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 Post subject: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:44 am 
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I have been researching components for my next PC for a while, and would like to ask for some advice.

Except for quietness I'm aiming for something that isn't bigger and doesn't draw more power than necessary. I only use Linux and will mainly do development, use VMs, emulators (Android), compilation, simulations, and have lots of browser tabs. I play some not too heavyweight games and would like to have access to CUDA, so I'm thinking a GeForce GTX 750 Ti would be a good fit. As for storage a single 2.5" drive will do fine, and no optical drive is necessary.

I've tried to come up with as concrete questions as possible, although it's hard... :)

1. I'm not sure what to settle for in terms of chassis size. I think the Corsair Carbide Air 240 looks very nice - is this a good size to aim for, or can I aim for smaller? A tiny size is nice, but practical and sufficient cooling and being able to reuse the chassis in the future are more important.

2. I'm having a hard time choosing between CPUs. I've mainly been looking at low-power options such as Xeon E3-1240L v3, i5-4690T, and i7-4785T or -4790T. Being able to leave simulations running the whole night without exceeding 25/35/45 watts sounds nice, and it might be easier to quietly keep these cool. I'm wondering if this way of thinking is reasonable, or if a decent Noctua cooler makes the TDP irrelevant even under constant full load? I'm not too picky about performance since I'll be upgrading from an i5-2410m which mostly serves me very well. Any of these options should feel fast in comparison and even without Hyper-threading I'll have twice as many cores.

3. After much reading it seems like a motherboard from Gigabyte would be a safe bet. I'll hardly need anything in terms of ports, slots and overclocking, but is there anything to consider when it comes to power draw? For instance, how do I know which motherboards will let me set the new low memory voltage - since DDR3 seems to support 1.35 V nowadays - and still be stable?

4. With this setup, especially if I went for the Xeon with only 25 W TDP, would it be a good idea to go for an external PSU (150 W?), and what tiny chassis could benefit from this? Otherwise, should I go for the Seasonic G360W gold recommended here on SPCR?

Very grateful for some perspective on this!


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:50 am 
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Welcome to SPCR.

Wander over to phoronix.com to get a better feel for linux mobo compatibility. In general, the motherboards with less stuff crammed onto them and the ones not tuned for overclockers will provide the best idle and low load power efficiencies. So, an H97 mainstream board will typically use less power than a tricked out Z97 board. As for 1.35V RAM compatibility, check the motherboard's vendor qual list on their website. If they show one low voltage RAM, then chances are any other Vendor on the list's LV parts will also work.

For stressed load power, just add the CPU and GPU TDP and then add another 50W for everything else. It's a bit overkill, but it's a good ballpark. So, an 84W Haswell CPU + 60W GPU + 50W everything else = 194W. Figure heavy gaming load is in the 150W range, running CPU based simulations is in the 100W range. The Seasonic is a decent PSU for this. If you wanted to spend more, you could go with a fanless part.

As for getting a lower TDP CPU, if you plan on running simulations that take overnight to complete, then you really need to think about task energy (kWh) rather than CPU power use. A lower TDP part might consume less watts, but it'll take a lot more time to complete the task. Typically, the downgraded parts end up using more kWh than the standard parts and they all idle down to the same power state. <shrug>

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:04 am 
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Thanks you, that's very helpful!

Then I will avoid Z-chipsets, but most mini-ITX and cheap mATX are just H81 and B85 anyway. There are some with H87, but if I understand correctly there's no real benefit to a newer chipset.
I went to phoronix and couldn't find much about Haswell for small form factors. They did seem to prefer Intel motherboards for Linux, so maybe the [url=http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/motherboards/desktop-motherboards/desktop-board-db85fl.html]Intel DB85FL[url] is a good choice. It does at least support a wide range of memory voltages. However I recently saw some comments saying that since Intel stopped making desktop motherboards, there has been more problems with their remaining products, too, and someone said Gigabyte is probably a better choice nowadays. Can't remember where I read it.

