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 Post subject: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:38 pm 
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Location: Gent, Belgium
Hi,

after 5 years it's time to build another silent computer as the old one is dying too soon.
(long story short: Nexus PSU already replaced 3 times in warranty, what a crap! Gigabyte extra durable is anything but!)

Here's my current shortlist:

case:
- CoolerMaster Silencio 352 (microATX - Mini-ITX). Either run fanless or with 1 or 2 very slow inlet fan(s)
rationale: needs to be a compact tower model, maximum microATX, needs a 5.25" and a 3.5" bay, sober look for the living room

PSU:
- SeaSonic Platinum X-400FL Platinum 400W fanless
rationale: saw some good reviews, excellent efficiency

motherboard:
- Asus H97M-Plus
rationale: micro-ATX, still has a PCI slot that I need for a card I still want to use

CPU:
- Intel i7-4790T 45W or
- Intel i7-4790S 65W
rationale: my first intel cpu *ever*, finally switching away from AMD. Not impressed with my last 2 AMD systems.

cooler:
- nofan CR-80EH
rationale: looks perfect for a near-fanless setup, its bigger brother doesn't fit in the case

memory:
- 2x 4GB DDR3-1600 corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 9-9-9-24 1.5V
rationale: none :)

disk
- Crucial 500 M.2 120GB or 240GB
rationale: since the mboard has this interface, I might as well enjoy the speed

OS:
- linux (not decided yet on debian testing or a ubuntu derivative with a sane interface)
rationale: it's what I use ;)



I'm going to order parts shortly as my current setup is starting to fail more and more. It's been 5 years since I looked at PC hardware, do tell me if I'm doing something stupid. I'll also post a review of this setup if I make it :)


Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:06 am 
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Pétur wrote:
case:
- CoolerMaster Silencio 352 (microATX - Mini-ITX). Either run fanless or with 1 or 2 very slow inlet fan(s)
rationale: needs to be a compact tower model, maximum microATX, needs a 5.25" and a 3.5" bay, sober look for the living room

Not a very good build quality, and cramped to work inside, it also sports a below average stock fan: it's not a very good pick, but it's very cheap also.


Pétur wrote:
CPU:
- Intel i7-4790T 45W or
- Intel i7-4790S 65W
rationale: my first intel cpu *ever*, finally switching away from AMD. Not impressed with my last 2 AMD systems.

Both are a very good pick to pairing to a little NoFan cooler, but not the best pick, performance wise.
IMO a more traditional combo (CPU+heatsink) may prove to serve you better.


Pétur wrote:
cooler:
- nofan CR-80EH
rationale: looks perfect for a near-fanless setup, its bigger brother doesn't fit in the case

See previous comments.
To be really effective, It does require a convenient airflow, particularly on load, such an airflow that the Silencio 352 more probably that not cannot provide (at an acceptable noise level).


Pétur wrote:
memory:
- 2x 4GB DDR3-1600 corsair CML8GX3M2A1600C9 9-9-9-24 1.5V
rationale: none :)

A low voltage (1.35V) RAM will marginally reduce power draw and temps (on both case ambient and CPU).


Pétur wrote:
disk
- Crucial 500 M.2 120GB or 240GB
rationale: since the mboard has this interface, I might as well enjoy the speed

"Nude-look" Crucials have proven to run at scaryingly higher temps, than traditional 2.5" units, so IMO it would not be that recommended.


Pétur wrote:
OS:
- linux (not decided yet on debian testing or a ubuntu derivative with a sane interface)
rationale: it's what I use ;)

Under Linux, perhaps PWM case fans may be better suited than voltage controlled ones (as those latter cannot go lower than 50% of their rated speed): in case, you might need a PWM splitter, check the mobo manual.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:09 am 
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Pétur wrote:
PSU:
- SeaSonic Platinum X-400FL Platinum 400W fanless
rationale: saw some good reviews, excellent efficiency

Overkill unless you plan to add a discrete graphics card. Consider a picoPSU. :) Could be a problem if that PCI card you plan to use is a power hungry TV tuner card though.

quest_for_silence wrote:
Both are a very good pick to pairing to a little NoFan cooler, but not the best pick, performance wise.
IMO a more traditional combo (CPU+heatsink) may prove to serve you better.

