Well, my wife asked me to build a PC for her for her prethesis/thesis work. Needs to run Autodesk Revit 2009 and Photoshop CS 2/3/4 as best as possible. We're sticking with Windows XP. Things I've found out so far:
1) Photoshop likes 1 or 2 cores, and a fast scratch disk
2) Hardware RAID5 for the main OS partition may be nice but is a real no-no if you want to migrate hardware in the future.
3) Revit 2009 will use up to 4GB in Vista (3GB in Windows XP) and one core for design work. Rendering, however, will use up to four cores.
So, this is what I'm looking at
Case: Antec Sonata III with 500W PSU
Hard Drives: 2x 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Black plus 1x 150GB Velociraptor
ROM: Any decent DVD burner (no bluray)
Video: ATI FirePro V3750 256MB
Display: still looking, probably a 24" LCD
Now, I haven't detailed my motherboard/cpu/ram choices yet. I'm going to have to determine how I want to tackle this:
4GB (2x2GB) DDR3 1333 (~$100)
Core2 Duo 3.33GHz (~ $270)
MSI P45-8D LGA 775 Intel P45 ATX Intel Motherboard (~ $150)
Substitute Core2 Quad 2.86 GHz (~$320)
6GB (3x2GB) DDR3 1333 (~$150)
Core i7 920 2.66GHz Quad Core (~$300)
GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD5 LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard (~$300)
Cost goes up and you go down the list. Option 1a is good but may be limiting in the future. Option 1b is more future proof but still not the newest technology. Option 2 is the bottom of the newest tech, which has too much RAM for XP, but I want to try to get the triple width memory controller working and it has somewhere to go with a future upgrade. It's somewhat slower, though, on single threaded applications. It's also the bottom of the pile for the processors.
Does Windows XP 64bit have issues with 32 bit applications? This would make the 6GB of RAM worth it. $140 for XPPro or XPPro64.
System layout is to put everything on a mirrored 1GB hard drive array. I originally wanted a RAID5 array, but I understand how bad that can be if you put your OS on that array. I'm not buying 5 hard drives to do that right now! The Velociraptor is for windows swap, Photoshop scratch, and general high speed mayhem. If I switch motherboards to something with an integrated SAS controller, I might swap out for a 15Krpm Fuji drive. Price is the almost the same incidentally.
The fish tank is on hold until the kitchen cabinetry is finished.