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CAD/FEA Workstation - $3000 Budget - Any input?

This is my first time building my own machine from scratch so I am pretty excited (and intimidated...). I only have a couple laptops right now. It has been a few years since I have done engineering consulting work outside of someone else's company so I have not had a need for a high-performance desktop in my home office. I am currently doing my modeling and a little FEA work on a Samsung Series 9. Great little ultra portable, not QUITE cutting it for the heavy duty stuff.

I trust most of you will appreciate that I have done a ton of research on my own (lurking forums, shopping newegg, reading/watching reviews and build tips, etc...).

Approximate Purchase Date: [EDIT(3/5): I have already started ordering parts!]

Budget Range: <$3,000 Before Rebates [EDIT(3/10): The total came in just under $2400]


System Usage from Most to Least Important: I will mainly be using this computer for CAD/FEA, specifically Creo Parametric (Pro/Engineer) and Creo Simulate (Pro/Mechanica). It will also be doing the usual office computer stuff as well as an occasional movie.

Parts Not Required: I need it all.

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: I think newegg.com and amazon.com but I am open to suggestions.

Country: United States

Parts Preferences: I am new at this so I don’t really have preferences.

Overclocking: Yes - Everything I have learned since I started researching makes it obvious that I will be overclocking my 2700k.

SLI or Crossfire: I don’t think it is useful for Creo.

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080 (Go big or go home)

Additional Comments: I think I am getting sucked in to the world of PC enthusiasts. :) Thank you all in advance for your input.


Here is a link to my Newegg Wish List (This does not include the Corsair Link. Newegg does not seem to carry those yet)

Case ($169.98 - Amazon):
Corsair Obsidian Series 650D (CC650DW-1) Black Steel structure with black brushed aluminum faceplate ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
- EDIT(3/5): Better price at Amazon. ($179.99 at Newegg)

PSU ($161.49[-$10 Mail-in Rebate]):
CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX850 (CMPSU-850AX) 850W ATX12V v2.31 / EPS12V v2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
- EDIT: I upgraded this from the Silver on Tavo_Nova's recommendation. An extra $20 for a little boost in efficiency/ lower temperatures.
-EDIT(3/5): ORDERED! :) I upgraded again to the AX850 from the AX750. Newegg had an additional 15% off so I gave myself an extra 100W of overhead for $17. I can't really predict what I will be using it to power 4 years from now. $150 after rebate. Not bad.

Motherboard ($209.99[-$20 Mail-in Rebate]):
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
- I have found some good tutorials for overclocking the 26/2700k from this [Fatal1ty] board. It feels like a great starting point for a total beginner.
-EDIT(3/5): After my discussion below with blackhawk1928 I have changed from the Fatal1ty Professional ($189.99) to a Gigabyte board.

CPU ($339.99):
Intel Core i7-2700K Sandy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 3000 BX80623i72700K
- I have also considered an X79 board (ASRock X79 Extreme6)with an i7-3820. It would cost a little more but do you think it would be more scale-able in the future? How would it really compare now to an overclocked 2700k?

CPU Cooler ($107.98 - Amazon)
CORSAIR H100 (CWCH100) Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
- Is the thermal compound that somes with the H100 OK or should I get some other kind?
- I figure if I am overclocking I may as well spend a few extra bucks on the big guns for cooling. In all of the reviews and testing I looked at the H100 did not do THAT much better that the H80 but I kinda like having a radiator that looks like it might work in a Honda Civic. :D
- EDIT(3/5): Better price at Amazon. ($114.99 at Newegg)

Memory ($149.99):
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL8Q-16GBZM
-EDIT(3/5): After my discussion with blackhawk1928 and Tavo_Nova below I have changed from the CORSAIR Vengeance 1600 2X8GB ($139.99) to a G.SKILL RAM.

