System Usage from Most to Least Important: (1) CPU-intensive engineering applications, e.g., EPA AERMOD air quality dispersion modeling software - executable can take advantage of multi-core/hyperthreading with MPI - http://www.mcs.anl.gov/research/projects/mpich2/ (model runs can take from 1 to 18 hours on current 1st gen Core i7-920 2.67 GHz w/ 12 GB RAM); (2) standard office applications (large Excel spreadsheets and Access databases); (3) home media server and some photo editing.
Builder recommendations: looking for advice and recommendations. Have been reviewing websites and trying configurators for Micro Express, Digital Storm, AVA Direct, Polywell, iBuyPower, CyberPower, etc.
CPU: Core i7-3930 or dual quad or six core Xeon or other recommendations??
Overclocking: Maybe - if it would speed up model runs
Cooling: Recommendations sought on type (air or liquid cooled) and vendor. Would like it to be quiet.
Motherboard: Asus P9x79 Pro or ??
RAM: at least 16 GB, maybe 32 GB if recommended?
OS: Win 7 Pro
Graphics card: Recommendations needed. Currently have ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series on Dell XPS9000 that seems satisfactory for my purposes.
SLI or Crossfire: Probably no need if not for gaming?
Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080
Hard Drives: Thinking SSD for boot/OS; 2x2TB for data (2nd as internal backup of 1st data drive).
RAID1: Seeking advice. Thinking about RAID1 for SSD boot drives. I currently have RAID1 on Dell XPS9000 w/ 2 1.5 TB SATAs, but not sure if it's slowing system down. Read/Write is sometimes on for many minutes, but not sure if this is due to RAID or other Windows issues. If I don't go for RAID1 again on this new system, what are other recommendations for imaging or backup of boot/OS disk? Will probably continue using GoodSync for data.
Case: Just want simple, conservative tower with ease of access, room for servicing/upgrading, lots of ports front/top and back, no bling/lights/windows necessary. Suggestions?
Power supply: minimum suggested capacity for this application? Vendor?
Graphics Card: Probably don't need a super GPU, honestly. Unless your software benefits from CUDA cores, then you'll want to grab a high end GPU from nVidia. Otherwise, I would just grab a sub-$100 card and call it a day. Anything 5700 or higher on AMD's site, and anything at or higher than the 520 GT on nVidia's side.
HDD: SSDs are goof for boot, so grab a 120 GB or a 160 GB from Intel's 500 series.
RAID1: I'll leave that to someone more experienced with RAID.
get a dual socked lga 2011 motherboard
get 2 3930k (better than 1 3960x) because your software handles it
ram (have no idea about your software)
cooling two of cooler master Hyper 212 plus evo
os: your choice
i think your gpu is fine if it fulfills your needs