The desktop I would buy today

While choosing an SSD may be difficult at the moment, other components for a solid workstation are not.  Here’s what I’ve been looking at for the past few months:

  • Motherboard: ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO (AM3 AMD 785G HDMI ATX)
    • This is one of the few consumer motherboards that supports ECC (though unbuffered only).  It also has 128MB SidePort Memory and an onboard eSATA port which distinguishes it from the ASUS M4A785T-M/CSM.  It requires a 24 Pin power connector.
  • CPU: AMD Phenom II X4 945 3.0GHz Socket AM3 95W Quad-Core
    • The best combination of efficiency (95W), speed (3.0 GHz, 6MB L3), and cost ($140).  The 925 is less than $10 cheaper; the 955 is 125W.
  • RAM: Right now Kingston has a pretty cheap ECC Unbuffered 2x2GB DDR3 1333 kit.
  • PSU: This depends on other hardware choices but I’m a fan of SeaSonic and Antec EarthWatts for high efficiency and low noise.
  • Case: This is not a recommendation as case choice is so subjective but:
    • Foxconn TS-1 300W
    • Antec Three Hundred 430W
    • Antec NSK 4482B 380W
    • COOLER MASTER Elite RC-310-BWN1-GP
    • APEX SK-503-C
  • CD/DVD Burner: This is a difficult market as OEM drives are quite common but they are often lacking features from the retail versions and are also often rebrands of other models.  For an OEM drive the cheapest of the Sony Optiarc, ASUS, and Lite-On is the way to go since they will likely be the same drive.
    • OEM Asus 24B1xT = OEM LiteOn iHASx24Y = OEM Sony Optiarc AD-724xS  = Retail LiteOn iHASx24-98
    • Retail Asus 24B1xT = Retail LiteOn iHASx24A – these have SmartErase/E-Hammer (MediaTek chipset)

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