Computational Computer [Statistics Club] - Need help soon!

Hi People!

I'm president of the Statistics Club for the University of Waterloo. I've been tasked with getting us funding for a computational/office computer for mathematics/Stats Club members' use. Our club intends on doing a lot of modern computational statistics (ie datamining, simulation, machine learning, etc) in the near future. UNFORTUNATELY computers are not my specialty and I'm under a time constraint so I don't feel I can do the proper amount of research to make the best decisions...

In computational statistics, the strength lies in repetition (we get convergence - accuracy increases the more we do it). So, we need a computer to do some heavy computing. We may use R or MATLAB to make graphs and images, but there's really no need for us to have a strong GPU. I think RAM and speed of processors is the biggest thing... but like I said... computers aren't really my domain. So, basically, this is what we're looking for:

Approximate Purchase Date: I need a rough build for Sunday, April 3rd :S

Budget Range Before Rebate: $1200-1400 (No more than $1500)

System Usage (The Big Three):
1) Computation - Will be running something like MATLAB/R/SAS/Maple/etc
2) Internet Surfing/Office use (Excel/Word/LaTeX/Internet Browsing)
3) Data storage

Parts Not Required: Operating System/Software, Speakers. I believe we will be running Windows 7.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Preferably the same place, but we're flexible

Country of Origin: Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Parts Preferences: No specifics, something that will last us a few years.

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: Noo...

Monitor Resolution: >= 1440x900

Additional Comments: Preferably quiet - it will get a decent amount of use. Quick to turn off and on. Monitor isn't that important.

Thank you SO MUCH ahead of time! I greatly appreciate any help/direction anyone can lend us!
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  1. Best answer
    If it were me, I would probably be looking at a

    CPU: 2600k ($330)
    MoBo: Asus P8P67 LE ($150)
    RAM: 16GB of DDR3-1600 from GSkill ($160)
    GPU: 460 GTX ($150) or 5770 1GB ($120) - Could cut these down even more, if needed, to save money.
    SSD: Crucial C300 64GB as your boot drive ($130) - Fast boot up times means SSD.
    HDD: 2TB Caviar Black (Doesn't have to be this fast, and you could get something cheaper for sure, but moving data might become important...) ($150)
    ---> Alternatively you could toss on some 2TB Samsung Spinpoint F4 for $75 a piece.
    DVD-RW: Something cheap for $30 or so
    Case: P193 V3 ($150) - This case is QUIET. It looks more like a sealed monolith than a case, and when you tap on it, the sound just deadens.
    PSU: Corsair 430CX ($35 right now)

    I would mention that given that it looks like you're working with research or college work you are going to want a good data backup. Newegg is running a 3TB USB3 Seagate Free Agent External Hard Drive for $150.

    Hope that helps. Fun build.
  2. TimRTh said:
    computers aren't really my domain.

    Not your domain? Maybe they are your range!
  3. Since you won't be overclocking skip the i7-2600K and get the locked i7-2600, you'll save yourself $30 dollars and because you don't intend on overclocking you won't miss the unlocked multiplier.

    I would recommend going with the GTX 460 over the 5770, because most statistics and math packages don't use GPU computing much, but the ones that do almost exclusively use Nvidia cards because they support CUDA.
  4. I agree with jprahman, drop the CPU to 2600 and add a CUDA-supported system.
    Just recently assembled a machine that has similar needs to yours:

    I am using a GTX450, more than plenty and it saves you a few more bucks.

    I would also recommend a mid-tower over a full tower. for your needs you don't need such massive station.

    Fully recommend the Lian Li pc7fn - simple discrete super quiet and fantastic quality for $100.

    16 GB ram for your needs is overkill at this point, drop to 2x 4GB and perhaps in the future expand to another 8GB (when ram gets cheaper).

    The SSD -- good option

    For data back up, and given that there will be multiple users perhaps setup a RAID 1 system

    Hope this helps, ping if you have questions
  5. The 2600 would save you a little money.

    Also, the SSD (C300) is on sale right now at newegg for $120!

    Either case is good. The advantage of that case is how quiet it is. I've never heard that Lian before. I'm sure it's good too.

    I would argue that 16GB of RAM might be good to just drop in now because if you are using those programs, perhaps even in tandem, it has the potential to make the RAM your limiting factor. Also, it makes it so that you'll probably never have to worry about the amount of RAM ever again. (At least for the life of the computer.)
  6. @henryvalz: My range eh? I like the way you think!

    I just want to say thanks henryvalz, jprahman, and Selas for the help! I appreciate it so much!

    I took all of your suggestions and came up with this:

    CPU: Intel Core i7-2600 ($295)

    Motherboard: Asus P8P67 LE ($145)

    RAM: 16GB of DDR3-1600 from GSkill ($230)

    GPU: GeForce GTX 460 ($150)

    SSD: Crucial C300 64GB as boot drive ($130)

    HDD: 1TB Caviar Black ($100)

    DVD-RW: ??? ($30)

    Case: LIAN LI PC-7FN ($140)

    PSU: Corsair CX430($45)

    Total Cost (Before Taxes): <=$1265

    I looked it over and I think everything checks out, so we should be good!

    Thanks again!
  7. The only thing I would change is to replace the 1TB Caviar Black with a 1TB Spinpoint F3 to reduce the price and the amount of noise.

    Also, you will probably save money if you use a credit card, and buy the items from, rather than The exchange rate is better than they are giving you with those items. Currently, you guys are getting 1.02 US for 1 CA, so I think you're kind of getting hosed with some of those prices.

    If you can.
  8. Best answer selected by TimRTh.
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