It’s time for me to upgrade my development computer, in order to do this I have a few requests of my new partnership, mainly due to the fact that Windows 7 has been out for a while, well from MSDN, and it has made a huge step forwards being able to harness the power of the processor.
First it’s got to be a processor worth having and I’m currently looking at the Intel Nehalem i7 920 S1366 2.66GHz (£213 from Dabs, or Amazon) or AMD Phenom II X3 720, which kicks arse on most processors that are out at the moment. This chip can be bought from Amazon at around £97.
Next is the motherboard, which must support the ability for a lot of memory and support the AMD processor above, the Gigabyte MA790xt-ud4p, appears to do the job, and at £95 from Ebuyer.com. Or going for the Intel processor there is the Gigabyte S1366 Intel X58 DDR3 ATX Audio 2GbE Lan 3 Channel (£194 from Dabs)
As a developer you need to have a number of monitors, you need to see as much as you can to work efficiently, a graphics card that is capable of driving three if not more monitors is a must. The ATI-based graphics ATI Radeon™ HD 5870 graphics Graphics Card, is a mega graphics card and should support up to 3 monitors. This can be bought from Dabs costing around £299, what about this link too, it’s just starts to get confusing!
Next and very importantly the machine must be 64bit and support Virtualization Technology, in order to use Microsoft Virtual PC in Windows 7 this has become a slight issue as not all processors support Virtualization. I came across a post by Marcus Yam, Which Intel CPUs Support XP Mode Virtualization?, which provides a good list of chips, also Intel provide a list of features for their chip sets, which is most helpful. Ed Bott has a good post too on How many Intel CPUs will fail the XP Mode test in Windows 7?. Apparently AMD has virtualization built into all 65nm and 45nm processors, so that makes it a little easier.
What about the motherboards will they support Virtalization Technology? I’ve not managed to find this out yet.
The main hard drive is going to have the be a solid state hard drive, as I do like the idea of loading applications up in seconds, something like Crucial 64GB 2.5″ M225 SATAII Solid State Drive?, which comes in at £165, from Dabs, not bad for such blistering performance, the question is whether I RAID the drive or not? Not sure what the benefits would be to me, performance is not an issue with a solid state hard drive, and for reliability I am using Windows Home Server which backs up every night. Or am I missing something with RAID?
The file system to storing all my data is not really an issue as Terabyte hard drives are two a penny these days.
Next is the memory I need to have about 8 Gbytes in order to perform fast Virtualization with the ability to expand further if I need to, I know the memory needs to be fast and what I’m not sure about yet is what type and speed do I need the memory to be? I’ve heard about Triple Channel and Dominator, but what is this all about? I’ve come across the Corsair (TR3X6G1866C9DF) 6GB DDR3 3X2GB DDR3-1866 CL 9-9-9-24 Triple Channel Memory Kit as £227 from Amazon a little high priced how ever very fast or another option is Corsair Memory DDR3 1333MHz 12GB Core I7 Supt, which appear to be good value at only £225 from Dabs.
Other accessories I will need also to make my machine, some Arctic Silver 5 3.5g Thermal Paste, Arctic Silver ArctiClean Thermal Material Remover & Surface Purifier 60ml Kit, and Nylon 6.6 Plain Washers, Colour : Natural, Thread Size : M5
Next question is will all of the above work together?
So my search goes on.