With the new crop of Macs on Apple Store, I thought I'd revisit my hardware recommendations for an analysis workstation.
I saw no benefits going with expensive disks - if you can get the regular sata-2 disks @ 7200RPM, that's plenty. I did not see a significant increase between that (~60MB/s thruput) and RAMdisk (~600MB/s average thruput) . The biggest slowdown in analysis is loading data via network. If you can avoid that, or pre-cache this step before analysis, it will improve your overall efficiency. Analyzing even on a gigabit network makes the analysis 2x slower vs. a standard local disk.
I have not yet met a network/server configuration that fully utilizes the capacity of a single quad-core mac. If you are serious about performance, don't analyze over a network.
Our code has been optimized for up to 4-simultaneous processors. We saw no benefit going from 4- to 8-core workstation, thus, I would recommend getting a quad-core desktop instead of the octa-core and save ~2100USD.(almost enough to buy a second 4-core mac.).
I would definitely recommend a big screen. Two 24 inch screens will cost less and produce more area than a single 30inch. If budget is of no concern, get two 30's :) If budget is of concern, get non-Apple displays. They work just as well.
FlowJo doesn't use more than 2GB, being a 32 bit application. However, other programs may compete for this resource, and thus it is a good idea to have double that - about a gig for OSX and it's processes, and perhaps another gig for user apps like mail, excel, web browser, etc.. If you're on a tight budget, consider a non-Apple memory vendor like Crucial.