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Software developer build, around $2000

Last response: in Systems
January 12, 2011 6:42:42 PM

Hello everyone, I am needing to build a new system and would appreciate some input!

Approximate Purchase Date: Before the end of the month

Budget Range: As close to $2000 as possible

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Developing/compiling, graphical design, video editing, gaming, entertainment (web, music, movies, etc)

Parts Not Required: Case, speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts:

Country of Origin: USA

Parts Preferences: Intel processor

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe

Monitor Resolution: At least 1920 x 1080

Additional Comments:
- I already have a case that can be used (some lian-li model), but am open to other suggestions.
- I'd like to make this computer quiet, so maybe some recommendations on fans and a heatsink.
- The SSD put me over my budget, I'm still trying to determine if it's worth the extra cost. Any input on this part?

Part list:

Motherboard: ASUS Rampage III Extreme LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Processor: Intel Core i7-950 Bloomfield 3.06GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Processor BX80601950

Memory (2x): G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Triple Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9T-6GBNQ

Graphics: SAPPHIRE Vapor-X 100281VX-2SR Radeon HD 5870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card ...

Power supply: CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX 850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply

Storage #1: Crucial RealSSD C300 CTFDDAC128MAG-1G1 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Storage #2: Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

Media drive #1: ASUS DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS Black SATA 24X DVD Burner - Bulk - OEM

Media drive #2: LITE-ON Black 4X Blu-ray Reader SATA Model iHOS104-06 - OEM

Keyboard: Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000

Mouse: Logitech G9x Black Two modes scroll USB Wired Laser Gaming Mouse

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 1-Pack for System Builders - OEM

Monitors (2x): ASUS VH242H Black 23.6" 5ms HDMI Full 1080P Widescreen LCD Monitor

Total: $2,226.85
January 12, 2011 7:15:31 PM

I think you can knock the price down if you try an Intel Sandy Bridge CPU and Mobo. You would only need to go to Dual channel DDR3 memory.
January 12, 2011 7:20:35 PM

Overall your build is good! My thought are...

MB - That motherboard is niiiiice, but if you aren't going to potentially run more than two GPUs it is overkill (and not worth the money IMHO). Maybe the ASUS Rampage III Gene instead. It has two 16x PCIe slots in case you upgrade to dual GPUs later.

SSD - A 60GB SSD is plenty for your OS / boot drive if you are alright installing your apps on the WD Black. Other than load times you won't sacrafice performance while working within the app. A 60GB SSD with SandForce controller is just over $100 and could drop your total price. OCZ Vertex 2 is a popular choice.

MEM - Maybe drop to 6GB for now and upgrade to 12GB later if needed.. ? Either way I would recommend an upgrade to CL7 memory as it will perform better for not much more money.

LGA1366 MB + CPU - Consider going with a Sandy Bride setup (LGA1155). This platform will (hopefully) give you a CPU upgrade down the road to keep this rig running as long as possible (more future proof). The 2500 or 2600 would be a good choice. K series CPU and P67 MB if thinking about overclocking.
Related resources
January 12, 2011 7:36:50 PM

I would recommend a Sandy Bridge build. Here's the 950 vs. 2600K benches

If you add a modest air overclock on top of this (easy as pie), then I think the victory clearly goes to the 2600K. What Lian Li case do you have? Seems like your budget should be spent on components if you already have a case with decent airflow.

i7-2600K + Asus P8P67 Pro - $495

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL7D-8GBRH - $160

XFX 850w - $110

CPU Cooler
Scythe Mugen-2 - $40

Your total for CPU + MOBO + RAM + PSU = $920
This total = $805

You could add another $160 bundle of 2x4GB of ram to get 16GB...but that might just be overkill lol.

The rest of your build looks fine. I might recommend the spinpoint f3 over the WD and maybe advise waiting for the Vertex 3 pro's if you can afford to, but neither of those are big changes.

