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 Post subject: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:57 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:07 am
Posts: 3
Hi everybody,
this is my first time ever building a computer and I could sure use some advice. I have learned everything I know about building over the past two weeks, reading reviews on the site and posts on the forum, so it goes without saying I have a few gaps in my knowledge, especially about the actual "building". :)

Unfortunately, since I am from Italy, NewEgg does not ship to my country (not that it would be an actually feasible option, between oversea shipping time and customs fees...); also the local Amazon has only a few components in stock, reliying mostly on Amazon Marketplace Sellers (an experience I would rather avoid). Prices are in euros for obvious reasons. :D

Anyway, here goes:
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini (about 90-100 €)
PSU: ???
Mobo: ASUS P8Z77-M PRO (124 €)
CPU: Intel Core™ i5-3570K (207 €)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz 8GB (2x4GB) CL9 Low Profile (53 €)
GPU: Asus GTX 670 DirectCUII 2GB (361€)
CPU Cooler: ???
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 128GB (137€)
WiFi: ???

The only products directly available on Amazon.it are the Mobo, CPU, GPU and RAM. Case and SSD are still available through Amazon Marketplace or different shops that I trust.

What I want to achieve is a small, quietish gaming rig on a FullHD (or eventually max WQHD) monitor, but giving precendence to quietness over footprint. That is why I would rather buy a Define Mini than a SilverStone TJ08-E, even though the first is more comparable to a small ATX mid tower than to the Temjin. I also like the style of the Define much more, especially the front panel design and its door (which I will probably never open since I mostly don't use an optical drive anymore), not to mention that the TJ08-E is also about 20€ more expensive.

CPU and RAM are pretty straightforward. I do not plan to overclock (never done it before) right now but it is always nice to have a choice. I got low profile RAM to avoid conflicts with CPU coolers, 8GB should be enough for gaming, its latency and frequency should be pretty standard. The motherboard seems alright, mostly getting it for advanced fan controls over the competition, but I do appreciate more USB3 and also the eSATA ports. I have also considered the MSI Z77MA-G45 because I can buy it at about 88€, but it has less features.
I am not really willing to spend more on the GPU than with the 670: I don't do "hardcore" gaming, I just want to be able to play, say, Skyrim on High/Ultra settings without a big fps drop. The only other option I have thought of is wherether it could have any sense to go for a GTX 660 SLI (with MSI Twin Frozr II OC that should fit, at least lenghtwise), buying one of them now and the other at due time.

What I really could use some help with, unless I already made some mistake, are the power supply unit and the cpu cooler. For the first one I have no idea about how much power is needed for the system (keeping the eventual overclock in mind), and while I thought that I could not go wrong with the Seasonic Platinum Fanless 520W the comments I read about its whine/buzziness scared me I little. The only thing I am sure is that I want a modular ATX one.
The cpu cooler seems to be another irksome matter: I thought that the Noctua NH-D14 was a good choice but it seems its fan clips would be dangerously close to the PCB of the graphic card. I have also read that the Termalright HR-02 Macho will fit but that it will protrude slightly into the foam covering the side fan hole. Speaking of which I ask: is it safe to run a non-reference gpu such as the Asus GTX 670 withouth a side fan? Are there better options? And should I replace the stock fans of the case with better ones?

Lastly I'm having some problems finding a good PCIe wireless card. Some of them are just not good (like dropping the signal all the time or having absymal speed) and some of them don't even have drivers updated for Windows 8. Should I just go for a USB adapter?

----------------------------------
Wow, just now I realize that it is pretty much a wall of text. Sorry for the lenght and for the less-than-correct English I probably wrote!
Please tell me if I have forgot anything. Thanks in advance! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4597
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Hi and welcome to SPCR.

It looks like a nice build. If you plan to be gaming at 1080p, my suggestion is to save some money and drop down to the GTX 660 Ti. Even at Ultra settings, it doesn't drop below 59fps for Tom's Hardware. If you eventually pop for a higher resolution screen down the road, you can either try the SLI route or just upgrade the card. Future-proofing seldom works.

Your stressed load power is roughly: 77W CPU, 30W mobo/RAM, 150/170W GPU (660 Ti/670), 20W SSD/fans/misc => 280-300W. Your load power while gaming will be in the 250W range. Overclocking the CPU without overvolting will just add a few watts. If you opt to overvolt, it could be another 30W.

So, you want to spec a PSU that's silent for idle/low utilization and quieter than everything else while gaming. The fanless Seasonic varieties are an option and it's a roll of the dice whether or not you'll get one that has the e-noise issue. Seems to be a side effect of meeting some of the efficiency standards. Other options are Seasonic G series, Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro and Kingwin LZP (aka Superflower Golden King). If you get one of these PSU's in the 500-550W range, it should have the two PEG connectors you need to connect to the video card (check the specs) and low fan noise at your loads.

cooler: there's a couple of forum members with the Define Mini, perhaps they'll comment on their coolers.

_________________
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: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:16 am
Posts: 146
Location: Belgium
Since it happened to me, I might add that you may be up for a bad surprise with the Asus GTX 670. I'll never know for sure if I got a bad sample or if Asus changed something in their cards recently, but the one I got was disappointing to say the least.

That being said, I would be happy that you get one and give me your feedback ! :D

As for the CPU cooler, I'm very happy with the HR-02 Macho, but it may be a bit of an overkill.

_________________
Main rig
Antec P183 / 2x Noiseblocker M12-PS / Antec CP-850
Intel i7 3770K / Thermalright HR-02 Macho
Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB

HTPC
Antec ISK310-150 / 2x Noctua NF-R8 PWM / PicoPSU 150W
Intel i3 2125 / Scythe Big Shuriken 2 (fanless)
Intel X25-M 80GB


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:07 am
Posts: 3
@CA_Steve,
Thank you for the quick reply.

