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 Post subject: Building a silent PC to be used for design programs
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 8:02 am 
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Location: England
I will try to keep this brief.

I am going to be building a silent PC, its main purpose will be to run design and graphics programs such as Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Autocad and Solidworks (not interested at all in gaming for this computer). My budget, there is none. Although if a new model is only slightly better than the old one but is 3x more expensive, I would rather have the old one.

I have found out that nVidia graphics cards are the way forwards for design and ATI for gaming. I really am lost in everything else though. There is an ocean of information to do with computers and I have barely begun to skim the surface. Any help that could speed up my research would be greatly appreciated. Till then I will plow on through :)

I will post again later on when I have decided on specs for the computer.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Joe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:07 am 
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How many monitors at what resolution?
How parallel are the programs you are using (will they benefit from quad core)?


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 Post subject: Re: Building a silent PC to be used for design programs
PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:32 am 
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Joe23002 wrote:
My budget, there is none. Although if a new model is only slightly better than the old one but is 3x more expensive, I would rather have the old one.


This leads to asking: What's your current platform?

...and when you say no budget, does that mean you will spend unlimited funds if the performance is >> 3x better than your current platform? :D

That said, here's a starting point:
case: Silverstone Fortress FT02
PSU: Enermax Modu87 500
CPU: Intel i7-860 or 875K
Mobo: Gigabyte P55 variant. Most now have SATA3 and USB3 support.
Memory: 4 x 2GB or even 4 x 4GB DDR3 1600. Don't think there is much benefit going to a higher speed grade. lower latency helps.
OS/apps/scratch file drive: Intel X25M G2 80/160GB
Data drive: WD Green or Samsung EcoGreen
GPU: The newly released Nvidia GTX460..no great cooling solutions available right now, but should be in a few months. The MSI typhoon seems to be the quietest. Or, if your budget is limitless, get an NVidia Quaddro card - silent cooling might be difficult.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:33 am 
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Location: England
Quote:
How many monitors at what resolution?
How parallel are the programs you are using (will they benefit from quad core)?

There will be two monitors both having a resolution of 1920x1200.
The programs will be run simultaneously so they will benefit from quad core.

Quote:
What's your current platform?

My current platform is Windows 7 but I am anxious to move onto Linux as soon as it becomes appropiate. No, I will not spend unlimited funds on a new computer. By saying I have no budget means that I am not limited to having to buy the cheapest items available, and that I can pay extra for good quality :)

Quote:
OS/apps/scratch file drive: Intel X25M G2 80/160GB
Data drive: WD Green or Samsung EcoGreen
GPU: The newly released Nvidia GTX460..no great cooling solutions available right now, but should be in a few months. The MSI typhoon seems to be the quietest. Or, if your budget is limitless, get an NVidia Quaddro card - silent cooling might be difficult.

What is the reasoning for running the OS on a solid state drive? I was under the impression they were slower.
For the graphics card, from my research I was unable to determine whether any of these are passively cooled. The graphics card has to be passivley cooled. Since the Quadro cards all contain fans and are very overpriced, I shall not be getting one.

Thanks for all the help
Joe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 8:34 am 
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Oh, by the way - Welcome to SCPR!

Current platform: Was more curious as to the hardware in your platform than the OS :D

SSDs being faster/slower than HDDs depends on the SSD/controller and the function. In general, SSDs provide a performance benefit over rotating drives. Specifically, they bog down on sequential writes and some are slower/faster than others. The Intel X25M G2 is a solid performer, but it is slower than some others in sequential writes. There are a slew of SSD articles/benchmarks out there. Anandtech is a good site for this.

OS tasks are a bunch of sequential and random reads as well as random writes. Few sequential writes. So, SSD is faster than HDD.

App booting: Mostly sequential read - so SSD is very fast as opposed to HDD.

