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Building desktop for music production

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December 31, 2012 4:13:15 PM

Hello, I am wanting to buy a new desktop pc for music production. Currently I am using a Packard Bell Easy Note TS, (laptop)

The easy note TS has 4GB of RAM, 2.30 Ghz Intel I5 processor, 500GB HDD, 4GB DDR3 Memory.

My problem is I am running many vst's (plugins) and having an extremely hard time processing them. When I get too about 5-6 tracks the project is struggling to load and my CPU usage is peaking constantly.

I am just looking for some specifics on what too get in a future machine, My budget is a maximum of £1000 and I am not interested in gaming, it will be solely for music production and the internet.

I need the computer to be able to handle lots of effects and plugins.

Thanks

I won't be building the computer my self, I'd like to buy online where people assemble the parts for you, does anyone have any ideas for websites like that, I am in the uk :) 
December 31, 2012 4:19:45 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: Sometime in the next few months

Budget Range: £1000 max

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Music Production, NO Gaming

Are you buying a monitor: Yes

Parts to Upgrade: All mainly need CPU for processor heavy stuff

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Not Sure

Location: City, State/Region, Country - England

Parts Preferences: I would like Intel I7 preferable.

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Unsure

Your Monitor Resolution: Unsure not too important

Additional Comments: Running FL Studio using many NI Massive and FM8 plugins, need to be able to run max plugin tracks

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I am upgrading because at the moment my packard bell laptop can not cope with over 6 plugins of Native Instruments Massive a plugin which is very CPU heavy.

I wan't to have hundreds of plugins on one single project without lag and cpu peaks atm I am constantly redlining.
December 31, 2012 8:44:47 PM
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January 1, 2013 9:26:48 AM
January 1, 2013 3:47:55 PM

there few pre builts that give you a warrnaty and tech support if your not computer savy. the parts are for non gaming build for music.
January 1, 2013 3:56:00 PM

I don't have enough time right now to put a full build together but I think I could be a big help, I'm a musician myself and do a lot of recording etc. I'll see if I can make some decent suggestions tonight.

Where in the UK are you from as well? I might be able to help you assemble your system too.
January 1, 2013 5:45:39 PM

smorizio said:
there few pre builts that give you a warrnaty and tech support if your not computer savy. the parts are for non gaming build for music.


Ok thanks for the suggestions!!
January 1, 2013 5:46:12 PM

jmsellars1 said:
I don't have enough time right now to put a full build together but I think I could be a big help, I'm a musician myself and do a lot of recording etc. I'll see if I can make some decent suggestions tonight.

Where in the UK are you from as well? I might be able to help you assemble your system too.


Grimsby my friend, I hope you can help :) 
January 1, 2013 6:34:01 PM

Ah so not TOO far then, I'm in Manchester. Do you drive?
January 1, 2013 7:06:31 PM

jmsellars1 said:
Ah so not TOO far then, I'm in Manchester. Do you drive?


Sadly no but if you could even suggest some parts and what not that would be enough :)  You can get them assembled online somewhere right??
January 1, 2013 7:12:34 PM

You could have a look at www.aria.co.uk. They build their own systems and are pretty flexible with switching components as well so ask them for a quote or something, they might put something together for you. They will post it anywhere in the UK as far as I know.
January 1, 2013 8:19:36 PM

jmsellars1 said:
You could have a look at www.aria.co.uk. They build their own systems and are pretty flexible with switching components as well so ask them for a quote or something, they might put something together for you. They will post it anywhere in the UK as far as I know.


I'll have a look, are there any parts you would reccomend?
January 2, 2013 12:28:17 AM

Yeah sure, sorry man I was with my girlfriend. I could post quick replies but didn't get chance to take half an hour to go through some parts and stuff.

First thing I'll do is explain a few things you will probably want to aim for with this kind of build:

Basically, for a system like this where you are working on it for hours on end, you will want something quiet and stable. If a PC crashes unexpectedly all the time or it sounds like a jet engine while you're trying to listen carefully to a track, it is going to be incredibly annoying.

- Keep the power consumption low

The less power you consume, the less power is wasted through inefficiency. That wasted power turns to heat so the less power is wasted due to inefficiency, the less heat there is. The less heat there is, the less your fans have to work. If your fans don't have to do much then your system is going to stay really quiet. Low heat also keeps all your parts nice and healthy and makes for a nice stable system.

