Seeking advice on components for a new computer.


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Message 1223962 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 15:13:17 UTC

I will be building / assembling a new computer in Mid May. I would like to solicit advice here on the components to choose to optimise my S@H crunching. I will leave my computer running 24/7 so power usage and cooling are issues.

I live in Brisbane, in Australia which is sub tropical in climate. My home is not air-conditioned and in mid summer temperature inside is often in the mid 30’s C. Currently I buy my electricity at $0.21 per kilowatt hour.

I am not a gamer, and am somewhat price conscious. This system will be my primary computer for hopefully the next 2 to 3 years. My main use will be web browsing, using Microsoft Office and Wolfram Research Mathematica, and of course running Seti@home 24/7.

What is the best/ fastest/most efficient single graphics card to use? Nvidia’s GTX680? If so would there be any advantage S@H WU crunching wise in buying a 4GB card over a 2GB card?

Should I use a new Ivy Bridge chipset Mother board and the i7-3770K over the older Sandy Bridge Motherboards and i7-2700K?

I would like to experiment with overclocking, but do not want to use water cooling. What air cooling do you recommend? I would like the system to be as quiet as possible. What case do you recommend? I live in a built up area so dust/pollution may be an issue.

How much RAM and what type should I use to optimise my WU crunching?

Would a SSD help in speeding up WU crunching?

What PSU should I get? Is it worth forking out the extra for a Gold rated PSU over a Silver or Bronze. I do not expect to have more than one graphics card.

I have already bought the monitor – a Dell 2711. I will be running Windows 7 and will upgrade to Windows 8 when it comes out

Lots of questions I know. I would appreciate any advice readers may wish to offer. Thank you.

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Message 1223975 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 16:11:00 UTC - in response to Message 1223962.

In general, you get much more processing out of a GPU than a CPU. Probably best to concentrate your $$ there.
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Message 1223983 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 16:23:43 UTC - in response to Message 1223962.

Any new computer will do nicely for web browsing and word processing, you can get the cheapest one. You don't even need a graphics card, it's all integrated nowadays.

But if you want a serious Seti@home RAC it all depends on what budget you have, get the best stuff you can afford. The graphics card will get you the most bang for your buck, so spend the most of your budget there. GeForce GTX 680 is the best you can get at the moment, see here.

A SSD or large amounts of RAM will not help your RAC much but the rest of your computing experience will improve drastically. I would get a SSD for the system and a mechanical HDD for storage.

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Message 1223994 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 17:00:06 UTC

I will be building / assembling a new computer in Mid May. I would like to solicit advice here on the components to choose to optimise my S@H crunching. I will leave my computer running 24/7 so power usage and cooling are issues.

I live in Brisbane, in Australia which is sub tropical in climate. My home is not air-conditioned and in mid summer temperature inside is often in the mid 30’s C. Currently I buy my electricity at $0.21 per kilowatt hour.

I am not a gamer, and am somewhat price conscious. This system will be my primary computer for hopefully the next 2 to 3 years. My main use will be web browsing, using Microsoft Office and Wolfram Research Mathematica, and of course running Seti@home 24/7.

What is the best/ fastest/most efficient single graphics card to use? Nvidia’s GTX680? If so would there be any advantage S@H WU crunching wise in buying a 4GB card over a 2GB card?

As the others have said go for GTX680, it will give you most bang for buck.

Should I use a new Ivy Bridge chipset Mother board and the i7-3770K over the older Sandy Bridge Motherboards and i7-2700K?

Yes get Ivy Bridge chipset, on CPU's go for slowest the gains by running faster are not that great.

I would like to experiment with overclocking, but do not want to use water cooling. What air cooling do you recommend? I would like the system to be as quiet as possible. What case do you recommend? I live in a built up area so dust/pollution may be an issue.

Top end heat sink, and try to match up with hi-volume fans. (on my sons I have fitted 120mm * 37mm from Silverstone)
Case large as possible, sons is Coolermaster with large (230mm) in side panel.
To reduce dust problem fit as many as possible intake fans, to create positive air pressure inside case, stops dust etc. being drawn in through the gaps. And I also have dust problem sometimes, quarry not too far away, so I get sheets of vacuum cleaner micro-filter material and cut to size.

