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Ultra Quiet, High Performance $2,000 Gaming PC

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May 10, 2012 5:01:16 PM

I would appreciate your thoughts on my planned build. In addition, I have some questions on which I would truly appreciate advice (they are towards the bottom of this post).

Approximate Purchase Date: June/July 2012

Budget Range: Approximately $2,000 After Rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Surfing the Internet, gaming, 3D modeling (Poser, Daz 3D), some editing of home videos

Parts Not Required: Keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers (Monitor is a 24" Dell Ultrasharp at 1900 x 1200)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel Ivy Bridge for the CPU, nVidia Kepler for the GPU, Seasonic Gold Certified for the PSU

Overclocking: No, but maybe some point in the future

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200

Additional Comments: I would like a very quiet/silent PC, energy efficient yet good at games (I know, I'm asking for the moon). I am willing to pay extra for the silence and energy efficiency. This PC will be the main PC for our whole house. For me, I will use it for surfing the Internet, 3D modeling and editing home videos. My kids will use it for surfing the Internet and gaming. As of today, games will run from something as simple as Wizard101 to Dragon Age, Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City.

Our current machine is a 7 year old Dell that has Windows XP, a dual core Pentium D 830 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 256MB ATI Radeon x600 SE card, so this will be a VERY significantly upgraded experience. I plan on keeping this machine for at least 4 to 5 years, so I am looking for something I can upgrade a bit as we go forward, but has plenty of native power for what is coming up in the next few years.

I have done a lot of research on various components. The newest generation CPUs and GPUs provide quite a bit of power while having better energy efficiency, so I hope that I can achieve my goals. In designing my system, I plan on putting the O/S and programs (including games) on the SSD. The HDD will be for data files. My current planned parts list is as follows:


Case:
Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Processor:
Intel Core i7-3770S Ivy Bridge 3.1GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 65W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Motherboard:
MSI Z77A-GD65 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OR

ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


RAM:
Crucial Ballistix sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Graphics Card:
EVGA 02G-P4-2670-KR GeForce GTX 670 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Cooler:
Thermalright Silver Arrow Dual 14CM Round Fan Heatsink
http://www.amazon.com/THERMALRIGHT-SILVER-ARROW-DUAL14C...

OR

Thermalright Archon Armor Style Copper Base With Fan
http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-Archon-Armor-Style-C...

Regardless of which Thermalright I choose, I will also then add:
(2) Thermalright TR TY-140 140mm x 160mm PWM Fans
http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-TY-140-140mm-160mm-P...


SSD:
SAMSUNG 830 Series MZ-7PC256B/WW 2.5" 256GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


HDD:
Seagate Barracuda ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Power Supply:
Seasonic SS-560KM Active PFC F3, 560W ATX12V V2.3/EPS 12V V2.91, 80Plus Gold Certified, Modular Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

OR

Seasonic 660W 80 Plus Gold ATX12V/EPS12V Power Supply - X-660 SS-660KM
http://www.amazon.com/Seasonic-ATX12V-EPS12V-Power-Supp...


Case Fans:
Will swap out the included Corsair 550D fans for:
TWO Scythe Kama Flow 2 120mm case fan 900RPM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

ONE Thermalright TR TY-140 140mm x 160mm PWM Fan
http://www.amazon.com/Thermalright-TY-140-140mm-160mm-P...


Blu Ray Burner:
SONY Black 12X SATA Blu-ray Burner BWU-500S
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Card Reader:
AFT PRO-55U All-in-one USB 2.0 Card Reader
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


O/S:
Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium OEM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


So, in addition to your general and overall comments, I have some questions:

1. I am torn between the MSI and the Asus motherboard. Everything being equal, I would prefer the less expensive MSI board. Is there a reason to go with the Asus? One concern I have about the MSI board is that it has only one internal USB 3.0 connector (there are two USB 3.0 connectors in the rear). As the Corsair Obsidian 550D case has two USB 3.0 connectors in the front panel, does this mean I will only be able to hook up one of them? The Asus board also has only one internal USB 3.0 connector, but the spec says "1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)". I'm not sure what that means. Can anyone provide some clarity, and some advice?