+1

If that 3.5" bay is intended for a spinning HDD then it makes little sense to go fanless on the CPU imo. Better to get a normal CPU, a cheaper cooler with a quiet fan.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:21 am 
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Thanks for the inputs.

I picked the case mostly based on the size, it's about the smallest tower I could find with a 5.25 and 3.5 bay. They are meant to hold an optical drive (BD writer) and a multi-card reader. So not expecting heat from them. There will be no spinning disk in there at all.

Yes I read about the fans not being good but I still have some spare good ones so kinda planning to not use those anyway.

The CPU was picked as a balance between performance and energy, this system isn't for gaming, more development and the occasional VM, so only short bursts of CPU load. Which is why I was betting on doing without a fan on the CPU.


Maybe I overlooked other cases that are compact, offer the 2 bays I want and would work fanless? I already spent too many nights searching :)


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 2:49 am 
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Ah, then a NoFan might make sense, if the price is right. Still, with fans in there, don't overspend to make the CPU "fanless". Do you really need an i7? A four core i5 wont cut it? Need HT also? A normal i5 would be cheaper and faster in most applications. Don't pay too much attention to the TDP numbers. With a large cooler underclocking is an option, not a requirement for quiet operation.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:38 am 
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Pétur wrote:
I picked the case mostly based on the size, it's about the smallest tower I could find with a 5.25 and 3.5 bay. They are meant to hold an optical drive (BD writer) and a multi-card reader. So not expecting heat from them. There will be no spinning disk in there at all.

With about no moving parts inside, the meshed twin CM N200 may offer a greater cooling prowess.


Pétur wrote:
Yes I read about the fans not being good but I still have some spare good ones so kinda planning to not use those anyway.

I hope they are PWM ones, because (as already said) 3 pin ones usually will run at least at 50% of their rated speed (i.e. pointlessly fast).


Pétur wrote:
The CPU was picked as a balance between performance and energy, this system isn't for gaming, more development and the occasional VM, so only short bursts of CPU load.

Only you may know whether you actually need 8 computing threads: 98% of times (maybe more) 8 threads are pointless.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:28 am 
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Like the build =)

The only change i would do is the motherboard, i think for linux i would like more to have control of the case fans with pure bios, for this i would go with MSI H97M-E35 (still has a PCI on the bottom as the Asus), get a 2x Nocuta NF-S12A PWM use the included PWM fan splitter on the noctuas and connect both fans to CPU_FAN header, the only true PWM fan header on the motherboard, enter the bios go to monotring and into CPU_FAN header, enter 12.5% as the minium PWM threshold, this should drop the fans to to 250rpms or so, should be inaudible, and you can define the ramping of the fans on the bios according to the CPU temp.

If you decide to go with more than 2 fans, then consider instead of using the Nocuta PWM fan splitter, to use a GELID 4-Pin PWM Splitter CA-PWM-03 and connect it to CPU_FAN header as its the only true PWM fan on the motherboard.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:55 am 
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Thanks for those valid points...

I remember looking at that CM N200 case, probably decided against it based on taste ;)
And I still don't feel confident about it.

edit: I remember again, picked the silencio for its better front dustfiler as I had the feeling I might need to push some fresh air into the case...

I'm also going to check CPU options again, though the TDP values all fall in the same range...


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:10 am 
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Pétur wrote:
I'm also going to check CPU options again, though the TDP values all fall in the same range...

Yeah, plenty of good stuff in the 0-85W range. ;)

Seriously, look at price first. Factory underclocked only makes sense in a few select cases, like if you want to combine a small cooler and silence, or if you have to stay within a minimal power envelope, or if you want to go full load 24/7 and want to keep power down and are unable to underclock/undervolt with your motherboard of choice. They all idle the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:25 am 
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Pétur wrote:
edit: I remember again, picked the silencio for its better front dustfiler as I had the feeling I might need to push some fresh air into the case

Please take note that sucking air through a restricted inlet is usually rather uneffective (particularly with a passive CPU heatsink), and that causes a noticeable amount of noise: in case, probably you may do better if you'll find a suitable dust-filter (DEMCIflex? Silverstone?).

