Time to build away my tax refund!

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Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 12:38 pm

Finally got my taxes done, and I'm actually getting more than I paid in. I'm putting about half of it into savings and plan to spend most of the rest on a new build. I've been dealing with this dated old Dell for long enough.

So here's the deal: I need a small, console-like system that I can easily transport. I spend a lot of time gaming at friends' houses and at LAN parties. I'd also prefer something with a low power footprint. It needs to be able to handle the latest games (I'll be playing quite a bit of BF4) at 1080 with relatively high settings. I don't need to go all-out Ultra, but I do like my games to look nice. I also do some amateur audio recording (guitar, drum machines, synths, etc) but I don't think that's an issue with any modern gaming-ready system and my USB interface can handle the sound quality. I don't store a lot of stuff on my PC, so a large hard drive can be scrapped for now. I've got an external 1TBer for any overflow.

Here's what I've got so far:

CPU: Intel Core i5-4430 - $189.99
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 750 Ti - $154.99
MOBO: ASRock B85M-ITX - $74.99
RAM: Team DDR3 1600 8GB (2 X 4GB) - $62.99
SSD: Crucial M500 240GB - $124.99
Case: Silverstone SG05BB-LITE - $39.99
PSU: Silverstone 300W SFX - $54.99
KB: Rosewill RK-9000RE - $69.99
Mouse: Rosewill Helix RM-20 - $14.99

I've got a monitor and headset. I went with a cheaper mouse because I'll never use more than 2400 DPI (if that).

The only thing I'm somewhat concerned about is the integrated audio. I'm not familiar with modern Realtek codecs, I just know that they're apparently a lot better than they used to be. My headset is just a USB-powered (but still 3.5mm connected) Turtle Beach that I was using for my 360. I can't imagine it would bring out the quality in some of the higher end audio chips in any significant way, and if I want surround sound I can always just buy a USB headset with its own audio processing. Anyone have experience with the Realtek ALC892 codec who can attest to its adequateness?

Also if I'm missing something or if anything else there looks too sub-par, let me know. My budget here needs to stay right around $800, and this build shipped will break that by about $8.
i5-4570S|PowerColor R9 270|1 X 8GB DDR3 1600|Crucial M500 240GB|Gigabyte GA-B85N-WIFI|Silverstone RVZ01|Rosewill RK-9000RE
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:15 pm

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:I need a small, console-like system that I can easily transport.
Here's an accessory that you might like:
http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Tek-C ... 001NPEBLA/

Your components look workable to me. I might be tempted by a more expensive motherboard with more integrated goodies (mini-PCIe, WiFi, etc.), but spending $24 more wouldn't provide a difference that was apparent while gaming.

Spending $25 more on a better graphics card would provide an improvement that you could see when gaming.

You could get a 100 MHz faster i5-4440 processor for $1 more, $2 more, $2 more, $1 less, $4 more or $4 more. That seems like a reasonable upgrade from your i5-4430.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:30 pm

Looks good.

A couple of suggestions:

1. Your 300W power supply is plenty for now, but if you want to upgrade to a beefier GPu down the road, it might be worthwhile to get a 450 SFW Power Supply for future proofing. Having said that, a GTC 760 oonly draws 253 W at the wall, so even the 300W unit should be adequate for that (12V @ 22 amps = 264W DC).

2. I don't know what your setups are like when you take your box to LANs and friends, but it might be worth getting a motherboard with a mini-PCIE slot and adding a wi-fi card (you'd have to find somewhere to route the antenna, though, or get a case with an antenna mount/bracket). Feel free to ignore if you're always going to have RJ45 port access.
Last edited by Voldenuit on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:42 pm

Also, since you'll be in a small case, it's worth considering a low-TDP variant CPU.

Provantage has the Core i5 4440S for $184.78. 65 W TDP vs 84W for the regular i5 4xxx series. Stock clocks are slower, but turbo clocks are the same as the non-S variants (and as the S CPUs are binned for lower power, their ability to hit their turbo clock targets tend to even out any performance discrepancies).
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:46 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote: I might be tempted by a more expensive motherboard with more integrated goodies (mini-PCIe, WiFi, etc.), but spending $24 more wouldn't provide a difference that was apparent while gaming.


