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 Post subject: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 10:21 am 
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Since she's attending grad school, reliability is important. The system needs to be reasonably quiet. I've been informed about the Z87 USB3 issues, but am more concerned about multiple reports with booting issues on the ASUS Z87-PRO, which is why I didn't select it. I'd be delighted if Gigabyte is getting the fixed chipset...

Comments and suggestions will be appreciated.

Mobo + chip: GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-D3H + i7-4670k combo ($360, newegg)
Graphics: EVGA GTX770 ACX ($400 with rebate, get a free game)
RAM: Corsair Vengeance low profile DDR3 1600 2 x 4GB ($75)
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB ($225)
HD: Western Digital RED 2TBx2 in Raid 1 ($210)
Heatsink (updated): Noctua NH-U12S ($70)
PSU (updated x 2): SeaSonic X660 Platinum Haswell low power sleep compatible ($120)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey ($100)
Bluray: LG SATA UH12NS30 ($40)
MS Win 7 SP1 64bit home OEM ($90)

I've overspecified the PSU to reduce fan noise from it. I don't believe 16GB will make sense for her since she doesn't run, e.g., Photoshop on large images.

I'm aware that the SSD is a single point of failure. I looked a bit into getting a SSD cache drive instead, but everything I read implied that I can't use a SSD cache drive to cache a Raid-1 configuration.


Last edited by Blammar on Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:46 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:06 am 
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Look like a good build, I don't see any major changes needed. You might want to consider getting this seasonic psu for a lot cheaper(on sale for $59 after rebate currently), it does not have a fanless mode, but it should still be pretty quiet - SeaSonic SSR-650RM.
Also I honestly would not consider a SSD a point of failure. As long as there are no controller bugs, ssds are generally extremely reliable.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:27 pm 
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GTX 770 - good card for gaming above 1080p. For 1080p you could drop down to the GTX 760 and save a lot of $'s for very little performance difference.

Newegg has the R4 black on sale for $80.

Corsair HX650 is a Seasonic OEM build. For the same price you could go with the Seasonic x650 with all modular cabling and semi-passive fan. As listed, your stressed load power is in the (84+230+~50) 364W range...probably ~300-320W gaming. You could drop down to a 550W class PSU. While there will be fan ramp while gaming, it won't be heard over the gfx card..let alone game sounds.

SSD as single point failure? Aren't the RAID1 hdd's there to back up the SSD on a regular basis? I guess I'd lean toward an external HDD than is only on for backups rather than deal with two spinning HDDs. YMMV.

CPU cooler: it'll work. I'd use a 120mm like the Noctua NH-U12S or possibly the Thermalright TRUE Spirit 120M (with a replacement fan).

As for C2 chipset availability...no solid information on Gigabyte availability. Don't even know if/what they will do for updated part numbering. Some Asus boards have been seen in Germany.

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:05 pm 
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Good point about the 770 vs. 760. $140 price difference there. I tend to buy the x70 cards from Nvidia as they've remained more than fast enough until it's time to replace the desktop (roughly every 3.5 years for me.) I'll ask her if she's planning to upgrade to a 2560 x 1440 or bigger monitor anytime soon, or going to a 2 monitor setup.

I have to order the stuff on 8/14, so it gets to my daughter's apartment when we're there (the complex has no mail room to hold large packages safely...) So looks like I'll miss out on the R4 sale.

The Raid-1 HDDs are there for work storage, e.g., thesis data, papers, etc. The SSD is for the OS and installed programs. She'll back up really important stuff on a USB stick and take it off site.

Oh, thanks for the SeaSonic reference! Full modular is a win. I'll update the build.

With a non-OC Haswell, I assumed I didn't need the full cooling of the NH-U12S, so saved a few bucks going with a smaller cooler. Since it was a Noctua cooler, I assumed I could set the fan speed to slow to reduce the noise level to indetectible. Are you saying I won't be able to do so?

I saw about the C2 Asus boards. I found a US supplier: http://www.amazon.com/Z87-PRO-S1150-Z87 ... f=pd_ybh_2. Again, though, the reboot issues do worry me, and since I have a combo deal on the Gigabyte board, that looks like the best choice.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:21 pm 
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Blammar wrote:
With a non-OC Haswell, I assumed I didn't need the full cooling of the NH-U12S, so saved a few bucks going with a smaller cooler. Since it was a Noctua cooler, I assumed I could set the fan speed to slow to reduce the noise level to indetectible. Are you saying I won't be able to do so?