Memory Fans ($14.99)
G.SKILL FTB-3500C5-D Fans
-EDIT(3/5): ORDERED! :)

GPU ($728.99 - Amazon):
PNY VCQ4000-PB Quadro 4000 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready Workstation Video Card
- I know that for solid modeling work this is one place I do not want to skimp.
- EDIT(3/5): Better price at Amazon. ($748.00 at Newegg)

Boot Drive ($169.99):
Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2CCA 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) with Transfer Kit
- FEA does a lot of r/w with the hard drive. This should help with that.

Operating System ($249.99 - Amazon):
Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
- Can I run the OEM version? What do I lose?

Wireless Adapter ($19.99):
Rosewill RNX-N300X IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI Wireless Adapter (2T3R) Up to 300Mbps Wireless Download Data Rates 64/128-Bit WEP, WPA PSK and WPA2 PSK (TKIP and AES) Vista/Win7
-EDIT(3/5): ORDERED! :)

Monitor ($287.99):
ASUS VE278Q Black 27" 1920x1080 2ms Full HD HDMI LED Backlight LCD Monitor w/Speakers 300 cd/m2 ASCR 10,000,000:1
-EDIT(3/5): ORDERED! :) Did not want to miss the %10 off deal at Newegg. This seems like a great price for this monitor.

Webcam ($89.99 - Amazon):
Logitech C920 USB 2.0 certified (USB 3.0 ready) HD Pro Webcam
- For Skype meetings.
-EDIT(3/5): I used some of the savings I have chiseled out to upgrade to a 1080p webcam.

Optical Drive ($20.99):
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
-EDIT(3/5): ORDERED! :)

Keyboard/Mouse ($37.94):
Logitech MK520 USB RF Wireless Ergonomic Desktop
-EDIT(3/5): Upgraded form the MK260 because I found a good deal on Amazon.

Fan/Light Controller ($147.18[Shipping Included])
Corsair Link Cooling and Lighting Kit
- This just seems cool :p
-EDIT(3/5): I will probably wait to order this. I want to see what happens to the price when the retailers start carrying it.

The grand total, accounting for the additional 5% I get from my Amazon credit card, the $30 in Mail-in Rebates, and not including the $147.18 for the Corsair Link (I will wait and get that later):
$2666.03 - Delivered!!
15 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about workstation 3000 budget input
  1. actually this is nicely thought up but i suggest dropping down to i7 2600K just the same with the i7 2700K

    I'm thinking of going with a nice ASUS mobo, helps with cool stuff IMO

    but overall everything is well done and since your going big guns might as well go with an 80PLUS Gold PSU get the Corsair AAX750 750W 80PLUS Gold or the Seasonic X-750 750W 80PLUS Gold

    over all everything else is epic
  2. Tavo_Nova said:
    actually this is nicely thought up but i suggest dropping down to i7 2600K just the same with the i7 2700K

    Thanks for the feedback!

    Is there any reason besides price to drop from the 2700k to the 2600k? The price difference is only $15. That seems worth it for the little bump in baseline speed.

    The $20 increase for the 80 Plus Gold over the Silver buys me some efficiency and a touch lower temperatures from the PSU yes?
  3. - CPU: If you go for X79 the only reason is to get a Sixcore, if you go for a quadcore you're wasting money.

    For LGA 1155 the right choice is the i7-2600k. Since these CPUs are unlocked if you spend 20 seconds in the bios you will add a higher multiplier and set the i7-2600k to the i7-2700k performance. I don't think the $15 worths more than 20 seconds, seriously.

    - Windows 7: OEM is binded to the motherboard, if you change the motherboard, you need another copy. I think you get minus from microsoft support too.
  4. vitornob said:
    - CPU: If you go for X79 the only reason is to get a Sixcore, if you go for a quadcore you're wasting money.

    For LGA 1155 the right choice is the i7-2600k. Since these CPUs are unlocked if you spend 20 seconds in the bios you will add a higher multiplier and set the i7-2600k to the i7-2700k performance. I don't think the $15 worths more than 20 seconds, seriously.


