$1,500 Multitasking Office Build for Calculations


Jan 20, 2014
Approximate Purchase Date: This summer, likely at the release of the i7-4790K.

Budget Range: $1,500 with OS

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Data analysis (MatLab, OriginLab, Omnic, CompleteEase, etc.), word processing and various office uses, potentially image/video editing in the future.

Are you buying a monitor: No. I want a dual monitor configuration, and I already own two of these

Do you need to buy OS: Yes, Windows 8.1 Pro

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg for sure

Location: Iowa City, IA USA

Parts Preferences: Current build is Intel, not against AMD though

Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: No

Your Monitor Resolution: 2 monitors at 1920x1080

And Most Importantly, Why Are You Upgrading: Office comp is a POS, and this gives me an excuse to build another computer.

Additional Comments:

My pcpartpicker list is here. I'll go through the reasoning for component selection.

OS: Windows 8.1 Pro

CPU: As I mentioned above, I would like to processor to be the Devil's Canyon i7-4790K, which is supposed to be released in June. It took me awhile to decide between an Intel (i7 or Xeon) or an AMD, but Intel seems to excel in performance in terms of floating point calculations. Between an i7 and a Xeon, I ended up going with the i7 due to integrated graphics and the new Devil's Canyon Haswell redesign.

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo. Pretty basic choice. This is in my gaming build, and it runs at good temps under normal and stressed conditions.

Motherboard: Right now, I have picked this MSI Z97 Gaming 7 board. It has plenty of USB 3.0, 2 HDMI for my dual monitors, and enough PCI slots for whatever I could want. I'm stuck, however, between this board and the ASUS Z97 Pro. They're similar boards. I'm stuck because I've read a few reviews that put ASUS boards at the top in terms of ease of use, function/performance, and longevity. I've also seen a few reviews that bash MSI boards. I won't be maxing the board out initially, but I want something that I can use in a future build. I welcome any opinions on picking between the two.

Memory: I've picked two sets of Corsair Vengeance LP 2x8 GB 1600 MHz for a total of 32 GB.

Video Card: None, initially. If I turn to image/video editing in the future, I'll purchase one. For now, the onboard HD4600 graphics are more than capable of dual monitor support for office use.

Storage: Samsung 840 EVO 250 GB SSD for the OS and any programs I want to run really quickly. WD Caviar Blue 1 TB HDD for all other storage.

PSU: Seasonic 620W 80+ Bronze. I don't see needing anything larger than this, even if I get a separate GPU in the future.

Case: Right now, it's the Fractal Design Redefine R4 Black Pearl. I think this case looks pretty sharp. It's heavy and has padding for noise reduction, which is a concern because I share an office. I also have two fans in my cart for the front and side slots.

Misc: I have a wireless keyboard/mouse and a standard ASUS CD/DVD writer in the cart as well. I don't have much in the way of budget wiggle room at this point, especially since the i7-4790K will likely be more expensive than the 4770K. The total on pcpartpicker is not the total in my Newegg cart ($1,350) but I get free two-day shipping with Newegg.

I think that's all. To summarize, I want a blazing fast, dual monitor computer that can multitask and run calculations like a breeze while staying fairly quiet.

Thank you for your time.

The system you propose certainly has a good potential for your uses and the HD4600 graphics has a very good potential in 2D- 3D not so wonderful. Be aware that the integrated graphics may have some detrimental impact on calculation density. I can't verify it, but looking at benchmarks for HD4600, the CPU scores seems to be reduced relative to systems using the same processor but with a dedicated graphics card- stands to reason as the HD4600 commanding some of the system RAM and the CPU also is making the positional re-calculations- subtracting computing power from the task to run the graphics.

As it happens, a couple of months ago, a friend who is doing a project involving a lot MatLab asked me to suggest a system for flight dynamic analysis. In the end, the work was contracted to a a consultant, but I learned that MatLab can be extremely demanding and can utilize every core available. The system I worked out used 2X Xeon E5-2687W v2, 128GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and 5X 3TB mech'l drives- a bit over $10,000.

