Hi Folks –
I am trying to identify a good desktop primarily for use doing statistical computing with the R language. Not sure if I should be posting here or in custom builds or somewhere else. I have some very large files (Census & BLS stuff, mainly – as much as 14 gig in a file) and R likes to hold what it is working on in RAM, so I need to max out the RAM – I am thinking 16 gig to start, but with the expansion slots to go up to 64 if that proves to be necessary -- & plenty of hard disk space, at least 2 TB. Maybe a hybrid drive, or a small SSD as well? Though I think this is more of a nice-to-have than a have-to-have. & of course I need a motherboard that can handle that much RAM .
This project (I’m writing open source software to study income inequality) is a budgetless labor of love. I work in the nonprofit sector and am between jobs right now, so I want a least-cost system given my needs and reasonable reliability. It does not need to be blazingly fast, and I will not be doing gaming or CAD. I am guessing that an I5 system or the equivalent AMD is probably more than adequate. I would prefer Windows 7 to Windows 8. It is my understanding that I need Windows 7 Professional or better to handle that much RAM. Is this correct?
Since I am not doing gaming or CAD, I don't think I need anything special by way of graphics capability. However, I do have a question. My workstyle often has me with two or three hundred windows or browser tabs open at a time. This can slow my current machines considerably. If I want to eliminate this problem, is that a matter of CPU speed, RAM, number of processors, graphics capability, or what?
I'd be happy to take a pre-built if I could find one with my specs and price range, as I know I lack the expertise to competently evaluate components. But I am willing or even eager to go for a custom build, or a refurbished system, if I can get some extra warranty and ideally local service (Oakland/Berkeley or BART-accessible). Can you even get warranties for custom builds, other than the component warranties? I am completely ignorant about this.
Am I crazy to hope to bring this in under $1K? If I could meet these specs for $600 to $800 I’d snap it up immediately.
Any advice or recommendations greatly appreciated.
Warmest regards, Beanxx
For purposes of budgeting, I am trying to get a better handle on what all I need in a custom build. Here is my current list, with some initial thoughts on roughly the level of component I need. I would be very grateful if anyone could tell me if there is anything obvious I am missing. For instance, I do not know what normally comes with a motherboard and case. Do I need to separately purchase USB and other ports? WiFi capacity? Graphics processing?
- CPU i5 or comparable AMD
- Motherboard (should have expansion slots for 64GB of RAM)
- RAM (16-32GB)
- Hard drive (3 GB)
- SSD? not sure I need this.
- OS (Win7 Prof)
- Power supply
- Optical drive