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Looking for capable Workstation-Gaming-Hybrid PC


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#1 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 16:30

How's it going, been a while.

For the past few years and through studies, my notebook has served me reasonably well, however with projects getting bigger and more demanding by the month, it's just a matter of time before it'll cough itself to death. So I'm now looking to make the transition to a new powerful desktop rig that will perform smoothly for the next couple years. Since I'm not really that into hardware and I couldn't for the life of me even point to a particular graphics card I'd know anything about, I thought I'd come by and profit from your expertise on the subject.

 

First off, here's what I currently do (and plan on doing on the new machine) and what it would need:

- Almost no AAA gaming, however participating in the development of pretty demanding games (mostly UE4), so a potent graphics card, preferably VR supportive and Adobe enabled (supports Adobe applications by optimizing memory usage; any high-end Nvidia GPU has this feature I believe) should definitely be part of it.

- Composition, video editing (lots of After Effects, aside from Adobe CC in general for various tasks), sound design (the first of which demands huge amounts of RAM, so starting at 32 gigs should do nicely).

- And of course with that comes the need for a fast CPU, needless to say (I've heard that currently Intel in general outperforms AMD, however I haven't double-checked that).

- Noise reduction isn't my first priority, however it'd be nice to have. I hope it doesn't have to go as far as watercooling or anything like that though...

- Looks: Couldn't care less... As to size, the smaller the better of course, but ultimately, whatever.

- Having used a 500 gig SSD for apps has been a very nice experience, but I found that I could use more. Also, 3-4 TB hard drive storage for all those insanely huge project files would be a plus. And instrument libraries. They easily take away 1-2 TB...

 

I'm prepared to spend up to 1.5 quid, maybe a bit more if it means considerable improvement over the alternatives.

Can be a ready-to-go model or custom build.

 

Looking forward to your input! :)



#2 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 24 September 2016 - 20:12

I'm prepared to spend up to 1.5 quid

arduino-nano-v3-clone-2-500x500.jpg

 

 

I kid, will edit and write up a serious response later. ;)


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#3 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 23:59

I was starting to write up this post when I changed my mind; you seem to have sufficient understanding of PC components to put a build together yourself.
I think it will be more productive for you to scrape together a build and for me/us to tell you what we would change about it or what you might want to reconsider.

 

Just as a reminder, you need a:
Case that fits all of your hardware, looks nice, and facilitates the cooling you want.

Power Supply at least 80 Plus Bronze, in your price range probably Silver or Gold depending on how much you value energy efficiency, noise, and thermals.

CPU with a lot of power per core, I wish I could recommend AMD but at this point I don't think there's anywhere Intel falls short. (Socket 1151)

Graphics Card of your liking, this is pretty simple as the more money you throw at this the better a card you will generally get. (With diminishing returns of course)

I personally really like getting 2nd hand cards as they have served me well, a second hand GTX 970 has a great bang for its buck, but you might want to look at a 10-series card for your build. (You could go for AMD if you don't care about features like ShadowPlay)

Decent amount of DDR4 RAM, 32 gigs should serve your purposes nicely. Don't bother getting faster or more expensive RAM as you'll get very little for it.

Mother board with a high-end chipset and the featureset you want. I feel you can very easily go overboard on motherboards as the advantages of any MoBo over 120 euros strikes me as situational. Do your own research and look at what you want.

Storage to your liking, you already specified your wishes about SSD's and HDD's so I think you're sorted on this one. If you really want to splash out with this you could ditch HDD's altogether seeing as some types of SSD's are becoming ridiculously cheap (Seagate). It's nice to cut out the bulky mechanical hard drives entirely but it comes at a price.

Optical drives and a USB Wifi adapter if you (feel like you) need those.

Proper cooling solution, at the very least this means an aftermarket CPU cooler and enough case fans to get the hot air out, but you could also look at premade liquid cooling solutions for your CPU and even your GPU these days.

OS of your choice.