2. I love the Seasonic Gold Certified power supplies. I believe the x560 will be sufficient. Based on this configuration, will it be? Or would the x660 be better?

3. I have tried to choose the case fans (Scythe for front input, Thermalright for rear output) for performance and acoustics. The Corsair 550D case has two 120mm fans in the front, and one 140mm fan in the back, so that drove my choices. Am I trying to get too cute with the case fans?

4. CPU Cooler. I'm stumped. I am not sure that either the Thermalright Silver Arrow or the Thermalright Archon will work because of clearances. Will either of the Thermalrights work for my combination of Case (Corsair 550D), MB (either MSI or Asus) and RAM (Crucial Ballistix)? Or should I just go with a self-contained water cooling solution like the Swiftech H2O-320 Edge HD or the Corsair H80? As I will not be overclocking, I could run them at slower fan speeds (around 800 - 900 RPM), which would mean that they would be virtually silent. Although I do worry a bit about the long-term reliability of the self-contained water cooling solutions.

5. This particular Crucial SDRAM is not listed for either motherboard. As I will not be overclocking this SDRAM beyond the rated DDR3-1600, what level of risk am I taking with it?


Any help, thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
May 10, 2012 5:23:17 PM

So wait, you are wasting $2000 on a PC that you are mostly going to surf the web?

Best solution

May 10, 2012 5:23:41 PM
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you made some great choices and most of them fulfill your needs,here are my suggestions-
for motherboards,i am an asus guy but gigabyte is also a very respectable brand.z77x-ud5h provides plenty of features and reliability for a reasonable price-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
for cooler,my vote goes to silver arrow,a great cooler.
for power supply,a 550w is enough for a single card setup.better go with that seasonic 560w unit.
if you want high performance quiet fans then you might wanna take a loot at cougar vortex 12cm fans-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
excellent performer and looks cool.
now answers to your questions-
1-as i mentioned,UD5H is a great performer for it's price and will provide you plenty of features to utilize.
2-yes 560w is more than enough for a single 670.
3-well i never heard of any lack of airflow with 550d but if you want then you can add the extra fans for better airflow but remember that more fans=more noise.
4-silver arrow will easily take you above 4.5ghz.(i don't know why you are spending on a cooler when you are not gonna overclock?).you have chosen a very expensive ram kit(cause it's 2x8gb,better go with 4x4gb)something like this-
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
it's a 1.v quad channel kit which runs in dual channel mode with SB/IB.low profile ram will not cause clearance issues.anything above 1600mhz is 99% useless.it also voids your cpu warranty.


Related resources
May 10, 2012 5:25:01 PM

juniiflow said:
So wait, you are wasting $2000 on a PC that you are mostly going to surf the web?

looks like he also mentioned that he is going to do video editing and other 3d stuff plus his kids are gonna game on it.
May 10, 2012 5:35:53 PM

Quote:
1. I am torn between the MSI and the Asus motherboard. Everything being equal, I would prefer the less expensive MSI board. Is there a reason to go with the Asus? One concern I have about the MSI board is that it has only one internal USB 3.0 connector (there are two USB 3.0 connectors in the rear). As the Corsair Obsidian 550D case has two USB 3.0 connectors in the front panel, does this mean I will only be able to hook up one of them? The Asus board also has only one internal USB 3.0 connector, but the spec says "1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)". I'm not sure what that means. Can anyone provide some clarity, and some advice?


I'm *NOT* a fan of MSI by any stretch of the imagination - any MSI board I've ever had is more likely to go bust than any Gigabyte or Asus. I'm also really iffy on Asrock as well.

Quote:
2. I love the Seasonic Gold Certified power supplies. I believe the x560 will be sufficient. Based on this configuration, will it be? Or would the x660 be better?


Seasonic makes excellent PSUs - the one I'm using is actually a Seasonic OEM.

Quote:
3. I have tried to choose the case fans (Scythe for front input, Thermalright for rear output) for performance and acoustics. The Corsair 550D case has two 120mm fans in the front, and one 140mm fan in the back, so that drove my choices. Am I trying to get too cute with the case fans?


Kind of - you actually don't need them to start with - you can always get extra case fans later. Most modern cases - especially the ones Corsair makes - are extremely well ventilated to begin with. Which is usually why they're highly recommended.