    I am not dropping the $1,000+ on an Extreme Edition SB so I will stick with the 1155.

    Are you saying that the 2700k and 2600k are essentially the same once I start overclocking? Will I be able to get the exact same performance out of an OC'd 2600k that I can from an OC'd 2700k?
    If that's the case then thank you for saving me $15!! :)
  5. I have now done a bunch of reading about the great 2600k vs. 2700k debate. (probably WAY more than warranted)

    The arguments on both sides are based on speculation and anecdote. Here is how I see it (there are a couple of possibilities):

    It could be that the 2600k and 2700k come form the exact same manufacturing process and a few are randomly pulled out of the line with no kind of performance evaluation (binning), given a +1 multiplier, re-badged with the 2700k and sold at a premium.

    Another possibility is that Intel DOES employ some kind of binning process and are able to cherry-pick higher performing chips to give the 2700k treatment to. This would mean that you have a statistically significant chance of getting a better chip.

    The extra $15 for the 2700k is a gamble. If I win, and Intel does cherry-pick better chips, then I get a better chance of having a chip that runs cooler, lower voltages, etc., at a given OC. If I lose then I just paid an extra $15 to have a box with a bigger number printed on it.

    Even if I lose, as qubit in the techpowerup forum thread on the topic pointed out, I still get to see the bigger number in my computer properties. Plus it makes my e-peen at least 1 bigger.

    I am spending the $15.
  6. Hi, and welcome to the Forums.

    -First off, how much do you want to overclock (I may have missed where you mentioned that)?

    -Secondly, if you are not overclocking *that* much, you can stick with a top notch air-cooled solution. If you want a good air-cooled solution, you can get a Cooler Master HAF 912 or 922 which will be much cheaper. Secondly, for your cooler, you can get a Cooler Master V6/V8/ or V10. A proper case and HSF will let you overclock quite a bit. A lot also depends on your ambient temperatures. 65F and 80F ambient do make a rather large difference.

    ^http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119233&Tpk=haf%20912
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103089
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103055
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835103056

    Next, about the PSU. Corsair is a great brand, but unless you will doing future upgrades, it is a little bit overkill. However, if you are comfortable with a little overhead, I'm 100% with you. A PSU is NOT something you want to skimp on.

    For what you are doing, I would consider higher frequency and lower latency RAM. Your ram is doing Cas 10 @1600Mhz...not exactly the fastest. I would look for tigher timings such as Cas 7 or 8 and higher frequencies such as 1800-2000+. That may actually make a difference (assuming your MB supports the frequency).

    Lastly, probably most importantly, you MUST get a UPS system. If you are doing any sort of important work or have important data, a UPS is a must have. APC and Cyberpower are popular.
  7. blackhawk1928 said:
    Hi, and welcome to the Forums.
    Thanks! I am rather enjoying it!
    Thanks for all your feedback, prepare to be swamped with questions.
    blackhawk1928 said:
    -First off, how much do you want to overclock (I may have missed where you mentioned that)?
    I want to overclock as much as I can and keep it stable and somewhat long lasting. I want it to run my FEA and photo-rendering as quickly as possible. I am thinking in the 4.5 - 4.8GHz neighborhood.
    blackhawk1928 said:
    -Secondly, if you are not overclocking *that* much, you can stick with a top notch air-cooled solution. If you want a good air-cooled solution, you can get a Cooler Master HAF 912 or 922 which will be much cheaper. Secondly, for your cooler, you can get a Cooler Master V6/V8/ or V10. A proper case and HSF will let you overclock quite a bit. A lot also depends on your ambient temperatures. 65F and 80F ambient do make a rather large difference.
    I am pretty set on the 650D case. I plan on keeping it for a good long time and doing upgrades/new builds with it. Other than cost, do you have a reason to use air instead of the H100? The H100 looks like a pretty solid, low hassle, cooling solution that give me a chance to play around with some extreme overclocking just for grins. If it's overkill for day-to-day use I'm not THAT concerned. It doesn't seem like a bad thing to keep the CPU running as cool as possible at all times. Ambient temperatures should stay pretty consistent around 60-70 (depending on when the girlfriend is home and cranking up the heat :D ).
    blackhawk1928 said:
    Next, about the PSU. Corsair is a great brand, but unless you will doing future upgrades, it is a little bit overkill. However, if you are comfortable with a little overhead, I'm 100% with you. A PSU is NOT something you want to skimp on.
    I definitely plan to do upgrades and more mods. I understand the importance of a high quality clean, stable power supply. I can keep this around with the 650D case for many years.
    blackhawk1928 said:
    For what you are doing, I would consider higher frequency and lower latency RAM. Your ram is doing Cas 10 @1600Mhz...not exactly the fastest. I would look for tigher timings such as Cas 7 or 8 and higher frequencies such as 1800-2000+. That may actually make a difference (assuming your MB supports the frequency).
    Now I have questions!
    For starters my MB supports: "DDR3 2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066"
    Should I stick with 1600 or will it run 1866 just as well?

