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Software development workstation (new build)

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October 20, 2012 7:20:06 PM

Hello,

I am building a workstation to develop software, and I would really appreciate some help deciding on the hardware. It will run Windows 8, Visual Studio 2012, and everything else needed for software development (source control, build server, testing VMs, etc.). It will not be used for gaming but may occasionally be used for watching and editing training videos in HD. The software I write is for processing large amounts of data, so disk and processing performance are crucial. I would like it to be quiet, but performance is more important than silence. I would like to be able to upgrade it in the future, so for example, a motherboard that will likely support future CPUs would be great. Thanks in advance!

Approximate Purchase Date:
0-2 weeks, flexible if necessary (e.g. for hardware compatible with Windows 8, or if it would be worthwhile to wait for Black Friday/Cyber Monday)

Budget Range:
$2500-3000 after shipping & rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important:
Software development
Data processing
Office apps
Web

Are you buying a monitor:
Yes. I am getting a 27" or 30" monitor with 2560x1440 or 2560x1600 resolution. There are bright windows behind where I work, and my glossy monitor drives me nuts, so I need something less reflective.

Parts to Upgrade:
Everything will be new.

Do you need to buy OS:
No

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:
I have Amazon Prime, but I am fine purchasing from somewhere else.

Location:
Kansas City, Missouri

Parts Preferences:
I will probably buy this monitor, but I'm open to suggestions.
Dell UltraSharp U3011 30" Monitor

Overclocking:
Maybe

SLI or Crossfire:
I don't expect either to be necessary.

Your Monitor Resolution:
2560x1440 or 2560x1600

Additional Comments:
It would be neat to be able to dual-boot OS X, but that is not critical.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading:
My six-year-old laptop isn't cutting it anymore.
October 20, 2012 8:20:44 PM

I'm compiling a build for you, but I have a few notes/questions first.

Firstly, just know that Intel's new processors coming out next year will require new motherboard architecture, they won't be compatible with current motherboards. If you buy now, though, you'll have a really high end CPU (an i7 would make sense for you) and probably won't need to upgrade for a few years (or more).

Also, do the programs you use support hyperthreading? If so you may want to look at a server processor to take advantage of that.

Finally, how much storage will you need initially? With your budget and desire for silence I highly recommend going with SSDs only, but it might not be feasible if you need TBs of storage.
Related resources
October 20, 2012 10:13:44 PM

Thanks for taking a look!

I saw that there would be a new socket architecture, but I was hoping there might still be a chance for future upgrades with a current architecture. For example, some of the socket 2011 (Xeon) chips are out of my price range. If I get a lower-end chip now, would I be able to upgrade to a faster CPU for less money in a few years? Is it possible to get a multi-CPU motherboard, run it with a single CPU for now, and upgrade to multiple CPUs in a few years?

Yes, my applications can take advantage of hyperthreading.

I would like to start around 1 TB of storage but leave room to add more later.
October 21, 2012 6:33:26 AM

Ok, taking all that into consideration, here's my recommendation:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor ($299.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: This is an ideal CPU choice for you: quad-core, high single-threaded performance, supports hyperthreading, and has HD4000 integrated graphics (Intel's best offering so far on this front). You also leave the option to upgrade to a Xeon CPU down the line, the motherboard recommended below has very solid Xeon support.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: Getting a more expensive cpu cooler doesn't necessarily do a lot for you, the designs are mostly the same and the fan also makes a difference. In fact, the CPU fan is often one of the biggest sources of noise, I recommend using the Zalman resistor on the fan cable (which undervolts the fan to 7v), which should make the fan nearly inaudible while still providing sufficient cooling.

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($142.86 @ Newegg)
Notes: This Z77 motherboard is reviewed well and supports Xeons. I also looked at ASUS' Z77 Sabertooth, but users reported that the motherboard fans, while useful, had an audible (to some, annoying) high pitched noise. It does have a 5 year warrantee compared to 3 on the AsRock mobo, but I'd still avoid the Sabertooth personally.