- Go with dual monitors

Think of all those times you have VST's and things open in the background. It is really handy to have another screen for those or for your mixer or amp modeler or something. You easily have the budget to do it and it is incredibly useful.


With regard to choosing the parts in the system, I'd choose the CPU first. At this budget, you're looking at an Intel i5/i7 or and AMD FX-8 really. The i5 has decent performance and a good price. It is also very efficient, the new i5's are only 77W. That helps keep the power consumption down so that's a nice option. An FX-8 would offer better performance at a similar (or lower) price but sacrifices efficiency. Not only is it 125W but it also has no integrated GPU and the ones you get on the associated motherboards are ancient, so you would end up adding a dedicated GPU which only adds to the power consumption again. It is good price/performance but an Intel i7 would give the best of both worlds. Better performance than either of them with the low power consumption of the i5. They also have Intel HD 4000 graphics built in, it supports multiple monitors and even some basic gaming so it is more than fine for your usage. I would get one of the non 'K' models since those ones are designed for overclocking and that is the last thing I would do with this kind of system.

With your RAM, Ivy Bridge (new gen Intel) CPU's support DDR3 running at 1.5v or less and up to a maximum of 1600Mhz (natively) so I'd look at something like that. Low voltage (less than 1.5v) stuff is nice but really doesn't make that much of a difference so don't go spending much extra on it. 8GB should be plenty but these types of programs like to hog your RAM and it is cheap so you might as well get 16GB while leaving yourself open to upgrade to 32GB. (So get 2x8GB on a motherboard with 4 DIMM slots.)

With your motherboard, I'd look at the H77/B75/Q77 chipsets. B75 is the value oriented one while H77 and Q77 are a bit more premium, they will offer a bit more quality and a few more ports and features. Q77 is more business oriented than H77. I wouldn't bother with Z77 because that's designed for overclocking. Some names to look for are ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, MSI and Intel. Others like Foxconn, Biostar and ECS can be OK but I find them to be a bit sketchy sometimes. ASRock and MSI are often considered value brands as well but I find they generally offer similar performance/features to comparable ASUS and Gigabyte boards for less cash. In terms of the size of the board, you could go for ATX, mATX or mini ITX. You probably won't need more than one expansion slot but I would still avoid mini ITX just in case. mATX is good if you prefer a small system, it offers a few expansion slots while remaining relatively small and offers no discernible performance decrease vs ATX. If you absolutely couldn't care less about a smaller system, then ATX would probably be a good idea. I don't think it will be necessary though so I'd probably go with mATX.

In terms of graphics, Intel HD 4000 is more than fine for you unless you want to game so I'd stick with it to save on power/heat/cost etc.

With storage, you have a few options. You could get:

- Small SSD with a Big HDD

This would be cost effective and make the system feel quick but if you deal with ridiculously large ~50GB files and things then it might not be ideal having to move them to the HDD all the time. This would also keep the system relatively quiet since the HDD shouldn't need to spin up very much. Or to make it even quieter, you could use external drives with this method. At least it would make your stuff a bit more portable.

- Large SSD

This is basically the ideal solution but it is probably too expensive. It would be extremely fast at all times, you wouldn't have to move files around all the time and you would have ultra low power consumption with zero noise/vibration. The only choker is that it would be really expensive. If you think you can live with a total of ~250GB then this would be a good solution.

- Just a big HDD or several HDD's in a RAID

This is handy because it is cheap and gives tons of storage but it would make the system pretty noisy and a RAID array would start raising the heat and power consumption. I wouldn't recommend this option but a lot of people do use it.


Next up would be your PSU. In terms of wattage, you would only need like 150W+ so don't worry about that. Just get something efficient and good quality. 80 Plus Gold would be nice as it keeps the heat and power consumption down a bit. I'd look out for Seasonic PSU's, they are fantastic. Just read a review on any of their PSUs and see. They also make a lot of PSU's for other brands though so a lot of Corsair/Antec/PC Power & Cooling PSU's are good as well. A few other brands make some decent PSU's too but Seasonic are relatively widely considered the best in quality even if they're not that cheap. This is the last place you want to cheap out though. A bad PSU can cause any number of stability issues and the cheaper ones can be really noisy as well.

