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Silent Build-opinions wanted

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So I am building a new system for my step-mom,who is due for a new system,as her current 2.4 Pentium IV is really old.She works for the local government and so stability,reliability,speed and future-proofing is the order of the day-with no overclocking.Of course it must be silent.She wants quality components-price is not the main issue.Technically I know a dual core Athlon would be sufficient-but looking towards the future I want to build as much features as I can into it now.She has had her current HDD for 10 years,and she only uses 36GB at the moment.Here is what I came up with,any improvements or suggestions are appreciated.
Word processing,streaming Netflix,web browsing etc. is about all she really uses.
PB01.JPG
PB02.JPG
about $1,650 eek.gif might have to cut it down some..hehe
Edited by Redwoodz - 3/10/11 at 5:58pm
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post #2 of 16
Looks great for a silent build. The R3 is amazing for sound dampening. I would say that you could make a few cuts though. You could get away with a 40-80gb ssd for a boot drive and probably a 500gb hard drive. If your mom is only using 36gb now, there is no way she is going to fill up a tb any time soon. Also she is not going to need 8gb of ram for web surfing and movie watching. 4-6 should be plenty. I would also say you should cut back on the processor. You don't need to go all the way back to a dual core but a quad is more than sufficient. The 6-core is excessive for a novice computer user.
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post #3 of 16
By the way if you really want to do a quality build which would cost much less, get the new sandybridge i3 processor and axe the video card. The onboard graphics on the sandybridges are really good (plenty for movie watching) and a really power efficient. Your mom is not going to need a high powered sound card for her purposes.
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post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by omnius19;12688714 
By the way if you really want to do a quality build which would cost much less, get the new sandybridge i3 processor and axe the video card. The onboard graphics on the sandybridges are really good (plenty for movie watching) and a really power efficient. Your mom is not going to need a high powered sound card for her purposes.
Yeah I really was considering SB,but I'm a little hesitant due to some of the problems,as all new products usually have to iron out.I am kind of torn to be honest.
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post #5 of 16
***? Your build is like a gaming build, except for a mid-range graphics card. I would recommend SFF as well as quiet, because there is no need for a non-gaming home PC to be huge these days, plus most non-techies like smaller computers.

Antec ISK 300-65 is a nice small case capable of being really quiet after swapping out the single 80mm fan with a quieter one. Once Sandy Bridge gets back in wider availability, here's one suggested build:

H67 chipset ITX motherboard $140
Core i3 2100T $150
(CPU is special low power version, here's a comparison between the normal version and a Phenom II)
retail box HSF $included
4GB dual channel low voltage (1.35v) DDR3 kit $50
slim SATA optical drive with desktop adapter $40
Intel 510 120GB SATA 6G SSD $320
random 7200RPM notebook HDD for My Documents/etc. $50
Windows 7 Pro $140
Antek ISK 300-65 $70
Nexus SP802512L-03 80mm fan $10

Total $970 +tax/shipping

This kind of setup would idle probably around 25W and full load probably around 50W, and has the potential to be quieter than the build you listed. Speaking of the build you listed, let me point out what is wrong with it:

CASE is too big. Seriously, a tiny silent computer that performs real well is much more impressive than a ginormous case.

MOTHERBOARD is too expensive. What will it give your mother that an $80 board can't?

GRAPHICS CARD is completely unnecessary. It just serves to eat electricity, produce heat and produce a little bit of fan noise.

PSU is overkill. Heck the Seasonic X400 is cheaper. You will save a LOT more electricity by ditching the graphics card versus getting the more expensive PSU.

Hex core CPU is completely overkill. For "Word processing,streaming Netflix,web browsing" a decent dual core would suffice.

SSD is not the best choice. For SATA 6G (that is available today) go with the Intel 510 120GB for $320. It is faster overall than anything except for the upcoming (but not yet available) Vertex 3. A cheaper alternative is the Intel G2 120GB for around $220. While it benchmarks a lot slower than the Intel 510 SSD, in real world performance most people won't know a difference.

