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High Powered Data Throughput 24/7 HPC Machine

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April 19, 2011 5:02:36 PM

I've been out of the hardware loop for a while so forgive a few dumb questions on my part, but I need to ask them as I'm probably about to lay a few thousand dollars down for this soon!

The Goal:
I would like to build an extremely powerful desktop computer to run high-fidelity simulations on 24/7.

GPU
Clearly, one goal of my build will be to minimize the power cost of having the machine on, which makes me think: no GPU! But, I've heard about people using their GPU cores and VRAM to parallel process... Is it worth it? (That Fermi 570 looks awfully slick!)

And, if I do put a powerful GPU in, how easy would it be to turn it off? Or, when not in "full" use, does the power-supply not draw full power from the wall to the GPU?

I wouldn't mind being able to play a game on max settings from time to time, but that isn't the concern of this build. Should I just go with something like a FirePro?

Processor
I've had my eye on that i7-2600k processor, but have heard of a SandyBridge recall.. is the 2600k affected by this? It has extremely high reviews on Newegg.com so I'm led to believe not...

Power Supply
Can a power supply supply only what is required? Or will a 1kW power supply always draw 1kW? This, again, playing into the operational costs...

Hard Drives
SSD vs. Raid 0 (or can they be combined?)

Memory
Capacity vs. Speed? I'm quite certain that 8-16 GB will be sufficient, is it worth the $$$ to purchase the much faster DDR3 memories?

Everything else and bottlenecks?
Of course, since I'm sort of hardware-retarded I probably missed some other key components of building an HPC. PLEASE help!

If anybody has spare time on their hands and gets off on window shopping newegg.com, a list to start from would be MUCH-appreciated! I used to love doing that, and still do, but I just don't know these things anymore... :( 
April 19, 2011 6:37:48 PM

Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80623I72600K

ASRock P67 EXTREME4 (B3) LGA 1155 Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9Q-16GBRL

EVGA SuperClocked 012-P3-1572-AR GeForce GTX 570 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Western Digital Caviar Black WD6402AAEX 640GB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive

With 2x HDD's in Raid-0 formation...

Thoughts on this setup? All I need is to determine a power supply and optimal case for this rig if there are no problems.. Looks like it'll cost around $1385...

Thanks for any opinions! :) 
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