If I might offer an alternative, this would use a four core Xeon E5 LGA2011. LGA2011 has important advantages for your use over LGA1150: double the memory bandwidth- there are several LGA2011 motherboards that support 512GB of 1866 RAM, can use 4,6,8,10, and 12-core CPU's, LGA2011 supports twice the PCIe lanes for peripherals. While the new i7-4970 has a high clock speed, the bandwidth of LGA2011 will run large custom algorithmic application such as MatLab more efficiently, esp. if the data sets are large.

The one disadvantage of Xeon E5 with the C602 chipset is there are only 2X SATA III 6GB/s connections (4X SATA II) but some boards have mutiple SAS connections. If you think you will have many HD's, consider adding something like an LSI Logic PCIe RAID controller and those can support 125 Drives at very high transfer rates.

I feel that for scientific work- especially involving waveform and/or simulation or financial analysis, ECC error correcting RAM is essential. Also, any software running viewports and OpenGL needs a workstation graphic card.

Here's a thought>

BambiBoom Pixelpusher Matheworkarific Blazomatic iWorkarama TurboScream 9000 ™$#©™_5.21.14

1. CPU > Intel Xeon Quad-Core Processor E5-1620 v2 3.7 / 3.9GHz 0GT/s 10MB LGA 2011 CPU, OEM> $295 (Superbiiz) (Passmark CPU score= 9199, rank = No. 38)

2. CPU Cooler > Cooler Master Hyper T4 - CPU Cooler with 4 Direct Contact Heatpipes > $30 (The Stock CPU coolers are supposed to be sufficient, but I've seen terrifying temperatures when rendering.)

3. Motherboard> ASUS Z9PA-U8 ATX Server Motherboard, C602 chipset, LGA 2011 > $289.99


4. 32GB RAM > 4 X 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) ECC Registered Server Memory> about $300

5. NVIDIA Quadro 400 by PNY 512MB DDR3 PCI Express Gen 2 x16 DVI-I DL and DisplayPort OpenGL, DirectX, and CUDA Profesional Graphics Board, VCQ400-PB> $80 155.

6. HD 1 > SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE250BW 2.5" 250GB SATA 6Gb/s MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) > $140

7. Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive> $61.

8. CORSAIR CXM series CX500M 500W ATX12V v2.3 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply > $60

9. Case > LIAN LI PC-7B plus II Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case $70

10. Optical Dr > SAMSUNG DVD Burner 24X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 8X DVD+R DL 24X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 24X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM SATA Model SH-224DB/BEBE - OEM > $20

11. Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit - OEM > $140

TOTAL = $1,497

The Quadro 400 in having it's own memory and CUDA cores will allow the CPU it's maximum efficiency and because it is running the Quadro drivers, will support viewports.

In the future, because the system is LGA2011, the CPU could be upgraded to a 6, 8, 10, or 12-core and the MB supports 256GB of RAM instead of the 32GB of LGA1150. If your budget could be about $300 more, I would suggest using the E5-1650 v2 six-core running at 3.5 / 3.9Ghz (about $590).



HP z420 (2014) > Xeon E5-1620 quad core @ 3.6 / 3.8GHz > 24GB ECC 1600 RAM > Quadro 4000 (2GB)> Samsung 840 SSD 250GB /Western Digital Black WD1003FZEX 1TB> M-Audio 192 sound card > AE3000 USB WiFi > HP 2711X, 27" 1920 X 1080 > Windows 7 Ultimate 64 >[Passmark system rating = 3923, 2D= 839 / 3D=2048]

Dell Precision T5400 (2008) > 2X Xeon X5460 quad core @3.16GHz > 16GB ECC 667> Quadro FX 4800 (1.5GB) > WD RE4 500GB / Seagate Barracuda 500GB > M-Audio 2496 Sound Card / Linksys 600N WiFi > Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit >[Passmark system rating = 1859, 2D= 512 / 3D=1097]

2D, 3D CAD, Image Processing, Rendering, Text > Architecture, industrial design, graphic design, written projects


Jan 20, 2014
Interesting. I had considered neither the integrated graphics affecting the calculation density nor the benefit of LGA2011 over 1150. I clearly have more reading to do.

Thank you for such an informative response.