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Automated test / build server

Last response: in Systems
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May 12, 2009 8:07:12 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: This week

BUDGET RANGE: $2000 max -- less is better

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: automated software testing, compiling

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: monitor, keyboard, mouse

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: open to suggestions

OVERCLOCKING: Maybe

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: Mostly login remotely 1024x768

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

This will be my first build. The purpose of this machine is to test a commercial software product which interfaces with MATLAB (www.mathworks.com). We have an automated testing procedure which takes about 12 hours total (2 hours compiling + 10 hours running many tests with many different versions of MATLAB). I believe the primary perfomance bottleneck to be CPU speed. This machine will initially run WinXP pro (32-bit). Will probably upgrade it to a 64-bit OS in the future. There are multiple threads at various points in the testing process.

The configuration I am currently planning to build is as follows:

2 AeroCool AEROFANS-X X-Blaster 80mm Case Fan [$14]
1 Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound [$18]
1 OCZ Platinum 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) OCZ3P1333LV6GK [$68]
1 iStarUSA D-407PL Black Steel 4U Rackmount Compact Stylish Server Case [$90]
1 ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard [$280]
1 EVGA 256-P2-N753-TR GeForce 8600 GT 256MB 128-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 [$50]
1 CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified [$120]
1 Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor Model BX80601920 [$280]
2 Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive [$140]
1 LG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner with LightScribe Black SATA Model GH22LS30 [$26]
1 Microsoft Windows XP Professional SP3 for System Builders [$118]

Total is $1203

Some additional notes: I know that only 3.2GB of the memory will be accessible from WinXP. The person familiar with the testing process claims the extra .2 GB make a small but noticiable difference in time (maybe 5%). I may try using ramdisk-9 to turn the unused memory into a ramdisk. We plan to use the 2 hard disks in a RAID 1 configuration.

Besides the obvious "Am I doing anything really stupid?", one question I have is whether an aftermarket CPU cooler would be worthwhile. If I can overclock the CPU without affecting stability, I would be willing to try it. But stability has to come first.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

-Dan
May 12, 2009 8:28:46 PM

One correction: I just found out that reducing the memory size from 3 to 2 GB made a noticeable difference, not going from 3.2 to 3 GB. So I will probably just get 3x1GB of memory.

May 12, 2009 8:39:06 PM

Why XP...there is nothing wrong with that...but why?!
May 12, 2009 8:41:25 PM

Because that's what most of our customers use. :-)
!