I last built a workstation about 2 years ago when I put together a Core 2 Duo box. It was solid machine and in day to day activities had more than enough computing power. Lately, however, I have been doing more video encoding and RAW photo editing and consequently decided that I needed a machine with better performance in those areas.
- Case – Antec Solo
- Power Supply – Corsair CMPSU-450VX (450W), reused from previous build
- CPU – Intel Core i7-2600 (3.4GHz)
- CPU Cooler – Xigmatek HDT-S1284F, with ACK-I5363 mounting bracket
- Motherboard – Gigabyte GA-H67A-UD3H-B3 (Intel H67 chipset)
- GPU – ATI Radeon 4850, reused from previous build
- RAM – 8GB G.Skill Dual Channel DDR3 1600
- Hard Drive – 1TB Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX (64MB cache, SATA 6Gb/s)
- Optical Drive – LG 22x DVD Burner (SATA), reused from previous build
For video compression tasks using Handbrake and Adobe Premiere Elements, this new PC is easily three times faster than my old Core 2 Duo machine. It is also noticably faster at image manipulation tasks, especially converting RAW files to JPEG.
- Idle: 90W
- Video Compression: 150W
- Gaming: 205W
These numbers are roughly in line with my previous PC, although the idle is actually lower. This is a fantastic result for a significantly more powerful machine.
Noise and Heat
My last PC was a particularly quiet machine thanks to its case’s usage of large, low RPM fans and noise reduction foam. Hard drive isolation was the only area where faltered. This time around I decided to go with a different case. In some of their cases Antec uses robust silicone cylinders to isolate the hard drive from the case. These worked so fantastically on my Home Theater PC Build, that I decided to get a case that featured them this time as well. This combined with some low RPM fans makes this case about as quiet as my last build, minus the hard drive noise. I even purchased some Silverstone noise reduction foam as well as silicone fan mounts to cut down the noise and vibration even further.
The Core i7-2600 is a 95W processor which isn’t much heat for the Xigmatek cooler I chose to dissipate. In fact its fan never spins above its minimum RPM.