Last things are your case and any optional extras. The case is basically personal preference so all I can do is make a suggestion. You really won't need much airflow at all so don't go for one with loads of fans because it will be unnecessarily noisy.

In terms of optional extras, some to consider would be:

- Firewire card

Get this if you have a firewire audio interface, if not then don't bother.

- Fan Controller

If your fans are noisy and you can't be bothered with replacing them for better ones, this is a good way to quieten them down.

- Optical (DVD/Bluray) drive

This probably isn't necessary but if you need it for software or burning CD's then grab one. An external one might be worth it if you don't use it much.


So all in all, I'd look at something like this:

Intel Core i7-3770
16GB (2x8GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport VLP 1600Mhz 1.35v
Asus P8H77-M
Crucial M4 256GB
Seasonic SS-360GP 360W
Lian Li PC-A04A
2 x AOC i2353Fh 23'' Aluminium IPS monitor


That brings you to about £850 so leaves £150 for an OS and noise reduction/cooling/optical drive etc. personally what I would do is get a quiet CPU cooler like the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 and buy a fan controller like the Lian Li PT-FN03 or something to reduce the fan speed of the case fans.


Hope that was helpful.
January 2, 2013 9:12:11 AM

jmsellars1 said:
Yeah sure, sorry man I was with my girlfriend. I could post quick replies but didn't get chance to take half an hour to go through some parts and stuff.

First thing I'll do is explain a few things you will probably want to aim for with this kind of build:

Basically, for a system like this where you are working on it for hours on end, you will want something quiet and stable. If a PC crashes unexpectedly all the time or it sounds like a jet engine while you're trying to listen carefully to a track, it is going to be incredibly annoying.

- Keep the power consumption low

The less power you consume, the less power is wasted through inefficiency. That wasted power turns to heat so the less power is wasted due to inefficiency, the less heat there is. The less heat there is, the less your fans have to work. If your fans don't have to do much then your system is going to stay really quiet. Low heat also keeps all your parts nice and healthy and makes for a nice stable system.

- Go with dual monitors

Think of all those times you have VST's and things open in the background. It is really handy to have another screen for those or for your mixer or amp modeler or something. You easily have the budget to do it and it is incredibly useful.


With regard to choosing the parts in the system, I'd choose the CPU first. At this budget, you're looking at an Intel i5/i7 or and AMD FX-8 really. The i5 has decent performance and a good price. It is also very efficient, the new i5's are only 77W. That helps keep the power consumption down so that's a nice option. An FX-8 would offer better performance at a similar (or lower) price but sacrifices efficiency. Not only is it 125W but it also has no integrated GPU and the ones you get on the associated motherboards are ancient, so you would end up adding a dedicated GPU which only adds to the power consumption again. It is good price/performance but an Intel i7 would give the best of both worlds. Better performance than either of them with the low power consumption of the i5. They also have Intel HD 4000 graphics built in, it supports multiple monitors and even some basic gaming so it is more than fine for your usage. I would get one of the non 'K' models since those ones are designed for overclocking and that is the last thing I would do with this kind of system.

With your RAM, Ivy Bridge (new gen Intel) CPU's support DDR3 running at 1.5v or less and up to a maximum of 1600Mhz (natively) so I'd look at something like that. Low voltage (less than 1.5v) stuff is nice but really doesn't make that much of a difference so don't go spending much extra on it. 8GB should be plenty but these types of programs like to hog your RAM and it is cheap so you might as well get 16GB while leaving yourself open to upgrade to 32GB. (So get 2x8GB on a motherboard with 4 DIMM slots.)

With your motherboard, I'd look at the H77/B75/Q77 chipsets. B75 is the value oriented one while H77 and Q77 are a bit more premium, they will offer a bit more quality and a few more ports and features. Q77 is more business oriented than H77. I wouldn't bother with Z77 because that's designed for overclocking. Some names to look for are ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, MSI and Intel. Others like Foxconn, Biostar and ECS can be OK but I find them to be a bit sketchy sometimes. ASRock and MSI are often considered value brands as well but I find they generally offer similar performance/features to comparable ASUS and Gigabyte boards for less cash. In terms of the size of the board, you could go for ATX, mATX or mini ITX. You probably won't need more than one expansion slot but I would still avoid mini ITX just in case. mATX is good if you prefer a small system, it offers a few expansion slots while remaining relatively small and offers no discernible performance decrease vs ATX. If you absolutely couldn't care less about a smaller system, then ATX would probably be a good idea. I don't think it will be necessary though so I'd probably go with mATX.

