Over the past weeks, I've been trying to figure out what my ideal PCs are. Broadly speaking, they fall into the following categories:
So it's always a question of what hardware to get for each, and you know, how much of my stipend I have left.
Here's what I'm looking at (with two choices - the normal then expensive):
Gaming - Purpose of the gaming rig is to get the most from games, not a lot else.
CPU: E8400 (a 3Ghz C2D) or i7 920 (2.6Ghz Nehalem)
GFX: 2x 4850 or 2x GTX285
Motherboard: Foxconn Black Ops (3xPCI-E) or Gigabyte EX58
PSU: 850W or 1000W
RAM: 3GB DDR3
HDD: WD Raptor or SSD
Case: Antec 1200
CPU Cooler: Asus Silent Knight II or Zalman Flower thing
I saw a review of 3 vs 6GB, no difference really except in multitasking, hence the 3GB.
What about the price of this thing?
Well, the lower price option is 140+240+160+60+55+150+150+50 = £1005
The higher price option is 250+620+160+120+55+250+150+50 = £1655
Technically I have the Raptor, 4850s, and an 850W PSU already, taking £450 off the lower price option. Though I do have a dual PCI-E board already, if I went for the Foxconn BlackOps, I could get another 4850. So I either take 160 off and keep my board (also take off 55 for the RAM, add 32 for another 2GB of my current stuff), or add 120 on for another GFX card. That makes £183 off or £120 on, making £372 or £675, depending on how you look at it.
Network Storage - purpose is to have lots of storage, maybe a good multi-threaded processor for decoding/encoding video. A good graphics card would work too. Technically I have most of this build already.
CPU: Dual/Quad/Octo core
GFX: Something with HDMI - HD 4670?
Motherboard: Single PCI-E is fine
RAM: 4GB DDR2
HDD: 6TB+. Preferably RAIDed
Case: Something that could hold lots of HDDs. A Themaltake Armour for instance.
CPU Cooler: Zalman Flower.
Well, HarukaKanata is an X2-4400 with Zalman cooler and Asus A8N-E. I have a 550W PSU, a ThermalTake Armour and a HD 4670. Technically I'd just need to move it into the case HALBERD is in, get some more RAM and some HDDs.
Thus £25 for the RAM (or just add in the RAM from HALBERD if that gets upgraded), and £120 per 1.5TB HDD. I already have one, and can add more at will. So this option is cheap :)
Crunching - The purpose of this is just to BOINC away. I've been looking at some Quad-PCI-E boards, but given how much power GFX cards use, and the price of power supplies, it's probably best to stick to Dual-PCI-E boards. Again, let's consider a low and high spec machine.
CPU: Dual Core (AMD or Intel), or Quad Core+, preferably Intel, all preferably low power.
GFX: 2x4850/2x4870, or 2x4870X2/2xGTX295
Motherboard: Dual PCI-E board
PSU: 650W or 850W (w/Dual Core) or 950W with Quad
RAM: 2GB DDR2
Case: Good ventilation. Antec 300?
CPU Cooler: Zalman Flower
So the main difference in the two builds would be the processor and graphics cards, along with the Power Supply (which are more expensive than you think).
So Processor Mobo combinations:
X2-5050e (2.6Ghz) 45W AM2 £53 + Asrock ALiveXFire £43 = £96
Intel Q6600 (2.4Ghz) 95W s775 £152 + A few mobos ~£100 = £252
GFX cards and PSUs also go hand in hand - a 4850 uses around 175-200W each, the X2 or GTX295 can use 300W each. So 4850s need 650W to be safe, the others should like 850W.
So lower cost option = 53+240/300(2x4850/2x4870)+43+55+25+25+50+50 = £541/£601
Higher cost option = 152+660/830(2x4870X2/2xGTX295)+100+80+25+25+50+50 = £1142/£1312
The lower cost build minus the GFX cards is 53+43+55+25+25+50+50 = £301, which is quite reasonable imo.