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RadThad

6 months ago

I'm looking to build my first desktop in order to further my education and career in Geographic Information Systems. It will primarily be used for large amounts of spatial and attribute data analysis, but also needs to process high-resolution satellite imagery and interactive maps. Concerning budget, I would prefer to stay under 2,000 dollars but am open to spending a little more for a significant increase in performance if necessary.

Applications I would be using: ArcGIS Pro w/Enterprise, TerrSet, ERDAS These are the requirements for ArcGIS Pro, but I know very little about hardware: CPU: Recommended: 4 cores Optimal: 10 cores platform: x64 with SSE2 extensions RAM: Recommended: 8 GB Optimal: 16 GB or more Display properties: 24-bit color depth DirectX or OpenGL Display: 1024x768 (Dual Monitors) Visualization Cache: up to 32GB Storage: At least 32GB SSD I'm not sure about a motherboard but sites I've visited suggest starting with that, even though other components determine what motherboard I may want. I am really in over my head with this stuff, I don't know if I've been specific enough but any and all suggestions are welcome.

Comments

  • 6 months ago
  • 3 points

Hi RadThad,

Here's an idea that might make things a bit simpler...

Instead of doing a total build, consider a refurbished workstation computer build on an enterprise platform from a few years back:

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0001-3G3Y4?Item=9SIAC0F98N5049

There's a 10 core Ivy Bridge E5 Xeon. This is similar in performance to a modern AMD 8 core like the 2700. The machine also comes with 128GB RAM, 500GB SSD, Windows Pro, and a Quadro K600 GPU.

The advantage to the older generation computer here, is that RAM for those platforms is dirt cheap, and, being an enterprise platform, it has more capacity than a current generation consumer platform computer.

The machine in the link comes with 128GB of ECC registered memory loaded up included in the $800 price tag. If you wanted to buy 128GB of DDR4 for a modern build, you'd be sinking about $600-800 into JUST the RAM, not including anything else.

The machine comes with a Quadro K600... which might actually work for this, and if the software you're using doesn't leverage the GPU to accelerate the interface then a better GPU may not be a requirement. There are versions of the refurb sold above configured with K2000 and K4000 GPU's for a few more bucks, but I'd advise pulling the old K600 GPU out and upgrading to something modern instead. The RX 570 8GB for $150 is probably a better buy. I would get the machine in front of you before picking out the GPU though. See what PCIE power connectors are available in the machine you get, some are configured differently than others. It might be nice to pick out a GPU that "mates" to the available connectors better. (for example, it might have a single 8-pin connector, so rather than buy an 8 pin to 6 pin adapter, it might make more sense to just buy a GPU that uses an 8 pin power, like many RX 580's.

For a monitor... for this type of work consider picking up a 4K TV instead. Something around 40-43" is ideal. Pick something that has a proper "PC" operating mode. It will need a true 60hz panel, true RGB display (not RBGW), 4:4:4 chroma sub-sampling support, and low latency input. The TCL 43S405 costs less than just about any 1440P or 4K monitor you'll find, and it will probably offer a more useful desktop space for mapping work. A huge borderless canvas to work on with a pixel density, pixel quantity, and size comparable to running 4 X 21" 1080P displays.


Lets see, that's $800 for the computer that includes a Windows 10 Pro license, $150-200 for a GPU upgrade, $250 for the 4K TV...

That's $1200-1300ish and you're basically done. Pick out some peripherals you like and and pocket the savings. I think this will work very well for the intended use.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I can't tell you how encouraging this sounds. If this is all completely available and I don't screw up compatibility between parts then this is my choice all the way. It just saves me too much money to pass up, I'm currently over $2,000, without tax and shipping. This is a great help and I really appreciate the advise!

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Yea building these sort of workhorse computers, especially when we want a lot of RAM, gets expensive fast... In order to "fit" 128GB in a modern build, we have to go with an enthusiast platform at minimum, which of course, comes with more expensive motherboard (~$250+), more expensive CPUs (starting ~$500+)... To be honest, if I were in the market to build this sort of computer on a new platform, I might be leaning towards building around an Intel W series Xeon, so that the build would be upgradable to 512GB RAM.... That would get very expensive very fast.. ($1000+ for a decent CPU)...

One thing I forgot to mention.... One of the reasons to upgrade to a newer GPU, is for an HDMI 2.0 port for native support of the 4K TV.... It is possible to buy an active adapter to use an old displayport connection on the Kepler quadro cards on a 4K TV, but the configuration is often finiki, requiring custom settings in the drivers to get them to work. Not worth the time/hassle IMO when a new gaming GPU with native HDMI 2.0 is inexpensive.

Also worth noting, in that generation of workstations, there are lots of other CPU options and configurations available through the marketplace at newegg, but you'll want to avoid the lower clocked options. There's of 6-12 core options in the Bridge generation E5 Xeon's that have base clocks down around 2.4GHZ. While functional, you'll probably want to avoid these. The E5-2667 v2 as a good alternative to the E5-2690 V2 to look out for. The 2667 V2 is 8 cores instead of 10, but clocked higher, so is very comparable.

https://www.newegg.com/p/1VK-0001-2CSB0?Item=9SIAC0F8BV8657

Only $735 for that configuration.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks again for the good advice, I also have a question I was hoping you could flesh out for me. A couple people I've talked to say a refurbished computer is the way to go, and I know there is always going to be some risk involved with purchasing anything online, refurbished or not, but what are your thoughts on the risk? Is there anything I should watch out for, such as manufacturer ratings on newegg? And is the risk of someone else's "incriminating" data left over on a hard drive even legitimate? Is it even possible? I haven't personally heard of anyone actually having issues with something like that. I'm pretty practical, which is why I'm very interested in the partial build you recommend, and I can tell some people are just responding to the word "refurbished" and not the actual statistics or facts. I guess part of me wants to be reassured I'm making the right moves, but I'm also still trying to build on a very rudimentary understanding of very technical concepts.

