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Linux Workstation (some Win7 gaming) around $1000

Last response: in Systems
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October 5, 2011 7:02:07 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: this week

Budget Range: $1000 (plus/minus $50, preferably under $1000 but as close as possible)

System Usage from Most to Least Important: scientific computing on linux (double-precision floating-point important), matlab on linux, watching hd videos, gaming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, monitor, speakers, DVD, OS

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, amazon.com

Country of Origin: US

Parts Preferences: None

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: dual display (one 1920x1080, one 1920x1200)

Additional Comments:

  • I'm shooting for 16GB RAM not for performance but for heavy data-sets and potential ramdisk usage.
  • Added SSD just cz I read if you're getting z68 better get an SSD
  • Why I'm getting z68? no idea ... future proofing? or would P67 be good enough?
  • Wait for Bulldozer? Not sure ... I'm fine waiting until Oct-12 (new release date) but I don't feel safe buying newly released product that doesn't have user reviews, feedback, and might have unforeseen issues, product recalls?, etc (stabilization would take a few months?). i5-2500k looks like a stable, tested, recommended option. Am I right?
  • Xeon instead of i5? don't know what would be the benefit (plus I still wanna do some gaming, would Xeon+GPU be okay for gaming?).
  • Quadro or Tesla? Not in budget range (might find some old quadro under $500 but they don't support dual-precision floating-point I guess).
  • GeForce? DPFP performance capped at 1/8th that of SPFP. On Tesla same chip has DPFP 1/2 of SPFP (read that on nvidia forums). I'm assuming Radeon 6950 would also be around 1/2 instead of 1/8.
  • I don't have immediate need for GPGPU but I wanna have a GPU card just to have that option open.
  • I have a budget of $1000, so I wanna make full use of it instead of bringing total price down. If a part in my list is excessive, please suggest some upgrade in another part so that total stays around $1000.
  • A newegg combo has most of what I'm lookin for but Seagate Barracuda instead of Samsung Spinpoint. Reviews tell me that's not good.

    That said, following is what I've come up with:

    Total = $1,047.33 (Amazon.com)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K Processor 3.3GHz 6 MB Cache Socket LGA1155 - $219.95
  • MOBO: Gigabyte Intel Z68 ATX DDR3 2133 LGA 1155 Motherboard GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 - $123.99
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance Blue 16 GB PC3-12800 1600mHz DDR3 240-Pin SDRAM Dual Channel Memory Kit for Intel and AMD Platforms CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9B - $94.99
  • HSF: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus 120mm Sleeve CPU Cooler, RR-B10-212P-G1 - $26.45
  • SSD: Crucial 64 GB m4 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive SATA 6Gb/s CT064M4SSD2 - $106.99
  • HDD: Samsung Desktop Class Spinpoint F3 1 TB SATA 3.0 Gb-s 16 MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare-OEM Drives, HD103SJ - $59.99
  • PSU: Corsair Enthusiast Series 650-Watt 80 Plus Bronze Certified Power Supply Compatible with Intel Core i3, i5, i7 and AMD platforms - CMPSU-650TXV2 - $84.99
  • GPU: HIS Radeon HD 6950 IceQ X Turbo 2GB (256bit) GDDR5 2x Mini-DisplayPort HDMI 2x DVI (HDCP) PCIe X16 2.1 Video Card H695QNT2G2M - $269.99
  • CASE: Cooler Master HAF 912 Mid Tower ATX Case (RC-912-KKN1) - $59.99

    Kindly comment, advise ... Thx
    October 5, 2011 1:21:04 PM

    Looks like a really solid build.

    You mentioned potential GPGPU usage though. If you are debating getting into that in the future you will want to get an NVIDIA card for CUDA. OpenCL on AMD products is not nearly as refined or highly used.
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    October 7, 2011 5:46:56 AM

    Quote:

    If you are debating getting into that in the future you will want to get an NVIDIA card for CUDA. OpenCL on AMD products is not nearly as refined or highly used.


    This is what I've heard. And also the fact that AMD linux drivers are not as good as nVidia drivers. However, as I mentioned above, GeForce cards have severly restricted Double-Precision performance.

    But I'm still thinking between Radeon 6950 and GeForce 560 Ti or 570

    Thanks for your comment.
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    October 7, 2011 6:18:03 AM

    I'd suggest a 560/570 just for the driver support, I've had tons of trouble from ATI with them, and I feel the advantages offset the disadvantages, otherwise looks good.
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    October 12, 2011 12:15:11 PM

    alright folks Bulldozer is out and it turns out, I'm going with Intel/GeForce instead of AMD/Radeon ... I'm thinking of getting the following GPU and PSU instead of the ones I mentioned above:

    GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1561-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti FPB (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support FPB Video Card - $229.99

    PSU: CORSAIR Enthusiast Series TX750 V2 750W ATX12V v2.31/ EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC High Performance Power Supply - $104.99

    750W is overkill in current configuration but I got a combo deal on newegg.com, making this PSU cost less than 650W.

    My total is still between $1000 and $1050.

    What do you guys think?
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    October 12, 2011 2:59:15 PM

    with 750w, you could sli 560ti's in the future, if you really needed that much gpu power.

    but looks good
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    October 12, 2011 3:11:21 PM

    battlemarz, farsuka, morgoth780!

    Thanks a lot for your advice. I consider all 3 as best answers.

    I just ordered the system at newegg (with 560 Ti GPU and 750W PSU). The total turned out to be $1008 before, $973 after MIR, which is great

    @morgoth780 regarding SLI ... you're right, now that I have enough power for SLI, I'm thinking maybe I will do it sometime in future.
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    October 14, 2011 10:50:13 PM

    Hey guys, I got a problem!

    So I received all components and did an external build with MOBO, RAM, CPU, and GPU ... it has worked

    however ... the Hyper 212+ cooler is too large for 1 of 4 corsair vengeance DIMMs to fit under it on Gigabyte z68-d3h-b3 ... what that means is that vengeance RAMs are 1 cm (about half inch) too high (or heat sink is 1 cm too low)

    orienting the cooler 90 degrees is out of the question cz then two RAM slots are overtaken

    what do you guys suggest? i have the following options:

    1 - put fan on the opposite side (so fan sucks from heat sink instead of blowing into it)

    2 - put fan on proper side but 1 cm higher ... now the fan won't be covering bottom 1 cm of the heat sink plates (i don't plan to overclock, do you guys think this would be a problem?)

    3 - do both 1 and 2 (would have to buy another cooler master 120mm fan)

    4 - cut about 1 cm of the heat sink of 1 of the 4 vengeance DIMMs

    5 - return the Hyper 212+ and stick to the cooler that came with i5-2500k

    6 - return the motherboard and get one that has more clearance (doubt I'll be able to find one)

    please advise, thx

    P.S.: Should I post this in a separate thread?
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    October 18, 2011 2:40:51 PM

    That is the trouble with RAM that has started coming with funky fins. If you won't be overclocking then you may be able to get away with either 2 or 5. I wouldn't cut up the ram (What if it fails and you need to RMA?). Another option would be to get RAM without silly heat fins.

    The case you chose has pretty good cooling depending on case fans so as long as you monitor your temperatures you should be good.
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    !