Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Need a shopping list for building up a desktop for economic modeling

  1. Feb 23, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I am thinking of building up a new system to satisfy my need in scientific computing. My program usually involves with for-loop iterations written in Intel Visual Fortran 2013 on Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Some of my work need to perform numerical methods, like Amoeba algorithm to look for optimal model parameters, which usually costs me days :cry: , sometimes even a week to fulfill the task on my current desktop with AMD Athlon 64 X2 Duo core 5800.

    I am now having several questions to be answered before I finalize my shopping list. Please give me your suggestions on the following issues:

    1) I tend to pick AMD Fx-8120 black edition for its convenience in overclock. Today's price of this cpu is around $160. Do I miss any other cpu comparable in price that could beat this AMD one in terms of performance?

    2) Given a budget constraint to build up a system with new cpu, power supply, mother board, mid tower case, and necessary RAM around $300 (the cost could go up a little bite to the $400 if necessary), do you think for the purpose of pure computing, I need to throw a water cooler into the system? By the way, in case of overclock, what's the minimum watt of the power supply do I need to choose? :confused:

    3) Is it ok to choose a basic video card like ZOTAC ZT-60602-10L Synergy Edition GeForce GT 610, if the major task of the new system focuses on computing only?

    Thanks for your time reading through my post. Looking forward to seeing your reply. Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 2, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Need a shopping list for building up a desktop for economic modeli

    $300 is unrealistic for a ground up build. A decent mobo and processor could easily cost more than that. A more realistic budget is around $1000. Overclocking is a bad idea in general. It puts your system at high risk in exchange for a marginal gain in performance, even with a watercooler [which is expensive and painful to setup]. A reliable power supply is also a must. Underpowered PSU's are a leading cause of system suicide. Expect to pay at least $70 for a decent psu. A good case will run you around $60, $50 for 8 gigs of memory, and we have not yet even considered a video or sound card. A good mobo will run around $100 and a good cpu at least $150. Plus you will need a hard drive - another ~$50. And I am lowballing most of these prices. I would suffer my current computer until I had at least several hundred bucks to play with to build a new one. You can shave some expense by cannibalizing what you can use from your current rig.
  4. Mar 26, 2013 #3
    OK lets be realistic here, you can buy a Windows XP Desktop computer for £50 in second hand shops and junk clearance shops. If you have the time you could go looking for a desktop computer that someone has dumped. Since many people are either upgrading to Laptops or because it is cheaper to as Moors Law comes to its climax, many people are literally throwing old desktop computers away. I myself salvaged 4 desktops of the street. Two were high spec, two were no better than windows 95 computers. But if you find a High spec desktop PC on the street you could certainly mod it for very little cost.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook