt for now if that means quiet, because
    I figure I won't tax this rig at first. If I throw a bunch of cards
    in, yes, I would change up. I like the Antec case, but I can't get a
    solid grasp on a quiet and RELIABLE PS for this particular board,
    which I do NOT want to fry because I bought the wrong PS.

    rhys, Dec 27, 2005
  4. rhys

    Jim Guest

    It's ironic, but the PC Power & Cooling *higher* wattage power supplies
    are actually far more effecient than their lower power siblings. (But
    they cost more too.) They *are* noisey, however, you are correct
    there, but my 510 is noiser than my 850. Sometimes I can't tell
    whether my K8WE is on or not without watching the CPU fans.

    I hope this helps.

    Jim, Dec 28, 2005
  5. rhys

    rhys Guest

    Very much so. I have read so much that's positive about this PS that I
    think I'll get it, even though it will cost the same as the mobo.

    I do have one question, though: the draw of this thing is rated at 12
    amps, or most of a typcal 15 amp circuit. I assume that is when it's
    drawing all 850 W? I can't see EVER drawing that even with dual
    Opterons, as I wouldn't be running five drives, three DVD-ROMs, etc.

    But as it WILL be on most of the time, I want to realistically figure
    out if I should have an electrician run a dedicated 15 amp circuit to
    a GFCI wall outlet...just for this one box.

    A secondary concern is the UPS. I bought a few months back an APC
    Back-UPS 800, which is rated for 540 watts. I bought it specifically
    for the next computer...my current dualie AND router AND phone AND
    monitor draw less than 200 watts, which means this is overkill (I can
    run about 30 minutes just on the UPS). Do you think that this UPS is
    sufficient for this spec? (updated to today's estimates!)

    Tyan Thunder K8WE
    Dual Opteron 242s or 248s (haven't decided)
    4 x 1 Corsair ECC DDR-400 RAM
    1 x Western Digital SATA Raptor 74 G drive.
    1 x ATI Radeon X1600 256MB PCIE
    Couple of auxiliary fans
    Undetermined mid-range sound card
    Couple of USB devices (low draw)
    2 x ViewSonic 19" LCDs of pro quality.

    May I ask what case you have your PCP&C 850W in? At first, I will have
    just one PCI-E video card and one WD Raptor SATA drive, so a tower
    with a couple of 120 mm fans in it will keep things cool.

    Thanks for the guidance. This is beyond where most people spec out
    systems, it seems, but when I buy, I buy with the intention of using
    the rig for 4-5 years, and then I go "big" again...

    rhys, Dec 28, 2005
  6. rhys

    Richard Guest

    In his posting of Wed, 28 Dec 2005, rhys writes


    I don't meant to barge in on your thread but whilst power supplies are
    being discussed it did make me wonder if the unit that was supplied with
    my new box was really adequate.

    This is a dual, dual core Opteron 2.4 rig using a Tyan S2895 board
    running 4 X15K Seagates and a large SATA drive plus five cooling fans.
    No doubt I will be adding additional drives in the future. The power
    supply is a Seasonic 600W unit.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Richard, Dec 28, 2005
  7. rhys

    rhys Guest

    Well, that's a pretty comprehensive rig! You are certainly welcome to
    participate as these boards seems a bit picky about their power.

    According to http://www.pcpowercooling.com/technology/power_usage/ ,
    you can essentially "do the math" and add up what you already have to
    determine total watts drawn at 100% load. The good news is that dual
    cores draw no more than single cores, for all I know. The less good
    news is that you already have a lot of fans and big fast drives.

    Two video cards, as well, I am guessing. That's a lot.

    According to this: http://www.tyan.com/support/html/r_s2895.html
    Seasonic is *NOT* a "recommended" PS. Why this is I have no idea, but
    it would be worth investigating if you determine your PS won't cut it
    should you draw more load. I am finding the poorly displayed but
    useful forums on http://www.k8we.com/?q=gettingstarted and here:
    http://forums.2cpu.com/ to be helpful.

    What case are you using, please?

    rhys, Dec 28, 2005
  8. rhys

    Richard Guest

    In his posting of Wed, 28 Dec 2005, rhys writes
    Well yes but they are not high consumption items as far as I am aware. I
    am running the Matrox 650 and the 450 cards but have not been able so
    far to find what they do consume. Adding up the list using the URL is
    a frightening task. I have six strips of ram which working on 8w per 128
    ram gives a far too high a figure of 384w to be credible! Without the
    ram and the 1.8 multiplier I get to a guess based on these figures of
    685w....surely this cannot be correct?

    The case is the tall Lian-Li silver finish job and to my mind is a real
    star. What a pleasure it is to be able to smoothly roll it in and out
    from under the work top. I've done plenty of this these last couple of


    Richard, Dec 28, 2005
  9. rhys

    rhys Guest

    No, but their fans can be. They're a variable load, regardless.

    I can't say if that is accurate. I would say that while a power supply
    maker has a vested interest in "overselling" their product, I would
    generally hold to the principle that a power supply that isn't
    constantly run full-tilt will likely run more quietly and with greater
    stability in its delivered voltage...highly desirable with this mobo,
    I am led to believe.

    I would use Google to see if other generic wattages can be found.
    Conversely, my dual Pentium III (a low-power CPU compared to today's),
    two CPU fans, and with 1 GIG of RAM and three EIDE drives, an AGP
    video card with a small fan, two case fans and a few other PCI cards,
    draws between 167 and 210 watts from a 350 watt power supply. I know
    this from my UPS software monitoring:

    So maybe 685 watts *isn't* insanely high, given that faster RAM and
    Opterons draw more power (I believe the Opterons need 90 w each
    Thanks. My case choices are SilverStone TJ-03, Antec Titan and now
    that LianLi PCV2000AW. Lian-Li is getting good recommendations, even
    though it's not on the "recommended" list Tyan puts out.

    rhys, Dec 28, 2005
  10. rhys

    Jim Guest


    According to the President of PC Power & Cooling it's all about how
    many amps on the 12 volt rail. Most of the major consumers of power
    consume from the 12 volt system. Many of us are happy with the PC
    Power & Cooling 850. Just the two CPUs, Video card, and RAID use up
    more than 300 watts. All the other stuff must take another 200, and
    you always want room to grow.

    Jim, Jan 4, 2006
  11. rhys

    Richard Guest

    In his posting of Tue, 3 Jan 2006, Jim writes
    Dear Jim

    Thanks for your two postings. As regards the capacity that is
    appropriate for the PSU to power this computer recently assembled for me
    I do not want to take issue with these people without good reason.

    As the result of unhappiness with certain aspects of their performance
    to date I am in a questioning mood however. Two dual core Opteron 2.4,
    five fans which surely do not draw that much, five V fast SCSI drives,
    six sticks of 1G ram, and one large SATA. I run a dual pentium and
    five V fast SCSI drives all off one 300w unit and that seems fine so am
    I really right to be concerned with a 600 w unit in the new computer I


    Richard, Jan 4, 2006
  12. rhys

    rhys Guest

    This is the unit I've ordered. It will probably arrive today. I was
    persuaded that due to my requirements to buy in Q4 2005 a set of
    components that will still serve me in Q1 2009 (and which can be
    reasonably expanded as needed to take in dual video cards, three or
    four large HDs, and other power-sucking gear, that this unit and its
    particularly method of construction offered my best choice.

    This machine is being assembled by my usual shop and as I can only
    play with it between work cycles, I've told them "no rush". I need it
    done right, not done tomorrow.

    Just in case anyone is interested,
    I have ordered the Tyan Thunder K8WE/S2895 and the system currently
    consists of that, plus 4 x 1 Corsair ECC DDR-400 3200 RAM sticks,
    2 x 1 Opteron 246s
    1 x ATI X1600XT PCI-e video card
    1 Western Digital Raptor WD740GD (00FLC0 revision) HD
    Antec Titan server case w/PCP&C 850 w PSU
    Floppy drive
    Probably LaCie DVD-ROM burner/CD-ROM RW...to be determined
    Microsoft 6000 wired mouse and other extras (keyboard?) as needed.

    I will go with the onboard audio and networking for the moment as that
    will suffice my modest needs in this area.

    Initial OS will be reliable old Windows 2000. All my current graphics
    apps, even the newest, are happy with it and I find it quite reliable.

    I plan to expand to several HDs, probably three, maybe four. I also
    can see going within two years to two dual core CPUs as I migrate to
    64-bit OS and recompiled apps.

    Suggestions as to a decent LCD monitor are welcome. I have found the
    higher-end Viewsonic models good value for my needs, but will gladly
    hear suggestions in the 19"-21" range.

    rhys, Jan 5, 2006
  13. rhys

    Jim Guest


    Sounds like a nice system! :) You'll probably end up going with RAID
    in the not too distant future. Once you've had the protection of RAID,
    you never want to go back.

    Jim, Jan 5, 2006
  14. rhys

    rhys Guest

    Well, the plan involves upgrading over four years, so I would be
    foolish to rule that out. My current methods involve partitioning
    largish physical drives into logical drives, as in C:/OS, D:/programs,
    E:/data, and then backing up just the data partition to a second
    physical drive, and then further archiving in an old machine over the
    network. Works for me, but a RAID array with scheduled back-ups is
    more bulletproof.

    The main point in this current overkill is to prep for a move to 64
    bit apps and greater video subsystem speed. Drives are comparatively
    cheap, as are RAID schemes.

    rhys, Jan 6, 2006
  15. rhys

    Jim Guest


    RAID is not as inexpensive as you may think. First, you need at least
    four drives for a good, safe system. Second, the best drives, with the
    16 MB caches, tend also to be the largest, most expensive, drives. The
    fastest SATA II PCI-X 133 MHz controllers aren't cheap. It's easy to
    spend $2000.00 to $2500.00 on just the RAID component.

    Jim, Jan 6, 2006
  16. rhys

    Paul Guest

    In the following rambling article, there is no mention of
    gauging +3.3V and +5V, because not enough info is available
    to do them justice. Generally speaking, such a large supply
    is needed to get enough +12V, that generally there is an
    excess of available +3.3V and +5V current, so there is no
    worry there. The last situation where +5V was in short
    supply, was on the old AthlonMP duallies.

    First of all, you can use the "reality test" for power questions.
    If the RAM was dissipating 384W, the area above the RAM would
    be heated as if there were 6+ 60Watt light bulbs. Do you feel
    the heat of that many light bulbs, directly above the DIMM
    slots ?

    It is easy to get real numbers for RAM.

    Kingston 2GB registered ECC PC3200 DDR module 36 chips - 11 watts
    Power is based on 18 busy chips and 18 idle chips (128Mx4)...

    Kingston 1GB registered ECC PC3200 DDR module 18 chips - 9.7 watts
    Power is based on 18 busy chips and 0 idle chips (128Mx4)...

    Kingston 1GB registered ECC PC3200 DDR module 36 chips - 8.7 watts
    Power is based on 18 busy chips and 18 idle chips (64Mx4)...

    Kingston 512MB registered ECC PC3200 DDR module 18 chips - 5.9 watts
    Power is based on 18 busy chips and 0 idle chips (64Mx4)...

    Kingston 512MB registered ECC PC3200 DDR module 18 chips - 4.4 watts
    Power is based on 9 busy chips and 9 idle chips (32Mx8)...

    Another sanity check on the idle power the chips use, is
    the realization that the 5VSB supply (usually 2A max) is
    used to power the memory chips when the computer is in
    S3 sleep mode. Thus, the power to keep the chips in
    refresh ("idle" mode), has to be less than that.

    When you populate all 8 channels, since you are in dual
    channe, you could consider 4 DIMMs to be "busy"
    and 4 DIMMs to be idle. If you used (8) 2GB DIMMs,
    instead of the power being 8*11W, it will be 4*11W + 4*a_few_Watts
    and certainly much less than 88W. If you hold your hand
    over the DIMM area on the motherboard, do you feel the heat
    equivalent of a single 60W light bulb ? Probably not.

    I hope you can see from these numbers, that you will not be
    drawing 384W, but a lower number. Since I can see a little
    switching regulator next to the DIMMs, it is not possible to
    positively determine which rail the DIMMs draw their power from.
    An educated guess would be the +5V rail.

    For Opteron power:


    I don't know which processor you have, but if I assume it
    is a 95W processor, the current draw assuming 90% efficiency
    of the Vcore converter is 95W/12V * (1/0.90) = 8.8 amps from
    the 12V rail.

    On disks, for IDE disks I assume [email protected] and [email protected] when
    idle. For a desktop, virtually all drives are idle. For
    a server, all disks are busy (and have a higher power number).
    Spinup is a special case, and drives draw [email protected] and as much as
    [email protected] for the first 20 seconds or so. With your SCSI drives,
    there could be a "staggered spin" option, to prevent
    simultaneous spinup. A Seagate 15K.4 uses 12W idle and 17W
    busy. I'd guess they split [email protected] and [email protected] or so, for the
    idle power estimate.

    Here are some sources of video card info:
    High end cards 112W max, but no breakdown on which rail.