Nice find, JAE.

Not being able to connect = not being able to game, so I'd say having wi-fi as a backup can make some very big contributions to gaming :P.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:15 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
ALiLPinkMonster wrote:I need a small, console-like system that I can easily transport.
Here's an accessory that you might like:
http://www.amazon.com/Silverstone-Tek-C ... 001NPEBLA/

I have a selection of backpacks and duffel bags that the case would fit in, but that's pretty darn cool that Silverstone makes their own for such a great price.

JustAnEngineer wrote:Your components look workable to me. I might be tempted by a more expensive motherboard with more integrated goodies (mini-PCIe, WiFi, etc.), but spending $24 more wouldn't provide a difference that was apparent while gaming.

WiFi is something I've considered, but I've never really been in a situation where I absolutely needed it and where there's a wired connection to be had I always take it over a wireless one. Plus I can always get a USB stick if I find myself needing WiFi. Other than that, I really can't think of a reason why I would need a mini-PCIe slot.

JustAnEngineer wrote:Spending $25 more on a better graphics card would provide an improvement that you could see when gaming.

That's some advice that I just might have to take. The really appealing thing to me about the 750 Ti was its power draw (I couldn't care less about a free game I probably won't play), but looking at the numbers swapping it for a 270 wouldn't warrant a beefier power supply. I can go a bit over budget for more gaming power and better assurance that I'll be able to play future games comfortably.

JustAnEngineer wrote:You could get a 100 MHz faster i5-4440 processor for $1 more, $2 more, $2 more, $1 less, $4 more, $4 more or $3 less. That seems like a reasonable upgrade from your i5-4430.

No argument there, and with more recognizable memory brands to boot. However,

Voldenuit wrote:Provantage has the Core i5 4440S for $184.78. 65 W TDP vs 84W for the regular i5 4xxx series. Stock clocks are slower, but turbo clocks are the same as the non-S variants (and as the S CPUs are binned for lower power, their ability to hit their turbo clock targets tend to even out any performance discrepancies).

This sounds like a plan. I completely forgot that Intel makes an S variant of the 4440, and knowing that my processor will be drawing less power and producing less heat in that cramped little space is definitely a big plus.
i5-4570S|PowerColor R9 270|1 X 8GB DDR3 1600|Crucial M500 240GB|Gigabyte GA-B85N-WIFI|Silverstone RVZ01|Rosewill RK-9000RE
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:24 pm

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:Spending $25 more on a better graphics card would provide an improvement that you could see when gaming.

That's some advice that I just might have to take. The really appealing thing to me about the 750 Ti was its power draw (I couldn't care less about a free game I probably won't play), but looking at the numbers swapping it for a 270 wouldn't warrant a beefier power supply. I can go a bit over budget for more gaming power and better assurance that I'll be able to play future games comfortably.


Not a bad plan. The 750 Ti overclocks like a champ, and easily reaches R7 265 levels of performance, but the R9 270 is one tier beyond that.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:11 pm

Vaguely R&P aside: I must be doing it right/wrong, my refund wouldn't even cover that CPU. How do people wind up with these fat stacks?

Something I would recommend is trade the 2x4GB for 1x8GB so you can drop another one in when RAM prices are more reasonable. The cost is about the same, maybe less with a good sale, performance won't be impacted much, and memory requirements are likely to creep up as game worlds get bigger and more complex.

If you're comparing it to consoles and standard audio equipment, integrated audio won't be a problem.

For PSU/case, I suggest a CM Elite 130+ Corsair CX 430M for a grand total of $80 after rebate. It's slightly larger(238 x 205 x 378 mm vs. 222 x 176 x 276 mm), but that space is put to good use with several extra drive bays and king-size GPU support in case you ever need to upgrade. SFX sounds great on paper, but there are very few power supplies available. Also, power supply output degrades over time and 430W should be enough to drive your system for many years. The non-modular version will save five bucks, but cabling is enough of an issue with small cases that it's not worth it.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:16 pm

Voldenuit wrote:Not being able to connect = not being able to game, so I'd say having wi-fi as a backup can make some very big contributions to gaming :P.

