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 Post subject: New build for software development
PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:42 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 am
Posts: 6
Hello Everyone,

First of all, thank you to the SPCR community for maintaining such as useful source of information.

I am looking to build a quiet, power efficient PC, primarily for Windows software development. (Editor, Visual Studio, several virtual machines).

Considerations:
  • Enough power for several VMs.
  • Quiet.
  • Reliable.
  • Low idle power consumption.

I do not think I need a video card. The most graphics intensive application will be watching youtube full screen and making screencasts with Camtasia. Monitor: Dell 2001FP 1600x1200.

Here is what I have so far. This is all mostly from my research on SPCR. Since this is my first build, I would appreciate if you could look it over and see if there is anything I should change.

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770S 3.1GHz Quad-Core Processor ($298.98 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Silverstone AR01 81.4 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($33.13 @ Newegg)
Motherboard: Asus H87M-PRO Micro ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($138.34 @ Newegg)
Memory: A-Data XPG Gaming Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($147.13 @ Newegg)
Storage: Crucial M500 480GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($279.99 @ B&H)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($76.98 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case ($102.79 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: SeaSonic X Series 400W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($141.68 @ Amazon)
Optical Drive: Asus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS DVD/CD Writer ($18.51 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - OEM (64-bit) ($137.97 @ OutletPC)

Thank you again!


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
Welcome to SPCR.

My generic comment on the CPU is - you either need the horsepower of the i7 for your apps or you don't. If you do, why nerf it with the lower clocked S part? The non-S parts will idle the same and will use similar power up to where the S part clocks. If you need more horsepower than what the S part provides, you have it.

The AR01 will work. Chances are, you'll want to replace the stock fan, and then it becomes a $45 or so solution.

Memory - Crucial Ballistix Sport CAS9 comes up on pcpartpicker a little cheaper than the Adata.

HDD: You won't need speed for the storage drive. The WD Red is a better choice.

The rest looks fine.

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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: New build for software development
PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Posts: 1192
Location: UK
I agree with Steve but two further points I would add.

1. Are your applications going to massively benefit from hyperthreading? I see you are going to be using virtual machines so the answer could well be yes, but if you don't feel hyperthreading is an advantage (I'm sure you can find benchmarks for virtual machines and hyperthreading somewhere) then an i5 would be a lot cheaper. I agree with the S and T models being somewhat pointless but would add that you can undervolt the standard models to get the same kind of power saving and silence if this is an aim.

2. A 1Tb hard disk isn't much by modern standards and not an order of magnitude more than the 480Gb SSD you're also choosing. What are your plans for using the HDD? Performance and noise will take quite a hit while using it so I would look at whether you can run without it, either by upping your SSD count from the beginning or by accepting that down the line you will add another couple of SSDs. SSDs have far lower power and no real noise so the disadvantages of running a whole bunch of them are far smaller than with hard disks.

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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 10:11 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 am
Posts: 6
Thank you CA_Steve and edh.

CPU - realistically, I do not think I need that much sustained CPU capacity. I speced the i7 for future-proofing. I tend to keep computers for a long time. My thinking on the "S" was to put a cap on the max temperature the system would need to be able to cope with even if it comes at the expense of some horsepower. I would prefer not to fiddle with undervolting the CPU. Does that make sense? Perhaps i5-4570S would be a more sensible choice.

Memory - Adata is on the compatibility list for the motherboard. Crucial is not. How important is that?

HDD - Actually, I already own it. It is the second HD in my current machine. I use it mostly for 1) virtual machine images and 2) backups of user files from the primary drive. I'll see how it fairs in the new build and perhaps replace it later with SSDs.

I appreciate your help!


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:42 pm 
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
If you don't think your apps will max out the CPU, then you'll never see max wattage.

If you think sometime down the road you'll need the horsepower, then why would you hobble yourself with the S part?

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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: New build for software development
PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 12:39 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
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Location: Germany
Future proofing the cpu? Another way would be buying i5-K today and nab an i7-k in the future when they come in cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:47 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:53 pm
Posts: 318
Location: EU, USA
I run 4 Windows VM guests under Linux host, with a Phenom II 965BE @4GHz on 16GB memory. I use VMs for testing and only use one VM at a time, if all VMs are busy at once you may want to go with an 8-core cpu.


