Weary of my nearly 4-year-old Toshiba laptop, I'm planning to build my own desktop. This will be the first time I assemble a PC. I need advice on the following aspects in particular:
- HDD decoupling
- CPU cooler clearance
- Choice and number of case fans
- Very quiet (ideally inaudible)
- Stable & reliable
- Suitable for everything short of heavy 3D
- Web browsing
- Photo editing
- HD video editing
- Light gaming (e.g. Battlefield 1942, released september 2002)
- Case: Fractal Design Define Mini
- Power supply: Seasonic X-400
- Motherboard: Intel DH67GDB3
- Processor & graphics: Intel Core i7-2600K
- Memory: 8 GB 1333 MHz (brand depends largely on availability and price)
- SSD: Intel 510 Series 120GB
- HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB WD20EARS
- HDD mount: TBD
- CPU cooler: Noctua NH-C14
- CPU fans: 2x Scythe Slip Stream 140 500 RPM
- Case fans: 2x Scythe Slip Stream 140 500 RPM, 4x Scythe Slip Stream 120 500 RPM
- DVD burner: Sony Optiarc AD-5260S
- Monitor: Dell U2211H or U2311H (again depending largely on availability)
- Keyboard & mouse TBD (need hands-on testing)
The Caviar Green seems to be the quietest 3.5" drive out there. I've heard that Fractal Design's HDD mounting leaves something to be desired. I'd get some NoVibes, but I can't seem to find them anywhere in Denmark, and I'm not too sure about the German shops that carry them.
I'm not sure to what extent ordering a fan for every last opening in the case is overkill, but I don't mind spending a bit to cut noise to a minimum, and this will allow me to experiment with all sorts of airflow configurations. I'm under the impression that achieving any given airflow with many slow fans makes less noise than with fewer faster ones. I'm also assuming that minimising the noise created has a higher priority than preventing noise from escaping (e.g. by blocking the side vent).
Unlike many other high-end coolers, the Noctua is widely available in Denmark, and I like the top-down layout. I seem to remember that this cooler may overhang the edge of the motherboard, so I'd be interested in your experience using this heatsink/case(/motherboard) combination. I'm considering a swap for 500 RPM Slip Stream 140s, and since I also intend to use a pair as case fans it makes sense to order them all at once.
These are my thoughts, I hope you will share yours. Please feel free to shoot holes in all this or scare me out of building my own computer.