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244 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 83398 16-May-2011 10:34 Send private message

Hi,

I am looking to build a i5-2500k based PC.
In brief, I am after a PC for:
- low power and noise
- general microsoft office use
- media streaming to xbox in lounge.
- plus the kids also do a bit of stop motion compilation into video and 
- I fiddle with website stuff on a apache server.

My purpose in posting here is that I am interested in your thoughts on the motherboard and case.

While you can overclock on P67 board or use integrated graphics on H67, I was thinking of waiting for Z68 board that can do both (noting I read that the next iteration of Sandy Bridge is meant to have better graphics).

However as my current PC is getting flacky, I am now thinking of just going with P67 board and discrete graphics card.

Hence, should I wait or if I buy now - what graphics card would you recommend that is adequate but silent. ( I dont have preference between DVI - Displayport - HDMI).

Also - any recommendations for a case. I kind of fancy a micro ATX case thats transparent or even a HTPC case but am concerned this will limit graphics card options when compared to mid tower?

All thoughts - comments welcome

Cheers
Stephen



  

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251 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 469572 16-May-2011 11:59 Send private message

Hi not sure about your budget, but if you are thinking about a low noise case and don't mind a smallish case, I personally think Antec Mini P180 and Silverstone FT03 is worth consider, they should be able fit any good size Video card.

I am still think Z68 is worth waiting, as it will enable you to use a low power GPU free from your CPU, which you've already paid for your SandyBridge CPU, and I am more interested in its Smart Response Technology from Z68, means you can use a smallish SSD as system cache for fast HD performance.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 469602 16-May-2011 12:47 Send private message

Apparently the Lucid GPU virtualisation thing on the Z68 is pretty crap. The only reason for paying extra for the Z68 now is for the SSD caching. But you might as well save the money, buy a H67 and buy a 64/128/160GB SSD instead. (Intel 320 SSD's are "fast enough" when coming from a spinning disk)


If you're getting the H67 and doing anything graphical (games, gpu stuff) on it, you want the K part (has twice as many EU's)

399 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 469610 16-May-2011 12:58 Send private message

So you want a discrete graphics or not?

Here is a good little case for under $200: LIAN-LI PC-A05N. It's very compact, but you can still fit a full length graphics card and tower CPU cooler in it*. The only issue is that airflow runs in the opposite direction to a normal case, so it's probably not the best case for external exhaust graphics cards (the GPU's hot air will get sucked back into the case). It's all aluminium, which is usually not the best option for noise suppression, but in my experience it can be pretty quiet. The stock fans are acceptable.

*Incidentally, I suggest you buy a decent aftermarket cooler for the 2500, as the stock thing is useless. Even if you're running it at stock speeds/voltage, that tiny aluminium affair will barely keep it within safe operating temps at load. The Hyper 212+ offers excellent cooling for the money, and has a vastly superior mounting system to the Intel cooler. The stock fan on this is a POS - I've had two,both with terrible bearing noise.

pstar008: I am still think Z68 is worth waiting...


What do you mean 'waiting', it's already available.

I don't really see the worth of z68 either. For enthusiasts it's no better than p67, and it's still priced quite a bit more than h67.

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  Reply # 469615 16-May-2011 13:11 Send private message

I'm not sure how SSD caching is supposed to help, if you're going the SSD route just grab a 120GB or larger unit and run everything off that. There is no reason to store anything on a magnetic drive other than multimedia. The cache feature sounds suspicious to me...

If you need more space than 120GB for apps/games then you're insane already but just factor in a larger SSD.

From what I can tell OP should go for the H67 board, don't bother with the 2500K chip if you do, just get the stock 2500 unless it is more expensive as you won't be overclocking. The Intel graphics are very good. I am running dual 23" monitors on my PC and there is no lag anywhere. 1080p video plays fine but I do not game so can't offer experience with gaming and Intel HD GFX.

Media streaming & stop motion animation will easily be handled by the i5 without the need to overclock; I can encode BD to x264 very quickly with mine at stock.

I would grab the stock i5 and H67 board, put more toward more RAM and an SSD ;-)

399 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 469617 16-May-2011 13:19 Send private message

1080p: The Intel graphics are very good. I am running dual 23" monitors on my PC and there is no lag anywhere. 1080p video plays fine but I do not game so can't offer experience with gaming and Intel HD GFX.


My 2600k can't even manage Windows properly. There is tearing when the log off screen fades in and things just don't feel smooth (like dragging windows). Even a cheap (8600GT) GPU provides a better experience. I've tried a bunch of different drivers, which ones are you using?

Also, Display Port messes with your resolution (thus jumbling all your icons) every time you turn off the monitor, so be wary of Intel CPU graphics if you want to use displayport.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 469632 16-May-2011 13:47 Send private message

Thanks for the reply's guys.

