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 Post subject: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Wet Coast of Canada
OK, I realize this won't be as quiet as it CAN be, but it's about as close as I can here on the west coast of Canada, dependent as I am on Canadian retailers who will ship things. I don't have stores with rare bits near me, and I can't get things shipped from the US (because apparently the world ends at the 49th parallel. Go figure.)

Thanks to pcpartpicker.com for being so damned useful! Now if only they'd include decibel level in all the products that make noise and I'd be content.

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H60 74.4 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus P8H77-V ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Seagate Barracuda Green 1.5TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card
Case: Inwin Dragon Rider ATX Full Tower Case
Power Supply: SeaSonic Platinum 860W 80 PLUS Platinum Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit)

I'm probably doing to try to get everything from NCIX (they're closest, and push comes to shove I can make the trip to the mainland and thump on a desk or something), but that's not a hard-and-fast rule.

Suggestions, comments, and especially pointing out tricks I might have missed in trying to create a quiet system would be most welcome. I've tried to read, research and generally make the "right" choices, but my brain is full now, so I'd like to borrow yours if I may?

[Mod: we don't need pricing or links to answer your question.]
[answer to Mod: Was being lazy and I just cut-and-paste the info as provided by pcpartpicker. But you knew that.]

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


Last edited by smilinggeek on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 pm
Posts: 1260
Location: UK
Are you intending to RAID the hard disks?

I would suggest that you don't need a PSU anything like that size. Real maximum draw for this system will be less than 400W so take a look at something smaller like the soon to be available Seasonic Platinum 520 fanless.

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Silverstone SG03B: E8200, Asus P5E-VM HDMI, 2Gb RAM, Leadtek 9600GT+S1 rev. 2, Samsung 500Gb, Seasonic X-400, 2x Akasa 120mm, Scythe Zipang 2 fanless


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:29 am
Posts: 582
Location: de_DE
Scythe Mugen 3
SeaSonic X-650
Fractal Design Define R4
If you can do with 2.5" drives (seagate has a 1.5TB model, WD has a 2TB model) instead of 3.5" dives it's going to be about as quiet as you get without changing the graphic card cooler and every fan.

_________________
Lian Li V600, Asus P77Z-M Pro, i5-3570K 4.4GHz with Scythe Orochi, 140mm Slipstream 500RPM and Mugen2 115X Bolt through kit, Evga GTX 970 Superclocked, BeQuiet E9 580W CM


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:31 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 12:29 pm
Posts: 17
Corsair Hydro series have high rpm fans and are known to have issues with pump noise. Would not recommend for a quiet pc.


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:38 am 
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Location: Finland
Cons: full ATX with one card is unnecessary, case is leaky and oversized, PSU could power two midrange setups, watercooling not a great choice, one year warranty on HDDs.
Pros: sweet spot CPU, Fan Xpert 2 mobo (IIRC), good value and size of SSD.

Mobos... if you like Asus, P8Z77-M Pro (Xpert+) or Maximus V Gene (Xpert 2) would be mATX alternatives with the Z77 chipset (basically H77+overclocking IIRC). If you go mATX, I can highly recommend the Fractal Design Define Mini I use. Check out the suggested Fractal Design R4 (predecessor R3 is SPCR Recommended) if you stay with full ATX, or the NZXT H2 (also good, and they fixed SPCR quibble about intake) if you like a bit of gadgetry on the case. The H2 HDD compartment might still not be very good.

PSU... if you like Seasonic, they have the excellent, Gold-rated, semipassive X-560 that would be just right for you - it is absolutely a premium PSU (X-650 is SPCR Editor's Choice), and would save you $100, not to mention being absolutely silent in desktop use (fan off)! This will easily pay for a mobo upgrade, for example.

Suggest you go with a chunky air cooler like the Therlmaright Macho (Editor's Choice) or Noctua's NH-U12P, since your case space sets no limitations in that regard. The H50 and Antec's 620 and 920 that SPCR tested lost out to good air coolers in both efficiency and acoustics. Watercooling is also more complex to install, and there's always the risk, however minute, that you'll end up with water on your electrical circuitry - having spilled some on mine, I can't say I recommend it.

AFAIK WD HDDs should have 2 year warranties (Green) and 3 year warranties (Red) and are SPCR approved.

PS. If you'd like to tweak some more, consider low-voltage RAM like G.Skill Snipers (love 'em) or that Samsung set CA_Steve always recommends, but only has a horrible serial number title, so I never remember what it is.

