Stack Overflow Developer Desktop Build - 2019

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). I'd strongly advise waiting on a laptop right now. While the Dell XPS 9570 is a great machine (and my curent recommendation), a new XPS 15 with OLED screen and upgraded components will be released in March 2019. I suggest waiting a few months before purchasing a laptop!

Monitors are not on here because they're usually a separate purchase rarely made at the same time. Most of our developers started with 2-3x 30" Dell UP3017s (whatever the current 30" model is), but what they use today 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 64GB setup. Why do we get 64GB? Because if you need more than 32GB it's relatively cheap compared to anything else to increase productivity. It's likely we'll see a bump to 128GB in a 4 DIMM setup possible in 2019, and hopefully our setup below will BIOS update to accomodate it. Regardless, the simpler config of the LGA 1151 platform is the choice this year. It's far cheaper and easier for us to support.

2019 Build
Processor: Intel Core i9-9900K Processor
We go with the 8-core platform here for the best balance of multi-core use (Visual Studio, etc.), single-core turbo performance, and price.
$529.99
Motherboard: MSI MPG Z390 Gaming Edge AC
This Z390 board supports 2x M.2, 64GB RAM, 3x 10Gbps USB, built-in 802.11ac.
$180.62
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 Black Gaming,8GB GDDR6
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.
$499.99
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB DDR4 2666 C16
If you need far less memory, a good option is the 32GB (2x16) kit (currently $231.99) - you can get another later to get to 64GB.
$432.99
Case: NZXT H500 – Compact ATX Mid-Tower (White)
Our beloved 600T was retired, but NZXT makes a good set of options here. It also comes in black and a few accent colors. Note: there are no 5.25" bays.
$76.99
SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 2TB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280
OS Drive: 3500MB/s read & 2500MB/s write - 480k IOPs for each. There's also a 1TB (currently $247.99) variant if you need less space. Instead of a separate data drive, a 2TB single is simpler to stock and provides ample speed for OS, repos, and data.
$497.99
Power Supply: CORSAIR RMX Series, RM750x, 750 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified, Fully Modular
Enough power without going overboard. Advice: never, ever cheap out on a power supply for any device.
$102.99
CPU Cooler: be quiet! BK021 Dark Rock 4 CPU Cooler - 135mm (200W TDP)
This handles the standard higher thermal output of the 9900k as well as satisfying the OC crowd if you want to push it further.
$74.90

Previous Builds

2016 Build
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.
$1,027.68
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.
$237.99
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!
$457.32 (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.
$324.99
Seagate 4TB BarraCuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST4000DM005)
Slower/bigger data drive - I recommend backing up the Samsung 960 Pro OS drive weekly to this drive, with built-in Windows backup.
$120.97
Corsair RMx Series, RM750x, 750W, Fully Modular Power Supply, 80 PLUS Gold Certified
For those electing to run dual GTX 1080s, we bump this to a 1000W model.
$109.95
LG Internal UH12NS30 BD-ROM Blu-ray Optical Drive
Optional - only if you need an optical drive.
$55.69
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.
$57.99
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
Monoprice 108782 18-Inch SATA 6Gbps Cable with Locking Latch, Blue (3 Pack)
Extra cables to hook up all ports in the 6x SATA cage above.
$5.98 (x2)
2015 Build
Intel Core i7-5930K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.5GHz LGA 2011-v3 140W Desktop Processor BX80648I75930K
We don't get the i7-5960X because though it has 8 cores, they are clocked lower. Given that things like compilation don't scale well to 8 cores - the 5930K wins.
$559.99
ASRock X99 WS LGA2011-v3/ Intel X99/ DDR4/ Quad CrossFireX & Quad SLI/ SATA3&USB3.0/ M.2/ A&2GbE/ EATX Motherboard
There are better options if you only need 64GB max RAM. I suggest the ASUS X99-A/USB 3.1 or ASUS X99-DELUXE/U3.1 in that case.
$385.94
PNY XLR8 GeForce GTX 980 4GB GDDR5 Graphics Card VCGGTX9804XPB-​CG
We generally get the top "reasonable" graphics card - because driving 3x 30" Monitors isn't trivial, currently that's the GTX 980.
$519.99
Crucial 32GB Kit (8GBx4) DDR4-2133 (PC4-17000) DR x8 Unbuffered DIMM 288-Pin Desktop Memory CT4K8G4DFD8213 / CT4C8G4DFD8213
This is for 64GB. For the 128GB option, grab the Corsair 128GB kit.
$139.99 (x2)
Corsair Graphite Series Steel Silver 600T Mid-Towe Computer Case (CC-9011020-WW​)
This case is on the large side, but it's extremely easy to work in. There's also a slightly more expensive storm trooper colors edition available here.
$189.99
Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7KE1T0BW)
OS Drive. Note: it does not have a capacitor, so I use a APC BR1500G with an expansion pack for UPS.
$431.00
Samsung 840 EVO 1TB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-7TE1T0BW)
Data drive, good enough for most local database or scratch work.
$469.75
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 850 Pro OS drive weekly to this drive, with built-in Windows backup.
$149.00
Corsair RM Series 850 Watt ATX/EPS 80PLUS Gold-Certified Power Supply - CP-9020056-NA RM850
For those electing to run dual GTX 980s in SLI, we bump this to a 1000W model.
$99.99
LG Internal UH12NS30 BD-ROM Blu-ray Optical Drive
Optional - only if you need an optical drive.
$49.99
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.
$90.04
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.
$61.99
NZXT CB-8P 250mm Individually Sleeved 8-Pin Motherboard Power Extension Premium Cable (Black)
Needed to reach the top of most motherboards in the 600T case.
$10.13
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.
$7.49
Monoprice 18-Inch SATA III 6.0 Gbps Cable with Locking Latch and 1 x 90-Degree Plug (108783)
Extra cables to hook up all ports in the 6x SATA cage above.
$3.09 (x4)