Workstation for Software development

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 (

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

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!
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More about workstation software development
  1. for virtual machines, I'd suggest an AMD Hexcore. The 1055t should be adequate to your needs.

    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

    8 GB of RAM for your virtual machines is also a must, Better as 4x2GB, so buy two of these:

    This 2x 4Gb is only $10 more, however:

    a 1TB regular hard drive as well (Spinpoint F3 is my suggestion at $75)

    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.
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