How to Build a Kick Ass Workstation for $5200 (April 2008) Anything
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How to Build a Kick Ass Workstation for $5200 (April 2008)

I've built many computers for many people over the years. Here's how I built my current workstation.

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  1. 1

    ASUS P5E with Intel X38 chipset

    This has proven to be a rock-solid motherboard. It has two PCIe x16 slots, which both run at x16 speed - this was a major requirement, so I could drive the two quad monitor video cards at x16 speeds. Speed matters. The board has not had any stability issues to speak of, I run windows XP 32-bit on it and I don't usually have to reboot for 2 or 3 weeks - usually only for system updates/patches. A bargain at $86.99

  2. 2

    Intel Core 2 Quad

    Core 2 Quad Q9300 Yorkfield 2.5GHz - 95Watt. It overclocks to 3.0GHz but I like it fine at 2.5GHz.It runs a little cooler at the normal speed and as a result my room is a few degrees cooler. Price in April 2008 was $299.99

  3. 3

    4GB RAM - 240pin DDR2 1200 (PC2 9600)

    A comfortable amount of RAM. I've mainly been using Windows XP 32bit, so it really only utilizes a max of 2.5GB. 4GB is for my vista 64bit partition which doesn't see much use during day-to-day development. My next system will be Windows 7 with lots more RAM. 4GB in April 2008 was $229.98

  4. 4

    VisionTek Radeon HD2600XTx2 Quad-DVI outputs 1GB RAM 256-bit GDDR3 PCIe x16 Video Card

    Each card has 4 DVI outputs, and each plugs into a true PCIe x16 slot on the motherboard. These cards are pretty good. Fast. Google Earth on 6 screens works very well on these cards. It does play some games across screens though the magic driver versions/game settings combination can be difficult to find. Looking forward to the next generation of ATI cards. This was pricey at $359 each card, $719 total for two cards.

  5. 5

    LG 22 inch Monitor 1680x1050 (6 of them)

    The LG Flatron L226W 22" screens were reasonably priced high-end monitors for the time they were purchased. I paid between $319 and $379 each and that got me 3000:1 contrast and 300cd/m2 (cutting-edge in April 08) and one of the thinnest bezels available. Thin bezel is essential when building a multi-monitor setup. I'm hoping to go no-bezel in my next workstation setup. ~$2100

  6. 6

    Ergotron tripple monitor stand (2 of them)

    At $250 each, plus $50 for the longer mounting pole to arrange the monitors in a 3x2 configuration. I really love my Ergotron monitor stand. It is rock solid. I wish the monitor connectors were a little more adjustable. Ergotron lost a court case for infringing on a patent, so they had to stop selling the nicer adjustable mounts. I have 3 adjustable and 3 non-adjustable. I may have to try a different OEM for monitor stands if I build a new workstation. $550 total.

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