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 Post subject: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:13 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:01 am
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Can you help on choice of matched components please ?

I am an audio/video guy and no PC expert. I want to spec a QUIET socket 2011 audio and video workstation on a tight budget. All the system firms in Europe seem to be run by nut-case gamers not pro AV experts.

A tower PC to run Cubase 7 and Adobe Premier Pro CS6 on Windows 7 x64 bit. No gaming, no internet, no massive over-clocking.

Key for this unit is to be QUIET as it will be in the audio studio during audio recording. So the minimum of fan noise. Large fans rather than small fans where possible for lower noise. Water cooling if quieter.

MY LIST - please advise :

BUDGET - AROUND £1000 excl. TAX (under $2000)

1. CASE must be plain full tower boxes maximum 23 cm (9 inches) wide, any height or depth is OK (within reason), prefer flat top - no jagged edges. NO side vents possible as unit will be tightly racked. Water cooling or bigger fans running at slower speeds preferred.

Antec 300 Two, or P280, or 1200 or Nonoxia Deep Silence 1

2. MOBO - Gigabyte X79-UD5 Intel X79 (Socket 2011) needs to be this model with PCI slot for the existing Echo Layla audio card.

3. CPU - Intel Core i7 3820, S 2011, Sandy Bridge-E, Quad Core, 3.6GHz, 10MB Cache, 130W, OEM

4. RAM - 32GB (4x8GB) Corsair 1866 ? Low profile to allow more room for cooling ?

5. SSD - 1 x 240GB Corsair Neutron Series GTX, 2.5" LAMD SSD,Toggle NAND,
Read 555MB/s, Write 511MB/s, 90,000 IOPS Max (NOT MLC Sand Force SSDs which are unreliable)

6. HDD - 2 x 2TB Seagate ST2000DM001 Barracuda 7200.14 SATA 3 6GB/s 7200rpm 64MB Cache 8ms OEM

7. GPU Graphics MUST BE 1536MB MSI GTX 580 TwinFrozr – Adobe CS6 certified : any quieter cooling options please advise

8. OS - Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

9. COOLING Corsair H80 CPU Cooler OR water ?

10. PSU 1050W Corsair HX1050 Hybrid Modular OR YOUR CHOICE IF QUIETER – BUT MUST BE OVERSPECCED, HIGH QUALITY AND AT LEAST 1000W AS FROM EXPERIENCE PSUs ALWAYS CAUSE FIRST TROUBLE – AFTER DRIVES !

+ DVDRW
+ 8 way card reader
+ high power wireless LAN USB or card (for the odd download)

Thanks in advacne for any ideas.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:35 am 
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Case: Have you considered the Fractal Design R4 or the Corsair 550D? The cases come with a fan side cover. Or the Antec Solo II? The Solo II has a great advantage because you can suspend the harddrives with built-in cords. The vibrations from the hard drives, when passed on to the side panels, is a significant source of noise.

Mobo: ASUS probably have the best fan-controlling system among the motherboard makers. At stock, many case fans are too loud, but they can be made quiet by lowering the fan voltage. You could use the motherboard fan headers provided by ASUS instead of an expensive aftermarket fan controller.

HDD: The quietest 3,5" hard drives are the WD Green's and the WD Red's according to SPCR. A 7200 rpm HDD will probably make a bit too much noise for a quiet system.

Cooling: I 've read somewhere at SPCR that traditional tower coolers are both quieter and cheaper than water cooling. So I would recommend you to choose that. SPCR has reviewed many CPU coolers thoroughly. In general, coolers from Prolimatech, Thermalright, Noctua, and Scythe coolers are recommended.

GPU: Nvidia has already released the 6xx-generation. So choose a 6xx GPU, unless you've chosen it because of some kind of compatibility with Adobe applications.

PSU: The general consensus here at SPCR is that quality is much more important than quantity. Simply choose a high-end quality product from a reputable brand and you won't have any problems with the PSU. Seasonic X-series, Seasonic Platinum, Kingwin Stryker, Kingwin Lazer are widely regarded as some of the best and quietest solutions in the market.

I hope this was helpful.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:55 am 
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Hi and welcome to SPCR. There's definately some tweaking to be done if this PC is to be in a live mic environment. In general the first questions to be asked are:

- How do I reduce the power (-> less heat -> less cooling needed -> less noise) and not affect my productivity?
- is this component suitable/meet the needs/overkill for performance/quality/noise?

