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New Desktop build for my work (Dev) PC

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Jonathans    7

The company I work for has said I can get a new PC. Though almost everyone in the offices uses laptops, I am not a fan of them (mainly cause I don't want to 'take work home').  So I am looking at putting together a business pc that I'll be doing development on.

 

The basic specs I've gotten into my head are as follows:

NVMe M.2 Samsung 970 Pro for the OS and general applications.

Core i5  8600k (ill never need the additional features of the i7 for the development Im required to do)

MSI B360-A PRO MB (not needing a gaming MB or the fanciness of one)

16GB Corsair Vengeance 3200Mhz

NVidia GeForce GT 1030

3x 500GB Western Digital RE or Green drives for Raid 5 config

 

The reasoning for the Raid 5 configuration is that I get the added performance but also in the case where a drive dies I can still continue working whilst IT gets me replacement.

In general the development Im doing is not hectic, standard VS stuff with multiple solutions and multiple self hosted MSSQL installations (don't ask... I can't explain their logic either), but it boils down to lots of MSSQL DB's over lots of MSSQL installations (named instances). The machine will be sitting at the office on 24/7 and will be connected to UPS so from a power/surge point thats all sorted. Im not working or hosting any VM's or even any docker apps, so the hyper threading side won't really be used anyhow.

 

My question though is what would you change or suggest on to this build? I've got leeway as most laptop's will cost more and my budget is the price of decent workstation laptop.

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Jim K    12,290

Just a couple of quick observations...someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

 

Not sure if this board supports Intel RST RAID (the B360 chipset doesn't)...so you'll probably need an add-on card.  H370 chipsets support RAID.

 

Why not a (if cheaper) 8600 non-k. Lower wattage, same turbo freq (4.3GHz) ... lower base freq...in other words they should be similar performance while under load. The 8600 also comes with a heatsink.

 

Obviously the RE drives instead of the Greens for RAID.

 

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Jonathans    7
Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Jim K said:

Not sure if this board supports Intel RST RAID (the B360 chipset doesn't)...

I was actually trying to find out if the B360 has a raid chipset and couldn't find it, so if your correct then you've just saved me quiet a bit of frustration. The only reason I went for the B370 was because of the pricing on it and not needing the gaming features from the Z series. But if that's the case then ill just find a similar priced MB with the raid.  This I will definitely take a suggestion on... :)

Otherwise I can just get them to give me a raid controller card too i suppose... it will still be under budget anyway.

 

23 minutes ago, Jim K said:

Why not a (if cheaper) 8600 non-k. Lower wattage, same turbo freq (4.3GHz) ... lower base freq...in other words they should be similar performance while under load. The 8600 also comes with a heatsink.

As for the 8600K, i was going to get an AIO cooler. My home PC's running an antec and i've been more than happy with it, and the stock coolers that come with intel chips ive found are way subpar, so if i was going to buy a new fan or cooler for it anyhow then I might as well get it without.

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farmeunit    650

Regarding the drives, I have tried several Green drives and they all died relatively quickly.  I have used several Reds with no issues.

 

I be believe that all drives have bad batches, but I would get Blue or Black if you want to stick with Western Digital.  The Reds are more for NASs and storage.  If you're doing triple monitor, make sure that video card can output to all three at the same time.  Some can only do two our of the three at once.

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Jonathans    7
Posted (edited)
42 minutes ago, Jim K said:

Not sure if this board supports Intel RST RAID (the B360 chipset doesn't)...so you'll probably need an add-on card.  H370 chipsets support RAID.

So seems the ASRock H370M supports Raid 5 along with M.2 support, the only difference is the speed of the ram, but thats minor and the price difference is tiny as well so :).  Thanks for pointing that out to me.

 

17 minutes ago, farmeunit said:

Regarding the drives, I have tried several Green drives and they all died relatively quickly.  I have used several Reds with no issues.

Ideally I am wanting the RE drives, but I don't really need the space, 1TB is far more than I even need. And now days the only drives I can find are 1TB and upwards, but thanks for the note on the green drives. Ill deffinitely keep that in mind. The storage is going to be used only for hosting of the multiple SQL server DB's, so speed from that point isn't really that critical, and the only reason I was going along the lines of Raid 5, was because its still faster than a single drive, and has the support of failure. But truth be told. If the drive crashes, I simply download the latest backups and restore so there isn't technically a need for raid 5, or even any raid my only reason is "i've only ever done raid 0 and raid 1, so this should be fun"

I could go with a 1TB SSD but 2 or even 3 HDD's are still cheaper than the similar sized SSD.

