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$2000 Software development PC build

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May 8, 2010 6:12:22 PM

Hi, guys. I'm building a new PC from the ground up. I don't have any parts at all; just completed an overseas move. It will be used primarily for professional software development, but it will also be my main PC, so it will see a fair amount of general use, and maybe a wee bit of gaming, if I can find the time.

At minimum, it must have a good quality SSD drive, a fairly hefty CPU, at least 8GB of memory (more would be better), and be able to drive two good-sized monitors without difficulty. Being able to upgrade to a 3rd monitor down the road would be a plus.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: as soon as possible. Ideally it should be assembled, installed, and ready to roll by the 17th of May.

BUDGET RANGE: $2000 or so. That includes monitors, keyboard, mouse, case; everything but the desk it sits on. The budget is somewhat flexible; this is my own money, so I don't want to throw it away on things I don't need, but I am willing to pay extra for noticeable performance improvements. Reducing compile time from 8s to 6s will save me hundreds of dollars worth of time over the lifetime of this computer.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Software development (.NET and SQL Server, if it makes a difference), multimedia, general use, gaming

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: None. I need it all.

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: No preference.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: Fairly confident I want the Intel X25-M SSD. Other than that, I'm open to suggestions. What I've put together below is quite tentative, based on a day or two reading the guides in this forum.

OVERCLOCKING: I'm willing to try it, but I'll probably be fairly conservative, and don't want to spend a lot of time tweaking it.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: I don't think it's necessary

MONITOR RESOLUTION: flexible; prefer higher resolution

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Here's a tentative build I've put together based on the various stickied guides in these forums. Am I missing any pieces? Is there anything that's just a waste of money for my build? Anywhere that I could spend a few more bucks and get a big win? Have I just totally done it wrong?

Intel Core i7-860 Lynnfield 2.8GHz LGA 1156: $279.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-P55A-UD3: $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

G.SKILL ECO 8GB (4 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3: $249.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case: $109.95
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W: $109.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

CPU Fan: ??? (Couldn't find (or didn't understand) any recommendations for these in the LGA 1156 space.)

XFX Radeon HD 5770 1GB Video Card: $179.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Intel X25-M 80GB Internal Solid State Drive: $224.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive: $99.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

SAMSUNG DVD Burner Black SATA Model SH-S223L LightScribe Support - OEM: $25.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x SAMSUNG P2370 23" 2ms(GTG) Widescreen LCD Monitor: $459.90
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Microsoft Natural Keyboard: $41.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Logitech MX620 cordless mouse: $49.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Windows 7 Professional: $139.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total cost about $1972.



I also priced out what this would look like in an LGA 1366 chipset, with these bits in place of the respective parts above, for an extra $270. Will I see $270 worth of performance improvement from these changes? I'm kind of thinking not, but that's just a feeling, not based on any real evidence.

Intel Core i7-930 2.8GHz
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2x OCZ Platinum 6Gb (3 x 2Gb) DDR3
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 9, 2010 3:50:43 PM

Thanks, that's helpful.
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May 9, 2010 4:45:00 PM

You could consider going with an AMD build with the new 1090T X6. While this wouldn't be a good choice for a gaming build, for certain applications, the additional physical cores are more useful than hyperthreading.

See 1090T vs. i7-860 and 1090T vs. i7-920 (no i7-930 benches available). And a more focused review.

The i7-860 is an excellent processor, and if your work is single-threaded or only lightly multi-threaded, then I'd agree with tecmo, and you should go ahead and pull the trigger.

The 1090T isn't going to be for everyone, it may not be for you, as there aren't a lot of compile benchmarks that I've seen. It should be something to consider though, as the price for 1090T + AM3 mobo won't be significantly different from the i7-860 build. All you would need to change is the processor & motherboard, and there might be additional performance benefit, depending on how highly-threaded your work is.
May 10, 2010 12:27:07 AM

Compilation can be parallelizable, but it depends on the language and the particular project. In the project I spend most of my time working on these days, compile time is dominated by the single-threaded bits. For what it's worth, that's a bad thing, indicating poor design. But fixing it is a job that won't be finished any time soon.

So extra cores won't help me much. Turbo boost, on the other hand, should help quite a bit, if I've understood the concept correctly.
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