Mobo: Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3 ATX LGA1150
CPU: Xeon E3 1230 v3
I'm not married to the mobo listed above and very open to alternative suggestions. Because I'm not overclocking I don't need an expensive mobo. This one has a very stable price around $85. I'm not aware what this mobo has in terms of fan speed regulation or if I'll need that for the best build.
First thing you do need to check is the if the Xeon will run on the consumer board you going for, in the past there were no issues, but intel has been asking mobo makers to not support Xeon CPUs on consumer based motherboards, some listen others dont, but crosscheck this before you buy.
Motherboard for me its one of the most important decision, for some its about the features and overclocking, for me its more about their support for fan control. Im not sure, as i havent own a gigabyte board in more than 5 years, so idk how is their fan control, from what i seen... well i dont see anything special there. Asus brings one of the best fan controls there are atm with FanXpert2, really good and i wished it was a stand alone software, but its pretty good still as long as you understand how the headers are design and choosing the proper fan for each slot. MSI and AsRock seem to offering two real 4pin PWM headers in some of their motherboards, and good bios fan control, for me this is how i like to control my fans, pure bios no software, but you do need to buy PWM fans and depending on the amount a PWM fan splitter.
Since you are looking for a budget motherboard, this are the two that im going to suggest you do more research on,MSI H87-G43 LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX High Performance CF Intel Motherboard
- I would chose this if you are planning on changing all fans to PWM.ASUS H87-PLUS LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
- I would use this if you are planning on the stock fans or 3pins for cases fans, like Antec True Quiet 140s.
My starting place for PSU is the Seasonic 660watt xp2 which I hope to pick up for $80 at newegg during one of their reoccurring sales. How much power do I really need? Is 660watts overkill? I know it's a variable speed fan, sometimes turned off. Is this self regulating an internal function of the PSU or does it need fan monitoring function derived from the mobo? Most of all, will the gentle fan on this PSU be enough to keep my component cool? I'm open to getting an additional case fans as a solution, but I'm too ignorant to understand what I need or what the options are. I know there are (much) more expensive PSUs, but even I was willing to spend the money, would it really make much difference in terms of noise/temp? For example, what's the point of paying more for a quiet PSU if the GPU is going to make the case loud anyway?
The Seasonic SS-660XP2 to me its at a very fair price, considering that recently seasonic jack up their pricing on the 860/1000w platinum series to absurd levels. In your other thread i suggested different options with different price points, chose whatever your budget allows, i think you should be fine with 450/550W PSU, but 650/660 is also fine, specially when the price points between some PSU is just $10.
I know it's a variable speed fan, sometimes turned off. Is this self regulating an internal function of the PSU or does it need fan monitoring function derived from the mobo?
Its self regulated based on temperature, no fan monitoring is available on seasonic PSU, some corsair do offer via their propietary c link.
For example, what's the point of paying more for a quiet PSU if the GPU is going to make the case loud anyway?
Go one step at the time, but buying quiet components will help you down the road trouble shooting and focusing on single noise sources. For example i dont like your choice of GPU, but i dont think there is GPU on earth that the prolimatech mk-26 cant handle, so there is fix there if it doesn't work the way you think it will. But for this i would try to chose quiet components for the rest so you only deal with the GPU later on. Go for a decent PSU, if you dont feel the platinum certification is worth the money, then go gold, Cosair RM series seems like a good option with it being relatively cheap, fully modular, semi passive, and gold certified.
The Sapphire GPU is an unusually long card, about 11.6 inches. Should fit fine in the fractal, but I'm wondering if a long card with three fans will disturb the air flow design of the fractal either by the air currents it creates or by physically blocking off space. I know enough to keep the cables neatly tied back so to not be obstructive to air flow, but overall I'm quite clueless on air flow considerations and what kind of air pressure this build will create and how to tweak it. I'd like advice on whether or not the case and component fans will be good as is or if I need to change them, add additional fans, etc. Any advice along these lines is greatly appreciated. The idea of this post is really to address the entire build and how the components will work or not work in concert.
I don't think you should worry much about the gpu disrupting the airflow. The current AMD GPUs run very hot, even if the cooler on the sapphire is very efficient and better than the stock, it will dump that heat on the case, so depending on how much is it.... you might or not need case fans to run faster to make up for heat loaded to the case. On the cable management, the R4 is very good, it will allow you tuck all the cables on the back and just come out where they get connected, so i wouldn't worry much. On additional fans... i like to have more in than out to create positive pressure and this way air wont tend to enter through none filter places like PCI covers, or the PSU when its passive, etc, also this would make some air exit on the PSU so when its passive it will get some cooling by forcing some air due to positive pressure, don't over do it though, just slightly more air in than out should be fine.