Interesting point about task energy. The tasks I'm thinking of are mostly of the kind that don't complete, for instance genetic algorithms. If I'm going to leave them running for a few hours, I'd feel better about 25 W than 84 W. But like you said, it'd probably be more efficient to have a more powerful CPU and set a shutdown timer.
What about the cooling issue? Is 25 or 35 W low enough that I could get a big heat sink, remove the fan, and rely only on chassis fans?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:25 am 
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There's a couple of benefits to the '97 motherboards, the most practical being improved UEFI level controls and features as well as s/w based fan control. Not due to the new chipset, just evolutionary improvements by the mobo mfgrs. My general caveat is, the boards are new, bug fixes/driver updates are frequent atm.

gaidal wrote:
The tasks I'm thinking of are mostly of the kind that don't complete, for instance genetic algorithms.

Sounds like Folding@Home.

gaidal wrote:
What about the cooling issue? Is 25 or 35 W low enough that I could get a big heat sink, remove the fan, and rely only on chassis fans?

With decent airflow, sure. On the other hand, you can't hear a well made cpu fan at low rpm and it'll cool better.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:16 pm 
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gaidal wrote:
2. I'm having a hard time choosing between CPUs. I've mainly been looking at low-power options such as Xeon E3-1240L v3, i5-4690T, and i7-4785T or -4790T.

Leaving aside the low power (or not) option, how much difference do you think Hyperthreading (vs a current i5) will make to your workload? I ask because I heavily multitask (25 Chrome tabs, Word, Photoshop, a VM w a database in it, Java IDE, small code compilation running + another half dozen utilities) and it was the first question I was asked with the sugession an i5 would do :wink:

Still not convinced mind, but my multitasking is most likely RAM bound not CPU...


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:57 pm 
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Thanks for your input, it's helping a lot.

UK_Peter: Your requirements and usage look very similar to mine. After some further research (and self-questioning) I don't think I really need hyper-threading at all. Especially since it seems to come at a cost in terms of voltage, memory timings etc. Which one are you leaning towards right now?

CA_Steve: Good point about the benefits of more modern chipsets and about cooling. I've also been thinking about what you said earlier about low TDP CPUs.

Conclusion:
I'm now considering a GA-H97N-WIFI with a i5-4690T/S, or the Z97 version and a i5-4690K, which I can then underclock and undervolt. If I assume that I would never need the full power of the K model, I'm not sure which option makes more sense power-wise. Z97 is $35 or £21 more expensive, and the K model is $15 / £9 more. From what I understand from the motherboard manuals, neither lets me manually control the memory voltage, so it's up to XMP which should be accurate with some luck.

Just for reference, the cheapest Xeon is E3-1231v3, which is basically hyper-threading and more cache than the 4690K, for another $35 or £21 more.

Memory: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB 1600MHz CL8 or CL9 - the difference is $18 / £11. Going higher than 1600 MHz doesn't seem to make sense before CPUs support it... Right?

PSU and CPU fan: will use old parts until the Carbide Air 240 comes out and I know what will fit. I wish I could tell from reviews which coolers are just quiet enough to match the noise from the TwinFrozr on MSI's 750 Ti.

SSD: I know the Samsung Evo 840 is great, however the Intel 520 is $30 / £18 cheaper and Seagate is a whopping $45 / £26 cheaper for the same size of around 500 GB. According to benchmarks performance should be great for all of these... and I don't think anyone has recommended a Seagate SSD ever. :)

How does this look?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:52 pm 
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gaidal wrote:
UK_Peter: Your requirements and usage look very similar to mine. After some further research (and self-questioning) I don't think I really need hyper-threading at all. Especially since it seems to come at a cost in terms of voltage, memory timings etc. Which one are you leaning towards right now?

I'm leaning towards the i5-4590. I don't plan to overclock, can't see the benefit of undervolting for my situation, and doubt the i5-4690 will provide enough extra performance for the £14 extra here in the UK.
Quote:
SSD: I know the Samsung Evo 840 is great, however the Intel 520 is $30 / £18 cheaper and Seagate is a whopping $45 / £26 cheaper for the same size of around 500 GB. According to benchmarks performance should be great for all of these...

Have you looked at the new Crucial MX100? Currently £152 for the 500GB version. I can't spot a price for a ~500GB Intel 520 to compare to - where did you find it at that price?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:00 pm 
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UK_Peter wrote:
Have you looked at the new Crucial MX100? Currently £152 for the 500GB version. I can't spot a price for a ~500GB Intel 520 to compare to - where did you find it at that price?