Memory: Kingston Blu Red Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($74.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: Both motherboards support 1600 and 16GB seems ideal for your workload. I like Kingston because they have the lowest RMA rates of memory manufacturers, but another memory kit would be fine also. You have your choice of green, blue or red in this variety.

Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($117.85 @ Newegg)
Notes: I made this choice because it gives you high performance without getting too much noise (apparently the Barracudas are a bit noisier and the Samsung Spinpoint F3 has a persistent clicking sound). Pure SSD just isn't feasible for you :) .

Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: If you want reliability, definitely favor Samsung or Intel. The 830 is quite fast and very reliable, anecdotally I've used 4 of these with no issues so far. Depending on the exact nature of what you're doing, though, it may be wise to use Anandtech's SSD benchmarks in case another SSD has better performance in a specific area that's important to you. But I'm confident you'll do great with an 830.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.98 @ Newegg)
Notes: Cases are subjective, but I do recommend one with acoustic foam. I personally own an R3 and love it.

Power Supply: SeaSonic 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($141.29 @ Newegg)
Notes: Fully modular, Japanese capacitors for reliability, gold certified for energy savings, and enough wattage to support any upgrades down the line. With your budget, no reason not to go with Seasonic.

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($15.99 @ Newegg)

Monitor: Dell U3011 60Hz 30.0" Monitor ($1199.99 @ Newegg)

Other: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Fan ($12.99)
Other: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Fan ($12.99)
Other: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Fan ($12.99)
Notes: An established technique for reducing sound (while maintaining cooling performance) is to have multiple fans running at low speed (inaudible) rather than a few fans running loudly at higher rpms. At your budget you should fully populate your case with these fans, and be sure to flip the switch to run them on "low" (600rpm) mode (they also use rubber screws to eliminate rattle). Any of the other fans from SPCR's latest roundup should work too, but the Antecs are affordable, good performers and available on Newegg. You can expect to get good temperatures doing this, especially since you don't have a discrete graphics card making heat or noise.

Other: Zalman RC56 (7V) Noiseless Resistor Cable ($2.75)
Notes: Probably the single best way to reduce noise in your case. ~$3 on one of these does vastly more than spending $40 more on an expensive heatsink (personal experience).

Total: $2299.64
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
Notes: This is below your budget, but I can't really think of a meaningful way to improve the build aside from going with a Xeon out of the gate, going with a different $300 motherboard, more storage or a more expensive case (you can really have your choice of any case on the market with your budget, but only a few have acoustic foam included, installing it yourself after-market is tricky, I don't recommend it).

I anticipate the hard drive (and CD drive if spinning) will be the loudest things in the case. If those are inactive, you will probably not be able to tell if its on or off from 1 foot away (I achieved this result with my own R3 build with a discrete GPU, and getting temps below 35c).

Please let me know what you think!
October 21, 2012 7:10:39 AM

^
To me that build seems to have put too much money in the wrong places (namely, the monitor that is more than half the budget). You can get much stronger hardware with this kind of cash.

CPU: Intel 3930K. $570
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
About the strongest (non Xeon) chip you can get that is worth the money. Only one above it is the 3930X, but that is 3-5% better performance for double the cost.
Can actually overclock this chip to 3930X performance as well.

Motherboard: GIGABYTE GA-X79-UP4. $260
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Looks to be a solid motherboard. Lots of RAM DIMM's and lots of SATA ports. This will support future CPU's, as so far there have been no Ivy Bridge-E processors, which are bound to release eventually. Wont support Haswell-E though.

RAM x2: G.Skill Ares 16GB (2x8GB) 1600Mhz CL9 1.5v. $83 x2 = $166
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Get two of these kits for a total of 32GB of RAM. This particular kit as when you install two of them on the above motherboard, you will still have room to add more later. Also low profile so it wont conflict with any heatsinks.

