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Quiet i5 build - should I wait?

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September 25, 2009 7:36:41 PM


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this month (UK) BUDGET RANGE: 600-800GBP (1000-1250USD)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photoshop/CameraRaw/Illustrator/VisualStudio, TV and Entertainment (low-noise a high priority!), Games

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.scan.co.uk COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: Antec Sonata Elite already selected, would like to reuse my Hexus Value 430 PSU as it's so darn quiet! I'm probably going to stick my PCI TV tuner card and PCI Trust 7.1 surround card in it, too.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 (have a wicked Samsung 26inch - very happy with it)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I'm feeling very drawn to the Intel i5 750, since it sounds like the power draw is much lower than the AMD Phenom 2 X4 955 BE I had originally started building around. Downsides seem to be motherboard availability and cooler availability. Then again, as graphics apps have high ram usage, maybe I should stretch myself to a core i7 920 and a 6gb ram kit? Conditionally I'm thinking these:

Case: SONATA III UK - Antec Sonata III (but pref without PSU if the 430W Hexus can handle things?)
Mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4, Intel P55
Processor: Intel Core i5 750
CPU Cooler: Zalman CNPS10X Quiet - Very few choices here!
RAM: 4GB (2x2GB) Corsair XMS3 Dominator DDR3
Graphics: 1GB Sapphire HD 4870 Vapor-X
HDD: 1tb something-or-other, but would be good to add a second for photography backup (again, would I be taxing my PSU too hard?)
Optical: DVD RW, until blu-ray gets cheaper sometime next year.

Everyone keeps saying wait till socket 1156 has bedded in, and there are some cheaper boards, but you know how it is when you get the shiny things in your sights!

Cheers in advance for any advice!

More about : quiet build wait

September 26, 2009 12:02:03 AM

I would say you are cutting it close on the PSU. As Dndhatcher said, you won't get 2 4870's on that PSU. http://ati.amd.com/products/radeonhd4800/requirements.h...
The ATI specs page says at least 500 Watt, but if you look at the full vendor list on recommended products, they have a 430 Watt Seasonic that made the cut and it has similar specs to yours.

I'd say give your PSU a try with the new hardware first, but be prepared for the possibility of needing an upgrade. Also, keep in mind that PSUs lose maximum output as they age.
Related resources
September 26, 2009 12:20:43 AM

I forgot to check the RAM. Thats high voltage (1.8V) RAM. You want low voltage RAM (1.5-1.65V) with a p55 motherboard. That site doesnt have any. Getting Cas8 or 7 instead of 9 would be preferable. Gskill Ripjaws or
for Corsair this will give you the model numbers that are 1.65 volts in 2x2 kits.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...
This is the cheapest corsair low voltage model# CMX4GX3M2A1600C9

If your choices seem pretty limited, dont worry much about the CAS as it wont make much difference. You could even drop to DDR3 (1333) without noticeable real performance loss.
September 26, 2009 3:19:27 PM

For quiet computing, do some research at www.silentpcreview.com

Noise is mostly caused by fans running at high speeds.

Use any oem cpu cooler with a 120mm fan turning at 1000rpm or so, and you won't hear it.
Here is a review of some 1366 coolers:
http://www.frozencpu.com/resource/r24/Best_CPU_Cooler_P...
Differences among the top 10 are not worth worrying about.

Corsair and PC P&C silencer PSU's are my favorites. They will be quiet unless they are overtaxed. How large a psu you need is determined by the graphics card, and not much else.

I would suggest looking at the Antec Solo case, there is nothing quieter. The sides are insulated, and the intakes baffled. The rear fan is a 3 speed unit, and on low, I can't hear mine. I like the washable intake filters.

Your applications will respond well to lots of ram. Ram is cheap, but current 4gb modules are expensive, so look for a motherboard with 6 slots to hold 12gb in a 6x2gb configuration. Don't pay extra for faster ram or better timings. It will make negligible difference to your applications. The gigabyte P55-UD6 is the only P55 board I know of with 6 ram slots, and it costs as much as a X58 motherboard. You can actually get a nice X58 motherboard for much less.

Look at a i7-920 configuration instead. You will get the extra threads for performance, and the cpu is a bit easier to overclock safely without increasing voltages. I think the smallish increase in price will be worth it to you.

I don't think you need a strong graphics card unless you will be doing lots of fast action gaming. I think photoshop can use some features of the Nvidia cards, so you might want to look into that. A card like the GTS250 would be a good starting point. Such a card would only require a 450 or 500Watt psu.

---good luck---
September 26, 2009 6:14:22 PM

doesn't eclipse computers have quite a lot of bad press on the internet ?
I know every company has some bad press but eclips seems to have more than expected for the size of the company
September 26, 2009 6:23:57 PM

OK, for the sake of argument, let's try a 1366 build. With yet another retailer. The layout as adjusted above was coming out at £700 ($1,115). (I'm sticking with the case - I think it's very similar in it's properties to the Solo, and also has the washable filters). Let's see what the difference is like.