I hadn't seen the Crucial disk, it's somewhere between the Intel and the Samsung here in Sweden. Here's a link to the Intel - should be one of the most durable brands, if a bit slower. 480 or 512 GB doesn't really matter to me. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:17 pm 
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gaidal wrote:
I hadn't seen the Crucial disk, it's somewhere between the Intel and the Samsung here in Sweden.

Thanks for the link, it's funny how prices vary between countries, currently in the UK it's 840 Evo (£202) > Intel (£180) > Crucial MX100 (£152). It'll be interesting to see how they change!


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:58 pm 
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Not much info out there on the 240 - other than it's a uATX version of the 540. Once the dimensional data comes out (assuming sometime b4 it's August availability) you can decide what CPU cooler, etc to throw in there. I'm a big fan of the Scythe Mugen 4 - silent fan, excellent cooling. Maybe by August the Kotetsu will become more available. Heck, there might be a passive 750 Ti by then (wishful thinking on my part).

Here's a question that I seem to ask a lot: Are you sure you need 16GB of RAM? How much are you using now and what apps do you think will consume more than that?

Undervolting and underclocking: Pretty easy to do the latter. Be sure the mobo you pick allows for undervolting...go dig through reviews/youtube videos.

Some z97 mobo power use info.

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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: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 1:59 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Here's a question that I seem to ask a lot: Are you sure you need 16GB of RAM?
Oh yes. Android development was unbearable until I got 8 GB, and I still max out and stutter if I copy big files at critical moments, since they're cached in RAM. I could just get a single 8 GB stick for now and it would be bearable, but I'll probably want to secure two sticks from the same batch and have dual channel. Even if it's more expensive that last year, it still isn't that bad. :)

CA_Steve wrote:
Be sure the mobo you pick allows for undervolting...
Good call. Just checked, the manual says "This sub-menu allows you to set CPU, chipset and memory voltages".
I've been looking at GA-Z97N-gaming - just 8% more expensive, has better audio with gold-plating and stuff, and the color matches the GTX 750 Ti.

Very interesting info in the link. The winning MSI board has exactly the same features and looks the same as the Gigabyte one. The consensus on the net is definitely that Gigabyte is the more reliable maker, but if we assume that the mini-ITX versions have exactly the same features (as #1 and #3) and the MSI board draws 3.6 W less, that's impressive. Tough choice.
Both boards also have the same silly "Killer E2200 NIC", which requires some tinkering to work in Linux. :P

As for a passive 750 Ti, that would be awesome. But let's say I also have a semi-passive PSU like Corsair RM450 which is said to run very hot. Add to that the reviews of Carbide 540 saying that the included 140 mm fan isn't that quiet - maybe I'll want to replace the fan in the smaller version, too. My point is, all these silent components rely on good airflow from somewhere else, and at some point it might just be too many watts. But I wouldn't know where the limit is, and that's why I'm asking here. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:11 am 
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Just want to add that you should go with the LP-version of your RAM. Those RAMs with a "cooler" do not add any value except for the marketing dept, they may cause trouble when mounting cooler or CPU fan.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:23 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
Just want to add that you should go with the LP-version of your RAM.
Thanks, yes I'll go with Crucial's "VLP" RAM. Just didn't post an updated build yet. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:19 am 
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Many hours have passed and I'm thinking that maybe a Fractal Node 304 might be even nicer than the Carbide Air 240. Cheaper, probably smaller, available, and people love it.

New list (prices can be ignored):
CPU: Intel Core i5-4690K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor (£182.82 @ Scan.co.uk)
Motherboard: MSI Z97I Gaming AC Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard (£109.16 @ Scan.co.uk)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£56.83 @ Amazon UK)
Memory: Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory (£56.83 @ Amazon UK)
Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (£92.99 @ Amazon UK)
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB TWIN FROZR Video Card (£114.90 @ Scan.co.uk)
Case: Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case (£62.40 @ Amazon UK)
Power Supply: SeaSonic 360W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply (£50.71 @ Amazon UK)

Still not sure about motherboard (also have GA-Z97N, GA-Z97N-gaming). MSI board has a relatively high power draw under load, and record-low when idle. Also noticeably better sound, but I'm not sure how much I care. Cheapest Gigabyte board could simply be enough.

