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$3K Geek Machine

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October 18, 2010 4:39:21 AM

With this build, I am shooting for a well-rounded geek machine:
+ Heavy software development
+ Moderate graphics/web design
+ Moderate gaming
+ Light 3D modeling

One major influence on this project is that I want multiple monitors. Initially, I am going with a 5x1 portrait-mode setup which will allow me to get started without additional mounting hardware.


1 x AZZA Hurrican 2000 CSAZ-2000 Black SECC Japanese Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
$129.99

1 x GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
$274.99

1 x Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950
$294.99

1 x GIGABYTE GV-R5876P-2GD-B Radeon HD 5870 (Cypress XT) 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready
$414.99

1 x CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-1000HX 1000W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified
$229.99

1 x CORSAIR DOMINATOR 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory
$159.99

2 x Western Digital Caviar Blue WD6400AAKS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$139.98

1 x LG Black Blu-ray Disc Combo SATA Model UH10LS20 LightScribe Support
$84.99

1 x Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
$9.99

5 x ViewSonic VP2365wb Black 23" IPS LCD Monitor w/4-port USB hub, height&pivot adjustment
$1,449.95

1 x CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD 1500 VA 900 Watts UPS
$164.54

Subtotal: $3,354.39
+ 53.75 ( tax )
- 40.00 ( combo deal on memory and PSU )
- 135.00 ( MIRs )
---------------------------------
Total: $3,233.14


Here are a few notes on my decisions:

1) I left out SSDs because I think it's worth waiting a while. I couldn't find any reasonably priced SATA III SSDs, let alone any with good reviews.

2) I anticipate putting additional cooling in, but would rather wait to see how it runs first. The case has serious fans, so I'm hoping that stock is fine for now. ( I will probably add custom water cooling and try OC'ing down the road ).

3) PSU may be overkill for this rig, but I want room to grow. Might double the GPU if performance demands.

4) Is it ok that my UPS (900W) is rated lower than my PSU(1,000W)?

5) Monitors are a bit pricey, but I wanted IPS and portrait mode without additional hardware.


Well, any thoughts? I'd like to get some advice before I pull the trigger on this. All gear except for UPS is coming from NewEgg.

More about : geek machine

October 18, 2010 5:20:17 AM

My reactions: 5 screens? Wow!

1) I think leaving out the SSD for now is a solid decision. But even your HDDs seem underwhelming compared to your system.
2) If you're planning on OCing + water cooling the case should be fine w/ everything running at stock.
3) I would consider going w/ the higher efficiency 850 W PSU from corsair, but really Corsair is one of the best PSU suppliers so, can't go wrong.
4) I have no clue.
5) Very Pricey! But hey, when you're buying 5 of them!

W/ how extreme your monitor needs are I'm not sure that the 5870 would even be able to handle light gaming/ 3d modeling unless you're only using 1 or 2 of the monitors for those tasks.

Lastly if you look at it from the standpoint of spending 1500$ on monitors, and 1500-1600$ on the rest of the rig I think you could even out the system and make it a little better.
October 18, 2010 5:32:00 AM

^+1. I would also recommend dropping down to something in the UD3R price range for the mobo. Also switch out the Dominators for a cheaper CL7 set. Even for multiple 5870s you'll be fine with a PSU in the 750W range. Switch out the Caviar Blues for Spinpoint F3s or 7200.12s.
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October 18, 2010 5:36:11 AM

Wouldn't you want an NVIDIA GPU for CUDA accelerated functions in your 3D modeling and graphic design software? You'd have to look up support for your specific softwares.
October 18, 2010 5:51:37 AM

also, why an i7 950?

get a 920/930 and OC it yourself? you have the cooling setup. seems like you are wasting cash on the processor there.
October 18, 2010 5:52:14 AM

Here's a configuration I think might get you a better rig for your money...

Keep your Case and thermal paste, and here's a blu ray burner for not much more money if you need that capability.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's 2x 1 TB HDDs that I would choose. WD is a little pricier but the Caviar Blacks have a great warranty/reliability. But can't go wrong w/ a spinpoint f3 1 tb either.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Less expensive, just as good ram...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's a combo deal w/ the same CPU and the UD3R Mobo.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And lastly here's a very solid GPU/PSU combo. Corsair is one of the best PSU suppliers out there, 850 W should more than cover your power needs, and both have great warranties once again.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total w/ shipping comes to 1533$ on all of that, which brings your total w/ monitors and UPS to 3193$ I think that'll get you better performance for your money. Also since you're spending 165$ on a UPS that rig should also provide better reliability. And of coarse, it's 40$ cheaper, and if you want to save more get the samsung f3s, loose the blu ray burner, and you could easily wind up close to 150$ cheaper.
October 18, 2010 5:57:42 AM

Thanks for the replies everyone.

Regarding the PSU and memory. I would have gone with something less expensive; however, got sucked in by a combo deal. I am getting both $309.98 after MIR. I think that's worth keeping, but I'm not going to defend wasting cash if I'm wrong.

I went round-and-round on the UD3/UD5/UD7 models. UD7 was obviously overkill, but what really bothers me about the UD3 is the lack of power buttons. I know it's trivial, but for what I'm spending I want to be able to power down on a locked PC without pulling it's plug.

Good catch on the HDDs, I will switch to the Spinpoint F3s.

As for the graphics card, NVIDIA doesn't the same multi-monitor support as ATI's Eyefinity. I started out looking at a set of GTX 460s, but discovered that SLI does not support more than two monitors. If one 4870 isn't enough (from what I've read it should be) I can add a second and run them in CFX. I will do much more gaming that 3D work.