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:32 am 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
Please take note that sucking air through a restricted inlet is usually rather uneffective (particularly with a passive CPU heatsink), and that causes a noticeable amount of noise: in case, probably you may do better if you'll find a suitable dust-filter (DEMCIflex? Silverstone?).


My current system (Antec SLK3000B) also has an intake fan at the front, with filter, and it has indeed a bit of airflow noise, so I'm quite aware of that. But I also see the dust the filter catches so the filter is a must. I'll keep those alternative filters in mind.

My idea was to see how far I get with the bare minimum airflow and go from there. From what I've read so far I can probably forget fanless operation (really liked that case at http://haxx.eu but sadly my wife doesn't).


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 3:16 pm 
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Why not go with something like the HDPLEX H5.TODD and just have a USB card reader?

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:54 pm 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Why not go with something like the HDPLEX H5.TODD and just have a USB card reader?


Doesn't fit in my setup and I don't want any external devices dangling around.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:37 pm 
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Tossing out the NOFAN cooler, on doing more research I found several user reviews and even a review site that called it a low quality cooler. Also beginning to question that company as their cases seem to be just rebranded, so they only make one ok cooler and one lower quality one? Hmmm...

So I'll go for a cooler + fan, options are open and the research is on ;)

Edit: I might actually try to re-use the HR-01 plus of my current setup, is there any reason not to? It's handling my X4 940 (TDP 125W) quite well with just a slow RPM fan.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:51 pm 
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If you want a heatsink that would allow you to drop the fan extremly low, below 400rpms on PWM signal, then consider Noctua NH-U14S, its has very good range of operation, its fairly slim or not as wide as some coolers that go over the memory, you can check SPCR review on it, Noctua NH-U14S Slim 140mm Tower Cooler.

Now if you if you are looking for a cheaper alternative, and you are fine with fan idling around 5-600rpms (should be very quiet), then consider the Scythe Mugen 4 CPU Cooler: Scythe Strikes Back or if its available where you live, Scythe Kotetsu CPU Cooler: A Compact King.

I would strongly suggest you reconsider Asus for linux, their fan control on bios is not that great, MSI is much better option, specially to be not OS dependant, you can install whatever distro you want and the bios will still govern the fans fine.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:41 am 
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OK thanks, looking into the MSI too. Where did you get the info that its fan control is better? Based on previous boards?

And what do you think about reusing the HR-01 plus? I see you recommend other coolers, but this one is working great on a cpu with way larger TDP. Just not sure how good it is to reuse them.

As my current mobo/cpu combo is acting up it won't be reused so the cooler can be recovered.

And another question: any link to info regarding low voltage ram? I find so little info on this topic, most important if these work in a certain motherboard with a certain cpu.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:02 pm 
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Funny that when googling for fan control differences of Asus and MSI, I get this thread here.

I've also been looking at DDR3L, I stumbled upon these articles:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/memory/display/kingston-lovo-hyperx.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/lovo-ddr3-power,2650-7.html

Conclusion is that going for DDR3L would mean a saving of 2-3W maximum under load, and less when idling (for a pair of dual-channel ram). Not sure that is worth it.

Corsair doesn't even mention power usage, kingston does and the datasheet differences are even smaller.

OTOH, I was looking at maybe go for 2x8GB, but at least corsair has no such configuration in DDR3L.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:28 pm 
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Pétur wrote:
Conclusion is that going for DDR3L would mean a saving of 2-3W maximum under load, and less when idling (for a pair of dual-channel ram). Not sure that is worth it.

Prices on DDR3 has gone up a bit lately. It depends on prices at the time. I can pay a lttle extra for 1.35v CL8 low profile sticks. 1.5v CL9 feels a bit.. old. But as you say, it's no great power saver.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:30 pm 
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Quote:
1.35v CL8


Any model you want to recommend?


