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Help with my first build - quiet micro-atx for scientific calculus and graphic design

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
First of all, lemme say that I'm very happy to be here. As a former graphic designer (now I'm a data scientist, but still 2D/3D graphician for hobby) I was a proud Mac user for about 18 years, but now I decided to switch back to a PC platform. I don't like the commercial, ethical and technological choices of Apple and, frankly, the gap between PC and Mac is not so thick animore.

But let's focus smile.gif

As title says, I started study on the web about modern PC building. The latest I did was a Pentium 233 about a half-life ago. Things are much more complex nowdays, so I really need some help for this critter I'd like to build (and have fun doing it)

Requirements and targets:
Budget: more or less 1000€
Intended use 1: scientific duties (statistics, data mining, machine learning, simulations) with software like Weka, R, stata, SAS, Matlab
Intended use 2: graphic design. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere, mainly, as I still accept some graphic duties from time to time. I'm starting to do some experiments with 3D rendering and modelling, but that's in my spare time only
Intended use 3: coding (nothing special)
Intended use 4: BOINC (for the Karma eheh)
Overclock capabilities: maybe or maybe not. I like the idea, but usually the overclockable stuff is much more expensive than standard one. So, it depends of the budget
Screen: I've a dual monitor setup - a very high-end monitor and a smartTV - so, having both online would be wise smile.gif
Form factor: micro-ATX - not enough space for bigger towers of power
Last but not least: the platform is not intended for gaming smile.gif

Some component ideas (a * on stuff I've already bought):
*Case: Bitfenix Prodigy - quite big to be a micro, but very elegant and with enough space for two HDD and more cooling options.

*Power Supply: Corsair TX Series 650WATT PSU 80+ Bronze - I know it's an overkill, but a good PSU is never a mistake IMHO. And I hope that the more power you have, the less fan noise you get during the everyday load.

CPU: Intel i7 4770. The 'K' version is smart, but expensive too...

Motherboard: Gigabyte H87N-WIFI or maybe Z87N-WIFI (it's quite the same price and even if I don't plan an overclock, it seems a better design. But perhaps I'm wrong and there's no plus to get a Z87 if you don't overclock). It looks the best as prive/capabilities ratio. Looking carefully at it I noticed the socked is so near the PCI and RAM slots. Shall I consider it while choosing the CPU cooler?

RAM: Corsair 2x8GB 1600MHz CL10 DDR3 Vengeance Memory Kit (but Crucial has some options too, and are much cheapier)

Videoboard: ok, here I have *no idea at all*. I like the QUADRO stuff, but it's way too much expensive for my budget (the entry level doesn't look promising and I'm not sure I would have a full dual monitor support). For my intended use I guess I need something with serious CUDA horsepowers and I'm oriented on something from Asus, since they are bit less silent than others (usually).

SSD Storage: Crucial M500 240Gb

HDD: Western Digital WD20EZRX Caviar Green HardDisk
*Keyboard: Logitech K360 Wireless Chiclet Keyboard

Cooling solutions:
I like those silent setups made with water components, but I don't think I have the budget nor the expertise to make a water cooled build. So I opted for a good air setup which is effective but as quiet as possible. But I'm a totally newbie, so here's some questions:
1. I see that mainboards usually have two fan connectors (CPU + System). I guess that only one (CPU) has PWM. There's no way to speed control the front/rear chassis fans based on workload? Is it better to power up chassis fans directly from the PSU?
2. What about compact sealed water solutions like this from Corsair? It's almost the same price as a flagship Noctua dissipator, but leaving much more space inside the case (i think I could screw the radiator on the upper grid of Bitfenix Prodigy) and...hey..it's liquid. But are those compact watercooler effective as-is? Perhaps it's better to replace the fans with something from Helix like this? Is it better (for effectiveness/noise) to get a more traditional tower dissipator from Noctua (does it fit in case with that motherboard?)?
3. What about fanless solutions like that? VERY EXPENSIVE I must say. The question is: is it effective even in a micro-atx builds? And the price values the worth?
4. I would complete my setup with one huge Bitfenix Spectre 320mm fan for front and one 140mm for rear, lowering down their speed of about 25% for reduced noise. But: i. I'm not sure the spectre will spin fit -25% power and ii. Perhaps it's ok to use 2x Noctua 140mm (-10% power) instead (they are cheapier, too).
5. Is it safe to not install a front fan?
6. What about cooling mobo MOSFET and the haswell? I like these, but are quite expensive and - maybe - not needed.

tons of questions smile.gif Hope I'm not annoying!

tnx in advance,
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Small Update: this could be a easier (but bit expensive) idea for CPU cooling.
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