Tuesday, December 02, 2014

New System!

After five years or so, it was time for a new system.

Visual Studio and some of the other programs I work with were not running that well anymore. And even though I don't have a lot of gaming time, I wanted to play in full glory when I did.

Like I said in Saturday's post, it's never easy for me to build a system. When you only do it twice a decade, you forget all the important little things, and that's what always gets you in trouble.

Having said all that, though, the new system is working, and damn, it's sexy. Pictures.

Man, that heatsink is MASSIVE.

I should probably define what I mean by "sexy", and it's pretty easy.
1. Stable
2. Quiet
3. Fast
4. Quality display
5. No need to open the case for the first two years.

Those aren't exactly in order, but you get the idea. Once it's build, I want it to be powerful enough where I don't need to open the case for any reason. A couple of years from now, drop in a graphics card.

My strategy is to buy one step below the top, which is still plenty fast. But I splurged on the monitor this time--it's the Dell U2713HM, and it is utterly spectacular. 2560x1440 resolution, beautifully calibrated out of the box, and it's not even a giant power hog.

Okay, here are the components:
Asus X99-Deluxe motherboard
Intel i7-5820k Haswell-E CPU
Noctua NH-D15 heatsink
SeaSonic 860w Platinum power supply
Crucial Ballistix 4x8GB DDR4 RAM
Gigabyte Geforce GXT 970 graphics card
Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD
Silverstone FT04 Case

The total price on all of this was in the $2,000 range. This system is going to last me for another five years, so I'm willing to spend a little more up front.

I mentioned on Saturday that I was disappointed about the build quality of the case, and that's true, but man, the physical design and air flow is unbelievably good.

Air flow versus noise is always a complex trade-off. You can dampen noise coming from the system, but that will increase heat levels inside the case substantially, which makes fans spin at higher RPM's, which increases the noise level. Or you can take the other approach--a case with great air flow, which allows fan speeds to be much lower.

I took the second approach this time. There's a bit of sound dampening material in the case, but it's also wide open for airflow, and it's a positive pressure case, so it pushes air out the back. When I'm sitting at the desktop in Windows, here's what's happening inside:
CPU fan--950 RPMs (Noctua--essentially silent)
CPU temp--35C
Motherboard temp--32C
Power supply--in hybrid mode, and at these temps, the fan doesn't spin at all
Geforce card--30C, with fans spinning at around 500RPM, which is also essentially silent.

So at the desktop, the system is very close to silent, and there's no coil whine at all.

I can customize the CPU fan profile in the BIOS, so I tinkered with it a bit and then ran the Sandra benchmarks. The CPU temp got up to 58C but no higher. And when running 3DMark Firestrike, the graphics card never got above 60C.

Even at the highest temps, the system is very, very quiet.

There are still a ton of things I have to do before I can start transferring stuff over. I need to run something for hours/days to make sure the system is stable (not Prime, because that seems like complete overkill, so I need to find something).

I'm very cautious about relying on a system before it's been thoroughly tested, so it's still going to be a while before I switch over. Right now, though, I am very, very happy with how this has turned out (even if I wanted to kill myself several times while I was in the build process).

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