    The memory balance seems to factor frequency, latency, and density.
    How concerned about density should I be? Is there anything to gain by populating only 2 of the DIMMs instead of all 4? I keep seeing that it might be an issue when overclocking.

    If I stick with the 2x8GB, I could not find a way to both increase frequency and decrease CAS latency.

    I found 3 solutions that lowered CAS latency at 1600MHz:
    These two are CAS 9 (9-9-9-24) @ 1600MHz:

    Crucial Ballistix sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model BLS2KIT8G3D1609DS1S00 $149.99

    Patriot G2 Series Division 2 Edition 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model PGD316G1600ELK $144.99

    This one is CAS 8 (8-8-8-24) @ 1600MHz:

    Crucial Ballistix 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory MT2KIT8G3D1608DT1TX0 $199.99

    If it is not a problem to populate all 4 DIMMs when overclocking that opens me up to the 4x4GB quad kits.

    I found 5 candidates:
    This one is CAS 7 (7-8-8-24) @ 1600MHz:

    CORSAIR DOMINATOR 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model CMP16GX3M4X1600C7 $189.99

    This one is CAS 9 (9-10-9-28) @ 1866MHz:

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9Q-16GBXL $129.99

    These two are CAS 9 (9-10-9-27) @ 1866MHz:

    CORSAIR DOMINATOR 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 Desktop Memory Model CMP16GX3M4X1866C9 $159.99

    CORSAIR Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 Desktop Memory Model CMZ16GX3M4X1866C9R $159.99

    This one is CAS 8 (8-9-9-24) @ 1866MHz:

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL8Q-16GBZM $149.99

    My main goal is to have my setup optimized for the computationaly intensive FEA work. If I have to run an analysis involving millions of nodes, I want this thing to step up!

    Thanks again!
  8. Quote:

    Thanks! I am rather enjoying it!
    Thanks for all your feedback, prepare to be swamped with questions.


    Keep them coming, let me at EM! haha!

    Quote:

    I want to overclock as much as I can and keep it stable and somewhat long lasting. I want it to run my FEA and photo-rendering as quickly as possible. I am thinking in the 4.5 - 4.8GHz neighborhood.

    I am pretty set on the 650D case. I plan on keeping it for a good long time and doing upgrades/new builds with it. Other than cost, do you have a reason to use air instead of the H100? The H100 looks like a pretty solid, low hassle, cooling solution that give me a chance to play around with some extreme overclocking just for grins. If it's overkill for day-to-day use I'm not THAT concerned. It doesn't seem like a bad thing to keep the CPU running as cool as possible at all times. Ambient temperatures should stay pretty consistent around 60-70 (depending on when the girlfriend is home and cranking up the heat ).