Mobo: ASRock X58 Deluxe Motherboard Intel Socket 1366
CPU: Intel Core i7 (920) 2.66GHz
Cooler: Akasa Intel 1366 775 Nero CPU Cooler
RAM: crucial 6GB 3x2GB DDR3-1066 CL7 ECC
Graphics: RADEON HD4850 512MB
HDDs: 2x SAMSUNG 1TB 32M SATA

This comes out at around £800 ($1,275), and I'm missing a PSU (as I take it my 430W would really not power all this??) Not a massive leap, I grant, and the lower power graphics is rated for 450W rather than the 500W of the 4870. Hm, I might get persuaded. It's more or less in budget. Still have to buy Windows 7, but OK.

Thanks for the link to those heat sinks, but they all seem very hard to find in the UK.

Cheers!
September 26, 2009 9:23:37 PM

Actually, forget that ASRock mobo. My current one is made by them, and I'm not that into it. Gonna chuck a few more quid at it, and get
Asus P6T DELUXE V2
September 26, 2009 9:25:18 PM

Asus P6T regular, I mean
September 26, 2009 10:23:35 PM

Also, may move towards this MSI 250GTS - looks like it should be a decent, quite cooler, with all those heatpipes. Can't find much on it, though.
September 27, 2009 12:05:03 AM

the 250 GTS is a rebadge of the 9800GTX+
September 27, 2009 8:07:29 AM

Does that matter?
September 27, 2009 11:44:35 AM

I think shozz was just trying to give you some info on the 250. Its a repackage of the 9800 which is a repackage of the 8800.
September 27, 2009 12:37:12 PM

I think for me the 250gts could still be a good choice, especially with that fancy cooler pre-installed. I'm a bit scared to go changing GPU coolers. The 4850 512mb is around £85 ($135) and the 250gts 1gb is £118 ($188). It's a pretty big difference in price for what sounds like a not massive difference in performance. I could get the 4870 1gb vapor-x for about £130 ($210), which is not much of a difference. Hum again!
September 27, 2009 4:56:55 PM

dont get the gts 250, its got the same performance of an 8800. ATI generally costs less for what you spend
September 27, 2009 8:28:07 PM

But maybe the pros are significant enough - I wan't reasonably low power draw, and a quiet cooler (but probably can't risk passive, with a sealed up quiet case)... There seems so little choice for truly quiet cards! Maybe I'll just buy something really cheap to get by until a mid-range 5000 series with vapor-x comes out. But rumour has it these cards are super long, and I don't think my case will handle that either!!!
September 28, 2009 3:12:36 AM

All I can advise you to do is google for reviews and check the manufacturer websites for sound specs. In general looks mean just about nothing when it comes to noise.
September 28, 2009 12:29:24 PM

Right, here's the revised build:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this month (UK) BUDGET RANGE: 600-800GBP (1000-1250USD)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Photoshop/CameraRaw/Illustrator/VisualStudio, TV and Entertainment (low-noise a high priority!), Games

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: www.ebuyer.com COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: UK

PARTS PREFERENCES: Antec Sonata Elite already selected, would like to reuse my 30watt.htm ] Hexus Value 430 PSU as it's so darn quiet! I'm probably going to stick my PCI TV tuner card and PCI Trust 7.1 surround card in it, too.

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1200 (have a wicked Samsung 26inch - very happy with it)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I've moved towards the i7 920 because everyone's been telling me what a good deal it is, and it seems the upgrade path will remain open for a good while.

Antec Sonata Elite Black Mid Tower Silent Case - No PSU £67.04
OCZ 6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Platinum Triple Channel Memory Kit CL7 1.65V £105.46 (about £25 more than higher latency ram - worth it?)
ASUS P6T SE iX58 Socket 1366 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard £139.78
Intel Core i7 920 D0 2.66GHz Socket 1366 8MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor £210.98
Akasa Nero Intel Socket 1366 Processor Cooler £23.86
2x Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM £55.35
PowerColor HD 4770 PCS 512MB GDDR5 DVI VGA HDMI PCI-E Graphics Card £72.41 (with a 6 month old baby around, I ain't really got masses of time for gaming these days. It's going to be a case of cheeky late night sessions, when I'm already far too tired, and suffering for it at work the next day!)

Shipping Charge: £12.40

Total: £742.63

Right, I've built her up, now knock her down, please!
September 28, 2009 12:39:21 PM

Sapphire instead of Powercolor. I would choose to XFX (first choice), Sapphire, EVGA, HIS, ASUS for GPUs.
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/173768
or go with this xfx 4850 for not much more.
http://www.ebuyer.com/product/175181 $85

If you are not going to heavily overclock, which you wont because you are being quiet, then the lower latency ram with the 4850 graphics card would be a better machine for you, IMO.
September 28, 2009 12:58:04 PM

With the XFX cards, you get a double lifetime warranty, so if you give it away or sell it when you upgrade, the warranty is still good as long as you have it registered. I think BFG is the other manufacturer to offer something similar, but I like the XFX cards more.
http://xfxforce.com/en-us/Features/DoubleLifetimeWarran...
September 28, 2009 1:53:30 PM