PPS. Every option but the Thermalright cooler is available at NCIX. WD Reds only have a 2-year warranty over there though.

Edit1: PS.
Edit2: corrected R4 Recommendation status.

_________________
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB SSD, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky TKL, SteelSeries Sensei Raw, Synology DS213j 6 TB NAS
idle-load: CPU 32-44 °C @ 300/600-600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


Last edited by Das_Saunamies on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 12056
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Yeah, those water coolers just aren't as quiet as a good HSF.

NCIX sells lots of CPU coolers recommended by SPCR -- Noctua, Phantekx, Scythe... The best cool&quiet value might be the Scythe Mugen 3 for $46 -- http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=69122& ... ure=Scythe

Someone else's comment about 860W being overkill is right. The TDP of the GPU is 200W, and the CPU is 77W. If you OC'd to the max, you might reach 350W... but that'd be a real stretch. You'd be fine with a 5~600W PSU, plenty of headroom.

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Support SPCR by buying your gear through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Replace the tall headspreader RAM with low profile RAM. It's just marketing and you are more than likely to run into clearance issues with whatever air cooler we talk you into :)

WD Greens run quieter than Seagate. Why two of them?

GPU: It's a nice card. Don't know if it's a fit or overkill for your needs without knowing the use and monitor resolution.

PSU: overkill.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Wet Coast of Canada
Thanks for all the comments! I'm currently re-working the build and will post results a bit later. I'm afraid I have NO idea how some of those parts got in there (two HD? what was I thinking?) and other parts that "seemed like a good idea" at the time... no longer do now that I've had some sleep.

So thanks! I'll be back later with a more substantial response. The ongoing work can be seen here: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/user/sge/saved/ , but it still has work to be done before I address the various issues you wonderful people have noticed.

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:17 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Posts: 12056
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
smilinggeek wrote:
Thanks for all the comments! I'm currently re-working the build and will post results a bit later. I'm afraid I have NO idea how some of those parts got in there (two HD? what was I thinking?) and other parts that "seemed like a good idea" at the time... no longer do now that I've had some sleep.

So thanks! I'll be back later with a more substantial response. The ongoing work can be seen here: http://pcpartpicker.com/ca/user/sge/saved/ , but it still has work to be done before I address the various issues you wonderful people have noticed.

Still a couple of weaker choices --

-- WD Red is the new quiet HDD champ, easily best any Seagate
-- Noctua 9cm cooler is nowhere near mugen 3
-- You don't need 16gb RAM for a desktop PC esp. w/ an SSD; Intel research showed not long ago that w/ a DT PC & win 7 64, going past -- 4GB actually slowed gaming performance.
-- The Coolermaster 700 is ok -- but which one? It matters -- go for Silent Pro M.
-- In Win Dragon Rider? We have one for you at SPCR -- the review sample, packed up since review, at less than half price.

_________________
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:38 pm 
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I remember a testing site, maybe X-Bit Labs, reaching the same conclusions about RAM and gaming power long ago (DDR2 IIRC).

Had a lot of page faults with just 4 GB personally, but the bump up to 8 GB didn't reduce them as much as I would have thought. It's like applications aside from browsers and Flash are averse to using RAM aggressively - which I guess is a good thing, and a reason to get a big, fast SSD. Using the Intel iGPU eats up a 1-1.5 GB chunk though, so that combined with 1-2 GB games is reason enough to have 8 GB in my case.

I've used Noctua's 9 cm cooler in one build, and it just doesn't hold up to the big boys if you want silence. It's surprisingly efficient for a little one, but if you're going full ATX, go full size on the cooler.

If the Dragon Rider is what you want, the SPCR offer sounds hard to beat. :!:

PS. This topic disappeared from the forums for me for hours, "this topic does not exist", even though I got the reply-alert e-mail. Weird.

_________________
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB SSD, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky TKL, SteelSeries Sensei Raw, Synology DS213j 6 TB NAS
idle-load: CPU 32-44 °C @ 300/600-600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Wet Coast of Canada
OK, more detailed reply: (and please, feel free to tell me to RTFM there's an article somewhere that covers the issue.) I've put lots of build comments and thoughts on my saved build on pcpartpicker as well.

Something that might affect future comments: not stated in original post were plans to eventually upgrade by adding a 2nd CPU to use Crossfire. But I've just realized my current Asus P8H77-V motherboard can't do it right as it only has one PCIe 3 slot. Which leads to one major question that affects the whole build:

Is it better to try to build only to a given specification, picking the parts that are best for the current specification, at the current time, with current technology? Or is better to try to pick parts that will "future proof" the build by picking some things - like bigger case, PSU, motherboard, etc.) than is technically required by the current specification? I can argue both sides, unfortunately. (discussion here)

Answering THAT question would really help me make better choices, I think.

