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  1. #1
    Joined
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    High end build - looking for critiques

    I'm working on a build that I'm planning on doing in a few separate rounds. The first round is to get the mobo/cpu/ram/PSU/case together so I have something that'll post. I have about $1000 for this, $1100 is my absolute 'not a penny more' ceiling. After that I'll replace my old storage and my old GPU. In two months I'll have no more than $300 to spend on GPUs and this Summer, no more than $200 for storage.

    The target price for this build is $1600 and the ceiling price is $1900.

    This system is meant to be used as a hybrid gaming/programming/3D modeling workstation. GPGPU performance is weighted more heavily than anything else.

    Here's what I have for round 1:

    CPU: Core i7-3770K http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819116501 with a plan to OC to 4.5 GHZ
    Cooler: Corsair H100: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16835181017 (Considering an H100i)
    Mobo: MSI Z77 MPOWER: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130660
    RAM: 32 gigs of G.Skill DDR3 1866: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820231529
    PSU: Corsair HX series 850W PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139011 OR

    Corsair TX series 850W PSU: http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Enthus...s=corsair+850w (or one of the other 850W PSUs)

    This totals out to about $950 and will fit in my Antec 1200, which I want to replace because of the dust filters but will live with.

    My first conundrum is my overclocking headroom. I want to push this CPU to 4.2-4.5 GHZ. I don't like the idea of liquid cooling, nor do I like the idea of load temps above 75C because this system will run at 100% load for extended periods of time.

    Round 2 is GPUs. I'm a bit odd in this case. I'm a Blender 3D user and Blender 3D Cycles rendering engine doesn't work with AMD cards - yet. The geforce 6xx series also performs worse than the 5xx series in Cycles.

    There's a messy list of Cycles benchmarks here and an outdated but cleaned up one here. The TL;DR is that without an Nvidia GPU it's 3 minutes/frame, with one it's 30-40 seconds/frame. Rendering an animation that needs 15 frames per second of animation means this adds up extremely quickly.

    So I'm looking at the Geforce 5xx series on ebay. GTX 580s are around $250/each. I've considered something like 3xGTX 570s as well because those occasionally drop down to $150/each.

    Round 3 is storage. I plan on grabbing a larger SSD and 2x3TB drives the next time the latter are under $75/pop



    Is there any fat that I can trim so far?
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  2. #2
    Joined
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    I love the Z77 MPower motherboard but you can find some lower cost options out there, even from MSI. Maybe the G45 with or without Thunderbolt?

    As for the GPU; that is a problem many people have with the Kepler consumer parts - kind of a pain. I would go with the GTX 580 or 570 option just know you are going to have louder, hotter system than you would with the GTX 600s in gaming scenarios.

    SSD? Yeah, you needs to have one of those if you want your system to "feel" fast and not just be fast, if that makes any sense.
    Ryan Shrout
    Owner, PC Perspective
    rshrout -at- pcper -dot- com
    --= Follow me on Twitter =--


  3. #3
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    I noticed something weird. On one G45 mobo, newegg's detailed specs report that there are only 2xPCI-e 3.0 x16 slots, with 1xPCI-E 2.0, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130645 . On the Thunderbolt edition, there appear to be 3 PCI-E 3.0 slots, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813130665

    I'm watching these Geforce Titan cards. I had a long discussion over here: http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=7498392 on the merits of AMD vs Nvidia cards for GPGPU. It may turn out that the power savings are worth the $300 price premium on a pair of GTX 580s and the performance measurement - beating a GTX 690 - has me enthused. If you get one to review, could you put it through a GPGPU gauntlet?

    I'm running in an Antec 1200 and I already have a 256 gig Samsung 830 that I can hardly wait to put on SATA-III, so heat+fast storage isn't an issue, but power consumption and archival storage will be. I'm considering getting one of the caching SSDs to work with a RAID-1 array of 3TB drives, has there been any news on these?
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  4. #4
    Joined
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    Not sure on the G45 that shows 18/4/4 option...I hadn't heard of that and it would require a bridge chip of some kind that it doesn't have...that I know of. I wouldn't count on that being accurate. Think 8/8 + x4 from the chipset.

    If we get a Titan, I can do that for you. Do you have some specific GPGPU test that would useful and also easy for us to use and relevant?

    Cache on the RAID 1 array? That's probably not going to be useful if those drives are for archival purpose. Cache is really only a benefit when you are specific data on a HDD often.
    Ryan Shrout
    Owner, PC Perspective
    rshrout -at- pcper -dot- com
    --= Follow me on Twitter =--


  5. #5
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    The first thing that comes to mind as a good general benchmark is Luxmark, http://www.luxrender.net/wiki/LuxMark . I think you've been using it already.