 

And any peripherals you might need or want, although this is a much larger and more subjective area. (Mouse, Keyboard, Sound, Mic, Monitor, Webcam, Mousepad) Whether you need any of these is important for budgeting the rest of the PC.

 

 

To guide you further I put together a recommendation of cost per component:

Power Supply ~€100

CPU ~€300

Graphics Card ~€300

RAM ~€180

MoBo ~€140

Which comes down to ~€1020

 

The rest is a bit circumstantial and very scalable

You could get a very decent and functional case for ~€40, but it might not fit your needs and you might find a very suitable one at ~€120

Storage is obviously a very personal choice as well, 500GB SSD + 3TB HDD is currently ~€260

Let's say this puts us at ~€1300, with about €200 left to spend.

At this point it becomes really important whether you're buying an OS or not, need any peripherals, need optical drives, etc...
I could go on about monitors and mousemats but I think I'll leave it at this and await any further questions from you.

 

Good luck!

 

EDIT: Beginner tip, check compatibility between:
CPU Socket <-> Motherboard Socket 

Case <-> Power Supply form factor (ATX)
Case <-> Mother board form factor (From big to small, ATX, uATX, ITX)

Graphics card length <-> Max graphics card length allowed by case


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#4 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 19:21

Thanks for the detailed guide; here's what I'm looking at currently:

 

GPU

EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC Gaming ACX 3.0, 8GB GDDR5, DVI, HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
447.47€

 

CPU
Intel Core i7-6700k 4x 4.00GHz, Sockel 1151, 8MB Cache, Quad-Core, OC,

338.15€
 

Mainboard

Asus Z170 PRO GAMING Mainboard, 4x DDR4 DIMM, Sockel 1151, 4x SATA 3, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI, 1x DP, 1x VGA

149.90€

 

RAM

32GB (4x8GB) Kingston HyperX FURY DDR4 2133MHz Non-ECC CL15 DIMM Kit

173.99€

 

Power Supply

be quiet! Pure Power 9 CM 700W ATX 2.4, 80 PLUS Silver

99.09€

CPU Cooling

be quiet! Pure Rock CPU Kühler

31.99€

 

Case

be quiet! Silent Base 800 Case silver

110.99€
 

Storage

Samsung 850 EVO Series SSD - 500GB + WD Red 3TB 3,5" SATA 6 Gb/s - 3TB

268.00€

 

OS

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64bit SystemBuilder Version
131.76€


Which puts me at 1751,34€.

 

For most components I did go a bit more premium than the recommendation (and my initial requirement) simply in view of the prospect of having a nice, worry-free performance headroom for the near future.
(And who am I kidding, there are some nice steam games I've had for quite some time but never got to play properly :P)

As for the brands / manufacturers I chose, it's mostly a combination of seeing the most prominent, typing "best XXX" in google and sifting through recommendations.

 

As to mice, keyboards, monitors -- that's all covered.

 

Now my questions would be:

- Application aside, does the build in itself overspend in any particular area or am I missing anything out crucial to its functionality?

- Can we knock the cost down from here (preferably back to the original goal) and what sacrifices would have to be made?



#5 Cyrill Jones

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Posted 12 October 2016 - 22:43

All looks pretty good to me.

 

Maybe take 100W from the PSU and get a better rating one for around the same price


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#6 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 17:15

Your closing questions are perfect and exactly what I was going to do.

 

Firstly, I'd like to address this.

 

For most components I did go a bit more premium than the recommendation (and my initial requirement) simply in view of the prospect of having a nice, worry-free performance headroom for the near future.

 

Phrases like this are very common with first-time PC builders and the like.
You have to understand that the key advantages of a (custom) desktop PC are scalability, replacablity, and as a result: upgradability.

I'm sure you're well aware of what the price/performance curve looks like, and what diminishing returns mean for assembling a desktop PC.
Personally, I find it a waste to throw a lot of money at your build to push it 10% further just so you can be "worry-free", unless the money comes easy to you.

Of course, having that high end will give you the comfort of knowing you couldn't have gotten more, but keep in mind that components still have a 2nd hand value, and upgrading is only the cost of the newer component minus the value of the one you are replacing.