On to the build:

HD comments:
(multiple HD?) um, I don't know what I was thinking. Only meant to have single HD. Fixed.
(warranty) I hadn't considered that. Are the WD drives reliable? I've been reading mixed reports. Adding to my "do more research" list. Ack, that list is getting thick!!

oversized PSU: OK, I downsized a bit. I was considering an upgrade path of getting a 2nd GPU and using Crossfire. That would bring the unit to about 600W (according to pcpartpicker.com), which makes the current 700W adequate. See second paragraph for question about future proofing.

Corsair HD and CPU cooling THANKS for the warnings! It's gone. Picked Noctua as pcpartpicker gives decibel levels of 9.6 - 32.1 dbA for the Scythe Mugen 3, but only 7.9 - 17.6 dbA for the Noctua NH-U9B. Do those numbers actually mean anything, or are they just marketing noise signifying nothing?

oversized case (Das_Saunamies and others): I've noticed that quieter parts are often bulkier. Was trying to actually find a case in which such things fit comfortably. Was also under the perhaps mistaken impression that a larger case would allow for better cooling - but I've just thought of a couple reasons why I might be wrong. A smaller, tighter case wouldn't be unwelcome, but I'm not sure I trust myself to then pick parts that will physically fit into said case. Besides, I can always use a large case for a monster NAS server in my home server room. Eventually.

RAM choices (CA_Steve, Das_Saunamies) Low power and lower profile RAM sounds like good ideas. I've changed my choice to 16Gb of 1.5V, Crucial Ballistix 1600. The comments on larger not necessarily faster are being taken into account - I'll add that to my "research this" list.
first bit of research results: seems that 8Gb is the "sweet spot" for current games.

I still have a number of your posts to go through point by point to consider. I like to understand why certain choices are made, so it sometimes takes me longer. I'm not in any hurry, but will be getting a new PC before the new year (I have to set SOME deadline after all).

Finally:
MikeC wrote:
In Win Dragon Rider? We have one for you at SPCR -- the review sample, packed up since review, at less than half price.

Hell yeah! Do you have any other kit you want to ditch? I've got nothing against pre-tested... :P I don't get to the mainland that often though, especially since the fares have become somewhat unapproachable. However, I predict at least one mainland weekend raid (with vehicle) before the new year. I'll be sure to give you a shout to arrange something.

PS: the topic disappeared because that's what the forum does when a user like me, who needs admin approval for every post, tries to change the subject of the first post to something more descriptive. I'm assuming that once I earn the trust of the admins my posts won't require moderation. If they're smart that will take some time - you never know if I'm a troll in newbie clothing. (edit: hmm, they trust quickly. My posts are now showing up immediately. How... trusting.) Until then, well, it's interesting behaviour on the part of the forum software...

Edits:
- from waffling about MikeC's Inwin case offer to "hell yeah!" on MikeC's Inwin case offer...
- added first relevant RAM article.
- added link to philosophy of I.T article: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=65264

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


Last edited by smilinggeek on Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 1:39 am
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Well if you want to put it to a vote, my vote is for "there is no future-proof in IT". Could be they bring out a new technology tomorrow and whatever "future-proofing" got done before that becomes moot (buying eSATA prior to USB3, prepping for SLI/CF when single-GPU cards turn out to be more powerful and efficient). Software is a bit more predictable, as it stays inefficient enough to sap or negate any hardware gains achieved. :D

In my mind it is best to build with what is available now and be realistic about personal needs and desires. The only insurance you need is a little scouting on the horizon, so you don't buy a platform that becomes redundant in the next three weeks - like I did with Socket 939 (thanks, AMD). Same goes for paying for "headroom" that often just turns into extra cost and dead weight.

If you want SLI/CF as an option, go Z77 instead of H77: http://www.pugetsystems.com/blog/2012/04/12/z68-z77-and-h77-whats-the-difference/. The mobo in my sig is mATX and can do SLI/CF if needed.

WD drives are solid.

Do not trust online power calculators. They are based on many a false assumption stemming from bad information and lazy/nonexistent research.

