THREE REQUIREMENTS LIMIT THE OPTIONS FOR THIS MACHINE: 1. Processor >= 3 GHz 2. 64 GB ECC memory 3. Silence. Not just quiet, but complete silence, or as close as I can get. This box is going to be sitting off the floor, two feet from my ear in a largely silent environment and I'd very much like to not hear it at all. CPU: Intel Xeon E5-1620 $294 MSRP Bottom Line Telecom (shopblt.com) $316.72 (but "ordered as needed") Amazon = One guy, DecTrader, selling it for $502 (& the box in the picture doesn't look right) Shopbit.com = Not in stock, ordered as needed $319.10 Newegg = Out of stock Cloningcomputers.com = Out of stock posglobal.com = Not in stock $322.75 Etc. What is the issue with the pricing and availability of this chip? No one I can find has it in stock and everyone I checked who might order it is pricing it over MSRP. This is my largest concern. When I checked intel.com a month or so ago, the entire E5-1600 product family was listed, just like all the others, by selecting: Menu/Intel Xeon E5 Family/Product Specifications/See Detailed Procesor Specifications. Now that entire line is gone. I called Intel and the rep had no clue and didn't care. You can still get to the individual chips' pages using search but I'm concerned that there might be a problem with this line and that's why it was pulled from the site. If anyone has any information on this please let me know. MOTHERBOARD: Asus P9X79 WS amazon.com (pcrush-outlet) $265.54 Originally I selected the Intel DX79TO to go with the E5-1620 as the specs seemed to be fully compatible. But when I clicked the Compatible Processors link from this board's Intel page it wasn't listed. So I sent an online inquiry to Intel asking why and got back nonsense. Then I called and they stated that it was not compatible because the BIOS was not compatible. I asked why to no avail. This reminded me of when I asked Interactive Brokers why they offered a certain product for only a portion of the available trading day instead of all of it and they replied that that's what was programmed. These guys truly need to be beaten. So I went with Asus. However, here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...rue&Keywords=(keywords)&Page=1#scrollFullInfo under the feedback entitled "BEWARE no Xeon CPU Support" someone is complaining that Asus support repeatedly stated that this board cannot accommodate Xeon processors even though both the Asus and Newegg sites state otherwise. And this lack of compatibility was neither confirmed nor refuted by the included Asus customer-support response. So I don't know whom to believe. But I do know, for a first-time builder this is very frustrating. MEMORY KITS: What I want: A 64-Gb (8 Gb X 8) ECC kit from a company with a good reputation. But I can't find it. What I found: Four Crucial 16 GB kits (8 Gb X 2), DDR3 PC3-10600, CL=9, unbuffered (the Asus P9X79 WS motherboard does not support buffered), ECC, DDR3-1333, 1.35V, 1024 Meg x 72, Part Number CT2KIT102472BD1339 antonline.com $213.37 X 4 = $853.48 However, this is not on Asus' Qualified Vendors List. How important is that, as the QVL is quite limiting? Also, someone said Crucial is the best brand and that I needed to stick with companies that make their own (like Crucial/Micron, in this case) but apparently they have no 64 GB kits with these specs. Should I forget about Crucial and stick with trying to get a 64 GB kit? And what is the point of getting four two-stick kits versus eight individual sticks? My research has yielded conflicting information about the value of kits versus buying identical individual sticks and I am not comfortable with this. However, from the Kingston site I just found: Kingston 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1600 Server Memory w/TS Model KVR16E11K4/32 newegg.com $349.99 X 2 = $699.98 This is my leading choice right now as the Kingston site explicitly states that this memory goes with this board, even though, again, this is not on Asus' QVL. So it once more goes back to what weight should be given to Asus' QVL? (There are only two companies on the QVL that offer 8 Gb ECC sticks: Apacer and Avant. Apacer's only suitable module is part number AP8GASET1K2 and is apparently not for sale through any of the usual channels. And one concern with Avant is that the Asus P9X79 WS board is not one of the ones listed as being supported on the Avant site.) CPU COOLER: Scythe Grand Kama Cross Rev. B SCKC-2100 amazon.com (Platinum Micro) $44.98 Good reviews and they say it's silent at its lowest speed. And I like this design, which will also cool the RAM sticks (that may not have heat spreaders). CASE: Antec P183 V3 gadgetneeds.net $118.99 This comes with case fans but the Antec site didn't say whether they are three pin or four. So I called Antec. Good support. The guy immediately knew exactly what I was talking about and he admitted that there would be no PWM as these are 3-pin fans. And the entire call took less than two minutes. I'm an Antec "fan." (Get it? Sorry.) I may replace these stock case fans with PWM. But I think the Asus MB can regulate and vary case-fan speeds whether three or four pin. PSU: Kingwin Stryker STR-500 amazon.com (Cool Tec PC) $168.39 This is the largest fanless I could find--and it has good reviews. SSD: Crucial 512 GB SATA III MLC newegg.com or amazon.com $399.99 Speed is good, of course, but reliability is more important. I need about 500 GB; any better recommendations or comments on this choice are appreciated. GRAPHICS CARD: ENGT520 SL/DI/2GD3(LP) ASUS GT520 0dB, fanless graphics card with DirectXÂ®11, HDMI support newegg.com $66.97. I need to run one 30-inch 2560 X 1600 and one 19-inch 1280 X 1024, both DVI, no games, mostly large-dataset modeling and the occasional Blu-ray movie. This card will be using one HDMI to DVI adapter (which I have). OS: 64-bit Windows 7 Professional OEM amazon.com $130.20 I already have three licenses for Windows 7 Home Premium of which I am using only one. (And as soon as I build this new box I won't be using that any longer.) Is there any way to use the upgrade path for a new fresh Pro install? I need to install Pro directly (not by installing Home Premium first). Perhaps by entering a key code from my Home Premium package or inserting the Home Premium disk for verification. I'm guessing. Is this possible? How? Or should I just stick with buying this full Pro OS and skip trying to upgrade? DVD: I'll be moving my old Blu-ray player to this machine. AUDIO: For my 5.1 speakers: The Asus MB has onboard audio that I'll be using. $2,211.76 One or more of the choices I've made may be incorrect or less than best. I've never done this before and I'm afraid to tell you how many hours I've already spent researching. I'm trying to be sure there are no surprises, that all these components work together optimally and that I don't find out something later that I wish I had done differently. And most importantly, thank you for participating; I greatly appreciate (and need) it.