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Ultimate Music Studio/Live Performance Machine: Fastest possible CPU in a silent mini-ITX build?

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i7 6700k
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I'm planning to create the ultimate hackintosh for music recording and performance. My audio setup is absurdly CPU intensive, and instead of reducing the awesomeness of my setup I've decided to just create an equally absurd computer.

But it's more complicated than that. I'm immobilized by conflicting requirements:
1) silent or near-silent operation (for when I'm recording tracks)
2) small/portable so I can gig with it (mini-ITX)
3) extreme CPU and RAM capacity because Ableton sucks
4) visually pleasing case design so I can have it on stage with me

The things that don't matter to me:
1) GPU (If I can fit a GTX 960 that'd be nice, but it may not even be worth the heat and noise)
2) Cost (I'm planning to invest some $$ to solve this problem since it's impacting my career)

So, here are my questions as of now:
a) What's the absolute fastest CPU I can use? Can I use a 6 core Xeon or i7 processor or are those not mac-ready?
b) What mini-ITX motherboard could I use to run one of those processors?
c) Is it possible to run one of these processors in a fanless case?

I'm obsessed with Streacom cases. Their aesthetic is awesome. Super apple. Very stage-friendly. Very silent. So they meet my 1st, 2nd and 4th requirements. But the Streacom FC9 case (for example) is rated for a maximum TDP of 95W (and they only recommend 65W). I'm pretty sure the i7 6700k is rated for ~90 TDP (if I don't overclock at all...) so I'm scared.

If fanless cases are out of the question with 6-core processors (that's my fear, but I'm hoping you'll tell me it's possible), then I guess I'll have to either sacrifice on processing power and build a Streacom rig with a 6700k CPU (which is sad... so really that's not a good option) or sacrifice the requirement for absolute silence and go with the quietest liquid cooler I can find. Maybe I could still put that liquid-cooled Xeon inside of a Streacom case somehow? Then I could still meet my 2nd and 4th requirements and get as close as possible to that 1st requirement.

So, d) what's the absolute quietest liquid cooler I can fit in a tiny case?

I am grateful in advance for your sage advice!
 
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Joined
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Messages
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Motherboard
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CPU
i7 6700k
Graphics
EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
Ok I'm realizing I could use an x99 board with a Xeon in a bigger heat sync case like the Streacom DB4. But now I have another worry... if the whole case is a heat sync for the CPU, doesn't that technically also mean that there's no actual case whatsoever? Whenever I touch the 'case' I'm touching the CPU... and if I'm taking this thing into a tourbus environment that scares me. Do I have to ground myself before I touch the case? I guess ruggedness just became requirement #5. This project is doomed.
 
Joined
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Messages
40
Motherboard
GA-Z170X-Gaming 7
CPU
i7 6700k
Graphics
EVGA GTX 1080 FTW
Maybe I should just ask one question at a time:

What's the best motherboard/CPU combo for an ultra-fast workstation? I'm guessing an x99 and Xeon? But what's supported?
 
Joined
Apr 12, 2017
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I haven't seen any working xeon builds yet, tho I'm not the most experienced by any stretch of the imagination. I would suggest a x99 Haswell-E. There are build guides here with those, while I haven't seen any for xeons. Also, with x99 Haswell-E's, you have overclocking. If you want to wait a while, Apple is probably releasing a Mac Pro refresh later this year, q3? If your heart is set on a Hackintosh, and you want to wait a bit more, perhaps the Broadwell-E support is coming soon? But at any rate, I would avoid x99 xeon and go with x99 Haswell-E, just for support and ease of use sake.
 

trs96

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If you want a mini-itx system you can forget about X99 and Xeon CPUs. I wouldn't think of that all AL case by Streacom as something I'd want to use on the road. You can find some nice and light Aluminum cases by Lian Li that would be perfect for mobile use and look good too. Then you can use an I7-7700K, overclock it and use a small liquid cooler to keep it from overheating. You really can't come close to the speed of an overclocked I7-7700K with any of the current Broadwell EP Xeons (E5 V4) anyway. The more cores you have the slower the clock speed has to be.

Here's a mini-ITX case from Lian Li that could hold all the storage you'll ever need and stay cool as well.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112458&cm_re=Lian_Li_Mini-ITX-_-11-112-458-_-Product

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...106337&cm_re=water_3.0-_-35-106-337-_-Product
a quiet Liquid Cooler by Thermaltake.

If you wanted to go completely silent, no cpu overclock or mechanical HDDs then you could use this one with a Noctua CPU cooler /fan combo and a silent Seasonic PSU (fanless). That's about as close to silent as you could get when using an I7-7700K.

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811112536

This is an ITX motherboard you could easily overclock with and use 32 GB of fast DDR4 ram.
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128969&cm_re=Z270n-_-13-128-969-_-Product

If you won't be overclocking then get the Z270N-Wifi. It still gives you the option but is not as good at it as the gaming version.
 
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pastrychef

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With the FC9, I think it's possible to go completely fanless if you do not intend to overclock and if you delid the CPU. Delidding the CPU and using Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra between the CPU die and IHS and again between the IHS and heatsink will dramatically reduce CPU temps. In such a setup, ambient temps will probably contribute to CPU temps too.

The key is the Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra. When I first tried delidding, I used more conventional thermal compounds and the results were less than impressive. When I switched to CLU, I saw dramatically reduced temperatures. Really amazing stuff.
 
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Keep in mind, with the Haswell-E & Broadwell-E CPUs, you WILL need a GPU…
 
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Then you can use an I7-7700K, overclock it and use a small liquid cooler to keep it from overheating. You really can't come close to the speed of an overclocked I7-7700K with any of the current Broadwell EP Xeons (E5 V4) anyway. The more cores you have the slower the clock speed has to be.
Great post here, trs96, I was thinking of going with the following for a similar (not portable application to connect to a 4K TV at 60Hz). What do you think? Since I thought I heard the Kaby Lake chips were supported by the older series boards, should I just find a 100 series board.View media item 188846
 

trs96

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Great post here, trs96, I was thinking of going with the following for a similar (not portable application to connect to a 4K TV at 60Hz). What do you think? Since I thought I heard the Kaby Lake chips were supported by the older series boards, should I just find a 100 series board.View media item 188846
Match a 200 series board with a Kaby Lake CPU. Makes more sense in the long run and no need to flash the BIOS.
 
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