To clarify:
1. I have already settled on 2500K where logic being I can overclock and use built in chip GPU
2. I know the Z68 has been released but market offerings are very limited at this point in time hence I am querying whether to wait longer
3. Kids dont do gaming on PC - thats done on Xbox
4. media streaming over Cat5 is big activity especially has to run WMC in background
4. My preference is NOT for a discrete graphics card to minimise power usage and noise but I will consider it
5. Budget is unimportant but I aim for reasonable - not crazy expensive. 

Re Oubadad - thats a interesting comment re noisy stock 2500K fan. Will look at quieter fan and same for PSU.

listening to 1080P feedback - the onchip GPU is adequate which is a definite plus but it concerns me
that Oubadad is having issues with Windows display but I wonder if this is due to displayport??

Given there is only $15 diff between 2500 and 2500K, hence why I was considering Z68 to get both get faster system while avoiding heat associated with discrete GPU. 


The antec and Silverstone cases look good but they seem to lack easly assessable CD drives. On website it shows the Antec drive behing a door .  eitherway - the consensus so far seems Micro ATX cases are adequate.



399 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 469635 16-May-2011 13:57 Send private message

D1023319: 

Re Oubadad - thats a interesting comment re noisy stock 2500K fan. Will look at quieter fan and same for PSU.


It wasn't the stock Intel fan that is noisy, I was referring to the stock fan that came with the Hyper 212+.

D1023319:listening to 1080P feedback - the onchip GPU is adequate which is a definite plus but it concerns me
that Oubadad is having issues with Windows display but I wonder if this is due to displayport??


No, the tearing etc. is happening over DVI too. Bear in mind, I seem to be the only one experiencing these issues (aside from the displayport resolution change - that is a known issue).

D1023319:eitherway - the consensus so far seems Micro ATX cases are adequate.


I wouldn't go with MATX cases. They restrict your CPU cooler choices too much. You end up having to pay $150 for a cooler that is small enough to fit, but still provides decent cooling. If you definitely want to use integrated CPU graphics, then I doubly recommend the Lian Li case, as it's actually a really smart design for getting airflow directly to the CPU.

399 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 469642 16-May-2011 14:29 Send private message




See what I like about this case is that the airflow is back to front. Not so great for a high end system with discrete graphics etc., but with this integrated rubbish you need only worry about one primary heat source. Put a tower cooler on the CPU/GPU and it gets cold air from directly from outside the case - the case's inlet fan is firing directly onto it. In the traditional case layout, the vital components get second had air that has already passed over the drives etc.

Put a dust filter over the rear inlet fan, and have that fan running at full speed, then set the front outlet fan to half speed, and you'll have positive air pressure. That will ensure that all incoming air is filtered, and you won't end up with every port and drive bay clogged with dust. I even blanked off some of the cases additional vents to be certain of positive air pressure even when the PSU fan ramps up.

EDIT: why does this site make such a pig's arse of images?



244 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 469682 16-May-2011 15:16 Send private message

ta - the pic tells a 1000 pictures

I like the layout and BTW I didnt realise you could by filters separately as per hyperlink on page


251 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 469688 16-May-2011 15:19 Send private message

kyhwana2: Apparently the Lucid GPU virtualisation thing on the Z68 is pretty crap. The only reason for paying extra for the Z68 now is for the SSD caching. But you might as well save the money, buy a H67 and buy a 64/128/160GB SSD instead. (Intel 320 SSD's are "fast enough" when coming from a spinning disk)


If you're getting the H67 and doing anything graphical (games, gpu stuff) on it, you want the K part (has twice as many EU's)


The point of SSD caching is taking advantage of SSD's speed and using it as a cache for slower HD at hardware level rather than you need either spend lots of money to buy a reasonable size SSD and put all your applications and system files in it or buy a smallish SSD and need be careful about what you are going to put into that SSD, lets the hardware do that for you based on block level usage pattern of your file system, and its performance is almost as good as you put all of your frequently used application/data on a SSD. At least that was my takeaway after read review. So I am not interested at it for performance, but for potential save my money or give me a reasonable good performance without spend lots of money. 

I guess the question is again whether you you want a video car or not, so you can choose either P67 or Z68.


The Antec one has a door, and the Silverstone need a slim optical drive which is expensive/hard to find, and I don't think it has a button to simple pop-up a DVD/CD. 

399 posts

Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 469742 16-May-2011 16:31 Send private message

Mobos and video cards aside, here are my recommendations for other hardware:

You should definitely look at the Seasonic X series for your PSU. If you're after quiet, then there is no better option. At low load, the fan doesn't rotate at all. The 650W version is priced very reasonably (~$240). My second choice would be the Antec Signature 650.

