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Quiet i7 build: gaming and music

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January 25, 2010 12:16:20 AM

Hi, long time lurker and wondering whether anyone has any advice they'd care to share on a new PC build.

My PC is 4 years old this month and finally starting to die (needs a CMOS reset to boot).

I'm looking to build a new system that will last as long but this time push the boat out a bit more in terms of spec. It's a compromise between a gaming build and something that will be quiet enough to produce music on. Purists might disagree with this goal, but my current machine is quiet enough to pre-master tracks on and can just about cope with Oblivion so I know it can be done! My main confusion surrounds the case I think (although my choice of RAM might be an issue), unless anyone else has spotted something hideously flawed in my plan to create a relatively quiet gaming pc...

All help gratefully received - thanks!


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: this week (PC currently dying a slow death) BUDGET RANGE: £1000ish

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: music production, gaming, office, odd bit of coding,

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: keyboard, mouse, speakers, power supply (have Corsair TX 650W), graphics card (have Sapphire Radeon 5770 Vapor-X), HDD (have a Samsung Spintpoint F3 1TB ready to load Win7 onto).

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

PARTS PREFERENCES:

CPU: i7 920 (seems an obvious choice)
RAM: 3x2Gb DDR3 1600MHz
both from this Scan.co.uk bundle - a good combo or is it worth coughing up extra for pricier RAM and buying the CPU separately?
Intel i7 920, D0 SLBEJ S1366, Bloomfield, 2.66 GHz, QPI 4.8GT/s, 8MB Cache, 20x Ratio, 130W, Retail + 6GB (3x2GB) Corsair XMS3 DDR3, PC3-12800 (1600MHz), 240 Pin, Non-ECC Unbuffered, CAS 9-9-9-24
(search for '920' here:
http://www.scan.co.uk/TodayOnly/Index.aspx
as official link only goes to i7 920...
)


MOBO: Asus P6TD Deluxe (looks more robust in the longterm than the P6T Deluxe v2?)
http://www.scan.co.uk/product.aspx?ProductId=30543

CPU COOLER: Have been recommended elsewhere to get this to keep the noise down:
Noctua Special Edition NH-U12P SE1366 CPU
http://www.novatech.co.uk/novatech/specpage.html?NOC-U1...

MONITOR: Dell are currently offering a pretty nice deal I think.£159 (20% off RRP) for the
ST2410 24-inch Full HD Widescreen Monitor - Black
http://accessories.euro.dell.com/sna/productdetail.aspx...
Other recommendations for this price range welcomed.

CASE: Here's where it gets tricky. Because my wife has kindly agreed to put some money towards this PC so she can work from home occasionally, she's given a definite "NO" to anything that looks like it belongs in a 14 year old's bedroom. So I've had to wave goodbye to the Antec 902, HAF922, etc. as they're "ugly". She wants something "classier". :)  i.e. the fewer LEDs the better.
I'll need something relatively quiet for when I'm making music. Already have a Corsair 650W PSU.
My wife has OK'd spending a little bit of £££ and getting:

LianLi PC-P50B Armoursuit, Black, Aluminum Mid Tower Gaming Case, W/O PSU
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/LianLi-PC-P50B-Armoursui...
or
Coolermaster RC-1000 Cosmos Silver/Black Silent Aluminium Full Tower Case w/o PSU - NEW V2
http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Coolermaster-RC-1000-Cos...!

I'd rather go with the former as it looks nicer - and is cheaper! Other cases she liked were the Lancool K60 and Silverstone Kublai KL03 but these didn't seem to perform particularly well compared to other models from my limited research... Anyone had any experience of these cases with i7 systems? Advice or suggestions for any other cases that can be classed as "subtle" rather than "in-your-face" in terms of looks and are relatively quiet will be gratefully received.

OVERCLOCKING: Yes - will have to to get the most out of the RAM. Hence not cutting costs on the mobo.
CROSSFIRE: Maybe later on: the 5770 should allow me to catch up on Games like Fallout3, Bioshock, Mass Effect, GTA4, etc I've been missing out on due to only having an X800GTO!

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Would rather have 1920x1200 than 1920x1080, but I suppose I'm unlikely to find a deal better than the DELL one above?

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Am keen on future-proofing my PC - hence the i7 CPU and large amounts of RAM. But guessing that USB3 and SATA3 aren't worth worrying about just yet.


Cost of current build is ~ £864 which with Win7Pro 64Bit on top comes to ~£970.