 

Note: Remember some components are easier to upgrade than others, in ascending order of difficulty:

 

GPU (only really restrained to PSU)

Storage (harder to sell on, might require reinstall)

RAM (restrained to DDR4)

CPU Cooler (widely compatible but just a bit of work to un/reinstall)

Case (a lot of work, obviously)
CPU (restrained to your Socket)

 

 

On to your build

1. Motherboard

An important thing to understand about motherboards is that as long as they work with your components, the difference between a €50 one and a €150 one in terms of performance are small or even negligible. When your budget is 1500 you "might as well" get the best chipset for your CPU but understand that even the worst chipset gives within 5% of the performance of the best one.
 

Once you've decided on a chipset, the only thing you might want to look at is features you might want.
Compare your option: http://www.notebooks...aming mainboard
To this same-brand, same-chipset one: https://www.notebook...170 p mainboard

 

What's different? The color scheme, the amount and distribution of USB, PCIe, SATA, and various other ports and connectors, and some onboard devices like sound and network card. Worth €40? That's situational and subjective, but I for most cases I would personally go with heck no.

 

TL;DR - Only buy what you need.

 

2. RAM
Pretty decent, although you could just get two of these and be cheaper off:

https://www.notebook...dimm 288pin kit

 

3. Power Supply 
What Cyrill said. Useful things to know are that most PSU have an efficiency curve that looks like a symmetrical arch, meaning that they perform the most efficient when on about 50% load. I don't see your system pulling more than 400W even if all the planets aligned and you'll mostly find your usage like ~120W idle and ~250W gaming. Spending more in this category will mostly affect your energy bill and slightly improve your thermals. A 600W silver will do you absolutely fine. 

 

4. CPU Cooling

Decent cooler that gets the job done. The only point in paying more is if you want it to be even quieter.

 

5. Case 

My two cents are that this case is rather bulky even for the ATX formfactor; it's got a compartment at the top which can be used for liquid cooling radiators, it's also got one at the bottom which is a nice-to-have if your PC is going to stand on the floor or especially carpet. Overall a pretty premium case, but not one I would ever personally get. 

 

6. OS
Can't you find Windows 10 versions for like €20 these days? I would never spend that much on an OS for a personal computer.

 

 

In Summary

You could save:

€40 on the MoBo 

€20 on the RAM

€0-20 on the PSU if you wanted to

€0-50 on the case, potentially

€110 on the OS

 

for a total of at least €170 saved, up to €250.


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#7 Psycix

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 19:03

You build looks a lot like something I'd want to get, biggest deviation would be the case.

 

I completely agree with the guys above:

 

Unless you're going to do overclocking, get a cheaper mobo.

PSU is something I personally like to spend a bit of money on, for it is the only thing standing between 230V and your sensitive electronics.

For RAM, I see you picked 4 sticks of 8. I'd recommend looking into getting 2x16GB instead. As most Mobo's have 4 slots, that gives you the opportunity of adding more sticks and upgrading later.

CPU cooler. Looked into Noctua?


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#8 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 13:49

Very nice insight there Bob (& others), those bits of information are exactly what I was looking for; it also seems like CPU and GPU can remain untouched, which I would be very happy about.

 

Here's what I updated:

 

Mainboard

Asus Z170-P Mainboard, 4x DDR4 DIMM, Sockel 1151, 4x SATA 3, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI

109.00€

 

PSU - Doing exactly what Cyrill suggested, dropped 100W for a gold rating, price stays the same

be quiet! Straight Power 10 600W Netzteil ATX 2.4, 9x SATA, 80 PLUS Gold, 135mm Lüfter

99.99€

 

RAM x2

16GB (8GBx2) Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-2400 CL16 UDIMM 288pin Kit Rot

153.04€

 

Card Reader (Forgot about this earlier, might as well throw it in)

Sweex Interner Multi-Kartenleser, Schwarz [USB 2.0]

11.99€

 

 

--- Still unsure ---

 

Case

be quiet! Silent Base 600, silber, schallgedämmt
92.90€

 

I've taken this down a step, although I'm still open for concrete suggestions at this point... what's important to me here is a bit of noise dampening on the case itself and reviews seem to indicate that's precisely what this series of cases does. As to what I first said (the smaller the better) I kind of take back, since a little extra room within the also tends to work for you in terms of cooling. I have enough space.

