I'm currently in discussions with my boss about getting a new pc since my old one is getting ... old...

I am the only "real" developer in the company (it's not a software company) and as such they haven't really bought any pc's with these kind of specs before.

So, I made a list, because building my own, is cheaper than buying finished. http://www.prisjakt.no/product_list.php?do=lista&k=10529

And he thought it was kind of overkill. And I can admit, I may have gone a bit far on some choices (the raided SSD's for example), but I though it was better to go out high, then come down a bit during discussions.

But what would you say is a comfortable platform to do .NET development on? I currently use Visual studio 2010, local SQL Server 2008 R2 (Developer Edition), 1-3 local VM's for doing testing, and I use Windows 7 Enterprise x64 as OS.

I myself don't feel that this list is very overkill, not to mention that it's very future proof. I put on 240Gb of system-disk, and 4Tb of storage, so I won't run out of space anytime soon. It's a i7 quadcore, 16Gb memory... It's not the bare minimum, but it's not very exaggerated?

10000 NOK is about $1900 USD.

  • Get a fast processor and go lower on memory and storage. You should be able to upgrade if you can show your boss how long things are taking.
    – JeffO
    Aug 31, 2011 at 19:20
  • 2
    I think that's pretty exaggerated, but it might depend on what you're actually developing. Either way, though, I think this question as written may be bordering on "not constructive" here. I suggest editing it to focus more on "how should I choose my hardware" instead of "please review my shopping choices". See Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping for a more detailed example. Thanks!
    – Adam Lear
    Aug 31, 2011 at 19:21
  • I'm sorry, it wasn't meant as a "review" post, I was actually looking for tips on what would be a future-proof development-machine, our CFO has a 5-year lifetime on pc's... But like I said, they have no experience on buying developer units. Aug 31, 2011 at 19:26
  • Off topic, but Raid-ing your SSD's might not be a good idea, as their performance will degrade over time with the lack of TRIM support superuser.com/questions/139804/…. Otherwise, I see nothing wrong with your build. I currently run something very similar (but 'only' 12gb memory) and love it. IMHO if a company wants to argue over $2k to make their (much more expensive) developer more productive, then they need to move out of the stone age.
    – Brook
    Aug 31, 2011 at 19:48
  • 2
    Code is small. Save the storage for the repo. Aug 31, 2011 at 19:50

5 Answers 5


In my opinion you should be fine with a i5 and 8GB ram. The most important part actually is the hard drive speed, Visual Studio is VERY I/O bound.

  • This is what I went with in the end. Only with 16GB ram. Got a 256GB system drive and Windows 8. The system boots in about 8 seconds from cold. :) Jun 4, 2013 at 10:30

I would say its a bit overkill, no need to break the budget for a development box. Maybe investing in a quality test system would be better than running virtual machines the same PC you develop in. I also don't know how future-proof your system will be, considering new development PC's would probably be bought every few years anyways. Other than that, seems like a killer setup for a solo dev!


I have just purchased new dev PC, mostly for .NET and web development (including DBs, graphics tools - Photoshop, Expression Blend). It has i5 2500k, 12GB RAM, SSD 80GB + HDD 500GB, 2 x 23" LCD. Working with various projects, from small (1 - 3 projects) to medium sized (5 - 15 projects), it works really fast, my CPU and RAM graph is mostly at bottom! I have also two more dev PCs (desktop - intel e2160 1.8ghz oclocked to 3ghz, 5gb ram, hdd, and one 2core 11.6" netbook), it's faster, a lot (3x - 5x compilation time), but I would never go to i7, difference is unnoticeable, or even SSD Raids, that's just waste of money in my opinion. Better investment would be third monitor, high end mouse/keyboard, or even chair you sit on.
Difference between low end i5 and high end i7 is so low I wouldn't notice it, or it would take me some time.
So optimal configuration is: mid i5, 12gb ram, fast ssd (like x25m), HDD, 2 big LCDs (LEDs,...), and good mouse and keyboard, or decent speaker for grooveshark in background. If you're not doing some crazy stuff, like enormous DB, high end 3d, or similar, you'll be fine.


I have basically the same software running, but with 4GB RAM, and a Core Duo 3.17Ghz processor. The only performance issues I have ever experienced are related to IO, which the machine does not affect, and once a out of memory issue due to a VS 2010 memory leak that no amount af RAM could have solved. This seems like overkill as far as using a machine today or in the next year is concerned. Beyond that, $200 worth of upgrades could get you through another couple years (RAM, storage, etc.). Future proofing is almost always a bad idea, due to cashflow and infeasability (how do you future proof something with features that do not even exist yet?).

  • My current unit is a laptop, so it has limited upgrade potential... :) Aug 31, 2011 at 22:38

My company just purchased a new PC for me in July 2011. I do .NET and C++ development.

  • Windows 7 Professional (64-bit)
  • Intel Xeon W3565 (3.20 GHz, 4 hyper-threaded cores)
  • 6 GB DDR3
  • Western Digital WD3000HLFS (300 GB, 10k rpm, 16 MB cache, SATA 3.0 Gbps)
  • ATI FirePro V5800 (PCI Express 2.0, 1024 MB GDDR5)
  • Dual 1280x1024 LCDs

I would prefer larger widescreen monitors and an SSD, but overall the machine keeps up with me.

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