January 25, 2010 10:16:13 AM

Antec p193, or p183 if you don't like the side fan extension (it'll run hotter though, especially in the gpu area). This is the consensus silent pick. CM Cosmos is a good pick as well, but not quite as subtle. Keep in mind you can always purchase sound damping material built specifically for cases.

Corsair H50 would be a quieter than the Noctua. Not as good at keeping the X58 chipset cool though (While it doesn't suffer from massive FSB heat like the P45/X48 due to no FSB, the nb and mosfets do generate suffecient heat that if you cut off the airflow around them you could be looking at stability issues). If you you do decide to go with an air solution I'd go with the NH-D14 over the U12P. It's the newer of the two and currently resides as champ of air cooling. They're both all but silent.

There's a reason there is a V2 of the Deluxe. The original P6T Deluxe had a SAS controller, unfortunately it doesn't work. Hence the V2. V2 has better crossfire/sli layout and adds 2x SATA ports in lieu of the SAS.

For monitors:

http://www.prad.de/en/guide/ausstattung_auswahl.html

Search till your heart is content. Personally I'd splurge on an IPS or PVA screen, but that's me.
January 26, 2010 1:42:06 AM

Thanks for looking over my post: I appreciate your input.

dogman:
Glad you think it looks OK. Adding components to an existing PC is a lot easier than the juggling act of trying to start from scratch it would seem!

Games - well I'm playing catch-up at the moment - have only just finished Half-Life2 & Oblivion! Looking for more fun along the same lines with Fallout3, Bioshock, Crysis, etc. Picked up GTA4 and Mass Effect for next to nothing as part of some Steam promotion but can't play them on my current system...

Music software: Mostly Reason4, with Soundforge and Cubase alongside. Have no issues running any of these on my current build but imagine I might get a bit more into VSTs once I get this rig set up! That said, from my experience of having to trawl through 4Gb of music a month for a radio show, the number of VSTs used by a producer tends to be inversely proportional to how good it is, so I'll have to be careful :) 

My wife will mostly be doing office work, bit of photoshop, internet browsing and filling the hard drive up with music and photos - nothing too heavy duty, unless she suddenly gets hooked by Crysis...


a4mula:
Thanks for the P183 suggestion- had somehow overlooked it. A little cheaper than the LianLi but seems to be the choice for silence as you say (and my wife reckons it looks good as long as we keep the door shut!) Also has adjustable fans, right? Which means I don't have to shell out for a fan controller down the road if the Lian Li doesn't turn out to be as quiet as it's supposed to be. And for an extra few quid, the NH-D14 looks awesome - my system will still be under budget. So definitely going for those two.

One thing that had me worried is that the NH-D14 is *big* but from checking the web (and looking at people's sigs for spec) it seems it will just about fit in a P183 and is compatible with my motherboard and choice of RAM.

On the mobo front: sorry, I should have been clearer. Am going for the newer P6TD Deluxe, not the P6T Deluxe or the P6T Deluxe v2. Thanks for the heads up about the other two though. And thanks for that monitor site - have a week or so til the Dell deal expires so have time to check some more reviews. It's a real minefield though isn't it? All the monitors are named like barcodes!

January 26, 2010 12:30:50 PM

dan0101 said:

...have a week or so til the Dell deal expires so have time to check some more reviews. It's a real minefield though isn't it? All the monitors are named like barcodes!


Really just depends on your budget. You might consider the Dell 2209wa. It's 22" 1680x1050. While it won't support 1080p movie playback, it's 16x10 which I find much better for gaming. The really big difference over the 24" dell you've honed in on is it's E-IPS screen. Better colors, Better viewing angles, just a much better screen vs TN. For quite awhile dell was honoring a 208$ usd price point. That's £128 (damn the pound is strong). That wouldn't include VAT, and honestly I have no clue how that works.

For slightly more the NEC ea231wmi is a 23" that is E-IPS that is 1920x1080 (really hate this resolution btw) that would come in at £189 (Minus VAT). As an added bonus the NEC also has displayport so if you ever decide to run an Eyefinity setup you're covered in that regard.

Anyways, best of luck with it and let us know what you end up going with. If your budget allows more, there are a few 24" IPS/PVA 1920x1200 (ideal imo) screens I could suggest. Dell 2408wfp (PVA), Dell u2410 (IPS) both support displayport as well, but they run 400/500 usd respectively.

!