The ultimate .NET Development Workstation

[2012-Mar: Updated. This machine is still fine for dev work!]



This is my suggestion for the ultimate, affordable🙂 .NET development workstation configuration.

PC (fast, cool, quiet, 2300€)
  • Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced case
    • flexible, tools free
    • eSATA dock
    • sadly there is no power switch for the eSATAT dock. Window “safely remove” does not spin down drives. Maybe one could modify the useless fan led switch to switch the dock power.
  • Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD5, i7-860, 8GB
    • OC Bundle from JZelectronic.de
      stress tested with fan mounted (no fan mounting hassle!)
    • fast, cool, quiet
    • fast eSATA
    • enough cores to explore TPL
  • 2x X25-M G2 Postville 160 GB
    • fast, quiet, reliable
    • would love the speed of the OCX Vertex LE, but do not trust their reliability
    • supports TRIM
  • 2 x Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB HD
    • for internal and external backup
    • fast, quiet
  • Two NVIDIA Quadro NVS 295 (2 x DisplayPort) graphic adapters
    • quiet (passive)
    • fast enough (if you are no gamer)
    • DisplayPort cables are more flexible than DVI cables
    • Experienced text input stuttering when running Windows Phone emulator and/or Zune. These problems could be bettered by reducing the Zune Display setting, but not solved.
  • Switched to two SAPPHIRE ULTIMATE HD6670 (1x DisplayPort, 1x DVI) graphic adapters
    • quiet (passive)
    • fast (Windows Experience Index 7.1
  • QPAD K mechanical keyboard
    • Cherry MX Blue key for good typing
    • backlit keys (so I can work in the dark)
  • MS compact(!) optical cable mouse
    Having large hands I cannot rest my hand even on big mice.
    Cable mice are lighter than wireless ones.
    Thus I use a small, light notebook mouse – moving it with my fingertips only.
  • BeQuiet Straight Power E7-CM 480W
    • good, quiet
  • Optional
    To make your disk drives swappable:
    • Cooler Master 4 in 3 HDD Module Device
      For 3,5″ HDs.
    • Patriot Convoy XL 3.5 Raid Enclosure
      For 2,5″ SSDs.
      Can be used internally or as an external enclosure (with your notebook).
  • Windows Experience Index
Monitors


Multi-monitor
is the easiest way to increase your productivity.

  • 2x Dell U2410 Monitor (1000€)
    • 24″, 1900×1200, IPS
    • Many dislike the strong grainy/sparkly effect caused by the anti glare coating.
      I consider all current (Mar 2012) matte IPS Monitors unsuited for serious text work.
  • Finally I found a very good Monitor for text work: Samsung S27A850D.
    • 27″, 2560×1440, PLS

    I am using it now in a Portrait-Landscape-Landscape configuration with the two U2410.

Software
I considered using 2008 Server as my workstation OS (see below).
After some experimentation I decided against this:
  • Server 2008 is not intended to be used as a workstation.
    So solving problems for developer WS scenarios are not likely to have high priority.
  • In contrast to my earlier tests VMware Workstation file IO seems to be as fast as Hyper-V (if not faster).
  • With VWware images I do have more flexibility in using the VMs: Home WS, home notebook, office WS, office notebook.
  • I am developing on my Windows 7 host OS now
    Using VS 2010, Office 2010, TFS 2010.
  • Server 2008 R2 ideas:
    • Use Hyper-V for virtual disk IO faster than Virtual PC and VMWare Workstation
    • Beware: to use a Hyper-V Server as workstation you must have a core i7 or AMD gen 3 quad core CPU.
      Otherwise your host graphics performance will be severely crippled. See: Hyper-V graphics performance issue
    • To learn 2008 Server by “osmosis”
    • I do not believe in 2008 R2 being faster than Win7.
      So this is not my reason for a 2008 Server Workstation.
    • Meanwhile MSE Antivirus does run on 2008 Server!

About Peter Meinl

IT Consultant
This entry was posted in Computers and Internet and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The ultimate .NET Development Workstation

  1. Pingback: My Development Workstation Set Up | Fit Geek Dad

  2. threenineGar says:

    I did work at a place once that, wanted us to work of 2008 server, on our boxes, which were in themselves old tower server boxes. All I can say is it was a bit of a nightmare, and to be honest didn’t really offer much in additional productivity. In the end what we ended up doing was setting different workstations in a VM ware virtual pc’s, running on those servers. This was pretty cool, as then we could fire up different environments as required, but we found we realy needed to keep the memory beefed on the boxes. In the end, it’s still best to work on 64bit laptops with 8gb memory1

    Good post, I have just made one similar at my blog http://www.fitgeekdad.com/geek/my-development-workstation-set-up/ and put a link to your article up there too!

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