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Build advice around a Core i7-3770 for Desktop use.

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  • Build Advice
  • Desktops
  • Systems
  • Intel Core
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January 19, 2014 11:24:40 PM

Hi all,

I want to build my first computer.

Purpose: FreeBSD Desktop. Running virtual machines on it. Investment into the future (want to continue using it till 2020 :-). No gaming. No over-clocking. Quiet (want to sleep in the same room). Runnig 24/7 (-> hence power efficient: low CPU power footprint and on-chip GPU).

Price: Does not matter, I don't want to waste money, of course.

Would you guys please tell me if all that makes sense, point out flaws and correct mistakes:


CPU: I'm more or less certain that I want a Core i7-3770 ivy-brdige (mini specs: 4 cores, GPU HD-4000, Power 77W, Mem DDR3-1600). The rest should be centered around this CPU.

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (b/c it got here a tomshardware award :-).

HDD: I will re-use my old 500 GB SATA drive.

Power supply. Here I'm puzzled. I don't expect to put in a graphics card. I will use the internal GPU and network nick. I want to attach a 500 GB hdd and an external USB drive. Perhaps, in the future, I may attach another hdd. I don't know what watt-age I need and so I didn't do any research on powersupplies, yet. Any ideas on the watt-age? What quiet power supply do you guys suggest?

Memory: 8 GB (no less as I want to use virtual machines. I can add more later any time). A random choice would be G.SKILL Sniper Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBSR http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I assume I can put faster memory speeds into "slower" motherboards - that would be the case here.

CPU fan: Noctua NH-L12 120mm & 92mm SSO Bearing PWM Fans CPU Cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... (best in class for no-overclocking and worst in class for overclocking on http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/cpu_cooler_roundup...). I checked on Noctua's website that it does not interfere with the motherboard and memory as chosen above.

Case: A random choice would be Rosewill R5 Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Case http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - or should I go with the Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl? Are the supplied fans enough or do I need more fans? Any other suggestions? Price should be below $100. I would prefer a boring looking case over a fancy looking one. Performance is more important than looks, though.

My current case has no openings on either side and so it fits nicely in-between other computers. All current cases I found have openings on at least one side. Are there still some without side openings?

DVD: will resume my old DVD drive.

Monitor: will reuse my old Sony SDM-HS93 running on 1280x1024.

Vendor: Most ppl here seem to go with newegg and I don't know of any cool place here in Silicon Valley and so I would like to order parts from newegg.

Guess, that's all I need. Thanks for reading, Bash :) 

More about : build advice core 3770 desktop

January 19, 2014 11:48:03 PM

(1) Since you mention your comp is in your bedroom and going to stay on 24/7 (I'm assuming you're going to have it doing things round the clock), already looking at an i7, not going to overclock, and finally going to keep it a long time, perhaps you should look at some of Intel's Xeon CPUs. These are server CPUs and have similar specs to their consumer counterparts (e.g. i7), but are meant to stay up and work under load for prolonged periods. Dunno, worth checking out I think.

(2) Amazon is also great for computer parts, and maybe 60/40 advantage Amazon at being better than Newegg on prices, especially if you have Prime. They just don't have as good technical data as newegg or other sites, so make sure you know exactly what you're looking at on Amazon before you order. Also, as far as physical stores go, I like Fry's and I believe they price match online retailers. They have a presence in Silicon Valley too.
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January 21, 2014 8:36:39 PM

Hi Specops125,

So far, I had never issues with long uptimes with any desktop CPU. Perhaps because I don't overclock them? I briefly went over the list of ivy bridge based Xenons. They don't come with integrated GPUs - integrated GPUs should save power and that's what I like. For the time being, I'll go with the Core i7.

I neither have an Amazon nor Newegg account. My understanding is there is no "one Amazon" - I would buy parts from third party vendors simply over Amazon's website. Wouldn't it better to buy only from one source? Before ordering the parts, it can't hurt checking out Amazon as well, of course :-).

I used to shop at MicroCenter (in Santa Clara?) but they closed down for good. There are at least two Fry's in the South Bay, but I don't want to support them a) for their incompetent sales reps and b) for the sales reps' behavior of signing their names on items you buy. Buying locally makes returns easier and that's a big plus, of course.

To wrap it up. I started to look for items on neweggs website simply every link here on tomshardware goes to them. Whenever I know what to buy I will also check out Amazon and Frys for identical or at least similiar items. That can't hurt. But hey, as of now, I don't know what I should buy. There are still some unanswered questions:

- Does my combo make sense?

- What power supply watt-age do I need? A recommendation for a quiet power-supply.

- I don't know what case ... I only listed two random choices. Also, are the supplied internal fans enough or do I need more fans?

Bash :) 
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January 21, 2014 8:43:11 PM

Since you'll want to keep it awhile I'd go to the K model of the CPU, that way the ability to OC in the future is there, and would keep you happier longer, great mobo, good choice in DRAM, cooler - I'd save about half and go with the Hyper 212 EVO, with the PSU that can be a tossup, I'd go with a good 500 now, just incase you decide to add a discrete GPU in the future, with the K model, you set yourself up for a few years and during that time might get into other things where a GPU cards would come in handy
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February 2, 2014 4:40:46 PM

Sorry for my late reply. Hello Tradesman1,

The problem with k model CPU is that it does not have support for hardware virtualization. My choice is overclocking or hardware virtualization. Maybe I regret it one day, but for now I'll go with hardware virtualization.

in my initial posting, I listed the Noctua. My second choice was indeed the Hyper. Perhaps it's a good idea to save here a little bit and go with the Hyper.

I never played games, my desktop is minimalistic, all I need is moving xterms around and watching youtube videos. So, I can't imaging using a fancy GPU. Nowadays, they seem to come with fans, anyway. That's a further minus.

Having said this (no overlocking, no external GPU, 1 external USB drive, 2 internal SATA drives, internal network card), I assume a 500 Watt PSU is then over-dimensioned. What is recommended? What are the drawbacks of using an over-dimensioned PSU, anyway?

For the records: the second open question is are fans supplied with a case (in my case the Rosewill R5) enough or do I need further or better fans?

Thanks for reading, Bash :) 
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