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 Post subject: quiet but powerful mATX system
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:48 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:24 am
Posts: 9
Hi all,

Ok, so I'm thinking of building a *quiet* (or as silent as I can manage) and powerful system in a reasonably small sized package, hence mATX. Not a gamer, do mostly programming and number crunching under Linux (using Oracle's VirtualBox, I may sometimes run more than 1 VM) and the usual computing/surfing/writing etc. under Windows (will be moving from XP to Windows 7 finally)

Basic idea to go with a Z68 board because it can use the iGPU and also be overclocked if needed later.

Here's what I have so far based on an earlier query, additional input greatly appreciated, I am ready to pull the trigger on the purchase in the next few days. (Newegg, or local microCenter here in the US, or amazon)

Case: Antec mini P180

CPU: i7 2600K

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128495

Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151088

In order to keep the noise down, I would replace the stock cooler on
the i7 (I assume it comes with one) with this:

Antec KUHLER H2O 620
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835209049


I'd appreciate some suggestions for reliable parts in addition to
feedback to the above. Specifically I am looking for recommendations
for:

* 8GB of RAM .. does it matter what brand?

* A SSD drive in the range of 60-120GB for faster bootup and storage of frequently used programs
* A *quiet* fast 1TB HDD?


Finally, I currently have have 2 Dell LCD monitors (both analog/digital) running 1280 x 1024 .. hope to move to larger monitors and resolution down the line. If necessary I may add a quiet discrete graphics card later (hence the healthy 650W PS) though I'm curious to see how the iGPU does. I am also interested in CUDA which may also lead to a discrete card eventually.

Oh, a decent CD burner :)

Am I forgetting anything? I do have a keyboard/mouse/monitors/Speakers/OS

Again, the primary reason I am building this myself is that I want a quiet system and avoid a huge box.

Thanks!!


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 Post subject: Re: quiet but powerful mATX system
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1713
Location: Guatemala
esmail wrote:
Basic idea to go with a Z68 board because it can use the iGPU and also be overclocked if needed later.

CPU: i7 2600K

Motherboard GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6813128495
Seems fine, but i would go with a different mobo ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard, out of 4 things (you might or not value them)
1) Bad past experiences with Gigabyte mobos on X58 with infinit resets and stability issues.
2) Asus comes with Intel Nic and XFi sound card, not the usual/common realtek, both huge pluses to me.
3) Asus has very nice UEFI bios and very nice fan controls (check this video to get an idea, not the same mobo)
4) Could be a better overclocker, the maximus is Asus top line for Sandy Bridge 1155.

Here is a video in case you are interested, Official ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Motherboard Unboxing

esmail wrote:
Case: Antec mini P180
I would try to get an Fractal Design Define Mini, very similar to the reviewed and recommened case, SPCR Fractal Design Define R3 ATX Tower, just smaller as its an mico ATX factor. I read somewhere that newegg might get some in July, but not sure. I would also consider replacing the fans with Scythe SY1225SL12LM-P 120mm Case PWM Fan (200rpm to 1300rpm) controlling them via Bios depending on what you are doing.

esmail wrote:
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series X650 Gold
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6817151088
This is an overkill for your current setup, a SeaSonic X series SS-400FL would be more than enough. Now if you do plan on adding a dedicated GPU in the future, then i would go with Seasonic X-660(SS-660KM) (new line replacing the X650)

esmail wrote:
In order to keep the noise down, I would replace the stock cooler on
the i7 (I assume it comes with one) with this:

Antec KUHLER H2O 620
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835209049
I would avoid watercooling unless you are doing heavy OCing, pumps sometimes tend to be noisy, rads limit the airflow and ask for better static pressure fans that might or not be quiet, but check reviews for it. Since Sandy Bridge mobo can control fans via Bios, i would go with a cooler with PWM fan included, Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler, the included fan can range between 300rpm to 1600rpm. Should be good even for OCing your cpu in the future. Here is the review of the past version of it, SPCR Scythe Mugen-2 CPU Cooler. Crosscheck the case you buy has enough clearance for it and also depending on the mobo placement of rams you might need not so tall modules.

esmail wrote:
* 8GB of RAM .. does it matter what brand?
This more a personal choice, most rams will be fine, check the mobo for compatibilty. But ill throw a couple of suggestions that im also considering myself,
G.SKILL Sniper Low Voltage Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBSR2 (not so tall heatsinks and low voltage).
Corsair Memory Vengeance 8 Dual Channel Kit DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM CMZ8GX3M2A1600C8 (CL8 ram @ 1.5V, might have clearance issues depending on the CPU cooler you buy).

esmail wrote:
* A SSD drive in the range of 60-120GB for faster bootup and storage of frequently used programs
I would go with Crucial M4 for SSD, aviod Sanforce based ssds like OCZ, Corsair, etc. Depending on your needs and budget,
Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

esmail wrote:
* A *quiet* fast 1TB HDD?
Check the SPCR HDD Recommended list. Personally i favor laptop 2.5 drives over desktop 3.5 drives, tends to be a little more quiet and less prone to vibrations, also are design to stand in lesser cooling conditions as its very limited in laptops. But we havent reached 1TB mark on 2.5 (9.5 standard) drives, the biggest atm are 750GB like the Hitachi 5k750, there are 1tb 2.5 drives out, just not the standard 9.5 but 12.5 this matters in laptops out of the limit space to place, but in it a dekstop it shoudlnt, here is one, not sure how is it in terms of noise/performance, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD10TPVT 1TB 5200 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive. Samsung is suppose to release 1tb (standard 9.5) 2.5 drives by the end of the year, i think all will follow shortly. If 750gb isnt enough, and your are fine with 3.5 drives, i would go with Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EARS 1TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

_________________
DESKTOP >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4770K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @325rpms | 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 @225rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> Server | HTPC | Download Station


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 Post subject: Re: quiet but powerful mATX system
PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2011 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:24 am
Posts: 9
Hi Abula,

Thanks for the detailed info, quite informative!

The software control of the fans on the ASUS board is awesome. I can see how the BIOS on this board might be attractive, but honestly, I rarely fiddle with that once I have the system set up (and most systems seem to do ok with autodetect).

However, I think I will go with the GIGABYTE board simply because it's gotten a lot of good reviews on newegg vs the ASUS board which is brand new w/o any reviews there yet and significantly more expensive. Add to that that microcenter is selling a combo deal of the i7 2600k and the GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 for less than $380 (including local tax) it's hard not to go that way. It seems that both GIGABYTE and ASUS are highly rated.

The Fractal Design case looks pretty good, but is new and hasn't been that widely reviewed - plus I wasn't able to find it for sale anywhere, so I think I'll stick with the well regarded mini-P180 that I can get right now.

I appreciate the heads-up re the new line of SeaSonic power supplies and the recommendations re RAM and cooling. Some of the heatsinks are just too massive for me - I'll have to look into this some more. The noise level is definitely something very important to me, so I may have to do some trade offs.

Also, thanks re the SSD and the HDs .. esp the former is new to me, so any guidance was welcome.

Esmail

ps: While I've pretty much replaced every component in a PC (incl motherboard) this will be my first total built, so I'm being a bit conservative and am trying to stick to known quantities.


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