GPU: Sapphire Vapor-X HD7970. $400 ($20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Arguably one this powerful isn't needed, but if your applications can take advantage of OpenCL and GPGPU, it will be worth it.
Could replace this with a Quadro or Firepro card, but I am not familiar enough with them to advise on that.

PSU: Seasonic X 750W Gold. $150
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
750W of gold rated power, enough to support two cards in Crossfire/SLI.

Storage: Will depend on how much you need, but I recommend Seagate Barracuda's. I have noticed no extra humming or sound from mine. I suspect what sound it does give off would be minimal compared to case fans and such.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
For the purposes of the total Cost, I will assume you spend $300 here (6TB of storage with these drives).

SSD: Samsung 830 128GB. $110
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Monitor x3: ASUS VS248H-P Black 24". $200 x 3 = $600. ($15 rebate on each)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
I am of the opinion that more monitors is better than a single monitor of larger resolution. They are not IPS panels I will admit (see very bottom).

CPU heatsink: Noctua NH-D14. $90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
With a 130W TDP on the CPU, you will want a good one. This is about the best air heatsink you can get, would have to go into custom watercooling for better cooling. Comes with its own low noise adapter cables.

Case:
Largely personal preference, you have to like the look of it after all. A Coolermaster HAF series or any Corsair case will do, though other good cases will be fine.
Assuming $200 here.

Total: $2846 (before rebates, shipping and deals).

EDIT: Found some 23" IPS monitors that are only $30 more ($10 after a rebate) as the ones above.
ASUS PB Series PB238Q Black 23". $230 x3 = $690 ($20 rebate on each).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



October 21, 2012 7:56:55 PM

I have to make a few disagreements with manofchalk.

The processor you recommended is $270 more than the i7 3770, but is only 5% faster. That's not "much stronger hardware", but rather an inefficient use of kukucachu's money, when he could use the 3770 or go straight to a Xeon.

Secondly is the issue of motherboard and RAM. If kukucachu can benefit from 32GB of RAM, than definitely go with that motherboard and kit. I don't know whether or not he would be able to use 32GB, 16 may be more appropriate (I'm not sure though).

Suggesting 3 monitors rather than 1 large one is reasonable, it comes down to preference and which solution kukucachu prefers (his budget certainly allows for either). Using 3 monitors will require a card with 3 video ports, though, so the total cost of 3 monitors compared to one large monitor is about the same. It could be worthwhile if his work benefits from OpenCL, though.
October 22, 2012 1:28:00 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. I prefer one large monitor over three smaller ones. The extra cash for 2560x1600 is worth it to me.

That said, I do not anticipate heavy graphics needs. Could I skip the graphics card if the motherboard has onboard video with DisplayPort output, or would it be better to get a graphics card anyway?

I will probably start with 16 GB of RAM and upgrade later to 32 (unless I am under budget with 16).

Would a motherboard with Thunderbolt onboard help with general future proofing?
October 22, 2012 5:20:02 PM

The Core i7 has integrated HD4000 graphics which should be ideal for what you need, I would only recommend a graphics card if you plan on gaming, would benefit from OpenCL or want 3+ monitors.

Thunderbolt would be a nice feature if you plan to take advantage of it for file transfer. I can't find any motherboards right now that support 32GB of memory and have Thunderbolt though, so you'll have to make a choice there. Does your work benefit from 32GB memory over 16?
October 22, 2012 5:43:51 PM

Illumina said:
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($142.86 @ Newegg)
Notes: This Z77 motherboard is reviewed well and supports Xeons. I also looked at ASUS' Z77 Sabertooth, but users reported that the motherboard fans, while useful, had an audible (to some, annoying) high pitched noise. It does have a 5 year warrantee compared to 3 on the AsRock mobo, but I'd still avoid the Sabertooth personally.


I just noticed that you skipped the graphics card, so maybe you had the same idea. Unfortunately, it looks like that motherboard cannot handle 2560x1600 output.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1250090/official-ivy-bridge-...