How much RAM and what type should I use to optimise my WU crunching?

As said by other, not much effect on Seti, other projects may vary.

Would a SSD help in speeding up WU crunching?

On sons I fitted SSD as cache to the Large HDD, makes HDD run like SSD on system and programs and files most often used. I presume this is available it is on previous best mobo.

What PSU should I get? Is it worth forking out the extra for a Gold rated PSU over a Silver or Bronze. I do not expect to have more than one graphics card.


Always on any computer get best quality you can, PSU's account for most computer failures.
The reviews I have read say GTX680 max power consumption is 195W, and system with i7 is under 400W. On those figures I would go for PSU of 600W, to allow room for a bit of extra's and not stress it 100% of the time.

I have already bought the monitor – a Dell 2711. I will be running Windows 7 and will upgrade to Windows 8 when it comes out

Lots of questions I know. I would appreciate any advice readers may wish to offer. Thank you.


To reduce power a little all Intel CPU's I have worked with since before core2 have been able to run at stock speed with supply of 1.1V (default is usually about 1.35) as power, and therefore temperature, is V^2 reducing volts a little reduces power a lot. Vice Versa if you o/clock and need to increase CPU volts the power goes up a lot, which requires more cooling, and MONEY, something we never have enough of.

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Message 1224017 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 18:00:10 UTC

Depending on how hard you work Mathematica, you can probably get away with an i5 instead of an i7. Put the money you save into the GPU and you will get more bang for the buck.
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Message 1224021 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 18:10:51 UTC

+1 on the PSU comments.

Don't buy a case with a psu, instead buy a GOOD psu, spend money here it's a worthwhile investment. I always aim for 100 watts (or more) OVER what would be recommended by a PSU calculator found on sites like Newegg.

You mentioned electricity cost as a concern, you say the machine will run 24-7, I'd say get the most energy efficient model you can afford from a good PSU maker. Get the gold if available within the manufacturer line you choose.

There are different levels of "good" PSU manufacturers.

PC power and cooling are high end, very good but very expensive. Worth it if you can afford it I assume.

Under that at the consumer level I've had very good luck with HEC. Corsair seems to have a good reputation and I have several out there in builds for a couple years or more now. Antec is OK but depending on the model you could end up with junk.


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Message 1224074 - Posted: 27 Apr 2012, 20:47:10 UTC - in response to Message 1223962.

What is the best/ fastest/most efficient single graphics card to use? Nvidia’s GTX680? If so would there be any advantage S@H WU crunching wise in buying a 4GB card over a 2GB card?

For performance per watt, the GT680 is the present God.
My GTX 460 & 560Ti are 1GB models, and running 2 WUs at a time results in about 750MB of Video RAM usage while doing other things with the system. So a 2GB card would be plenty for running as many as 4 WUs at a time.


Should I use a new Ivy Bridge chipset Mother board and the i7-3770K over the older Sandy Bridge Motherboards and i7-2700K?

Ivy bridge has a slight performance advantage over Sandy Bridge, however the new CPUs do run hotter. That combined with being on a new process makes them less suitable for overclocking than Sandy Bridge CPUs.


I would like to experiment with overclocking, but do not want to use water cooling. What air cooling do you recommend? I would like the system to be as quiet as possible. What case do you recommend? I live in a built up area so dust/pollution may be an issue.

Keep in mind that overclocking results in significant increase in power consumption, and heat. The increse in power consumption isn't linear for the increase in processing done- you will use a lot more power for a smaller return on WUs processed over the stock speed.
Moving air, lots of air, will make noise. Lots of noise. If you want quiet, then there is no point in overclocking.
Using a good water cooling system can shift a lot more heat with much less noise, but it will still be noiser than running stock speeds with a good after market heatsink.
And the larger the case, the better the cooling with the less noise.


How much RAM and what type should I use to optimise my WU crunching?

As long as the system has enough not to run short, crunching won't suffer. 4GB as a minimum, 8GB doesn't cost much more so might as well go with 8GB. 64bit OS.


Would a SSD help in speeding up WU crunching?