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:37 pm 
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Crucial Ballistix Tactical LP (CL8) and Sport VLP (CL9) are favorites.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:52 pm 
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Pétur wrote:
Conclusion is that going for DDR3L would mean a saving of 2-3W maximum under load, and less when idling (for a pair of dual-channel ram). Not sure that is worth it.

2-3W per stick it's a relatively high value when a Core i5 base system usually averages on an about 40-50W power draw.
Besides, higher voltage RAM will also add heat to the CPU's memory controller, hence increasing the CPU temp.
You may also give a read to this brief Puget test: http://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Technology-Primer-Low-Voltage-RAM-150/

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:39 pm 
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Pétur wrote:
OK thanks, looking into the MSI too. Where did you get the info that its fan control is better? Based on previous boards?
Well i own an Asus Maximus VI Gene, and now i own an MSI Z87-GD65 and MS H81i, those are my references into my own experiences with both brands. But if you want to read more, i made a petition to Asus for lower restrictions on bios fan control, ASUS Bios fan control request. Dont get me wrong, Asus is fine, hell i still even keep my Gene for testing fans, specially for windows and if you don't mind running AI Suite, FanXpert will override all the bios restrictions and allow you to drop the fans extremely low (dependent on each fan), but on pure bios, at least until Z87 mobos, they were not up to par with MSI and AsRock, on pure PWM fan (3pin they suck also).

But there were changes coming on the Asus H97/Z97, specially from what i read (thats if i understood it correctly) they were implementing the Q-Fan (Auto/Advance) setup for all headers, this allows the fans to be run as PWM or Voltage controlled, but i dont own an H97/Z97 board to confirm, nor i know the restriction on the bios that asus is releasing this new gen of boards, up to you to check it out.

That said, there are still options to control fans under linux, i personally not familiar with them, but i seen a couple of forum members that had success, check Asus H87I-PLUS hw monitoring/fan control - Linux [solved]

Pétur wrote:
And what do you think about reusing the HR-01 plus? I see you recommend other coolers, but this one is working great on a cpu with way larger TDP. Just not sure how good it is to reuse them.

As my current mobo/cpu combo is acting up it won't be reused so the cooler can be recovered.
Well since you own it and its not going to be used or sold, then give a shot, just get the mounting bracket for 1150 that Thermalrigth sells, and test it, and then decide if its good enough or not.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:27 pm 
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quest_for_silence wrote:
2-3W per stick it's a relatively high value when a Core i5 base system usually averages on an about 40-50W power draw.


It was 2-3W total, 2 sticks installed. Only interested in idle gains as this system isn't going to be run full load all the time, more like short bursts.


Last edited by Pétur on Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:05 am 
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New shortlist...

- case: CoolerMaster Silencio 352 microATX
- PSU: SeaSonic Platinum X-400FL Platinum 400W fanless
- MB: MSI H97M-E35
- CPU: Intel i7-4790S 65W
- cooling: Thermalright VX BTK II mount kit (reuse HR-01 cooler)
- RAM:2x 8GB DDR3L-1600: crucial BLT2K8G3D1608ET3LX0 8-8-8-24 1.35V
- case fan: noctua NF-S12A PWM

Might not get the noctua as I found a spare nexus I still have, the one currently in my system is quiet enough....


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:54 am 
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Pétur wrote:
- MB: MSI H97M-E35

What's the point for that specific board?

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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:04 am 
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Abula advised it for better fan control.

I have one specific PCI card I want to put in this system, so initially was going for an Asus H97M-Plus.


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 4:56 am 
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Pétur wrote:
Abula advised it for better fan control.

Yes, I'm looking at this thread: but the E35 manual is a bit obscure about actual BIOS capabilities (on the contrary, the H97M-G43 one is very detailled about the Hardware Monitoring features), so that I don't know whether it may actually fit your needs (nor I know how to double check that specific aspect).

