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$4500 system build specs.

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June 18, 2012 2:59:03 AM

I am currently setting up a computer for a final year project for my mechanical engineering degree at uni. The project will include Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) which is VERY computationally expensive. After researching, talking to people from the CFD community and more research I have narrowed the system down to that shown below. The system is (as best I could) optimised for CFD simulations, I just need help finalising the build design as I am not sure which way to go when it comes down to the specifics.

Price: Aiming for $4-4500 Australian.
Timeline: Order and build within about a month
(Note: I also plan to overclock given the chance too)

*Provisional Specs*
Keep in mind this machine is primary built for CFD (pre/post,sims) but also pro-e, matlab, strand 7 etc...(So its basically a Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) workstation)

CPU --------> i7 3930k
MOBO ------> ASUS P9x79 Deluxe?? (not sure if this is the best bet or not)
RAM -------> 64Gb quad channel DDR3 @ 2133MHz (brand?)
HDD(1st) -> 240Gb SSD (working drive for ANSYS simulations and OS) (brand? Best type for random read/writes?)
HDD(2nd) -> 2x1Tb 7200rpm in raid0 (for "longer term storage" )
BACKUP -> (everything will be backed up to an external hdd for data security too)
GPU -------> Nvidia Quadro 4000
Case ----->cooler master HAF-X OR Azza Hurrican 2000
PSU ------> ??? (850W or higher to cope with demand and overclocking?)
Cooling --> Corsair 100

Thoughs or recommendations about the system and what brands and components I should go for?
June 18, 2012 3:22:08 AM

Asus is definitely a good brand for X79 motherboards.

For RAM - Mushkin Enhanced Blackline/Redline or Crucial Ballistix are good choices.

Then for SSD - for the 60GB model go with the Plextor PX-M3. For the 240GB model go with the 256GB OCZ Vertex 4 if it's available.

I really like the Azza Hurrican 2000 - the HAF X is a huge case and you really only need it if you're running a monster motherboard.

Then for the cooler - ditch the H100 and go for a strong air fan like the Noctua D14 - it will be far safer than running a closed block will.

PSU: 850W is a good choice but for brands go with Corsair, OCZ (if PC Power & Cooling is available I like their PSUs), Seasonic, and XFX.
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June 18, 2012 3:22:54 AM

OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 Max IOPS RVD3MIX2-FHPX4-240G PCI-E 240GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$769.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$299.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The parts that you have chosen are goos and I would for the most part agree with everything except for the hard drives. I would go with the OCZ RevoDrive for the OS/Boot drive and the Veloceraptor for storage. If you check out the RevoDrive you'll see the enormous speed advantage that it has over every other hard drive that is currently available 1600mb/s read and 1500mb/s write and 200,000 IOPS. The speed is then carried on to the 10,000 rpm Veloceraptor and you have a very fast hard drive setup to keep up with the other fast components and make your work that much quicker to be done. I used the Newegg site to list the parts and you'll have to find these items at which ever place you shop at.
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June 18, 2012 3:52:04 AM

Showponystuart said:

MOBO ------> ASUS P9x79 Deluxe?? (not sure if this is the best bet or not)
RAM -------> 64Gb quad channel DDR3 @ 2133MHz (brand?)


Make sure you do some research first on compatibility populating 8 DIMM slots between the mobo + RAM kits you are buying and get rated/tested XMP speed.
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June 18, 2012 4:05:59 AM

inzone said:
OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 Max IOPS RVD3MIX2-FHPX4-240G PCI-E 240GB PCI-Express 2.0 x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
$769.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Western Digital VelociRaptor WD1000DHTZ 1TB 10000 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
$299.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The parts that you have chosen are goos and I would for the most part agree with everything except for the hard drives. I would go with the OCZ RevoDrive for the OS/Boot drive and the Veloceraptor for storage. If you check out the RevoDrive you'll see the enormous speed advantage that it has over every other hard drive that is currently available 1600mb/s read and 1500mb/s write and 200,000 IOPS. The speed is then carried on to the 10,000 rpm Veloceraptor and you have a very fast hard drive setup to keep up with the other fast components and make your work that much quicker to be done. I used the Newegg site to list the parts and you'll have to find these items at which ever place you shop at.


Absolutely not - the Revodrive is an expensive storage gimmick that's far more likely to fail on you than anything else. If it's not a real hard drive, don't buy it.
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June 18, 2012 4:31:12 AM

Yeah I have been particularly unsure about ram and ssd.

For ram I was thinking something like this, but again I am unsure.
http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-37141046-G_Skill_RipjawsZ_3...(4x_8GB)_Memory_Kit_DDR3_2133MHz_PC3_17000_CL_9_Unbuffered_

For SSD I was thinking about bailing on the extra 60GB ssd and just using the 240GB ssd, (or maybe! two 120gb drives in raid 0?). I was thinking something like the samsung 830, but I was under the impression that its random read/writes were not its strong suit (which is important for CFD I believe.)
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June 18, 2012 4:39:48 AM

Showponystuart said:
Yeah I have been particularly unsure about ram and ssd.

