custom workstation component list

imageI mentioned in the last post that I was considering building workstations instead of buying from Dell. Here’s what I ended up with:

As a starting point I used the ever-useful Ars Technica System Guide — the Hot Rod. This ends up somewhat similar to the Hanselman/Attwood ultimate developer rig from a couple months ago.

Motherboard – GigaByte GA-P35-DS4. My goodness, trying to tell these boards apart is really tough, GigaByte alone offers like 20 models with the same base chipset. $187.99

CPU – Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600. For development I think quad cores makes sense and this is the price/performance sweet spot I am looking for right now. The same CPU Scott went with, only now it is half the price. $279.99

RAM – G.SKILL 8 GB DDR2-800. $219.98. Too much? Stick with 4? Go with a better brand?

Video – I have nVidia Quadro FX3500 cards surplus that I’ll be using here, but I’ll need to get aftermarket cooling fans.

Drives – WD Raptor 10,000 RPM Sata 150Gb (OS/Apps) + a surplus 7200 rpm 250 Gb for scratch/data. I toyed with the idea of going SSD, but am going to skip it for now. But mark my words, my next laptop with not have rapidly spinning platters of magnetized metal.

Optical – Samsung DVD RW. I am still sore over +R vs -R. And don’t tell me it doesn’t matter, if I’m burning a DVD video for someone else, I have to make both just in case one works in their DVD player and not the other. $31.99

Case – Antec Solo. Cases have actually come a long way, this thing has rubber mounted everything and sound dampening panels, plus it’s cheap at $79.99

Power Supply – Corsair 450VX. Supposedly a very efficient unit w/ 120 mm fan. $79.99

Mouse – Microsoft Wired Laser Mouse 6000. Simple, accurate, reliable, good on any surface. $29.99

Keyboard – My old faithful Dell mechanical keyboard circa 1998.

OS – MS Vista Business 64-bit. I’ve had the pleasure of working with 64 bit Vista for a few months now and it has been totally solid, fast and almost no compatibility/driver issues.

Monitor – Dell FP2007 x 2. I did a ton of research on monitors and DPI trying to find the best value for pixels and this 20″ regular aspect (non-wide) 1600×1200 model comes up best at 100 DPI and ~$400 per. You can go bigger, but you don’t actually buy that many more pixels. You are better off getting additional 20″ sets and going up to 4 columns and 2 rows.

Total cost is for just the workstation is right around $1000. I’m bringing some parts to the party, so the true cost is somewhat higher, but this is still a ton of performance for the money.

And for vendors, I haven’t gotten any good recommendations, so it looks like I’ll just do Newegg and use our corporate Visa.

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