Illumina said:
The processor you recommended is $270 more than the i7 3770, but is only 5% faster. That's not "much stronger hardware", but rather an inefficient use of kukucachu's money, when he could use the 3770 or go straight to a Xeon.


What are the best CPU benchmarks to use if I care about general computation and not anything related to graphics? I see from your link that the i7-3930K was 20% faster than the i7-3770 at building Chromium in Visual Studio. Can I read much into that? Of course, I lose the advantage of integrated graphics if I switch to the i7-3930K. I'm considering going the Xeon route with ECC memory since I'll be pushing a ton of data through the memory, but maybe that's too expensive.
October 22, 2012 5:59:37 PM

I was not aware of the resolution limitation on the HD4000, I should have caught that. As for benchmarks, you should definitely look at performance in applications similar to what you intend to use, that 20% advantage in Visual Studio means the i7-3930K could be worth it if the 20% boost is worth the $270 extra to you. It looks like you will be needing a graphics card to run at that resolution, but it shouldn't dent the budget too much since it doesn't need to be high end (as it doesn't seem like you're interested in OpenCL etc.).

I'll make another draft that reflects all this.
October 22, 2012 6:25:22 PM

Illumina said:
Thunderbolt would be a nice feature if you plan to take advantage of it for file transfer. I can't find any motherboards right now that support 32GB of memory and have Thunderbolt though, so you'll have to make a choice there. Does your work benefit from 32GB memory over 16?


How about this guy?

ASUS P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

It looks like I could drive 2560x1600 over Thunderbolt with a DisplayPort adapter.

http://usa.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1155/P8Z7...

I saw three other possibilities on NewEgg, but that one looks pretty good. Is there any reason to consider one of these instead of the one above?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 22, 2012 7:05:51 PM

I realized my mistake after posting, I meant I couldn't find thunderbolt motherboards that supported 64GB of memory, but you don't need that much.

The problem is, though, the Thunderbolt port uses the system's onboard graphics, it has no way to communicate with the graphics card. I think it's better to use a discrete graphics card to run your monitor, rather than try to find a motherboard with the features you want *and* onboard graphics good enough to run at your resolution. So it seems like you won't be able to benefit from Thunderbolt for your monitor, but for other data transfer.
October 22, 2012 7:18:37 PM

Illumina said:
The problem is, though, the Thunderbolt port uses the system's onboard graphics, it has no way to communicate with the graphics card. I think it's better to use a discrete graphics card to run your monitor, rather than try to find a motherboard with the features you want *and* onboard graphics good enough to run at your resolution. So it seems like you won't be able to benefit from Thunderbolt for your monitor, but for other data transfer.


I'm not sure I follow. The Asus P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT could use the HD4000 on the i7-3770 to output 2560x1600 via the Thunderbolt port with a DisplayPort adapter, right?
October 22, 2012 9:54:45 PM

Well, yes, I think that would work. The problem is, I doubt that the HD 4000 graphics can handle your resolution without glitches and flickering (this isn't to do with the motherboard limiting the resolution, but the HD 4000 gpu itself). This thread over at intel forums has many users getting flickering and blank screens at even 1920x1200 and higher (using the i7-3770K), so I wouldn't recommend using it even though it says it supports that resolution officially.

In fact, It looks like you're going to have to choose between a motherboard with good Xeon support (that is, being able to upgrade to a Xeon that's actually better than the i7), or a motherboard with Thunderbolt, I can't find any with both.

Here's my revised build:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Newegg)

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($29.99 @ Newegg)

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($142.86 @ Newegg)
Notes: This motherboard doesn't have Thunderbolt, but does have very good Xeon support (see here).

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: Any 32GB kit will do (I recommend 1600).

Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($109.99 @ Newegg)

Storage: Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB 3.5" 10000RPM Internal Hard Drive ($289.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: This is a significantly faster hard drive but will make noise while in use (according to newegg it is fairly quiet when not in use). I think this is a better fit since you're prioritizing performance over noise.

Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 650 1GB Video Card ($106.97 @ Newegg)
Notes: This is a quiet, entry-level card that will easily run your monitor at 2560x1600.

Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Titanium Grey) ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.98 @ Newegg)

Power Supply: SeaSonic 650W 80 PLUS Gold Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($141.29 @ Newegg)

Optical Drive: Lite-On iHAS124-04 DVD/CD Writer ($22.98 @ Newegg)

Monitor: Dell U3011 60Hz 30.0" Monitor ($1199.99 @ Newegg)

Other: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Fan ($12.99)
Other: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Fan ($12.99)
Other: Antec TrueQuiet 120 120mm Case Fan ($12.99)
Other: Zalman RC56 (7V) Noiseless Resistor Cable ($2.75)
Notes: I still recommend these even with the louder hard drive. Don't forget to undervolt the CPU fan (using the resistor cable) in particular.


Total: $2665.74
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
October 23, 2012 7:30:44 AM

What do you think of this?


PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($314.99 @ NCIX US)
Notes: Agreed, I might as well step up to the K in case I decide to overclock.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($23.99 @ SuperBiiz)

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V PRO/THUNDERBOLT ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($227.86 @ Newegg)
Notes: I think I'll go ahead and get a motherboard that supports Thunderbolt. If that doesn't work for display, I can always toss in a $100 video card later. By the time I get around to upgrading the CPU, it will probably be more cost effective to upgrade the motherboard as well, so Xeon support is probably irrelevant.

Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($124.99 @ Newegg)

Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.49 @ B&H)
Notes: This seems like a good price for 2 TB, and the Caviar Black series should be good for stability.

Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: 256 GB does not cost that much more than 128.

Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: The case you recommended looks great, but it's out of stock everywhere.

Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($109.99 @ NCIX US)
Notes: This is actually gold certified now.

Monitor: Dell U3011 60Hz 30.0" Monitor ($1199.99 @ Newegg)
Notes: This is $1157 at Amazon.

Other: Zalman RC56 (7V) Noiseless Resistor Cable ($2.75)

Other: LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner Rewriter WH14NS40 ($69.99)
Notes: It's so cheap, why not!

Other: SIIG Model CB-DP0F11-S1 9.9 ft. Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort Adapter Cable - OEM ($18.99)
Notes: Mini DisplayPort = Thunderbolt

Other: COOLER MASTER R4-MFJR-07FK-R1 200mm Case Fan ($24.99)

Total: $2528.00
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
October 23, 2012 7:50:58 AM

Why not get a cheap graphics card?
A HD7750 would solve all your problems about whether HD4000 graphics can hold that large a resolution and will provide better performance than integrated.

On a build like this, $100 is nothing. Might as well get it.

Also Thunderbolt (for now) is largely useless. Only uses for it so far is fast external storage (talking RAID 0 SSD setups) and the potential for external graphics cards.
October 23, 2012 3:44:12 PM

manofchalk said:
Why not get a cheap graphics card?
A HD7750 would solve all your problems about whether HD4000 graphics can hold that large a resolution and will provide better performance than integrated.

On a build like this, $100 is nothing. Might as well get it.


Well, $100 is $100. If the HD4000 works well enough, I can take my wife to a nice dinner. If it doesn't, I can just as easily add a card later, right?


manofchalk said:
Also Thunderbolt (for now) is largely useless. Only uses for it so far is fast external storage (talking RAID 0 SSD setups) and the potential for external graphics cards.


You're right, I have no need for it right now (other than using it as a glorified DisplayPort). However, I read in this article (link) that even add-on cards will only work in motherboards with a TB_Header port. I want something that can at least support a Thunderbolt card later, and even ignoring the actual Thunderbolt port, I did not see anything more compelling about the other boards on that list ("the P8Z77-V Deluxe, P8Z77-V, P8Z77-V LE, P8H77-V, Sabertooth Z77, P8Z77-V Pro, P8Z77-V LE Plus, P8-Z77-V LK, P8H77-M Pro and Maximus V Gene"). Am I missing something?

