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 Post subject: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:48 pm
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Hi,

Thanks to some changes in my life, I've decided to start building a new PC. The problem: it has to be both silent and powerful.

A bit of a background: I'm quite a big gamer, plus love silence, and because of this, for the last couple years, I had two main PCs: one for 24/7 "office" work, and one for gaming. The former is very quiet (Antec P180, suspended HDDs, Seasonic X-400, dual-fan Scythe Mugen, SSD, A8-3870K), while the older cobbled-together latter (Phenom II 550 BE, dual-fan Mugen, ASUS DirectCU 6850, Nexus NX-5000 and a not-so-great case) tends to be noticeable, at least for me. The biggest noise factor for the gaming PC is the 6850. (I also have a noisy storage server that will eventually get the Antec P180, the NX-5000 and the A8-3870K)

Now, I'm planning to do one all-in-one PC, partly from new and partly from "old" components, for work (programming, but nothing fancy required), gaming, movies and music.

I'm a newcomer to Intel (well, my last non-integrated desktop intel CPU was a ~733Mhz Celeron II), so I'd appreciate comments on the actual difference in power consumption between i7-4770/S/K.

Here are my plans, with some rationale behind the components:

Case:
Fractal Design R4
(mainly due to silencing, low price, cable management and AFAIK much better airflow than the P280/183.)
or
Antec P280/P183 V3
(I still love the P180 despite its age, it would be nice to have something like that, plus if I see correctly, I could install suspension for about 2 HDDs with ease. But it has worse cooling and almost double the price)
or
NZXT Phantom 630
(I'm really not sure about this. It is more expensive than the P280 or even the P183 here, and the 20cm side panel fan is while giant, first, it is a bit off, not really covering the GPUs, second, it might just let too much wind noise out of the case due to almost zero sound proofing. Plus, AFAIK, no real choice of fans at 20cm. The only one available around here is this Aerocool one.)

CPU:
Intel Core i7-4770S/(K?)
(Frankly, this is right the most I'm willing to pay. I don't care about OCing in the future enough to justify that +20W, if it is truly there. I do have some extra to get the K version, if it doesn't require more power though)

CPU cooler:
Scythe Mugen II
(I'll be re-purposing one of them for the build. It does a stellar job with two nexus fans and SpeedFan against the 100W A8, so it should also work more than fine with the i7.)

Memory:
2x4GB Kingmax DDR3
(Again, repurposed from the A8 office build, although I will upgrade to 2x8 in the future.)

PSU:
Seasonic X-400
(Like a broken record, repurposing.)

GPU:
PowerColor passive SCS3 R9 270
(Plans for the future: go crossfire with another one. Future, as in about 6-12 months.)

Motherboard:
AsRock Z87 Extreme4
(6 fan headers, optical out with DTS-connect would mean I can ditch my USB card, comes with 3 years of warranty, but I've had some bad experiences in the past with cheap AsRock mobos, and I'd have to buy a CF bridge on eBay.)
or
BIOSTAR Hi-Fi Z87X 3D
(Comes with CF bridge, but I've no prior experience with them, it only has 2 years of warranty, and is without DTS-Connect or optical out.)

+SSDs, one HDD
+assorted 8 and 12cm Nexus fans, plus a 14cm Noctua, etc etc etc.


The Problems
1. The CPU: although intel states that the i7-4770S is 65W and the i7-4770K is 84W, I have no idea if (or to what extent) this difference is true. If it isn't under non-OC conditions, I might just bite the bullet and buy the slightly more expensive (~35€) K version.

2. The GPU(s): I really, really detest noise, and the 6850 DirectCU is quite horrible. Yes, I heard that the newer versions are better, but when I see 37+ dBA for idle in tests, in open case environments, that is simply not acceptable for me. (I live in a very quiet environment and plan to keep it that way.) My crazy plan is to actually have two 270s in a crossfire, of course cooled by some speedfan-controlled fans. (At least I hope speedfan is better with the 270 than with the 6850 which it can't detect correctly. It works OK with the 6570 I had, so not all hope is lost.)

I did think about getting a Arctic Cooling Extreme III or their hybrid and a R9 280/290(x), as I'm no stranger to modding the GPU, but the 270CF wouls have a larger cross-section to cool, about as much power as the 290x (if the game is comaptible. I'm willing to risk some incompatibility), and I wouldn't lose the warranty.

3. PSU: I know, I would be pushing it to the official limits with the CF if everything was running at once 100% (which is really unrealistic) but as some guys pushed it to 600W, I'm not really concerned. Maybe I'll end up adding a low-rpm fan for it if it gets hot, but frankly, I suspect it will be A-OK. I really don't want to get a semi-passive PSU.

