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Quiet, fast mATX build - no gaming - $1000 budget

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March 13, 2012 12:59:18 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: 3/31 or sooner

Budget Range: $800 - $1000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Office apps, QuarkXpress (graphic layout and design), photo editing

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg, amazon

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: intel

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Additional Comments: Would like the PC to be quiet and very fast/responsive for daily use apps: office, email & web. I intend to use Z68's Smart Response Technology to improve performance. This PC won't be used for gaming beyond the occasional flash games.

Here's what I've put together:

Fractal Design Arc Mini Black High Performance PC Computer Case $110
Antec EarthWatts Green EA-430D Green 430W $45
ASUS P8Z68-M Pro $125
Intel Core i3-2125 $150
Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 $50
Intel 311 Series Larsen Creek 20GB 2.5" SATA II SLC Enterprise Solid State Disk $120
SAMSUNG EcoGreen F4 HD204UI 2TB $163
ASUS Black 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive $58

Couple of questions:
* The mobo documentation claims "multi-vga output support" - I assume this means it can support multiple monitors without a graphics card? I plan to add a second 1920x1080 soon.
* The RAM is on the QVL even though it is 1.65V... Should I look for 1.5V sticks instead?
* Will that PSU be able to support a mid-level graphics card, if I want to add one down the road?

This will be my first build. Any advice appreciated! Thanks!
March 13, 2012 1:33:23 AM

Some notes:

****OK misread something. Multiple monitors do seem to be supported with your mobo****

On the PSU, 430w would seem to be quite adequate sans GPU. A rule of thumb is to give yourself a bit of headroom, so you have future upgrade potential with your PSU. I suggest a good PSU in the low-mid 500s, depending on the power settings demanded by your future GPU.
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March 13, 2012 12:36:42 PM

@James - thanks for double-checking the mobo specs, and for the PSU advice. Much appreciated!
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March 13, 2012 12:43:54 PM

Seems like a good build, but I would suggest you to drop the enterprise SSD and go for an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB (on special at NCIX.com for ~150$)...

To be honest, 1.65v DDR3 isn't dangerous in any way really...

Also, ^+1 for the ~500W power supply, look for ThermalTake, Rosewill, XFX, Corsair, Antec... etc if you're looking for a mid-range GPU later on, otherwise, go for an Antec EarthWatts PSU...

Good looking build!
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March 13, 2012 4:47:18 PM

@quicksand10 - thanks; I agree that a large SSD for OS+programs would perform better, but I'm worried that it would make management of the PC a little more difficult for a user who has no interest in that sort of thing. That Intel SSD sure is expensive though.

For PSUs, is Seasonic a good choice? Or is that overkill?
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March 13, 2012 5:49:30 PM

Seasonic is a very good brand for PSUs.

As for the SSD, you can always partition the 120GB in a way that C:\ won't be used for anything than the OS... then D:\ for everyday programs such as firefox and the office suite?
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Best solution

March 13, 2012 6:33:23 PM

Why not Fractal Design Define Mini for the case? It's got the sound reducing foam.

Also with that budget, an i5-2500k would be nice. Four real cores, an upgrade to HD3000, and the ability to OC if you ever want to.

Maybe get 16gb of ram?

Seasonic makes a 460w fanless PSU that has 38A on the 12v rail, which would be good for a future upgrade. It's a bit expensive though, but if you're really looking for silent...
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March 23, 2012 2:03:00 PM

Best answer selected by FlipFish.
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March 23, 2012 2:10:24 PM

The Define Mini case is exactly what I wanted - I just hadn't discovered it yet!

For PSU, I ended up going with a Season X-650 that went on sale at newegg. In one respect it's way overkill for this build, but it's fan doesn't turn on with low power draw so it is completely silent.

The only mistake I've made (and discovered) so far: the case has a front panel USB 3.0 port with a 20-pin connector, but the motherboard lacks a connector for this. I'll either leave the port inoperable (yuck, sloppy) or add a PCIe card with a 20-pin USB3 header.
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