The SSD will definitely make things snappier, and loading/rendering can go MUCH faster if you place your scratch there as well, but it will decrease the longevity of your drive. Probably more worth it for you, since those are more critical for you.
January 12, 2011 8:04:23 PM

3 replies mentioning the sandy bridge, think i see a trend here :) 

@sadams04 I think you're right in the fact that the ASUS Rampage III Gene would be a better option for the money and the way I'd be using it. Thanks for that suggestion. I also may consider dropping the SSD size to 60, but for now I think I'll leave it as it is. I'm going to do some number crunching to see if I can guess how much space I'd really need

@NeoElemental Thank you for the suggested sandy bridge setup. I would definitely want to go with the Intel Core i7-2600K if I were to do a sandy bridge. And using that combination dropped the total to 2,176.85 which is getting closer!

So if I drop the SSD size like mentioned below, this just might be the perfect price + performance for me

Thank you all for your input. Feel free to keep the recommendations coming!

January 12, 2011 9:10:10 PM

Your config. is an over-kill for the S/W Dev. spec. That config. is mostly for gaming. I would rather suggest you to focus on things such as:

a) Hyper Threading is a huge plus point.
b) Virtualization could be a boon if you understand how to get the best out of you machine so get a processor which support it as well as with vt-d etc (870, 2700 etc)

c) You don't need a triple channel memory in that case.

d) Power consumption. Your spec eats up Power like hell, especially 5870 card. Another reason why one shouldn't go with Bloomfield (930, 950 etc).

e) Get either Sandy Bridge or even P55s would do if you really don't care for the latest reviews between them. So, double channel would be great - DDR3-1600 with a decent CAS such as 8-8-8-24 etc.

f) Drop that graphics processor and get a Sapphire 5850 Toxic Edition with 2GB DDR5 RAM. I'm using it. Honestly, since yours would be developer machine, Sappire 5770 Vapor-x would be more than enough :) 

g) PSU is again is over kill: Get a 650HX. More than enough even with 5850 and a i7-2600K processor.

h) HDDs are fine but am not convinced with your optical drives config. Too much of power plus simply an over kill to be frank. Get a WD 2TB 6Gb/s with 64MB cache HDD.

i) Don't forget to buy a good CPU Cooler such as a Thermalright or Prolimatech etc

That's all for now.
January 12, 2011 9:17:07 PM

If support for virtual machines is important, then the more ram the better! I would suggest 12-16gb.
January 12, 2011 9:26:10 PM

I5 2500K should be fine - $100 less and even beats the 2600 k, 3-4 times in anandtechs bench tool.
January 13, 2011 12:41:47 AM

vibhas said:
I5 2500K should be fine - $100 less and even beats the 2600 k, 3-4 times in anandtechs bench tool.
^+1 for the 2500K, even if it didn't beat the 2600K (which I find strange since clocked higher + hyperthreading), but you would save 100$ and only sacrifice 100Mhz +hyperthreading, not much if you ask me.

Moreover, any reason to get Windows 7 Pro instead of Home Premium? Might be for the VM, but depending on what you plan to do with it, VMWare might be more than enough. I can definitely see why you could need the Pro version, but if simply to do development, it's not needed.

For your development, what language do you use? For C/C++ I know speed can greatly increase with a SSD so a drive large enough to hold your source/object code would be nice. Opting for a "lower-end" Vertex 2 or Intel X25-M would be a way to lower cost a little too.

For the PSU, use a PSU calculator, but I think a 750TX (-30$) would also be enough.

Also, do you really need 2 disk drives (DVD+BD)?I'd say one is more than enough, if you are to spend 40$ for a BD-ROM drive, might as well get a burner (80$) specially if you think you might edit HD videos.
January 14, 2011 11:21:38 AM

Thank you all for the suggestions. I'm going to read over them and see what I could change on my build.
January 14, 2011 4:10:30 PM

Are you sure you don't want a RAID? You could get some more throughput and potentially save a lot of that video work if one drive fails.