Here's a couple of links for you to peruse.
Puget Sound benchmarks GPUs for Premiere Pro
i7-3820 vs i7-3770K on Anandtech's CPU Bench
Early comparison of i7-3770 vs i7-3820 DAW Benchmark at Gearslutz forum

First, the GPU. The GTX 580 is a gaming card and overkill for your apps. According to Puget Systems, there isn't much benefit for getting more than a GTX 650 for Premiere Pro. The GTX 580 has 244W TDP, the GTX 650 is 64W.

CPU: There is some benefit to getting a Sandybridge-E CPU, mainly for the better memory bus. But, you probably won't notice the difference in productivity unless you do large orchestral arrangements/have a lot of VSTs/tons of tracks. For video, it's almost a wash between the i7-3770 and the i7-3820 - you'd have to move up to the i7-3930 to notice a bump in performance. Also, the i7-3770 is rated at 77W TDP vs the i7-3820 at 125W.

mobo: A nice z77 mobo will run $50-100 less.

PSU: your stressed load power for the SNB-E CPU and GTX 580 based system is in the 440W range. For an IVB CPU and GTX 650 system it's a little over 200W. Your power load when just recording live audio will be much less. So, the goal is to get a PSU that's silent for recording and silent/pretty damn quiet when editing. After you finalize the CPU/GPU, we can select the PSU. It won't be 1000W :)

Case and cooling: Also tbd after CPU/GPU selection. Don't scrimp on the case.

SSD/HDD: Consider getting a couple of SSDs for the OS/Apps/scratch/samples disk and then a 5400rpm HDD for media storage.

ok. that's enough for round 1.

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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, 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: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:52 am 
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Thanks for prompt & informed replies. All decisions are price/performance/upgradeability/future-proof trade-offs. So:
1. The 3820 chip was chosen over soon-obsolete socket 1155 as the best budget compromise. I want the ability to keep and upgrade the machine for more than 9 months !
2. The Gigabyte X79-UD5 was used by a fellow pro on his DAW and crucially doesn't have audio latency or set-up issues which can plague us in audio world, but not normal computing users. The X79 has a PCI slot which is essential for the PCI audio card (an Echo Layla 3G).
3. GTX580 will be graphics card because a. it's certified by Adobe (the 650 is not and I don't wish to muck around) b. I already bought one for the same money as a 650. So, job done.
4. I agree audio needs less power than video. But I do not want to limit the video as my last DAW optimised for audio struggled. Happy to run it quite for audio, noisier for video. But don't want to spend my time endlessly-tweaking as fundamentally I HATE COMPUTERS !
5. Also from experience small PSUs always fail first (O/P caps usually). From 30 years of audio, I would prefer to overspec slightly to allow less stress. High current flow 850w option would be OK, if quieter.
6. I chose the Corsair SSD for OS and programmes, the 7200 Seagates for fast and reliable access to work files. This setup is also used by my colleague on his Cubase rig. WDs etc. are not as fast or reliable from experience. HDD noise is not the major concern. Grfx, PSU, CPU noise is. If budget allows I might substitute an extra SSD - but I'm told they don't like endless re-writing such as one does on sessions, they cost more and don't last as long.
7. Case and cooling are indeed key. The Corsair 550D is another OK option which would fit. But Nanoxia allows more cooling options than Corsair - 2 large radiators on 1/2 inch piping). Might this be a better low-noise option ? I'm all ears.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 5:44 pm 
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Ok, you feel strongly about your CPU and GPU choice. Your call. Silencing a 440W PC is tougher than a 200W one.

Case: take a look at the Silverstone FT02. Excellent cooling, you can use fan control to tweak the case fans. Only concern is your 9" requirement. While the case is 8.3" wide, the bottom case fans rely upon air flow from either side of the case. Also, limited to 12" GPU (~13" if middle fan removed). P183 V3 is another choice.

PSU: Stop buying poor quality PSUs :) Top tier PSUs use high quality caps with higher temp ratings. Unlikely to see much derating over time. The downside to buying a 1kW PSU is crappy efficiency at idle/while recording/other low CPU utilization tasks. A couple of choices:
- semi-passive: Fan off until ~20% load. So, it won't be on when you are recording, just during editing. Seasonic Platinum rated SS-660XP, 760XP, 860XP, or drop to the gold rated SS-650KM, 750KM, 850KM. Kingwin Platinum rated LZP-650, -750, 850 (aka Super Flower Golden King).