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 am
Posts: 6
Thanks, Rebellious. I did end up buying the non "S" version.

Playing with the ASUS Fan Expert now, to keep the 180mm fan under control...


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1812
Location: Guatemala
pmds wrote:
Thanks, Rebellious. I did end up buying the non "S" version.

Playing with the ASUS Fan Expert now, to keep the 180mm fan under control...
What RPMS is your Asus /FanXpert managing it?

Image

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 am
Posts: 6
Every time I run the wizard, it detects a different starting speed. I got several numbers in the range 380-590 RPM. And the latest version of Fan Expert from asus.com does not let me set starting % lower than what the wizard detects. I will roll back to the version from the CD that came with the MB. That version let me set any number I want.

What do you think is the safe lowest starting point?


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:02 pm 
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Location: Monterey Bay, CA
I think the wizard will give highly optimistic starting values (based on what the SPCR Fan review saw for Antec True Quiet 140 vs what I see on my MSI mobo). I bet it doesn't wait for fans to completely stop before applying a new voltage - and it's insanely easier to keep a fan moving than it is to start one from a stopped position. My suggestion is be conservative and use a higher value. Then use a monitoring utility for a few days to make sure they start.

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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: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
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Location: Guatemala
pmds wrote:
Every time I run the wizard, it detects a different starting speed. I got several numbers in the range 380-590 RPM. And the latest version of Fan Expert from asus.com does not let me set starting % lower than what the wizard detects. I will roll back to the version from the CD that came with the MB. That version let me set any number I want.

What do you think is the safe lowest starting point?
Well for me its always the same as the picture, the lowest it idles is around 470rpms. You can do it with the switch or without, i dont remember atm how is mine or if it changed, but worth a shot to see if it changes. Lower than the % the fan tunning allows the fan should stop in theory, as this is the lowest it can sustain without the fan stopping, this is stablish when it ramps it up to full and then gradually lower them until they stop, then re starts them, this is where fanXpert2 stablishes the starting and the lowest idle rpm or voltages.

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GameMi >> MSI Z87-GD65 | Intel Core i7-4790K | Thermalright Silver Arrow IBE + 3x Noctua NF-A15 PWM @500rpms| Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR3 1600 | nVidia GTX780 + ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme IV | Samsung SA850 27'' 2560x1440 | Samsung 840pro 512GB | Hitachi 7K1000 1TB | Fractal Design Define R4 + 4x Noctua NF-A14 PWM @450rpm | SeaSonic SS-860XP2
Other builds ---> ServeMi | CamMi | MiniMi | HTPCMi


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:22 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 am
Posts: 6
I have set the first step to 25%. Seems to be spinning fine at ~330 RPM. Starting does not appear to be an issue as it is spinning full speed during the boot process. So it is not starting from a full stop, but rather slowing down from full speed.

Noob question. Is it OK to leave the fan completely OFF until a certain temperature is reached? What if it is not running for a few months or more. Will it have a harder time spinning up after that? (Like not driving a car for a year - liquids thicken, hoses crack, etc.). Even without the front fan running, CPU temperature appears to be stable under my usage today (under 33C).


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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:19 am
Posts: 400
Location: Boston, MA, USA
pmds wrote:
Noob question. Is it OK to leave the fan completely OFF until a certain temperature is reached? What if it is not running for a few months or more. Will it have a harder time spinning up after that? (Like not driving a car for a year - liquids thicken, hoses crack, etc.). Even without the front fan running, CPU temperature appears to be stable under my usage today (under 33C).

It should not matter much if the fan is off for long periods. Turning fans off is more of a risk to your RAM and various motherboard peripherals, but long as the case is otherwise well ventilated (or huge) and your threshholds are reasonable (50C? 40C?), it should be fine. The fan bearing may even live longer if you keep the fan off (?).

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Currently running Mint 14 MATE on all machines.
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Myth Backend + Home Server: D945GSEJT / WD15EADS / Hauppage 950Q / Home made case
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 Post subject: Re: New build for software development
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 10:07 am
Posts: 6
The fans are happy. Next step is to figure out how to make the PSU to stop buzzing...


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