So if there are cases out there for considerably less dough with a similar feature set, I'm all for it.

 

 

OS

Windows 10  (64 Bit Pro) OEM Key for 16 bucks...

 

At first I was very unsure as to the legitimacy of these ultra cheap OEM keys, but various webshops offering them do seem reasonably trustworthy; there's even a well rated youtube tutorial on how to get them to run. Unless someone here has made dire experiences in this area and advises to keep my hands away, I'd go for it.

 

 

CPU Cooling

 

Looked into Noctua?

Yes, but again my inexperience prevents me from finding the right specs to look at and compare. I don't think it's the max noise cap (since the current one is in most cases around 2dB lower)... What would your recommendation be?

EDIT: That's not true, the Noctua NH-D14 seems quieter and a lot more potent (heatpipes / second fan). However, it looks quite enormous and I'm also looking at this in-betweener. Thoughs?

 

Otherwise, so far we're down to 1568.32€ ( ▼ 183.02€).



#9 Psycix

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Posted 15 October 2016 - 23:53

For a moment I thought you listed the stock price of Noctua or such.

 

Just looked up a few reviews, seems like be quiet is finally living up to it's name. That does seem like an awesome cooler!

 

 

Oh, one thing: Does the case already come with fans? Does it come with enough of them, and are they good, or are they shit and need replacing with actual silent ones?

 

 

EDIT:
The PSU you picked now is not modular. If you care about this, think twice. If not, it's fine.


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#10 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 03:16

I'd get a USB card reader instead.
Also I'll do a final compatibility check on all of your stuff tomorrow.

EDIT: Question, I thought case designs like that, which restrict airflow, are noisier by nature.
However some review was saying the fact that the fans were "behind a cover" made them less audible.
What's up here? Also how bad is fan choking really?


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#11 FRAG

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 08:30

If it's anything like my In-Win case, yes the fans are less audible behind a cover and given the vented design on the top and bottom of the cover (which also slides up & down to expose the drive bays) allows for decent airflow so the fans don't choke, even at full RPM.

I would assume the be quiet case would follow a similar design on the cover to prevent choking.

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#12 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 13:03

1. I'd say your first cooler does the trick quite nicely, for a lot of enthusiasts it's a nice thing to go overboard on cooling because of temps and noise, but that one is very solid already.

 

2. Switch to a USB card reader. It's just clutter on the in- and outside of your PC and external is more convenient anyway.

 

3. Find a (semi-) modular PSU instead of this one.

 

4. Whether you go for either case, think ahead in where you will be mounting your storage drives. Consider removing cages you don't need.

5. The lower-end case has one fewer fan, if you go with that one I would get one of those fans to put in the front anyway. This Pure Wings 140mm is about €9 on that website, so keep that in mind when deciding between those two cases.

 

Also are you sure your peripherals are covered? It would be a shame if your monitor was meh with a setup like this.


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#13 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 21:50

Cool, so for the PSU I'm again looking at some different ones; I really want to get this one right. The be quiet doesn't have a modular gold rated one in that price or watt category.
 

So, here are my three current favorites:

 

Corsair RMx Series RM650x - 80 PLUS®

650W, Gold, Modular, Efficiency: 89%

 

Enermax Platimax D.F. 500W

500W, Platinum, Modular, Efficiency: 92%

 

Corsair CS Series Modular CS650M

650W, Gold, Semi-modular, Efficiency: 92%

 

Unless 500W is too great a risk, I'm almost tempted to go for the most efficient, if sligthly more expensive one...

 

 

On the subject of peripherals, they are fine for the moment; not optimal.