- fan always on: Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 series. lots of wattages to choose from.

cpu cooler: consider the Thermalright HR-02 Macho.

_________________
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, MSI Z87-G45, MSI GTX 760 2GB Gaming, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung Evo 250GB, 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: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:39 am 
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Thanks very much Steve.

1. Case: Silverstone FT02 - impossible design with buttons and leads on top. P183 reviews worse than my choises. Any experience of Nanoxia ?

2. PSU Will the Seasonic Platinum SS860XP be quiter than the Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 850w in normal usage - given I want automatic operation and not to sit tweaking the fans all day ?

3. Will Thermalright HR-02 Macho be quieter than a water-cooled solution ?

4. Which low profile RAM would you recommend (to maximise clearances) ? 1600 or 1866 ?


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:36 am 
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/Nanoxia_Deep_Silence_1
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Puget_Serenity_Pro (uses the Antec P183 V3)
The top tier are the P183 V3, Solo II (might have airflow issues with this heat load), R4, 550D.

PSU: Probably hard to differentiate over the GPU noise.

Cooler: Can be. Might want to do a push-pull fan config, like in the review and dial down the rpms further as some have done in the review forum thread.

Any PC you build will require some fan-fu during set up to dial in the best combination of temps and noise.

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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, 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: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:06 am 
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wingfoot wrote:
Thanks for prompt & informed replies. All decisions are price/performance/upgradeability/future-proof trade-offs.
I wouldn't rely on "future-proofness". How many processor generations do you think you get out of LGA2011? Maybe two, whilst the performance difference might not be enticing enough to warrant an upgrade. That is if your mainboard would actually support the latest generation further down the line.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:18 am 
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As you're looking at big AV work and from £ being used I'm guessing you're in the UK you might want to take a look at this company:
http://www.paqt.co.uk/

They have some really nice cases aimed at audio studio use and will also build complete systems so perhaps call them up and see what they will do for you?

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:28 am 
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Thanks - the PAQ guy is down the road in London so I will investigate. It looks like his cases have 3x120mm fans centrally mounted and damped. I hope my 28cm GPU card (GTX580) can clear the obstruction !


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Posts: 1803
Location: Northern New Jersey
If you're looking for a serious Audio/Video rig, forget about Core i7 CPUs and look at Xeons. They will cost about the same, but have a bit more oomph to them for what you're looking to do.

Coming from someone who did a lot of support work with Avid and the M-Audio Delta series, if you're serious about audio work, or you need something to truly rely on, do not use a PCI audio card with the new motherboards that are out now. You're risking a lot. Get a USB or Firewire interface and take a breath of relief. The converters that send the PCI data over the PCI-Express bus are extremely problematic, and I upgraded to a firewire unit and will never look back to the problems I used to have.

I'm using a GTX660ti with Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, and you should definitely be willing to modify a simple text file for the compatibility. The power is worth it, and it works without any problems. The extra power is always welcome over the older cards. Even on the Adobe forums, that's what users will tell you.

Do not waste your money on a high wattage power supply. For your work, 500W absolute maximum. The actual power draw of components has changed a lot over the past 30 years. A new high performance machine for what you're looking to do will barely draw 250W maxed out. Future hardware looks to lower power consumption as well, so don't think you'll even need 500W in two years.

Between Seagate and WD it's a moot point. If you prefer Seagate, go ahead with it. On this side of the pond, I see many Seagates fail. For true reliability, Hitachi drives are the best I've seen.

I would not bother with water cooling for a high powered system like this. Air cooling will be quieter, more reliable, and require less maintenance over extended periods of time.

Considering I built my machine on purpose for CS6 and HD video editing, I hope you think twice about the components you want in that machine.