And then the CPU cooler...
CA_Steve wrote:
I'm a big fan of the Scythe Mugen 4 - silent fan, excellent cooling.
Looks nice. It seems like the SATA cables will touch the fan blades in this chassis, or if you turn it around, it will be next to a chassis fan blowing in the opposite direction. Apparently the Noctua U12S has the same problem. A liquid cooling kit like the Corsair Hydro H60 v2 actually costs less, would it be a good idea?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 7:09 am 
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Quote:
A liquid cooling kit like the Corsair Hydro H60 v2 actually costs less, would it be a good idea?

Not if the goal is silent computing. Is the Scythe Kotetsu available in the UK? That would be my second choice.

Undervolting: just to add more work...just because the motherboard manual says it supports setting cpu voltage it doesn't mean it supports setting negative voltage offsets ;) I've come across this.

16GB: nods.

MSI vs Gigabyte vs Asus: I can't speak to ease of Linux use on one of these vs the other. On other stuff..
- MSI has nice UEFI fan control.
- Gigabyte doesn't have nice UEFI fan control.
- Asus has nice UEFI fan control. Also has Intel NIC.

heat and passive PSU: not really a worry with your power load.

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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: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:37 am 
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CA_Steve wrote:
Is the Scythe Kotetsu available in the UK? That would be my second choice.
I'll be shopping in Sweden, but no not anymore, it's out of stock. Looks like I could order it from Germany on eBay though. If the numbers I found are correct, it should be 30mm thinner than Mugen IV, which should be enough for the cables to fit nicely. Does that sound right? Reviews look fantastic.

CA_Steve wrote:
Undervolting ...
Tough one! It's sort of hard to tell. It's a brand new motherboard and I don't think many people buy gaming parts for underclocking at all... :)
The manual says you can set voltages for CPU Core, CPU Ring, and CPU GT. No idea what this means, but there's a screenshot showing a choice between a voltage value and "Auto", for all of them. I guess this means you can set them to whatever you like...? For Core and Ring the set values are 0.904V and 0.960V, which seems low and good. Still only a guess though.

CA_Steve wrote:
- MSI has nice UEFI fan control.
I think MSI Z97i GAMING AC is a good choice, is seems to have several strong points and has great reviews. Too bad its price just rose a bit. :(

CA_Steve wrote:
heat and passive PSU: not really a worry with your power load.
The SeaSonic X-400 Fanless looks awesome, but it's $170, more than twice as much as G360. The G360 is supposed to be nearly inaudible at < 150W, which I shouldn't exceed by much without really trying (Edit: especially assuming undervolting works). If I could count on G360 (and the Kotetsu) not being louder than the supposedly "quietest ever" MSI Twin Frozr 750 Ti, then it'd be more than good enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:14 am 
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Take a look at Asrock's offering:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z97E-ITXac/index.us.asp

Intel NIC, good fan control afaik and is in the same price range, at least in germany. CPU socket better placed than on the MSI boards. I'll doubt that you will be able to fit anything larger than a TX2 on those MSI with the socket close to the PCI-E slot.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:38 am 
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Pappnaas wrote:
I'll doubt that you will be able to fit anything larger than a TX2 on those MSI with the socket close to the PCI-E slot.
Oh wow you're right. Back to the drawing board then... :/

Pardon my ignorance, but what is it I would want a good fan controller for? The chassis fans already have one. CPU cooler?


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:40 am 
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For the cpu cooler. And, if you don't like the stock settings of a case fan controller, mobo controlled case fans gives you another option.

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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: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 11:09 am 
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Fractal Design Node 304 is a really nice case, but the two motherboard manufactures that have good CPU socket position for it are AsRock (as previously suggested) and Asus that i think its better in terms of bieng more centered, asrock is more toward the edge of the motherboard, both work, but imo Asus ends up more centered. In terms of fan control, for something like Node 304, i would prefer Asus for FanXpert, the case comes with 3pin fans (2x92mm and 1x140), if you want Z97 i would pick the Asus Z97I-PLUS Motherboard £107.38

Image

If you see the picture, and if you read the Z97i manual, you will see the white is the CPU_FAN header and the other two are CHA_FAN1 and CHA_FAN2, so ideally i would use the CPU_FAN for the cpu heatsink fan, and CHA_FAN2 for the back case fan, and CHA_FAN1 adding a Akasa AK-CBFA04-15 to connect both frontal fans. After building and formating, install Asus AI Suite III, and run FanXpert, run go into tunning and let the software test your fans, and it will stablish the minium and max of them, the starting voltage and the minimum to keep it running, then it would suggest a dynamic graph into how the fans will behave depending on the temperature of the CPU, that you can vary if you wish.