October 18, 2010 6:02:13 AM

welshmousepk said:
also, why an i7 950?

get a 920/930 and OC it yourself? you have the cooling setup. seems like you are wasting cash on the processor there.



The 950 is selling for $294.99 which is about $5 more than a 920/930. I figured I may as well.
October 18, 2010 6:03:27 AM

welshmousepk said:
also, why an i7 950?

get a 920/930 and OC it yourself? you have the cooling setup. seems like you are wasting cash on the processor there.


A 950 is a good deal better. And definately worth the extra money. From the tests I saw 950s hit 4.0ghz on 1.2v which is miles ahead of 920s and 930s which tend to go at around 1.35-1.4v(Although it is possible with a 920 or 930, bvut you have to be EXTREMELY lucky).

Also less volts means less heat. The 2 danger factors of overclocks are heat and voltage meaning you can overclock to 4.2 without even the slightest concern of overvolting(well none actualy because it's stock voltage) and keeping temps nder control with a good chip like this isn't that hard.
October 18, 2010 6:15:21 AM

mgrzTX said:
Here's a configuration I think might get you a better rig for your money...

Keep your Case and thermal paste, and here's a blu ray burner for not much more money if you need that capability.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's 2x 1 TB HDDs that I would choose. WD is a little pricier but the Caviar Blacks have a great warranty/reliability. But can't go wrong w/ a spinpoint f3 1 tb either.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Less expensive, just as good ram...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Here's a combo deal w/ the same CPU and the UD3R Mobo.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

And lastly here's a very solid GPU/PSU combo. Corsair is one of the best PSU suppliers out there, 850 W should more than cover your power needs, and both have great warranties once again.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?Ite...

Total w/ shipping comes to 1533$ on all of that, which brings your total w/ monitors and UPS to 3193$ I think that'll get you better performance for your money. Also since you're spending 165$ on a UPS that rig should also provide better reliability. And of coarse, it's 40$ cheaper, and if you want to save more get the samsung f3s, loose the blu ray burner, and you could easily wind up close to 150$ cheaper.


Killer, I like the suggestions. I think I'll take the BluRay burner, the HDDs, RAM, and PSU. However, I'm going to stick with the UD5 over the UD3. I know they perform the same, but the UD5 has a few more features (ex: I can actually us the dual NIC when running virutal servers).

Basically, but getting some less ex[ensive parts you've pretty much given me a free BluRay burner upgrade. Thanks :) 
October 18, 2010 6:48:46 AM

jkomorek said:
Killer, I like the suggestions. I think I'll take the BluRay burner, the HDDs, RAM, and PSU. However, I'm going to stick with the UD5 over the UD3. I know they perform the same, but the UD5 has a few more features (ex: I can actually us the dual NIC when running virutal servers).

Basically, but getting some less ex[ensive parts you've pretty much given me a free BluRay burner upgrade. Thanks :) 


No problem! I totally understand about the UD5 too. Also agree w/ your responses for the other 2 comments. 950 is only a few bucks more and well worth it. And I'm not sure how well/easy a Nvidia set up w/ 5 monitors would work out (which i totally forgot about when picking out a GPU, :pt1cable:  )

Also since you're obviously not buying that GPU/PSU combo my only other comment is to consider this psu (the next step up) if a more modular PSU is important to you. Of coarse it's also more efficient.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
October 18, 2010 7:04:35 AM

mgrzTX said:
No problem! I totally understand about the UD5 too. Also agree w/ your responses for the other 2 comments. 950 is only a few bucks more and well worth it. And I'm not sure how well/easy a Nvidia set up w/ 5 monitors would work out (which i totally forgot about when picking out a GPU, :pt1cable:  )

Also since you're obviously not buying that GPU/PSU combo my only other comment is to consider this psu (the next step up) if a more modular PSU is important to you. Of coarse it's also more efficient.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



Yeah, the GPU from your combo was only the 1GB version which doesn't support Eyefinity 6. But I looked into the efficiency ratings per your advice and found another combo with the CPU for a PLUS GOLD 1000W (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...) Same price as the Corsair with the combo. Unless there's a reason I would be better off with less wattage, I think I'll go with that.

Thanks again for the help, I appreciate it. I think the last PC I built was Pentium II :) 
October 18, 2010 7:22:58 AM

The PSUs can be very tricky. As there's not much regulation on the advertised wattage output of them. I've used Corsair PSUs and as most on here will attest to their always able to put out as much wattage as advertised and usually more. However from reviews I remember reading that PSU is solid, but I can't personally say. Personally I might go w/ the Corsair still because I've used it before, but that of coarse is my own bias speaking. Truthfully both PSUs should power your rig w/o problems. Maybe someone else can comment on the quality of the sparkle PSU before you dive in!
October 18, 2010 7:36:06 AM

For uber geeks also using software development and graphics (Blender) /web design (KompoZer) in Linux/ dual boot environment

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T reviewed (for Linux developers) | What Digital Revolution?
Quote:
As anyone who does Linux development knows, going multithreaded is usually as simple as typing “make -jN”, where N is the number of parallel jobs that you want to execute while building your app (normally N = number of cores/processors + 1). At $200/$300 per processor, that would make the X6 a bargain-basement priced high-power workstation (Intel’s current six-core offering, the Core i7 9xx series, is actually faster than the X6 but also costs +$1000, out of the reach of mortals and students like myself).


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http://ubuntulinuxhelp.com/top-100-of-the-best-useful-o...
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