Same with dB readings - half drawn from a hat, half from a sleeve, all just about bogus. There is no measuring standard, so you can only trust relative comparison via reliable (consistent protocol) reviews. In case of the Noctua 9 cm vs Mugen: small fans at equal RPM to big fans are quieter, but move smaller amounts of air. Ditto bigger heatsinks and moving (dissipating) heat. The small sink with a small fan would have to work harder than a big sink and a big fan, possibly leading to a noise increase that did not need to be there.

Case is up to you, as you're the one who has to live with it. There are compact options that will easily accept long cards and tall coolers, though.

_________________
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB SSD, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky TKL, SteelSeries Sensei Raw, Synology DS213j 6 TB NAS
idle-load: CPU 32-44 °C @ 300/600-600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:29 pm 
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I commented on the futureproofing thread.

Also, the first two posts are moderated to fight spammers.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, 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)

Support SPCR through these links: NCIX, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:30 pm 
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In my experience, the only parts you can future-proof are case, cooling, and PSU. They'll last you through multiple upgrade cycles and are more important to your experience than you might think. DO NOT SKIMP ON THEM. Unfortunately, manufacturers' noise/airflow numbers are worthless, and even PSU capacity can be fudged by 30% or more. All I can tell you is to read reviews and search forums, particularly here at SPCR, and be willing to pay for quality.

As far as future-proofing other parts, I've found that after 2 years or so, hitting the price-performance sweet-spot requires complete replacement. Unless you upgrade more often than that, don't bother. I also recall reading several warnings that it's more cost-efficient to replace an old GPU than to add a second one, not to mention the micro-stuttering and frequent bugs. Even if they've been fixed in the year since I last checked up on the idea, you're still going to be afflicted with heat management issues that drive many to take up water-cooling. However, this is all online research, so take with a grain of salt.

Now specific recommendations:
1) GET A 120MM+ CPU COOLER!!! Several are quieter, cooler, and cheaper than that 92mm Noctua.
2) Unless you're into hard-drive recording or film-editing, 4GB of RAM is oodles. I play games with maxed settings, and all have taken less than 2GB of total memory.
3) Buy a high-end PSU. They consume less power, make less noise, and make less heat. Whether it's due to lower ambient temps or less heat radiating back into the interior, my case is cooler with a Seasonic running passively than a mid-range PSU running actively.
4) If a fan isn't SPCR-recommended, you should probably replace it with one that is. :wink:
5) Fan gaskets rock. Use them.
6) If you're out of money, downgrade the CPU. It's a dirty, little secret, but for gaming, the GPU is almost always the bottleneck.
7) If you're still out of money, downgrade the SSD to a 128GB. You'll have to discipline yourself and keep all temp directories and data on your HDD, but you should do that with any SSD, regardless of size.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:41 am 
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Location: Wet Coast of Canada
Checkpoint time. I think I've addressed most of the issues with this version. As I might be getting a nice deal on the Inwin case it's staying - the cost of this build is starting to make me go "eeek" - I've discovered that the magic number under which I don't go "eek" is $2000. I may wait for some sales for some of these parts.

current PCPartPicker part list - may differ as updates are made

CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 54.4 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard:Asus P8Z77-V LK ATX LGA1155 Motherboard
Storage: Crucial M4 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive[/url]
Video Card: Asus Radeon HD 7950 3GB Video Card
Case: Inwin Dragon Rider ATX Full Tower Case
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 660W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
Optical Drive: Asus BC-12B1ST/BLK/B/AS Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer
Monitor: Asus PB278Q 27.0" Monitor
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit)
Memory: G.SKILL Sniper Gaming Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GSR ($69.49)


RAM amount: 16 Gb vs 8 Gb - tomshardware did a test last year which seems to indicate that 8Gb is the "sweet spot" for 64 bit machines and gaming. But RAM is so cheap right now I'm going 16Gb anyway. I've not been able to find anything that says it makes things slower, only that it doesn't actually help make things faster. I can always use a big RAM drive.

DVD reader: a lot of these things are actually quite noisy. Probably need to revisit my choice.

Future Proofing: I'm still guilty of doing that. Motherboard, case and PSU are chosen with some upgrades in mind. Probably futile, but I can't help it.

Selection: pcpartpicker doesn't have the GSkill Sniper series at all, as far as I could tell. Another good reason to have posted here for advice.

Edits:
- changed pcpartpicker build links to the "saved" version that changes, not the specific one that's now obsolete.
- added Seasonic power supply.
- sigh. Mod seems to not want links and prices. OK, OK, I'll remove them from here as well.