$5 USB adapter. And it can be used on other systems as needed.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:29 pm

NovusBogus wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:Not being able to connect = not being able to game, so I'd say having wi-fi as a backup can make some very big contributions to gaming :P.

$5 USB adapter. And it can be used on other systems as needed.


If you're going to game on it though, you'd probably want something lower latency and with less overhead.

Having +200ms more than everyone else at a LAN can get you killed pretty quick.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:11 pm

Re: low power 'S' CPUs...don't bother. The real power draw difference isn't that much, and they have lower clock speeds when all cores are loaded too. You're paying more for binning with less performance, these CPUs are really for OEMs and system builders who are speccing a system with a specific cooling capacity (that's what TDP really means anyway - it is not directly proportional to power draw.)

NovusBogus wrote:Vaguely R&P aside: I must be doing it right/wrong, my refund wouldn't even cover that CPU. How do people wind up with these fat stacks?


This is OT but not R&P sooo....people end up with big refunds because they paid too much in taxes throughout the year. You got your own 'fat stack', you just got it slowly over time not all at once. If for whatever reason you want a higher tax return (and that's a bad idea because you're essentially giving the government an interest-free loan throughout the year) you can always increase your withholdings on your W-4.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:11 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Re: low power 'S' CPUs...don't bother. The real power draw difference isn't that much, and they have lower clock speeds when all cores are loaded too. You're paying more for binning with less performance, these CPUs are really for OEMs and system builders who are speccing a system with a specific cooling capacity (that's what TDP really means anyway - it is not directly proportional to power draw.)

It's the cooling capacity I'm concerned with though. TDP is how much watt-heat the heatsink needs to dissipate under typical load. If that number is lower, especially on stock cooling wouldn't that translate into lower noise and heat? Plus the turbo frequency is the same as the non-S parts, so I don't see how performance would be much lower. I could be wrong though. I know these numbers don't always mean what they seem to, even when the supposed meaning is known.

MadManOriginal wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:Vaguely R&P aside: I must be doing it right/wrong, my refund wouldn't even cover that CPU. How do people wind up with these fat stacks?


This is OT but not R&P sooo....people end up with big refunds because they paid too much in taxes throughout the year. You got your own 'fat stack', you just got it slowly over time not all at once. If for whatever reason you want a higher tax return (and that's a bad idea because you're essentially giving the government an interest-free loan throughout the year) you can always increase your withholdings on your W-4.

Mine was so high because I had paid for a bunch of CCNA preparation classes last year out of pocket. That combined with some income-based deductions and the interest I'm paying from my previous student loan gave me a nice fat return. I won't be so lucky next year.
i5-4570S|PowerColor R9 270|1 X 8GB DDR3 1600|Crucial M500 240GB|Gigabyte GA-B85N-WIFI|Silverstone RVZ01|Rosewill RK-9000RE
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:51 pm

You can only hit max turbo if one core is heavily loaded and the others aren't, so if your CPU load is balanced a higher base clock rate will win out. I'd go with the non S variant as I don't feel the power savings is worth it. The only reason I can think of to use an S in a desktop is if you want to use fanless cooling.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:31 am

NovusBogus wrote:You can only hit max turbo if one core is heavily loaded and the others aren't, so if your CPU load is balanced a higher base clock rate will win out. I'd go with the non S variant as I don't feel the power savings is worth it. The only reason I can think of to use an S in a desktop is if you want to use fanless cooling.


The performance deficit of a S vs a regular i5 are pretty small. In passmark, the 4570S get's 96.8% of mulithreaded performance and 98.3% of single threaded performance of the 4570, all with a 23% lower TDP.

From a holistic standpoint, having less CPU heat dumped into a small gaming box also means less heat in the case for the GPU to deal with. Both AMD and nvidia GPUs today can throttle in response to GPU temperature, so this might give more headroom.

