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Energy efficient performance system

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,
I posted this over on the Australian OC site, but wasn't able to get some of my questions answered. Thought I'd post here in the hope of more insights.

Yeah, yeah ... I know energy efficiency and performance don't really go hand in hand! tongue.gif
But this is what I am after. I haven't built a system in a few years and havent kept up to date with technology so I am hoping you guys here can give me a hand with recommendations and/or reference materials.

What I do with my computers?
Gaming (not hardcore), photoshop, video editing (not professional, just home use), office stuff, torrents, occasionally use as a media server. Mild overclocking (if any, certainly not competitive, maybe just out of interest than anything else)

Why energy efficient?
Because I tend to leave my computer on 24/7. Most of the time the computer is on idle or torrenting. So I am looking to make it as energy efficient as possible during idle times.I would say idle makes up about 85% of the time the computer is on.

Why performance?
Because I am impatient. When I am using the computer, I would like it to do what I want as fast as possible. So I am looking for something that is energy efficient at idle, but can pump out the power when needed or a nice little sweetspot in between. ie. doesn't have to be the fastest and best. Energy efficiency is the higher priority

What I am looking to build -
quiet, energy efficient, can crank up when needed, best value for money system (not cheapest, but best value ie. best performance/$). Don't have a budget to stick to, just willing to spend for best performance/$. Only need one graphic card now, but system needs to be able to add another one in the future (would prefer it if I didn't have to stick to the same card, eg. I may get something more powerful in the future to SLI/X-fire together, or the particular model may no longer be stocked etc. so it needs to be versatile)

What I am thinking -
Haswells are supposed to be the more energy efficient chips at idle, so was thinking a i7-4770

The rest of the system I am thinking of are as follows (but these are not set in stone and are basically just asking for your opinions). Please let me know if you think these parts meet my requirements above, or if there are anything I should keep in mind when looking at this particular item (eg. drawbacks compared to other models etc.) -
(oh, and I forgot, my case is the Cooler Master ATCS 840)

Motherboard : Asus 787 Pro or expert
Video card : Is 2 x 2G 7870 better or is it better to go with 1 x 4G GTX760?
which will be less power hungry (is it a big difference?)
Memory : 16G 2400 G.Skill Trident-X
PSU : looking for a gold or platinum rated and modular psu. I was told that at idle, there is little difference between the two standards ... is this right?
CPU Cooling : Was told I needed water cooling, but was interested in the Noctua NH D14 system (not much price difference between this and the Antec H2O 920 water cooling system) ... which would you guys recommend and why?
Storage : 2 x Samsung EVO 250Gb
1 x WD Black 4Tb
Case cooling : later and depending on whether you guys recommend water cooling or the Noctua (or anything else that is recommended)
Monitors : 3 x old monitors (viewsonic 24", samsung 24" and a dell 20")

Also seeing as the asus motherboard seem to have inbuilt fan controller, do I also need an external controller (i like the look of them, but not sure if they will perform any function if it already comes with the mb)

Some other questions :
1. What is the advantage of having 2 NICs on the motherboard instead of just the one?
2. Is there a way I can get the computer to start up, clone the operating system from one SSD to the other and then load up the OS from the second SSD? (as I do quite a bit of torrenting, this seems like a way to ensure I get a clean system at every reboot


Sorry guys ... large post. I would really appreciate any help you can provide though!
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post #2 of 7
So long as you're not OCing, Haswell is very power-efficient.

Z87-PRO is a good board.

1x 760 will be more power-efficient, especially once you take into consideration GPU boost, which allows you to set power draw targets.

Regarding PSUs, at idle, they are typically more inefficient than at load; good bets for that system would be Seasonic Platinum range or Super Flower Leadex (if you can find it).

If you aren't OCing, an NH-D14 will be a fantastic bet for cooling. The 920 has more parts to go wrong and will draw more power.

I wouldn't bother with an external fan controller, just let Fan Xpert do it's job.

2 NICs let you group them together, allowing for greater bandwidth. This doesn't mean more speed, it means more headroom to transfer between different computers on the network.
 
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks GingertronMk1for taking the time and going through that long post!
Much appreciated.
Do you (or anyone else) see any issues with those components (eg. Bottlenecks or incompatibility etc)
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post #4 of 7
assuming youre not going to OC, since you want energy efficient rig, you can go something like this:

CPU: Xeon X3-1230 v3
COOL: Coolermaster Hyper 212X
MOBO: Gigabyte B85 or H87 - D3H
RAM: Any model 4gb x2 DDR3 1600mhz
GPU: Any model HD7850 / GTX 760
HDD: WD Caviar Black 4TB
SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 250GB x2
PSU: Seasonic X560/650 or Platinum series
Case: Any mATX or Mid-Tower Case of your choice

Why xeon? it is basically an i7 without an integrated graphics. disabling the integrated graphics made the Xeon about 20% less consumption than an Haswell i5 or i7. Thats around 5-10 watts. Xeon also has hyperthreading, useful for your photo/video editing needs.

A B85 board is enough for your needs, and it is a very good board too! Although you can go with H87 if you need those extra sata3 6.0gbps or more usb 3.0 ports. Either chipset will serve your purpose.

A CM Hyper 212EVO or 212X should be good enough to cool your processor. The stock fans are all so good enough for the Xeon in my experience.

Not sure about the 7850, but i think that card has the most energy + performance ratio in its price range. You may also want to wait for the next batch of AMD cards, but if you do not want to wait, you can go with the GTX760 4GB which is better than the 7870 in terms of energy and performance.

I chose the seasonic X series (or P) since the PSU have hybrid fan mode--- if the system is does not generate enough heat, fans will go under fanless mode. Not sure if it will benefit your rig though since they are still silent under full load in my book.

I didn't include case fans since you can choose anything you want, but just make sure it gives enough airflow to go through your case.


HTH

J

edit: some typos
Edited by Dyaems - 8/30/13 at 12:18am
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dyaems!
I never considered the Xeon range before. I definitely won't be using integrated graphics, so it does seem like a good idea! Does it have the same power and speed as the i7 4770? If not, do you know what the reduction is in terms of %?
Yeah, I am going to wait for the new AMD cards to be released ... which I believe is going to be quite soon! Can't wait!
Thanks for the suggestion about the boards too ... i will probably need the extra SATA and USB slots.
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgyr View Post

Thanks Dyaems!
I never considered the Xeon range before. I definitely won't be using integrated graphics, so it does seem like a good idea! Does it have the same power and speed as the i7 4770? If not, do you know what the reduction is in terms of %?
Yeah, I am going to wait for the new AMD cards to be released ... which I believe is going to be quite soon! Can't wait!
Thanks for the suggestion about the boards too ... i will probably need the extra SATA and USB slots.

i think the E3 1230 v3 is 100mhz slower than 4770 non-k but it is 10w more efficient?
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. I am going to look into it. I guess I now have some time up my sleeves now that I am waiting for the next batch of AMD cards to hit the market! lol
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