Nope, but it makes the system so much more responsive.
When i use other people's computers it feels like they're broken. Everything takes so long to happen after you click on it. I could never go back to a HDD for a system drive.
With the present cost of SSDs you could go for a 120GB drive for the system, a 240GB drive for data, and a 3TB HDD for less often used data/ on line backup/storage.


What PSU should I get? Is it worth forking out the extra for a Gold rated PSU over a Silver or Bronze.

Don't buy cheap rubbish & if you are concerned about power usage, and wish to crunch 24/7 than a Silver rated PSU should be the minimum to consider.
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Message 1224218 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 4:07:25 UTC

As to air filters the DEMCi air filters which are a medical grade filter are very good, they work just fine on My HAF-932 case as the edge is magnetic and it just sticks to the steel of the case, plus they can be washed like a dish with dish washing liquid or with warm water and then blot dry afterwards. The filters can be bought at Performance PCs.
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Message 1224235 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 4:46:51 UTC - in response to Message 1224074.
Last modified: 28 Apr 2012, 4:51:16 UTC

What is the best/ fastest/most efficient single graphics card to use? Nvidia’s GTX680? If so would there be any advantage S@H WU crunching wise in buying a 4GB card over a 2GB card?

For performance per watt, the GT680 is the present God.
My GTX 460 & 560Ti are 1GB models, and running 2 WUs at a time results in about 750MB of Video RAM usage while doing other things with the system. So a 2GB card would be plenty for running as many as 4 WUs at a time.


Should I use a new Ivy Bridge chipset Mother board and the i7-3770K over the older Sandy Bridge Motherboards and i7-2700K?

Ivy bridge has a slight performance advantage over Sandy Bridge, however the new CPUs do run hotter. That combined with being on a new process makes them less suitable for overclocking than Sandy Bridge CPUs.


I would like to experiment with overclocking, but do not want to use water cooling. What air cooling do you recommend? I would like the system to be as quiet as possible. What case do you recommend? I live in a built up area so dust/pollution may be an issue.

Keep in mind that overclocking results in significant increase in power consumption, and heat. The increse in power consumption isn't linear for the increase in processing done- you will use a lot more power for a smaller return on WUs processed over the stock speed.
Moving air, lots of air, will make noise. Lots of noise. If you want quiet, then there is no point in overclocking.
Using a good water cooling system can shift a lot more heat with much less noise, but it will still be noiser than running stock speeds with a good after market heatsink.
And the larger the case, the better the cooling with the less noise.


How much RAM and what type should I use to optimise my WU crunching?

As long as the system has enough not to run short, crunching won't suffer. 4GB as a minimum, 8GB doesn't cost much more so might as well go with 8GB. 64bit OS.


Would a SSD help in speeding up WU crunching?

Nope, but it makes the system so much more responsive.
When i use other people's computers it feels like they're broken. Everything takes so long to happen after you click on it. I could never go back to a HDD for a system drive.
With the present cost of SSDs you could go for a 120GB drive for the system, a 240GB drive for data, and a 3TB HDD for less often used data/ on line backup/storage.


What PSU should I get? Is it worth forking out the extra for a Gold rated PSU over a Silver or Bronze.

Don't buy cheap rubbish & if you are concerned about power usage, and wish to crunch 24/7 than a Silver rated PSU should be the minimum to consider.

+1 And Vic and Mark KNOW Their Cooling Well also. And an under powered PSU Can kill lots of goodies...Get the best Single Rail you can 850 Watt or Better.
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Message 1224289 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 8:02:13 UTC - in response to Message 1223962.

I use a GTX 590 (stock) but dont run it 24/7, its a dual GPU card, the new model is about to be released - GTX 690 and its reported to use a lot less power. You should consider this card.

The GTX 590 is very quiet, and runs at about 75 degrees C. You can crunch 6 work units at one time on this card.

I use MSI afterburner to monitor the card settings / temperature / fan speed.

Overclocking = heat = all sorts of possible problems if your house is hot. You might have to go watercooled.

Motherboard, CPU, RAM etc... not important, all the crunching is done with the GPU.

PSU - get above what the card recommends, if they say 500w, get a 650w. I use a 1000w.

