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 Post subject: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:08 pm 
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I'm building a new PC desktop for my wife as a Christmas present. She's a former musician and needs a quiet computer. She needs a fair amount of reliable disk space, and tends to leave lots of applications on her desktop (hence the 16GB RAM to allow her to switch applications quickly.)

The environment is room temperature -- doesn't get very warm or cold.

After some research, I came up with the following list of components. I'd be thankful if the forum readers could point out any obvious errors or improvements.

* 2 x Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Raid-1 configuration)
* KINGWIN Lazer Platinum Series LZP-550 550W ATX PSU
* Kingston HyperX 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
* ASUS P8Z77-V LK LGA 1155 Intel Z77
* Intel Core i5-3570K Ivy Bridge 3.4GHz
* Noctua NH-C14 140mm x 2 SSO CPU Cooler
* LG Black 12X Blu-ray Drive SATA Model UH12LS29
* Intel 520 Series Cherryville SSD SC2CW240A310 2.5" 240GB SATA III
* Fractal Design Define R4 Arctic White Silent ATX Mid Tower Case
* Sapphire Radeon Ultimate HD 7750 1GB DDR5 (fanless)
* 2 x Grow Up Smart Drive Classic Quiet Hard Disk Drive Enclosure
* 3 Noctua NF-P12 140mm case fans (to replace the 2 fans in the Fractal Design case, and one on side)
* Win7 Pro 64 bit OEM

It appears there is no point in getting acoustic foam padding for the case as it's already been silenced. The Noctua case fans come with the rubber installation feet. I was going to install the side fan so it blew down onto the CPU fans which then blow onto the motherboard. The second fan will blow on the 2 hard drives. The third fan is the exhaust fan. I'm going to assume it's ok to run all 3 case fans at the same RPM.

That's six fans running in the case (including the PSU one.) I'm wondering if that's overkill and whether I should just put 1 case fan in, leaving 2 on the cpu cooler and 1 on the PSU.

I would prefer an Nvidia card since I'm not so sure AMD will be around 3-4 years from now, but I wasn't able to find a quiet GPU that was as fast as the 7750 Sapphire.

Thanks in advance for any help you're able to offer.


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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:52 pm 
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If you list the apps, we can provide better feedback on the build.

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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, 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)

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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:43 pm 
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The apps will be Chrome, MS Word, Outlook, Photoshop Essentials, Dreamweaver, and maybe a 3D game like Lord of the Rings Online. Her current GPU (which she's fine with) is something like a 6600, approximately 5x slower than the 7750 at a guess. No video editing, no high end computing tasks like Folding@Home, not a server, not storing 100's of DVD's or music. She's not going to be able to adapt to Linux, so that's out. The Windows 7 Home Premium version is OK for her also -- I get Pro because I need the domain services.

I'm more concerned about the sound of all of the fans and whether or not I'm missing something obvious. I already realized I need Noctua NF-P14 fans instead of the P12's I listed.


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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:03 pm 
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Your PSU load is in the 160-170W range, and probably closer to 100W or less in most cases. So, the Kingwin PSU's fan will probably not spin up, unless you switch it over to always on. Her apps don't appear to be very demanding (I can't speak to Dreamweaver). If it's just the occasional photo and not tons of photo editing workflow, you could easily move down to an i3-3220 and not notice a difference. On the other hand, if there are many active high utilization apps, then maybe the quad core is worth it.

Given the low power use, you shouldn't need the extra fans. I'd build without, and then see how it works. You can always add more fans.

I don't see a need for the WD Black drives. You could easily move over to WD Red or Green and not use the drive enclosures. Again, you could always add them later. I'm not a RAID fan, but whatever floats your boat.

RAM: check for height vs cooler clearance.

SSD: Alternatives are Crucial m4 and Samsung 830. Both are reliable and cheap.

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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, 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)

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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:17 pm 
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Looks like I'll need to go to WD Red drives -- the WD Black drives don't support TLER ("time-limited error recovery" as I just found out) so aren't recommended for RAID setups.

Good point about the PSU fan -- so basically the only noise will be the 2 fans on the CPU cooler plus the disk drives.

I'll save $200 not going with the disk enclosures, which I added because the Black drives weren't "quiet" drives.

The i5-3750 is only $215 so I might as well give her quad cores just in case. (I don't need to overclock, so don't need the 3750K.)