Basically, the performance hit going to a S processor looks very minimal, even in multithreaded loads, and negligible for single threaded loads. It's a shame that there aren't more reviews of these processors, because I'll admit that Passmark as a single data point is not something I like to rely on when making big tech decisions. But I still think the S is a worthwhile trade for the OP.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:46 am

Voldenuit wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:You can only hit max turbo if one core is heavily loaded and the others aren't, so if your CPU load is balanced a higher base clock rate will win out. I'd go with the non S variant as I don't feel the power savings is worth it. The only reason I can think of to use an S in a desktop is if you want to use fanless cooling.


The performance deficit of a S vs a regular i5 are pretty small. In passmark, the 4570S get's 96.8% of mulithreaded performance and 98.3% of single threaded performance of the 4570, all with a 23% lower TDP.

From a holistic standpoint, having less CPU heat dumped into a small gaming box also means less heat in the case for the GPU to deal with. Both AMD and nvidia GPUs today can throttle in response to GPU temperature, so this might give more headroom.

Basically, the performance hit going to a S processor looks very minimal, even in multithreaded loads, and negligible for single threaded loads. It's a shame that there aren't more reviews of these processors, because I'll admit that Passmark as a single data point is not something I like to rely on when making big tech decisions. But I still think the S is a worthwhile trade for the OP.


The performance hit might be very small, but so is the power draw hit. People WAY overestimate the difference in power draw between the S and non-S CPUs because of the TDP rating. TDP is not meant to be a direct rating of power draw, but rather a rating for OEMs to design cooling systems...hence the D for Design. Also, if the small power draw difference is that much of a concern, one can always just undervolt a standard CPU slightly. S CPUs are a waste of money imo unless it's in an extremely cooling-limited application where even the stock cooler won't fit.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:35 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:The performance hit might be very small, but so is the power draw hit. People WAY overestimate the difference in power draw between the S and non-S CPUs because of the TDP rating. TDP is not meant to be a direct rating of power draw, but rather a rating for OEMs to design cooling systems...hence the D for Design. Also, if the small power draw difference is that much of a concern, one can always just undervolt a standard CPU slightly. S CPUs are a waste of money imo unless it's in an extremely cooling-limited application where even the stock cooler won't fit.


Did you even look at the price? Provantage is selling the 4440S for $5 less than the OP's original 4430 (non-S).

That sounds like a win-win to me.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sun Mar 23, 2014 12:43 pm

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:Finally got my taxes done, and I'm actually getting more than I paid in. I'm putting about half of it into savings and plan to spend most of the rest on a new build. I've been dealing with this dated old Dell for long enough.

So here's the deal: I need a small, console-like system that I can easily transport. I spend a lot of time gaming at friends' houses and at LAN parties. I'd also prefer something with a low power footprint. It needs to be able to handle the latest games (I'll be playing quite a bit of BF4) at 1080 with relatively high settings. I don't need to go all-out Ultra, but I do like my games to look nice. I also do some amateur audio recording (guitar, drum machines, synths, etc) but I don't think that's an issue with any modern gaming-ready system and my USB interface can handle the sound quality. I don't store a lot of stuff on my PC, so a large hard drive can be scrapped for now. I've got an external 1TBer for any overflow.

Here's what I've got so far:

My budget here needs to stay right around $800, and this build shipped will break that by about $8.



Dunno if you're a subscriber, but check out Computer Power User (CPU), and Custom PC. I've seen some absolutely insane custom builds that were designed to take to LAN parties, and smartly use decent parts, proper cooling, and ease of portability and repair.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:36 pm

Okay, so I think I'm gonna be a bit more flexible with the budget here.

First off, I think I'm gonna spend a bit more on the Silverstone RVZ01. It's got room for as big a graphics card as I could ever need, which is a plus since I plan on moving up in resolution eventually (not anytime soon). I'd also assume that this setup is better for cards with dual fan coolers instead of a noisy blower. That leads me to this combo with a dual-fan R9 270 and the same Rosewill keyboard I was going to get. I think for the processor I'll go with this combo which seems to be the best deal and leaves room for another 8GB stick down the road (using up all teh RAMs seems to be a trend in games with high quality graphics now). I'll also move up to the 450W version of the PSU just to be sure I don't run into power issues down the road. Top it off with a somewhat fancier motherboard which has a WiFi card and a combo with that same mouse that involves a copy of Bioshock Infinite for ten bucks. All together that brings the shipped total to $898.04.