RAM is a bit overkill too. If you want to spend a lot on RAM, look for some low voltage modules that need less than 1.5v. Alternately just get the cheapest stuff. Seriously, fancy heatsinks add zero to performance if not overclocking. If you want RAM to run cool, get lower voltage stuff.

HDD is the noisiest desktop drive on the market. Funny you should pick that for a "silent build." If you want performance and low noise, get the Samsung F3 1TB. Otherwise, just get one of the "green" drives.

ZALMAN HSF is also a bad choice. Here's a review of it that concluded "we can't recommend it." If you want an expensive HSF that is super quiet, get the Scythe Ninja or Thermalright HR-02. Those let you use your own fans plus they are designed for "quiet" operation due to more space between fins. Alternately just use the retail box HSF for free, and enable Smart Fan in BIOS/UEFI. You'd be surprised at how quiet such a setup can be (if not running stability testing).

THERMAL COMPOUND is overkill for a non-overclocked system. Just use whatever comes with the heatsink.

Seriously though, I am 100% positive that my SFF build listed above would do "Word processing,streaming Netflix,web browsing" every bit as well as the build you listed for the upcoming years, plus be quieter, draw less power and create less heat. Oh yeah, and it costs less too. Heck, if you want to go wild with the performance, add $150 and get the Antec ISK 300-150 (150W PSU versus 65W) and a Core i5 2500K (higher MHz, true quad core, Turbo mode, double the graphics cores) and double the RAM.
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post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zap;12689538 
***? Your build is like a gaming build, except for a mid-range graphics card. I would recommend SFF as well as quiet, because there is no need for a non-gaming home PC to be huge these days, plus most non-techies like smaller computers.

Antec ISK 300-65 is a nice small case capable of being really quiet after swapping out the single 80mm fan with a quieter one. Once Sandy Bridge gets back in wider availability, here's one suggested build:

H67 chipset ITX motherboard $140
Core i3 2100T $150
(CPU is special low power version, here's a comparison between the normal version and a Phenom II)
retail box HSF $included
4GB dual channel low voltage (1.35v) DDR3 kit $50
slim SATA optical drive with desktop adapter $40
Intel 510 120GB SATA 6G SSD $320
random 7200RPM notebook HDD for My Documents/etc. $50
Windows 7 Pro $140
Antek ISK 300-65 $70
Nexus SP802512L-03 80mm fan $10

Total $970 +tax/shipping

This kind of setup would idle probably around 25W and full load probably around 50W, and has the potential to be quieter than the build you listed. Speaking of the build you listed, let me point out what is wrong with it:

CASE is too big. Seriously, a tiny silent computer that performs real well is much more impressive than a ginormous case.

MOTHERBOARD is too expensive. What will it give your mother that an $80 board can't?

GRAPHICS CARD is completely unnecessary. It just serves to eat electricity, produce heat and produce a little bit of fan noise.

PSU is overkill. Heck the Seasonic X400 is cheaper. You will save a LOT more electricity by ditching the graphics card versus getting the more expensive PSU.

Hex core CPU is completely overkill. For "Word processing,streaming Netflix,web browsing" a decent dual core would suffice.

SSD is not the best choice. For SATA 6G (that is available today) go with the Intel 510 120GB for $320. It is faster overall than anything except for the upcoming (but not yet available) Vertex 3. A cheaper alternative is the Intel G2 120GB for around $220. While it benchmarks a lot slower than the Intel 510 SSD, in real world performance most people won't know a difference.

RAM is a bit overkill too. If you want to spend a lot on RAM, look for some low voltage modules that need less than 1.5v. Alternately just get the cheapest stuff. Seriously, fancy heatsinks add zero to performance if not overclocking. If you want RAM to run cool, get lower voltage stuff.

HDD is the noisiest desktop drive on the market. Funny you should pick that for a "silent build." If you want performance and low noise, get the Samsung F3 1TB. Otherwise, just get one of the "green" drives.

ZALMAN HSF is also a bad choice. Here's a review of it that concluded "we can't recommend it." If you want an expensive HSF that is super quiet, get the Scythe Ninja or Thermalright HR-02. Those let you use your own fans plus they are designed for "quiet" operation due to more space between fins. Alternately just use the retail box HSF for free, and enable Smart Fan in BIOS/UEFI. You'd be surprised at how quiet such a setup can be (if not running stability testing).