4. Case: I'm leaning toward the R4, but the anandtech test of the NZXT Phantom 630 shows promise. Then again, I'm reminded of my fails when I bought cases that looked good on paper but performed quite bad (mostly el-cheapo cases, but also a Fractal Design 304, but a friend of mine bought the R4 and is enamoured with it.) Then again, if I buy the Phantom 630 and it proves to be a relative dud, maybe I can still use my old P180 for the new build, at least till I get the CF.

The first thing I want is silence, but I do realise that I won't get it without ample airflow.

5. Motherboards: I had some bad experiences with AsRock (e.g.: the sata controller part of the chipset in a cheap board gave out), dislike ASUS (due to their faulty notebooks/tablets that popped up during the years and their nonexistent service where I live), and would rather not get a Gigabyte (due to their non-controllable fan headers) I could go MSI, but their boards generally have less features, (like the Z87-G43 missing the 8x8 PCIe lane configuration from the similarly priced Extreme3 ).

What I need is 8x8 PCIe configuration, and a DTS-Connect (or any truly 5.1 optical out) and a CF-bridge bundled would be nice. Due to the passive 270, the first PCIe16 has to be on the second "lane". (Otherwise I'm afraid it might interfere with the Mugen.) I don't care about the NIC type, mSATA/mPCIe ports and a number of other "extras", and I doubt I'll need more than the standard 6 SATA ports.




Note on current and desired noise levels: my P180 is without its front door, the small plastic doors covering the fans are off, and the 5,25" slots have a suspended silent (~5V) 8cm fan and a suspended HDD in them. If you walk into my room, the noise it generates blends nicely into the (very low) ambient noise, so even people with good hearing only notice it when I actually turn it off. I want this to stay the same. I'm OK with my fans going somewhat over this when gaming, but not nearly as much as the 6850 does when at 100% utilization.

_________________
gamer: AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE // Scythe Mugen II // Gigabyte MA790X-UD3P // 4096MB DDR2 // ASUS 6850 DirectCU // Nexus NX-5000 // Sharkoon Rebel9 Pro Eco
work/movie: AMD Fusion A8-3870K // Scythe Mugen II // Sapphire HD6570 Silent // 8GB DDR3 // Seasonic X-400W// Antec P180b
home server: Intel Celeron 1037 // Gigabyte C1037UN-EU // 4GB DDR3 // PicoPSU 120WI+60W brick // Fractal Design Node 304


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4601
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
An i7 is overkill as few games make use of the 8 threads. Heck, many still run on 2 cores. Get the i5-4670K.

PSU: stressed system power is 84W (CPU) + 150W (GPU) + 50W (mobo and everything else) = 284W and probably 250W or less gaming. Crossfire adds another 150W, so call it 434W stressed and maybe 375W gaming. It might work out. You'll need to scrounge up additional PEG connectors for your crossfire card.

RAM: never heard of that brand b4 today :). 2x4GB RAM is plenty. Only use for 2x8GB is if you run a RAMdisk, use Photoshop a lot or edit HD video.

GPU: This thread might be useful. The Powercolor card WILL require airflow. Which means you need to take a close look at mechanical clearances (to the CPU cooler and the other PCIe slot). GPU horsepower - What is your monitor resolution and what games do you play?

Case: Take a look at the build thread in my signature to get a feel for the R4.

_________________
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: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:48 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Outside the box
Thanks for the quick answer :)

CA_Steve wrote:
An i7 is overkill as few games make use of the 8 threads. Heck, many still run on 2 cores. Get the i5-4670K.

It's more future-proofing than "I need it now". See my ancient 550 BE that I still use. :) Plus, I MMO a lot, and neither the Phenom II nor the A8 are enough (by orders of magnitude) in some situations. But yes, I agree, 8 threads would be an overkill for now.

CA_Steve wrote:
PSU: stressed system power is 84W (CPU) + 150W (GPU) + 50W (mobo and everything else) = 284W and probably 250W or less gaming. Crossfire adds another 150W, so call it 434W stressed and maybe 375W gaming. It might work out. You'll need to scrounge up additional PEG connectors for your crossfire card.
Thanks. Yeah, I'll need another connector, but thankfully the Powercolor 270 is supposed to have one. Not that they are too expensive. I'll see it when I put the first version with one 270 together.

CA_Steve wrote:
RAM: never heard of that brand b4 today :). 2x4GB RAM is plenty. Only use for 2x8GB is if you run a RAMdisk, use Photoshop a lot or edit HD video.
Hehe, strange, it is quite prevalent here. 2x4 sound plenty, but I frequently bump up close to the limits of it. Too much browser windows open and background processes running mostly :)

CA_Steve wrote:
GPU: This thread might be useful. The Powercolor card WILL require airflow. Which means you need to take a close look at mechanical clearances (to the CPU cooler and the other PCIe slot). GPU horsepower - What is your monitor resolution and what games do you play?
Thanks for the link, actually that's the thread I got the idea from. Right now it is a single 1080p for gaming, but even that can be quite heavy since I do play mostly on max settings. Metro:LL can be brutal. Plus, I'm aiming to get at least a second, possibly 2 other 1080p displays for work & surround gaming.