At some point I will need a better monitor -- currently it's a bog-standard 1080p plus a 2560x1080 21:9 business monitor we won by accident. The main concern right now is screen real estate to house all my simultaneously open windows and project views; I can't complain in that regard. Tbh, I like my 1080p and these days they're pretty easy to come by, so I can always plonk another one in.

However, the upgrade will come and when that happens, I'm thinking about jumping straight to 4K (because 4K video production is becoming more and more relevant). Therefore, I think it's future discussion material.

Besides, I still have to invest in proper audio monitoring (basically speakers which will set you back around 800-1k); that's all stuff I'm laying the groundwork for now.



#14 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 16 October 2016 - 23:47

Why not this one?
https://www.notebook... modular cs550m


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#15 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 12:43

Ah, missed that.

 

Went ahead and made the purchase, so I'll probably let you know how it turned out once it's put together and running. :)

 

Thanks a metric ton for guiding me through this, I owe you guys!



#16 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 16:10

I'm picking up that you're confident in assembly?
Any high profile tutorial you might've found is probably pretty good and complete, but here's just some tips:

- Pick a room with plenty of natural light

- Start early on, preferably before noon (Nothing is more annoying than finding a black screw in a black case with poor light)

- Plan your build ahead, in your mind or on paper. In what order will you be assembling stuff?

- Look up specific tutorials like installing your CPU cooler before you start

- Ground yourself (on a radiator on something) before you start, if you don't have an ESD-wristband

- Gather everything you need beforehand, even if you're not sure you'll need them (tape, scissors, tie-wraps, little trays to put screws in, screwdrivers)

 

Lastly, obviously keep all packaging until your system is running.
What I like to do afterwards is put stuff together, like RAM and SSD box in the MoBo box, maybe CPU cooler box in PSU box, etc. 
I usually throw the case box out pretty soon for obvious reasons.

Good luck and tell us how it went!


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#17 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 17 October 2016 - 23:07

Yes, although this will be my first PC build after a good decade of laptops, electronic tinkering isn't entirely new to me.

 

2 years ago ...

a MIDI mouse

was born

 

Also it'll happen at my family's place where I can take my time and get some semi-professional help, if need be.

 

But those points are very helpful, I'll keep them in mind for sure!



#18 Unforeseen Physics

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 11:39

Right, so it's up and running.

 

Assembling it took one day and altogether it was a surprisingly fun and intriguing experience.

Didn't run into any significant problems whatsoever, which is more than I can say for many ready-to-go machines I've had in the past.

Windows installed fine, activated fine and even found missing drivers online without a problem.

 

Played around with games a bit (nothing spectacular) at maximum settings; they run buttery smooth without making the PC itself more audible than by default (which is eerily quiet given the extra amount of fans in there).

 

Of course the real moment of truth where I throw all my Adobe and other software at the machine is still a day or two in the future, but as things are right now I couldn't be happier.

 

Build.jpg

 

So this right before I put the lids on. Of course, the wiring isn't exactly out to win a beauty contest here, but it was pretty messy to begin with when I got the case; took a bit of untangling. Also, some cables were a bit short (so they would stretch accross an empty space), others would loop around the place forever, so a few old cables of my own make an appearance.
I may or may not rotate the cooler by 90°, because right now it's obstructing access to one RAM stick, but the current airflow seems good and until I go for full 64GB it doesn't matter either way.

 

So yeah, if you find anything that looks awfully wrong let me know. :)


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#19 Hardcore Bob

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 12:45

That is a nice machine! Did you manage to find the I/O connectors fine?

 

The first thing that painfully stood out to me is indeed the angled CPU cooler.

Your case sports 2 or 3 fans blowing front to back, it would be so nice if your CPU cooler was doing the same.


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#20 FRAG

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Posted 23 October 2016 - 12:55

Yeah I would personally rotate that cooler block, although it's nice that mobos now allow you to have a choice, I don't feel it's necessary unless you have some weird setup that means that configuration must be used.

 

Nice setup though!


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