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devHead    1,953

Jonathans, there is an eBay store called 'goharddrives' that sells a wide selection of Enterprise drives.  I just bought a Hitachi Ultrastar 2 TB drive from them.  This puppy works great.  Its description says "7K3000 is the world’s  first and only 7200 RPM hard drive rated at 2.0 million hours MTBF."  You should check it out.  eBay Store - GoHardDrives

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Daedroth    480

I'm a SysAdmin and I've recently upgraded my machine. I went for an AMD Ryzen 5 2700X over Intel's comparatively priced option as it handles workloads and performs better in my workloads. Other than that, it's fairly comparative to mine.

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mightymightyme    9

Building a cheap workstation. I'd recommend looking at the Ryzen series. Its very cheap to get a 6 core 12 threads with the really great performance, especially for virtualizing different environments. If you're looking at raid 5 for the performance increase, I wouldn't use an onboard raid controller, they tend to be pretty CPU intensive, and are not nearly as fast as their dedicated counterpoints. Look at used dedicated raid controllers on ebay, they're pretty cheap and reliable. Also a bonus is that its easier to move raid environments since you can move the raid controller with you and keep the raid intact. There's a lot of great workstation/server parts that go for really cheap on the used market. 

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+DevTech    1,408
3 hours ago, Jonathans said:

The company I work for has said I can get a new PC. Though almost everyone in the offices uses laptops, I am not a fan of them (mainly cause I don't want to 'take work home').  So I am looking at putting together a business pc that I'll be doing development on.

 

The basic specs I've gotten into my head are as follows:

NVMe M.2 Samsung 970 Pro for the OS and general applications.

Core i5  8600k (ill never need the additional features of the i7 for the development Im required to do)

MSI B360-A PRO MB (not needing a gaming MB or the fanciness of one)

16GB Corsair Vengeance 3200Mhz

NVidia GeForce GT 1030

3x 500GB Western Digital RE or Green drives for Raid 5 config

 

The reasoning for the Raid 5 configuration is that I get the added performance but also in the case where a drive dies I can still continue working whilst IT gets me replacement.

In general the development Im doing is not hectic, standard VS stuff with multiple solutions and multiple self hosted MSSQL installations (don't ask... I can't explain their logic either), but it boils down to lots of MSSQL DB's over lots of MSSQL installations (named instances). The machine will be sitting at the office on 24/7 and will be connected to UPS so from a power/surge point thats all sorted. Im not working or hosting any VM's or even any docker apps, so the hyper threading side won't really be used anyhow.

 

My question though is what would you change or suggest on to this build? I've got leeway as most laptop's will cost more and my budget is the price of decent workstation laptop.

1. CPU - good enough

 

2. RAM - get 32 gig these days and RAM speed is NOT very important so save many with slow generic to improve elsewhere.

 

3. Mobo - don't get mystified by the "gaming" designation. For business use, any "gaming" stuff is usually higher quality but still cheaper than "Workstation" level hardware so in that sense "gaming" stuff is usually really good VALUE.

 

Allow for 2 M.2 PCIe x 4 slots on mobo

 

Look for mobos with more PCIe lanes

 

4. GPU - everything these days is going GPU accelerated, even Browsers. GPU computing is coming on strong in the Dev world. I would get at least a RTX 2060 for longevity in this area. Also cheap video cards may not have good multi-monitor support

 

5. NVMe drives - currently the Samsung 970 EVO Plus performs a tiny bit better than the 970 Pro which is due for a refresh to get back on top... but either drive is excellent choice. Get at least the 1 TB version of either, since lower sizes have slightly less perf.

 

6. Monitors - you didn't mention it, but one of the HUGE advantages of desktops are multiple 4K monitors which you can only drive on a laptop if it has Thunderbolt 3

 

7. Spinning drives - you have already made the case that you don't need backup so RAID is a silly time waster. Get a WD Black 6 TB due to it's advanced construction and warranty or else the Hitachi.

 

The drives you mentioned are so obsolete that any old crap modern consumer drive of 8 to 14 TB will out perform them and be more reliable by far.

 

Only buy a WD Green Drive if shooting yourself in the foot is a special masochistic hobby that you find entertaining. Green drives are for archival storage but in reality best used as paperweights...