Thanks again for sharing your wisdom, and if you have any other thoughts your opinions are always valued.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

but what are your thoughts on the risk?

I've bought lots of refurbs at work. Had pretty good luck overall. The value is worth the risk IMO.

Is there anything I should watch out for, such as manufacturer ratings on newegg?

These are sold by marketplace vendors. Check the markeplace vendor ratings and ensure they are maintaining high customer satisfaction.

And is the risk of someone else's "incriminating" data left over on a hard drive even legitimate?

I'm not sure what you mean by "incriminating" in this context, but a good refurbisher will wipe the drive and do a clean install of windows. In many cases, the drive included is brand new.

Is it even possible?

Technically, yes... I would not worry about that. if you're concerned about it though, when you get the machine, use a utility to write zeros or patterns to the free space on the drive. There are many utilities designed to do this.

I guess part of me wants to be reassured I'm making the right moves, but I'm also still trying to build on a very rudimentary understanding of very technical concepts.

These Dell precision series machines are true enterprise workstation stuff. Very dependable. I just retired a 12 year old precision series laptop at work that was still actually working fine other than being a bit slow for 2019 application.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you again Allan_M_Systems, I went through with it and am excited to start working. I'm doing as you suggested and waiting to inspect the platform before I order a new GPU, and am also going with the 4k tv. You were by far the most helpful, and if you have a blog, webpage or youtube channel I would be more than happy to show my support by subscribing. Thanks again for your expertise.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Here is what I have based off what the other comment said: PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
Memory G.Skill - Sniper X 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory $300.98 @ Newegg
Monitor BenQ - GW2765HT 27.0" 2560x1440 60 Hz Monitor $279.00 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $579.98
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-16 23:10 EDT-0400
  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks, this helps me get started, I'm probably going with the memory suggestion for sure.

  • 6 months ago
  • 2 points

Researching online it appears your bottle necks in order are going to be ram amount then storage speed then CPU speed and then number of cores....

This build provides a rounded foundation on those fronts (ram may not achieve rated speeds on AM4 platform, but still it is size that matters more here). Use the NVME drive for current project files and SATA SSD for storage, operating system and applications.

Chose an ultra wide monitor, with excellent colour accuracy, reduces cost of two displays, and in windowed mode can run two apps or more side by side etc. Also, has decent integrated speakers.

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD - Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz 8-Core Processor $279.79 @ OutletPC
Motherboard MSI - B450 TOMAHAWK ATX AM4 Motherboard $109.99 @ B&H
Memory G.Skill - Ripjaws V 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory $300.98 @ Newegg
Storage Corsair - MP510 480 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive $79.98 @ Newegg
Storage ADATA - SU800 2 TB 2.5" Solid State Drive $206.89 @ OutletPC
Video Card Zotac - GeForce GTX 1660 6 GB GAMING Video Card $219.99 @ Amazon
Case Fractal Design - Define C ATX Mid Tower Case $91.10 @ Newegg
Power Supply SeaSonic - FOCUS Plus Gold 550 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply $79.99 @ SuperBiiz
Operating System Microsoft - Windows 10 Home Full 32/64-bit $119.99 @ Dell
Monitor LG - 34UM88-P 34.0" 3440x1440 60 Hz Monitor $479.00 @ B&H
Keyboard EagleTec - KG010-N Wired Standard Keyboard $37.99 @ Amazon
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $2005.69
Generated by PCPartPicker 2019-05-17 10:21 EDT-0400
  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree with that build, especially for the data storage speed. Now it's up to you for the storage amount but I think since the total hits the 2k$ mark, it's right on target!

For the monitor, since that'll be your main tool, you should physically shop them before buying. And go with what you feel like it's a good fit you. The LG model seems good technically but I would make some research first.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Great! Thank you for taking the time to do that, I'm beginning to see what I should be looking for.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

Need OS, Mouse, speakers, keyboard, or monitor, or mousepad?

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

I have would need Windows 10 or Server, two monitors, speakers and keyboard, so everything but a mouse

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

So you need a mouse then. You worded that weirdly.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

One thing I would recommend is to not go cheap on the RAM. I used to work in remote sensing (geology) mainly with ArcGIS, PCI Geomatica and ENVI. Some of the software open the entirety of the image at once so you'll need RAM. Especially if you're dealing with multispectral imagery. 16 GB is the minimum in my opinion, but it depends on the size of the imagery you're planning to work with.

Also, that's a personal preference but I'd rather have a really good big monitor instead of two smaller, cheaper screens. For color accuracy I think you'd be better with an IPS panel type monitor.

  • 6 months ago
  • 1 point

A bigger, better monitor does make sense to start. I would want to be able to add another one at some point in the future. I'm definitely not skimping on RAM, the G.Skill Sniper X (4x16GB) that test19 recommended seems like a good deal per GB. Thanks for the good advice.

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