VM/Sys Dev w/ Some Gaming. Too many choices!

Alright, I am looking to build a new work/play machine. It's been quite a while (nearly 6.5 yrs) since I went through this process last and I see there are still a plethora of options available to me when it comes to new hardware. There is nothing really wrong with my current setup for work (other then the fact that the multiple machines take up a lot of room and are noisy), however, my 2xGTS 250 cards, single core processor, and tiny amount of ram are certainly starting to show their age in some of the newer games. With that said, lets get right into things.

Key Objectives
1) Reduce the noise / make more space in my office! (It doesn't have to be a silent PC, but if you opt for 3xSLI - those cards can't sound like a super-prop on a take-off clime sitting next to me (if that means adding in $100 for after-market coolers on the card(s), so be it).

2) Virtualize my existing development environment to 1 desktop + laptop (already have a laptop, just need the desktop) - expect 3~5 VMs running 6+ hrs of the day, 3~5 days a week. The VMs are replacing a mix of Intel/AMD 2.8~3.2Ghz machines sporting 2~8GB ram and 2x 80 GB HDs (Raid 0+1) .. I suspect any new multi-core/hyper threaded proc will be sufficient.

3) Gaming

Purchase Date
Tomorrow/This Week.

The budget is some what flexible but I do expect to spend $2~2.5k US. If you have a reason for spending extra for quality components at certain points please point it out (It's not always obvious to those of us who haven't kept up with new tech through the years.). With the exception of maybe upgrading to SLI later on and/or maybe an Ivy proc... I generally won't be upgrading any time again in the near future.

Parts Not Required
Keyboard, Mouse, traditional HDD storage & Monitors.

Preferred Providers
Given a choice on where I buy my components, I'd prefer to stick with NewEgg and/or Amazon. I have been extremely pleased with them both as far as purchasing/RMA/Replacements have gone.

United States

More then likely I'll overclock a bit but certainly not to the extremes most enthusiasts take their machines. I'd rather the majority of the parts live for 5+ years.. heh.

Nice To See / Requirements / My Picks
My picks are listed below my component requirements/nice to see's (these were selected after some random surfing of toms hardware, manufacturer sites, and google'n). I'd love feedback and alternate suggestions. Please keep in mind that my #1 goal is a quieter office!

I currently have the majority of my boxes sitting to my right. So please keep that in mind when it comes to sound.

* Quite enough to sit on top of my desk
* Efficient airflow for optimal cooling.

Current Pick
Antec P280 Black ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

I am aware that this case has an odd-upper flan arrangement that makes it noiser then it should be. I also know it has an additional 4x fan mount points that may need to be taken advantage of depending on the GPU setup ... 2 of which can be blocked by long GPU's/Aftermarket Cooling

* Gold/Platinum 80 Plus rating on the PSU, preferably modular.

Current Pick
SeaSonic Platinum Platinum-860 860W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

This is kind of pricey for what it is. And really, probably to little if I go SLI and maybe a bit much if I go single. Alternatives/Suggestions are appreciated.

* Raid 0/1/5/0+1 for existing HDD storage solutions (1+0 aka 10 would be awesome but not required)
* LucidLogic's Virtru support ('cause it just makes sense).
* ALC892 Audio codec (or better)
* Ivy-bridge ready/Gen3/PCI-e 3.0

Current Pick
ASRock Z68 Extreme7 Gen3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

* 4x+ Core - Preferably Hyper threaded if theres not a huge price difference (looks to be around $100, which I'm cool with).
* After-market cooling for reduced noise/temps.

Current Pick
Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K

After-market CPU Cooling
* Larger fans, more surface area, good silent/quiet operation reviews

Current Pick
Noctua NH-D14 120mm & 140mm SSO CPU Cooler

Additional 2~4 Internal Fans (120mm)
* Quiet & reliable.

Current Pick
2xNoctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm, 3 Speed Setting, Beveled Blade Tips Design, SSO Bearing Fan

* 32 GB of Ram (Could probably get away with 16 GB, but I'd ideally like 4GB per VM + host min.)

