$1k development workstation

Approximate Purchase Date: this week or next

Budget Range: $1k

System Usage from Most to Least Important: linux software development, including significant use of VMs; other general-purpose (web, office apps, etc); no gaming

Parts Not Required: keyboard, mouse, 1st monitor (buying a 2nd), speakers, OS; reusing ZOTAC 9500GT (ZT-95TEH3P-HSL)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Amazon (I also shopped Newegg, prices are nearly identical there)

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: just want it to work reliably

Overclocking: maybe

SLI or Crossfire: no

Monitor Resolution: identical dual monitors, 1920x1080

Additional Comments: (e.g.: Need to have a window and lots of bling, I would like a quiet PC)

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Parts List:

Intel i7-2600K
ASUS P8P67 DELUXE LGA 1155
Corsair Enthusiast Series 750-Watt
Corsair 16 GB (4x4) Vengeance Low Profile 1600MHz DDR3
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB WD20EARX
Cooler Master HAF 912 Case
Viewsonic VX2453MH-LED 24-Inch (Already have one of these, buying another.)
Asus 24xDVD±RW SATA
And some generic 120mm fans

I'm a software engineer. My work involves heavy use of virtual machines, thus the desire for a decent amount of RAM. This is not my first build, but I do it infrequently enough that every time I have to choose parts I feel like a noob because the landscape has changed so much since my last build.

Questions regarding this build:

1. The 9500GT is a leftover from a previous machine. Given that my graphics demands are modest, I think it will hold up. It's a PCIe 2.0 x16, and there's a slot in the P8P67 for it.
2. The P/S seems like overkill. I was going to get a 650W, but the 750W model in the same line was $5 cheaper. But could I safely go with a Corsair 500W for $40? Also saw a 600W for $60.
3. Any other components that are clearly overkill? Please suggest a replacement.
4. I probably won't be overclocking -- in this case is the stock CPU cooler suitable?
6 answers Last reply
More about development workstation
  1. Quote:
    1. The 9500GT is a leftover from a previous machine. Given that my graphics demands are modest, I think it will hold up. It's a PCIe 2.0 x16, and there's a slot in the P8P67 for it.


    It might - it might not, only when you get the build up and running depending on what you're using it for.

    2. There's no such thing as too much power. If you wanted to drop it and get a better video card that would not be a bad idea.

    3. See my suggestions below - if you're using a strictly workstation build I might be inclined to suggest one based off a Xeon E3.

    4. Yes but I prefer aftermarket coolers even if you don't as it helps circulate air through your PC and helps move hot air out faster.

    Try this:

    Case: Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
    PSU: Corsair CX600 V2 - $69.99
    Motherboard: Asus P8B WS - $219.99
    CPU: 3.1GHz Intel Xeon E3-1220 - $209.99
    RAM: Kingston 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) ECC - $69.99
    HD: Seagate Barracuda ST 500GB - $109.99
    Optical: Lite On DVD Burner - $17.99
    Video Card: ATI Fire Pro V4800 - $159.99

    Total: $897.92

    With this build everything I included is professional grade - nothing consumer - and everything will be far better for programming and development.
  2. Quote:
    1. The 9500GT is a leftover from a previous machine. Given that my graphics demands are modest, I think it will hold up. It's a PCIe 2.0 x16, and there's a slot in the P8P67 for it.

    If you're not doing any gaming, ever, you're fine. My workstation has a 7950 GX2 in it, and you'd never know because it's never been used to play a game. I have no idea why they put that card in here, to be honest. Far more power than is needed.

    Quote:
    2. The P/S seems like overkill. I was going to get a 650W, but the 750W model in the same line was $5 cheaper. But could I safely go with a Corsair 500W for $40? Also saw a 600W for $60.

    A good 500W supply would be plenty, but extra room will let you cram in more drives and more bling, like cold cathodes and stuff like that. I'd recommend the 600W supply just to leave some headroom.

    Quote:
    3. Any other components that are clearly overkill? Please suggest a replacement.

    Looks fine to me. I didn't see where you mentioned the memory, but for a development environment I'd suggest 16 GB so you won't have to worry about splitting it between VMs.

    Quote:
    4. I probably won't be overclocking -- in this case is the stock CPU cooler suitable?

    Yep, it's perfectly decent as long as you keep the chip stock.

    As a final note, you might want to consider an SSD. It's going to provide all the usual benefits to the system, as well as removing the disk I/O bottleneck if you're using a distributed build system (I have no idea how you plan to develop). If you're just building solo, any 7200 RPM drive will do just fine, but even 10k RPM drives in RAID choke once you start leveraging 50 GHz+ of build power. It's not a throughput thing, but IOPS.

    Quote:
    With this build everything I included is professional grade - nothing consumer - and everything will be far better for programming and development.

    I'm sorry, but I totally disagree. Nothing you picked is going to speed up his compiles over what he already had. The Xeon is actually inferior to the 2600k due to its lower clock speed and lack of hyperthreading. ECC is also a total waste, it's not like he's running a server.
  3. Quote:
    I'm sorry, but I totally disagree. Nothing you picked is going to speed up his compiles over what he already had. The Xeon is actually inferior to the 2600k due to its lower clock speed and lack of hyperthreading. ECC is also a total waste, it's not like he's running a server.


    That might be debatable about ECC, but I don't think there's any programming applications that take advantage of hyper threading, are there? If it were a workstation for say Adobe CS5 then I'd recommend the 2600K in half a second.
  4. g-unit1111 said:
    That might be debatable about ECC

    It really doesn't make a difference. I work in a building with more than a thousand other programmers and not one machine has ECC memory in it if it's not a server. It's not like it's a big deal if a build fails due to random memory corruption, you just build again. Modern compilers are perfectly capable of starting back up where they left off.

    You'll get more random build failures attributed to MSBuild being stupid than anything else, anyway. MSBuild is seriously heinous, and I think it's unforgivable that Microsoft forced us onto it with VS2010. Distributed builds take twice as long as they used to because of it, and it can't seem to figure out that it doesn't need to relink the .Net stuff every time you build so touching even a single file results in several minutes of linking.
    Quote:
    but I don't think there's any programming applications that take advantage of hyper threading, are there?

    Compiling makes great use of hyperthreading (around a 33% speedup), and is the only thing a programmer will ever do that puts a major load on the system (most of what we do is essentially typing in a text editor). Unless of course your project hammers the CPU, but then again, most programmers know what minimum level of hardware their project requires.
  5. willard said:
    Quote:
    1. The 9500GT is a leftover from a previous machine.

    If you're not doing any gaming, ever, you're fine.


    As far as gaming goes, I'm pretty sure "Curious George" is fairly undemanding. That's about the limits of the gaming I'll be doing on this machine.

    willard said:
    Quote:
    3. Any other components that are clearly overkill? Please suggest a replacement.

    Looks fine to me. I didn't see where you mentioned the memory, but for a development environment I'd suggest 16 GB so you won't have to worry about splitting it between VMs.


    I forgot to include memory in the parts list (actually, I hadn't added it to my cart). I edited the list to include it: 16GB as 4x4.

    willard said:
    As a final note, you might want to consider an SSD.

    I've considered it, and I may still add it. I work solo, no distributed builds.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  6. Everything looks good to me, then. An SSD can always be added later to make things nice and snappy.
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