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 Post subject: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:32 pm
Posts: 6
I build a new home PC for myself about once every 10-years (I have been a software developer for over 35-years). I don't overclock, but I appreciate speed and silence. I am not on a tight budget.

PRIMARY APPLICATIONS: Outlook (email, web browsing), Photoshop (advanced; photography is a hobby), web development, etc.

PARTS ALREADY ACQUIRED:
* OS: Windows Home Prem 7 SP1 64-bit
* RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR3 16GB (2x8GB) CMZ16GX3M2A1600C9
* HD: WD 1TB Caviar Black WD1002FAEX
* DVD/CD RW (Asus)

CONSIDERING:
* MB: Asus P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT
* CPU: Intel i7 3770 (considering not getting the standard "K" version) BX80637I73770
* CASE: Antec Performance One Series P183 V3
* PSU: Seasonic SS-560KM (X-560)
* GRAPHICS: None (Intel's HD 4000)
* SSD: Intel 520-series (180GB; I might try Intel's SRT and periodically image back-up by C: drive) SSDSC2CW180A3K5

HELP NEEDED:

* CPU COOLER (what will work with Corsair Vengence's tall format?)
- I have been considering a Gelid Tranquillo v2 (CC-TRANQ-02-A), but despite great reviews it is not readily available and (worse) I am not sure it will fit with my tall memory and MB combination. I haven't seen any dimensions for the motherboard's layout around the CPU/DIMM area.

* INTERNAL FANS for P183 case (MB supports 3 x 4-pin PWMs; what is quiet and well built?)
- Based on reviews, I would like to replace the P183's stock fans. Asus' MB has great fan control and could use PWM, but I haven't found many reviews of PWM fans.

* Any other suggestions, especially regarding items under my "CONSIDERING" group.

Thanks for any help -- I have been reading for several months and would like to start building! :-)

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Posts: 409
Location: Ottawa
Just one suggestion, with an SSD that big (180 GB) there is no point to SRT unless you are doing lots of small random IO to your mechanical drive. From your use case that doesn't seem overly likely. Keep your active development projects on the SSD and just leave the photography files on the mechanical drive. Back up regularly as always.

SRT is meant for when you can only afford a small SSD, 64 GB or less. If you can swing a 128 GB or larger then it is better to just use the SSD for the OS and the mechanical drive for big files.


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:32 pm
Posts: 6
washu wrote:
SRT is meant for when you can only afford a small SSD, 64 GB or less. If you can swing a 128 GB or larger then it is better to just use the SSD for the OS and the mechanical drive for big files.

Good points! Here are my perceived advantages of using SRT versus installing my OS and programs on SSD:

1. Using SRT would allow me to make complete image back-ups of my C: drive with Acronis, thereby allowing me to quickly and easily restore my entire system to a new HD in case of HD failure or if I have a desire to upgrade to a new HD (I might do that every few years to minimize the possibility of an HD failure). Splitting files across C: and D: seem a bit messy.

2. If my SSD failed, the only impact would be slower response (because I would have lost my cache). Replacing my SSD would be very easy and would not be critical to using my PC.

3. SRT is dynamic. Once I configure it, I could forget about it. I wouldn't have to consider what I wanted to install on SSD vs. what I wanted to keep on my HD. Performance should be relatively similar, too. One reviewer compared two systems, one with SRT and the other with programs installed on SSD. Both systems performed much better than running without an SSD at all. Moreover, at times, his SRT system actually out-performed his SSD system. My guess is that he did not install an application quite right, but that is really my point about being able to forget about the SSD once SRT has been activated.

I will reconsider as you mentioned. I have been upgrading operating systems since Windows 3.1. This will be my first fresh install since Windows 3.1 (ha!). Perhaps I shouldn't worry so much about image copies! :-)

Dave


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:52 am 
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A cheap & good PWM fan would be the Scythe Slipstream PWM fan. They are widely regarded as great fans here at SPCR. For an even cheaper PWM fan, Arctic Cooling makes some PWM fans. A user in this forum has had good experiences with those.

I believe that the ASUS motherboard is also capable of controlling 3-pin fans very well. Perhaps you should consider these types of fans too.

Case: Do you really need such a giantic case when you don't even have a dedicated GPU? A smaller ATX case such as the Antec Solo II has the built-in suspension system for the hard drive. That would come in really handy since the Caviar Black will probably vibrate a lot.

_________________
Cooler Master Elite 341, Athlon II X3 425, Radeon 5750 (passive, fan zip-tied on), Crucial M4 64 GB.
Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Kuzzia, thanks for your suggestions. I spent several hours reading about the Scythe fans and about the Antec Solo II case.

I like the Antec Solo II's smaller size and possibly the location of its power supply (at the top, below a nicely vented opening). It seems to be a quiet, solid case. Now I am torn between the P183 and the Solo II. For anyone reading this, here are my findings:

  • The Solo II is 3.2 inches shorter than the P183, but the Solo II seems to use thicker steel (1mm vs. 0.8mm). Regardless, the Solo II is only 20-pounds; the P183 is 31-pounds.
  • The Solo II's power supply might cramp the 5.25" bays.
  • The Solo II's HDD suspension system is interesting (I want to read more about it).
  • The Solo II's power button is a bit spongy.
  • The Solo II's 2.5" bay might not be kind to right-angle connectors (Asus uses them on their MBs).
  • The Solo II's TrueQuiet case fans, although not PWM, are very quiet (quieter than the P183's TriCool fans?). Based upon my reading, I would try them before ordering replacements.