THERMAL COMPOUND is overkill for a non-overclocked system. Just use whatever comes with the heatsink.

Seriously though, I am 100% positive that my SFF build listed above would do "Word processing,streaming Netflix,web browsing" every bit as well as the build you listed for the upcoming years, plus be quieter, draw less power and create less heat. Oh yeah, and it costs less too. Heck, if you want to go wild with the performance, add $150 and get the Antec ISK 300-150 (150W PSU versus 65W) and a Core i5 2500K (higher MHz, true quad core, Turbo mode, double the graphics cores) and double the RAM.

Well,I asked about a SFF build and the answer was no for several reasons.It will be located on the floor,and while she may not need it now,the possibilty of adding let's say a TV tuner and a premium sound card is there.As for the 6-core yeah it is way overkill.But it is pretty much the same price as anything else I would get,whether it is a 2500k or a Phenom 970.She may also watch Blu-Rays and record,all the while having 8 browser windows and a couple of Office documents.The thing is-she kept her last PC for 10 years(still using it too) so I'm trying to get as close to that goal as possible.Also,that review you linked for the Zalman is completely different than what I have seen herehttp://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2567&page=4
that shows a 1.1c higher temp than a Hyper 212+ with the fan on low,and a 1c lower temp than the Corsair H50 on low speed.Also the size allows all RAM slots to be used as well as allow some VRM cooling.The GPU is very quiet(I have one) even at max speed.Thanks for your help.
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post #7 of 16
Building an overkill rig now really is a waste of money.... You can half of what you are now and still get a rig that she won't notice the difference for 5-8 years. Then in 5-8 years, use the save money to build another even faster rig. From her usage pattern, she won't benefit from this rig much.

Hex-core is a waste.
Video card is way overpowered. If she isn't gaming, she won't benefit at all.
PSU is way too high.
SSD is a poor choice... faster SandForce SSDs go for $200.
Why would she suddenly use more storage if she is using less than 40GB today?
Edited by DuckieHo - 3/10/11 at 11:34pm
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Once again...
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo;12689886 
Building an overkill rig now really is a waste of money.... You can half of what you are now and still get a rig that she won't notice the difference for 5-8 years. Then in 5-8 years, use the save money to build another even faster rig. From her usage pattern, she won't benefit from this rig much.

Hex-core is a waste.
Video card is way overpowered. If she isn't gaming, she won't benefit at all.
PSU is way too high.
SSD is a poor choice... faster SandForce SSDs go for $200.
Why would she suddenly use more storage if she is using less than 40GB today?
So what would you suggest?
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Amelia
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post #9 of 16
Just to add to the above:

Get a 40-60GB SSD. Or even 80GB if you really want to future proof and never have to have her ever think about where to put stuff. Move her documents folders to a RAID1 pair of 320GB laptop drives (nice and quiet, low power) for better data security - which is what she needs, by the sounds of it. Buying a huge SSD is a waste - documents don't need it.

The requriements you list don't need a big CPU at all. I regularly rip DVDs while having 20+ tabs open in FireFox and streaming movies from LoveFilm (kinda like UK version of NetFlix). All on a laptop from 2004 with 2GB RAM and a Celeron M in it. A hex-core monster is just silly...

Integrated graphics all the way. Either i3 or AMD 8-series mobos - either will be more than enough, and she'll never find the limits of integrated unless she takes up hardcore gaming or suddenly becomes an AutoCAD specialist.

RAM - any of the main brand's Value line. No point in anything more, especially if not overclocking. Still come with lifetime warranties, just at half the price. 4GB is more than enough.

Power supply - anything low wattage and half decent. 300W is more than enough. Any more will just waste power - that 550W psu might be platinum rated, but it won't get close to that when running at the ~50W load that this system will produce. And as a platinum unit it will probably whine like a spoilt child - the high frequency switchers in them will drive you mad (if you're susceptible to that kind of thing). And if you spend $120 more than you need to on a psu it will be a LONG time before you start saving money because of any lower power consumption anyway.

