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Cheap datacruncher, opinions on this spec?

Last response: in Systems
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January 4, 2011 9:31:08 PM

Hi, I'm in search of:

A cheap, future proof data-crunching computer for statistical work (at home). This includes storage and backup of large datasets. I have built only once before, some 6-7 years ago..

Need:
-Large amounts of memory (now just 4-8Gb but must have the option to expand)
-Processor speed per se not the main point, but multicores will be useful.
-Trustworthy core components
-It has to be cheap (I'd like to go under £300, but potentially willing to wait to save more and wait prices go down)
-I think USB 3.0 would be good for fast external backups.
-Linux supported (well pretty much everything is these days)

What I don't need:
-Graphics. Onboard graphics or a low end card ok. The box may end up being only for remote connections..
-Anything related to gaming.
-Probably don't need sound.

I'd like to have comments on the spec here, possible alterations, or things I haven't thought of. Prices are in UK pounds..

Motherboard:
1xUSB3, 16Gb, ATX
Asrock 770 Extreme3 Socket AM3 8 Channel Audio ATX Motherboard
Ebuyer £67.13 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/204541)
(Cheapest USB3.0 board with 16Gb memory support and good reports from Linux users)

Processor:
AMD Athlon II X4 640 Socket AM3 3GHz 2MB L2 Cache Retail Boxed Processor
Ebuyer £77.12 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/242140)

Memory:
Corsair 4GB DDR3 1333MHz Non-ECC (9-9-9-24) 1.50V - Core I7, Core I5 And Core 2/AMD Phenom Ii - *Dual Channel
Ebuyer £52.29 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/237100)
(I wanted 4Gb sticks to keep upgrades cheap, start with one)

Heatsink & Fan:
Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro rev 2 Socket 775, 1156, 1366, AM2, AM3 Heatpipe CPU Cooler
Ebuyer £14.75 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/176157)
(Cooling is an area I'm pretty ignorant, so went for something cheap)

Disk:
Western Digital WD5000AAKS 500GB SATAII 7200RPM 16MB Cache - OEM Caviar Blue
Ebuyer £31.35 (http://www.ebuyer.com/product/124228)

Case:
Planning to use a 10-year old cheapo case I have at home. Any point in getting a good new case?

PSU:
Need to buy a 400W PSU (I think it should be enough)

Other things
-External USB3 backup disk... (not urgent)
-SSD drive? (Not at all sure I need it)


So now it's £242.63, excluding PSU, Case and other things. Something I don't know much about is what would be the benefits of a higher end board, and what would I get with extra money. Also the issues of case, PSU and cooling are difficult to me - I'm unsure about what money will buy for me. I'm pretty sure that Athlon II X4 is the right processor for me. It's great value for money and I doubt I need the L3 cache of Phenoms...

Any opinions appreciated!

January 4, 2011 9:35:53 PM

Do you plan to overclock atall??
January 4, 2011 9:39:51 PM

cmi86 said:
Do you plan to overclock atall??


Probably not. Not sure if it's my piece of cake. I think I tried once and failed.

But speed is nice of course..
January 4, 2011 10:03:30 PM

If Oc'ing is not a primary concern of yours I would run the stock CPU Cooler and take the money saved and put it towards 1600Mhz or higher DDR3 as the stock cooler will work just fine with stock CPU settings, even a mild OC and faster ram will help you with executing data. Elsewise your build looks pretty good
!