 

Don't use a NAS drive for DB work. They are not designed for write heavy loads.

 

WD Black 6Tb is designed for write loads. For Enterprise level MTBFs you need the equivalent to that which again won't be less than 6 TB or else it will be OBSOLETE. 

 

8. And finally, NEVER EVER USE RAID-5 for DB DEV work ANYWHERE for ANY REASON!!! That is just insanity of the worst kind. Even for production deployment it must be carefully analyzed that the DB will be 95% READ ONLY and even then realistically, it is still a brain-dead thing to consider. The reason for that is the huge disparity between Read and Write performance of RAID-5 so if you need RAID, always use RAID-1 or RAID 10 for Databases. One of the (many) reasons that Database servers are usually a completely different provisioning item in any enterprise.

 

And the crappyness of RAID-5 is magnified if you don't have a dedicated custom chip controller for it. The last time I did testing, the Broadcom (LSI) controllers were way ahead of everyone else in real world performance despite similar spec sheets.

 

https://www.broadcom.com/products/storage/raid-controllers/

 

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kalkal    461
25 minutes ago, DevTech said:

4. GPU - everything these days is going GPU accelerated, even Browsers. GPU computing is coming on strong in the Dev world. I would get at least a RTX 2060 for longevity in this area. Also cheap video cards may not have good multi-monitor support

 

While I agree with the sentiment you're expressing here, and the 1030 is really weak, a 2060 is major overkill for no gaming, likely true even a few years down the line.

 

Something like an RX560 should be way more ample and a much more reasonable price.

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+DevTech    1,408
1 hour ago, kalkal said:

While I agree with the sentiment you're expressing here, and the 1030 is really weak, a 2060 is major overkill for no gaming, likely true even a few years down the line.

 

Something like an RX560 should be way more ample and a much more reasonable price.

Well, I didn't want to overwhelm him with info, but my thinking also considered the Tensorflow acceleration in the RTX series for AI (Machine Learning) which might also become commonplace for all sorts of Dev assist type stuff in Visual Studio 2021 etc

 

And although the 2060 is way overkill for graphics, I'm pretty sure the GPU Compute/AI accel part would be just about right for the types of tasks I see coming...

 

ML is also getting embedded into the Windows API with Win ML so I also see a synergy there.

 

Anyways from his description he does not need to go "cheapo" and get crap, he just needs to be the same or less as a Workstation Laptop like a Lenovo P72 which is like 5K. But he can tell us what the actual budget is if he wants.... HINT!

 

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goretsky    995

Hello,


Since this is for a work PC (and not a home or gaming PC) have you considered getting a C246 chipset-based motherboard, like those offered by ASRock, Gigabyte, SuperMicro and so forth?  They should work fine with your i5 CPU selection, but also allow you to scale to parts like an entry-level Xeon processor and ECC RAM if your future workload needs it?

 

For the RAM, you might want to consider RAM like Crucial's 8GB DDR4-2400 (or even -2666) modules.  The Corsair Vengeance line is designed for gaming systems, and I would doubt that it would perform much better in the type of workload you described, especially given you are planning on starting with an i5 CPU and not an i7 or Xeon.

 

For the hard drives, I'd suggest looking into some Western Digital Black or Gold (now rebranded as Ultrastar, I believe) models, and going with a RAID1 (mirror) array.  Also, consider where you are going to be backing up all your files to.  If your IT department will be managing your system's backups, then that's fine and you can go with whatever solution they provide.  Otherwise, you might want to consider adding an external USB 3.0/3.1 HDD drive to the mix which can be periodically plugged in for backing up (or restoring) data.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

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+DevTech    1,408
2 hours ago, goretsky said:

Hello,


Since this is for a work PC (and not a home or gaming PC) have you considered getting a C246 chipset-based motherboard, like those offered by ASRock, Gigabyte, SuperMicro and so forth?  They should work fine with your i5 CPU selection, but also allow you to scale to parts like an entry-level Xeon processor and ECC RAM if your future workload needs it?

 

For the RAM, you might want to consider RAM like Crucial's 8GB DDR4-2400 (or even -2666) modules.  The Corsair Vengeance line is designed for gaming systems, and I would doubt that it would perform much better in the type of workload you described, especially given you are planning on starting with an i5 CPU and not an i7 or Xeon.