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|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620-Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8-HR-05 IFX|WD 250gb Velociraptor SATA3|16gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|WD Blue 640GB SATA2 x2|Logitech K750|Logitech Wireless Mouse|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:04 am 
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Thanks Bonestonne. However:

1. I am on a limited budget of around £1000 (under $1800). I do not have the money for dual CPUs etc. The Xeon equivalent to a 3820 is an E5-1620 which has exactly the same specs. Where's the advantage ?
2. I already have a PCI audio card (not PCIe) which works v. well - the Echo Layla 3G. I saw no improvement in latencies etc. when testing RME firewire / USB gear (the best) costing an extra £600 -1000.
3. I am told 2011 and the P9X79 have native PCI - unlike socket 1155 which use a PCIe to PCI bridging chip. Hence my choice.
4. I already bought the MSi GTX580 twin frozr. I paid £150 for it. It is Adobe-certified. It beats your 660 in all but power draw :
http://www.hwcompare.com/13161/geforce- ... tx-660-ti/
5. The Asus PSU calculator suggests at least a 700w PSU. The 850w for 20% over runs near- silent at up to 50% load.
6. I am leaning towards the PAQ case and as many balanced, silent components with large fans as I can.
Your further thoughts are most welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:03 am 
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wingfoot wrote:
5. The Asus PSU calculator suggests at least a 700w PSU. The 850w for 20% over runs near- silent at up to 50% load.

PSU calculators like this are marketing tools. Of course it's going to suggest a bigger PSU than you need. Save yourself a huge amount of money and go for 500.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:23 am 
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You're looking at a building a brand new machine for what looks to be big jobs.

Here's the skinny on my build...the initial order of parts in order to get my machine built and set up was $1926 and change USD. You could cut the RAM down, use a single socket, and that would cut out about $500 less. I wouldn't get a Xeon equivalent, I would get a better than i7 Xeon CPU that compares to yours.

For example, you could get:
2011 motherboard
E5-2620
16GB of RAM
500W power supply
opt for the lower wattage GPU

I bet you'll be better off than your original plans, in both price and power, as well as lower heat. The 2620 is 6 core opposed to your plans of 4, and also happens to be 95W instead of 130W.

You can go for the PCI audio device, but the thinking is future compatibility with new machines. I stopped trusting PCI interfaces, and my ProFire 2626 works with my desktop, both laptops, and means I can use it on the go, I don't need a separate interface for travel. I also need more in an interface than a PCI card can offer, as nothing in my available price range could handle 26 tracks. I also got my 2626 on a discount, I paid less than $350 for it shipped to my door, direct from Avid. My case was exceptionally different from most.

As edh said, Power Supply calculators are a marketing gimick. My machine idles at 120W with dual CPUs, 3 hard drives and my 660ti. At full load, maybe it will hit 400W. The only reason I have a 750W Antec inside is because I had the power supply lying around at home. Antec shipped me one to test back in 2010, so now I finally have a use for it.

Adobe Certified is the CUDA platform. Adobe Compatible is a different story. Why waste my money on something older and very power hungry when I can just change a text file to make mine work? The list on their website only reflects the hardware they test in-house. On a mac, if you use OS X 10.7 and above, you can use many ATI cards instead of nVidia. By your thinking, I should settle for what I have inside, instead of making full use of the hardware acceleration that is compatible, but not fully tested by Adobe.

If your single 130W CPU needs as much power as my Dual 95W CPU setup, it better be something like 10GHz 16 core with a hell of a lot more GPU power than a GTX580. At the very least.

I would go for tradition front to back airflow with exhaust fans and component fans only. No intake fans. Air pressure will do just fine keeping that machine cool. My CPUs idle at 36C with the unused side, rear, bottom and top vents blocked off completely. I have a top exhaust fan and a rear exhaust fan, PWM or undervolt controlled. At full load, I see temps that have not hit 50C yet. Focused, planned airflow will help the computer a lot more than a million fans blowing in any-which direction.

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|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620-Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8-HR-05 IFX|WD 250gb Velociraptor SATA3|16gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|WD Blue 640GB SATA2 x2|Logitech K750|Logitech Wireless Mouse|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
FartingBob wrote:
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:25 am 
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Thanks. I generally agree on the airflow remarks and your general thrust. But