OK, this is coming together nicely. Thanks for your help!


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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:26 am 
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Blammar wrote:
The i5-3750 is only $215 so I might as well give her quad cores just in case. (I don't need to overclock, so don't need the 3750K.)

The i3-3220 can be had for $130, so you're paying $85 extra on this hypothetical. I'd save my money for some flowers. ;)

I was thinking you might also prefer a PSU like the Seasonic G-360 to save yourself another $100, as I think the power draw of the system will be more like 150W at full burn.


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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:36 am 
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Is there a particular reason for RAID?

RAID is not backup - data loss is more often the result of filesystem actions (corruption, viruses, accidental deletion) than disk failure.

So unless your wife's PC activities are uptime critical - and they don't sound like it - you'd be better off putting that second hard disk into an external enclosure (USB or better yet: NAS) and use backup software.

Also, just to point it out: 16 gigs of memory are really overkill, even with loads of open Apps. But with the insanely low memory prices we have now, I still approve of the purchase :)


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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:46 am 
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Since the CPU dissipates only little heat there's no need to buy such a giantic CPU cooler as the Noctua. Smaller (and cheaper) coolers will easily do the job. Heck, my triple core AMD Athlon II x3 425 is cooled decently by a tiny Arctic Cooling Alpine Pro 64, and the TDP of the CPU is 95 W. I play games and run Folding@Home simultaneously and yet the fan stays very quiet. Your CPU only has a TDP of 77 W and it won't be stressed as much as mine.

Here's some cheaper CPU coolers. The minimum fan speed are mentioned:

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO (600 rpm)
Scythe Mugen 3 (300 rpm)
Arctic Cooling Freezer i30 (400 rpm)

Besides from the Cooler Master cooler, the fans should be able to run inaudibly.

You could save some space by buying a mATX case. The Fractal Design Define Mini or the Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E/Precision PS-07. There's easily enough room for the video card.

Does your wife need the dedicated GPU? Integrated GPU's have come a long way since the Nvidia Geforce 6600.

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Cooling: AC Alpine 64 Pro, rear exhaust Scythe Slipstream 800 rpm @ ~5 V


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 Post subject: Re: Please check my silent PC build for wife
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:42 am 
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bastiaan wrote:
The i3-3220 can be had for $130, so you're paying $85 extra on this hypothetical. I'd save my money for some flowers. ;)
I was thinking you might also prefer a PSU like the Seasonic G-360 to save yourself another $100, as I think the power draw of the system will be more like 150W at full burn.

Well, she tends to stick with a computer for about 4-5 years, so I thought a bit of extra computer power would be a good idea. I went with the larger power supply with the expectation that the fan would never run. Also, I really like having a modular supply to minimize the cabling. Flowers come from the flower garden in the side yard!

tim851 wrote:
Is there a particular reason for RAID?

This is primarily about uptime. She's on the computer and doing stuff for several hours per day, and I would be a deer in the headlights if her machine weren't working! We've had multiple disk drive failures over the last decade, so the Raid-1 configs have paid off. (I'm assuming the SSD will be more reliable...)

kuzzia wrote:
Since the CPU dissipates only little heat there's no need to buy such a giantic CPU cooler as the Noctua.

Hmm, I didn't have any obvious way to choose between coolers, so picked what appeared to be a reasonably sized and high quality one. Hmm, the Mugen 3 doesn't look all that much smaller. It's 158 x 130 x 108, the Noctua is 166 x 140 x 130 (fans included -- if I take the top fan off the Noctua it's 105mm if I'm reading the spec sheet correctly.) But the Mugen is cheaper.

kuzzia wrote:
You could save some space by buying a mATX case.

I wanted a case with built-in sound deadening, and also plenty of room inside just in case (I had a horrible problem with an Antec case once where the SATA cables, the disk drives, and the end of the GPU card all were just a bit too close, causing the SATA cables to slowly work themselves out of their allegedly-locked socket!)

kuzzia wrote:
Does your wife need the dedicated GPU?

She does want to play 3D games. The Intel HD4000 is a good integrated GPU, but it cannot compare with an add-on card. She has complained a lot about the graphics performance of her current card.

Thanks for all of the responses. It definitely looks like I could have saved a few bucks had I not had to order the parts already. Next time! (My daughter will be needing a new machine in about 7 months and I might as well make it quiet too.)


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