Don't know if this is the right place to ask this, since I see almost all the requests are for gaming machines. If not, pointers to appropriate sites would be appreciated.
I have not built a machine in at least 5 years (employers gave them to me, or I used a laptop) but now I need to build a serious computing platform to test code on, and I find I've completely lost touch with the current hardware side of things.
Here's the template filled out.
Approximate Purchase Date: next few weeks
Budget Range: Fairly open. I don't want to waste money, but am willing to pay for what I need. At a rough guess, $1500 upper limit.
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Software development and testing - see comments below
Are you buying a monitor: No
Parts to Upgrade: Everything
Do you need to buy OS: No, will run Linux exclusively (probably OpenSuSe)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg.com, Amazon, ?
Location: City, State/Region, Country - Northern Nevada, USA
Parts Preferences: Intel CPU
SLI or Crossfire: Maybe
Your Monitor Resolution: 1920x1200, but see comments
Additional Comments: This will be a compute-only machine for software development & testing. (I do stuff like seismic tomography, and some test runs are taking 12+ hours on my current 2.5 GHz Quad-core machine.) Much of this will be CUDA (NVidia GPU computing). I need to be able to install at least 2 current-generation NVidia cards (have/will get cards separately).
This will be a remote computing machine. It will live in a closet/garage, and I will log in (xterm/ssh X forwarding) from my other machines. I don't need user peripherals like keyboards.
And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: I need to be able to test code that uses more than one GPU for computing.
So what I think I need:
1) Motherboard with at least 2 PCI 16 slots
2) Quad-core CPU. i5 or i7?
3) RAM - at least 8 GB
4) Hard drive - need not be overly large, as the current 150 GB is nowhere near full, but it appears there really isn't anything under 250 GB today.
5) Power Supply - adequate for two GPU cards
6) Case - Good cooling, no lights, windows, or other fancy stuff.
CUDA Computing? it might better stick with 5xx series card..........
Guess I wasn't quite clear on that. I develop & test the software, which other people then use. That means I will occasionally swap out cards to match various client configurations. E.g. if some client encounters a problem on a 2xx, 4xx, or whatever card, I can install one to try to reproduce the problem.
This motherboard has the 2 PCIe slots for SLI and is not too expensive, it will be fine for your needs.
An i7-3770k is better for computing because it has hyper-threading, which is useful in many applications. In addition, I added a CPU cooler since you said you might be overclocking; it will keep your CPU around 30-40C.
Also, I included 16GB of RAM since it is so cheap these days and it can prove useful in the situations you will be using it for.
Since you said you only need a small Hard Drive, an SSD will be perfect for you. This is the top of the line corsair SSD that is the current fastest performer on the market. If you need more room there is also a 240GB version available.
The power supply is 80 Plus Gold Rated which will provide enough power for even two GTX 680's.
The case is just as you requested. There are other cases that meet your requests such as the Corsair 550D, which is very silent, but costs around $150.
Thanks! That looks like it should work well, and the CPU cooler is a good thought. Only thing I'm not quite sure on is the SSD:
Since you said you only need a small Hard Drive, an SSD will be perfect for you. This is the top of the line corsair SSD that is the current fastest performer on the market. If you need more room there is also a 240GB version available..
It's maybe a little overkill for the stuff I do, since the programs are comparatively small, do little I/O, and sit crunching in RAM/GPU for maybe hours. But maybe worth it for less heat & power consumption?
From what I've heard CUDA is getting out of fashion. OpenCL is the new thing. I think currently AMD has better OpenCL performance. Of course if you're still using CUDA it might not make sense to you to buy AMD.