    Yes, if you want overclock that high, than probably water cooling would be better. It is a bit more expensive, but for high overclocks and low temperatures, stick with water cooling. The case is good, I was just saying that if you go with air-cooling you can get a smaller/cheaper case. However for water cooling, Obsidians are excellent. It is already pre-designed I believe for equipment like radiators. It's an excellent case for future use. Although, cases like HAFs from Cooler Master are also great for water cooling and many times cheaper, so just consider it an option.

    Quote:

    Now I have questions!
    For starters my MB supports: "DDR3 2133(OC)/1866(OC)/1600/1333/1066"
    Should I stick with 1600 or will it run 1866 just as well?


    When is says DDR3 2133(OC) it means the RAM works fine, but you need to overclock the memory controller as far as I know. If you are fine with doing so, then it will work. If you do not want to, then get a board such as this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128495

    And it officially supports it without having to overclock it.

    Quote:

    The memory balance seems to factor frequency, latency, and density.
    How concerned about density should I be? Is there anything to gain by populating only 2 of the DIMMs instead of all 4? I keep seeing that it might be an issue when overclocking.

    If I stick with the 2x8GB, I could not find a way to both increase frequency and decrease CAS latency.


    As far as I know, could be mistaken, but as Frequency or clock rate increase of the ram, the higher timings usually are. Both affect performance. Frequency in Mhz is the rate at which this ram can transfer data. The number listed like (1600) isn't the actual number, but the higher it is, the more data can be transferred. Cas Latency is the delay at which the ram access data in itself. Similar to SSD's. The read/write transfer rates and the actual access times. Either way, RAM is always a huge bottleneck to a CPU, which is why CPU's have a cache since its a mini ram on board that communicates MUCH faster with the CPU.

    If your socket supports dual channel ram, the density doesn't matter as long as its dual channel. Whether you have 2 4GB sticks or 4 2GB sticks, it will treat the communications as Dual Channel. LGA2011 is quad channel meaning 2 dims would be a bottleneck.

    Stick with 2x 8GB and you will be fine, especially if you want add more memory later on. For frequencies of 1800Mhz and above, timings will usually be 9 or 10 if not higher. Either way, if the MB and RAM is designed for it, you can overclock it in your BIOS.

    If you want a good pair of stock ram, I would get
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231503

    ^It has very high frequency and very low CAS (in comparison). This is high performance ram. Although, with your current motherboard, You'll probably have to overclock the memory controller. So to prevent that you can switch to the Gigabyte motherboard I linked to which already supports that frequency without overclocking.
  9. blackhawk1928 said:
    When is says DDR3 2133(OC) it means the RAM works fine, but you need to overclock the memory controller as far as I know. If you are fine with doing so, then it will work. If you do not want to, then get a board such as this:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128495

    And it officially supports it without having to overclock it.
    Did you mean to link to a micro ATX card?
    blackhawk1928 said:
    If you want a good pair of stock ram, I would get
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231503

    ^It has very high frequency and very low CAS (in comparison). This is high performance ram. Although, with your current motherboard, You'll probably have to overclock the memory controller. So to prevent that you can switch to the Gigabyte motherboard I linked to which already supports that frequency without overclocking.


    I discovered that the Gigabyte MBs will only support 8GB of 2133MHz. If you run 16GB you have to clock it down to 1866MHz.

    So here is where I am at now:

    This motherboard:

    GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD4 LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $209.99 (-$20.00 Mail-in Rebate)

    With this memory:

    G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL8Q-16GBZM $149.99

    It is 1866 but has tighter timing than the 2133 you recommended [8-9-9-24 vs. 9-11-10-28] and should run stock on the Gigabyte.

