New Build for Workstation - Best Motherboard Solution

krbuell

Distinguished
Apr 22, 2009
4
0
18,510
I have been reading reviews and forums on X58 until my brain's ready to explode. I still don't know which motherboard to order. I need to build a new system that is capable of audio editing and CPU intensive desktop applications. I have one 24" monitor. I do not game. I do not see any need for multiple GPU cards (will be using a single card, fanless preferably). I do not need 10 SATA drives. I will be putting in 12gb ddr3. I will overclock to a moderate 3.2. My biggest priority is a silent machine. I need to know what board is most stable, runs coolest (less case fans), and onboard fan and power management. All the reviews seems to focus on how high they can overclock, and support options for 2 to 4 video cards. I just need a dependable, cool running, cost efficient board to base a silent (as silent as possible) work system on. Please help! I hate to spend so much money on so many features I don't need (specifically that supporting boards are geared to OC enthusiasts and mega-gamers), but the i7/X58 seems to the best CPU to meet my needs for performance.
 

specialk90

Distinguished
Apr 8, 2009
303
0
18,790
What sort of "CPU intensive" applications are you talking about?

For low noise, start with a great case. For example, the Antec P182 is insulated and very quiet. There are also some insulated Lian-Li cases with one of them being designed specifically to reduce noise.

For motherboard, the ASUS P6T should work just fine. They all use within +- 5% of each other.

If you want to OC, that sort of defeats the purpose of being silent as you will need a heatsink+fan to cool it.

For hard drives, the new Seagate 7200.12 was just reviewed by TomsHardware and they declared it not only the fastest 7200rpm drive but also the quietest 7200rpm drive.

For PSU, the PC Power & Cooling "Silencer" is top quality and rather silent.

I have a P180(98% identical to P182) and a PC P&C Silencer PSU and I can't hear the PSU. All I can hear is the top fan, which I have set on Hi speed. I also have 4 Raptors in Raid 10 so they all move together and I have to strain to hear them.

For video card, you can use ATI Tools or Rivatuner or other programs to control the fan speed so they won't be loud. In my P180, I have an older ATI x1950xtx, which is dual-slot so it blows hot air out of the case. This is something that is very important to keeping the case temps down. Keeping the case temps down help keep the CPU, motherboard, video card and hard drive temps down. A couple of fans won't be able to get rid of that heat coming from a fanless/air-cooled video card. The more case fans used, the more noise you get. I can't hear the fan from my ATI card and that sucker can be loud. Controlling its fan speed keeps it from being loud.
 

krbuell

Distinguished
Apr 22, 2009
4
0
18,510
Thanks for your reply. I mostly run office programs for transcription, but my audio editing programs demand a tremendous amount of CPU power and take forever to run with my current AMD 3000+ CPU. It's my understanding that the I7 will greatly improve performance in this area, as well as database applications, and the fact that I am often running five or six applications simultaneously. It's always my goal to future-proof as much as possible by getting the latest and greatest, most bang for my buck so to speak, so I'm not seriously considering a Q series CPU.

I recall reading something about the cooling sinks on a few of the motherboards not being up to par on the Northbridge. That is why I specifically mentioned about a board that runs cool. Again, because the more fans I have to put in the case, the louder the system is going to be in order to keep things cool. I've also seen reports of other common failures such as the LAN ports and USB ports. I need front I/O connection headers for eSATA, USB, audio, and firewire would be nice as well.

I am actually considering a CoolerMaster Cosmos case, mostly due to the noise insulation and the top I/O connectors. I am aware of the harddrive heat issues with this case, but will either add a fan directed at the harddrive cage and/or use smart boxes on the drives.

I considered the P182, but don't like where the I/O ports are located (I need them on the top or very near the top). Same with the Antec Sonata. Lian-Li cases are just a tad too expensive for my liking. Can't see spending $300+ on just the case alone, and they don't have any sound insulating other than the fact that they're a bit heavier-duty case.

The early reviews of Asus P6T were excellent, but now seem to be rather mixed. I currently have an Asus board (A8V Deluxe) in my AMD setup I built a number of years ago, and it has been reliable until recently - prompting my building a new up-to-date system rather than just replacing an older technology MB.

I'm looking at using a Noctua NP12 CPU cooler that's supposed to be virtually silent, a "green" PSU in the neighborhood of 650 watts, and two 1TB drives in a raid configuration (or one internal and one external eSATA for backup mirror), along with the graphics card, a floppy, DVD burner, and a card reader. The onboard auio, if shielded, should be sufficient, but may consider an add-on card. Again, those add-on cards have many features I wouldn't be using and would be overkill. That's pretty much all I need. My current Radeon card is the noisiest fan in my case currently, and that's why I was looking at fanless cards. I was hoping that with good case fan setup I could get buy with a fanless card. I will definitely invest in a good fan speed controller if the onboard isn't great.

Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Just wondering what anyone has to say on the P6T vs. GA EDU5 , vs. the EVGA boar, or even an MSI X58 Platinum.
 

krbuell

Distinguished
Apr 22, 2009
4
0
18,510
Sorry about the typos in my post. Just got a new wireless keyboard, and it seems to occasionally drop letters if I'm typing too fast.
 

joemontana

Distinguished
Mar 4, 2009
7
0
18,510
I'm sort of looking at a situation very much like yours. I'm building a computer specifically to run Photoshop Lightroom on it.
I'm planning on the Asus P6T6 WS Revolution mobo. It doesn't have firewire, so I'll buy a fw800 card. From what I've seen, the mobos that have built in 1394 are 400.

I *was* going to get the Cosmos case, it's very cool looking, not to mention quiet.
but I decided to probably go with a Lian Li PCV2110B case. It has a removable mobo tray. I don't believe the Cosmos has a removable tray. I also really like the way Lian Li covers the top mounted IO ports.

You're right in that 300+ seem excessive for a case. But the way I look at it, if I get one case, a good case exactly that way I want, that's the last one I'll ever buy.:)

Joe
Kalispell, Mt


 

specialk90

Distinguished
Apr 8, 2009
303
0
18,790
Joe, that's the way I looked at it when I spent $350 on my Lian-Li case. And there is quite a bit of insulation on my case and other Lian-Li cases I've seen. This case can even hold server size boards, which is something I will eventually get so I can run a dual-xeon setup.


What Audio editing software do you use? I ask because I don't know of any that work well the horrid onboard audio. My Seinnheiser headphones show every bit of poor quality whether its onboard or a $75 Creative sound card. Both hiss, crackle and pop. That is why I got a M-Audio Firewire 410($300) to use with Reason.

I can't answer which X58 board will run cooler or better, but all 3 of my ASUS boards have been running like a champ for over 2yrs whereas a Gigabyte board died within a week. I prefer ASUS.
 

BoBzzz

Distinguished
Jul 10, 2008
52
0
18,630
Overclocking and adding extra case fans only makes a lot of noise if you buy loud fans...

I have a Noctua cooler in my system right now and it's barely audible if I stick my head in my case and turn all other fans off. There are also plenty of reviews for case fans. Scythe and Noctua seem to be some the ones that typically come out on top for noise to performance ratios (just google and browse through a few reviews). Also if you buy a case that comes with very large fans to begin with it will most likely be quieter (think 140mm+).

For hard drives, the WD green series is supposed to be extremely quiet but intentionally lacking in performance. If you're willing to shell out the extra money, velociraptors perform much faster and are also very very quit.
 

joemontana

Distinguished
Mar 4, 2009
7
0
18,510
I use Audacity, I absolutely love it! However, no matter which editing sw you use, remember the GIGO principle. garbage in, garbage out. :D