I am currently a .NET software developer(SQL Server, ASP.NET, C#, MVC & Web Forms). In my spare time I'm researching different areas of environmental science. E.g.(Hydrology, Ecology, Atmospheric Science...) I'd eventually like to be working in a scientific field contributing in some way to the preservation and healthy, efficient function of our home. Clean water is my biggest interest. I wanted to say all that so you could get a feel of what type of sci-computing I could be doing; I might be working with Weather models or hydrology models. I've also stumbled upon BOINC(Berkley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) and wouldn't mind have my machine work with some Distributed Scientific Computing. E.g. http://www.climateprediction.net/ .
What kind of processing power do I need? Could anyone recommend a sample build?