For something a bit different...
Background: I'm a researcher who runs psychophysical experiments (i.e. experiments that measure basic human reactions to stimulation).
Constraint 1: These experiments can be obnoxiously cpu, graphics, disk read, and memory intensive. We can't afford any slowdowns during our experiments.
Implication: I need a tricked out machine... for.. science.
Constraint 2: The experiments we run typically run over a span of 3 years. Once the rig is built, we will not change *any* of the components for about 5 years.
Implication: We need a system that is: (1) rock-stable, (2) made of components that we expect to stand the test of time, (3) comprised of parts that we hope we should still be able to find and replace if necessary for the next half decade.
Constraint 3: We will need to dual boot both Windows 7 and Linux because of the multitude of software packages we use to run our experiments.
Implication: We need components that have good driver support for Linux and which are stable under Linux.
Constraint 4: Some of our participants are children, and some of them will have problems with attention. We need these kids to pay attention to the screen and stimuli we are showing them, and not the whirling cacophony of fans or the strobe of flashing lights. We expect the stimulus machine to be about 6 feet away from the participants, hidden behind a desk, but the room will be dark so non-constant light sources will still be detectable.
Implication: The computer needs to be quiet, even under load. Lighting that can't be covered by a roll of electrical tape or disconnected from the power supply may be a problem for us.
Constraint 5: Since this is research, we don't have an unlimited budget, but we do have around $2K USD to spend. I don't think going over a little will be a problem.
Constraint 6: The last time I built a rig, it was 1997.
Implication 6a: I kind of know how to hook things together, but I am effectively a newbie in terms of knowledge at this point.
Implication 6b: How did I get to be this old?
Additional specifications: we will need to run two monitors at the minimum and also have wireless internet capacity.
Any help you guys can give us will be appreciated. Your efforts will help us help kids. Or, more accurately, help us to try to help kids. Even more accurately: your help will help us to try to get more funding from the government so we can continue helping kids. In the interest of full disclosure, there is a chance that in the end we will end up not helping anyone, because science. However, in the process we will make this shiny new rig. Do it for the science.
Here is my current cart from Newegg:
- CASE............ Corsair Obsidian Series 550D Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $139.99
- POWER SUPPLY.... CORSAIR Professional Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) 750W ATX12V 2.3 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply $144.99
- MOTHERBOARD..... ASUS SABERTOOTH Z77 LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard $239.99
- CPU............. Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge 3.5GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) LGA 1155 77W Quad-Core Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000 BX80637I73770K $339.99
- COOLING......... Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro Closed-Loop All In One Liquid CPU Cooler Dual 120mm PWM Fans 120x49mm Radiator CLW0216 $87.99
- MEMORY.......... G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GAR $179.98 ($89.99 each)
- VIDEO CARD...... EVGA 02G-P4-2678-KR GeForce GTX 670 FTW 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card $409.99
- BOOT DRIVE...... OCZ Agility 3 AGT3-25SAT3-240G 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) $174.99
- DATA DRIVE...... Seagate Constellation ES ST1000NM0001 1TB 7200 RPM SAS 6Gb/s 3.5" Internal Enterprise Hard Drive -Bare Drive $149.99
- WIRELESS........ TP-LINK TL-WN722N USB 2.0 High Gain Wireless Adapter $19.99