    For Nvidia cards, www.blender.org 's Cycles render engine is what I personally want to see and what I'm building for. I don't know that there's a modern, standard benchmark scene out for it. Currently it only uses CUDA cards for GPGPU acceleration. The caveat with having Cycles in a benchmark situation is that it's being updated frequently.

    If you post on www.blenderartists.org 's forums and mention that you're considering including Cycles in your Nvidia GPU benchmarks and you need a modern scene to benchmark with, I'm certain you'll get something that's almost completely set up for you.

    Since I'm a computer science student looking at switching to computer engineering and/or materials engineering, I'm interested in just about any GPGPU benchmark you can put a card through!
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  6. #6
    Joined
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    Florence, KY, USA
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    Thanks for the tips. I definitely need something that can run on both NVIDIA and AMD solutions to be very useful.
    Ryan Shrout
    Owner, PC Perspective
    rshrout -at- pcper -dot- com
    --= Follow me on Twitter =--


  7. #7
    Joined
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    Allegedly the Titan's double precision performance is DOA, which completely destroys my interest in them. I've never really been partisan with computer parts in the past - I'd not pick sides between AMD/Intel or ATI/Nvidia, but Nvidia's artificial market segmentation is seriously starting to bother me.

    I wonder if the softmod scene is still around.
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  8. #8
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    Re: High end build - looking for critiques

    System has been built!

    CPU: I7-3770K @ 4.2 GHZ
    CPU HSF: Cooler Master TPC-812
    Mobo: MSI MPOWER
    RAM: 32 gigs of G.Skill DDR3-1866. I picked the flashy blue kind that looked the shortest.
    GPUs: 2xGTX 480s, undervolted from 1.075V max to 1.000V max, no performance decrease. These things run REALLY fragging hot even in my case.
    Case: Antec 1200
    PSU: Corsair HX1050
    HDD1: Samsung 830 256G
    HDD2: RAID-1 WD 1TB Caviar Black drives

    Regrets: I saved $100 going for 2xGTX 480s instead of 2xGTX 580 1.5 gig cards. I would have preferred the 3 gig cards for rendering, but I figure that 1.5 gigs of RAM is big enough to fit any scene I'm going to be working on as a novice modeler. I can upgrade to bigger cards if I make money at my hobby. However, taming these things' heat output will not be an easy task. I managed to shave 5-10C off of them at load by undervolting them, but they still hit about 85C at load and idle around 45-50C.

    Using the GTX 580s would have saved me 40W at load, plus 4 watts due to AC-DC conversion plus 44*1/3 watts in air conditioning costs. About 15 cents every 1000/(40+4+40*1/3) hours while rendering. By my post-midnight math that means I would break even after 24,333 hours at load. I don't feel that it was a bad deal, however, less heat output would have made me very happy, considering Oklahoman summers are breaking into the mid 110s.

    I also don't like this CPU cooler. I think it might be a bit weak. I'm hitting 70C on one of my cores and on my package, without a voltage increase, and I'm only running a 700MHZ overclock. Turboboost would bump my clocks up significantly and the stock HSF could be mistaken for an intimidating stack of spraypainted pringles. Considering I paid quite a bit for this cooler and considering its frostytech rank, I expected it to not break a sweat at this clockspeed. I'm probably going to turn on the integrated graphics at some point so that I can use all of my GPUs RAM for rendering - I'm not going to get to 4.5. Oh well.


    However, that being said, the thing's as fast as a bat out of hell and I could not be happier!

    Quote Originally Posted by Old system benchmarks
    Cycles benchmark: 8:37.72 (min:sec.ms)

    Luxmark (higher is better):

    -GPU-only
    Complex:293
    Sala: 638
    Luxball HDR: 6318

    -GPU+CPU
    Complex: 285
    Sala: 479
    Luxball HDR: 3762

    -CPU
    Complex:100
    Sala: 196
    Luxball HDR: 1655
    Quote Originally Posted by New system benchmarks
    Cycles:
    CPU at 4.2: 3:33.68 (min:sec.ms)

    GPU w/ CPU at 4.2: (Lost this, ~ 1:30)

    2xGPUs at 4.2: 0:46.65

    Luxmark (4.2 GHZ) (higher is better):
    -CPU-only
    Complex: 358
    Sala: 602
    Luxball HDR: 4381

    -1 GPU
    Complex: 353
    Sala: 750
    Luxball HDR: 5048

    -1 GPU+CPU@4.2GHZ
    Complex:671
    Sala:1282
    Luxball HDR: 8946

    -2 GPU+CPU@4.2GHZ
    Complex:977
    Sala: 1959
    Luxball HDR: 13898
    Last edited by Windrunner; 04-03-2013 at 01:31 AM.
    My heatware

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