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Fast, quiet i7 build for general-purpose computing & HTPC $1500

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September 27, 2009 4:03:05 PM

Your critical review is requested for this build:

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week BUDGET RANGE: under $1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT
: Very fast general purpose computing, Photoshop (large raw images), occasional video editing, occasional use as HTPC, software development (very large C++-based app, will usually be doing that in an XP virtual PC). No gaming.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS (Have Windows 7 64-bit, will be running XP and linux in Virtual PC's). Monitor.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS
: newegg.com (for one-stop shopping) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: None really.

OVERCLOCKING: No (so can I stick with the stock cooler, or what?) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: ?

MONITOR RESOLUTION
: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)
1920x1200 (plus 1080i plasma via HDMI)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Want a very fast, quality, trouble-free, reasonably quiet build. In this build's approx 3 year lifetime, the only expected enhancements are the addition of an SSD system drive (for even snappier app launching) and additional storage.


Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor $279
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASRock X58 Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR XMS3 12GB (6 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model HX3X12G1600C9 G - Retail $270
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: 12GB so memory will never be an issue with many apps open, editing multiple images in photoshop, or with multiple virtual PC's running

HIS H467PS1GH Radeon HD 4670 iSilence4 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $103
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Quiet (no fan). HDMI-out to cover system's part-time HTPC use. Fast enough for Aero, but don't need more since it is not a gaming machine.

2 Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM $95*2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail$100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Cool running, quiet

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM $33
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Quiet. Leaning towards this one because it has USB taps on the top-front of the case

Total: $1305

More about : fast quiet build general purpose computing htpc 1500

September 27, 2009 6:20:59 PM

Nice job; only thing missing from your list is an optical drive.
Here is a combo deal for $15 off i7 920 & 6GB Corsair XMS3 RAM - Getting the 12GB kit actually saves you more money (about $5) over the combo plus the extra 6GB kit.

A more powerful alternative (and runs about $112 lower):
Core i7 860 2.8Ghz / GIGABYTE GA-P55-UD3R 1156 P55 MB / Patriot Viper 4GB DDR3 1600 combo $498 plus another 4GB of RAM $108
Since you're not overclocking the i7 860 2.8Ghz CPU will be a bit more power for you than the i7 920 2.66Ghz. And the more aggressive turbo mode of the i7 860 can also improve overall performance. And you'll get some better energy efficiency as well. I don't think you'd loose any performance going with 8GB vs 12GB RAM. A faster CPU trumps more RAM.
For the specifics - check this AnandTech Core i7 860 Review
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September 27, 2009 6:40:37 PM

The WD Black really shines more in access to large amounts of small files rather than large files. It runs about 5 degrees C hotter than the coolest drives and is one of the loudest drives there is:

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...


As for speed, while the 2 TB is much faster, the 1TB model is one of the slower ones coming in about 15th on large file transfers

http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2009-3.5-desktop-har...

In the 1 TB size, the 7200.12 is the fastest .... it also leads in the sound and temp charts.
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September 28, 2009 11:50:41 AM

Thanks for the feedback WR2 & JackNaylorPE

Updates:
- Switched CPU to i7-860
- Switched MB to ASUS P7P55D PRO
- Switched memory to 8Gig of G.SKILL Ripjaws (down from 12 Gig)
- Switched drives to the quieter Spinpoint F3's
- Added keyboard (I don't have any USB keyboards)

Unless anyone talks me out of it, I'll be pulling the trigger on this order today.


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week BUDGET RANGE: under $1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Very fast general purpose computing, Photoshop (large raw images), occasional video editing, occasional use as HTPC, software development (very large C++-based app, will usually be doing that in an XP virtual PC)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: OS (Have Windows 7 64-bit, will be running XP and linux in Virtual PC's).

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com (for one-stop shopping) COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: None really.

OVERCLOCKING: No (so can I stick with the stock cooler, or what?) SLI OR CROSSFIRE: ?

MONITOR RESOLUTION: (e.g.: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 1440x900, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, 1920x1080, 1920x1200)
1920x1200

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Want a very fast, quality, trouble-free, reasonably quiet build. In this build's approx 3 year lifetime, the only expected enhancements are the addition of an SSD system drive (for even snappier app launching) and additional storage.

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1156 95W Quad-Core Processor - Retail $290
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ASUS P7P55D PRO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $170
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-4GBRH - Retail $95*2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

HIS H467PS1GH Radeon HD 4670 iSilence4 1GB 128-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card - Retail $103
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Quiet (no fan). HDMI-out to cover system's part-time HTPC use. Fast enough for Aero, but don't need more since it is not a gaming machine.

2 SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive - OEM $80*2
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-550VX 550W ATX12V V2.2 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Cool running, quiet

SAMSUNG Black 22X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 22X DVD-R 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache SATA DVD Burner LightScribe Support - OEM $33
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

COOLER MASTER COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail $160
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Reason: Quiet. Leaning towards this one because it has USB taps on the top-front of the case

Logitech 967740-0403 Black 104 Normal Keys 8 Function Keys USB Standard Internet 350 USB Keyboard - OEM $15
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

$1221
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September 28, 2009 12:30:51 PM

What was the reason you ditched the i7 920 for the i5? I am on the point of making the opposite decision with my build, so I'm particularly interested to hear why you're going the other way!

Cheers and good luck with it - looks sweet!
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September 28, 2009 12:38:29 PM

Sorry, I meant the Nehalem to Lynnfield switch - I realise you've picked the i7 sk1156, rather than the i5.
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September 28, 2009 12:39:50 PM

And I've just read that you were responding to WR2's advice, so ignore me.
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September 28, 2009 1:30:27 PM

Is there any feature of the ASUS P7P55D PRO that you need that isn't already in the P7P55D?
ASUS P7P55s compared
As far as I could tell the Pro model has 2 PCI-e X16 slots that run at x8 when both are used.
The P7P55D has the 2 PCI-e X16 slots but when both are the 2nd slot runs @ x4 lanes.

And here is a combo deal on the i7 860 + ASUS P7P55D + 4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws If my math is right thats about a $50 savings altogether.

In great case like the Cosmos the stock heatsink will be perfectly fine.

Since the i7 860 went from 279 to 289 since yesterday I think an order today is a smart move.

Let us know how things work out.
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