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 Post subject: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:25 am
Posts: 52
Location: East and West
After 5+ years of service, it's time to upgrade my daily driver. Nowadays I use it a lot for the web and e-mail, but I do game a reasonable amount and the current config feels underpowered. So I'm planning to go from this:

CPU: Intel E6550
Motherboard: P35-DS3R
Heatsink: Thermalright SI-120 + Noctua
RAM: 2 GB
GFX: Nvidia 9500GT passive
PSU: Corsair VX450 (450 W)
Case: Antec Solo
Monitor: Dell 2007FP (1600x1200)

To this:

CPU: Intel i5-3570
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK
RAM: 16 GB 1600 MHz
GFX: Asus GTX 660 Ti
Storage: Samsung 830 256 GB SSD + 1 TB Hitachi
PSU: Seasonic X-560
Case: Keep
Monitor: Keep

I've got some of the bits and some on the way. What's left to get is the CPU, motherboard and a heatsink - I'm assuming the stock Intel heatsink isn't going to be quiet enough. The idea is that this is a system powerful enough to last me for a long while (lasts one did last 5+ years), and is stable and quiet.

Sanity check:
I'm going with a non-K CPU as I have no plans on overclocking, and I've picked that particular Asus for stability, an extra available PCIe x16 slot that I may need in the future, and a minimum of 3rd party chips (additional USB 3.0, extra SATA ports, Firewire) as I don't expect to ever need them. Is there any reason I'd really want to look at a 3570K? Or any alternative motherboard? The P8Z77-M Pro caught my eye, but it costs a tiny bit more and my case is already a full ATX (unless I'd need a change).

Also, I'm going with the X-560, overpowered as it is, because it offers the hybrid fan thing, and a totally passive PSU in my case doesn't seem like a good idea.


The thing I'd really like help with is picking a heatsink. I don't know if I can reuse the SI-120, or if it's worth the trouble sourcing a mounting kit for socket 1155. I'd prefer a top down heatsink to help with cooling support chips around the CPU. Figure the cooler I keep it the longer it'll last. So far the only candidate I have is the Noctua NH-L12, possibly running just the 120 mm fan. How does that sound? (Idea, not noise-wise :) ) Any other heatsinks I should consider?


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Posts: 132
Location: US
Regarding the 3570: If you're not overclocking, I'd definitely go with the non-K version. Besides being cheaper, it supports VT-d (a virtualization technology), whereas the K version does not. If at some later time you did want a modest overclock, the non-K version can oc by around 400MHz, which isn't too shabby.

The board you selected is a pretty good board. I used it in a build for a friend and have found it to be good. I must say that I haven't used any non-ASUS boards based on the 7-series chipset, so my advice isn't the most balanced. But I've used other manufacturers in the past (particularly Gigabyte) and find ASUS boards to be good.

The NH-L12 is very good, but expensive. The 3570 will barely put out any heat (especially since you're not overclocking), so pretty much any enthusiast heatsink will be able to cool it at low fan speeds. One option is the Scythe Big Shuriken 2. It usually is about $20 cheaper. The Noctua has a higher quality fan, but I would at least consider the Scythe.


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:23 pm 
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Location: Denmark
Noctua makes decent top-down coolers, but they are rather expensive. The Scythe Big Shuriken suggestion had me sceptical at first, but it probably is a viable choice. It's super quiet at low speed, but I don't know how much it'll have to spin up to cool that 3570. If it proves too noisy, the slim fan can be swapped for a standard-thickness Slip Stream PWM, and it should still cost you less than any Noctua solution.

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Desktop: Fractal Design Define Mini, Seasonic X-400, Asus P8Z77-M Pro, i7-2700K, Noctua NH-C14, 16 GB RAM, Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate, 256 GB Samsung 840 Pro, 120 GB Intel 510, 1 TB WD Caviar Green, Sharkoon Vibe Fixer, all fans Scythe Slip Stream, Dell U2412HM
Mummy's desktop: Lian Li PC-Q07A, Seasonic G-360, Intel DH77DF, Celeron G550T, Scythe Big Shuriken, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB Samsung 830, Dell U2212HM


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:48 pm 
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Location: Canada
I'm pretty sure that the Asus 660 Ti doesn't fit in an Antec Solo without modification. I had looked into that in the past for myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:39 pm 
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Falkon wrote:
I'm pretty sure that the Asus 660 Ti doesn't fit in an Antec Solo without modification. I had looked into that in the past for myself.


Asus card = 10.7" long.
Solo max GPU length ~10"

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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:45 am 
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Posts: 1255
Location: UK
Why change the PSU? You're already going to use the same case so I take it that the PSU does not have a home elsewhere. You don't need a higher powered unit so holding onto the existing one makes sense while it is still usable. You certainly won't save enough money on electricty within a reasonable amount of time to be it an investment and with the other components, it is unlikely that your existing PSU will standout as the loudest component. If it does, swap the fan. I still have a 16 year old 250W PSU in one system here, fan swapped to a 120mm and other than my X-400 it's the quietest PSU I've ever known.