As far as I can see I can only find the Seasonic G-550 (101€), the Seasonic P-520FL (152€) and the Super Flower SF-550P14PE (156€) that should be the Super Flower Golden King Platinum 550W. (which I guess would be almost the same as this one, even though it is longer/deeper (180mm) [Review])
First things first, according to the Fractal Design website the Super Flower is too long for the Define Mini, at least when using the bottom fan location (max 170mm with fan / 200-220mm without fan). Is the bottom fan location important or the top one will suffice?
All of them have a couple of 6+2pin PICE cables. Both the G-550 and the SuperFlower seem semi-modular, the first one has Mobo and EPS cable fixed while the latter is bulkier with also 2 PCIE cables non-modular. The P-520FL instead is completely modular. Are the platinum ones worth 50€ premium over the G-550?

About the GPU I do not know if it would be worthy to drop down to the 660 Ti. Assuming that the Asus DirectCUII in either cases will give me the quietest possible experience (and I had read a pretty extensive comparison between either 660/660 Ti/670 cards, If only I could find it again...) I could not SLI with either one (second card won't fit on Define Mine since the low HDD is not removeable). As a single card I just seem to find that the 670 has a better price/performance ratio. I don't know. Considering that the price difference I have on those cards is about 60-70€ max, should I buy the 660Ti or be on the safe side with the 670?

@Torajirou,
Wow, that is slightly discomforting! Are you talking about the plain DirectCU II card or one of the overclocked variants? The only negative review I have found for this card are about the TOP edition, that apparently was overclocked too much eventually failing on half of the produced cards.
The Macho is on the Antec on your signature, right? Unfortunately I am not sure if it fits painlessly on the Define Mini... Otherwise it seems to be the best "bang for buck" cooler I can buy (around 52€ instead of 73-90€ of the Noctua NH-D14) and should not give me problem with the fan clips. I will wait for more feedback! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 1:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:16 am
Posts: 146
Location: Belgium
The Fractal Design Define Mini is actually wider than my P183, in which the Macho fits, so no problem there.

The SPCR review of the Seasonic Platinum fanless seems to indicate it's well worth the premium. The 460W version has two GPU cables and you can find it for less than 150€. Be aware though, that you won't be able to power an SLI of cards such as the GTX 670 with that. You would need four cables.

I would definitely go for a single card anyway. An SLI is bound to be hotter and noisier. I cannot reasonably advise you not to buy the GTX 670, every single review is so positive... And yes, I do have the "regular" DirectCU II version, no overclock here. To elaborate on what I experience with my card, the result is :

  • Inaudible while idle or surfing, working, etc. (fans: 10% - 1050RPM - GPU @~35°C)
  • Very quiet while gaming (fans: 50% - 1800RPM - Temperatures higher than what I expected, but still in check (~80°C))
  • Furmark fails loudly and miserably - I'm not even sure it's the GPU that's too hot, since I once got it crashing with the GPU around 80°C (VRM ?)

_________________
Main rig
Antec P183 / 2x Noiseblocker M12-PS / Antec CP-850
Intel i7 3770K / Thermalright HR-02 Macho
Asus GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II
OCZ Vertex 3 120GB

HTPC
Antec ISK310-150 / 2x Noctua NF-R8 PWM / PicoPSU 150W
Intel i3 2125 / Scythe Big Shuriken 2 (fanless)
Intel X25-M 80GB


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:23 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:07 am
Posts: 3
Thank you for your feedback.

Indeed the Define Mini is wider, but the side fan vent is closed with a foam-covered plate, thus dropping the available width of about 5 millimetres. Fortunately as per the last post of this thread the Macho should still fit. (Hopefully the Rev. A version that is available to me will be exactly the same dimensions of the original one.)

Well, your card really seems to have some issues. Fortunately the GPU should not be a problem since Amazon has great Return/RMA Terms. Let's hope to avoid a faulty card!

I am still unsure about the PSU, not about the price but because of the electronic noise problem (which seems to manifest also, although with a different magnitude, also on the Seasonic X Series), but I will probably try fanless nonetheless. I already asked a couple Amazon Marketplace sellers about their conditions for Return and RMA, when I found a good shop I will probably buy everything then.

Thanks again to both of you, any other help is sure appreciated! :)


Last edited by SniperDart on Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 708
Location: Denmark
CPU cooler: You could choose a Scythe Mugen 3. It's reasonably cheap, it can easily cope with a non-OC'ed CPU, and the fan is great. It can easily be made completely quiet via PWM.

SSD: 137 euro is quite much for a 128 GB SSD. Why not choose other reliable models such as the Samsung 830, 840 (non-pro), Crucial m4, or anything from Intel (the 335 seems fitting).

Wifi: I usually choose a wifi USB-dongle.

_________________
Cooler Master Elite 341, Athlon II X3 425, Radeon 5750 (passive, fan zip-tied on), Crucial M4 64 GB.
Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet gaming mATX - First build ever, advice needed
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:15 pm
Posts: 176
Location: belgium
Torajirou wrote:
Since it happened to me, I might add that you may be up for a bad surprise with the Asus GTX 670. I'll never know for sure if I got a bad sample or if Asus changed something in their cards recently, but the one I got was disappointing to say the least.

That being said, I would be happy that you get one and give me your feedback ! :D

As for the CPU cooler, I'm very happy with the HR-02 Macho, but it may be a bit of an overkill.


What do you mean exactly with a bad surprise? You would suggest another brand that is as quiet as the Asus one? Either a GTX670 or 660ti?


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