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Workstation for Software development

Last response: in Systems
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September 13, 2010 6:15:26 PM

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks to 1 month


Budget Range: $1000-1300


System Usage from Most to Least Important: Software development in C/C++, VMWare


Parts Not Required: Monitors - Dell 21.5" Ultrasharp (http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/products/Displays/pr...)



Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newgg.com


Country of Origin: USA


Parts Preferences: No preference as long as they are name-brand with emphasis on reliability. I would like to run GNU/Linux as well as Windows 7; I'm still finding mixed results of ATi driver quality relative to nVidia.


Overclocking: No


SLI or Crossfire: No


Monitor Resolution: >=1680x1050


Additional Comments:

I am attempting to setup a box so I get back into developing software. The projects I have in mind aren't terribly demanding right now, but I would like the flexibility to take on larger, more resource-demanding projects. In addition, I would like to run virtualized OSes for testing purposes.

A card that can handle two (possibly three) monitors, two 20-22" widescreen, is required. I may be doing some graphics programming but it will be simple things, so priority on a powerful graphics card is low.

I don't think I would need the benefits of Xeon or Opteron. Time isn't exactly equal to money as this is only a serious hobby. If anything, I would like to stay at the 80-20 rule: 80% as powerful as the best components, leaving 20% room for future upgrades. :)  I would like to start out at 6 to 8GB of RAM.

I don't know much about the components out there these days. Every review or guide is seems slanted towards gaming than compiling code or running vmware.

Any direction would be helpful. Thanks!
September 13, 2010 6:52:00 PM

for virtual machines, I'd suggest an AMD Hexcore. The 1055t should be adequate to your needs.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

To be sure to hold everything, we want a full-size ATX motherboard. The least expensive is the 770 upgraded with USB 3 and SATA 3, for future expansion
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

8 GB of RAM for your virtual machines is also a must, Better as 4x2GB, so buy two of these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This 2x 4Gb is only $10 more, however:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a 1TB regular hard drive as well (Spinpoint F3 is my suggestion at $75)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

a case is up to you, and I'd suggest a low-end NVidia graphics card like a 240GT ($80) or 250 GTS ($90) because NVidia just plays much better with Linux. Both should handle dual monitors just fine. You don't need high power, but either card's 1 GB version should be able to run 2 screens just fine. If you plan to do DirectX 11 programming, get the new GTS 450 that is coming out tomorrow at $129, otherwise the 250 is just as good, and $60 cheaper.

!