For ram I was thinking something like this, but again I am unsure.
http://www.mwave.com.au/sku-37141046-G_Skill_RipjawsZ_3...(4x_8GB)_Memory_Kit_DDR3_2133MHz_PC3_17000_CL_9_Unbuffered_

For SSD I was thinking about bailing on the extra 60GB ssd and just using the 240GB ssd, (or maybe! two 120gb drives in raid 0?). I was thinking something like the samsung 830, but I was under the impression that its random read/writes were not its strong suit (which is important for CFD I believe.)


Yeah that RAM works. Just make sure that your motherboard can accept the speeds and voltage before purchasing.

Putting SSDs in RAID 0 isn't the best idea - RAID setups have far more room for failure than normal setups, and putting SSDs in RAID 0 means that you're far more likely to have them fail. Which is why I heavily advise against the Revodrive. You don't want to trust your data to something that's going to fail on you especially in mission critical applications.

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June 18, 2012 5:25:08 AM

g-unit1111 said:
Putting SSDs in RAID 0 isn't the best idea - RAID setups have far more room for failure than normal setups, and putting SSDs in RAID 0 means that you're far more likely to have them fail. Which is why I heavily advise against the Revodrive. You don't want to trust your data to something that's going to fail on you especially in mission critical applications.


Yeah I understand that, but the reason I was thinking of doing this way was because after all the hard work was done the files would be getting transferred to the hard drives, as well as an external hard drive for extra security. So as long as the drives dont fail during the simulation I shouldnt lose to much data. (keep in mind the sims could be running for over a week straight.

So that was my thinking anyway.
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June 18, 2012 5:45:21 AM

Showponystuart said:

CPU --------> i7 3930k
MOBO ------> ASUS P9x79 Deluxe?? (not sure if this is the best bet or not)
RAM -------> 64Gb quad channel DDR3 @ 2133MHz (brand?)
HDD(1st) -> 60Gb SSD(For programs ie windows, ansys, proe etc.)
HDD(2nd) -> 240Gb SSD (working drive for ANSYS simulations) (brand? Best type for random read/writes?)
HDD(3rd) -> 2x1Tb 7200rpm in raid0 (for "longer term storage" )
GPU -------> Nvidia Quadro 4000
Case ----->cooler master HAF-X OR Azza Hurrican 2000
PSU ------> ??? (850W or higher to cope with demand and overclocking?)
Cooling --> Corsair 100


I have both the i7-3930k and the Asus P9X79 Deluxe. You're going to love this box when you get it put together. I was pleasantly surprised when everything I put together booted up with no troubles on the first try, even though I have always built my own systems.

What I have seen recommended for the 240-256GB size SSDs are the Crucial M4 or Mushkin Chronos Deluxe edition SSDs. I have one of the 120GB Mushkin Chronos SSDs myself, and I like it very much.

As for your choice of hard drives, though... I have been using 4 Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 1TB drives for a couple of years, now. I would heartily recommend them to anyone. I am concerned that you are referring to a RAID0 array as "Longer-term storage". Is your plan to run a simulation and then immediately gather the resultant data on some external storage? Planning to keep anything of importance for very long on a RAID0 array is dangerous, as a single drive failure will destroy all the data stored to that array. In any case, I have gotten great performance from my RAID10 array over the years, and the Intel chipset "FakeRAID" performs noticeably better than the Nvidia 780i chipset "FakeRAID". Also, I have all of the drives for the array plugged in to the 3Gbps SATA ports, since my drives are the older SATA2 version.

I do love the P9X79 Deluxe motherboard, as I stated above, but you may also want to consider the Asus P9X79 WS board as well. It is designed to be used in a workstation build, while the Deluxe edition's purpose is for a home PC. The WS edition has two Intel hardware-accelerated gigabit ethernet ports, which are designed for stability and to offload network processing to the NIC. The Deluxe edition board has one Intel gigabit NIC and a second Realtek gigabit NIC. The WS board also has server-level compatibility with RAID controllers, server NICs, and capture cards. It supports 4-way SLI, rather than the 3-way SLI support provided by the Deluxe edition board. You just need to decide whether a steady, fast wired ethernet setup or quad-SLI is more important than the bluetooth and wi-fi support offered by the Deluxe edition board. My wireless-n card was PCI, so I wanted something that supported wi-fi out of the box, but I might have chosen the WS board if I had had a PCI Express WLAN card on hand.

