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Looking for advice

Post Date: 2010-09-29

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quibbs View Drop Down
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  Quote quibbs Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Looking for advice
    Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 8:42pm
I'm in the market for a new PC. I've usually put them together myself but I just do not have the time or inclination to do it any more..

The new pc config (whatever it ends up being) will be downstairs in a cool, finished basement/game room next to a dedicated home theater room. A long dvi-d cable with dvi-d boosters and a USB 2.0 over cat 5e converter will allow access to the pc from upstairs office using the existing keyboard/mouse and 30" monitor.

Vitals:

- Around a 4k budget
- Work and gaming PC (FPS,Excel,web surfing, etc)
- Pushing a 30" 2560x1600 monitor
- Hoping to get 2-3 years before upgrading key components.
- Limited overclocking
- Noise consideration
- Low maintenance (i.e. don't want to flush hoses, or blow system up because I didn't check coolant level)

Considering the current config:
CPU: i7-950
CPU cooling: (Asetek 550?)
Motherboard:Asus P6X58D-P
Power Supply: 1000 watt
RAM: 12 gigs of 1600
Optical: blu-ray player
System drive: 160gig Corsair SSD -or- Intel X25 160gig SSD
Data drive: (perhaps a 1TB)
Video Cards: Either 480 SLI or 5870 CF
Case: CM HAF full-tower case

- The pc is work/play. I am not a hard core overclocker, but it's nice to have the option to OC some if I want.

- the system doesn't have to be whisper quite, but the basement is a gathering spot and that needs to be taken into consideration.

I'm debating the following....

1- Do I go with sli 480s for the most graphic punch or go with the the 5870s with less ability but much less noise/power use.

2- Do I air cool? Or do I liquid cool?
Maybe wanting low maintenance answers this question but I still have to ask....

 If I liquid cool do I go full out and go gpus and cpus? Or do I just go cpu? My limited experience with a liquid cooled system (i7-980 with sli 480s in a midtower) was a eye opener. I expected any system under load to make noise, but dang that was loud. I always assumed a LQ pc would be quite but I found the opposite to be true. At least in that instance.
Is LQ more for heavy OCer's or does it make sense for the less serious?
Would a air cooled system in the HAF case be sufficient with cpu choice and dual video cards?

Looking for thoughts of the build and on the video card/cooling issues.

Thanks!



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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:00pm
thats a lot of questions, all of which, i think, are answered in detail in the guide linked in my signature, so check that out
 
in the budget youre looking for, id probably do:
i7 950 + noctua cpu cooler
dual 480s (water cooling optional)
1200w psu
6gb ram
 
come let me/us know what questions you have after reading through the guide
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  Quote maxyme Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:05pm
As a general rule i always go with nvidia because i have had very bad experiences with ati. Also ati has many compadability issues i have heard of lately.
I would air cool with a noctua fan. All their fans are heavily recommended on these forums for being pretty quiet and very efficient. There is a bit of maintenance involved with air but its like just a given to dust it out occasionally.
The Haf 932 and Haf X are both very quiet but i have heard that the 932 might be a bit better with airflow but its not that big of a deal because they are both really good.
I have heard the p6 mobo is bad, your should probably go with the default one.
For 2 Gtx 480's you need a 1200w psu.
Oh and for just excel you don't need 12gb ram. barley anyone will need 12gb ram plus it lowers your overclock capacity (so i heard). Most games don't use more then 4 because to use more then 4gigs programs have to be 64 bit and as of now there aren't any games i know that run 64 bit.
I'm not sure if the blu ray player can also read and write cds but just wondering about that.