The Noctua NH-U9B SE2 is an older design of CPU cooler which uses 3 pin voltage control fans. Under motherboard control this limits the minimum speed at which the fans can run. PWM fans can run at lower speeds, your choice of motherboard has a PWM CPU fan header so the NH-U12S which comes with a PWM fan would be a better option.

As far as the GTX 760 goes, it might be worth considering one of the higher clocked models, particularly one of those with multiple fans. This allows both better performance and quieter operation. The difference between these models and the standard ones can be minimal. The Gigabyte GV-N760OC-2GD GTX 760 with its triple fans is an example.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:33 pm 
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lodestar wrote:
The Noctua NH-U9B SE2 is an older design of CPU cooler which uses 3 pin voltage control fans. Under motherboard control this limits the minimum speed at which the fans can run. PWM fans can run at lower speeds, your choice of motherboard has a PWM CPU fan header so the NH-U12S which comes with a PWM fan would be a better option.


Got it, thanks. I didn't catch that difference myself, thanks for the help.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:43 pm 
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If you do go with the GTX 760, the MSI Gaming version seemed to be the best of the lot in terms of noise.

cooler: the smaller one will work fine. It's just that Haswell tends to run hot at stock. So, moving up to something like the U12S will mean slower rpm/less noise for the same temp. The good news is you can always undervolt the CPU for stock speeds.

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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: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Blammar wrote:
Good point about the 770 vs. 760. $140 price difference there. I tend to buy the x70 cards from Nvidia as they've remained more than fast enough until it's time to replace the desktop (roughly every 3.5 years for me.) I'll ask her if she's planning to upgrade to a 2560 x 1440 or bigger monitor anytime soon, or going to a 2 monitor setup.

For 2560 or dual monitor setup I would recommned a 4GB card for future proofing. Games designed For XBone or PS4 will use higher resolution textures and their PC ports will benefit from more VRAM. Currently there are only a few titles which use more than 2GB at 1920X1080: Battlefield 3, Max Payne 3, Crysis 2 with HD textures and AA and Skyrim with HD Textures and Mods.

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Evga GTX 670 FTW+ 4GB with Thermalright Spitfire and Thermalright TY-150 500-800RPM, Seasonic 460W Platinum Fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:37 pm 
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boost wrote:
For 2560 or dual monitor setup I would recommned a 4GB card for future proofing. Games designed For XBone or PS4 will use higher resolution textures and their PC ports will benefit from more VRAM. Currently there are only a few titles which use more than 2GB at 1920X1080: Battlefield 3, Max Payne 3, Crysis 2 with HD textures and AA and Skyrim with HD Textures and Mods.


It wasn't all that long ago I got a 2GB 670 because my test programs didn't run on a 1GB board... OK, point taken. It does seem worth the extra $50 to double the video memory. Thanks!

Hmm, I'll need to remove the top HDD cage since the Gigabyte card is 292mm long and the R4 spec allows for 295mm (meaning I should remove the cage to ensure good airflow around the graphics card.)


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 12:31 am 
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Blammar wrote:
Hmm, I'll need to remove the top HDD cage since the Gigabyte card is 292mm long and the R4 spec allows for 295mm (meaning I should remove the cage to ensure good airflow around the graphics card.)


That should aid airflow, resulting in a potential noise decrease. It might turn out that if you remove all HDD cages and tuck the SSD somewhere + suspend the HDDs (hanging roughly where the cages were) you can drill down the intake fans a few rpm more.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:55 am 
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Blammar wrote:
Mobo + chip: GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-D3H + i7-4670k combo ($360, newegg)
Not a big fan of gigabyte on the fan control, but if its a combo only with gigabyte... then its up to you. I prefer ASUS for FanXpert2, or MSI but here is up to you.

