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Old October 9, 2013, 12:06 PM
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My System Specs

Post Work Project Build M-ATX

So I have been tasked with a project at work that involves replacing 12 aging test computers used for in vehicle testing. The PC has to be very powerful, generate low heat and have a lot of USB ports, as many as possible, we require 14 per PC and will use a PCI USB card too. The PC's also need to take up a small amount of room. I have linked to my pcpartpicker and would like some feedback on my choices.
Intel Core i7-4770S, Silverstone SST-SG02B-F-USB3.0 (Black) - Vehicle Project #1 - wedge27's Saved Part List - PCPartPicker Canada

The current PC in the vehicle is a Dell Optiflex 760 fitted with a single SSD as an upgrade, this PC is the cause of the size constraints as the Dell Optiflex measures in at,
Width 15.7 in 39.8cm
Depth 13.9 in 35.3cm
Height 4.5 in 11.43cm

Optiflex Specs

Operating System
Windows 7 Professional 64-bit SP1
CPU
Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 @ 3.33GHz 37 C
Wolfdale 45nm Technology
RAM
4.00GB Dual-Channel DDR2 @ 399MHz (6-6-6-18)
Motherboard
Dell Inc. 0D517D (CPU)
Graphics
DELL E177FP (1280x1024@60Hz)
256MB ATI Radeon HD 3450 (Microsoft Corporation WDDM 1.1) (Dell)
Hard Drives
224GB INTEL SSDSC2BW240A4 ATA Device (SSD) 36 C
Optical Drives
HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GH30N ATA
Audio
High Definition Audio Device
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Old October 9, 2013, 02:03 PM
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What kind of software are you using with the PC that require an i7 with 32GB of RAM? I would ditch the DVD drive completely and go with USB portable units. You can probably get away with getting half or even a quarter of the drives.
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Old October 9, 2013, 02:10 PM
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We have Windows 7 running scanner software and logging data from all of the devices that are connected via USB, so lets say at least 10 devices transferring data into the PC, I am not sure why we would drop the optical drive?
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Old October 9, 2013, 03:29 PM
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Well the question is that how often do you use the optical drive that warrants the cost. At $15 / unit, you are looking at $150+ versus may be half that cost by shuffling around portable DVD drive. While I'm no expert in terms of device bandwidth, I personally don't think a 4C/8T CPU with 32GB will make a difference as you're logging and not doing on board analysis. In regards to additional USB ports, a USB card is about $15 to $20 ranging 2 to 4 ports. But if you can get away with a 10 port hub, that may be a cheaper solution. Finally, I would go with an MSI board instead to keep the cost down. For a machine that just reading sensor input, there's no real reason to use a Z87 board.
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Old October 9, 2013, 03:36 PM
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I understand what you mean regarding 32GB of RAM and the i7, my initial build was a Gigabyte Brix with 16GB ram and a 256GB SSD with an i3 CPU and the possibility of a 10 port USB hub. My Manager is very keen on an i7 and lots of RAM, I have been advised that the software we are using is not that efficient, they also believe that buying the best now will prevent any major updates for a while.
As far as the optical drives go they advised me it would be best to have one in each PC just in case.
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Old October 9, 2013, 04:15 PM
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Well it's their money to waste. In that case, I would keep most of your original build specification except swap the motherboard to a H87 board at 50% of the price. A Brix is perfect for this kind of application and it's too bad that they are spec chasing instead of thinking about the budget. To be honest, I think your current C2D rigs are still perfectly fine for this.
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Old October 10, 2013, 05:59 AM
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Have you run any processor analysis to see how much the processor is even being tasked during the testing with the current machines?
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Old October 10, 2013, 07:49 AM
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or the ram.. or the HDD/SSD?

I would want real numbers before spending on something like this (especially with 12 of them)

On the USB.. Why not just use a couple of hubs on each box? I doubt you have enough data to saturate USB 2.0 never-mind 3.0 with a couple of devices on each port.
Also agree on the dvd drive.. are these only for installing or?
You could just install from USB or as mentioned above, use an external drive.
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Last edited by Dzzope; October 10, 2013 at 08:00 AM.
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Old October 10, 2013, 12:08 PM
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I have not run any analysis, this project just got dropped on me this week. I believe analysis of the current hardware would be a great idea, I will see what the Management think.
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Old October 12, 2013, 09:37 PM
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Stay away from Asus if you need to use PCI slots.

I can't emphasize this enough. The ASM1083 series of PCIe to PCI bridges are, for lack of better words, broken. And this is what Asus uses on boards that require PCIe to PCI bridges.
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