CA_Steve wrote:
Case: Take a look at the build thread in my signature to get a feel for the R4.
Thanks, then that's +1 for the R4. :)

_________________
gamer: AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE // Scythe Mugen II // Gigabyte MA790X-UD3P // 4096MB DDR2 // ASUS 6850 DirectCU // Nexus NX-5000 // Sharkoon Rebel9 Pro Eco
work/movie: AMD Fusion A8-3870K // Scythe Mugen II // Sapphire HD6570 Silent // 8GB DDR3 // Seasonic X-400W// Antec P180b
home server: Intel Celeron 1037 // Gigabyte C1037UN-EU // 4GB DDR3 // PicoPSU 120WI+60W brick // Fractal Design Node 304


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4601
Location: Monterey Bay, CA
I really want to ban the phrase "future proofing".... :D

Feel free to throw the extra $100 at the CPU. I think you are better off with the i5-4670K and then just OC it a bit a few years down the road if you need the boost. Most games benefit from higher clocks more than extra threads.

Multiple monitors: Note that the AMD cards don't idle the memory clock when multiple monitors are detected. So, they burn an additional 20W or so at idle.

_________________
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: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sun May 21, 2006 9:09 am
Posts: 1849
Location: Northern California.
CA_Steve wrote:
I really want to ban the phrase "future proofing"....

+1
in the last 2 decades i can think of maybe 3 people that actually made use of their 'future proofed' system.

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“USA is not America, America is a continent!”


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:48 pm
Posts: 21
Location: Outside the box
CA_Steve wrote:
I really want to ban the phrase "future proofing".... :D

Feel free to throw the extra $100 at the CPU. I think you are better off with the i5-4670K and then just OC it a bit a few years down the road if you need the boost. Most games benefit from higher clocks more than extra threads.
OK, then I'll just say "I don't wanna get a new CPU for 3-4 years, and I want to continue gaming at ~max" XD And yes, you are absolutely correct regarding the extra threads, at least for now. But the new gen of consoles have arrived, so developers will finally start to optimalize their more substantial engines for more than 2 or 3 threads, so there might be some gains down the road. (After all, both the PS4 and the XBO has 8 not-so-powerful cores, so they will need to.) Of course, this is still speculation at this point, but I wouldn't be surprised if it came true in a couple years. But as I still have about two weeks till I place the order for it, so I'll think about it.

(Plus, frankly, the working parts for my last ~5 years always ended up being used in other PCs. The i7 would be great for my storage server for instance. So it won't really be wasted in the long run. Plus I might try out streaming, which would actually benefit from the i7.)

CA_Steve wrote:
Multiple monitors: Note that the AMD cards don't idle the memory clock when multiple monitors are detected. So, they burn an additional 20W or so at idle.
Thanks for the warning about the idle clocks, I remember reading that ages ago, but somehow forgot about it. Not that I could do anything about it, as I need the multiple monitors for work. :-/

_________________
gamer: AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE // Scythe Mugen II // Gigabyte MA790X-UD3P // 4096MB DDR2 // ASUS 6850 DirectCU // Nexus NX-5000 // Sharkoon Rebel9 Pro Eco
work/movie: AMD Fusion A8-3870K // Scythe Mugen II // Sapphire HD6570 Silent // 8GB DDR3 // Seasonic X-400W// Antec P180b
home server: Intel Celeron 1037 // Gigabyte C1037UN-EU // 4GB DDR3 // PicoPSU 120WI+60W brick // Fractal Design Node 304


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 Post subject: Re: Building a new PC (gamer&etc)
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:22 pm
Posts: 1869
Location: Guatemala
I agree with Steve advise, the i5 4670 is a better buy. But Intel has been milking consumers with very little upgrades from gen to gen, we barely see 5% upgrades on processing, the gains are more in consumption, so if all remains the same, a CPU in 4 years will be 20 to 30% faster.

Now we are approaching another good transition, like it happen with the i7 980, Haswell E is rumored to bring the first eight core overclockable, probably 3ghz+ base clocks, knowing that broadwell won't have six cores and there are rumors that skylake won't either, probably the next gen won't either since tick n tocks.... Then this haswell CPU will be as future proof as it can get, wel not really, it's just that the timing and intel plans on releases will make it last for a good while, unless AMD puts some pressure.

_________________
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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