I leave you a couple of pictures of how will Asus FanXpert will run the Fractal Fans, around 550rpms on the 92mm and 400rpms on 140mm (for idle)

Image

Image

For CPU cooler, i would go with the recently reviewed by SPCR Scythe Kotetsu CPU Cooler: A Compact King, that its cheap, quiet and its not that thick so should play good with the Node 304, Scythe Kotetsu £27.35.

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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
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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:15 am 
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Thanks for the info. It seems weird that MSI wouldn't support any decent coolers. Surely they must have something in mind since they're mainly targeting gamers?

Well this fan control thing seems great, but since I only use Linux I'm not going to expect too much from it... :-)

I noticed that the Gigabyte cards have the same socket position as ASRock and Asus, and there is fan control, although only one for chassis fans and the profiles etc look simpler. So it's one of those 3 I guess.
I'm a bit skeptical against ASRock at the moment since most of what I've read says it's a lower-quality brand with poor support, but I realize I most likely wouldn't notice any difference ever.
Will do some research.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:50 am 
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Asrock bashing is so 90ties, dating back to the K7S5A. This one seemed to run either forever or not at all.

But Asrock products have proven to be on par with the contenders in recent years, so don't let yourself get fooled by those who did not pay attention the last 3 or so years.

If it was my build, I'd go with Abula and pick between Asus or Asrock.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 5:07 am 
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gaidal wrote:
Thanks for the info. It seems weird that MSI wouldn't support any decent coolers. Surely they must have something in mind since they're mainly targeting gamers?
Well the reality is that just recently the centered design become more popular with cases like Node304 or Bitfinix Prodigy, but not that many cases that needed or benefited from it. I think all manufacturers should slowly adopt the Asus more centered design as more gens come and more cases start taking advantage of it.

gaidal wrote:
Well this fan control thing seems great, but since I only use Linux I'm not going to expect too much from it... :-)
Didn't know you were going with Linux, here gets a little more complex the choice, as FanXpert2 will not run on it, and Asus Bios fan control is meh, at least till Z87 mobos, seems they are improving some in H97/Z97 but i don't think its up to par with others yet. AsRock in the other hand seems pretty decent, at least from what i read, i dont own a AsRock motherboard to say for sure, as i can with MSI or Asus. Check Quiet gaming setup, you will see some screenshots of the bios fan control on asrock mobos.

I seen some specially lately that use some software on linux to control fans, so if you want to peruse Asus there might be a way, you can search the forums, at least two forum members had success in the last 3 months.

With asrock isn't as easy either, their good control that you see on the thread above, is only on CPU_FAN, so to do it on pure bios on it, you will need to change all fans to PWM , including the case fans, not that many options on PWM on 92mm, Noctua comes to my mind and you will need to get a a PWM fan splitter like GELID CA-PWM-03.

Or a cheaper alternative would be to use the Node304 built in fan controller for the 3 case fans, and use the bios fan control just for the CPU fan.

gaidal wrote:
I noticed that the Gigabyte cards have the same socket position as ASRock and Asus, and there is fan control, although only one for chassis fans and the profiles etc look simpler. So it's one of those 3 I guess.
I'm a bit skeptical against ASRock at the moment since most of what I've read says it's a lower-quality brand with poor support, but I realize I most likely wouldn't notice any difference ever.
Will do some research.
I agree with Pappnaas, i have friends with Asrock motherboards for years and been solid, i think they have come from a pure value selling company to build some very decent motherboards, and in some cases they offer features that others don't for example the in this gen they are offering m.2 support binded to pcie 4x, getting better speed than most m.2 solutions from other manufacturers. Also their bios fan control for PWM fans seems very complete, at least for the CPU_FAN header, even more flexible than MSI with multiple breakpoints (that i think MSI is introducing with H97/Z97), but still has 1% increments while msi has 12.5%. Another interesting thing that i see with AsRock, now that intel is going out of the motherboard market business, is that they are building some pretty efficient motherboards, i seen builds dip below 10W, while i haven't been able to do this with MSI or Asus, i think AsRock should be considered as one of the top 4 manufacturers, with Asus, Gigabyte, MSI.

