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~$2000 Workstation/Gaming PC

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November 16, 2011 2:43:33 AM

I've lurked on this site for quite some time and actually know a few things about building PCs [been building them since I was 16] but, unfortunately, I've been out of the "game" for quite awhile.

Required information:

Approximate Purchase Date: 1 to 2 weeks from now -- I'm going to watch the prices carefully over the next few days and see if there's any chance that I can save some money.

Budget Range: ~$1500 after rebates

System Usage from Most to Least Important: I do a lot of engineering design and analysis so the computer will be primarily used for 3D CAD [CATIA, SolidWorks, UG, Inventor] and FEA analysis as well as relatively heavy number crunching; I will also be doing some heavy gaming as well as watching movies. Internet surfing isn't that important to me as I have 2 other PCs that can perform that work for me.

Parts Not Required: Keyboard; mouse -- If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears as I will be upgrading these down the road. To give you some comparison, the keyboard is an old, cumbersome Logitech wireless with accompanying mouse; for now, it does fine.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg

Country: US

Parts Preferences: No real preferences, just robust. I've had good experiences with GIGABYTE, ASUS, Lian Li, Corsair, etc.

Overclocking: I'm about 90% 'Yes' at the moment; the reason being is I am toying with the idea of designing my own water cooling system. PC building is a hobby after all and I've never taken cooling that "next step." If I do go with water cooling, overclocking is inevitable.

SLI or Crossfire: I'm open to suggestions; I've heard that CAD software favors NVidia over AMD [but I could be wrong] -- At any rate, if there is any real performance benefit to me rigging up two GTX 560 Ti's in SLI, and money permits, I'm game.

Monitor Resolution: At least 1920 x 1080; dual monitors. I love being able to have one free screen to look up parts on a supplier website while I'm designing. As far as purchasing these are concerned, I'm probably going to end up buying these at a local retailer--It may be more expensive, but I want to lay my eyes on them before I go through with the purchase.

Additional Comments:

1. I would absolutely love to build a uATX computer like the one in the article on Oct. 5th, but I can't imagine routing a bunch of coolant lines through the case with minimal space. If anyone has any experience with water cooling uATX builds, I'd love to hear your input. [I realize that this could totally disrupt my baseline but I'm all for trying something I've never done before, i.e. All of my builds have been mid-towers].

2. I realize that water cooling isn't cheap and that it's a risky endeavor; I'm an engineer by profession -- I know that water and electronics don't mix :kaola: . The water cooling probably won't happen until I upgrade the CPU mid-next year.

3. I know graphics aren't everything but high resolution is important to me; I like to admire what I would consider a developers "artwork." Games like Skyrim, BF3, Wow [maybe...], Crysis, etc. I would like to play at, or very close to, full capacity.

4. Will need an OS -- Windows 7 Home 64bit? Or do I need Ultimate? I haven't really done any research on this...

4. Not totally dead-set on anything; if something you feel may benefit me, I'm open to suggestions

Parts:

Case: Corsair Special Edition White Graphite Series 600T Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

CPU/GPU Combo: Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I52500K w/ EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

2nd GPU: EVGA SuperClocked 01G-P3-1563-AR GeForce GTX 560 Ti (Fermi) 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-17000CL9D-8GBXM

PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W ATX12V v2.2 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply

DVD: ASUS 24X DVD Burner - Bulk 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 12X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM Black SATA Model DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS - OEM

HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST31000524AS 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive -- Just to hold me over until HDD prices come down again; at that point I will put a pair in RAID configuration and use a SSD as a boot drive

Monitors x2: I'm going to allocate about $500 for the purchase of both; any suggestions on what I should look for? Refresh rates? Etc.


I'm right around the $2000 mark -- If any of you have any comments, concerns, or suggestions, let me know.

Again, I plan on implementing a water cooling system about mid next year so that is not incorporated into this budget.

Apologies in advance for anything I may have missed.

Thanks! :hello: 

Best solution

November 16, 2011 3:28:52 AM

Quote:
1. I would absolutely love to build a uATX computer like the one in the article on Oct. 5th, but I can't imagine routing a bunch of coolant lines through the case with minimal space. If anyone has any experience with water cooling uATX builds, I'd love to hear your input. [I realize that this could totally disrupt my baseline but I'm all for trying something I've never done before, i.e. All of my builds have been mid-towers].


I love that build but a Micro ATX build can be pretty difficult to achieve if you don't have the resources to pull off something like that. I think if you went modular PSU with an Asus Maximus IV and a Corsair H100 (the PNY card in the review can be pretty difficult to find) - I think it'd be doable.