Blammar wrote:
Graphics: EVGA GTX770 ACX ($400 with rebate, get a free game)
Check CA_Steve thread of reviews for GTX760, GTX 760 review compilation, the reviews of the MSI are really good, i would go with MSI Gaming N760 TF 4GD5/OC GeForce GTX 760 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 SLI Support Video Card or if you really want a GTX770, MSI Gaming N770 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 770 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 SLI Support Video Card

Blammar wrote:
RAM: Corsair Vengeance low profile DDR3 1600 2 x 4GB ($75)
Whatever is approved by the mobotherboard manufacturer should be good.

Blammar wrote:
HD: Western Digital RED 2TBx2 in Raid 1 ($210)
Raid is only an uptime tool, not a true backup, personally im against having much mechanical hdds inside a PC (unless its a storage server), what i would go is go with 1 mechancial for storage and get a external USB3 hdd to do backups. Now a days there are very small just powered by usb3 slot, like WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Black (WDBY8L0020BBK-NESN). Now on what hdd, i would go with what SPCR has tested, Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives, no test on 2tb to know if its like 3tb... there are mulitple tests on WD Greens though, although there has been refreshes over the years, so idk either, but WD green before the red, seem to be the favorite among people looking for the quietest mechanical hdds.

Blammar wrote:
Heatsink (updated): Noctua NH-U12S ($70)
For the price, i like more Thermalright HR-02 Macho $55 free shipping, and was tested by SPCR, Thermalright HR-02 Macho Quiet/Fanless Cooler, the included fan is decent at 700rpm, but will depend on the motherboard to able to drop it down.

Blammar wrote:
PSU (updated): SeaSonic X650 80 PLUS GOLD full modular ($120)
I own a X660 and been perfect for two years now, no issues at all. This model seems to be always cheaper at newegg, never known why, but its been sold for a long time with good user reviews. As an alternative, a little bit more expensive, KingWin Lazer Platinum Series LZP-550, tested by SPCR, Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W Power Supply

Blammar wrote:
I've overspecified the PSU to reduce fan noise from it. I don't believe 16GB will make sense for her since she doesn't run, e.g., Photoshop on large images.
Seasonic and Kingwin PSU usually turn their fan based on temperature, they are hybrid psu in terms of passive until certain temp, not power draw, you setup should never even come close to 500W, so its up to you, i would prefer a platinium for the eficiency, but gold is great also.

Blammar wrote:
I'm aware that the SSD is a single point of failure. I looked a bit into getting a SSD cache drive instead, but everything I read implied that I can't use a SSD cache drive to cache a Raid-1 configuration.
The SSD probably will outlive all your mechancial hdds unless heavy writing is done to it, i have used ssd for more than 5 years now, not a single failure, while i had a lot of hdds failures over that time.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:39 am 
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Blammar wrote:
Hmm, I'll need to remove the top HDD cage since the Gigabyte card is 292mm long and the R4 spec allows for 295mm (meaning I should remove the cage to ensure good airflow around the graphics card.)

You can remove the top part of the HDD cage only, which leaves room for three drives like you planned.
Abula wrote:
Blammar wrote:
HD: Western Digital RED 2TBx2 in Raid 1 ($210)
Raid is only an uptime tool, not a true backup, personally im against having much mechanical hdds inside a PC (unless its a storage server), what i would go is go with 1 mechancial for storage and get a external USB3 hdd to do backups. Now a days there are very small just powered by usb3 slot, like WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Black (WDBY8L0020BBK-NESN). Now on what hdd, i would go with what SPCR has tested, Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives, no test on 2tb to know if its like 3tb... there are mulitple tests on WD Greens though, although there has been refreshes over the years, so idk either, but WD green before the red, seem to be the favorite among people looking for the quietest mechanical hdds.

Raid is not backup! A virus will delete from both drives in RAID 1.
Blammar wrote:
She'll back up really important stuff on a USB stick and take it off site.

Make sure she does! This is the simple question when to backup: Anytime you create something, is it faster to backup or to recreate? Or as gamers say: save often, save early. User (non)compliance (whether it's coffee, passwords or malware) is a much greater threat to data integrity than technical problems. Recovering lost data is a major PITA!

