I would like some evaluation of my current planned build. I’m coming from an E7400 Core 2 Duo on a P45 chipset board and a GeForce GTS 250. Right now I’m fairly pleased with the Z97 and Haswell refresh options. This is clearly a substantial upgrade for me and I want to keep my build decently quiet. I don’t plan on overclocking any more than the Asus “5-point optimization” yields, if I even go that far. My goal is a semi-silent gaming/general-use PC for less than 1,200 USD
. It will sit on the floor in front of me to my left under my desk, with the “guts” of the PC case about 4 feet (~122cm) from my head.Case
: Fractal Design Define R4 ($100)
- Looks good, relatively inexpensive, and lots of great quiet features.PSU
: Seasonic SS-520FL2 ($140)
- Can’t beat fanless and I don’t think I’ll need more power for a single-GPU rig; just curious if most, if not all the problems detailed in the SPCR review
have been ironed out.Mobo
: Asus Z97-A ($150)
- Asus boards have always worked well for me and I like the features and price. Several fan headers is a plus and the Asus Fan Control software is pretty nice.CPU
: Core i5-4460 ($190)
- Should be adequate for my needs, plus the bump to i7 is too expensive for me.RAM
: Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 1866 CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 ($160)
- I’ve always had good results with Corsair. I may look for low-profile memory on the mobo compatibility list depending on the CPU HSF I end up with.GPU
: MSI Gaming N760 TF 2GD5/OC GeForce GTX 760 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5 ($250)
- After some review of this thread
, I have concluded the MSI Gaming to be a better card for my quiet-ish needs, hopefully maybe precluding the need for an aftermarket cooler.SSD
: Samsung EVO 840 250GB MZ-7TE250BW ($152)
- Looks like a solid choice.HDD
: WD Red WD40EFRX - 4 gigger coming over from my current rig, media storage.HDD
: WD Green WD20EARS - 2 gigger coming over from my current rig, media storage.Optical
: Samsung SATA DVD burner - coming over from my current rig.Networking
: PCI Express 1x wifi card coming over from my current rig.OS
: Windows 8.1 Pro coming over from my current rig.
Tentative total: $1,142
How does all this look for a “foundation”? Eventually I would like to have a decent CPU cooler and GPU cooler, if necessary, as well as possibly replace the chassis fans with something quieter. I just did an i3-4130 build in an Antec Sonata Proto and, frankly, I am fairly impressed with the stock Intel HSF that is included, as far as acoustics are concerned. Granted, this i3 PC is strictly for office use but the unit performed admirably in my opinion. The Proto is an OK quiet case but the added dampening of the R4 will be an added bonus.
Would anyone care to comment on the future of SATA Express and M.2 using PCI-E compared with regular ole' 6Gbps SATA? This Asus board comes with both connectors and I’m curious if the speed bump will be noticeable in the regular desktop environment and occasional gaming. I won’t be doing any hardcore productivity/content creation stuff, just the usual gaming and 15+ tabs open in Firefox. My initial opinion is that both technologies are great but most likely too expensive at this point. For reference, I am coming from a fourth-gen WD Velociraptor (16MB cache, SATA 3Gbps)
I’m also curious if you guys think I should wait for X99 and all that entails. My initial opinion is that while the features of course will be really cool the price of all-new architecture will sting significantly, especially with DDR4. I’m really not willing to pay $200 for a motherboard, $250 for a CPU and $250 for RAM and I don’t want a crippled low-end version of new tech that may or may not perform worse than mid-high-end “previous-gen” Haswell refresh and Z97 tech.
Ditto for the Kepler core in the EVGA GeForce GTX 760 I have so far chosen. Is a wait for Maxwell a good idea? It seems pretty far off, and I think the card I have chosen is about as good as I can get for around $250, especially for its acoustic performance and three-year warranty. Plus, a free copy of Watch Dogs!!!
Onboard sound? Take it or leave it? The Asus Z97-A is supposed to have some pretty nice features, including circuitry isolation and high-quality capacitors for the “Crystal Sound 2” onboard sound. Or is that all just a gimmick? I’m currently using an old Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi connected to Logitech Z-680 speakers and also a Denon receiver with some floor-standing 3-way Polk stereo speakers. Should I stick with the onboard sound or go aftermarket? Or even carry over the X-fi to my new rig, would it sound better than the onboard sound of the Asus board?
Eventually, if needed, I would like to upgrade some of the cooling components. I’m thinking the new-ish Scythe Kotetsu (if it’s ever released in the US), Noctua chassis fans and, since I’ve had EXCELLENT results with Arctic Cooling in the past, an Accelero Extreme III. All this stuff is pretty costly and while I would LOVE to have it all I may not need it. An exact emulation of Abula’s cooling setup
would be ideal but it’s a little out of my budget. Anything close to that degree of acoustic performance for a fraction of the price would be incredible for me. Better cooling with regards to the CPU and GPU, in addition to being quieter, might also allow for some modest overclocking which might make the rig last a little longer.
A very long-winded post, thank you for anyone who has read it all the way through. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! Thanks to everyone who contributes to this site, I have learned quite a bit over the years from it.EDIT
: changed GPU from EVGA Superclocked to MSI Gaming. Great rundown of reviews and commentary here
, thanks guys!