Building a Computer for Scientific Computing, Need Imput

Hi Everyone,

I build a few machines for gaming years ago (2002), but now I work in a research lab and have fairly high computational demands - particularly on memory. I have a budget of $1k for a personal computer (we have a cluster for really intense stuff) and I am planning to build one myself as I feel I can get a much faster machine that way. It will be a Linux box when it is done, no Windows at all.

I don't think I really need much graphics power, I will have 2-3 monitors, all smallish, but that is all. The main thing is parallel processing and memory.

Here's what I am thinking so far:
Antec P280 Black Super Mid Tower Computer Case (
SeaSonic S12II 520 Bronze 520W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS 12V V2.91 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply (
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) (
ASRock X79 Extreme6 LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard (
Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E 3.6GHz (3.8GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 2011 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor BX80619i73820 (
G.SKILL Phoenix III FM-25S3-120GBP3 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal 7mm Solid State Drive (SSD) (
ZOTAC Synergy Edition ZT-60602-10L GeForce GT 610 1GB 64-bit DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP (

I really like the idea of the 2011 chip, because it has quad-channel memory, but if I dropped to different interface, I could get more power/memory for the same price.

I am a little worried about compatibility, is there anything I am missing here that will make this not perform well?

How important is the mainboard? Should I downgrade my CPU a little to get a better board?

Also, is 520W enough power if I am pushing this really hard?

Any help, insight, or ideas of how to get more power for less money would be great.


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  1. I see that you dont plan to overclock, so that psu should be enough. Very nice PSU too, stick with that seasonic and you will be happy. You dont have a bulk storage drive, just your SSD, but its for research so you will mainly be using word doc's etc? Maybe get a 115 socket and raid0 with the ssd's. super fast speeds there.. Looks all compatable but up to you if you would rather the 2011 chip over something else. you wont need more memory, in fact i still think 32gb is plenty..
  2. Thanks for the thoughts camohanna. You are right that I don't have a storage device there, the SSD is just for the OS, I have a 30TB RAID array to use for regular storage, although it is a NAS, so it isn't super fast sadly. I will also put an extra 1TB hard drive in there.

    Do you think the 2011 chip is worth it for the 4 channels of memory? Does that actually add much? I could go for a 1155 Ivy Bridge instead? I am worried that the 2011 chip and board will give me problems in the setup because they are pretty new. I see a lot of reviews of people complaining of difficulty getting their systems to boot.
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