* Note that this hard disk reflects current pricing due to the shortage of Hard Disks due to the flooding in Thailand. Hard Disks are twice the price they were two months ago.
I have decided not to revise my October suggested system, as that is still mostly current for what most people should consider for a CAD machine.
For some people, though, you want more. Lets say you make rendered animations all the time, and you want the most cores/speed possible. Earlier this week Intel released their latest Core i7 Extreme 3960X, which runs at 3.3 GHz, 3.9GHz turbo. Note that this is still a slightly lower clock rate than the Core i7-2700K, and it is not overclockable. If you still want the fastest computer for modeling, look at my October build with the 2700K. https://forum.solidworks.com/message/259572
For those of you who want to render, this is the king. In the spring, Intel will release their dual-CPU chips, and then those will be the render kings. Of course, they will also require a very expensive motherboard, with two very expensive CPUs. This setup has the new, and expensive LGA 2011 motherboard, but you only have to purchase one really expensive CPU.
This CPU runs at 3.3 GHz, 3.9GHz Turbo. It also has six cores, all hyperthreaded. This will give you 12 glorious virtual cores running at 3.3GHz; great for rendering. And all the speed optimization of the Sandy Bridge processors.
Total price? $2,433
So, without further ado, here is my suggested setup. Don't forget that the RAM for this is currently unavailable, so it is not in the table below. I assume it is just too new.
Plus, you need RAM. I suggest DDR3-2133. It is not cheap (nor even currently available in quad-channel). So when it is available, here is what I suggest:
I go into much more depth in my "suggested october build" thread, but here is a summary of why I picked this:
Intel SSD: SSD's are a must for a high performance machine like this. Intel's are the more reliable SSDs.
Cosair 650W Gold rated power supply: This thing takes quite a bit of power, so a higher efficiency power supply will pay for itself in electric consumption.
Motherboard: The LGA 2011 motherboards are new. I picked the cheapest one from one of my favorite brands (I only spec ASUS or gigabyte).
Memory: DDR3-2133 is fast! Expensive, but this is "ultra-performance", right?
Case fans: 1 80mm front and 1 120mm rear come with the case. 2 additional 120mm fans will help cool that high-speed memory, and protect that expensive CPU. The case can hold up to 4 more, so buy more if it suits your fancy (probably overkill).
ATI v4800: I'm still of the opinion, even for an ultra-performance machine, that these are good enough. If you like overkill, the ATI FirePro v7900 is smoking fast.