For memory, I'd look at G.Skill's F3-10666CL9D-8GBXL kits. They're rated at 1333MHz/1.5v, which is within Sandy Bridge's official specs. They're also exceptionally good value - Playtech has them for $200 (that's a kit of 2x4GB modules). I purchased two of these kits.

If you're happy with mechanical HDDs, I can recommend the Samsung Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB drives. Again, they're extremely cheap (actually, I think they might be EOL, because some shops don't seem to sell them any more) ~$90. I have them in various machines, and they're very quiet and perform surprisingly well. At that price, I'd even consider two of them in RAID 0 (or RAID 1 as a compromise).

SSDs are fast, but they have 'special requirements' if you want to get the most out of them. You need to put a bit more effort into setup, like re-assigning your browser cache to another drive to prevent excessive wear (a RAMdisk is a good option if you have plenty of spare RAM). Honestly, with my Intel 320, I didn't see as much improvement as I expected during normal use, and I can quite easily 'do without' the SSD on my other machines.

As for the CPU, you're right, the price difference between the 2500 and 2500k is negligible, and I think the k's have better integrated graphics (???). I know the 2600k has a better GPU than the 2600. However, I wouldn't recommend overclocking. You said you don't want a discrete GPU in order to reduce power usage, so what's the point in increasing power usage and temps by overclocking the CPU - you'll likely never see the gains in normal use.

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  Reply # 469799 16-May-2011 18:18 Send private message

Oubadah: My 2600k can't even manage Windows properly. There is tearing when the log off screen fades in and things just don't feel smooth (like dragging windows). Even a cheap (8600GT) GPU provides a better experience. I've tried a bunch of different drivers, which ones are you using?

Also, Display Port messes with your resolution (thus jumbling all your icons) every time you turn off the monitor, so be wary of Intel CPU graphics if you want to use displayport.


That is a definite software issue. I'm running Arch Linux and mplayer2 and have zero issues with media playback or general usage. You should be able to offload decoding to the graphics portion of the chip and the Intel HD 3000 has more than enough power for that.

pstar008: The point of SSD caching is taking advantage of SSD's speed and using it as a cache for slower HD at hardware level rather than you need either spend lots of money to buy a reasonable size SSD and put all your applications and system files in it or buy a smallish SSD and need be careful about what you are going to put into that SSD, lets the hardware do that for you based on block level usage pattern of your file system, and its performance is almost as good as you put all of your frequently used application/data on a SSD. At least that was my takeaway after read review. So I am not interested at it for performance, but for potential save my money or give me a reasonable good performance without spend lots of money.


I still think the cache feature isn't intuitive. If you are able to store all of your system/apps/games on a 40-80GB SSD then all you need magnetic media for is storing multimedia (photos/video/music) all of this is not slowed down by the read/write capabilities of the magnetic hard drives.

Oubadah: SSDs are fast, but they have 'special requirements' if you want to get the most out of them. You need to put a bit more effort into setup, like re-assigning your browser cache to another drive to prevent excessive wear (a RAMdisk is a good option if you have plenty of spare RAM). Honestly, with my Intel 320, I didn't see as much improvement as I expected during normal use, and I can quite easily 'do without' the SSD on my other machines.


That isn't strictly true. SSDs do have a limited number of writes per sector but there have been numerous tests done at full write capacity which estimate the life cycle of SSDs at over fifty years. http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html is from 2007 for an example...

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 469916 17-May-2011 00:14 Send private message

1080p: That is a definite software issue. I'm running Arch Linux and mplayer2 and have zero issues with media playback or general usage. You should be able to offload decoding to the graphics portion of the chip and the Intel HD 3000 has more than enough power for that.


What about Windows 7? Logging in and out, are the fades 100% smooth and unbroked without a trace of tearing?

1080p:That isn't strictly true. SSDs do have a limited number of writes per sector but there have been numerous tests done at full write capacity which estimate the life cycle of SSDs at over fifty years. http://www.storagesearch.com/ssdmyths-endurance.html is from 2007 for an example...


Maybe you're right, but there is so much conflicting info out there on SSDs, I don't know what to believe. So far I've taken the safe-over-sorry approach, but maybe I'm just paranoid...

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  Reply # 470061 17-May-2011 12:31 Send private message

Re the 120GB SSD, my Win7 install with Photoshop CS4, Office 2007 (I think), all the web browsers, and probably a bunch of restore points with no effort made to clean the disk up, i'm using 40GB of a 60GB SSD. Games and software development tools are all that would take up much more room, but rarely used apps can still put put onto a spinning disk if required.




Asus eee pad transformer
iPod 2G
Windows 7 PC
Lots and lots of Nikon camera gear



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 470064 17-May-2011 12:33 Send private message

thanks for all the feedback  - much appreciated

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