Scratch disk: Photoshop does 100kB sequential writes to the scratch disk. So, no benefit over a WD Raptor. Some others SSDsare faster for this. I'm hesitant to recommend some of the the newer SSDs as they are still working out the firmware kinks. If you are still a month or so away from purchase, then it'll probably work out ok. Your tradeoff will be noise vs performance vs price. Velociraptor aren't quiet or cheap but are fast. Inaudible 5400rpm drives are slower but cheap. Quiet 7200rpm drives are somewhere in between. SSDs aren't cheap but are silent and fast. :D

gpu: Adobe is pretty vague about gpu horsepower vs applications performance boost. NVidia has had fairly poor idle/load power consumption for their midrange cards which limits a passive solution. Their highest performing passive card is [http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/gigabyte-9800gt-silent-cell.html]Gigabyte's Silent cell 9800GT[/url]. It will need decent case ventilation. A lower performance card is the GT 240. ASUS and Zotac make passive versions.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject: Sound card
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:29 am 
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Location: England
Well basically I have one last thing to decide and it is the sound card. However, I keep reading that most motherboards have a suitable sound system build in them.

I am currently looking at the Gigabyte P55 UD6 motherboard.

Is it worth buying a new soundcard?


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 Post subject: Re: Sound card
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 7:25 am 
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Current generation SSDs are much faster than spinning SATA drives in almost every way. For a production rig, the Intel SSDs are the best choice because of their reliability claims. The drives (specifically: flash write cycle numbers, the part that makes flash memory deteriorate) are rated for long years even under server conditions (lots of writes compared to other uses).

Joe23002 wrote:
Is it worth buying a new soundcard?

Do you listen to high quality music using some decent speakers or high-end headphones? You would benefit from a better DAC and electromagnetic shielding in a dedicated sound card. If that's not required of this PC, then you can save the money, as the built-in cards are decent enough for casual use.

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Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:24 am 
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Try the mobo sound first and see if it suits your needs. You can always add a sound card/etc later.

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1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic X-560. 35-40W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 200-230W Rift, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:49 am
Posts: 6
Location: England
Thankyou for the quick replies.

Could you take some time to criticize my current spec and answer a question for me please. Thankyou.

My current spec is as follows:
Case - Silverstone Fortress FT02
PSU - Enermax Modu87+ 500W
CPU - Intel i7-860
MoBo - Gigabyte P55-UD6
RAM - Hypertec HP Equivalent 4GB PC3 10600 DDR3
SSD - Intel X25m G2 160GB
HDD - WD Caviar Green 2TB
GPU - Gigabyte 9800 GT Silent Cell or use Gigabyte's website for GPU
This all approximates to about £1400 ($2200)

The question is as follows:
Is it really worth having a SSD working alongside a HDD? I ask this because it bears the brunt of the cost (£325). I dont really understand the pro's and con's of SSD's. Any in-depth technical explanation would be very appreciated.

Joe


Last edited by Joe23002 on Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:59 am 
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Joe23002 wrote:
Is it really worth having a SSD working alongside a HDD? I ask this because it bears the brunt of the cost (£325). I dont really understand the pro's and con's of SSD's.

To bring cost down, you could get a smaller SSD and/or HDD if you can do with less. Maybe 80 GB for OS + apps is enough? Maybe you can do with 1 TB for data? Remember that adding more HDD space is cheap, and it goes down in price at a steady pace.

Joe23002 wrote:
Any in-depth technical explanation would be very appreciated.

To get really detailed info, I recommend you check out AnandTech (simply google "AnanTech SSD"). They put out regular updates on SSD performance.

Short version: SSDs provide dramatically reduced access and read times compared to HDDs, so everything loads much faster. They also write faster than HDDs, so anything that creates many and/or big files should become more efficient. It would be best for perforamnce to just buy a big SSD and use it for everything. But the cost per GB is very high due to flash memory shortages, so the usual approach is one SSD for OS + apps and one HDD for data storage.

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Can you keep it down? I'm having trouble hearing the artillery.

Current rig
Old PC


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