I've been running my Core2 E6600 system since the CPU was released 5 years ago, I was a very early adopter and it's served me well (and still does mostly). Unfortunately XP Media Centre doesn't run reliably any more so I gave up trying to use it as a HTPC, I've spent a lot of money on supposedly silent kit but it still bugs the hell out of my that I can hear it if I'm not making a lot of noise (game, music, film), but most recently I hit a problem with lack of memory available to run some VM's which I need in the pursuit of upping my qualifications, so I'm thinking about an upgrade (read new system altogether)...
I want an allrounder that's totally silent, and I don't mean pretty quiet like my last one, I want to have to look if there are any lights on or see something on screen just to know it's on. I have 2 systems at work which set the benchmarks - an HP Elite 6000 PC running a faster E8500 3.06Ghz Core2 Duo which is totally silent which can't be said for mine, and an HP Z400 PC running a quad-core Xeon at 3.2Ghz with 24gb ram which handles my VM's quite nicely but another will cost close to £2000 and I think I can build better for less? I want:
> Maximum possible ram so I can run a number of VM's from time to time.
> To play the occasional game which at the moment is only UT2004 but I'd like to try something newer.
> To watch, record and edit the odd bit of TV, play DVD/BluRay films, listen to music.
> To use it for all the day-to-day stuff like Internet and email.
I'm not initially planning to overclock so I want something pretty quick at stock speeds so I don't have to upgrade again too soon. My proposed new system, therefore, which I hope will see me through another 5 years is as follows:
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit running on...
Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD3 motherboard maxed out with 16gb ram.
Intel Core i7 2600K or 2700K running at stock speed initially, probably water cooled.
Not sure between Corsair Force GT SSD or Momentus XT hybrid SSD/HD for boot drive, will wait for prices to come back down and test both at work first
Will stick with Samsung Spinpoint for data drive, if I can stretch to a big enough SSD might use it externally and only connect it when required.
Probably use an external BluRay drive connected only when required and run disc images from HD if possible to keep the noise down.
Try to get either my VideoMate Compro Vista E900F PCI-E or Hauppauge WinTV-Nova-T500 PCI dual tuner TV cards working rather than have to buy something else.
Gainward GTX 560Ti Phantom graphics card (twice the power of my 4850 and Custom PC say quietest card in their test).
Undecided on case, something plain, not too big, space to cool everything but must be very quiet.
PSU between Enermax Modu87+ 500W or Seasonic X-650.
Will probably need a new screen (my HDMI TV works at 1920x1200 under XP but not when I upgraded to Win7 so I switched back, seems to be a common issue).
I've read the SPCR articles on quiet PSU's and have narrowed it down to a choice of 2 as above, the Enermax Modu87+ 500W or the Seasonic X-650 and want to know based on the system spec above which I should go for. While needing some room for minor expansion (a few USB peripherals, internal HD, internal BluRay drive, sound card) I don't want to run in to the issue of too little draw if I buy the 650W unit as I've read there's been problems, but at the same time don't want it to be noisy because I'm working it too hard.