Think i covered everything. sorry its in like completely random order.
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  Quote quibbs Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:32pm
Originally posted by !ender_

thats a lot of questions, all of which, i think, are answered in detail in the guide linked in my signature, so check that out
 
in the budget youre looking for, id probably do:
i7 950 + noctua cpu cooler
dual 480s (water cooling optional)
1200w psu
6gb ram
 
come let me/us know what questions you have after reading through the guide


What a well written guide. Thank you for pointing it out to me. I just wish there was a way to quantify what the noise difference would be between my spec'd system with all fans (noctua cpu fan, standard HAF case fans and the 480sli fans) vs all these components watercooled,(stage 5 or 6) or just the video cards water cooled while the rest is air.

Chances are none of the components will still be in use 4 years from the purchase date.

What to do, what to do...lol.....


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  Quote maxyme Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:37pm
if you want to go with fans you can get ds to optimize the fan speed to make it even quieter while still cooling enough. (stage 1 cooling)
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:49pm
Originally posted by maxyme

if you want to go with fans you can get ds to optimize the fan speed to make it even quieter while still cooling enough. (stage 1 cooling)
there are plenty of ways to get the system more quiet, though, watercooling is not that solution. water cooling uses fans, and 120mm fans, which can be quiet, but no more effectively with air than water cooling
 
the noctua cooler is whisper silent. inside a case you cant hear it, period
 
there are lots of quiet 120mm fans you could put in to the place of the haf fans, which are already pretty quiet. and you can just have the system go to sleep when there are people around if the lights or sound bothers them
 
the only real noise the system will make is when the 480s ramp up to full load, in that situation, you would be in a demanding game, unlikely you would even hear them and with headphones you would not hear them
but to make the system really quiet, your best bet is the noctua and dual 240mm rads or a single triple rad with quiet 120mms cooling your 480s
again, an option, but not really practical as the 480s will only make any noise at all when they are working really hard
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:55pm
ds offers a lot of great options, but its a huge market, so for more specific needs and higher budgets, its not a bad idea to branch out a little.. for example,
http://www.digitalstormonline.com/comploadsaved.asp?id=444271
is about 1200 under budget, for more quietness, you could switch the haf case fans for sflex or gentle typhoon fans with a fan controller, theres even room in that budget for a loop for 2 480s, not much to gain from LCing the processor in a build like this, 3.9ish is way over anything you would get a gain from in games and the office programs
unfortunately for maintenance, having to blow out your case with compressed air every now and then is pretty unavoidable, regardless of your set up
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  Quote quibbs Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 9:56pm
Originally posted by maxyme

As a general rule i always go with nvidia because i have had very bad experiences with ati. Also ati has many compadability issues i have heard of lately.
I would air cool with a noctua fan. All their fans are heavily recommended on these forums for being pretty quiet and very efficient. There is a bit of maintenance involved with air but its like just a given to dust it out occasionally.
The Haf 932 and Haf X are both very quiet but i have heard that the 932 might be a bit better with airflow but its not that big of a deal because they are both really good.
I have heard the p6 mobo is bad, your should probably go with the default one.
For 2 Gtx 480's you need a 1200w psu.
Oh and for just excel you don't need 12gb ram. barley anyone will need 12gb ram plus it lowers your overclock capacity (so i heard). Most games don't use more then 4 because to use more then 4gigs programs have to be 64 bit and as of now there aren't any games i know that run 64 bit.
I'm not sure if the blu ray player can also read and write cds but just wondering about that.

Think i covered everything. sorry its in like completely random order.



Thanks for the reply Max. I multitask (blu ray rip to server while working spreadsheets and surfing) quite a bit so I just decide to err on the side of overkill.

I had read many positive reviews on the P6X58 Premium which is why I chose that board. But outside of the reviews I just have no experience with it.

I decided to go with the 480 sli and to air cool the cpu. Still may ask DS  about LQing the video cards.

I never burn disk so I just need a reader.

I am going to go with a 1200 psu.

