After a couple of years of upgrades, my old workstation reached a limit and another upgrade would not make me benefit so much, so I decided that is time to move to an entire new workstation. As usual I started to look around to decide what to buy to avoid spending big money, while having a good increase of performances.
Here is what I bought after some month of ranting against Intel, because bug in chipset of Sandy Bridge based processor motherboard had delayed my new system of 3 month.
First of all the CPU: since I do not want to waste money, I consulted the CpuBenchmark chart
Figure 1: CPU benchmark chart
As you can see the newest i7-2600 Sandy Bridge processor has a really high score (8.854), while maintaining a really low price, compared to more powerful CPU, and this make simple the choice of the CPU.
Then I have to choose the motherboard, and the decision was between an H67 or P67 chipset based motherboard. The choice was a P8P67 motherboard for two distinct reason. The H67 chipset is optimal if you want to use the Video card included in the CPU core (yes, the i7-2600 cpu has a video card in the core :P) but this is not acceptable for me, because I have three monitors, so I need a motherboard that supports two video cards.
The other factor is the lack of support for high speed ram on H67 based motherboard. Basically my reseller can find for me a 16 GB of 1.6GHz RAM (Corsair vengeance) at a very low price (basically a little more than the 1.333 version), so I decided to opt for a P67 based motherboard that will support 1.6 Ghz ram. For amount of ram I moved from 8 to 16 GB, because I work a lot with virtual machine and I found myself swapping heavily even with 8 gb of ram.
This is the core of the machine, then I bought a Intel X-25M 120 GB SSD disk, while keeping a raid of Two 150GB velociraptor (10k disks with 32 mb of cache) stolen from my old system. (the two velociraptor disks are the only part that I recycled from the old system to the new one).
The perceived responsiveness of the system is really improved. I know that since I’ve reinstalled a clean system, this is an unfair comparison with the old computer, but installing Visual Studio 2010 from an Iso image took 5 minutes and 4 seconds (runtime of.NET 4.0 included). I also notice that most of the improvement comes from the SSD disk, that is really fast compared to a standard one, here is my windows 7 experience index.
I’m really satisfied of this new box.