Quote:
4. CPU Cooler. I'm stumped. I am not sure that either the Thermalright Silver Arrow or the Thermalright Archon will work because of clearances. Will either of the Thermalrights work for my combination of Case (Corsair 550D), MB (either MSI or Asus) and RAM (Crucial Ballistix)? Or should I just go with a self-contained water cooling solution like the Swiftech H2O-320 Edge HD or the Corsair H80? As I will not be overclocking, I could run them at slower fan speeds (around 800 - 900 RPM), which would mean that they would be virtually silent. Although I do worry a bit about the long-term reliability of the self-contained water cooling solutions.


Don't go with a liquid cooler - stick with air - it will be far safer. You will not need to worry about clearance issues with any Corsair case - they are made to house the biggest heat sinks, video cards, you name it.

Quote:
5. This particular Crucial SDRAM is not listed for either motherboard. As I will not be overclocking this SDRAM beyond the rated DDR3-1600, what level of risk am I taking with it?


Well 2 x 8GB is major overkill for any build - you really only need 8GB.

On a $2K build here's what I would suggest:

Case: Corsair Carbide 500R - $139.99
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer MKII 950W - $149.99
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H - $189.99
CPU: 3.4GHz Intel Core i5-3570K - $249.99
Cooler: Noctua NH-D14 - $89.99
RAM: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 - $69.99
SSD: 128GB OCZ Vertex 4 - $179.99
HD: 2TB Samsung Ecogreen F4 - $119.99
Optical: LG Black Super Multi - $79.99
Video Card: EVGA Geforce GTX 680 - $499.99

Total: $1,864.89
May 10, 2012 5:39:11 PM

@juniiflow:
My kids will be doing a lot of gaming on it, and as they are getting older their games are getting more sophisticated. Also, the 3D modeling and video editing needs higher performance. I'd rather spend enough money on this one PC than spend a significant chunk of money for each kid for their own gaming PC.

@hellfire24:
Thank you very much for your comments. I should have made clear that with respect to point #3, I will be replacing the stock Corsair 550D fans with these fans.

With respect to point #4, my concern is physical clearances. The Thermalrights are outstanding, but they are very large. I am going with 2 x 8GB of RAM since I will probably want to update to 32GB of RAM in a year or so (I plan on doing some even heavier 3D modeling work). I like the CL/CAS timings of 9 on this RAM. I'm just not clear whether either of the Thermalrights will allow clearance for this RAM. The Crucial website states that the size of each stick of this RAM is 133.35 mm by 30 mm, so I guess I have to figure out if this will clear.
May 10, 2012 5:42:45 PM

Travelingman said:
@juniiflow:
My kids will be doing a lot of gaming on it, and as they are getting older their games are getting more sophisticated. Also, the 3D modeling and video editing needs higher performance. I'd rather spend enough money on this one PC than spend a significant chunk of money for each kid for their own gaming PC.


my problem was, that you put it from MOST to LEAST.

but yes, you are a god father for thinking ahead of things :]
May 10, 2012 5:43:23 PM

If you want to build a quiet case I would recomend ASUS, just because of their Fan xpert 2. Here is a video that might interest you http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i-aTUMuIB0 . If you have quiet in mind than go with a Noctua Heatsink http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... , it is a great cooler and quiet. Also I recomend a psu that has gold plus and is more than you need,also modular so as to allow better airflow. My Corsair Ax750's fan doesn't even turn on sometimes. Also swap out the stock fans for something quieter and dont add more fans unless you really need them.
May 10, 2012 5:45:17 PM

@g-unit1111:

Thank you for your informative response. You are correct about the Corsair 550D. My understanding is that the clearance for a fan in the 550D would accommodate the Thermalright coolers. I guess my issue about the cooler choice is whether either the Thermalright Silver Arrow or the Thermalright Archon (each with dual TY-140 fans) will allow the Crucial Ballistix memory to fit into the MB, or whether there would be a clearance problem.