This is one of the best places to get your stuff from in OZ:

http://pccasegear.com/
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Message 1224291 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 8:16:31 UTC

The news, or possibly rumour, is that the 690 will not be available until the 3rd qtr or later. It would appear that Nvidia are concentrating first on the mobile gpu's ( may/june) then the lower end of the desktop line up, the 660,640,620 next, julyish. Then the 690 for the 3rd qtr. After that will come any Ti models and/or odd numbers, e.g. 650, to fill any cracks that might be needed in their battle with AMD.

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Message 1224293 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 8:22:33 UTC - in response to Message 1224291.
Last modified: 28 Apr 2012, 8:23:49 UTC

The news, or possibly rumour, is that the 690 will not be available until the 3rd qtr or later. It would appear that Nvidia are concentrating first on the mobile gpu's ( may/june) then the lower end of the desktop line up, the 660,640,620 next, julyish. Then the 690 for the 3rd qtr. After that will come any Ti models and/or odd numbers, e.g. 650, to fill any cracks that might be needed in their battle with AMD.


Computer equipment always goes in these stages in the world of competing devices.

Eventually, PC (desktop) specific equipment will have less focus, as the manufacturers put more time into mobile devices and game consoles. I really hope it doesn't affect Moore's law or the general power of desktop equipment. PC's passed the point of needed power some 2-3 years ago, now us PC builders are building machines that go far above and beyond what most people use. Again, I hope this does not slow Moore's law.

{Moore's law cannot slow down if any of us intend to pass our minds into the virtual world...}
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Message 1224319 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 10:20:42 UTC - in response to Message 1224291.

It would appear that Nvidia are concentrating first on the mobile gpu's ( may/june) then the lower end of the desktop line up, the 660,640,620 next, julyish. Then the 690 for the 3rd qtr.

The problem at the moment is limited production from TSMC. Both AMD & NVidia use the same fab plant for 22nm wafers, and they have considerable supply issues that aren't expected to be resolved until the 3rd quater, at the earliest. 4th quater seems most likely.
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Message 1224462 - Posted: 28 Apr 2012, 16:59:36 UTC

My advice would be to get the older, cheaper CPU. Spend the savings on a motherboard that can support multiple video cards. That way when you want to grow your computing power in the future, just drop in another card instead of buying a new system.

Video Card: As others have said, GTX680 is the current best..but there are rumors of a better compute card coming for fall. GTX570 and GTX560 would be good in the meantime. Whatever you get, choose the one with the big, nasty cooler on it. Get a tower case that has a 120mm side fan blowing on the video card slots.

Overclocking: Even if you overclock your CPU, it won't contribute much to your total credit compared to the GPU. But if you want to anyway, a great cooler is the Cooler Master Hyper 212+. It's quiet and dropped my overclocked CPU temps from 75C to 45C.
















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Message 1225271 - Posted: 30 Apr 2012, 10:03:26 UTC - in response to Message 1224462.

Well I know someone in the PC industry who already has a 690 and said it will be released by May 5...

I hope so cos I want one, now!

3072 Cuda cores in 1 card

Stuart, can you squeeze this card into your budget? it will probably be $1200+ AUD at release


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Message 1225377 - Posted: 30 Apr 2012, 18:00:36 UTC

Bare in mind the 600-series is not optimised for SETI & double-precision work in general, leaving the 580 & possibly 590 as still very capable options.

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Message 1225393 - Posted: 30 Apr 2012, 18:34:51 UTC - in response to Message 1225271.

Well I know someone in the PC industry who already has a 690 and said it will be released by May 5...

Being released & being available are 2 very different things (unfortunately).

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Message 1225990 - Posted: 2 May 2012, 2:41:33 UTC - in response to Message 1225393.
Last modified: 2 May 2012, 2:54:54 UTC

Add my 2 cents when it comes to boxes...

I have my WHS on this box with an I3. A GTS 450 for Seti, It's headless.

But it's the coolest box in the house, 20T of storage and enough room to sleep in. It runs in the 30's C on all componets in it....but it's a Monster, Full Tower, I have a liquid cool Corsair 60 on it and the whole thing runs at room temperature. Fans everywhere. Get's me 13 1/2 thousand a day.

http://www.aerocool.us/strikex/strikex_st_black.html

Simply put, it's the best box I ever had, but didn't Marry.

IE, it's a South Park hunting trip.
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