Quote:
2. I realize that water cooling isn't cheap and that it's a risky endeavor; I'm an engineer by profession -- I know that water and electronics don't mix :kaola: . The water cooling probably won't happen until I upgrade the CPU mid-next year.


Liquid cooling isn't always worth the risk I'll agree with that. If you really want to try it but don't want to risk your high end components, try a closed block loop like the Corsair H100.

Quote:
3. I know graphics aren't everything but high resolution is important to me; I like to admire what I would consider a developers "artwork." Games like Skyrim, BF3, Wow [maybe...], Crysis, etc. I would like to play at, or very close to, full capacity.


Then I'd go for a Radeon 6950. CAD software doesn't care which GPU you use - it's really not GPU-specific (I use a ton of Autodesk products on a daily basis and I have an AMD GPU).

Quote:
4. Will need an OS -- Windows 7 Home 64bit? Or do I need Ultimate? I haven't really done any research on this...


You'll need Pro for most workstation applications and one thing to keep in mind that Home Premium will only address up to 16GB of RAM minimum. Memory intensive applications will always need more and Pro will allow for it where home premium wont.

Quote:
4. Not totally dead-set on anything; if something you feel may benefit me, I'm open to suggestions


That's a pretty excellent build - and I love Corsair cases - but what would really make a difference in the equipment you get would be if you make this a workstation build or a gaming build. Personally the hardware will work the same either way. But the workstation specific hardware won't be tweaked for gaming performance.

And go with Lite On, Sony, LG, Samsung - anything else over Asus, I do not like their DVD burners.

If you're gonna go multiple monitors, I suggest going with AMD/ATI. Eyefinity makes setting up multiple monitors so much easier than anything NVIDIA has to offer. The EVGA card you've chosen is a quality card - no question - but if you're setting up multiple monitors I'd definitely go for Eyefinity.

The only other thing is if you use anything that's really memory intensive I'd suggest going with an i7-2600K for hyper threading.
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November 17, 2011 2:33:01 AM

Thanks g-unit1111!

A little revision then [totally forgot about hyper threading]:

CPU/Cooler Combo: Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623I72600K w/ CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler -- I like the idea of using the Corsair H100 to "get my feet wet" (no pun intended :p ) with regards to water cooling and I would imagine that the case would be compatible (since it's a Corsair); if not, a little ingenuity never hurt anyone (maybe...).

GPU x 2 Combo for CrossFire: HIS IceQ X Turbo H695QNT2G2M Radeon HD 6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity w/ BF3 Coupon

I just remembered that I may have an extra DVD drive that I can poach from a previous system so I may be able to save ~$20; no biggie but every little bit counts!

My only concern [and everyone that knows the electronics industry recognizes this...] is future proofing which seems to mainly lie with the motherboard; I would like to think the LGA 1155 socket is going to stick around for awhile but who knows... In your opinion, is the mobo I chose a good choice or is there something else I should be looking at [given that upgrading/overclocking is almost inevitably in my future].

Thanks again! :hello: 

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November 17, 2011 2:43:48 AM

Quote:
I just remembered that I may have an extra DVD drive that I can poach from a previous system so I may be able to save ~$20; no biggie but every little bit counts!


True true. If you can try to salvage your hard drive that will help right now since the price of HDs are insane and Newegg's not letting anyone order more than one mechanical drive at a time right now.



Excellent choice - you also should look at Sapphire - they're probably the closest Radeon manufacturer that's on par with EVGA in my opinion.

Quote:
My only concern [and everyone that knows the electronics industry recognizes this...] is future proofing which seems to mainly lie with the motherboard; I would like to think the LGA 1155 socket is going to stick around for awhile but who knows... In your opinion, is the mobo I chose a good choice or is there something else I should be looking at [given that upgrading/overclocking is almost inevitably in my future].


That should be an excellent board, I really like the Asus UEFI BIOS interface - Gigabyte is a good choice as well, check out the GA-Z68XP-UD5.

As far as future proofing goes - that's where it gets tricky. What you have to keep in mind is that the software is always two generations behind the hardware. The 1155 it looks like is the real deal - it should be around for quite a while. If you want to stay one step ahead of the hardware make sure you get a motherboard that has PCI-e x 3.0, USB 3.0, and SATA-6, you should be good.
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November 18, 2011 1:38:54 AM

Best answer selected by JustAddC9H13NO3.
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