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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:03 pm 
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Abula wrote:
Raid is only an uptime tool, not a true backup, personally im against having much mechanical hdds inside a PC (unless its a storage server), what i would go is go with 1 mechancial for storage and get a external USB3 hdd to do backups. Now a days there are very small just powered by usb3 slot, like WD My Passport 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive Storage Black (WDBY8L0020BBK-NESN). Now on what hdd, i would go with what SPCR has tested, Western Digital Red 3TB & 1TB Hard Drives, no test on 2tb to know if its like 3tb... there are mulitple tests on WD Greens though, although there has been refreshes over the years, so idk either, but WD green before the red, seem to be the favorite among people looking for the quietest mechanical hdds.


Uptime is important to her, especially when a paper is due. In the 30+ years I've been using PCs, I've never lost a file to a virus, so I must be doing something right. My daughter understands what to do to avoid viruses. I have lost disk drives several times, which is the point of the Raid-1 configuration.

Only the WD RED drives are certified for use with Raid, which is why I've specified them.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:21 pm 
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Well shoot the mobo bundle's no longer available from Newegg. Sadly, I didn't see a time limit on it.

So should I try to get the ASUS PRO C2 board and ignore the boot problems people have had, or try for a MSI mobo? Got any suggestions?


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:14 pm 
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I'd go for MSI or Intel, because they seem to have the best fan control WITHOUT additional software. Since i assume your daughter just uses the PC and has no deeper knowledge, she might not want to watch if the fan expert tool is started on boot up and such.

So judging from my children ;-) i would want anything running in hardware to make it more foolproof before using any software solution.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:49 am 
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I would still go with ASUS, the fan control that it offer with fanXpert2 is the main reason i upgraded to haswell, and not regretting it, it uses 1-3% cpu on idle. Maybe with the C2 revision and mulitple bios out, the issues of the booting are fixed....

If you want to go with pure bios fan control, i have 2 suggestion,

1) The simple one, only pwm on the cpu,
Just to use the fan controller on the R4 for all the 3 case fans, it has 12/7/5V switch on the front, and just use the PWM fan that will come on the heatsink and set it up with the bios of the intel/msi motherboard, no splitter no looking or matching for fans. This is what i would do without researching a lot into PWM fans.

2) The hard one, controlling all fans with bios
Get PWM fans (preferable all the same) that can drop really low and only use the CPU header + Akasa fan splitter. I know Intel Sandy bridge motherboard were able to drop my scythe fans to their lowest settings this way (you can check the HTPCMI build on my sig). The MSI on the second preset was able to drop them around 650rpm, i couldn't drop it to lowest preset as the TY141 of the macho would tick, but my guess is that would drop below 500rpm (scythe slipstream and kamaflex2 pwm fans), this is the main reason im suggesting the same fans, but its a little more complicated as depends on how the PWM fans are design.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:05 pm 
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..just thinking about reliability/uptime...I've had maybe 1 HDD fail in the last 5 years. I've had Windows go funky and require a flush/rebuild every couple of years. On the other hand, I've had multiple bad power/power outages per year. Good thing I had a UPS.

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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: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:15 am 
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Hmm, that's a good point. I hadn't thought about a UPS for her. Thanks for the idea.


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:27 am 
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The system is together and running well. Prime95 temps don't exceed 65C (+40C over ambient.) I had to get her a EVGA 770 GTX 2GB because the 4 GB's would not have been delivered in time.

I am surprised that the 3.4GHz Haswell i4670k in the box will overclock itself as needed to 3.8GHz. I guess that's the "turbo" mode I saw mentioned in passing.

With just 3 fans set up to draw from the front of the case, over the rams and through the cpu cooler and back out the back of the case, the system is very quiet.

Sadly I bought the cheap R4 case, so it didn't come with a fan resistor to slow down the fans. I'll have to get a Noctua set and send it to her.

I went with a Kingwin Lazer Platinum 550W supply instead, as I didn't want to risk getting one of the whining Seasonic supplies (seems about a 5% chance for that to happen.)

The system is working well! Thanks for the advice, everyone!


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 Post subject: Re: Gaming desktop build for my daughter
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:15 am 
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Blammar wrote:
Sadly I bought the cheap R4 case, so it didn't come with a fan resistor to slow down the fans. I'll have to get a Noctua set and send it to her.
The R4 has the resistor / Fan controller on the front (inside the door).

Image

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Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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