Has your experience with the Gigabyte boards been solid? I will take a look at your MB recommendation.
May 10, 2012 5:48:15 PM

@juniiflow:

Thanks for the kind words! When I posted the list, I put surfing the Internet first just because in terms of total time, for a family PC, that is probably the most use it will have. However, my kids have no problem about taking up an entire Saturday afternoon to game!
May 10, 2012 5:50:19 PM

^yes,as i said earlier that crucial ballistix is a low profile ram which means no clearance issues.i also mentioned about ud5h,it's a great board for it's price.
May 10, 2012 5:50:37 PM

I just edited my original post to make it clear that with respect to the Case fans, I was swapping out the stock Corsair 550D fans for the ones listed in my list.
May 10, 2012 5:53:21 PM

Travelingman said:
@g-unit1111:

Thank you for your informative response. You are correct about the Corsair 550D. My understanding is that the clearance for a fan in the 550D would accommodate the Thermalright coolers. I guess my issue about the cooler choice is whether either the Thermalright Silver Arrow or the Thermalright Archon (each with dual TY-140 fans) will allow the Crucial Ballistix memory to fit into the MB, or whether there would be a clearance problem.

Has your experience with the Gigabyte boards been solid? I will take a look at your MB recommendation.


The Crucial Ballistix is low profile RAM so you'll be fine - they're one of the best RAM manufacturers around.

My experience with Gigabyte boards has been solid - I'm in the process of upgrading from AM3 to Ivy and I got a Gigabyte board to replace a failed Asrock board. The 990FX board I was using was a Gigabyte, and my work PC has a Gigabyte and it's been an incredibly solid system so far - I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.
May 10, 2012 5:54:28 PM

duplicate post
May 10, 2012 5:55:42 PM

@g-unit,congrats on new build :) 
May 10, 2012 5:59:23 PM

hellfire24 said:
@g-unit,congrats on new build :) 


It's not finished yet - I'll post the results later today when I get my board, but Asrock is currently not on my preferred vendors list. :lol: 
May 10, 2012 6:02:18 PM

^what was wrong with that asrock board?
May 10, 2012 6:06:35 PM

If you want to eventually go to 32 GB of RAM don't use Home Premium, but Professional. Home Premium only supports 16 GB of memory.
May 10, 2012 6:18:34 PM

@Jim_L9:

Yes, you are absolutely correct about Home Premium vs. Professional. Windows 7 lets you do an upgrade from Home Premium to Professional without reinstalling the O/S (you just have to buy the license key). I thought I would do that when I was ready to go to 32GB.

Who knows, maybe then I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 anyway! :lol: 
May 10, 2012 6:53:48 PM

hellfire24 said:
^what was wrong with that asrock board?


I just couldn't get it to POST - it would start up like normal then quickly shut off and it would just repeat boot. I suspected it might be my CPU was installed wrong but when I took the fan off it wasn't the case. I e-mailed Asrock about the problem two days ago and have yet to hear back from them.

Quote:
If you want to eventually go to 32 GB of RAM don't use Home Premium, but Professional. Home Premium only supports 16 GB of memory.


Yes - I don't know why anyone would need more than 16GB unless you're doing some hardcore CS5 work. For just consumer-level Adobe products I can't imagine you'll be using more than 16GB.

Quote:
Who knows, maybe then I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 anyway! :lol: 


I personally can't say I'm a fan of Windows 8 yet but I'm guessing that it'll be like Windows Vista was to XP.
May 10, 2012 7:01:11 PM

g-unit1111 said:
I just couldn't get it to POST - it would start up like normal then quickly shut off and it would just repeat boot. I suspected it might be my CPU was installed wrong but when I took the fan off it wasn't the case. I e-mailed Asrock about the problem two days ago and have yet to hear back from them.

Quote:
If you want to eventually go to 32 GB of RAM don't use Home Premium, but Professional. Home Premium only supports 16 GB of memory.


Yes - I don't know why anyone would need more than 16GB unless you're doing some hardcore CS5 work. For just consumer-level Adobe products I can't imagine you'll be using more than 16GB.

Quote:
Who knows, maybe then I'll be upgrading to Windows 8 anyway! :lol: 


I personally can't say I'm a fan of Windows 8 yet but I'm guessing that it'll be like Windows Vista was to XP.



well, it is going to be touch. so that just basicly makes it horrible.
May 17, 2012 2:41:36 PM

Best answer selected by Travelingman.
!