If that looks good I only have one question: should I be worried about the stock cooler? I can't imagine a Haswell running at 3.3GHz gets too hot, but I've heard those little hunks of metal that Intel boxes their processors with. They can get pretty loud even at normal operating temps.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:45 pm

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:If that looks good I only have one question: should I be worried about the stock cooler? I can't imagine a Haswell running at 3.3GHz gets too hot, but I've heard those little hunks of metal that Intel boxes their processors with. They can get pretty loud even at normal operating temps.


Haswell is actually hotter than Ivy and Sandy, which is why I suggested the 'S' CPU. I'm running an i5 4670K with the stock cooler, and even though I'm idling at 29C and max load temps at 66C (with Vcore undervolted by -1.20V), the stock cooler still gets pretty loud. I ended up getting a Zalman CNPS5X cooler for $26 (still hasn't arrived yet, so I can't tell you how it goes), but you might want to look into getting a decent performing low profile cooler.

Normally, I'd suggest running the stock cooler first and seeing if you can live with the heat/noise tradeoff, but with teh RVZ01 (nice case by the way), I'm not sure how hard it will be to simply pop in a new cooler. If you have to disassemble the majority of the build to get the HSF in, then you may want to just bite the bullet and get a better cooler from the outset.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:13 am

Voldenuit wrote:
ALiLPinkMonster wrote:If that looks good I only have one question: should I be worried about the stock cooler? I can't imagine a Haswell running at 3.3GHz gets too hot, but I've heard those little hunks of metal that Intel boxes their processors with. They can get pretty loud even at normal operating temps.


Haswell is actually hotter than Ivy and Sandy, which is why I suggested the 'S' CPU. I'm running an i5 4670K with the stock cooler, and even though I'm idling at 29C and max load temps at 66C (with Vcore undervolted by -1.20V), the stock cooler still gets pretty loud. I ended up getting a Zalman CNPS5X cooler for $26 (still hasn't arrived yet, so I can't tell you how it goes), but you might want to look into getting a decent performing low profile cooler.

Normally, I'd suggest running the stock cooler first and seeing if you can live with the heat/noise tradeoff, but with teh RVZ01 (nice case by the way), I'm not sure how hard it will be to simply pop in a new cooler. If you have to disassemble the majority of the build to get the HSF in, then you may want to just bite the bullet and get a better cooler from the outset.

Hmm well a quick look at this strongly supports your side of the S vs. non-S argument. Like with the 4570 parts you mentioned, performance hits are negligible and the only real difference is a slight hit in multi-threaded performance. This combo is about $8 more than the same combo with the 4440, and I think that fancy stick of Corsair RAM for $50 makes this better than Provantage's deal.

I think I'll see how the stock cooler does with a processor running at a lower speed with a lower TDP than what I've seen it handle (my friend's 3570K mostly). That case is segmented so keeping the GPU heat out of the equation should help.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:10 am

I recommend against memory that has a huge decorative heatsink sticking up above the DIMM. How about this better memory for $8 more?
$253 with CPU 1x8 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS8G3D1609ES2LX0 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.35 V, low-profile)

This memory defaults to PC3-12800, but it also includes an XMP profile for PC3-14900 (DDR3-1866). The very low profile guarantees that you'll have no interference with any CPU cooler that you want to use. I see other memory+CPU combination deals for $254, $262, $257, $254 or $250, but that low-profile DIMM above is the one that I like.


I don't believe that the $5 more expensive Core i5-4570S processor adds value to a gaming PC. When you're gaming, you want the higher multi-threaded performance of the regular desktop chip. In the real world, the actual differences in CPU power consumption aren't as great as the difference in the rated TDP. These numbers pale in comparison to what your graphics card consumes, anyway. When you're not gaming, either processor is lightly loaded and doesn't consume much power.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 8:40 am

NovusBogus wrote:Vaguely R&P aside: I must be doing it right/wrong, my refund wouldn't even cover that CPU. How do people wind up with these fat stacks?



