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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Any suggests of where to buy a good developer PC?

Looking to buy a new Windows PC.

I Read Andy's excellent blog entry about this where he came up with a spec and then asked for quotes. But I'm striking out with Dell, HP, Tiger Direct (so far). It seems that they only look at the one or two items on the spec and recommend the first thing they see.

Or I'm shopping in the wrong place.

1. Any suggestions of WHERE to buy a Windows 7 PC geared towards development not gaming?

2. Any suggestions of SPECIFIC MODELS for above? (especially if YOU bought one and liked it).

MY SPEC (based on Andy's)

I’m looking for a PC for developing software. Prime requirements in order of decreasing importance:

1. reliability
2. cpu + disk speed
3. quiet
4. value for money

Here is my wishlist of components:

-i5 or i7- CPU (faster is better. I'm not using any software that takes advantage of multiple cores/hyper threading so perhaps a faster i5 is beter than the same money spent on an i7. Open to suggestions.

-for Primary (C: ) Drive: a good performance and quality  SSD (at least 128 GB) or a comparably fast alternative (maybe a hybrid SSD/HDD). Open so suggestions

-Secondary HDD:  a fast and reliable HDDs (7200 rpm, at least 750MB, preferably 1 TB)

- motherboard supporting USB 3.0 and SATA/600.
-16 GB of fast RAM
-Windows 7  64 bit professional
-quiet is highly desired, open to suggestions on sound insulation, fans and/or passive cooling
-Dual monitor card, compatible with an AMD Radeon HD 3450 graphics card. (I already have one of those cards and I am planning to have 3 or 4 monitors. so I'll install that  card (which I already own) and I'm told that the other card should be the same make/model. Please advise if that is NOT the case.
If you don't have a card that is compatible with that one then just spec out no video card (I assume I can use the built in video on the motherboard til I install the above card).

-at least 2 USB ports on the front and 2 USB ports on the back (ideally more, ideally including USB 3.0)
-DVD drive
-Gigabit ethernet
-full size case
-I do NOT need a monitor, keyboard, mouse etc
-I do NOT need WiFi
-I do NOT need high powered video cards. I don't play video games on this computer.
-It has to be *super reliable* – I want reliable SSD + HDDs, good quality motherboard, good quality branded power supply etc.

-What support and warranty do you provide?

-target price, not more than $1,500, less is better obviously
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Avadirect.com is another good possibility (mentioned on Tom's Hardware).

They also have build discussion forums. Will check that out.
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Whats your budget?
Can you build your own?  Or want to buy from a known brand?

Buy parts from Newegg.com and put it together yourself if you know how.  I'm guessing you do, if you are a developer.
NewGuyOnTheBlock Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Long, but worth a read for pc and productivity tips that has worked for me.

I must have missed the budget figure in your post :) My bad!

as for i5 vs i7

I would go with a high clockspeed quad core.
Even though visual studio, etc.. dont use 4 cores, that leaves other cores for the other tasks windows has to do, or other running applications.

But I would defenately spend the money on an SSD.  The samsung 840series and the PRO series are well worth it, I have 3 of them. Rock solid so far.

As for motherboard, videocard, ram.  anything from a well known brand will do.  Asus motherboard, ATI videocard, Crusial ram maybe. I dont know :)  checkout  newegg.com for the latest parts and the user ratings.

I would invest in a UPS power supply, or some form of proper surge protection.

I would invest in at least a 1920x1080p 24" monitor.  Or two :)

get at least a 256gb ssd,  128 does not leave much room for apps, etc.. once you install windows, visual studio, office, etc.. u get maybe 20gb left to play with, but that should be left alone, you should never fill up an ssd drive to its limit.
get 2 ssds if you can,  one for os and apps, another for project files, etc..  then u can get a regular HDD for backups and long terms project file storage. And always make backups of your stuff on SSDs.  If a harddrive fails, the data is on platters, its recoverable by professionals.  If an SSD fails, I dont think a recovery is possible from what I've read.  It just dies forever :)

Plug in your monitors using DVI or HDMI if need be.  Dont use VGA connection cable as it tends to make fonts / text less crisp on screen.

Get good speakers, music makes development time go by quicker and more productive.

