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Old 05-03-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
increment1
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Join Date: May 2012
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Default System build, advice?

I have put together a rough plan for my build, but for most of it I am uncertain about the specific components I have chosen. Any and all advice is appreciated.

For some background, I want something quiet that is rock solid stable but that can do serious number crunching as well as occasional gaming. To this end the only firm requirements I have are the i7 3770, and the 32GB of RAM. If I could afford it (and put up with the sound of a helicopter landing in my living room) I would get a pair of Xeon E5s... but they are out of the question!

Overclocking is unlikely, but I may try it if it works without increasing noise / heat too much (most likely will only try this if I need a bit of a performance boost in a couple of years).

Budget: ~$1800 (before tax, Canada).

Current plan (prices are not matched, I may find better when I actually purchase, more just the components I am looking for):

Intel Core i7 3770K $358.98
G.SKILL F3-12800CL10Q-32GBZL Ripjawsz 32GB 4X8GB DDR3-1600 CL10 Sandy Bridge E 1.5V Memory Kit $215.99

ASUS P8Z77-V Pro LGA1155 Z77 $245.98
Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 1000MHZ 2GB 4.8GHZ $349.99
Crucial M4 Micron C400 SSD 256GB 2.5IN $239.99
Western Digital 2TB Caviar Green $117.99
Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Quiet Mid-Tower Case $139.99
Coolermaster Extreme Power Plus 500W ATX 12V V2.3 Silent Power Supply 20/24PIN 120MM Fan $44.99
ASUS BC-12B1ST Internal 12X Blu-Ray Reader & 16X DVD Writer Combo Drive OEM W/ PowerDVD $57.99


Specific questions:

- Motherboard pick is likely to change. I do not have a good idea of which Z77 motherboard to get (and still waiting / hoping for a comparison review on Anandtech!). Anyone know if there is a Z77 board that supports more than 4 DIMM slots (and thus more than 32gb)? Anyone recommend other better boards, or the deluxe of Sabertooth Asus boards?

- Is a non-stock heatsink + fan for the CPU recommended? Will it allow the fans to run slower and be more silent in general, or only useful for overclocking?

- 600W power supply a better idea? Any recommendations on a good / quiet one?

- Any case suggestions would also be appreciated. Quiet / build quality are my main criteria, followed by styling (prefer simple / elegant). My current case is an Antec Sonata (or maybe Sonata II, I'm not sure).. I like the simple / elegant styling, but the front ports were a little bit lack luster.

Any help / advice is greatly appreciated. Sorry for the wall of text. Will be building as soon as all decisions are firm.

UPDATE:

System purchased:

i7 3770k
MSI Z77 GD65
GSkill 32gb RAM
Sapphire Radeon 7870
Corsair 550D Quiet ATX Case
Seasonic X660 PSU
Crucial M4 C400 256gb SSD
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB HD
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Heatsink

Last edited by increment1; 05-07-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:37 PM   #2
lehtv
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Exactly what do you plan to do that requires 32GB of RAM? Do you already own Win 7 Pro, if not do you include that in the budget?

What do you think you need from a motherboard? (Z77 is limited to four RAM slots, if you want eight you need a high end X79 / LGA2011 motherboard.)

What monitor resolution do you game at?

Going through your parts list, my initial comments:
- mobo overpriced, CPU OK but I'd probably get 2600K for cheaper and overclock it
- GPU decent
- SSD, HDD and case good
- PSU utter crap

Quote:
- Is a non-stock heatsink + fan for the CPU recommended? Will it allow the fans to run slower and be more silent in general, or only useful for overclocking?
Some people are fine with the noise level of the stock heatsink, others aren't. So an aftermarket cooler can be good even if you don't OC. Many aftermarket coolers will be quiet even with a moderate-high OC. In general, aftermarket+OC is as quiet or quieter than stock+stock.

