Stack Overflow Developer Desktop Build - 2016

One of the things we're big on at Stack Exchange is hardware - we love it. More importantly, we love not waiting on it. With that in mind, we upgrade our developer machines every 2 years. In case it helps anyone else, I'm posting our current parts list here. This isn't set in stone, we review and update it to the latest tech every time we build a machine. We also customize the build for each developer if needed - for example those needing extra space or specific display connections, etc. I'll try and keep this page updated as we make changes.

If you're wondering about laptops: yes, we use those too. You can buy what you want to work with. Most prefer a beefy desktop and a laptop to remote in, or switch their desktop and laptop refreshes every 2 years (alternating what they spend most on). Some just want the beefiest laptop they can get. Laptops are mostly Retina MacBook Pros (16GB RAM, 1TB Drives, max procs). Not all laptops are rMBPs though, some prefer a MacBook Air or an Razer Blade...or something else entirely.

Monitors are not on here because they're usually a separate purchase rarely made at the same time. Most of our developers use 3x 30" Dell UP3017s (whatever the current 30" model is), but this also varies widely. Some prefer the LG 34" 21:9 UM95 widescreens for example. Lately, 4K and 5K are becoming more common. We're hoping some single-cable 5K monitors (DisplayPort 1.3+) start arriving, then they'll be practical too - right now they're a connectivity issue. Keyboards & mice are much more varied - the CODE keyboard quite a few devs use (yeah, we all have various switches) but everything is very much personal choice for looks, ergonomics, etc.

Make special note of the memory here. DDR4 is still changing, and it's shifting with every build we do. For the big memory users (VMs, SQL, redis clusters, machine learning, etc.), we are going with a 128GB setup. For lighter workloads, we may only get 64GB since it's so easy to add another 64GB later. Why do we get 128GB? Because for under $250 more, if you need more than 64GB it's so cheap compared to anything else to increase productivity. It's a very easy barrier to buy your way out of.

Intel Boxed Core i7-6900K Processor (20M Cache, up to 3.70 GHz) FC-LGA14A 3.2 GHz 8-core BX80671I76900K
We don't get the i7-6950X because though it has 10 cores, they are clocked lower and the price increase is crazy. You're much better off with a Xeon v4 in that range.
$1,049.99
Asus X99-PRO/USB 3.1 Motherboard, Intel Socket 2011-v3 Core i7 Processors, 8x DIMM, Quad Channel Memory
There are sevreral X99 options out there, but this offers a great mix of IO connectivity, 128GB RAM, and the dual PCIe 4x M.2 flexibility, and at a reasonable price.
$339.00
NVIDIA GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5x Graphics Card
High-end because driving 3 monitors isn't trivial. Additionally, we do tag engine processing on the GPU, so developers working on this code need a current CUDA GPU.
$699.00
Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 64GB Kit (16GBx4) DDR4 2400 MT/s (PC4-19200) DIMM 288-Pin - BLS4K16G4D240FSB
An alternative for the wary is the Corsair 128GB kit, coming as a single set tested together. These prices fluctuate a lot (and vary by color), shop around!
$329.99 (x2)
Corsair CC600TWM-WHT Special Edition Graphite Series 600T Mid Tower Gaming Computer Case - White
This case is on the large side, but it's extremely easy to work in. There's also a newer full tower 780T also in storm trooper colors edition, available here.
$149.99
Samsung 960 PRO Series - 512GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V6P512BW)
OS Drive: 3500MB/s read & 2100MB/s write - 330k IOPs for each. But, this isn't always reliably in stock; A fallback is the previous Samsung 950 PRO Series.
$329.99
Samsung 850 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E1T0B/AM)
Data drive, good enough for most local database or scratch work. Note: it does not have a capacitor, so I use a APC BR1500G with an expansion pack for UPS.
$249.99
Seagate 4TB SSHD SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Bare Drive (ST4000DX001)
Slower/bigger data drive - I recommend backing up the Samsung 960 Pro OS drive weekly to this drive, with built-in Windows backup.
$144.99
Corsair RM Series 850 Watt ATX/EPS 80PLUS Gold-Certified Power Supply - CP-9020056-NA RM850
For those electing to run dual GTX 1080s, we bump this to a 1000W model.
$129.99
LG Internal UH12NS30 BD-ROM Blu-ray Optical Drive
Optional - only if you need an optical drive.
$55.10
ICY DOCK ToughArmor MB996SP-6SB 6 x 2.5 SATA 6Gbps HDD / SSD Mobile Rack / Cage in 1 x 5.25 bay
For mounting all your SSDs easily in a front bay. Read is 2x 4pin molex for power and 6x SATA.
$82.99
Noctua NH-U12 S for Intel LGA 2011,1156,1155,1150 and AMD AM2/AM2+/AM3/3+,FM1/2 Sockets, U Type, 5 Heatpipe,120mm CPU Cooler
Many of us have a larger Noctua NH-D14, but it's very tight on fit. The NH-U12 should fit most boards and leave RAM accessible.
$64.95
Silverstone Tek Sleeved Extension Power Supply Cable with 1 x 8-Pin to EPS12V 8-Pin Connector (PP07-EPS8B)
Needed to reach the top of most motherboards in the 600T case.
$9.99
Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
The heat sinks listed come with thermal grease applied. If you are uncomfortable doing it yourself - just leave this off.
$7.44
Motherboard 20pin to Dual USB 3.0 Female Cable Adapter 0.8Feet (0.25Meters)
To plug in the 600T's pass-through USB 3.0 from the front panel.'
$9.99
C&E 3 Pack 18 inch SATA 6Gbps Cable w/Locking Latch Black, CNE545677
Extra cables to hook up all ports in the 6x SATA cage above.
$11.21 (x2)