Good luck with your build!
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June 18, 2012 5:57:19 AM

I'm studying mechanical engineering... Hope I don't have to drop 4.5k on a build like this before I graduate /gulp
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June 18, 2012 6:04:34 AM

Ironslice said:
I'm studying mechanical engineering... Hope I don't have to drop 4.5k on a build like this before I graduate /gulp


Nah mate, I wouldn't worry about that, I'm doing it due to being a bit of an oddball lol. I have a bad case of being a technophile, combined with an excuse(obsession with CFD) that is causing me to spend dumb money on a computer. Its not too bad though, I'm doing some vac work in the mines (as an undergrad engineer) to pay for it.

I've spent a lot of time trying to find the best system, now im trying to get the last bit done so I can start ordering, too much time has been spent on trying to build this comp. I would have been better off staring my research early lol.
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June 18, 2012 6:06:50 AM

Haha, ok man good luck with everything.
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June 18, 2012 7:21:45 AM

RAM and disk setup are the crucial factors here. The Noctua cooler suggested earlier I agree with.

RAM: When fully populated (8x8GB) it is very important to use only LV 1.35V sticks that do not use Micron chips on the 3930. The memory controller in the 3960 is much more forgiving, but the 3930 is very finicky. If you could do with only 32 GB, then my suggestion would be to use 8x4GB Samsung LV. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you need 64 GB, this may be an option: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... but at a price and no guarantee it will work.

Disks: For the SSD's I suggest Corsair Performance Pro, because their stable state deterioration is much less than Crucial or Intel, they use the Marvell controller and not the SF so their claimed speeds are realistic and not inflated like SF disks and finally they have a very high IOP. A boot disk of 128 GB and a 256 GB one for your analyses. For your longer term storage, don't use a raid0. Raid0 is for short term storage, because of the risk of losing all your data. Raid0 is only advised if you can afford to lose all data and can recreate them from other sources. If you want to raid the conventional disks, go for a raid1, that is long term storage. However, since you intended 2 TB storage, do not go for Seagate 2 TB disks in raid1, since the failure rate is extremely high and warranty limited to 12 months. Better look at WD RE4 or Hitachi 7K3000 disks with much longer warranty.
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June 18, 2012 7:22:00 AM

Im thinking about just a Corsair Force Series GT 240GB ssd. Has anyone had experience with these? Good, bad?
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June 18, 2012 8:59:47 AM

Okay, a bit of an update as to where I'm at.
This config is by no means set in stone, but im trying to head towards a definite setup. What does everyone think of a system like this.

CPU --------> i7 3930k -------------------------------------($600)
MOBO ------> ASUS P9x79 Deluxe ---------------------($400)
RAM ------->G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 64GB ram---(~$800)
HDD(1st) -> 240GB corsair Force GT------------------($335)
HDD(2nd) -> 2x1TB seagate -----------------------------(2x$88)
GPU -------> Nvidia Quadro 4000 ------------------------($1000)
Case ------> Azza Hurrican 2000 -------------------------($130?)
PSU ------> ??? --------------------------------------------($150?)
Cooling --> Corsair 100------------------------------------($150)
Total-------------------------------------------------------- $3750ish Australian.
(note: numbers are pretty rough I think)
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June 18, 2012 9:28:10 AM

Showponystuart said:
Okay, a bit of an update as to where I'm at.
This config is by no means set in stone, but im trying to head towards a definite setup. What does everyone think of a system like this.


HDD(1st) -> 240GB corsair Force GT------------------($335)

(note: numbers are pretty rough I think)


Don't get the Force GT. It is based on the SF controller. Get the Performance Pro based on the Marvell controller. The Force GT has very disappointing performance results, especially writes with uncompressible data and a severe stable state degradation. Keep in mind that all SandForce based SSD's claim very fast writes, because those rates were measured with highly compressible data. When you look at write speeds with uncompressible data, you can easily reduce the speed by 50% or more. In addition all SF based SSD's have a problem with 256 bit AES encryption, due to a bug in the SF controller and that can not be solved by a firmware update. That is why Intel started a return/exchange action for their 520 line of SSD's.
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June 18, 2012 5:01:51 PM

Showponystuart said:
Im thinking about just a Corsair Force Series GT 240GB ssd. Has anyone had experience with these? Good, bad?


I actually had three of the 240gb force gt SSD's and two of them in raid. I had loads of trouble untill I figured out that these SSD's don't work well at all with the Marvell sata3 chip on the motherboard. When I connected them to the Intel chip Sata2 controller they worked fine and the speeds wre a lot faster than the Marvell Sata3 controller. So if you decide on the Corsair Force 3 GT them you want to have at least one of the Sata3 ports controlled by the Intel chip.
I switched to the Samsung 830 256gb and they work fine on the Marvell controller on the same board , I now have two of the Samsung 830 256gb SSD's and they work fine.
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