Need Advice on $1500 Rig for Development and Statistical Analysis

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: within the next month

BUDGET RANGE: $1000-$1500

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Development work (Java, C, Ruby), statistical analysis (using R and dealing with high throughput biological data), RAID storage, gaming (starcraft ii if it ever comes out)

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I already have an Antec case, the CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX, monitor (res 1920x1400) and keyboard/mouse.



SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Maybe but not really sure.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I've been leaning towards an i7-920 and the ASRuck X58 Extreme but am not sure if this is overkill or not. I was originally considering an 1156 based system but started leaning towards the 1366 due to its SLI/Crossfire support. Again I'm not sure.

Its been about 8 years since I've built a system and I've been using Macs in the meantime. I plan on running Linux (probably Fedora) on this rig primarily but will also try out Win 7 (I skipped Vista).

Like I said I'm pretty rusty with all this so any advice/help would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. I updated the format since I wasn't getting any responses. I guess my main questions is what the general suggestion is for 1156 vs 1366 for development rigs?
  2. Best answer
    Both the P55 and X58 platforms are excellent, and you really cannot go wrong choosing either system. For gaming the P55 system is the better choice. For computational intensive applications similar to your applications, the X58 system is probably the better choice. The bottom line is that these systems are so close in performance, in a blind test you probably could not discern which was which in terms of speed and performance.

    For an X58 system, you should consider the following:
    i7-920 processor ($200 Microcenter, $290 Newegg)
    ASUS P6T Motherboard ($240): The ASRock MB has some reliability problems.
    6X2GB RAM ($300)
    Total $830

    For a P55 system, you should consider the following:
    i5-750 Processor ($150 Microcenter, $200 Newegg)
    Gigabyte P55-UD4P ($170)
    4X2GB RAM ($200)
    Total $570

    Both of these systems will handle crossfire or SLI equally well, and both will be excellent at number crunching. The X58 system costs $260 more than the P55 system but you have 12GB of RAM versus 8GB with the P55 system. Again, if your budget allows, I would recommend you go with the X58 system.

    The rest of your build could include the following:
    CPU Cooler (Recommended for overclocking and it is quiet) Hyper 212: $30
    ATI 5850 Graphics Card ($310)
    Any Namebrand CD/DVD Drive ($40)
    Three WD Caviar Black 1TB HDD (3X$100 = $300)
    Win 7 Home ($105)
    Total $785
    The power supply you already have is excellent. If the Antec case is a mid or full tower case it will also be fine.

    Total cost for the i920 / X58 system is $1615, and total cost for the i750 / P55 is $1355. If the budget is tight, go with the P55 system and you will still have a very capable and extremely fast system. If you can afford an extra $260, the X58 system gives you more RAM and may be slightly faster than the P55 system. Both systems will overclock equally well, and both systems will handle two graphics cards equally well. Take your time and research both systems, so that when you finally make a decision you know it is right for you.

    This article gives you some indication of the performance differences you might expect using the i920 or i750 systems for number crunching intensive applications:
    Note that the i920 is slightly faster than the i750 system. However, if you upgrade the P55 motherboard to a i860 processor ($230 Microcenter or $290 Newegg), the i860 / P55 system performs as well or better than the i920 / X58 system.

    Good luck with your build!
  3. Thanks dpaul8! I'm leaning towards the X58 system so I went ahead and added the parts to a newegg wishlist. The following is what I came up with:

    ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard ($239.99)


    ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard ($269.99)

    XFX HD-489X-ZSFC Radeon HD 4890 ($189.99)

    Intel Core i7-920 ($288.99)

    1 x Kingston HyperX 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) ($199.99)

    1 x Western Digital Caviar Black ($99.99)

    XIGMATEK HDT-S1283 ($39.98)

    XIGMATEK ACK-I7361 CPU Cooler ($7.99)

    You'll find that I went with what you suggested but cut back on a couple of things to save $. Overall it comes to about $1100 if I was to go with the P6T deluxe.

    I'm not really sure about the P6T vs the P6T deluxe. I was thinking about going with the deluxe because from what I read it offers double the memory but the consensus on this has been inconsistent.

    Future Upgrades (in 6 months to a year):
    Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2M160G2R5 2.5" 160GB ($549.00).
    Upgrade to Video Card and additional memory.

    Does this look alright?
  4. Switch the WD for a Samsung Spinpoint F3. Currently, there are 3 drives that use 500 GB platters: F3 , Seagate 7200.12 and WD 2 TB. The F3 and 7200.12 comes in either 500 GB or 1 TB. The 500 GB platters make the drives a lot faster and quieter. In the case of the F3s and Seagates, they're also cheaper. Right now, the Samsung is hard to find, but usually available through Newegg, Amazon, TigerDirect or ZipZoomFly for roughly the same price.

    That RAM is kind of overkill. You don't really need anything higher than 1333 mhz, and getting faster RAM hurts the timings. I recommend G.Skill Trident 6 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 6. It's cheaper, and will perform better.

    I highly recommend going with the Hyper 212 as the CPU cooler. It's cheaper, and one of the best coolers out.

    If you want to save a little more money, you could switch the GPU for an HD 5770. For what you're doing, that will be more than enough, and if it isn't, it Crossfires really well.

    Also, if you're near a Microcenter, you can get Intel CPUs for $50 less than Newegg.
  5. RMCastil -- I am glad you decided to you for the X58 system. You have made some good choices for components, and I will only give you my thoughts on specific items. If you want to go with the Deluxe V2 version, this is fine. This motherboard gives you slightly better overclocking capabilities, and has an excellent reputation.

    If you live near a Microcenter you can pick up a i920 processor for $200.

    The Kinston RAM you chose is mediocre for the price, the GSkill RAM MadAdmiral suggested is better, but you should be able to find some DDR3 1600 or 1333 MHz RAM with CAS7 or CAS8 timings for about $150.

    The 4890 graphics card is a bargain at that price because it is a very good performing card, but it is an older generation card that uses more power and runs hotter than the new cards. This is a good compromise card if you do want to spend the extra dollars for a 5850.

    The rest of your build is fine. When it comes to hard drives and CPU coolers, all of the listed equipment is good, so just go for the best available price at the time of your purchase.
  6. Thanks MadAdmiral and dpaul8 for the advice!

    Switch the WD for a Samsung Spinpoint F3.

    Thanks! They have it available at the egg as a bare drive.

    If you want to save a little more money, you could switch the GPU for an HD 5770.

    Another bit of great advice. It'll be much easier for me just to buy another one of these and crossfire later than replacing the drive all together.

    I highly recommend going with the Hyper 212 as the CPU cooler.

    Most of the reviews I've read on this are positive but a lot of them mention how its hard to install. I did find some videos on installation and plus both of you highly recommended it so I'll give it a shot.

    Regarding the memory. I found

    OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) CAS8 - (119.99 AR)

    Corsair Dominator 6GB (3 x 2GB) CAS8 - (233.99 AR)

    G.Skill 6GB (3 x 2GB) CAS9 - (149.99)

    Is there a reason why the dominator is priced insanely higher than the other two? Brand name? The only difference I saw in the newegg's comparison chart was that the dominator was unbuffered. Do you recommend OCZ over G.Skill or vice versa brand name wise?
  7. It's Corsair RAM. That's the only reason.

    OCZ has better timings, and is cheaper. By the specs, it's the best one listed.
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