In terms of graphics, Intel HD 4000 is more than fine for you unless you want to game so I'd stick with it to save on power/heat/cost etc.

With storage, you have a few options. You could get:

- Small SSD with a Big HDD

This would be cost effective and make the system feel quick but if you deal with ridiculously large ~50GB files and things then it might not be ideal having to move them to the HDD all the time. This would also keep the system relatively quiet since the HDD shouldn't need to spin up very much. Or to make it even quieter, you could use external drives with this method. At least it would make your stuff a bit more portable.

- Large SSD

This is basically the ideal solution but it is probably too expensive. It would be extremely fast at all times, you wouldn't have to move files around all the time and you would have ultra low power consumption with zero noise/vibration. The only choker is that it would be really expensive. If you think you can live with a total of ~250GB then this would be a good solution.

- Just a big HDD or several HDD's in a RAID

This is handy because it is cheap and gives tons of storage but it would make the system pretty noisy and a RAID array would start raising the heat and power consumption. I wouldn't recommend this option but a lot of people do use it.


Next up would be your PSU. In terms of wattage, you would only need like 150W+ so don't worry about that. Just get something efficient and good quality. 80 Plus Gold would be nice as it keeps the heat and power consumption down a bit. I'd look out for Seasonic PSU's, they are fantastic. Just read a review on any of their PSUs and see. They also make a lot of PSU's for other brands though so a lot of Corsair/Antec/PC Power & Cooling PSU's are good as well. A few other brands make some decent PSU's too but Seasonic are relatively widely considered the best in quality even if they're not that cheap. This is the last place you want to cheap out though. A bad PSU can cause any number of stability issues and the cheaper ones can be really noisy as well.

Last things are your case and any optional extras. The case is basically personal preference so all I can do is make a suggestion. You really won't need much airflow at all so don't go for one with loads of fans because it will be unnecessarily noisy.

In terms of optional extras, some to consider would be:

- Firewire card

Get this if you have a firewire audio interface, if not then don't bother.

- Fan Controller

If your fans are noisy and you can't be bothered with replacing them for better ones, this is a good way to quieten them down.

- Optical (DVD/Bluray) drive

This probably isn't necessary but if you need it for software or burning CD's then grab one. An external one might be worth it if you don't use it much.


So all in all, I'd look at something like this:

Intel Core i7-3770
16GB (2x8GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport VLP 1600Mhz 1.35v
Asus P8H77-M
Crucial M4 256GB
Seasonic SS-360GP 360W
Lian Li PC-A04A
2 x AOC i2353Fh 23'' Aluminium IPS monitor


That brings you to about £850 so leaves £150 for an OS and noise reduction/cooling/optical drive etc. personally what I would do is get a quiet CPU cooler like the Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2 and buy a fan controller like the Lian Li PT-FN03 or something to reduce the fan speed of the case fans.


Hope that was helpful.


Thank you so much! I am going to be re-reading this many times haha, this is going to be very very VERY useful :) 
Thanks again for your time.
January 2, 2013 12:25:21 PM

No problem, let me know if you have any questions about it. Like I said as well, if you have a way of getting to the Manchester area, i'm happy to help you put it together.
January 2, 2013 2:17:52 PM

jmsellars1 said:
No problem, let me know if you have any questions about it. Like I said as well, if you have a way of getting to the Manchester area, i'm happy to help you put it together.


Yeah thank you so much! Well I do have a couple of questions, aside from the many more I will probably have once I've researched these parts haha

I'm wondering how I can tell if this will work, that sound stupid I know but what guarantee do I have that with the amount of FX chains and VSTS I'm running this machine can handle it still, how much can it handle?

That leads me too my second question, I'm not sure if you are familiar with it but the VST that's taking up my CPU is Native Instruments MASSIVE used for electronic music. Will there be a set amount of instances of massive I can run cause at the moment I can only run about 5 without my cpu hitting 100. I wan't to be able to have unlimited amounts to know that with each project CPU isn't a worry. Just looking for some guidance on this thanks
January 2, 2013 3:18:06 PM

Unfortunately there is no way of telling exactly how many instances you can run and just how much the CPU will handle. All you can do is get the best for your money and get on with it. I will say though that compared to a laptop, this PC will be in another world.

