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 Post subject: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:34 am 
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I'm getting parts together for a new machine, primarily for Lightroom and Photoshop work. I've been reading my eyeballs out - here, Anandtech, other sites, newegg reviews, etc - but still haven't settled on a case. I'd like a reasonably quiet machine (it sits three feet from my left ear.)

The piece of furniture on which the computer sits limits my options, as it's not as deep as a full desk. 19" depth is ideal, 20" would probably work, but deeper than that is likely trouble, especially if the front feet of the case overhang the furniture. Width and height aren't limiting factors. Depth is.

The internals are:
Asus P8Z77-V Pro
i7-3770K
2x8gb DDR 1600
gtx 460
dvd burner
card reader
a couple of ssd's
a couple of HDD

I have no plans to overclock, and I don't game. I'd like to find a case that works in stock form. No windows or led fans, please. A local computer tech will be doing the assembly for me. It'd be nice if I don't have to ask him to do any tweakery.

I started out planning on using an Antec P183 v3, with the matching CP-850 power supply. The power supply has been hard to find (I guess Antec isn't listing it anymore), and the cpu is in short supply too. Which has given me way too much time to obsess over case reviews...

The other cases in the running are the Fractal Design R3 and Arc Midi, the Silverstone TJ04-E, NZXT H2 (I can handle the DIY mod to increase the airflow), maybe the Lian Li PC-9F. The Corsair 550D is deeper than I'd like, as is the Antec P280. Am I missing any obvious contenders? Should the Coolermaster 690 II Advanced be considered?

Are there cases that are better overall than the P183? 50 bucks one way or the other is not of great import in the context of this total build. The reviews all point to flaws in these case designs. Bad airflow, or excessive noise, or difficult build, hard drive vibration, etc.

thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:04 am 
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Location: Stony Brook, NY
I think the Antec Solo II would be an excellent case. It has great airflow, can fit the components you desire and is quiet. You can probably scale back on the PSU a bit, down to something in the 500W range, I would recommend a nice platinum one like the KINGWIN Absolute Platinum Series AP-550, $120 at newegg. The downside of this PSU is that the cables aren't modular, upside is it has the same PSU internals as the LZW-550, at a lower price. I don't know what kind of HDDs you plan on installing, but if they are low RPM/low noise, you probably could go with an even lower wattage PSU. Hope that helps!

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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:47 am 
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lapon wrote:
I think the Antec Solo II would be an excellent case. It has great airflow, can fit the components you desire and is quiet. You can probably scale back on the PSU a bit, down to something in the 500W range, I would recommend a nice platinum one like the KINGWIN Absolute Platinum Series AP-550, $120 at newegg. The downside of this PSU is that the cables aren't modular, upside is it has the same PSU internals as the LZW-550, at a lower price. I don't know what kind of HDDs you plan on installing, but if they are low RPM/low noise, you probably could go with an even lower wattage PSU. Hope that helps!


+1

Also, the GTX 460 is not a good fit for your use. It's overkill for gpu acceleration, a power hog, and hence, a noisy beast.

You don't mention which versions of Photoshop and Lightroom you are using...earlier versions just used the gpu to accelerate display functions (rotate/pan/zoom/etc). The latest version uses Open CL to accelerate Blur and some other stuff. But, you might be able to just use the HD4000 iGP for this. If it seems laggy, then you can easily add a lower end/low power card.

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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:10 am 
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Well, the Antec Solo II recommendations came as a surprise. I'd read the Puget Systems Product Qualification on this case. They weren't too keen on it. The hard disk suspension really put them off, because they can't ship systems that way. I'm not crazy about it, either: anytime I'd move the computer, I'd be worrying about a drive crashing into the motherboard. It's possible to mount the hard drives in more standard fashion, isn't it? I had a machine in a Sonata case for several years, and liked it very much.

I'll be running Lightroom 4, and whatever new versions Adobe releases while I use this computer. Adobe doesn't give us any choice: the Canon 5D3 isn't supported in Lightroom 3. My Photoshop usage is very limited these days. That could change. I want to be prepared, hence the nVidia card. Adobe is making more use of the gpu as time goes on. Did I choose a stinker of a card? It's already sitting here, along with some other components. It was rated higher than the 550 ti, a card used in lots of photo-processing builds I've seen online.

The hard drives - already here as well - are Seagate Barracuda 3TB, 7200 rpm. I have all my photos backed up on external drives, twice. My photos from the past couple of years have just about filled the two 750gb drives in my current pc. I get called for pictures that are no longer on my working computer, and it's a pain in the butt to have to go dig up the external drive. I photograph in the same venues from time to time; I like to pull up the photos from an earlier shoot to refresh my memory of lighting, exposure, etc. Call it laziness, but if I can keep more of the photos right at hand on a drive in the machine, I'm happier. Raw file sizes keep growing, too. It's not unusual for me to come back from a night covering a jazz event with 10 to 20gb of files. So I'd like a case with room for plenty of drives.The Solo II seems like it could get a bit tight.

