I’ve just assembled a new developer rig, as I work in memory hungry Visual Studio I need 16Gb of RAM and an SSD. For a while I considered buying a mac book pro, which would’ve been higher quality and better performing but it also would have cost £900 more.
I ended up buying an HP ProDesk 400 G1 SFF, it comes with Windows 7 professional installed, 4Gb of RAM, an i5 2 core 3.2ghz processor and a 500Gb hard drive. I bought it from Ebuyer for £230, which is a bargain.
I added 16Gb (2x8Gb) of ram from Crucial costing £80. Performing a memory upgrade is easy as it is a very simple case to work with no tools needed to open it and most of the peripherals can be removed without tools. Although you’ll need a torx screwdriver if you intend swapping out any of the disks. This youtube video shows you how to do most maintenance tasks.
I added a 1Tb Samsung SSD from ebuyer. The installation of this was a bit fiddly because HP have a propriety disk mounting system and I wasn’t able to find an HP SSD mounting kit. I ended up buying a 3.5″ => 2.5″ adaptor bracket and I removed the existing 3.5″ drive and installed the SSD, one tip if you do this is you might want to mount the bracket upside down to raise the ssd up as the clearance is a bit tight. The drive cost £280 which is more than the pc, but having 900Gb of fast storage is handy and worth the premium to me.
I used Acronis True image to clone the original drive on to the new SSD this was a bit fiddly and the software costs £25 but it seems to have worked and it automatically resized the boot partition. I think it is possible to do this with the windows tools but it will be even more fiddly.
Total cost for the rig is £590 not including the cost of the Acronis software. I’ve been using it for about a week now and it’s very quiet and stable and it runs very cool so if it stays like that I’ll be very happy.