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


Last edited by smilinggeek on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:46 am, edited 5 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:28 am 
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I'm liking it. Just a few observations on the recent changes.

Cooler: U12P is a - for some THE - surefire solution. Not the cheapest, but you do get lots of bang (premium mounting, premium fans, premium heatsink) for your buck.
RAM: probably hard to go L/U (low-voltage) with 8 GB sticks, so default/1.5 V is fine. I'm sure 16 GB won't do much harm.
Motherboard: it seems Fan Xpert 2 for Asus Z77 is $200. Nothing wrong with the Xpert+ that you're getting now, I am personally quite happy with it, just pick fans that go silent around 40% drive.
PSU: so 600 W it shall be, if that'll put your mind at ease. I picked two worthy options from PCPartPicker sorted by lowest price.
- Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 620W 80 PLUS Bronze, the 720 W was recently reviewed on SPCR, received SPCR Recommended. Quiet, not truly silent, semimodular. $90 at NCIX after rebate.
- SeaSonic X Series 660W 80 PLUS Gold. The X-650 is an SPCR Editor's Choice. This 660 W model is no doubt a worthy successor, as it is fully modular, has a Gold rating (less heat per W than regular or Bronze/Silver) and features the coveted semipassive cooling scheme - the fan will be OFF at desktop loads, and even while cooling it should be silent. $180 at NCIX, the other shop had it for $130 after rebate.

I think we are just about done here. There are no glaring faults or shortfalls left, only decisions about whether an extra $80 here or there is worth the investment.

If you want to save money, the monitor is the obvious place to do it. 27" is humongous, same as that model's price. The other parts on the list are optimal, and can't save you more than a couple dozen bucks, unless you downgrade heavily (128 GB SSD or 7870/7850).

PS. I paid a visit to the good folks at http://www.prad.de (excellent monitor review site), but could not find that Asus model reviewed. I did, however, find what I assume is a predecessor model, the PA246Q. It has the S-IPS panel, which is probably the reason you chose this class of monitor, and received a grade of Good (4/5; gotta love German sensibility :D) with "otherwise flawless image quality with a very neutral grey axis, even in the factory settings, and the well-implemented sRGB and AdobeRGB pre-defined modes" and they also found that "image construction of the Asus PA246Q is at a high level and thus, the monitor is also suitable for fast-paced shooting games and racing simulations and should provide satisfactory even for highly demanding users". The "flaw" in image quality was due to some bad design that prevented flawless calibration (and the monitor receiving a perfect grade).

The 24" predecessor can be had at NCIX for $510 - saving you $170 towards upgrades or lowering the overall price closer to $2000.

_________________
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB SSD, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky TKL, SteelSeries Sensei Raw, Synology DS213j 6 TB NAS
idle-load: CPU 32-44 °C @ 300/600-600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:36 pm 
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Posts: 14
Location: Wet Coast of Canada
With regards to the monitor, I'm afraid I've been spoiled. I currently have a 24" iMac, and I love the resolution. I recently got myself a "widescreen" 27" monitor thinking it would be a step up - only to realize after it arrived that it was a 1920x1080 resolution (I really need to learn to do my research more thoroughly sometimes). - LESS than my current 24" monitor at 1920x1200 yet over a larger area!! I hate it. It's been relegated to yeoman duty in the "backup monitor on the kvm for the test and server machines".

So I went looking for what I consider to be a REAL 27" monitor - minimum 2560x1440, and the Asus scored high in a few reviews, as well as being one of the least expensive of that class. I looked at the 30", but I'm unfortunately not THAT spoiled. Which is why I'm going to get the 27" Asus, even if it pushes the total price above "eek".

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:22 pm 
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Location: Wet Coast of Canada
Question prompted by Das_Saunamies comment about Xpert+ (which I had no idea existed): are external fan controllers such as the Aerocool touch worth their cost at keeping thing quiet? Or are they just pretty toys with questionable function?

ps:
Irrelevant wrote:
7) If you're still out of money, downgrade the SSD to a 128GB. You'll have to discipline yourself and keep all temp directories and data on your HDD, but you should do that with any SSD, regardless of size.

Excellent idea, I'll consider it if I can't get the stuff I want on sale.

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:28 am 
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Aside from taking the power load off the motherboard, external controller panels do nothing for you. In fact they do less than software control can, since most will not scan the fans' RPM ranges or perform automatic adjustment based on system sensors.

You can take the power load off the motherboard with a $5 splitter cable, so I really don't know why anyone would pay $20-50 for a panel now aside from looks.