    There is this as well if it comes back in stock (2x8GB 1866 w/ 10-11-10-30). I could not find it in stock anywhere:

    G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL10D-16GBXL $199.99

    That would give me an easier upgrade option in the future, although the 4x4GB is probably just fine.
    In a year or two when I upgrade it will be easy to find 1866 4x8GB no doubt.
  10. if your going with 1866 or 2133mhz for ram, i suggest get the g.skill ripjaws X 8gb (2x4gb) x2 of those kit or the 16gb 4x4gb and then get some g.skill turbulence II fan to keep it cool there too that is if your going with h100

    for the motherboard try this

    MSi Z68A-GD80 (G3) it should have that 189$ after rebate stuff when it is supposed to be at 220$ or something at newegg let me take a look and see

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813130610
    229.99$ before rebate and 189.99$ after rebate

    i use this on 3 systems we have at our house, and it's awesome, well i always used MSI mobo's only except for AMD which i use asus and my main system which is x79 asus (msi big bang 2011 wasn't available haiz TT__TT)

    buying that mobo should give you extra stuff to add for your other needs
  11. I have started ordering parts! :sol:
    The power supply, that rockin' ass monitor and a couple little things are on their way.

    I think I have settled on the Memory/Motherboard I will be using.
    Tavo, I think I will stick with the GIGABYTE since it supports 1833 without overclocking the memory controller.

    I am excited to get all the parts piled up so I can build this beast!
  12. Best answer
    Quote:

    Did you mean to link to a micro ATX card?


    No, at the time I meant that motherboard, did not see the specifics on the RAM downclocking support for only 8GB.

    Quote:

    I have started ordering parts! :sol:
    The power supply, that rockin' ass monitor and a couple little things are on their way.

    I think I have settled on the Memory/Motherboard I will be using.
    Tavo, I think I will stick with the GIGABYTE since it supports 1833 without overclocking the memory controller.

    I am excited to get all the parts piled up so I can build this beast!


    Parts choice is solid. No just remember, do not wait too long until ordering the rest, because once the return period is up, you will be screwed if you build the system only to find out that a part is defective. Thats why I always wait until I'm set and order everything at one time. Just don't stretch it out.

    The system you're making is VERY powerful. You'll be able to crunch through pretty much anything out there with ease. I have an i7 920 @ 2.66Ghz, not overclocked and it handles anything I have easily which includes multiple videogames at once, along with browser, itunes, virus scanning all at once. Your i7-2700k will probably be able to double an i7 920's benchmark scores on most available at stock. Overclocked even more most likely. I cannot see any software standing in your way. CAD is a tricky business, because there are really no limits to how complex your 3D models can get, but if its reasonable then you have one of the best consumer grade CPU's on the market.
  13. blackhawk1928 said:
    Quote:

    Did you mean to link to a micro ATX card?
    No, at the time I meant that motherboard, did not see the specifics on the RAM downclocking support for only 8GB.

    I meant micro ATX motherboard. The GIGABYTE motherboard that you linked to was a micro-ATX. No big deal.

    Thank you very much for all the feedback!

    I will be getting the rest of the parts ordered this week. I want to wait 3 or 4 days to see if any more Newegg specials pop up. I assure you I will be building and testing this thing as SOON as it all gets here. I have free 2 day shipping for everything so I should be building next week. I feel like a kid waiting for christmas :lol: I just want to see all those pretty boxes piled up waiting to get put together like a big-kid Lego set.

    Besides wanting this to be a super efficient FEA number cruncher I also have a small pissing match. I want this thing to smoke my buddy's $5,000 Falcon NW Mach V [990X 6-core water cooled, 12GB 1333, Quadro 4000, SSD...] . We do the exact same work (he is a partner at a company that is one of my clients, bicycle industry) so we will have apples to apples comparisons. We can set up a few complex analyses and see how long they take to run on each machine. I am fairly confident this is going to blow his away, the question is: by what margin? Since I found out I do not need an OS this ENTIRE build is less than 1/2 the price! (~$2400)

    I will come back to post photos of the build and the results of the pissing match. :sol:
    Thanks again guys! [:truegenius:6]
  14. Best answer selected by P O E Racing.
  15. This thing has taken a beating over the last three years. I should probably clean and redo the thermal paste. Maybe shovel out the dust...

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