Hi. I recently decided that I was ready to build a new computer after having only owned a netbook and smartphone for the past few years. I enjoy a bit of computer gaming, but primarily needed this computer to fulfill productivity roles and perhaps some HTPC duties. I wanted it to be capable, yet quiet. Unfortunately, I hadn't built a computer in seven years and was clueless where to begin. Delving into the SPCR fora for a week or so helped me to determine the components for the job. Don't be surprised if you see several of SPCR's favorite and most frequently recommended bits. I just thought I'd register to say thanks and offer this photo to help assuage concerns anyone might have over these particular component combinations. I would be happy to add more angles, higher quality, or additional information upon request, but I believe this should suffice for proof-of-concept.Specs
Case: Fractal Design Define Mini (stock forward and aft fans)
PSU: Kingwin LZP-550 550W
Motherboard: Asus Maximus V Gene
CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K
CPU cooler: Thermalright HR-02 Macho
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16 GB (2x8GB) 1600MHz
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 570 1289 MB (reference card)
GPU cooler: Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme Plus II
SSD: Crucial M4 256 GB
Optical Drive: LG Electronics WH12LS39K BDRWThoughts
I was very eager to move forward and thus rushed this build. Had I been more careful, I would not have selected that Asus motherboard; its operation and creature comforts are fine, but I'd prefer one with a PS/2 port for full n-key rollover. Furthermore, much of the ROG additions are just fluff and hype for my purposes; something a bit more toned down would have suited me better. I was worried that the Macho would not fit the width of the case, but it dropped in like it was meant to be there. I was unable to determine how much of a noise burden the GTX 570 might bring, so I proactively ordered the aftermarket cooler.
This monster cooler was a bear to install and is actually slightly incompatible with the Define Mini. I had to trim the forward-most fan grill with a knife at two or three points to get it to fit past the top of the Define Mini's lower SSD/HDD cage. However, I do not consider the Accelero Xtreme Plus II to be a major DIY/custom project--anyone with some sense could do it, but be warned that it does consume three expansion slots, a good deal of patience, and required a hint of ingenuity on two or three occasions.
In its current state, the computer is very, very quiet. With my ear right next to it, I have to actively tune out the buzzing of my apartment's refrigerator to make out the faint breeze gently passing through the case. Side panels on and browsing the web, the CPU sits around 30°C while the GPU is at 34°C. Quake Live pushes the GPU up in the range of 42-45°C, with which I am completely comfortable. I thought I'd read somewhere that the GPU cooler fans shouldn't turn on until a certain load/thermal threshold is reached, but the Accelero's three fans are always on (not that I'd know that unless I look at them)--I'll have to look into that. Furthermore, due to the already acceptable balance of temperatures and (lack of) noise, I haven't actively managed the case/cpu/gpu fan speeds yet; I should look into that as well. Finally, I still need to decide on a storage drive. Overall, though, I'd call this a success.