Naw, he's the one doing it wrong. If you are getting a big tax refund, you are sending too much money in taxes to the government. You want a fat refund like him? Increase your tax witholding by $50-$100 a pay check. At the end of the year, you will have overpaid your taxes by $1000-$2000 and will get all that back when you do your taxes. In the end though, was it really worth it? Its just a weird way to force savings.
Gaming: i5-3570k/Z77 Extreme4/212 Evo/Corsair 500R/16GB Ballstix Tact 1600 CL8/MSI 7850 2GB/840 250gb, EVO 500gb, SG 3tb/Tachyon 550w/Win7

HTPC: i3 3225/H77/8gb g.skill 1.25v/1+2TB HDD/Asus BR/Asus 7850 2gb/Silverstone GD05B/Antec 380w/InfiniTV 4/Win7
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:23 am

southrncomfortjm wrote:
NovusBogus wrote:Vaguely R&P aside: I must be doing it right/wrong, my refund wouldn't even cover that CPU. How do people wind up with these fat stacks?

Naw, he's the one doing it wrong. If you are getting a big tax refund, you are sending too much money in taxes to the government. You want a fat refund like him? Increase your tax witholding by $50-$100 a pay check. At the end of the year, you will have overpaid your taxes by $1000-$2000 and will get all that back when you do your taxes. In the end though, was it really worth it? Its just a weird way to force savings.

Yup. By over-withholding, in effect you're giving the government an interest free loan that they pay back after April 15th. Unless you've got horrible self-control when it comes to spending money, that's counter-productive.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:07 am

As I had explained already, my large refund came from my paying for several classes last year out of pocket. I was able to deduct almost a grand because of that. Normally the only thing I can deduct is the interest I've paid into my student loans from my previous educational escapades (thought I wanted to be an architect, turned out to be extremely wrong). So there.
JustAnEngineer wrote:I recommend against memory that has a huge decorative heatsink sticking up above the DIMM. How about this better memory for $8 more?
$253 with CPU 1x8 GiB PC3-12800 Crucial BLS8G3D1609ES2LX0 (DDR3-1600, CAS 9, 1.35 V, low-profile)

This memory defaults to PC3-12800, but it also includes an XMP profile for PC3-14900 (DDR3-1866). The very low profile guarantees that you'll have no interference with any CPU cooler that you want to use. I see other memory+CPU combination deals for $254, $262, $257, $254 or $250, but that low-profile DIMM above is the one that I like.


I don't believe that the $5 more expensive Core i5-4570S processor adds value to a gaming PC. When you're gaming, you want the higher multi-threaded performance of the regular desktop chip. In the real world, the actual differences in CPU power consumption aren't as great as the difference in the rated TDP. These numbers pale in comparison to what your graphics card consumes, anyway. When you're not gaming, either processor is lightly loaded and doesn't consume much power.

That memory stick does sound like a good idea. I had figured that with a stock or similar cooler that towering heatsink shouldn't be a problem, but on the other hand it does restrict the already restricted airflow just to cool some memory chips that don't really get hot to begin with.

On the CPU front, everything I've seen points to a roughly 23% gain in power efficiency for an S variant in exchange for a negligible hit in multi-threaded performance and a virtually nonexistent hit in IPC. Last I checked even the latest games don't really make great use of multiple cores, and as Voldenuit (and TR's own reviews) pointed out Haswell does get a bit hotter under typical load than previous Core ix-xxxx iterations. If the S's lower heat dissipation requirements translate into lower noise and heat inside a cramped little space without the golden "S" shaped airflow pattern that bigger cases make use of, to me that sounds worth the relatively tiny gap in performance.

