Intel Core i5-4670 Rackmount Digital Audio Workstation

This unit was built for a professional musician running reaper. The customer wanted the unit to be relatively quiet and mount in a 19″ rack. The operating noise was not too critical as there was a separate live area for recording but the customer wanted to make sure that the towers sound level would not be too intrusive while mixing.

Scythe Shuriken

Scythe Shuriken Rev B Quiet Low Profile CPU Cooler

The Scythe Shuriken CPU cooler has proved to be a very reliable unit and will cool CPU’s with a maximum Thermal Design Power of up to 95w, so it can work with pretty much all of the Intel Haswell Core i series CPU’s. There is a good article relating to CPU coolers on the quiet PC forum.

The Scythe CPU cooler combined with the FSP raider Power supply ensures that the operating noise is pretty minimal, even when pushing the performance of the CPU. One problem area with operating noise can be ‘case rattle’ but the Lian li tower is pretty good with rubber grommets to dampen any Hard drive noise.

The full spec;

  • Lian li PC-C32B Aluminium desktop tower including rack ears
  • FSP Raider 650W Quiet PSU 80+ Silver
  • ASUS H87-PLUS motherboard
  • Intel Core i5-4670 3.40 GHz Processor
  • 8GB (Kit) DDR3 PC3-12800
  • Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1 TB 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
  • Scythe Shuriken Rev B Quiet Low Profile CPU Cooler
  • LiteOn IHAS124-04 DVD+-R/RW/DL/RAM
  • Microsoft Windows 8.1 64bit
Intel Core i5-4670 Rackmount Digital Audio Workstation

Intel Core i5-4670 Rackmount Digital Audio Workstation

Lian li PC-C32B Aluminium tower

Lian li PC-C32B Aluminium rackmount tower


Intel Core i5-3570 Photography Workstation

This build was for a photographer. Their old machine was starting to creak. After being brought in for repair a couple of times we decided to build a new machine. The customer was running Adobe Photoshop CS 6 with Adobe Lightroom 4. The software was mainly used for simple editing tasks, nothing too intensive, though processing raw images can be very slow if the resources are not available. We decided to build the machine around an Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5-3570 with 16GB RAM. This would provide the performance necessary for an efficient workflow.

Adobe Mercury Graphics Engine

Adobe have abandoned their support for Nvidia’s proprietary CUDA GPU acceleration found in earlier versions of their software, in favour of OpenCL. The Mercury graphics engine allows you to use other manufacturers graphics processors for GPU acceleration. This will speed up certain tasks but also allow you to utilise a number of options that are unavailable if you do not have a supported graphics card.

More information can be found on the Adobe website here and here

For this build we decided to stick with the on board Intel HD4000 Graphics, as this is supported by Photoshop and for the kind of tasks the customer would be running, it did not really seem necessary to add an expensive separate graphics card. Which could always be added at a later date if it seemed necessary.

The full spec…

  • GIGABYTE GZ-M1 Micro ATX Tower
  • OCZ CoreXStream 500W ATX PSU
  • Asus P8H77-M LE MATX Desktop Motherboard – Intel H77
  • Intel Core i5 i5-3570 3.40 GHz CPU
  • Crucial 16GB kit (8GBx2) Ballistix, DDR3 PC3-12800 RAM
  • Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB Hard Drive
  • Pioneer BDR-207EBK Blu-ray drive
  • Microsoft Windows 8 (64-bit)
OCZ CoreXStream 500W ATX PSU

OCZ CoreXStream 500W ATX PSU



Asus P8H77-M LE

Asus P8H77-M LE


Intel Pentium G840 HTPC

This build was to be installed into a living room and connected to a 1080 HD TV and a NAS. It was mainly going to be used for playing media content such as TV, films and music. The case needed to be small enough to integrate into a living space but did not need to be particularly discreet. The Antec MINUET 350 Case has a reasonably small footprint and is good value for money with the PSU included in the price.

Most of the media content would be stored on the NAS, so drive space was not a major concern but the customer was intending to upload photos and videos from cameras and smartphones so we decided to install a 1TB Seagate Barracuda to ensure that there was enough space for the future. We also installed a card reader into the 3.5″ bay so transferring media from cameras would be easier.

The Intel Pentium G840 was more than capable of handling all the media tasks and is very reasonably priced.

The unit was running Windows 8 64 with VLC and Winamp handling a lot of the media playback. The customer had quite a few films they had ripped from DVD on the NAS and the nice thing about VLC is that it will play DVD image files as well as media files.

We also installed a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR900 DVB-T USB tuner which also has an analog input. I really like the Hauppage products. The software is easy to use, stable and fully supports Windows 8. This allowed the customer to schedule record TV programs and also connect an old VHS video recorder so they could watch and also record old videos on the computer.

The full spec…

  • Antec Minuet Piano Black Slimline PC Case inc 350w 80+ PSU
  • Asus P8H61-M LE Rev 3.0 Motherboard
  • Intel Pentium G840 (2.8GHz,65W,32nm,3MB)
  • 4GB kit (2GBx2) 240-pin DIMM DDR3 PC3-12800 CL=11 Unbuffered NON-ECC
  • Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1 TB 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive
  • CIT IO-001B USB2 3.5″ Internal Card Reader with SIM slot
  • Hauppauge WinTV-HVR900 DVB-T USB Tuner.

Antec HTPC

Antec case inc PSU

Antec case without cover