Quote:
- 600W power supply a better idea? Any recommendations on a good / quiet one?
A good 500W unit would be enough for 7870 or GTX680. E.g. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151094

Quote:
- Any case suggestions would also be appreciated. Quiet / build quality are my main criteria, followed by styling (prefer simple / elegant). My current case is an Antec Sonata (or maybe Sonata II, I'm not sure).. I like the simple / elegant styling, but the front ports were a little bit lack luster.
Corsair 550D fits those criteria
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Last edited by lehtv; 05-03-2012 at 04:40 PM.
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Old 05-03-2012, 06:04 PM   #3
increment1
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lehtv, Thanks for the comments and advice.

To answer your questions, I do have Windows 7 already. I am currently still running XP home on my current PC (sigh), but I have an unused upgrade version of Windows 7 Ultimate that I should be able to use.

The 32gb of RAM is to run some analysis on large data sets. If I can put all of the data in RAM, then it will run much faster as compared to constantly seeking it from disk.

What midrange (or even high-end) Z77 mobo is currently recommended? I cannot seem to find a consensus anywhere.

Good to know about the PSU.. will be changing it. A friend recommended the Seasonic X560, which is more than what I need (especially price wise), but apparently it will run fanless under 20% usage.. which this system should fall into during idle / non-load states.
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by increment1 View Post
The 32gb of RAM is to run some analysis on large data sets. If I can put all of the data in RAM, then it will run much faster as compared to constantly seeking it from disk.
Does your compute job benefit from HT? Some do, but most don't. The point of HT is to mask the latency of cache misses, like when you are randomly accessing lots of different memory regions. However, there is still a (sometimes quite large) penalty to having a non-contiguous memory access pattern. I guess what I am trying to say is that if it turns out that you do benefit from HT, you will get even better results by optimizing your code and not using HT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by increment1 View Post
What midrange (or even high-end) Z77 mobo is currently recommended? I cannot seem to find a consensus anywhere.
The ASRock Z77 Pro3 is a good board that will handle all normal uses. Looking through your OP, you don't really need anything esoteric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by increment1 View Post
Good to know about the PSU.. will be changing it. A friend recommended the Seasonic X560, which is more than what I need (especially price wise), but apparently it will run fanless under 20% usage.. which this system should fall into during idle / non-load states.
Stopping the fan on the PSU will really only help you if you've taken great pains to make the CPU, GPU, and HDDs extremely quiet. In most systems, you won't notice a difference between a very slowly spinning PSU fan and a stopped one. Something like an M12II 520W saves a good bit of cash.

Last edited by mfenn; 05-07-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:27 PM   #5
increment1
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mfenn, interesting comments, I will have to look into what you mention further.

To update with what I finally ordered:

i7 3770k
MSI Z77 GD65
GSkill 32gb RAM
Sapphire Radeon 7870
Corsair 550D Quiet ATX Case
Seasonic X660 PSU
Crucial M4 C400 256gb SSD
Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB HD
Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Heatsink


PSU is probably overkill (both in wattage and probably quality) for what I need.

The motherboard is the only part I had real reservations about. Normally I would buy ASUS, but all of their boards below the deluxe have the 892 realtek chip instead of the 898 (even the sabertooth.. not sure why they would do that).

ASRock Extreme6 would have been my next choice but it seems overpriced here in Canada at the moment ($220+ compared to $169 or lower in the US.. vs $169 + $20 rebate for the MSI board here). With the MSI board I lose eSATA and hopefully not too much else.. no idea about their software (fan control etc), will find out somewhat shortly I suppose.

Ordered from NCIX, having them build it just for the warranty protection (easier to deal with imho). From what I understand, they should assemble as well as or better than I would!

Thanks for all the advice everyone!
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Old 05-07-2012, 05:01 PM   #6
lehtv
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Overall a nice system, but nowhere close to the best bang for buck. I hope you enjoy it, those are some high quality components you got . Especially the PSU, it'll probably last you a decade in moderate use.
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Last edited by lehtv; 05-07-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
mfenn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehtv View Post
Overall a nice system, but nowhere close to the best bang for buck. I hope you enjoy it, those are some high quality components you got . Especially the PSU, it'll probably last you a decade in moderate use.
I agree. A little expensive, but a very nice build.
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