_________________
Case: Define Mini
Parts: P8Z77-M Pro µATX, i5-3570K, N650Ti-1GD5/OC, 8 GB G.Skill DDR3U, Xonar DX, WD G 1 TB, mx100 256 GB SSD, RX-5300 PSU
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P SE2 + Scythe SS PWM, 2x Noctua NF-P12
Extras: Eaton UPS, Dell 24" EIPS, Ducky TKL, SteelSeries Sensei Raw, Synology DS213j 6 TB NAS
idle-load: CPU 32-44 °C @ 300/600-600/800 RPM, GPU 35-65 °C @ 1200-1650 RPM


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:52 am 
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Location: Wet Coast of Canada
Das_Saunamies wrote:
You can take the power load off the motherboard with a $5 splitter cable, so I really don't know why anyone would pay $20-50 for a panel now aside from looks.

That's sort of what I figured, but thanks for giving the technical reasons behind that opinion.

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Posts: 66
Das_Saunamies wrote:
You can take the power load off the motherboard with a $5 splitter cable, so I really don't know why anyone would pay $20-50 for a panel now aside from looks.
It makes sense if your mobo doesn't have enough control channels and the panel you buy has RPM/temp displays. I've been tempted to buy an NZXT Sentry 2 for a while now, as my own mobo can only control two sets of fans.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 8:10 pm 
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Location: Wet Coast of Canada
Irrelevant wrote:
Das_Saunamies wrote:
You can take the power load off the motherboard with a $5 splitter cable, so I really don't know why anyone would pay $20-50 for a panel now aside from looks.
It makes sense if your mobo doesn't have enough control channels and the panel you buy has RPM/temp displays. I've been tempted to buy an NZXT Sentry 2 for a while now, as my own mobo can only control two sets of fans.

Hadn't thought of that. Frankly, this is the first time I've ever even considered the need to control fans - to me they've always been these "always on" things that made a lot of noise. The motherboard I'm getting (Asus P8Z77-V LK) apparently has: 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin) and 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 -pin). Will that be enough? The case I'm getting has between 4 to 6 fans (I don't actually know...), then there's the GPU fans, and the CPU fans. I guess several of those can be connected by splitters? Is there a guide/tutorial somewhere for how to connect this subsystem, and the types of extra connectors I might need to make it all work?

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Posts: 688
Location: Germany
Yes, the case might have room for 6 fans. That doesn't mean your using all of them. This is like you don't need 3 other guys to drive to work because you have a 4 door sedan.

So your next question probably would be: how many and which fans are useful in my case? Maybe a current owner of your planned case can help.


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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:15 am 
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Posts: 66
Six case fans is way too many for a mid-range system. I'd recommend a minimum of two and suggest that if you end up installing more than four, you're probably doing something wrong.

Also, GPUs have their own fan controllers, so I doubt you'll have use for more than two control channels on your mobo: one for your CPU cooler fan(s), and one for all your case fans. More is nice, of course, but probably unnecessary.

BTW, take it easy on the HDD cooling. A lot of people restrict their intakes in order to keep their hard drives subarctic, but studies have shown that HDD life expectancy actually declines if they're operated below 30C. Just keep them below 40C and you'll be fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Mid Range, Hopefully QUIET mid-range gaming PC
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:14 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Wet Coast of Canada
Pappnaas wrote:
So your next question probably would be: how many and which fans are useful in my case? Maybe a current owner of your planned case can help.


Good question. Guess I'll message MikeC to see how many fans the case he's (hopefully) selling me actually has.

EDIT:
Answer: (yes, I'm paraphrasing, he was unexpectedly quite polite): Read the f*ing review you n00b!
http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1208-page1.html. And he's right, I should have spent the 30 seconds it took to figure out how to actually FIND said review once I was told about it.

Mea Culpa!

Answer is:5 (from this page: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1208-page5.html). Guess I'll need a couple of splitter cables. I'm guessing I can get anything I need at RP Electronics if NCIX doesn't have it when I visit the mainland. The only source that I know of for "bits and pieces" here in Mid Vancouver Island closed a while back. It's always the little things that bite back.

_________________
Using: iMac 24" dual boot (Mac for work and banking, Windows 7 for gaming), Logitech LZ, Apple keyboard.
Looking for: short (no numpad) backlit keyboard, maybe with extra keys on the left.
Also Looking for: Mouse that doesn't require online DRM to configure, such as the Razer Naga that I used to be able to use, but can no longer.
Currently building new system: check it out


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