Help...I need a very FAST PC (not for gaming)

I am looking to buy the fastest PC I can for processing a lot of files in conjunction with a database (MySQL/XML/Python), and for running Lightroom and Photoshop together. In fact, it's hard to summarize, because I tend to run a lot of software. But I dont game: I do web development and software development, and I also do pretty serious photography and video editing.

The basic specs I was thinking about, hoping not to spend more than around $2200. But I could stretch that if necessary.

SSD for boot disk and maybe for mySQL database if that's not a problem (and maybe XML files since I have about 60,000 that need to be processed often).

Fast Hard disks with large capacity for the ton of photos and videos I have (several terabytes). [I see cyberpower only lets you add two disks unless you go RAID, but thankfully, there are many bays.

I'd like to make sure I have SATA 3 and USB3 to get the most of my drives and peripherals (I run a dock with an external bare drives for backup, for example.)

I already have a 30" display (the Dell 3007 monitor). I wouldn't mind eventually running two of those, or a second monitor. So the graphic card should allow that. Note that for historical reasons I try to avoid ATI based cards though--I had some real driver nightmares with their cards in a couple of machines. My graphics processing requirements are small, other than running Photoshop, Lightroom and the Cyberlink suite for video.

I have 6 GB memory in my current 2.66 Quad Q9400 machine, and Photoshop and Lightroom struggle to run at the same time (I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate). So I'd like at least 12GB memory. Room for more is better, in case that's not enough.

I also like running a video tuner to record and watch the Daily Show and Colbert while I work at night.

I've had custom machines built before, by JoEy computers and KC, and CyberpowerPC looks like a good option there. But there are so many choices, and even seemingly redundant looks like it's easy to go wrong there.

But here's one system I configured...[Note: I don't really care about case windows and lights...I just really want the best case for ease of adding/removing and external ports. I also don't really need an OS--I have a full copy of Windows 7 Ultimate I can move to the new machine when I upgrade (then I can downgrade my old machine back to the native Vista it came with). But I thought it might be worthwhile getting Windows installed so it's properly tested and configured before I get it--especially with an SSD boot disk But I'll be thinking more about that.)

Mega Special IV (NO MONITOR) $2,186.00 × Qty Total: $2,186.00
*BASE_PRICE: [+1089]
CD: 24X Double Layer Dual Format DVD+-R/+-RW + CD-R/RW Drive (BLACK COLOR)
CD2: None
CAS: Apevia X-Dreamer 3 Mid-Tower Gaming Case w/ Side-Panel Window & Temperature Display (Black Color with Black Ring & Blue LED Fan)
CASUPGRADE: 12in (Blue Color) Cold Cathode Neon Light [+10]
CS_FAN: Default case fans
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-975 Extreme Edition 3.33 GHz 8M Intel Smart Cache LGA1366 [+296]
FAN: Asetek 510LC Liquid Cooling System 120MM Radiator & Fan (Enhanced Cooling Performance + Extreme Silent at 20dBA)
FA_HDD: None
FLASHMEDIA: INTERNAL 12in1 Flash Media Reader/Writer (BLACK COLOR)
HDD: 64 GB Kingston 2.5 inch SATA Gaming MLC Solid State Disk [+33] (Single Hard Drive)
HDD2: 1TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD [+112] (Single Hard Drive)
KEYBOARD: Xtreme Gear (Black Color) Multimedia/Internet USB Keyboard
MOUSE: * GigaByte GM-M6800 Dual Lens Optical Gaming Mouse [+13]
MOTHERBOARD: * (3-Way SLI Support) GigaByte GA-X58A-UD3R Intel X58 Chipset SLI/CrossFireX Ultra Durable™3 Triple-Channel DDR3/1600 ATX Mainboard w/ 7.1 Dolby Audio, eSATA, GbLAN, USB3.0, 2 x SATA-III RAID, IEEE1394a, 4 Gen2 PCIe, 2 PCIe X1 & 1 PCI
MEMORY: 12GB (2GBx6) DDR3/1600MHz Triple Channel Memory Module [+278] (A-Data Gaming Series with Heat Spreader [+59])
MULTIVIEW: Non-SLI/Non-CrossFireX Mode Supports Multiple Monitors
NOISEREDUCE1: Anti-Vibration Fan Mounts [+9]
NETWORK: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
OVERCLOCK: Pro OC (Performance Overclock 10% or more) [+19]
OS: Microsoft® Windows® 7 Home Premium [+104] (64-bit Edition)
POWERSUPPLY: 700 Watts - XtremeGear SLI/CrossFireX Ready Power Supply
SOUND: Creative Labs SB Audigy SE [+30]
TVRC: AverMedia AVerTV Dual Tuner (ATSC/QAM/NTSC) Combo PCIE Media Center with Remote Control (Watch one channel and record on the other channel) [+129]
USB: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
VIDEO: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 1GB 16X PCI Express (EVGA Powered by NVIDIA [+5])
_PRICE: (+2186)

