View Full Version : Computer Spec: Have I missed anything out?

09-17-2004, 03:19 PM

This isn't a 'mine's bigger than yours and I want to prove it' post (honest). I'm looking for genuine feedback.


I'm just starting a postgrad physics degree, involving lots of heavy computational work. I used SoftImage XSI 4 (I love their student discount system - no timebombs after 2 years) to produce a couple of animations for presentations. These went down really well, and now my supervisor has asked me to come up with a computer spec which will handle the graphics really well, but also be good for straight scientific computing (mostly hefty FDTD calculations). I've read more reviews than is good for my eyes, and come up with the following (all to be bought from Dabs online, and assembled at work):

Case: Supermicro SC733I-450
M/B: Gigabyte GA-7A8DW
CPU: 2*AMD Opteron 246
RAM: 2Gb of PC3200 DDR
H/D: 2*WD Raptor 74Gb SATA150
O/D: AOpen COM5232 Combo drive
Graphics Card: PNY Quadro 4 FX3000
Monitor: Viewsonic VP171B
Graphics Pad: WACOM Intuos3 A4

and a few other sundry bits and pieces.

I realise that I could have gone with slightly faster Opterons, but the price/performance just doesn't seem good enough. Likewise for shifting up to a FX4000 card.

I don't think I've missed anything out, but I'm paranoid that I've missed something really obvious.

The only things that I'm a mite concerned about are the case(there doesn't seem to be much choice in cases when you have an E-ATX M/B), and the monitor (17' should be OK shouldn't it; I used an old 15' Dell LCD when I worked on previous renders and it seemed OK...).

Thanks in advance,

Ben E

09-17-2004, 04:02 PM
that's a mighty fine spec!

you might find you quickly run out of HD space though. it depends on how you backup your work. if you have a DVDRW then fine, 2 x 74gb will be ok But if you are rendering huge sequences from multiple projects you might need a new HD. Maybe consider an external 250GB backup HD or an internal one.

The monitor is the only thing letting it down at the moment, but that's not hurting it's speed at all of course and depends only on your preferance. But I would have gone 19" at least or 23 even. Judging by the spec, you have enough cash to splash out on a 23" - I got the Mitsubishi Diamond Plus 230SB for 450 here in UK brand new. You should need to spend more than 70 on a 19" either.

09-17-2004, 07:48 PM
Thanks mothermachine,

I'm not paying...

Regarding the hard-disc thing, I agree that I could go for more space, but the computer will be connected to a network with a pretty big fileserver (can't remember how much space, but big), and I can always add another disc in 9 months time if I fill up the first two.

As for the monitor, I thought long and hard, before going for the 17'' option, as I felt that a 19'' would be pushing it a little (My supervisor has a 19'' screen, and I thought that he might feel that I'm taking the piss if I went for the most expensive computer I could find. The graphics card does have two DVI outputs, so I could add another monitor if needed.

It's going to be fun when I have to build it. I think I'm going to get about 10 anti-static straps (don't want to be the one to fry that graphics card!!!).

Thanks again for your input,

Ben E

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