You can look at some of the numbers to give you a rough idea but there are too many factors to determine any concrete answer.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

This site gives a very rough guide of how good a CPU is and expresses it as a number. Your old CPU scores around 3600, this new one scores around 9400.

Another number you can look at is the number of cores and the clock speed along with the architecture of the CPU. Your old i5 is a second generation one with 2 cores and 4 threads running at 2.3Ghz. This new i7 is 3rd generation so you get a bit more performance per Mhz/Ghz and has 4 cores and 8 threads and runs at 3.4Ghz.

That's just considering the CPU, having 16GB of RAM is really going to help here too.

No setup has unlimited potential though, you will never be able to open an unlimited amount of instances no matter what the budget is. It just isn't possible.


If you're really worried about performance, I suppose you could go with an i7-3930K based setup. If you skimp on the monitors by getting a single one, you might just cram it into budget. That would give you 2 extra cores and even more room for RAM. I wouldn't recommend going with it though to be honest, the price really starts to skyrocket at this point so it would mean having to give up dual monitors and your SSD etc. It would be £450 for the CPU alone so it is over double the price of the i7-3770 and wouldn't give anything close to double the performance.
January 2, 2013 3:39:31 PM

jmsellars1 said:
Unfortunately there is no way of telling exactly how many instances you can run and just how much the CPU will handle. All you can do is get the best for your money and get on with it. I will say though that compared to a laptop, this PC will be in another world.

You can look at some of the numbers to give you a rough idea but there are too many factors to determine any concrete answer.

http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html

This site gives a very rough guide of how good a CPU is and expresses it as a number. Your old CPU scores around 3600, this new one scores around 9400.

Another number you can look at is the number of cores and the clock speed along with the architecture of the CPU. Your old i5 is a second generation one with 2 cores and 4 threads running at 2.3Ghz. This new i7 is 3rd generation so you get a bit more performance per Mhz/Ghz and has 4 cores and 8 threads and runs at 3.4Ghz.

That's just considering the CPU, having 16GB of RAM is really going to help here too.

No setup has unlimited potential though, you will never be able to open an unlimited amount of instances no matter what the budget is. It just isn't possible.


If you're really worried about performance, I suppose you could go with an i7-3930K based setup. If you skimp on the monitors by getting a single one, you might just cram it into budget. That would give you 2 extra cores and even more room for RAM. I wouldn't recommend going with it though to be honest, the price really starts to skyrocket at this point so it would mean having to give up dual monitors and your SSD etc. It would be £450 for the CPU alone so it is over double the price of the i7-3770 and wouldn't give anything close to double the performance.


Thanks for the reply. Yeah I guessed having unlimited would be impossible but wanted you to kind of get what I wanted haha. I think I will only want the one monitor to be honest. If I did, what would you recommend the extra going on??
January 2, 2013 4:35:52 PM

If you have the space for dual monitors, I would use them. Once you try it, you will wonder how you ever went without them. If you really don't want to though, you could always get a bigger SSD. How much storage do you think you would need?

Another option would be to get 32GB RAM. That's probably unnecessary, at least for now and is easy to upgrade later.

I suppose you could put it into buying better fans and other noise reduction stuff if you want to get the system into the inaudible range as well.
January 2, 2013 4:40:35 PM

I would toss in the extra cash and use a seal liquid cooler. there smaller then the big brick air coolers.it help on keeping the noise level down on your rig. look at a case that was sold as low noise case. or swap in some low noise fans and a good fan controller. (then you can turn down or up the fans as needed). on the power supply dont skimp out with a small unit the sweet spot of a power supply is the 50-70 percent of it rated load. when you go over that the power supply going to make a lot of heat and or can become unstable. I tell people who are building rigs to make sure they have 100-200w extra for over head. most times it not the total wattage output that you need is the amps on the 12v line.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/12/03/new_corsair_h...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/08/13/seasonic_xser...
there a 520w unit the SS-520FL. if i was building an audi orig i would go fan less as much as i could.
January 2, 2013 4:54:58 PM

I wouldn't bother with a liquid cooler, it would be really overkill. A fan could run at equally low levels on a half decent air cooler since he would only have a 77W CPU with no GPU or multiple hard drives etc. The possibility of leakage just isn't worth it for someone that isn't comfortable with going inside a PC.

