Up to this point I've been using a 3.0GHz Dual Core Xeon, 8GB RAM, and a Quadro 4500 for Solidworks modeling, drawings, and occasional Simulation studies. This has been getting the job done for a few years now, but the system is mostly hands-off while running simulations. I'd run a lot more simulations if I could keep working on models while it did its thing.
The first thing that came to mind was a 2nd dedicated PC for simulations, complete with another seat of solidworks + subscription. But computers have come a long way lately. What if one monster system could handle both tasks at once?
I've built many a custom PC in my day so I'm planning to build myself. This is about as good as it gets until you start talking about dual-socket CPU motherboards, but considering I can build this for half the cost of a comparable off-the-shelf workstation, I went nuts. Here's what I'm thinking:
ASUS P6X58D-E Motherboard (6GB/s SATA, 3X PCIe)
Intel Core i7 980-X Extreme Edition CPU (6 core X 3.33GHz)
24GB (6x4GB) DDR3 RAM @ 1333Mhz
ATI FirePro V8800 2GB Video Card
Antec Twelve Hundred Full-Tower Case
750W Corsair Power Supply
Using the drives from my previous system, I can have this for about $3600. Comparable HP and Dell workstations are in the $6500-$7000 range. I can shave nearly a grand off (or throw in some WD Raptors) and still have tons of power by going with the ATI V7800 and the not-quite-as-extreme Core i7 970. Whatever the case, if it works, it will still be cheaper than a dedicated system + an additional set of solidworks + subscription.
So is this enough to pull it off or am I going to have to sell some organs to enter the realm of dual-xeon workstations?