Future proofing for this is silly. You can spend $300 now and get something good enough, and buy a new $300 rig in 5 years time that will outperform your current system and last another 5 years. All for less than half of what you're thinking of spending now.
post #10 of 16
In case you don't want to read through this long post, read just this:

Four different people have now replied to this thread and ALL of them have basically said that your build list was way more than necessary. If you are posting here for advice, you've got four person's worth right here. If you are posting here for justification to spend way too much of your mother's money for something she doesn't need, you've come to the wrong place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodz;12689846 
Well,I asked about a SFF build and the answer was no for several reasons.It will be located on the floor,and while she may not need it now,the possibilty of adding let's say a TV tuner and a premium sound card is there.

The beauty of a SFF system is that it can sit on the desk and hardly take up any space. The Antec ISK 300 cases allows one low profile card to be used, so you can use a TV tuner in there. Premium sound card? headscratch.gif What will it do for your mother that onboard audio won't?

Alternately you can do a slim micro ATX rig. I did such a rig for my mother (saves a few bucks over mini ITX) and she loves it. It is really fast and near silent, and under $400 before OS. Basically lowest end socket 1156 setup with an Intel 40GB SSD and only 2GB RAM. She uses it for email, word processing, spreadsheets, web. For those tasks, it feels as snappy as my overclocked Core i7 975X with 128GB SSD and 6GB RAM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodz;12689846 
As for the 6-core yeah it is way overkill.But it is pretty much the same price as anything else I would get,whether it is a 2500k or a Phenom 970.She may also watch Blu-Rays and record,all the while having 8 browser windows and a couple of Office documents.

Purely based on performance, the Core i5 2500K would probably beat the Phenom II x6 in everything except pure multithreaded tasks that your mother would never use it for. Additionally, the Core i5 has a lower power profile, plus better integrated graphics than any of the AMD motherboards.

Oh yeah, and a Core i3 would have no problems doing all those tasks at the same time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodz;12689846 
Also,that review you linked for the Zalman is completely different than what I have seen herehttp://www.frostytech.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=2567&page=4

The Zalman is also completely unnecessary, and I do stand by my previous statement that for "silent" there are much better choices. I own a few of the older Scythe Ninja heatsinks, and I've run them with overclocked dual core CPUs using just case fans for cooling. Still, when not overclocking the stock cooler should be just fine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redwoodz;12689846 
The GPU is very quiet(I have one) even at max speed.Thanks for your help.

Again, completely 100% unnecessary for her tasks. Why are you even considering putting in a graphics card of any kind? It won't help any of the tasks you've listed except for perhaps web sites with HD Flash videos and Blu Ray decoding, but the purpose of such GPU acceleration was to augment CPUs that were too weak, such as Intel Atoms.

It's like your mom asks you what car she should get to drive 2 miles to work, and you say she needs a BMW M5.

We're just trying to save your mother from you. yessir.gif You're welcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_beast;12691267 
Just to add to the above:
...
Future proofing for this is silly. You can spend $300 now and get something good enough, and buy a new $300 rig in 5 years time that will outperform your current system and last another 5 years. All for less than half of what you're thinking of spending now.

Exactly! Well, I wouldn't do as cheap as a $300 rig, but point taken.
Main home rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-3570K ASRock Z77E-ITX GeForce GTX 670 8GB Samsung DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech MX518 Allsop Metal Onkyo TX-SR505 receiver, Polk bookshelf speaker... 
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Main home rig
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i5-3570K ASRock Z77E-ITX GeForce GTX 670 8GB Samsung DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Intel 330 240GB SSD, Crucial M4 256GB mSATA SSD... Samsung DVDRW CoolIt Eco Windows 7 Home Premium x64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung 305T Plus, Dell 2005FPW Cooler Master QuickFire Pro mechanical keyboard Rosewill Capstone 450W Lian Li PC-Q11B 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Logitech MX518 Allsop Metal Onkyo TX-SR505 receiver, Polk bookshelf speaker... 
  hide details  
Reply
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