This PC would pull like 100-150W at full load, a good quality 360W unit is fine.

A fanless unit is worth considering I guess, I'd sooner get a hybrid PSU though. They will run fanless until the PSU gets hot, then the fan will kick in. That gives you a degree of security, I'm not sure that I trust fanless components personally. (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them or that they don't work, I just don't like them personally.) Seasonic PSU's in general tend to be incredibly quiet anyway so only the most noise sensitive people need to consider fanless/hybrid PSU's.
January 2, 2013 7:26:12 PM

smorizio said:
I would toss in the extra cash and use a seal liquid cooler. there smaller then the big brick air coolers.it help on keeping the noise level down on your rig. look at a case that was sold as low noise case. or swap in some low noise fans and a good fan controller. (then you can turn down or up the fans as needed). on the power supply dont skimp out with a small unit the sweet spot of a power supply is the 50-70 percent of it rated load. when you go over that the power supply going to make a lot of heat and or can become unstable. I tell people who are building rigs to make sure they have 100-200w extra for over head. most times it not the total wattage output that you need is the amps on the 12v line.
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2012/12/03/new_corsair_h...
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2010/08/13/seasonic_xser...
there a 520w unit the SS-520FL. if i was building an audi orig i would go fan less as much as i could.


Thanks for the suggestion :) 
January 2, 2013 7:27:03 PM

jmsellars1 said:
I wouldn't bother with a liquid cooler, it would be really overkill. A fan could run at equally low levels on a half decent air cooler since he would only have a 77W CPU with no GPU or multiple hard drives etc. The possibility of leakage just isn't worth it for someone that isn't comfortable with going inside a PC.

This PC would pull like 100-150W at full load, a good quality 360W unit is fine.

A fanless unit is worth considering I guess, I'd sooner get a hybrid PSU though. They will run fanless until the PSU gets hot, then the fan will kick in. That gives you a degree of security, I'm not sure that I trust fanless components personally. (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with them or that they don't work, I just don't like them personally.) Seasonic PSU's in general tend to be incredibly quiet anyway so only the most noise sensitive people need to consider fanless/hybrid PSU's.


Thanks for the suggestion. This is a lot to take in haha
January 3, 2013 3:23:29 PM

How is this coming along now? Whats the current plan?
January 7, 2013 6:27:40 PM

jmsellars1 said:
How is this coming along now? Whats the current plan?


Sorry for the slow reply. I have contacted a friend who says he would be able to assemble the machine :) . I am saving currently and hope to have the computer at about the end of March. Aiming towards your suggestions. I'm going to do a bit more research nearer the time as I am very busy at the minute, thanks for asking and your help :) 
January 7, 2013 8:25:43 PM

Sweet, no prob. Be sure to let us know when you've built it and what you used. By the way, you can substitute that case for virtually any tower out there. I just chose that one because it is good quality, looks great and matches those monitors. Should be relatively quiet (if you turn the fans down) with decent airflow as well. Give me a shout if you need tips with noise reduction.
March 19, 2013 11:27:23 AM

jmsellars1 said:
Sweet, no prob. Be sure to let us know when you've built it and what you used. By the way, you can substitute that case for virtually any tower out there. I just chose that one because it is good quality, looks great and matches those monitors. Should be relatively quiet (if you turn the fans down) with decent airflow as well. Give me a shout if you need tips with noise reduction.


Hey wondering if your still here haha. Would you be able to recommend this build but slightly altered to accommodate gaming? I've seen a couple of high end new games out that I'd like to be able to play. I'm still working on the budget but would love to have some ideas, thanks!
March 21, 2013 9:23:59 AM

You could swap the i7-3770 for a Xeon E3-1230 V2 since you won't need the integrated graphics anymore (the Xeon requires a GPU.) They have almost identical performance otherwise and the Xeon costs a lot less.

Hopefully that should save you enough to throw in a fanless HD 7750. That would maintain ultra low noise and you wouldn't need to replace the PSU. The downside is that you won't exactly be playing BF3 at ultra high settings with that card. You would be looking at medium for ultra intensive games and high/very high/ultra high for most others.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7770-7750...
!