For graphics card I would go with a cooler swap to an Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Plus, just because it will be quieter than any OEM cooler.

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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:11 am 
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Posts: 52
Location: East and West
CA_Steve wrote:
Falkon wrote:
I'm pretty sure that the Asus 660 Ti doesn't fit in an Antec Solo without modification. I had looked into that in the past for myself.


Asus card = 10.7" long.
Solo max GPU length ~10"


That sound you hear is my head hitting the desk. Hard.

Unfortunately I already ordered the card, and I should have it soon. So either new case - which I *don't* want to have to do :( - or...??? Going to have to think about this.

edh wrote:
Why change the PSU? You're already going to use the same case so I take it that the PSU does not have a home elsewhere. You don't need a higher powered unit so holding onto the existing one makes sense while it is still usable. You certainly won't save enough money on electricty within a reasonable amount of time to be it an investment and with the other components, it is unlikely that your existing PSU will standout as the loudest component. If it does, swap the fan. I still have a 16 year old 250W PSU in one system here, fan swapped to a 120mm and other than my X-400 it's the quietest PSU I've ever known.

For graphics card I would go with a cooler swap to an Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 Plus, just because it will be quieter than any OEM cooler.


No, I won't save money on electricity. But my concern is I've had this PSU for 5 years, and would very much not like it to fail and take out my nice shiny new box. Also the 660 Ti (which likely will not fit...) needs 2 PCI-e connectors and my current PSU only has one. I could get an adapter and run it off a spare molex or two, but my cable-fu (i.e. management) skills are somewhat lacking. I'd like to just stick with my current PSU, but I'm worried I'd be pushing it...


Also, I had a look around the shops over the weekend. Can't find Scythe products save for a few fans, but I did find one shop selling the NH-L12.


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:18 am 
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Posts: 1240
Location: UK
Jens Lyn IV wrote:
Noctua makes decent top-down coolers, but they are rather expensive. The Scythe Big Shuriken suggestion had me sceptical at first, but it probably is a viable choice. It's super quiet at low speed, but I don't know how much it'll have to spin up to cool that 3570. If it proves too noisy, the slim fan can be swapped for a standard-thickness Slip Stream PWM, and it should still cost you less than any Noctua solution.

From my local hardware dealer the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B plus a Slip Stream PWM fan costs more than the NH-L12. The NH-L12 is a much better cooler if deployed under PWM control as this reviews suggests in terms of both cooling and acoustics.


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:56 am 
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Posts: 1255
Location: UK
Lucien wrote:
But my concern is I've had this PSU for 5 years, and would very much not like it to fail and take out my nice shiny new box.

What makes you think that an existing, well tested PSU which has served you well for many years is suddenly going to become a component killer? That simply doesn't happen. If anything I'd be more worried about a new, untested unit, that's only had limited burn in testing in the factory on the other side of the world then palleted up in an ISO container, shipped across the oceans of the world, forklifted around warehouses, picked and packaged by someone with little job satisfaction, moved to another warehouse, then driven to your house by a delivery man who somehow has a driving license. How often do you hear of new PSUs blowing up components let alone old ones? It's another one of these myths thats been around forever and therefore 'everyone' 'knows' to be 'true'.

Lucien wrote:
Also the 660 Ti (which likely will not fit...) needs 2 PCI-e connectors and my current PSU only has one. I could get an adapter and run it off a spare molex or two

The graphics card will come with a 2x molex - 6-pin PCI-E adaptor so you're already covered for that.

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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:05 am 
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Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 3:17 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Denmark
lodestar wrote:
From my local hardware dealer the Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev.B plus a Slip Stream PWM fan costs more than the NH-L12. The NH-L12 is a much better cooler [...].

The case for the Scythe obviously falls flat on its face if it's not cheaper. Frankly, I can't make sense of the Danish prices. Maybe the market is just too small here. The Japanese Scythe would presumably be subject to an import duty in the EU, unlike the Austrian Noctua, but in Denmark a Big Shuriken + Slip Stream PWM cost about the same as a Noctua NH-L12, sometimes they're even cheaper. Cost aside, there's no arguing which is the better cooler, but the SPCR review would indicate that the difference is small once the slim fan is replaced.

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Desktop: Fractal Design Define Mini, Seasonic X-400, Asus P8Z77-M Pro, i7-2700K, Noctua NH-C14, 16 GB RAM, Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate, 256 GB Samsung 840 Pro, 120 GB Intel 510, 1 TB WD Caviar Green, Sharkoon Vibe Fixer, all fans Scythe Slip Stream, Dell U2412HM
Mummy's desktop: Lian Li PC-Q07A, Seasonic G-360, Intel DH77DF, Celeron G550T, Scythe Big Shuriken, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB Samsung 830, Dell U2212HM


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:38 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis
If you wouldn't mind changing boards to an Asrock (that supports 775 coolers) you can get a 775 adapter for your current heatsink: http://www.frozencpu.com/cpu-tri-15.html

I know you wanted Asus but ASrock have caught up in quality and they're some of the most popular boards. Double check that you aren't losing any features, but this way you end up saving a good chunk of change by keeping your tried and true SI-120.


