Every 3 or 4 years I build a new PC Workstation, usually combining new computer technology while scavenging my old computer for parts (or I just give the old computer away to a friend). I've been building PC's for over 15 years now and I always look forward to a new build. My 2017 Media Workstation should be a lot of fun to put together. I'll cover choosing/researching parts, the actually assembly and final testing in this series of articles.
Building a modern PC is a lot of fun for two reasons: you get to do a lot of research and pick the parts that you feel go together well and you get to learn about the newest PC technology in cpu's, cases, power supplies, graphics cards and more.
This year's build (Media Workstation 2017) is inspired by a recent workstation from Lenovo (reviewed on Dec 8, 2016) and NVIDIA'S Quadro P5000 workstation graphics card. I was so impressed with the performance of the Lenovo ThinkStation P410, that I wanted to build a machine that could work just as efficiently. And with NVIDIA'S Quadro P5000, I thought that rather than review this beast of a card on my old workstation, I decided to build a new one around the card (and, of course, a powerful cpu).
My thanks to Lenovo and NVIDIA for providing the workstation and card (and the inspiration). I'll be reviewing the Quadro P5000 separately from this build article, but will talk about the card in a more general fashion in these articles.
So, let's get on with our 2017 Media Workstation build!
What Kind of Workstation Do You Want to Create?
In order to simplify your research (and the money you will spend), it's essential to know what kind of computer you are building. What are you going to use this computer for?
In my case, I plan on doing a good deal of media creation both 3D and video. So I will need a computer that can render well and is relatively fast. I definitely don't want to wait for my video or 3D scene to render as this slows down my workflow and my creative choices.
So we are looking to create a workstation with a fast processor, quick throughput and the ability to render quickly and efficiently. Now that we have a goal it will be much easier to research and choose the pc parts we want for our build.
Research and Comparisons
Now that we know what kind of computer we are building it's time to do some research! A word of warning though; researching and learning can be so much fun that you may find yourself creating too many choices for yourself! My rule of thumb is that I try to narrow my choices down to two. Otherwise you'll be pouring through too many details and find yourself bogged down.
This year I discovered a fantastically helpful website: pcpartpicker.com and used it to narrow down my choices and provide help in my research. It's a excellent resource that not only lets you know if the parts you are choosing are compatible, but lets you know things like the total wattage required for your build.
Another excellent resource is the youtube channel "LinusTechTips". Linus is an bright, acerbic tech-head who despite speaking a mile a minute, provides great advice and info for practically all aspects of computer technology. Many of his excellently produced videos helped me make essential decisions on this workstation build.
And, of course, I used my old favorite sites: anandtech.com and tomshardware.com for the bulk of my research.