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Build Feedback: ~$2k, Contemporary, Cool and Quiet

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May 7, 2011 7:30:04 AM

I'm building a new system for the first time in many years. I'd appreciate people taking a look and giving me some feedback on how I could tweak/improve it.

My design goals are the following:

Noise: I am aiming for as quiet a build as possible. I use the system for work during the day so this matters. Air cooling only though...I don't think I want to get into liquid cooling.

Looks: I am aiming for a clean, contemporary look (not flashy, lots of lights, etc). Mid-tower is all I need. No need for full tower expandability.

Graphics: I like to play MMOs, my current game being Rift. My goal is to run the game at max/ultra settings running 1920x1200 today, but most likely upgrading to 2560x1600 soon. I'd prefer a non-SLI config right now, with the option to add a second (or third) card down the road when my graphics needs increase.

Storage: No need to buy anything today. I already have an SSD, which is a Patriot 64GB. It's not the best, but will work for the time being. I'll upgrade that down the road. For data storage, I already have a Drobo RAID array with 10TB capacity, so I only need a relatively small amount of internal storage. I have more HDDs laying around than I can count, so I'll just reuse what I have here.

Cost: Money isn't a huge issue. I'd like to keep cost reasonable, which I define as something around $2k. $1999 would sit better with my wife. :) 


Here are some of the specific components I chose and why. Please let me know if you disagree with me or if you think a different product would fit my needs better

Case: Corsair Obsidian 650D - Clean, contemporary looks. Awesome features. More than enough space for my needs.
MB: ASUS P8P67 WS REVOLUTION - I'm torn between this and the Rampage 4 Extreme, but I don't think I'll ever be able to tell the difference, so the Rampage isn't worth the cost. This will be my first foray into overclocking so I'm sure the P8P67 will meet my needs. I will probably go to SLI in the future (2x GTX580s), maybe even triple, which this board can accommodate (albeit not at x16/x16 but I don't want to go the x58 route).
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K - Why not? :)  Overclocking potential.
CPU Cooling: Tuniq Tower 120 Extreme - My goal is for as quiet a system as possible, but with some overclocking potential. This cooler seems to strike a good balance between performance and low noise (a Top 5 cooler with respectable noise levels, http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm )
RAM: Corsair Dominator 16GB - I want 16GB because I run VMware Workstation with multiple active VMs for work. I have this now and I can't drop to 8GB. this seems to be solid performing RAM with overclock potential.
GPU: EVGA GTX 580 3GB - I want a single card setup that can run most games today at ultra settings and gives the option of SLI down the road as my graphics needs increase, so the 580 seems to be a good choice. I want a 3GB version because I plan to run at 2560x1600.
GPU Cooling: Accelero Xtreme Plus GPU Cooler - Since I'm going for as quiet as possible, but with OC potential, this GPU cooler seems to fit the bill.
PSU: Corsair AX850 - This has some nice features (fan off up to 25% load, ultra-quiet up to 50% load, dissipates heat through the metal frame and therefore through the 650D's metal structure), I like the modular cable design and the all-black cables (goes great with the all-black interior of the 650D case).

Here's the Q&A from the *How To Ask For New Build Advice* sticky:

Approximate Purchase Date: ASAP (within the next few weeks at most)

Budget Range: ~$2000 but I'm flexible

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming (Rift on Ultra at 2560x1600), Running multiple virtual machines for work (hence the 16GB RAM), Photoshop/Lightroom image editing, some audio/video transcoding.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor, Speakers, OS, HDD (I already have a Logitech G510 keyboard & G5 mouse, Razr Naga mouse, Gateway 24" 1920x1200 monitor, 64GB SSD & a plethora of HDDs, and will probably be getting an HP ZR30w monitor separately)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com I guess, doesn't really matter.

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel, Mid-tower, NVIDIA, air-cooled, quiet, moderate overclocking potential,

Overclocking: Yes

SLI or Crossfire: Yes, Future

Monitor Resolution: 24" 1920x1200 today, probably 30" 2560x1600 soon

More about : build feedback contemporary cool quiet

May 7, 2011 8:24:04 AM

You are buying the extra parts for graphics RAM cooling, and the extra adapter plate and such right? Also, thermal adhesive (not regular thermal compound) for the RAM heat sinks.

Personally, I'd keep the stock heat sink and fan and use a program like Afterburner to limit the fan speed rather than hassle with the extra cooler. Or, wait until the last minute to see if manufacturers come out with versions that have better non-reference coolers. They will come out, it's just a matter of whether it happens before you build your machine or after.
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May 8, 2011 10:59:43 PM

Thanks for the feedback.

Quote:
You are buying the extra parts for graphics RAM cooling, and the extra adapter plate and such right?
Yes, I already have the VR004 mounting kit for GTX 580 in my cart, I just forgot to list it.
Quote:
Also, thermal adhesive (not regular thermal compound) for the RAM heat sinks.
Do you have something you recommend for mounting the RAM heat sinks? Looking at the picture of the VR004 product, it appears that the kit includes adhesive...am I mistaken, or do you recommend using something else in particular? Here's the image of the product:
Quote:
Personally, I'd keep the stock heat sink and fan and use a program like Afterburner to limit the fan speed rather than hassle with the extra cooler.
I think I'll take your advice and hold off on the GPU cooler for now, and see how the stock one works. I'm most concerned about noise, but maybe it'l lbe fine as-is.

Does anyone have any feedback on the RAM? I've read that the Corsair Dominator RAM might be overpriced, and I've seen lots of recommendations for the G.Skill product. I'm OK with paying more for a product, as long as I'm getting what I pay for.

Thanks!
Rob
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May 9, 2011 4:47:27 AM

Yes, it does look like it has thermal adhesive. The stuff I normally see in these cases is more like a two-part thermal epoxy.

And that Dominator is overpriced. You can get 4x4GB 1600 RAM for $20 less, but it doesn't come with a fan (which you don't need anyway). I'd suggest either Corsair Vengeance or G.Skill Ripjaws X. You could even save yourself another $10 by buying two 2x4GB kits instead of a 4x4GB kit.
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