This is a bit of a long shot and open ended. I hope this fits into the category well enough. I’m looking for some help sourcing desktop hardware on a limited budget. The goal is to get as close to a workstation as possible.
To give some context I’m a PhD student in Canada. My university supplied desktop has a failing motherboard that likes to turn off the system when it’s most inconvenient. Due to limited funding a replacement won’t happen for a year or more. In the mean time I’ve been using my personal laptop. Unfortunately it struggles thermally despite a repaste, some undervolting and plenty of verbal encouragement.
My research revolves around numerical analysis, specifically my area is numerical relativity. So it’s helpful to have a moderate amount of local system resources for developing and testing my code. My personal system at home is fine. I have access to a HPC cluster to run my full simulations. So I don’t strictly need some unholy HEDT monstrosity born of 99 forbidden industry partnerships for my office.
I do need something better than I have however, and a replacement for that desktop is left up to me. I’m not keen on spending my own money on work. I’ll be weighing budget and hardware specs against each other so I’m not approaching this with any specifics for either.
If I can manage a dumpster desktop for free with my own parts and whatever I can scrounge up then that’s what I’ll do. If it stays powered on and is able to out perform a thermal throttling 4700MQ it hits my minimum requirements.
That said I’m open to spending my own money if it gets me a great deal closer to workstation level performance. It really comes down to how much performance my shiny Loonies actually get me.
My hope is for some advice on where to look for used or new desktop hardware beyond the normal consumer/retail spaces. Maybe someone knows of often-missed locations, sellers, or events with hardware deals for a Canadian to check out? Maybe someone can point me towards programs, retailers or companies with a history of donating hardware to academia that I could reach out to?
Any advice or discussion is welcome.
Thanks for reading, cheers!