Hello and thanks in advance for any and all advice. My wife and I are moving into a new house and my new den/study is smack dab in the middle of things. My wife is very sensitive to noise so I get to buy a new computer to replace my current, ungodly loud gaming laptop. I'm looking at building my first desktop with some hand holding from a friend who has built 12 or so machines. I'm not a super hardcore gamer but I'm currently playing Skyrim and D3 mostly and enjoy a few MMO's. I would also like to do some home recording. I will be adding a second SSD a few months later specifically for the recording software and tracking and a third ,larger HHD for storage and such. Initially, to help with the budget I'm thinking of a single , 240 gb SSD for the OS and some core games. I figure the Intel I7 Ivy Bridge 3770 will give me enough processor power for recording and a single 7870 should handle gaming. As long as I'm not doing any extreme overclocking or multiple video cards the system shouldn't require any crazy cooling setup and the fans shouldn't need to be run at their highest speeds that often. Lastly, I'm hoping to be able to run a new 24" monitor at 1900x1200 and use my old 17" Sony for keeping web pages open while gaming. My current spec is already $1486 without a monitor so I'm gonna be over budget if I can't trim something down. I'm probably missing something too
Approximate Purchase Date: Early to mid July 2012
Budget Range: Approx $1500 I can go a little over budget but if there is anything that's overkill for my needs it would be great to trim the price down.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming>Home Recording>Intrawebz.
Parts Not Required: Keyboard/Mouse, Second monitor, Speakers.
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: none
Overclocking: Probably not
SLI or Crossfire robably not
Monitor Resolution: 1900x1200
Additional Comments: Here's what I've got as a starting point. I'm wide open to suggestions as I'm not very experienced.
ASRock Z77 Extreme4-M LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Model #:Z77 Extreme4-M
$139.99 -$10.00 Instant $129.99
COOLER MASTER Silencio 550 RC-550-KKN1 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
ASUS HD7870-DC2-2GD5 Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video ...
PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 750W High Performance 80PLUS Silver SLI CrossFire ready Power Supply
Model # PCMK2S750
$129.99 -$20.00 Instant $109.99
Not really sure why you're buying a i7 3770 processor and a hyper 212 evo. Stock heatsink will do fine if you're getting the 3770(locked version). I would reccomend getting the 3770k(unlocked version) instead though. You can reach speeds of up to 4.5Ghz with the Evo,and its very simple to do.
Also get the same board you have except the ATX version. One of the benefits of this board is the ability to crossfire later on.
I'm not positive on what kind your ram is but make sure it is 1.5v or lower. 1.65v is not good for your cpu and in some cases will not work at all.
You're PSU is not modular. modular will give your case better airflow and it will be much tidier. (Modular simply means you choose which cables to plug in vs having to cram all of those unused cables in some corner of your case).
If you got a little extra cash it may be a worthwhile investment to get a gtx 670.
and like elayman said the crucial m4 is an awesome ssd and very reliable.
I disagree with not getting the CPU cooler, it will be far quieter than the stock cooler and will mean the case fans don't have to work quite as hard. It should make the system far quieter.
Also disagree that he needs an ATX board. There's no harm in it but he certainly won't want to Crossfire if he wants a quiet PC. The first rule of a quiet PC is to keep the power consumption low. With that in mind, I would go for the HD 7850 personally. The power consumption is quite a lot lower than the HD 7870 and you don't lose a great amount of performance. ASUS's cards tend to be the quietest in my experience.
With an Ivy Bridge i7 and the HD 7850 you would only need ~400W, I'd get around 500W with the HD 7870. I think one of the modular Seasonic PSU's would be your best bet. The 430W one with the HD 7850 or the 520W one with the HD 7870.
The Ripjaws Z series is quad channel, you will want dual channel RAM with that CPU and motherboard. 1600Mhz and 1.5v.
With the SSD I would personally stick to Crucial, Intel or Samsung. They seem to have the best reputations in terms of reliability.
Thanks for the prompt replies! So an extra 30 bucks gets me an unlocked version of the I7 for overclocking. Seems like a pretty big jump in clock speed for the money.
A lower power, modular PSU sounds great.
As far as the GPU I was looking for single card that would run modern games at reasonable frame rates for the next couple of years hopefully. The sweet spot balancing performance and price seems to be 7850/70 or GTX680. Maybe prices will change a bit by the time I'm ready to build. Sounds like the 7850 would be the quietest option.
I'll definitely look at Crucial SSD. Sounds like a solid recommendation.
I'll change my wishlist later tonight or tomorrow morning to reflect a few changes and I'll make sure to use the right ram
This would be my choice at your budget, I'll explain each recommendation as well:
Intel Core i5-3550 - $209.99
The upgrade to the i7 will give nearly no benefit in games, even for the audio stuff the difference is very minor. I didn't choose the unlocked model because you are unlikely to want to overclock if you want a quiet PC.
2x4GB G.Skill Ares 1600Mhz - $46.99
Ivy bridge natively supports 1600Mhz which makes this a good choice. 8GB is overkill for games but will be nice for the audio stuff. I think 16GB will be overkill, if you find this not to be the case, you can always upgrade later, the board I will suggest has 4 DIMM slots.
ASRock H77 Pro4-M - $89.99
This board is good value for money, you get USB 3, SATA 3 and PCI-e 3.0. You can't overclock on it but the CPU I suggested can't be overclocked anyway. I think mATX will be best since you won't need more than one graphics card or massive amounts of space for water cooling etc.
ASUS HD 7850 2GB - $279.18 (Amazon)
This card should easily be able to handle all of those games at 1080P and ultra high settings. It also has low power consumption, it only needs a single 6 pin PCI-e connector. ASUS cards tend to be pretty quiet as well.
Samsung 830 Series 256GB - $249.99
This SSD is consistently recommended by Toms because it is one of the most reliable drives around. It is also one of the faster drives on the market.
Seasonic M12II 520W - $59.99
You don't really need 520W but that bit extra is always nice for peace of mind. The most important reason for this recommendation though is that Seasonic PSU's tend to be extremely quiet. It is also modular which is a nice bonus.
Fractal Design Define Mini - $99.99
A great little case with good build quality, decent cable management and is designed from the ground up for quiet computing. It also looks great.
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo - $33.99
Great value for money and will make the system a lot cooler and quieter.
LG DVD Burner - $17.99
Total - ~$1100 prices from Newegg except for the graphics card.
i5/8GB doesn't sound as impressive as i7/16GB but the real world differences in performance are going to be pretty minor in your case. This should be incredibly quiet as well, so long as you remember to set all of the fans to low (including the CPU and GPU fans.)