How noisy are the gtx 460, and the Seagate 3TB 7200 rpm drives likely to be? I've been using an HP Pavilion Elite machine for the past four years. It's got a Q9550 cpu, an nVidia GeForce 8800 card, and two Hitachi 7200 rpm drives. All I hear out of the box is the hard drives making some quiet noises, and a very faint hum or whoosh, maybe the fans. Will a computer assembled with the parts I've listed be much noisier than the one I've got now?

Where does the P183 fit into all this, nowadays? It's larger than the Solo II, with more room to grow. Is it still better than the Fractal Design R3, the Lian-Li PC-9F, the Silverstone TJ-04E? Price-wise they're all acceptable to me.

thanks for helping educate me.


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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:41 am 
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-->Did I choose a stinker of a card?<---

Yes, it's a stinker. Return it if you can. It'll be loud, use more power than needed, and Lightroom 4 doesn't use any gpu acceleration. Photoshop does, and it's based on Open CL and Open GL (not CUDA), so you can use Intel, AMD, or Nvidia to get the benefit. Premiere is the app that historically used CUDA..and it is also moving to Open CL and GL. The caveat is some Photoshop plug-ins use CUDA.

So, if you don't use CUDA-enabled photoshop plug-ins, then try a build w/o a discrete GPU. If it seems sluggish, then add a current generation (HD7xxx or GTX 6xx) $100 gpu with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. I haven't found a benchmark test yet that shows gpu horsepower vs speed improvement comparing the iGP vs discrete GPU. But, I don't think you need a high powered gaming card for this.

Case: I haven't read Puget's qual test. I can understand why a shipper wouldn't like the Solo's suspended drives. But, you won't have UPS monkeys turning your case upside down. In practice, the suspension can be tightened enough to hold the drives in place. Or, you can use the standard mounts. If you don't like the Solo II, there's a variety of quiet cases. Here's a laundry list: The P183 and P280, Corsair 550D, Fractal Design Define R3, Silverstone FT02. Oops, forgot about your depth requirement - R3 and Arc Midi would be the two I'd prefer.

Build noise: It can easily be quieter than the HP with the right components.

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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: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:50 pm 
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Location: Australia
CA_Steve wrote:
I can understand why a shipper wouldn't like the Solo's suspended drives. But, you won't have UPS monkeys turning your case upside down. In practice, the suspension can be tightened enough to hold the drives in place.

You can also use thumbscrews in the sides of the hard drives for extra security:

Image


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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 1:48 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:53 pm
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In talking with the fellow who is going to assemble my computer, he suggested the Corsair 300r case, which he used for a recent build and liked very much. The only review of it I could find was on Tweaktown; they said in stock form it was quiet. No idea how their idea of "quiet" compares to spcr's! Does anyone have any experience with this case? It's also a bit limited in disk space, as is the Antec Solo II.

Back to the video card. One of you said "So, if you don't use CUDA-enabled photoshop plug-ins, then try a build w/o a discrete GPU. If it seems sluggish, then add a current generation (HD7xxx or GTX 6xx) $100 gpu with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. I haven't found a benchmark test yet that shows gpu horsepower vs speed improvement comparing the iGP vs discrete GPU. But, I don't think you need a high powered gaming card for this." What specific cards are you recommending? I haven't seen any GTX 6xxx cards for anywhere near $100. They're all hundreds of dollars more expensive than that.

Is the GTX 460 really noisy - even when not pushed hard? What currently available cards would you recommend for Lightroom and Photoshop usage? Puget Systems goes with a quiet (fanless) version of the 430. Is there anything as good or better?

thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:19 am 
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Location: ITALY
jimlevitt wrote:
Is the GTX 460 really noisy - even when not pushed hard?

It depends of whicht card you have, and whether you tweak its BIOS or not. Unless this latter, it's hardly a really quiet card.
Providing it's a good card and you tweak its BIOS, I can add that during daytime I am not be able to hear a pair of Gigabyte GTX460s OC1 Rev. 1.0 at idle inside a Solo I, which sports inside just a couple of 120mm @ 550rpm fans, while at night you may hear just a very subtle and gentle "woosh" coming from that system (mainly from the 120mm fans).

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 Post subject: Re: anything mid-towers better than the P183 V3 these days?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:09 am 
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jimlevitt wrote:
What specific cards are you recommending? I haven't seen any GTX 6xxx cards for anywhere near $100. They're all hundreds of dollars more expensive than that.

While Nvidia has announced the low end 6xx gpus, it looks like they aren't on the market, yet.

I was just trying to save you money, watts and noise :) If you bought one of the fire-sale GTX 460's for $120 or so, then sure, try it out.

case: the 300R is nice for the price. It may not be as quiet as some of the others. It may work out well for you.

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