So, given that specific MSI board is also a bit crippled (just 2 DIMMs, no heatsinks on power circuitry, and so on), perhaps something like an ASRock H97M Pro4 might be a safer bet (unless you can try and in case return the MSI board with ease): just think about that.

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Luca


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:47 am 
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yay, more options :/

I can live with 2 memory slots and other restrictions of the MSI, more concerned about compatibility with linux and power usage.

Going to give those motherboards another look and then draw a line :)


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 Post subject: Re: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:19 am 
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Location: Guatemala
quest_for_silence wrote:
MB: MSI H97M-E35

Yes, I'm looking at this thread: but the E35 manual is a bit obscure about actual BIOS capabilities (on the contrary, the H97M-G43 one is very detailled about the Hardware Monitoring features), so that I don't know whether it may actually fit your needs (nor I know how to double check that specific aspect).

So, given that specific MSI board is also a bit crippled (just 2 DIMMs, no heatsinks on power circuitry, and so on), perhaps something like an ASRock H97M Pro4 might be a safer bet (unless you can try and in case return the MSI board with ease): just think about that.
What's the point for that specific board?
I think he wanted the Legacy PCI port that the asus had, i just search for something that was similar to what the Asus had, that said if he is willing to lose the PCI slot, i like more your suggestion of the G43, better heatsinks, more ram slots always a good thing.

One thing that i can say, even between the Z87-GD65 (mid-high end mobo) to the H81i (probably the lowest end of MSI), the bios fan control is the same, same restrictions and values. So im guessing (i don't own H97/z97 versions) that it will be the same. Talking about the new MSI mobos, from the TechPowerUp review MSI Z97 GAMING 5 (Intel LGA 1150),

Image

Whats different from mine is that it offer multiple breakpoints (kinda like AsRock did), it has 4, if you see the right has a 12.5% PWM until 40C is achiieved, then 25% PWM until 55C is achieved, 62.5% PWM until 70C is achieved, 75% until 85C is reached. I expect all even low end mobos of MSI have the same thing, again assumptions on my part.

One thing worth mentioning about the fan control on MSI, its very good, but mostly is on their PWM fan headers, in this case is only ONE, CPU_FAN, the rest are voltage controlled and the bios will have 50% as the lowest restriction, so for a very quiet setup my suggestion is,

1) Getting the gelid PWM fan splitter (or akasa or swiftech, i prefer gelid for small amount of fans, easier to manage and hide)
2) Get PWM fans with good range of control, Noctua NF-S12A PWM is my personal favorite as it drops to 300rpms easily on PWM control.
3) Connect all fans to the PWM splitter and connect the splitter to CPU_FAN motherboard header, dont use any of the SYS_FAN headers.
4) Enter bios and go into monitoring look for the CPU_FAN, set 12.5% as the minimum PWM and set 50C for the temperature first temp setting, if you feel the fans are too low on the speed bump it to 25% or create a second breaking point, from here on its all about you testing different settings until you find what you like.

I just build a server build with 7x Noctua NF-S12A PWM and really the fans are inaudible 1mt away at 350rpms, so 2 or 3 will be for sure very quiet.

Pétur wrote:
I can live with 2 memory slots and other restrictions of the MSI, more concerned about compatibility with linux and power usage.
This imo is the most important thing to decide weather you go with MSI or not, all the above is worthless, if you cant run the OS you want due to compatibility issues. You can always manually undervolt with resistors and adapters, or an external fan controller, personally i just love dynamic bios fan control, set it and forget it, instead of managing knobs... but compatibility and stability should be the most important things toward your build.

Btw talking about consumption, there is a new marketing thing from MSI and their new line, MSI Goes Black and Green with its ECO Line of Motherboards, seems more like marketing though, like software to disble ports on windows, same can be achieved by almost any motherboard on bios, so i don't know if its a gimmick or not, either way just pointing out since you mention power consumption =P

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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: Comments on planned setup please
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 10:17 am 
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Location: Gent, Belgium
sadly the only info on the ECO line is from computex and reviews, I can't find it on the MSI site and worse, for sale.... It does look interesting.


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