NOW, you did mention the 4570S which when compared to its own non-S sibling, yes it does take a very similar performance hit. However when compared with a non-S 4440 it actually makes up for and adds to the top end of the performance gap between the 4440 and 4440S. You don't think that sounds like a good middle ground between efficiency and performance for a little extra pocket change?
i5-4570S|PowerColor R9 270|1 X 8GB DDR3 1600|Crucial M500 240GB|Gigabyte GA-B85N-WIFI|Silverstone RVZ01|Rosewill RK-9000RE
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:33 am

"Thermal Design Power" is not equal to actual power usage while gaming.
http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75 ... rs/desktop
http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75 ... rs/desktop
Everything from the slowest quad-core i5-4430 up to the fastest i7-4770K has the same 84-watt TDP. They don't actually use exactly the same power.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:40 am

Yup. The name pretty much says it: it's is the CPU vendor's way of saying "design your thermal solution to handle this many watts, and you will generally be OK". When running at stock settings, typical power usage will be a lot lower; but instantaneous peak usage may be higher than the TDP.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:50 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:"Thermal Design Power" is not equal to actual power usage while gaming.
http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75 ... rs/desktop
http://ark.intel.com/products/family/75 ... rs/desktop
Everything from the slowest quad-core i5-4430 up to the fastest i7-4770K has the same 84-watt TDP. They don't actually use exactly the same power.

I know it's not, but it is supposed to be a measure of how much heat the heatsink needs to dissipate. Therefore wouldn't a lower TDP rating translate to a lower noise and heat ceiling inside the case especially in such a small one with limited room for a swanky high capacity cooler with a nice big quiet fan? Keep in mind this thing will typically be sitting right next to the monitor and I'm definitely sensitive to the high pitched noise of a small fan getting a good workout.

I mean if anyone has an -S variant of Haswell and is using it with the stock cooler, feel free to chime in with whether or not you can hear that fan because if it's still whiny regardless than I might as well just get a non-S and slap a better cooler on it with a bigger, quieter fan.

EDIT: and I might as well add that I'm really not concerned with power efficiency here (although that 23% figure is attractive). A 450W bronze-rated power supply is more than enough to supply this build with power despite which processor I put in it. It's the generation of heat and noise that is causing this debate for me.
i5-4570S|PowerColor R9 270|1 X 8GB DDR3 1600|Crucial M500 240GB|Gigabyte GA-B85N-WIFI|Silverstone RVZ01|Rosewill RK-9000RE
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:58 am

Lower TDP means that the manufacturer expects the part to dissipate less heat in typical use. But there can still be some variation from chip to chip, so it is more of a statistical thing.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:08 pm

I think we're splitting hairs here. A 65W 'S' CPU will use less power than an 84W core i5. The difference may not exactly be 19W - it may be less, it might even be more. With the majority of today's games being GPU-limited, the S CPU is an ideal component for a mini-ITX gaming build in a small enclosure.

Since the 4-thread max speed is lower, it is not an ideal option if you're going to be doing a lot of video encoding, ray-tracing, fluid dynamics, hashing, finite element analysis or monte carlo simulations. But I don't think that's what the OP is after.

As the S CPUs are cherry-picked to run at low voltages and low thermals, you'd probably be able to reduce power consumption and heat production even further with more aggressive undervolting than a regular i5 (I've been pretty lucky in that my 4670K is stable under load at -1.200V; many people are finding -0.090V to be as far as their i5 goes).

So to reiterate, I think the S CPU is a good idea for this particular application. There will be a few games that will run slower because they are core count and computationally bound (I'm gonna guess Total War and Civ V), but by and large, the S will be kickin' for modern games at 60 fps.
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Re: Time to build away my tax refund!

Postposted on Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:11 pm

Your Silverstone Raven RVZ01 case allows a CPU cooler up to 83mm tall (which lines up underneath the included slim 120mm intake fan). Silverstone recommends the $58 82mm tall NT-06 Pro. Something like the $44½ 58mm tall Scythe Big Shuriken 2.B would certainly fit, even if you swapped out its included 12mm tall fan for a more common 25mm tall unit. As small as it is, the RVZ01 actually has room for a 2x120mm radiator if you want to go nuts with a water cooling setup.
i7-4770K, H70, Gryphon Z87, 16 GiB, R9-290, SSD, 2 HD, Blu-ray, SB ZX, TJ08-E, SS-660XP², 3007WFP+2001FP, RK-9000BR, MX518
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