Thanks in advance for any advice on this one... Best choice of case, motherboard, etc. In fact, you're welcome to start over and configure something better and email it to me. I would be most appreciative! I know computers reasonably well, but I don't know the in's and outs of all the choices!
4 answers Last reply
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  1. I've also been wondering if the 6 core Intel Extreme is worth the extra money...I doubt it, but certainly would like to hear opinions. I do run a lot of tasks concurrently, since I'll run as many Python data processing programs as the system can handle in the background--right now it takes me about 8 hours to process all the data (and I tend to run 4 separate runs at once).
  2. I configured a system over at the HP site to compare. This one has the 980x Extreme processor and 18 GB of memory. But it misses on a number of my requirements (and it's 1033 RAM, there's only two drive bays, no SSD, no USB3 or SATA III). But if this is the fastest config, I'd consider it. And the price is pretty good for the 980x and the memory (despite the fact they made me add Windows 7 pro because Home can't address 18GB--wastes $120 or so there, since I own a full version of Ultimate I could put on it.)

    HP Pavilion Elite HPE-390t customizable Desktop PC
    Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-980X six-core Extreme Edition [3.33GHz, 1.5MB L2 + 12MB shared L3 cache]
    18GB DDR3-1066MHz SDRAM [6 DIMMs]
    FREE UPGRADE! 1.5TB 7200 rpm SATA 3Gb/s hard drive from 1TB
    1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 320 [DVI, HDMI, VGA]
    Blu-ray player & Lightscribe SuperMulti DVD burner
    Wireless-N LAN card
    15-in-1 memory card reader, 1 USB, 1394, audio, video (for TV Tuner), with USB 3.0 card
    TV tuner, ATSC-NTSC with PVR, remote
    Integrated sound
    No speakers
    HP USB keyboard and optical mouse
    Microsoft Office Starter 2010
    Norton Internet Security(TM) 2010 - 15 month
    HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope
    Estimated build date: July 21, 2010
  3. I know of FULL SQL servers live that have 8GB of RAM function optimaly on a dual xeon 3ghz. 8 threads total. CPU usage @ around 20% I don't think you need all that RAM.

    SQL is mainly disk writes and I/O performance. I can't recommend SSD's as it's not truely tested and still new tech for me to ever recommend it to anyone. I would go with SAS drives or 10k velocity raptor drives for your system.

    The typical setup is 2 drives in mirror and 3-4 drives in RAID 5.

    Since there's this fad regarding SSD's to satisify your SSDness you could get 2x SSD's for OS 64GB minimum and then 3-4 velocity raptors or SAS drives for data.
  4. Thanks. I configured a lot of RAM for Lightroom/Photoshop, not mySQL. They currently choke on my 6GB memory configuraton. For mySQL, I was indeed hoping to speed it up by using something with extremely fast read access; though I realized the tradeoff may be write access. The data itself is "working data" used during the Python processing of the XML, so besides having backups, it actually gets reconstructed automatically during a complete processing. But there are some pretty large tables and a lot of lookups and it's too slow!

    I probably should put in a couple of velociraptors and then I can decide later which drive to keep the database on. I wish they let you put in more than two drives, but I can easily add them later.
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