1. the E5-2620 and Z9PE-D8 mobo are twice the price (£620 vs. £330 excl. tax).
2. Then I would have to replace my Echo 3G (which does do more than 26 channels) with an M-Audio (frankly not as good) or RME audio box: add £300-600 = over budget already.
3. And we haven't included HDDs, PSUs, case etc. = another £600 at least = £1600 excl. VAT = 60% over budget & junks two perfectly serviceable bits of kit - the Echo and the GTX580 (which tests better than the 660). All to save 40-100w. Is this sensible (and green when you consider the total production cost of our silicon waste ?)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet PC for audio and video
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:07 pm 
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If you want to take a step back to your original idea, I would say it's fine, but I would swap out the CPU for a Xeon 6 core if it's compatible with the motherboard. Getting a case without side vents is near impossible these days, but you don't have to have a fan there, and you can cover it up to prevent problems. As I said before, Hitachi drives are way more reliable, and I see Seagate drives die often. 32gb of RAM is fine for your needs. I wouldn't use an SSD myself yet, but this is your build. The MSI Twin Frozr GPU series are great, I use them in many customer builds. I would only use air cooling, a 9" wide case will allow you just about any tower cooler you want with 120mm fan. I do not think the H80 will do a good enough job at cooling your computer. I have worked with older Corsair H series coolers, and found that the plastic push pins break very easily. Simply put, general consensus around here is saying that your PSU is completely unnecessary, so that's just that. This system would barely use 300W at full tilt, so 700W of head room will never ever be used.

You came here asking questions and we have spoken, but you're still hellbent on certain things. I'm used to this, I have to give up at work, because the customer is always right, until they're wrong. If I spec out a high end machine, and they say they want a certain power supply, well, usually I give it to them. When they come back saying there's a problem, I'll swap it out for them. They didn't listen the first time, and it resulted in them paying twice.You can get any LGA2011 board you want. You've already decided your GPU and audio card. I still can't in my right mind say you need 1000W, but in the end, there's nothing stopping you from going and buying it all now and ignoring us. I never said buy the same Asus board that I use, I'm simply trying to give you better suggestions on a purpose built machine for your needs. For some cost savings ideas, check Amazon UK, they typically have lower prices than other vendors. You could get most of the parts you need for cheaper there, saving you the extra bucks in order to get the more powerful CPU. You could also save up for a better PSU this way. CA_Steve mentioned the Seasonic SS-660XP, and that's plenty for what you need. If you really wanted to mix it up, Antec High Current Gamer power supplies are rated by their continuous output (such as my 750W). This means that under a real heavy load, the actual rated output could be well over 800W, compared to the 750W continuous output.

And as Cistron mentioned, don't rely on "Future-proofness" as it is a very flawed way of thinking in the long term. At most, you may change your GPU in a year or two, and it will likely use less power than the GTX580 you already have. No sense in having 1000W to future proof lower wattage gear.

The Asus PSU calc suggests I use a 1000W power supply. Factor in that I have certain external devices powered by the internal PSU, and I'm confused as to how my machine is capable of running with a 750W [/sarcasm].

Also, on a side note, the use of a FW or external audio device will not give you any noticeably better results than a PCI interface, except when you factor in that PCI will be less and less available in the future for a new computer later.

I'll run a GPU benchmark during the week when I have time (but remember I don't have Z series chipsets), and when you've got your machine built, do the same, and we'll see whether the GTX660ti is in fact the crappier buy on my part. Considering I don't game, none of those tests are of any relevance to me. I bought it for the CUDA compatibility in Premiere Pro, so all it does is render frames during live playback. Hard as hell to measure whether the GTX580 will do that more efficiently, considering it sucks 140W at load. "The point is that the CUDA card will help when there are effects...it takes those off the CPU so the CPU can dedicate itself to the decode/encode process. The configuration and technological advancement of the CPU in a machine is where the encode speeds are gained or lost." Puget System's graphic shows no noticeable difference between the two cards, as CA_Steve has already posted this link:

http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articl ... ration-162

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|Dual Intel Xeon E5-2620-Xigmatek SD1283 DK-II|Asus Z9PA-D8-HR-05 IFX|WD 250gb Velociraptor SATA3|16gb DDR3-1600 ECC RDIMM|WD Blue 640GB SATA2 x2|Logitech K750|Logitech Wireless Mouse|nVidia GTX660ti 2GB|Antec HCG-750|NZXT Source 210 Elite|M-Audio ProFire 2626|Art TubeOpto8 with Smooth Plate Tube Swap|Avid Artist Mix x2|
FartingBob wrote:
A 9500GT with 1GB of RAM is the most pointless thing since NASCAR.


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