Building a Development Machine

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I’m a software engineer and thus tend to be more focused on a broader range of computer features than a gaming build would be. Currently my working list is somewhere around:

  • NVidia RTX3080 or RTX3080 Ti video card. I’d like to have enough power here to run un-optimized VR code comfortably without breaking the bank completely.
    I’m looking for 4-5 outputs here as I tend to run with lots of monitors.
    I know the RTX3090 cards are aimed at developers but I’m also suspicious that they’re going to remain more expensive than my budget likes. There is probably a new generation of cards coming out in the fall but I’m not willing to wait at this point and can always upgrade this machine and back-fill the3080 card into another system at that point.
  • Intel core i7 CPU. Could go with a core i9 but I’m not sure I need that much crunch.
    Looking for more cores, better instructions per clock and higher clock rate (probably in that order). Performance but not so out there that the cost/benefit trade-offs go out the window.
  • M.2 NVMe SSD in the 2-4 TByte range. Probably closer to 2 as I can always add in a second SSD to provide additional storage. Fast and with a decent amount of elbow room is the order of the day here.
  • An optical drive. Somewhat old-school but I have spare BD-R SATA drives around and enough stuff on optical disk that I’d like to have one in the machine.
  • An internal bulk storage scratch drive. I expect this to be a spinning disk and likely in the 6-18 TByte range. Ideally lots of space and at least half decent performance (i.e. not SMR). This is a lower priority and may be put off till later depending on other things in the build.
  • Power supply in the 1000 watt range or higher. Not sure exact numbers as the CPU and video card choice will drive some of this.
  • Motherboard choice is pretty open at this point. Lots of ports, built in NVMe (at least one, two would be wornderful). USB-C and WiFi built in would be good. Bluetooth built in also good. PCIe slots are negotiable (as long as there’s one 16 lane slot for the one video card). DDR5 support desirable and at least 64 GBytes maximum memory would be good, being able to go to 128 GBytes would be nice.
  • Memory probably DDR5 and definitely at least 64 GBytes. Not looking for anything super fast here. Best mainstream performance is what I’m looking for.
  • As small and portable a case as is consistent with the parts I’ll be putting in. I expect that between a desktop CPU cooler and the large video card this case won’t be tiny but if it is noticeably smaller than my current 4U 19 inch rack-mount cases I’ll be happy. I’d love to be able to bring this to where I’m working as necessary and not feel like lugging it around is a pain.

I suspect there are things I’m missed above and this may get updated as I think about things. Just trying to lay out the basic pieces at this point.

Thoughts and Considerations…