Invest in a good chair :)
I just recently discovered a gian exercise ball, and been using it as my chair.  They say its good for your back, but I find it good for productivity.  Makes me stare at the screen with less distraction and lazy laying around like in an executive high back chair..  Keeps your more focused, probably cus your trying to not roll off the gian ball :)
If you guys are having productivity / concentration problems invest $20 in a giant exercise ball, and sit on it when your having a brainfreeze on productivity.  It just gets you going.

I find that having 3 monitors is not as productive as going from 1 to 2 monitors.

I have 2x 24" 1920x1200 monitors and 1x30" dell 2560x1600 res monitor in the center.  And find that I'm more productive if I remove one of the side monitors. 
Disclaimer: One of the side monitors is always playing some netflix movie.  So that's probably the reason for the productivity boost :)  No more distraction on the 3rd monitor. :)
NewGuyOnTheBlock Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Thanks NewGuy*

 I want it PREBUILT.
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
I couldn't find any companies in the UK that specialized in building PCs for developers, so I went with a company that mainly builds custom PCs for gamers. Most of them have online system configuration tools. You can specify that you don't need a fancy graphics cards.
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
>If you guys are having productivity / concentration problems invest $20 in a giant exercise ball

Aren't they rather low-down compared to the average desk?
Andy Brice Send private email
Sunday, June 16, 2013
> Keeps your more focused, probably cus your trying to not roll off the gian ball :)

That's not the focus you need then, eh?

Though I should try it. Good chairs indeed cause acute sleepiness in me... Thanks!

As for sizes, there are all kinds of, judged by the stuff at my gym.
Vladimir Dyuzhev Send private email
Monday, June 17, 2013
> It has to be *super reliable* – I want reliable SSD + HDDs,

There is no such thing as super reliable storage. Backup could be another HDD in this machine, old machine on network, NAS, dropbox or something similar... Valuable stuff like source code should be backed up on several places/services. Just make it automatic, otherwise you'll never do it regularly.

When I investigated SSDs a year ago I found good reliability reports for Samsung models. So I went to their 256GB model, which is working fine so far. I also think that 128GB is not enough.

Oh and forget about RAID mirroring for reliability. My experience, and what I later read elsewhere that it's more pain than gain when we talk about low level RAID controllers integrated on motherboards and regular HDDs. Battery backed dedicated controllers and enterprise level HDDs are probably something different, but that's overkill for workstation.
Suka Send private email
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Yes, Joel S. has talked several times with folks about RAID. RAID seems *more* likely to fail (the controller is an extra single point of failure).

And, yes, I do daily backups. Never had a HD completely fail.

On the SSD drive size.
My thought was that as SSDs come down in price (they've tropped nearly 50% in the last year) that I'd maybe buy an additional one and use it as a second drive and then move all my User data  and some programs to that second drive.

My C: drive ha about 100 GB of stuff on it, but not all of that stuff is going to be installed on the new PC.
Mr. Analogy Send private email
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Hard to find a decent workstation manufacturer these days.  I normally build my own, but if I wanted something pre-built, I'd probably take a look at Lenovo (I've had good experiences with their thinkpads at least).  I have a serious aversion to anything Dell, as I've used nothing but Dells at work over the course of my career, and they have a way of blowing their power supplies (or frying their mobos) at the most inopportune times (looming deadlines, etc).

Since I'm a Linux dev, I would probably consider something from System76 http://system76.com as well.
James A. Send private email
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
To add to James A.'s post, Dell leaves a bad taste with me as well.

One fine Friday, I left home at about 4:50 PM to do my Friday routine of banking, eating out, book shopping, and grocery shopping.  I got home two hours later to a dead system.

That is only one data point, but the second is that my Dell laser printer had died after only about two years of light use.  How light use?  I used 1.2 toner cartridges with it.  (Yes, I did not get through my second toner cartridge.)  The part that broke was so expensive that it would have cost about the same to buy a new laser printer.

No more Dell computers here.


Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
>The part that broke was so expensive that it would have cost about the same to buy a new laser printer.

I had a similar experience with a Dell PC. I was told that replacing the part that broke would cost more than the PC was worth. That sort of profiteering really riles me up. No more Dells for me.
Andy Brice Send private email
Friday, June 21, 2013
I should add that my data about repair cost came from an independent printer repair person.  Suggesting, however indirectly, that I would be better off buying a new printer was not in his interest.


Gene Wirchenko
Gene Wirchenko Send private email
Friday, June 21, 2013

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