Advice for a analysis workhorse/gaming/media beast

Hey guys. I'm building a personal desktop to use for work and play.

I'm a physicist, and will be using the machine to supplement the computing available to me at work. It'll be used for image analysis, particle tracking, stats, etc., in IDL, matlab, Igor Pro, Mathematica, etc. - generally in ways that can take advantage of multi-threading. I also do a fair amount of image preprocessing in Fiji (ImageJ). My raw images are often ~10Gb dicom stacks, and ideally I'd prefer to manipulate them without splitting the stacks. It'd also be nice to be able to generate meshes for FEM simulations (I'm a big fan of Rhino3D), or maybe even run some small DEM simulations (not something I've done before), though these last two applications are non-essential.

At the same time, I'd like to be able to enjoy the thing in my downtime. I'm an avid console gamer, and would like to migrate some of my gaming back to the pc. I'll also probably use CAD for some home projects.

Approximate Purchase Date: In the next month and a half - no rush, but sooner is better

Budget Range: $3000ish, but if I should only be spending half that, please tell me!

System Usage from Most to Least Important: see above

Parts Not Required: N/A

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg, Amazon

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I'd like to go intel, been leaning toward Sandy-E.

Overclocking: Maybe - if I need to, or get bored

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe - as an upgrade in a year or more

Monitor Resolution: aiming for 1920x1200 (that's what I like at work)

Additional Comments: My apartment is almost as old as the wiring within, so low power consumption is a plus. Also, the apartment isn't huge, so quiet isn't bad either.

Tentative build:
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  1. Quote:
    You do not need thermal compound, the H100 comes with it.
    You do not need Windows 7 ultimate, Home premium is enough.
    You do not need x79 as a gaming platform or an i7.

    Thermal compound - nice, thanks.

    Windows - I want to be able to use RDC (to access from the office), so need at least Pro, and was led to understand that RDC is more functional on ultimate. Given the $20 price difference, I treated myself to the upgrade. I forgot to mention I also plan to dual boot Ubuntu.

    x79 - no, I don't need it for gaming. Gaming is a secondary function - I chose x79 for my work applications, where I know I can make use of the extra cores.
  2. Thanks recon. Sorry I got pulled away from my desk for a bit.

    Disk space shouldn't ever be an issue: I can get work to buy me hdds when needed, and I picked the Corsair case in part because of the hotswap bays.

    I notice that a lot of people like the storm trooper case - why is that?
    Also, what led you to suggest mushkin ram? I'm not familiar with the brand, and went with Corsair largely because I have always bought Corsair ram.

    Video cards were the most confusing to me, as I haven't had to shop for one for over a decade. Could you explain why the 7950 would be worth the extra $$$, and why you like that particular card?
  3. I would go with the I7-3770k. You will never need the extra cores.
  4. adgjlsfhk said:
    I would go with the I7-3770k. You will never need the extra cores.

    Ok, let's put this to rest - I'm pretty set on the proc. What changes would people suggest *besides* switching to ivb?
  5. Your psu is way bigger than it needs to be. Look at this
    Also, why do you have such an expensive case? This will do everything very well.
  6. adgjlsfhk said:
    Your psu is way bigger than it needs to be. Look at this
    Also, why do you have such an expensive case? This will do everything very well.

    I like the cable routing, hot swap bays, and look of the 800d, but you're right - it's a lot of case. I can switch to an ATX MB and the 650D, and get most of the features I like (even an external SATA port for data drives). How about:


    For the PSU, do I need to worry about it if I fill up the 3.5" bays with hdds down the road? Maybe a 750W would be enough, but still safe for expansion?
  7. actually your setup is fine also but I would opt for a crucial ssd or intel (might make your budget go up)

    nah go with 850W although with a single card you won't be maxing it but everyone loves extra space,

    example: you got a room and with a single small bed and a cabinet, just because you only have those 2 doesn't mean you must only get a room that fits those 2 and small extra space to stand around for a bit,

    so far everything else is good, and yes the 3930k is an awesome processor even if you won't be utilizing all the cores, and even if you decided to go 64gb ram it's your choice, imo I have 32gb ram but only 21-24.7gb are always being used when working. but I have a gaming pc I use for games which is in my sig also 3930k, I like that it never go above 30% of memory usage and willing to pay premium for 64gb just to see it never go above 15% ^_^ but that's me.

    ask your self this.

    are you fixed on that processor? well that processor is a good one actually.

    800D is a good case specially if you go water cooling but try out haf X should have better cooling when it comes to air. but well you won't notice much either way.

    for the psu go 850w as it won't be eating 850w anyway but 850w is a solid number also if you plan on getting a 2nd card go 850w, but if your going with a single card a 650w is good enough but a 750 would be ideal.
  8. For a single Radeon 7950, even 600W leaves enough headroom to OC.
  9. he did say this

    SLI or Crossfire: Maybe - as an upgrade in a year or more

    so we could say a 650w, 750w, 850w as his option, if he really need to cut down on the budget imo a 650w or 750w

    seasonic x-760 760w 80plus gold is a good choice

    but he can also opt for a 80plus silver like the hx or a tx 650 v2 80plus bronze

    in the end his choice. but either way any of those psu at that wattage and with a good brand sticker would suffice
  10. Yeah, for two 7950s, 750W is plenty.
  11. Thanks guys! I think I'm set, and I'm going to make a few final choices and order tonight. This has been a big help - I think I'll save a bit of cash on some changes, and I understand much better why I'm getting what I've picked - everything you could ask for from a community like this. Hopefully I'll be able to return the favor down the road.
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