Build Me A Build: What Would You Do?


We already know what I’d do

In my last post, I talked about the desktop I’m building with my hardware budget for this year (and, uh, some of next year’s, too…). Based on awesome feedback from you all, I made a few changes to the specs.

And holy cow, ordering made things even more different. Here were the problems I ran into:

  • The websites with the lowest prices were often out of stock on items with no restock date
  • Some websites said they had things in stock, but after my order was placed I got sad face emails
  • The number of items I wanted were only partially available

With everything ordered, plus tax (holy cow the tax), I ended up a little extra over budget, and with a 1 TB M.2 instead of the 512 GB.

Why? I already had to pare down the number of SSDs I was getting because of stock limitations, and a price bump. I can try again for those in the new year.

Of course, the 1 TB M.2 is a pre-order, so I’m going to be waiting a bit for that. Fun!

What went well?

I found the CPU and MB at Microcenter for much lower prices, so things balanced out a little bit. I was able to walk over and pick both up same day.

The worst parts about this experience?

  • It was like 0 degrees Kelvin and windy for my 20 minute walk
  • I now have to fight the urge to try to jam them in my laptop

Most everything else I wanted was available at close to the price I wanted between Amazon and NewEgg. Hooray for competitive commerce.

Now it’s your turn

I don’t mean that Brent is giving you $3k to build a computer. I’m curious what kind of specs you’d choose for different scenarios.

  • Scenario One: You have a $5k budget to build a server for your developers to use. Assume local storage.
  • Scenario Two: You have a $15k budget (not including licensing) to build a server for Standard Edition. Assume the server needs local storage, and will be taking part in Log Shipping.
  • Scenario Three: You have a $50k budget (not including licensing) to build a server for Enterprise Edition. Assume the server needs local storage, and will be taking part in an AG.
  • Scenario Four: You have $3k to build a computer to play your favorite video game on, and you get to donate whatever’s left to your favorite charity.

How would you spend money differently in different scenarios?

Thanks for reading!

Brent says: I got so excited when I realized it was my turn, and then I realized I was going to spend the next hour working on it. Damn you, Erik…

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Scenario 4 –
    I didn’t see any cold cathodes on the list but assume $150-300 for those.

    Should be a BEAST for playing Star Craft: Brood War.

    The remainder of the budget can be donated to The 501st Legion.

  • Gaming, just helped my son build his from MicroCenter. But I am a data guy, multiple VMs thanks to Hadoop, Postgres and vNext et al. So IMHO there is a base profile for each then the add ons based on price:
    Graphics Card (with VR, the headset is another 700 bucks or so)
    CPU – oh water cooled is cool!
    Storage (Smallish SSD then old fashion SATA)
    Somewhere in there is the case and the lights:)

    SATA Drives

    I missing something guys?

  • Walden Leverich
    December 28, 2016 11:32 am

    Very interested to see what people do about local storage for tempdb / pageing / etc. The obvious performance choice these days would be m.2 or other direct attach high-speed storage, but I’ve not seen any good stories around raid for these devices. Do people just assume that they won’t fail?

    • @Walden Virtualization changes all that however. You can lift and shift an entire machine. @Jay get a good rep. For the money its worth it. I’d use ebay etc for replacement parts once you have what you want.

      • Walden Leverich
        December 28, 2016 1:36 pm

        @Scottie, given that a couple scenarios above include local storage I’m not sure it (virtualization) does change any of that. Whether you’re virtualiziing or not you still would have the local storage (not talking SAN here) and you’d want to optimize the tempdb and page file io performance. m.2/pcie attached ssd seems ideal for that, but I’ve not seen raid solutions for that storage medium.

  • Shopping for lowest prices on ebay or unknown vendors is kind of asking for trouble. When you get is not quite what you think you ordered, or is possibly even counterfeit, returned goods, or whatever.

    Price is important, reliable sources even more so.

    • Jay – HAHAHA, the hilarious part is that despite Erik buying his stuff from “reliable sources,” he got a shrink-wrapped motherboard box that had a different motherboard in it.


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