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:30 am 
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Location: UK
That adapter may seem like a good idea. However the way Asrock accommodate both 1155/6 and 775 mounting holes is by offsetting the 775 holes slightly. So a 775 adapter/cooler mounts at an angle and may extend outside the 1155/6 keep out zone. The Thermalright LGA775 RM has quite thick plastic at its extremities so there could be clearance issues with components round the CPU socket. This adapter could be a tight fit even on 775 motherboards as this image from the Thermalright installation instructions shows.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2004 5:25 am
Posts: 52
Location: East and West
edh wrote:
What makes you think that an existing, well tested PSU which has served you well for many years is suddenly going to become a component killer? That simply doesn't happen. If anything I'd be more worried about a new, untested unit, that's only had limited burn in testing in the factory on the other side of the world then palleted up in an ISO container, shipped across the oceans of the world, forklifted around warehouses, picked and packaged by someone with little job satisfaction, moved to another warehouse, then driven to your house by a delivery man who somehow has a driving license. How often do you hear of new PSUs blowing up components let alone old ones? It's another one of these myths thats been around forever and therefore 'everyone' 'knows' to be 'true'.


Manufacturers do quote lifetimes for electrolytic capacitors. Granted that's in the thousands of hours, but it tends to be derated for operating temperature and voltage. I don't *know* what the condition of the caps in my current PSU are, and I don't *know* that the PSU will fail the minute it hits the 5 year mark (actually it already has), but neither do I know when or how it might fail.

Really, I wouldn't mind sticking with my current PSU. I can't hear it, so there's no advantage in trying to replace it with anything quieter. In terms of power budget and TCO, it's the better choice too. So I'm open to considering keeping the current unit. Risk of a new unit aside, would that really be a good idea?


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 7:28 am 
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Asus/Asrock and a 775 adapter for my SI-120:
I did consider the Asrock boards, the fast boot-up time would be nice to have. But selection of boards over here is limited, and the price differential might not be as good as it is elsewhere. Right now the Asrock website isn't loading for me, so I can't check out the prospective alternatives.

I would have to order the bracket, which also might eat into the difference between the boards.

Does anyone know anything about UASP? Asus offers their own drivers as Windows 7 doesn't have them, and I'm extremely unlikely to consider Windows 8 anytime in the next few years. On the other hand I don't know anything about the quality of the Asus drivers, and right now, I don't have any USB 3.0 flash drives. Does Asrock have anything similar?


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:23 am 
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Location: ITALY
Lucien wrote:
CA_Steve wrote:
Solo max GPU length ~10"


That sound you hear is my head hitting the desk. Hard.

Just a note: the absolute max card length to fit inside a Solo is 10.2" (i.e. my new ASUS GTX 660 DCII Top, less than 1mm to the drive cage, installed yesterday).

Lucien wrote:
Asus/Asrock and a 775 adapter for my SI-120:
I did consider the Asrock boards, the fast boot-up time would be nice to have.

In my humble opinion the ASRock speedy boot up tool is clunky'n'awkward

Lucien wrote:
Does Asrock have anything similar?

It has a Turbo feature, "mostly harmless" (IME).

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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:57 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Just a note: the absolute max card length to fit inside a Solo is 10.2"
Not if you possess a Dremel. :twisted:

Seriously, though, if the drive cage is the problem, it shouldn't be too hard to fix if you're willing to do a little modding, don't have a bazillion drives, and aren't one of those people with color-coordinated case interiors. Fifteen minutes with some tin snips could cut slots to fit the GPU through, or you could remove the cage entirely and elastic-mount your drives in the 5.25" drive-bays.

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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:23 am 
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As a matter of fact I do happen to have a Dremel...

Removing the drive cage is something I'm already thinking about. Looks like it's held in place by rivets, so I can drill the heads out. Or rather use a tungsten carbide/HSS bit to core it out. If I'm careful that should come out without damage (and be replaceable if I need it). Drive setup is 1 SSD (easy) and 1 HDD.

How's sorbothane as a mat for the HDD to sit on? I remember that was popular but I don't recall seeing that mentioned recently.


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 Post subject: Re: Major upgrade, need heatsink advice.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:34 pm 
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Lucien wrote:
How's sorbothane as a mat for the HDD to sit on? I remember that was popular but I don't recall seeing that mentioned recently.
Meh for mats. Suspension is da bomb, if you'll pardon the archaic phraseology. It's safer, cooler, and quieter.

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