I am still not sure what CPU cooler to consider. Considering my tall DIMMs, do you know if there are any quiet CPU coolers (for LGA 1155) that would not infringe upon the adjacent DIMM slots?


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 10:20 am
Posts: 409
Location: Ottawa
DBM999:

Using SRT as you describe would be a complete waste of a 180 GB SSD. You would either waste 65% of your SSD or have two drive letters to back up anyway (The SRT enabled C: and the leftover SSD space). Two drive letters is not that difficult to back up and you wouldn't need to do an image level copy of your data drive.

I wouldn't bet on the SSD having a greater chance of failure over a mechanical drive. Both should be treated as failure prone and backed up accordingly. Also, if you use SRT in it's highest performance mode then a failed SSD can lose data.

Unless you have some huge games or dev files, 180 GB should be be more than enough to forget about it. Just install everything on C: and don't worry. While SRT can approach the speed of a dedicated SSD, I don't believe a review that says it could beat it. Also, if you really would fill a 180 GB drive, then there is no way a 64 GB cache will do. Eventually it will guess wrong and you will be back to hard drive speeds.


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:32 pm
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washu wrote:
DBM999:

Using SRT as you describe would be a complete waste of a 180 GB SSD. You would either waste 65% of your SSD or have two drive letters to back up anyway (The SRT enabled C: and the leftover SSD space). Two drive letters is not that difficult to back up and you wouldn't need to do an image level copy of your data drive.

I wouldn't bet on the SSD having a greater chance of failure over a mechanical drive. Both should be treated as failure prone and backed up accordingly. Also, if you use SRT in it's highest performance mode then a failed SSD can lose data.

Unless you have some huge games or dev files, 180 GB should be be more than enough to forget about it. Just install everything on C: and don't worry. While SRT can approach the speed of a dedicated SSD, I don't believe a review that says it could beat it. Also, if you really would fill a 180 GB drive, then there is no way a 64 GB cache will do. Eventually it will guess wrong and you will be back to hard drive speeds.
Washu, I agree that 180 GB would be overkill if I were using SRT. For that, I would probably buy a 60GB SSD and bypass the complexity of another drive letter.

I also agree that SRT probably would be slower than a dedicated SSD, unless I were lazy and did not install a program on SSD (of course, that's a positive for SRT). FYI, here is an interesting article that compares various SRT options:
http://www.itproportal.com/2012/08/09/ssd-cache-wars-intel-vs-corsair-storage-accelerators/data-safety-and-the-drives/

FYI, I would not install SRT in PERFORMANCE mode. I am attracted to SRT's speed improvement, but I would want it as low risk as possible.

Regarding backup options... in the past, I have used the concept of an image backup. It was an easy way of restoring my system (I have had to do that!). Flipping HDDs is very easy. Without an image copy, how long would it take to restore a "typical" home system that (I don't play games or download media; number of applications would probably be less than 16)?


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:41 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 581
Location: Germany
washu wrote:
FYI, I would not install SRT in PERFORMANCE mode. I am attracted to SRT's speed improvement, but I would want it as low risk as possible.


Going low-risk would rule out SRT completly, because it's more or less a driver related technique. SRT is just for marketing chipsets.

Use a SSD big enough to suite your needs and forget about SRT, because going SRT is always slower and dependend on the "right" caching strategie (software!), whereas pure SSD is pure speed.

SSDs do not fail more often as HDDs, but there's no clear evidence that they do last longer too. Keep backing up to be prepared is the best way imho.

Image-backups with Win7 backup do work and they cover all drives. If you don't use images, then you have to install OS+Drivers+Apps and then recover your data from backup.


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:05 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:41 am
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Location: Denmark
There are also many other great cases such as the Fractal Design R4, Fractal Design Mini (though, it's mATX), and Corsair Obisidian 550D, all of which have received the "recommended" award here at SPCR.

_________________
Cooler Master Elite 341, Athlon II X3 425, Radeon 5750 (passive, fan zip-tied on), Crucial M4 64 GB.
Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


"SSD's: The difference between a casual jogger and a dog chasing a ball"


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 Post subject: Re: New PC - Suggestions?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:30 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:43 am
Posts: 9
my recent experience with Asus and PWM fans. I got an Asus Maximus V Gene and scythe Slipstream pwm and Akasa Apache pwm to make some tests. The "problem" with the bios is that you can't set the case fans at less than 60% duty. The result is that slipstream goes at 800-900rpm while the apache at 700-800rpm. The apache is basically silent, but I can clearly hear 2 slipstreams even at 850rpm.

The CPU fans instead can be set down to 40% (300-400rpm).

Of course you can regulate fan speed from the operating system, in that case you can slow them down to any speed I presume but I'm on linux so I prefer to leave that task to the mobo or to fan controllers.

Also on my specific motherboard you can use 3pins fans on the case fan headers, but it seems they are not supported on the cpu headers (they go full speed), but it might be an issue of my specific mobo/bios.

Fortunately the V Gene has 2 CPU headers, so I put 2 slipstream on the cpu headers (1 on the CPU, 1 rear exhaust) and 1 apache front intake. They all run at slowest speed and they are more than enough to cool an i5-3570 with a megalehem cpu cooler.

Hope that helps.


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