    If a card has no fan, estimate 20W (and no particular rail)
    If a card has a fan, estimate 40W (and no particular rail)
    If a card is PCI Express, has a fan, has an aux connector, assume
    it draws virtually all power through +12V. Thus 9A per card
    on the 12V rail, is the max to be expected.

    The Seasonic S12 600W

    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

    is "an ATX 2.0 with extra connectors" and not an SSI. I cannot
    find a wiring diagram for the connectors. Significant loads
    are processor 0 (8.8 amps), processor 1 (8.8 amps), PCI-E
    video card 0 (9A), PCI-E video card 1 (9A), fans (1A),
    and disk drives (5*0.6A). These loads must be split over the
    two 18A outputs somehow. With the use of low power video cards,
    the split probably isn't too important, but with a real
    SLI setup you'd definitely need to see details, to know if
    the Seasonic would be overloaded on one of its +12V outputs.

    The two PCP&C Turbocool supplies have three output rails.
    The expected split would be one each for each processor
    socket, and the third (larger output) handles disk drives
    and PCI-E video cards. But since details of 12V1, 12V2, and
    12V3 are not in their wiring diagram, my suggested split
    is wishful thinking. I would need an ohmmeter to verify
    which loads are connected together.

    There are also supplies with quad outputs. This article
    mentions that a Silverstone ST65ZF uses:


    +12V1: CPU0
    +12V2: CPU1, SATA, Motherboard
    +12V3: Motherboard, PCI-Express
    +12V4: Molex Connectors

    so you have to divvy up your load calculation to the
    appropriate output. (Motherboard there, generally means
    the fan headers, but the motherboard also would drive
    the PCI Express edge card. The "PCI Express" 12V3 mentioned
    in the table above, would be the 2x3 aux power connector
    for the video card. And the high power video cards would
    draw all their +12V from the cable, so as to avoid
    burning the edge card pins that have a limit of 1A per
    pin. A 6600GT would draw 4.5 amps from the edge card
    [based on the Xbitlabs article], but a 7800GTX should
    be drawing its current from the aux cable instead. At
    least that is my best guess, as xbitlabs hasn't done
    as much detail on their power measurements, since their
    original nice pair of ATI/Nvidia articles.)

    So, I would say the "class" of the supply is good,
    but the devil is in the details, which are not available
    on the web.

    For these high end systems, you really need the output
    rail specs, and a wiring diagram of the cable harness, in
    order to determine whether a multiple +12V output supply
    is OK or no. For a Zippy I saw, with a single +12V @ 40A
    output, the arithmetic is much easier.

    Finally, buying a "Kill-O-Watt" meter, which measure
    AC consumption, then scaling by the stated efficiency
    of the power supply, will give a rough estimate of
    how much power is being used by the hardware. For an
    80% efficient Seasonic, 300W used by the hardware
    means the Kill-O-Watt will read 375W. Find a loading
    program like Prime95 (torture test option - mersenne.org)
    while doing such power measurements, or add a gaming
    demo loop as well if you are a gamer, to try to
    keep as many cores busy as possible.

    Paul, Jan 9, 2006
  17. rhys

    rhys Guest

    I didn't find it rambling at all, although some of the detail was
    revelatory of my ignorance. I thank and commend you for your
    thoughtful input to my original questions and the subsequent
    conversation. On Friday, the PCP&C 850 W unit arrived and that's going
    to be the power supply, even if it is perhaps overkill in my
    situation. Frankly, I would rather have that overkill and "wiggle
    room" for future expansion than not, but were I not buying this for
    business use (and thus seeing expenditures turn into tax credits), but
    rather as a hobbyist/gamer, I would be extremely pissed off I hadn't
    read your cogent post earlier.

    I am taking the power supply (which is, I must admit, a thing of
    beauty as these things go and appears absurdly robust and
    well-constructed) down to my "clone assembler" shop of choice later
    today. It's going to go into the Antec Titan case, which has room for
    fans today and growth tomorrow.

    Again, thanks for going to that trouble. I will look at some of those
    lab power consumption reports with great interest, because heat and
    fan noise is a bugbear with me.

    rhys, Jan 9, 2006
  18. rhys

    Richard Guest

    In his posting of Mon, 9 Jan 2006, Paul writes
    Dear Paul

    My apologies for the long delay in saying thank you for taking the time
    and trouble to put all this valuable information together. I have been
    away for some weeks and only just now spotted it!

    Best wishes


    Richard, Jan 29, 2006
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