Antec Sonata Elite Black Mid Tower Silent Case - No PSU £67.04
OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Platinum i5 Memory Kit 1.65V CL7(7-7-7-24) £84.99
ASUS P7P55D iP55 Socket LGA 1156 8 channel audio ATX Motherboard £115.52
Intel Core i5 750 2.66GHz Socket LGA1156 8MB L3 Cache Retail Boxed Processor £146.97
Zalman CNPS10X QUIET CPU Tower Cooler £34.77 (plus postage - different retailer - few 1156 tower coolers available and read a good review of this, but alternatively:
Scythe SCZP-2000 ZIPANG 2 Socket 478/775/754/939/940/AM2/AM3/1156/1366 with 140mm Fan Heatpipe Processor Cooler £42.78 (this is in the frostytech top 5, which seems to be a bit of a bible)
2x Samsung HD103SJ Spinpoint F3 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM £55.35
XFX HD 4770 512MB GDDR5 Dual DVI HDCP HDTV out PCI-E Graphics Card

£657.24 / £647 based on final cooler choice

It's a chuck less change.

Good grief - one day I'll make a decision, but I may need a whole month. I was going to wait for Windows 7 to ship before I build, anyway, so I got time.
October 2, 2009 9:51:03 AM

Intel Nehalem i7 920 S1366 2.66GHz 1
Asus S1366 Intel X58 ATX A L 1
Akasa Intel LGA 1366, 775 Nero, Multi Plat 3x8mm Direct Contact HP Cooler, 120mm PWM Fan 1
OCZ Technology OCZ DDR3 Triple Channel 6GB Kit 1

Edit / View Basket
Delivery Free! Total £468.75
(DABS.COM)

Above motherboard rules out Nvidia cards for the future - it supports only SLI, and not Crossfire, but I think I'd be cool with that. Initially I'm probably going to grab the cheap-and-cheerful 4770 and if I get into gaming I can go to a DX11 card later on. BTW, can anyone tell me if the 4770 would sit in Crossfire with a 5850 or something like that down the line? Would that ever be worth doing?

This is all versus the decent bundle at £399
(mentioned by another guy, whose thread I just responded to, but now can't find!)
October 2, 2009 10:04:36 AM

The motherboard supports Crossfire, not SLI. Crossfire is ATI though so you got the GPU correct. You would not crossfire a 4770 with a new 5000 series. There will be a less expensive 5770 that should ship in October/November for lighter gaming as a future option if you are still doing light gaming but want DX11 features.
October 6, 2009 1:38:25 PM

RAM shortlist (back on the i5 idea):
Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 XMS3 i5 Memory Kit CL8(8-8-8-24) 1.65V - £95
Kingston 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333MHz HyperX Memory Kit CL7 1.5V - £80
OCZ 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Platinum i5 Memory Kit 1.65V CL7(7-7-7-24) - £95

Lower latency is always preferable, right? How imporatant is the bus speed?

Why are some kits with identical numbers priced differently? E.g.:
Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 XMS3 i5 Memory Kit CL8(8-8-8-24) 1.65V = £100
but
Corsair 4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1600MHz/PC3-12800 Dominator i5 Memory Kit CL8(8-8-8-24) 1.65V

Is it just that the heatsinks make them more overclockable? Can I ignore this, if I'm not planning to heavily overclock (or maybe not at all, since turbo boost is reportedly very good on i5)?
October 6, 2009 2:27:56 PM

And another, with possibly even more impressive numbers:
G.SKILL DDR3 1600 PC12800 4GB (2GB x 2) For P55 - £72.39

One more question: if I want to go to an 8gb setup later on, will I just be able to add another 4gb ram kit? Or should the whole kit be bought as a matched set of 8gb?
October 6, 2009 2:47:04 PM

Lower latency is preferable, as for how important bus speed is, that's a bit more difficult to answer. As you probably noticed, the higher bandwidth you go, the higher rated latencies go. Personally I think lower latency makes more of a difference than increased bandwidth.

And you pretty much answered your own last question. There may be a difference in the quality of the chips selected for the more expensive RAM, but that's hard to figure out without looking at them up close. Since they are both Corsair kits, they are more than likely the same quality of chips, just different heat spreaders.
October 6, 2009 3:15:38 PM

Its true. Its hard to make a passive i5 system right now because of the coolers. I am waiting for a golden-orb type cooler to come by. FYI there exist passive coolers for gpu that you have to put on yourself. Though a passive gpu out of the box works best for me
October 6, 2009 6:50:57 PM

Right. The bios is no longer beeping on my current Core 2 6300 / ASRock DualVsta system! Dead in the water. I fear this is going to force my hand somewhat. I'm going to have to order it on my 7" Eee laptop and hope for the best.
Gigabyte P55-UD3 £ 90.95
Intel i5 750 CPU £ 129.95
Antec Solo Quiet Mini Tower Case without PSU £ 68.02
2x 1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 £ 44.95
G.SKILL DDR3 1600 PC12800 4GB £ 62.95

all from Aria.co.uk

plus Zalman quiet tower cooler mentioned above from dabs.com where it's in stock.
Going to borrow a random PCIe graphics card from a friend until that 5770 or something equally enticing arrives.

Thanks for all your help, everyone
!