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Old November 10, 2010, 10:43 AM
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I am looking to build a new workstation for Solidworks and CATIA design software, as well as Ansys Simulation/Analysis software. I am planning on doing this build in stages, and I need some advice on a few of the items. Also, I prefer to shop at Canada Computers or Tiger Direct for my hardware.

Case: ThermalTake Armour – Since I already have one being used on my current machine and will recycle it to this project.
Mobo: Asus Rampage II Extreme – Since I have one in the box taking up space in my closet for the last year.
CPU: Intel Core i7 950 – Seems to be the best balance of performance/dollars. I might also be interested in overclocking this build.
RAM: Not sure about RAM. Ultimately I want 12 gigs in there.
Boot HDD: 2 or 3 SSD’s in RAID 0 for performance, again not sure about make/model.
Storage HDD: 2 Western Digital Caviar Black 500gb in RAID 1 for storage/internal backup of the Boot HDD.
Video Card: Likely something along the lines of a GTX 465 to start with, but would eventually like to add 2 more cards for CUDA processing, as Ansys is supposed to take advantage of GPU parallel processing starting in their next edition.
PSU: Corsair of appropriate wattage.
Optical drive: I will just swing by Canada Computers and grab a cheap SATA DVD RW.

Ok, now here is the kicker, I have limited funds right now, and need to build it piece by piece. I am thinking of the following;
Case: have it
Mobo: have it
CPU: i7 950
RAM: start with 6 gigs and add 6 more when I can afford to
Boot HDD: use the Caviar Blacks for the boot until I can afford the SSD’s and then clone my OS to them and use the Caviars for storage/backup
Video: Use two Nvidia 9600gt’s in SLI that I already have, until I can afford the upgrade
PSU: use an OCZ powerstream 520 watt I already have until I can afford the upgrade
Optical drive: buy the cheap one.
I figure this path allows the smoothest upgrade, with no needing to “buy twice”.
Any suggestions/comments?
Jim
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Old November 10, 2010, 10:51 AM
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Raid 0 will kill the trim fonction of the SSD making it recudincg life time prety fast. Get 1 faster SSD and leave it alone to use the trim fonction.
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Old November 10, 2010, 11:48 AM
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Or just buy SSDs with garbage collection (which still works in raid) and enjoy the added speed of RAID!
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Old November 10, 2010, 11:49 AM
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Raid 0 is a pain to backup/restore. I would also go away from it, unless you really do need all the speed.

If you want to OC, You'll need some aftermarket cooling solution. There is a lot of nice air cooling available for cheap. Look at the 212+ for example.
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Old November 10, 2010, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matsta31 View Post
Raid 0 is a pain to backup/restore. I would also go away from it, unless you really do need all the speed.

If you want to OC, You'll need some aftermarket cooling solution. There is a lot of nice air cooling available for cheap. Look at the 212+ for example.
I forgot to mention that my current computer (dual Opteron 290's) uses 212+ already, so I will just recycle one of those into this machine.
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Old November 10, 2010, 02:28 PM
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I use V5 here at home.

No need to OC.
Single SSD (I use a Gskill 128GB) is plenty fast.
No need for Blacks as storage. Stick to Greens.
Definitely a good GPU for Cuda processing.
Corsair 750W will be plenty for 2-3 GPUs for Cuda.
V5 is a ram hog. Starting with 6Gb is not a problem, but you'll love having 12 on those large assemblies and products.

I say 1 SSD and dual 1Tb Greens in Raid 1 for now with 6GB of ram, keep the 9600s and PSU for the time being. Then upgrade the GPUs (for a single), ram (6 more Gb), PSU then add more GPUs (if you fell the need). The SSD will give you the biggest speed improvement, then upgrading the GPUs will the icing.
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Old November 10, 2010, 02:37 PM
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i7 930 is cheaper, and could easily clock to similar 950 levels.
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Old November 10, 2010, 02:49 PM
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Agreed. I read the 1st time around that he already owned a 950. Heck, even a used 920 would be fine. Or the Xeon equivalents (W3520, X3430, X3440, X3450) would work too.
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Old November 11, 2010, 05:40 AM
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Thanks for the info everyone. I've changed the plans to include a single 120gb SSD (maybe bigger), thinking about the OCZ Vertex 2 series. Changed to WD Caviar Green's, 500gb, as they are dirt cheap and I dont need tons of storage for this dedicated machine. I've also changed to the i7 930 to save another few bucks over the 950.

3.0, what sort of design work do you do? I can relate to the RAM hog issue, I use Solidworks here at work, with 8 gigs of RAM, and there are some assemblies that really get my machine jumpy at 8 gigs.
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Old November 11, 2010, 09:52 AM
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I design Aircraft cabinets (galleys, lavatories, bulkhead) on the side. I have seen up to 400 parts in a single product, and having so much ram was a blessing.
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