 

For the hard drives, I'd suggest looking into some Western Digital Black or Gold (now rebranded as Ultrastar, I believe) models, and going with a RAID1 (mirror) array.  Also, consider where you are going to be backing up all your files to.  If your IT department will be managing your system's backups, then that's fine and you can go with whatever solution they provide.  Otherwise, you might want to consider adding an external USB 3.0/3.1 HDD drive to the mix which can be periodically plugged in for backing up (or restoring) data.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

For a work workstation, I would be inclined to start with a LGA 3647 motherboard with a dual CPU socket and just start with a single CPU if budget is tight.

 

You get 6-way RAM interleave and eventual expansion to 768 gigs of RAM and tons of PCIe lanes. What a quality base for system throughput, longevity and expansion!

 

But for whatever reason he is assembling a mostly consumer quality level junker and is even rejecting the large quality bump you get with Gaming rated equipment which is the best way to get Pocket-Rocket close-to-workstation quality for a lot less money.

 

Given the fact that his I.T. Department would approve a Workstation laptop, he would be far better off slapping a super-quality Lenovo P72 on his desk with the lid closed all the time (so nobody realizes he has a laptop, it would just look like one of those cheap ultra-thin desktops that I.T. always uses)  and use the TWO Thunderbolt 3 ports to drive lots of monitors.

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goretsky    995

Hello,

 

Actually, you bring up a good question, @DevTech.  What exactly is the budget?  A "decent workstation laptop" price is pretty vague.  It may also be better to go with an actual workstation desktop from Boxx, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo or other workstation manufacturer than to build one in order to get warranty service for the entire unit from one source.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky

 

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Jonathans    7
12 hours ago, goretsky said:

Actually, you bring up a good question, @DevTech.  What exactly is the budget?  A "decent workstation laptop" price is pretty vague. 

The general budget arount the company is $1000 to $1500 for laptop. So they aren't great PC's but they aren't exactly junk either, but as for my preference of desktop over laptop... boils down to desktops are generally alot faster for the same price range. And also I having a laptop means dragging it home with the possibility of having to 'work after hours'. Which is what I am not really wanting.

 

As for going for mainstream workstation, such as Dell, HP etc... the company does almost all IT internally, and having an HP branded machine, doesnt really serve a purpose other than it been supported by that supplier, and in the case of South Africa (where i am from), those benefits don't really weight up to ######.

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Brandon H    2,524
3 hours ago, Jonathans said:

The general budget arount the company is $1000 to $1500 for laptop. So they aren't great PC's but they aren't exactly junk either, but as for my preference of desktop over laptop... boils down to desktops are generally alot faster for the same price range. And also I having a laptop means dragging it home with the possibility of having to 'work after hours'. Which is what I am not really wanting.

who says they have to grant you at-home privileges :p

 

I have a laptop at my corporation just for ease of access if I need to take it with me to a meeting room or another company location. I don't have VPN privileges though so I can't work from home on it even it I wanted to

I lock my laptop up in a drawer at the end of the day :)

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+DevTech    1,408
4 hours ago, Jonathans said:

The general budget arount the company is $1000 to $1500 for laptop. So they aren't great PC's but they aren't exactly junk either, but as for my preference of desktop over laptop... boils down to desktops are generally alot faster for the same price range. And also I having a laptop means dragging it home with the possibility of having to 'work after hours'. Which is what I am not really wanting.

 

As for going for mainstream workstation, such as Dell, HP etc... the company does almost all IT internally, and having an HP branded machine, doesnt really serve a purpose other than it been supported by that supplier, and in the case of South Africa (where i am from), those benefits don't really weight up to ######.

A well designed quality Workstation Class Laptop like a Lenovo P72 or the Dell Precision series is NOT about support, but is about rock solid design and components that are equivlent or better than a Gaming Laptop.

 

These Workstation Laptops cost $3,000 to $8,000 sor your original use of the word "Workstation" to reference your corporate laptops was NOT CORRECT. For $1500, they are consumer laptops or else consumer laptops with a business shell and re-branded to be "Business Class" such as a Dell Lattitude, but unlike Workstation laptops, Business Class Laptops are usually poorly configured.

 

For a tiny budget of $1500, you are CORRECT that a desktop computer can be assembled with much better performance.

 

My previous comments still apply but we will have to see what is available in South Africa and the pricing there etc to MAX your value.

 

Where will you be ordering the components and will the be priced in U.S. $ or South African currency and is there unusal taxes such as VAT that need to be included in the $1500 budget?

 

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