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 6:58 am 
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Abula wrote:
i think AsRock should be considered as one of the top 4 manufacturers, with Asus, Gigabyte, MSI.

ASRock is - since 2010, I think - the 3rd mobo manufacturer (not to mention that ASRock somehow IS ASUS).

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:32 am 
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In the beginning, yes Asrock has been a subsidiary of Asus respectively Pegatron. But if I remember correctly, the bond between those companies has been cut and nowadays Asrock is an independent company, at least no ties to Asus any more.

Edit: Asrock belonged to Asus and now belongs to Pegatron, which is an Asus competitor in the OEM market


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:46 am 
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While im not suggesting you buy this motherboard, i was browsing to see CPU socket position, and there is an asrock kinda like Asus centered socket. The bad news is that its expensive, as its more meant for a small server, up to you research if it would work out for you or not, or if the premium price is worth it or not, none the less i really like the layout, i wished it was adopted in consumer motherboards.

ASRock E3C224D2I Mini ITX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 Intel C224 DDR3 1600/1333

I'll leave a picture so you can see the socket placement between the three motherboards,

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:30 am 
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OK, so ASRock is one of the good brands... :)
I'm just trying to form an opinion from what I read in forums and buyer comments, which is a good way to go insane, but there aren't any reviews out yet for any of these boards.
No wait! I finally noticed that the Asus ITX board is the second one in this comparison. And it looks really good too, coming out at the top for low power consumption both for idle AND max load.

Abula wrote:
Another interesting thing that i see with AsRock, now that intel is going out of the motherboard market business, is that they are building some pretty efficient motherboards, i seen builds dip below 10W, while i haven't been able to do this with MSI or Asus,
Now that gets my attention... Out of all properties those boards have, this is one that actually seems to matter a bit. :)

That server board from ASRock seems quite expensive, and isn't available anywhere here. With MSI out that leaves 4 boards. Nobody here seems particularly fond of Gigabyte, but their premium board costs the same as the Asus and a bit less than the ASRock board. The only benefit to it seems to be better sound though - ALC1150, gold-plated audio jacks and other fluff. Right now the Asus looks best, being one of your guys' two choices, having verified low power consumption, Intel LAN, and no annoying blue color. ;)

And now that I'm basically done choosing, I got the idea that it would be nice if there was a chassis that was 20 mm thinner than the Fractal Node 304, which is 250 mm wide. Then I could fit it into a cabinet, make some holes, and definitely get rid of all noise. But finding such as case seems hard without also having to hunt down a good SFX PSU, so maybe I'll stick to this.
Edit: I can get this Chieftec chassis for almost nothing, including a 200W PSU. Certainly thin enough, I wonder if it's crap. Edit 2: looks like it is, found a review in German saying the PSU gets really loud at 40W... :D


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:58 am 
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Location: Great Britain
gaidal wrote:
And now that I'm basically done choosing, I got the idea that it would be nice if there was a chassis that was 20 mm thinner than the Fractal Node 304, which is 250 mm wide. Then I could fit it into a cabinet, make some holes, and definitely get rid of all noise. But finding such as case seems hard without also having to hunt down a good SFX PSU, so maybe I'll stick to this.


There's plenty of ITX cases under 230mm wide. Have a look at this spreadsheet of ITX and mATX case sizes for some of the options. I can't tell you which are good - I (and a couple of other contributors) have been obsessively collecting dimensions while I try and choose a case :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:05 am 
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Wow, awesome list, had no idea.

The Cooltek U3 looks perfect so far.


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 Post subject: Re: Advice needed - reasonably small PC with graphics card
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:27 am 
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german review, ignore everthing say they about noise

seems a bit starved on the intake and probably virbration prone. But good looks :D


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