Current Pick
2xCrucial Ballistix sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00

Note, I selected those because they did not have the giant heat sink fins coming up. Please keep in mind I'm considering an after-market CPU cooler if you change these out.

BR/DVD/Optical Drive

Current Pick
ASUS Black 12X BD-R 2X BD-RE 16X DVD+R 12X DVD-RAM 8X BD-ROM 8MB Cache SATA Blu-ray Burner BW-12B1ST/BLK/G/AS

* 2x 120GB+/- SSDs (boot / scratch & DB VM/Data)

Current Pick
Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F120GBGT-BK 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

These are 555R/515W if you suggest alternatives based off of your experience (bad drives or what have you) please try and match the IOPS/Speeds.

I will likely install at least 4xadditional HDDs in this box for additional media/VM data drives.

When it comes to a single card vs. SLI/Crossfire ... I don't really care. I have SLI'd cards at the moment, however I started out with a single card. If it makes sense, I will go that route again.

* Longevity or Performance+Price
* Must be able to drive at least 2x 1920x1200 monitors (I have 3 at the moment but I can always loose one).
* I'd like to see a 4 out of 5-star performance on current first-person shooters/MMOs. Ideally a 5-out-of-5 for Guild Wars 2 .. but god only knows when that will be released and what it will take to reach that.

Current Pick
GIGABYTE GV-N580UD-15I GeForce GTX 580 (Fermi) 1536MB 384-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

I'm a nVidia fan. I've owned a number of both nVidia and ATI cards in the past ... and nVidia has always been less-hassle for me. So this pick is based solely on my past experiences.

* Should probably have some sort of fan controller (the case has a 3-fan controller for the ones it comes with, however a controller that could handle 5 or even 4 (depending on the room left in the case) would be nice).
* I'll be tacking on a Win 7/Pro SP1 license
* The p280 is somewhat of a tall case, PSU extensions maybe required.

Well I think that's about it, if I missed anything please let me know. Additionally, If it's all there but you have an opinion on one or more of the items please speak up, I'm pretty flexible and don't mind listening to the thoughts of others.

Thanks in advance!


Update: Corrected a couple of spelling issues, corrected my video card selection, created a wish list for easy-component viewing, and ran some quick numbers on the max power.

Here's a NewEgg "wish list" for a quick look/price.

As far as that PSU goes, it will work with a fully-maxed draw (it came out dead even watt wise).
MB 75 + RAM 60 + GPU 300 + HD/SDD 150 + Fans 25 + USB 25 + DVD 35 + PCI 25 + Onboard GPU 15 + Proc 150 = 850.

3 answers Last reply
More about gaming choices
  1. Your build looks great.
    Video card buy 560Ti MSI N560GTX-TI Twin Frozr II/OC GeForce GTX 560 Ti http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127565 because the simple 560 is a rebranded 460. You can buy for the beggining one 570 is 300$ EVGA SuperClocked GeForce GTX 570 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814130622 and add another one in the future.
  2. Sosofm,

    Thanks for the reply. Looks like you read my post before I fixed the GPU (originally I posted it with a 560 and not a 580 GPU). I'm curious to know if you (or anyone else here) has an opinion on the 580 vs. 2x 560 Ti's in SLI. My gut feeling is that a single 580 will perform nearly as well (or better in some situations) as 2x 560 Ti's but that they will give of a lot more noise/heat... so I should probably stick with a single card for now and upgrade later on if I go to a set of 3D monitors or start drivign 2k+ displays.

  3. 580 is a verry good card. To be honest with you ill recommend 7950 it performs better than 580 and with a little overclock perform almost like 7970.
    SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102962
    this with better cooling : SAPPHIRE 11196-02-40G Radeon HD 7950 3GB 384-bit http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814102963
    Reviews http://www.guru3d.com/article/his-radeon-hd-7950-review/17
Ask a new question

Read More

New Build Systems