Hey everyone -
I've only built a few machines in my life and having spent the past week doing research, I only now feel like I'm starting to climb the steep quiet-computing learning curve. I know enough to know that you all know far, far more, so here I am
. My goal is to create a high performance yet very quiet build. I work from home and this desktop will be my primary work machine. It doesn't have to be absolutely silent at idle, but I do value a low noise floor in my office and am willing to spend a fair amount to get it. For that reason, it's more important to me that it be virtually inaudible at idle than it be ultra-quiet at load. When I'm gaming or encoding, a some noise is fine.
While working, the CPU will be idle, but I need a relatively stout workstation for my personal use. My more demanding applications are Lightroom 3, Sony Vegas, Civilization V and World of Warcraft. Today, I have to use my wife's machine for the first 3 - my Core 2 Duo E6300 just doesn't cut it anymore.
So here's what I'm looking at. I welcome any and all comments. I may be underspending or overspending or just plain wrong in certain areas...I'm not sure. I'm willing to spend money, but don't want to spend it stupidly or naively.
CPU: I7-2600k ($320) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6819115070
Mobo: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 ($210) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813131790
CPU Cooler: Thermalright True Spirit ($30)...had been looking at a Noctua DH-N14 ($85) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835608018
PSU: Seasonic X650 (already purchased)
Memory: CORSAIR Low-Profile Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) ($90) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6820233197
Video Card: Gigabyte HD 6950 1GB ($250) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6814125385
SSD: Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB ($209) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152185
Hard Drive: Still debating. See below.
Sound Card: ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 ($80) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6829132006
Case: Antec P280 ($140) When it becomes available in a couple weeks (it appears to fit the Noctua and the enormously long Video Card)
Optical: Sony DVD Burner ($20) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6827118040
Fans: Scythe SY1225SL12LM-P (x4) 120mm Case Fan ($13x4 = $52) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835185144
Monitor: (already owned) HP24W 1920x1200 primary, LG226 secondary
Misc: Gelid Y splitter (x2) (for PWM cooling - $14) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6812718001
Misc: Logisys Rubber Fan Screw (x2) ($8) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811994036
(careful when googling for these, incidentally)
~$1,700 totalOn the Hard Drive:
Seagate Barracuda 2TB: ($139) Available at my local Best Buy (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Seagate+-+B ... 8102739460
Samsung EcoGreen F4 ($219) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6822152245
I'm leaning toward the Seagate. Neither drive is fast, but since I'll be doing read/write intense stuff on the SSD (esp. my photo/video editing), I figure I'm better off with quiet, cool big storage. I would probably normally choose the Samsung, but for about $60 less (after tax), I think the Barracuda wins. Do you think there's a difference?
Also, I'm considering buying two and running in RAID 1. I haven't decided yet.On the Optical:
I want a blu-ray burner, but am holding off for now. I'm probably being too conservative here, but it feels like blu-ray burning isn't as mature as I want it to be. Maybe I'll get one in a year.On the Sound Card:
I have nice pair of KRK studio monitors paired with a really high end-subwoofer (the sub is temporarily relocated from my family room to keep it safe from my 2 year old). I value sound quality. I could probably stick with my ancient M-Audio Revolution 5.1 and be ok. Anyone think I'd notice the difference between the M-Audio and the Xonar DX? (and save myself $79)About the memory:
First off, $90 for 16GB of RAM? are you kidding? That seems like a steal. Second, everything I've read says that Sony Vegas and Lightroom 3 thrive on an abundance of memory, so for $90, this feels like a no-brainer. But I've been wrong before.On the Scythe Fans:
The ASUS mobo appears to have 3 PWM 4 pin connectors. I'm going to replace the existing fans in the P280 (on the assumption
that the Scythe's are quieter because of PWM. If I go with the Noctua, I plan on splitting the first CPU 4-pin connector and powering the 2 fans on the heat sink (if I go with the Thermaltake, I won't split it, clearly). I'll take the 2nd CPU 4-pin connector and power the rear exhaust. I'll take the 3rd 4-pin connector, split and power 2 front intake fans (or maybe 1, or maybe 3 - depends on performance vs noise). I plan on removing the 2 top exhaust fans and covering the hole, as of now. That seemed to be a good solution on the P183 based on what I've read here, so I figure maybe it'll work on the P280. Am I right in this?
I've read conflicting reports as to the noise level of the Noctua at idle. Everyone agrees it's amazing on a loaded, OC'd system, but most of my time is spent with the machine idling (I'm programming). This is why I'm considering the Thermaltake True Spirit, which has gotten fantastic reviews, especially on its idle noise.
Speaking of the Antec P280, I'm picking that over the Fractal Design R3 because it's roomier. The Gigabyte 6950 doesn't appear to fit in the R3 (it's too wide by like 5mm). The True Spirit and Noctua both appear to fit fine in the P280, too.
Ok, so having said all of that...do you think this will do what I want it to do? Am I going completely overkill by replacing the Antec fans with the Scythe fans and insisting they all be connected via PWM 4pin connectors? Will the Gigabyte Radeon 6950 be too loud for me at idle? (reports say the 3 fans on it are really quiet at idle, but quiet is relative - but the fans have to be able to spin slowly, and I'm not 100% sure they can!). I've only put an aftermarket heat sink on a video card once before and would prefer to avoid doing so again if the 6950's HS is good enough (though I'll do it if I need to). Will this all fit comfortably in the P280?
Finally, I'll overclock this only if I can do so quietly. People report great OC'ing with this CPU and mobo combination, but if it makes things appreciably louder, I'll stick with the base configuration. Also, if the 2500K is only marginally slower than the 2600K for Lightroom/Photoshop, I'll probably do the 2500K.
Of all my questions, the video card loudness is my greatest unknown, followed by which PSU makes the most sense for me. If I end up with a different graphics card, I might switch to a Fractal Design R3.
much in advance.