I used the great information on SPCR about five years ago to build a quiet desktop:
CPU - E8400
Motherboard - Asus P5Q Pro
Case - Antec Solo
Heatsink - Thermalright HR-01 Plus
4 GB RAM
Asus EAH4550 Video Card
Scythe Slipstream fans - 800 rpms
I have since upgraded the harddrives to a Samsung 830 256GB SSD and a WD 3.0TB Red that I have suspended in the Solo.
This computer has served me well but I was thinking of upgrading and here is my plan. Please let me me know if you have any suggestions.
I use my computer for 85% light duty, i.e., Web browsing. I do a little photographic and audio work on it as well as using it for a music and video server. I do not game, so the onchip video will be fine for me. I was thinking of reusing the Solo, my harddrives, monitor and DVD drive and replacing the CPU, motherboard, memory, CPU heatsink and power supply. The Solo is quite happy underneath my desk; I just thought I would give it a little more oomph. The only downside to using the Solo is that I will not have any USB 3 ports on the front, but that can be fixed with a hub if need be.
My general goals are to keep it quiet, improve efficiency and somewhat future proof myself for a few years.
CPU - i5 4670K
Motherboard - Asrock Z87E-ITX
Yes, it seems that I am sticking a tiny motherboard in a ATX case but I was thinking that I might repurpose this motherboard as a HTPC in a few years. It also is pretty efficient. CA_Steve gave a link to a comparison at [url=http://uk.hardware.info/reviews/4587/53/37-haswell-motherboard-group-test-28x-z87-6x-h87-and-3x-b85-energy-consumption-idle-avge-over-5-minutes
]Hardware.info[/url] (Thanks!) that showed the Z87E-ITX has the second lowest idle power consumption: 26.4 Watts and the second lowest at load: 85.9 Watts out of 37 Haswell motherboards tested. I use Linux so the fact that Asrock has a good BIOS controls for fans is a big plus because Asus Fanexpert is not usable for me. The board comes with the new Realtek 1150 audio chip, Intel Ethernet and ac WIFI and is not too expensive. I was thinking of doing a mild overclock and then undervolting it to the degree that it is stable. I am going to wait a few weeks until I can buy one with the C2 stepping chip.
Memory - Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 1600 Low Profile
Thanks for pointing me to his low profile memory. Yes 16 GB is a lot but I would like to use a few Virtual Machines in Linux as well as give me plenty for photo editing. A little overkill, I know.
Power Supply - Kingwin LZP-550
I will need a new power supply to work with Haswell, which gives me a chance to get one of the new Platinum ones. I like that the LZP-550 has a fan that only kicks in above the heat levels that I expect to have. I like it kicking in if need be, as my power supply in the Solo is above my CPU and heat rises. I was taken my the review in SPCR as well as the work that CA_Steve did here
comparing power supplies from the info from SPCR tests. The LZP-550 seems to do great at low power draws.
Heatsink - Thermalright HR-02 Macho
I would consider the Scythe Mugen 4, but it does not yet seem to be for sale in the U.S. as of yet. I was thinking of using my nice old, but quiet Slipstreams on this build.
I am happy to take any input that you might have.