Now it's down to deciding about LQ the cards,motherboard  and decide if 6gigs of ram will suffice.... :)






Edited by quibbs - 29 Sep 2010 at 9:58pm
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 10:05pm
6gb is plenty, actually overkill for most things
and theres really little to no reason to go up from the evga sli 3 mobo
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  Quote quibbs Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 10:17pm
[QUOTE=!ender_]ds offers a lot of great options, but its a huge market, so for more specific needs and higher budgets, its not a bad idea to branch out a little.. for example,
http://www.digitalstormonline.com/comploadsaved.asp?id=444271
is about 1200 under budget, for more quietness, you could switch the haf case fans for sflex or gentle typhoon fans with a fan controller, theres even room in that budget for a loop for 2 480s, not much to gain from LCing the processor in a build like this, 3.9ish is way over anything you would get a gain from in games and the office programs
unfortunately for maintenance, having to blow out your case with compressed air every now and then is pretty unavoidable, regardless of your set up[/QUOTE

I really appreciate your time and help with this. I do have some questions on the build you chose.

 I see you picked a HAF 932 instead of the HAF 942 (any particular reason why).
Do you feel the EVGA is the best board? Obviously you do because you chose it, just trying to understand why.
Any particular reason not to go with a larger SSD?

Here is a link to the build I was thinking of: http://www.digitalstormonline.com/comploadsaved.asp?id=444275

After reading your responses I get the feeling you feel that air cooling would probably suffice for my build, is that a fair assessment? 

I vacuum my PC case out once a month so the maintenance isn't of real concern.


**UPDATE** just saw your response about the motherboard.......thanks



Edited by quibbs - 29 Sep 2010 at 10:18pm
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 10:56pm
haf 932 over haf x is just price, when im "building" for someone else i always pick the lowest price option that will work, going above that is preference
both are good cases, pick the one you think looks cooler, it wont make a difference
 
same line of thinking on the SSD, id go with a minimum of 80 in your price range, but if you want/can afford more, have at it
 
air cooling is all you need for any gaming buid, LC is a good way to get much closer to a silent build and unlock way more power than air can handle, sadly, most of that power will just sit around bored for a gaming rig, so unless its well within the budget, i stick with air
 
build looks good to me, i stand by what i said about the mobo, theres little to be had over the evga sli 3. and remember what i said about extra quiet fans, the options are there, but you may give up a hint of performance. the haf 932 is more generous in this area than the haf X
 
 
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  Quote quibbs Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 11:06pm
Originally posted by !ender_

haf 932 over haf x is just price, when im "building" for someone else i always pick the lowest price option that will work, going above that is preference
both are good cases, pick the one you think looks cooler, it wont make a difference
 
same line of thinking on the SSD, id go with a minimum of 80 in your price range, but if you want/can afford more, have at it
 
air cooling is all you need for any gaming buid, LC is a good way to get much closer to a silent build and unlock way more power than air can handle, sadly, most of that power will just sit around bored for a gaming rig, so unless its well within the budget, i stick with air
 
build looks good to me, i stand by what i said about the mobo, theres little to be had over the evga sli 3. and remember what i said about extra quiet fans, the options are there, but you may give up a hint of performance. the haf 932 is more generous in this area than the haf X
 
 



I understand. Tough decision, practicality versus desire. From a layman's view air is easier since I have no experience in installing watercooling gear. I'm sure it's fairly easy but if and when I upgrade my video cards with air I just have to take out the old cards and put in the new ones. Not sure how that would go with LCing. Do you have to replace the block, will the system be compatible with new cpus/gpus in the next couple of years, etc, etc.
Ah well, I guess I have enough info now to decide how much I want to spend. It's a really nice feature you provide offering this advice. Thanks again.


Edited by quibbs - 29 Sep 2010 at 11:07pm
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  Quote !ender_ Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 29 Sep 2010 at 11:20pm
As fyi I'll tell you that if you water cool replacing video cars is no fun, you must drain the system completely and buy two new cards with water blocks...not that its something you would do frequently, just saying.
You could also just ship it back and have dso do it, but realistically by the time you ned to replace 480 sli, it will probably be time for a whole new system
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