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First Time Build: Software Developer/Home Use Build [Non-Gamer]

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May 13, 2013 7:52:17 PM

I'd first like to thank everyone in the Tom's Hardware community for the wealth of information you guys provide on a daily basis! I have gained a lot of great information already in regards to my new build and am hoping you guys can help me with the remaining questions I have.

I am a Software Engineer (modeling and simulation) and I'm looking to create a build for home that I can also work from. I do NOT need the computer for rendering or animation. The 3D software we make does not use hi-res textures and we rely heavily on OpenSceneGraph(OpenGL), OGRE, and Qt for 3D graphics/GUI. Other info of note (summarized): Visual Studio 2010, Eclipse, Virtual Machine (sometimes multiple), Dual Boot in Linux (not necessary with VM), 20-50 tabs in browser, compiling large projects (30 min+).

That summarizes my needs in regards to working from home. As for my personal needs I'd first like to say that I am not a gamer. I do play emulated games (up to PS1/PS2) on occasions but that's about it. I mainly use my computer for browsing internet (10-40 tabs), streaming video services, and data transfer/storage. I want to eventually build myself a HTPC but I'm hoping this system can fulfill those needs in the meantime. I currently have a Roku and a laptop hooked up via HDMI to my 55" Vierra VT30. I'd like to have 2 monitors (1920 x 1080) for this build and a possible third output with the TV to replace what my laptop is doing.

I have done a lot of looking around on the internet and through the Tom's Hardware forums for information and have found a lot (almost too much) information. At this point I thought it would be a little more efficient if I asked for some help on the build so I can get pointed in the right direction. I'll summarize what ideas I have for the build in a paragraph and then I'll put all the information in the normal outline.

Barring any new cpu/mobo/etc. coming out in the near future that may better meet my needs, I'm looking to build this ASAP. I currently need all parts for this build, including mouse/keyboard, OS, Monitors, etc. I won't need suggestions (unless you have some off the top of your head) for stuff like mouse/keyboard or monitors cause I can look that stuff up. I'm mainly looking for suggestions for items that can have compatibility issues or are hard to review (mobo, PSU, RAM, HD/SSD). A quiet build is a plus but not worth an arm and a leg. I don't necessarily have a budget for this but I couldn't imagine that I would need to spend more than $2500 - $3000 to meet my needs. I'm looking for something that will give me great response time while doing the task I outlined above while not being too cost inefficient. I'm open to anything that will make this build faster, more effective, or more efficient (overclocking, RAID, etc.).

That's about it, sorry if it was long winded. Thank you once again for your help!

Approximate Purchase Date: Barring any new cpu/mobo/etc. coming out in the near future that may better meet my needs, I'm looking to build this ASAP.

Budget Range: Less than $3000

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Software Development, Web Browsing, Media Center, Word Processing

Are you buying a monitor: Yes (Two 22"-24" 1920 x 1080, big size pref)

Do you need to buy OS: Yes

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I have an Amazon Prime account but whatever is more cost effective. I may pay a little more for fast shipping.

Location: Orlando, Florida

Parts Preferences: N/A

Overclocking: Maybe (Not sure what's the cons for my use case)

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments: Quiet build is a plus. I want to buy 2 22"-24" 1920 x 1080 monitors and possible output a third signal to my 55" Vierra VT30.

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Productivity!!! My 14" laptop doesn't cut it for writing code or working on my business ventures.

The things I believe that are a good fit...

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($229.99 @ Microcenter)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
Total: $329.98
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-13 22:34 EDT-0400)

Also thinking 16gb RAM, 2-3tb Storage (HD/SSD), a quality PSU, and I have no clue on Video Card. All the info I find on Video Cards is doesn't really compare to my use case.

Best solution

May 13, 2013 8:35:47 PM

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($308.18 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme3 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard ($118.98 @ Newegg)
Memory: Corsair XMS 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($208.98 @ Amazon)
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk ($159.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($109.99 @ Newegg)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 670 2GB Video Card ($352.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($99.99 @ NCIX US)
Power Supply: Rosewill Hive 550W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply ($56.00 @ Newegg)
Optical Drive: LG UH12NS29 Blu-Ray Reader, DVD/CD Writer ($39.99 @ Newegg)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 (OEM) (64-bit) ($134.98 @ Outlet PC)
Monitor: Acer H236HLbid 60Hz 23.0" Monitor ($153.00 @ Newegg)
Monitor: Acer H236HLbid 60Hz 23.0" Monitor ($153.00 @ Newegg)
Keyboard: Rosewill RK-9000BL Wired Standard Keyboard ($56.24 @ Amazon)
Mouse: Logitech B100 Wired Optical Mouse ($5.49 @ Mac Mall)
Total: $1957.80
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-05-13 23:31 EDT-0400)

I went with 32 GB of Ram, since you are doing some level of 3D Rendering. the 670 is possibly overkill, but is strong for Open GL and GPGPU usage, and has the 3 outputs you need. a 256 GB SSD for your most common programs, plus Win 7 Pro for easier use of virtual machines. a 3 TB drive for storage, and two 23" 1920x1080 IPS displays. still under $2000. The keyboard has Cherry-MX mechanical keys.
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May 14, 2013 5:39:49 AM

I would maybe consider a XEON CPU. Since you are not gaming and therefore probably not overclocking, you can get a lot more bang for your buck with a XEON, and it uses less power and stays cooler. The XEON E3-1230 V2 performs better than the i7-3770K and costs a lot less.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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May 14, 2013 5:57:02 AM

Actually the Xeon E3-1240 V2 is better, cause it performs better than the E3-1230 V2 and is in the same price range, still cheaper than the 3770K.
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May 14, 2013 9:00:50 PM

Thanks for the quick replies! I haven't had a chance to read up on all the components in the build yet but I'm really liking ScrewySqrl suggestion. Just to give you some insight, my current work machine is a Dell XPS with an intel i7 920, 8 gb ram, and uses a GTS 250. Some of our engineers have a build with the i7 3770 (don't know which one) and we have a 2gb video card floating around for very special projects that may need the extra processing power (don't know what kind of card it is but I can't imagine it's very high end). So yea, the video card is probably an overkill but so is everything else that I want, :) . I've heard good things about the 670 so I'm not ruling it out but is there any other 3 output card that may better suit my needs?

I haven't really considered using any Xeon processors as of yet, I guess I'll spend some time tonight looking into that option.

I was also wondering whether overclocking would be a good idea for my build. Are there any downsides to overclocking that would make my build less suitable for software development? Also, I was wondering if there was any value in waiting for the new Haswell chip to come out (or any other soon to be released hardware)?

Thanks again guys
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