Of course, every time I look, something else comes up. This article (link) points toward the Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH (which includes 2 Thunderbolt ports) or the Sabertooth Z77 (which will support Thunderbolt via the add-on card).

Looking at this comparison (link), I am tempted to switch to the Gigabyte Z77X-UP5 TH, which would give me extra PCIe, eSATA, more onboard USB 3.0, and mSATA (useless?).

Now what? :o 
October 23, 2012 5:48:29 PM

manofchalk said:
Why not get a cheap graphics card?
A HD7750 would solve all your problems about whether HD4000 graphics can hold that large a resolution and will provide better performance than integrated.

On a build like this, $100 is nothing. Might as well get it.


On second thought, you're right. If I'm going to buy this beast of a monitor, I might as well make sure it looks good! I can use a cable that comes with the monitor and put that $20 toward the graphics card.

How does this look?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.92 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($239.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($92.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Dell U3011 60Hz 30.0" Monitor ($1199.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Zalman RC56 (7V) Noiseless Resistor Cable ($2.75)
Other: LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner Rewriter WH14NS40 ($69.99)
Other: COOLER MASTER R4-MFJR-07FK-R1 200mm Case Fan ($24.99)
Total: $2642.56
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
October 23, 2012 11:18:34 PM

There's still good availability on the windowed version of the Fractal Design R4. If minimal noise is still important to you, I recommend looking at the R4, Corsair Obsidian 650D, or Antec P280. I also advise populating your case with at least 3 low rpm fans (500 to 800rpm), replacing the often noisy stock fans. The Cooler Master fan you list should be okay for this. HAF series cases are very porous, which is great for airflow but can allow noisy parts to be more audible. In your current setup, the stock fans are likely to be the most audible component, followed by the hard drive.

Your choice of PSU is good (high build quality consistently and very good efficiency). For $15 more (going with the Seasonic X650) you could gain fully modular cabling with similarly high quality and efficiency, saving you some headache in cable management for a cleaner case interior (can also give you a bit better airflow). This is a personal choice.

Your GPU also looks good, and that motherboard is also a good fit with dual Thunderbolt (it also seems to have good Xeon support, but I recommend looking for success stories from actual users using that specific motherboard if you're going that route. Sometimes Z77 motherboards get listed as supporting Xeon when they haven't had sufficient/any QA, it's something to be aware of before buying a Xeon).

Overall, this build looks good except the the noise considerations I mentioned. It should serve you well! Are there any other areas you're still unsure about?
October 25, 2012 3:56:57 PM

Illumina said:
Overall, this build looks good except the the noise considerations I mentioned. It should serve you well! Are there any other areas you're still unsure about?



I believe I'm good to go. Thanks a million for all of your help!
October 25, 2012 10:33:40 PM

kukucachu said:
On second thought, you're right. If I'm going to buy this beast of a monitor, I might as well make sure it looks good! I can use a cable that comes with the monitor and put that $20 toward the graphics card.

How does this look?

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 76.8 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($26.92 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UP5 TH ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($239.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($124.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($169.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7750 1GB Video Card ($92.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Cooler Master HAF 922 ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: Corsair Professional 750W 80 PLUS Silver Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($119.99 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Dell U3011 60Hz 30.0" Monitor ($1199.99 @ Newegg)
Other: Zalman RC56 (7V) Noiseless Resistor Cable ($2.75)
Other: LG Electronics 14x Internal BDXL Blu-Ray Burner Rewriter WH14NS40 ($69.99)
Other: COOLER MASTER R4-MFJR-07FK-R1 200mm Case Fan ($24.99)
Total: $2642.56
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)



For the tiny bit of extra money, I would try and squeeze in a 7770. The extra performance is definitely worth it. Also I would have to recommend the R4 as well, it's not that much more but you get an extremely quiet case with good airflow.
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