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How to build own computer optimized for Web Development?

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March 19, 2009 4:30:19 PM

Hello, what do you recommend to purchase for components to build your own computer that is optimized specifically for Web development?

Requirements: Ability to quickly process with multiple heavy applications open at the same time (for example, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop). Desire plenty of storage and dual hard drives (in case one of them gives out, the other HD is still functioning).

If you have experience or advice on any components, free free to share.

All advice is welcome! Thanks.
March 19, 2009 5:54:54 PM

Get 3 or 4 HDs to run in RAID 5. If one dies then the array will use the parity drive to figure out what the missing info should be giving you the opportunity to get another drive to rebuild the array, well so long as you do it before another drive fails anyway :) . I would recommend the WD Caviler Black Series, specifically the 1TB version. As for the CPU and RAM it depends on your budget. A Phenom II 940 with 4GB or 8GB of DDR2 should be more than enough, but you should consider an i7 setup if you do alot of video encoding as it will be noticeably faster compared to the Phenom II setup. If you have the money you can always get 12 or 16GB of RAM (or even 24 with an i7 build assuming sufficient funds), but it may not provide much of a real world benefit for you over 8 or 6GB.
March 19, 2009 5:57:01 PM

Honestly CS3 runs just fine for me on my setup, but one of the reasons I'm looking to upgrade to a phenom II soon is to speed up video encoding. Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash are more than fast enough now, but encoding video right now (like converting commercials to flv for flash) just takes too long sometimes. :kaola: 
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March 19, 2009 6:13:12 PM

I'd stay away from i7 920 because that costs about $700 for CPU/MB/DDR3.

You could get something like Q9550+GA-EP45-UD3R+4x2GB DDR2 for about $500. The problem with this is that it's not upgradable, but the Q9550 will last a long time.

Or, you could get this combo for $314 and 4x2GB of RAM, total about $400, and it's almost as good.
http://secure.newegg.com/Shopping/AddToCart.aspx?Submit=ADD&ItemList=Combo.165047
Phenom II X4 940 + GA-MA790GP-UD4H

If you're not playing any games at all, I'd pick the last combo because it has decent integrated video and you don't need to buy a video card for it.
March 24, 2009 3:33:29 PM

Hi, with the configurations that you are recommending, any suggestions on MOBOs, cooling fans and other components?
March 24, 2009 3:40:47 PM

GA-EP45-UD3R and GA-MA790GP-UD4H are MOBOs.

Both Q9550 and Phenom II X4 940 come with stock coolers. You don't sound like an overclocker, IMO, so I guess you can just use the stock coolers and not buy any aftermarket coolers. Since this is a work machine, more reason to avoid overclocking.

Other components: the Corsair 650TX is a very reliable PSU and will support a quad CPU and lots of hard drives easily. I'd also recommend a HD 4670 video card (supports two monitors) and a bunch of WD6401AALS hard drives.


March 24, 2009 11:22:39 PM

Yes, it will be primarily a work machine.

Will stock coolers be sufficient if I use the other recommended components? I like your suggestion of the video card for dual monitors--good idea!

Tell me more about your experiences with different components--have you ever run across a component to avoid?
March 24, 2009 11:36:47 PM

FWIW, an i7 build costs $620 for the CPU, a decent Mobo and 6GB of RAM or $50 less for a cheaper Mobo. Sure, you could go Phenom or Core 2 Quad for less, but the difference is maybe $200 and you have a longterm upgrade path.

If you do decide to go RAID, use the Western Digital RE3 drives rather than the black ones... same performance but without the possibility of occasional lag due to the way RAID sometimes clobbers the hard disk. Cost about $40 extra per 1TB disk, but will probably be more reliable.

If you do go RAID 5 (I would even suggest RAID 6 if you are sensibly paranoid), you may find it worth investing in a standalone RAID card that has a built in parity chip since that will be faster since it does not leach CPU cycles. However, these cost about $200 for a decent one, I gather.
March 25, 2009 1:50:53 AM

Radix-64 said:

Tell me more about your experiences with different components--have you ever run across a component to avoid?


LOL, it's a long list. The worst offender is a CoolMax PSU that started smoking and died. Fortunately it didn't kill anything else. Also had horrible experiences with a Pioneer DVD-RW. It was saying successful burn, but then the disks were corrupt. I lost some important stuff that way :( 

But seriously, these days it's not that bad. Avoid Seagate drives for a while until they've sorted out their current firmware bugs. WD is the safest choice IMO for March and April.

Apart from that, nothing major. I used to curse nVidia too last year, because I was getting BSODs from my 8800GTX, but they fixed their drivers and now I trust them again.
March 28, 2009 1:05:09 AM

How much do you think it will cost (roughly) about to construct a system based on the best available components now?

I'm wondering if there is a discernible cost differential between reliable components and those with issues currently.
March 28, 2009 1:12:45 AM

Siggy19 said:
FWIW, an i7 build costs $620 for the CPU, a decent Mobo and 6GB of RAM or $50 less for a cheaper Mobo. Sure, you could go Phenom or Core 2 Quad for less, but the difference is maybe $200 and you have a longterm upgrade path.

If you do decide to go RAID, use the Western Digital RE3 drives rather than the black ones... same performance but without the possibility of occasional lag due to the way RAID sometimes clobbers the hard disk. Cost about $40 extra per 1TB disk, but will probably be more reliable.

If you do go RAID 5 (I would even suggest RAID 6 if you are sensibly paranoid), you may find it worth investing in a standalone RAID card that has a built in parity chip since that will be faster since it does not leach CPU cycles. However, these cost about $200 for a decent one, I gather.


They can be spendy.
!