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Need CPU & Chipset advice for building a "HackPro"workstation

Workstation Dual CPU Ivy Bridge E

Best Answer Rampage Dev, 03 October 2013 - 09:40 PM

Here is my suggested build:

 

 

All you have to do is find the items in your area. 

 

This system offers SAS III raid in Raid 10. The SAS card is bootable for mac as well but the SSD will be connected to the onboard SATA. 

 

Note to use the latest Ivy B E chips you need a modded kernel for the time being. Apple has been using internal builds of OS X on there new Mac Pro's so once that comes out there will no longer be a need to use the modded kernel. 

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#21
theconnactic

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I'd rather follow Rampage's advice and accept his help with this, than go hit-and-miss and risk losing a ****load of money, Frankie: he's supporting LGA 2011 for quite a while.

All the best!

#22
frankiee

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What do you mean by "real budget"? Actually this _is_ my "real budget". Look, I do not make anything up, anything I wrote is like it is ;)

 

Let me explain: To be precise, my budget is exactly 5000 Euros (I am located in Germany). Just checked and this is actually 6.790 dollars right now. But hey, we always have to pay more here ... so maybe 6000 is about right. Might go a bit higher if that would give me any substantial advantage, but by going lower, I will actually loose a good part of the saved money!

 

And this is really due to tax reasons: basically, I promised my Finanzamt some years ago, that I will invest 5000 Euros in a new computer within a certain time span - thought that would be better instead of paying taxes, and I need some new computer from time to time anyways. And back then, this was originally meant for a new Mac Pro. Well ... I meant a "real" one ... not this one now. So yes, sounds crazy, but it is like it this. The only way out I saw then is to build one myself bc I really want to stay on OS X.

 

But yes, of course I would really appreciate if you could make a suggestion ;)

 

Think I have wrote a bit about what I want already, but to sum it up, in order of importance:

 

- "general purpose workstation" mainly used for design and development, but also 3D and video animation / encoding. Must also do well with lots of VMs running at the same time.

- most "native" and stable OS X support & experience possible (but also with dual boot option), including turbo, power management etc (eg by going the clover route?)

- great reliability with all components

- great performance with both CPU/GPU, but also fast (and reliable!) storage and I/O, so overall performance is well balanced

- (relative) Silence

 

Nice to have: Not too much hassle with OS X updates, Firewire support on the Mobo, decent gaming capabilities and if everything would fit in a case that is not too big (and has a more minimalistic / clean look).

 

And I also have still a bit of time left. The "deadline" I have is the end of the year. So my original plan was to wait for release of the new mac pro (and Mavericks) anyway, check it's specs and try to build something similar, at least in terms of CPU and chipset



#23
Rampage Dev

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Best Answer

Here is my suggested build:

 

Attached File  Newegg.com - Once You Know, You Newegg.pdf   135.1KB   53 downloads

 

All you have to do is find the items in your area. 

 

This system offers SAS III raid in Raid 10. The SAS card is bootable for mac as well but the SSD will be connected to the onboard SATA. 

 

Note to use the latest Ivy B E chips you need a modded kernel for the time being. Apple has been using internal builds of OS X on there new Mac Pro's so once that comes out there will no longer be a need to use the modded kernel. 



#24
frankiee

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First of all, thanks a LOT for your build list! I will go through this step by step, just curious how these prices will translate when ordering everything from the EU.

 

Some points:

 

So you are also recommending to OC this rig? At least the components seem to be made for that. But now, I am already looking at a LOT of fans - there are 4 of them for cooling the memory alone, and also one on the mobo itself - this is one thing I am especially wary of: what if this one fails, can you even replace it?

 

So I ask myself if this would still result in a silent system. I am very very sensitive to loud rigs (suffering from hyperacusis), and so I expect the system to be more or less inaudible when idling or while under light load. Even under heavy load, it shouldn't really sound like my G5 back then, which had more resemblance to a vaccuum cleaner then a computer. This made me MAD all the time and I was sooo happy to get the much quieter Mac Pro instead. But now, even my 3,1 is simply too noisy for my taste. So that would be my main concern with your proposal - but of course I might be wrong. So even _one_ fan making funny whining noises would be already too much. Also keep in mind that I need some proper air filtering, at least my Mac Pro is filling with dust over time, so I have to clean it on a regular basis.

 

As for the dual 780s, I also don't know if they would be perfect for what I want. On the one hand they generate more heat and noise than a single titan, and I already said that I am not a hardcore gamer, so for example I don't need a SLI setup. On the other hand, the Titan seems to be better suited for GPGPU, with having much more VRAM, and also way better floating point capabilities. I just saw a blender benchmark, and there the Titan was over two times as fast as a single 780! Especially with blender it is a huge benefit if the whole scene can be rendered on the GPU. So the raw numbers do not tell everything. Plus, Premiere can only handle one GPU anyway. Didn't find any numbers for After Effects, but I also assume that more VRAM will be a big plus here.

 

Lastly, the amount of storage is a bit more than I need. Would it make sense to go with less storage, but make that even faster then? That's why I thought about having a PCI based solution for (dual) boot, a fast SSD or even an SSD RAID for my main data drive, plus some slower (and bigger) HDDs for archived files I don't need that often. For that type of storage, a RAID wouldn't be needed either, I guess.



#25
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You can OC if you want. 4.2 OC is 100% stable under mac. Also OCing under Mac is more stable then windows. 

 

More GPU's improve CUDA performance a lot. The GPU model I listed is very quiet and very efficient when it comes to noise and heat. In short you want to have Dual cards for what you are doing. When your rendering and in a rush it comes in nicely. 

 

RAID SSD's is a waste and a RAID 10 setup would be just as fast while giving you more storage and a safer backup as well. 

 

The fans on the ram are optional. More for looks then function and the fans are replaceable. Also you can by high end fans for the case with low DB and use them for all the fans. That would get the DB you are looking for. 



#26
frankiee

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Thanks for the insights! Good to hear that I would still be able to have a silent system. So yeah, this Board / CPU / RAM combination you mentioned could be in fact a decent solution for my requirements.

 

More GPU's improve CUDA performance a lot.

 

Except for Premiere, which cannot handle two of them and except for Blender, where VRAM and FP perf. is more important in many situations - so that depends. Unfortunately, still have no data about how these two (Titan and 780) would compare in AE. AE is such a resource hungry monster it's not funny ... so that would not be unimportant as well.

 

RAID SSD's is a waste and a RAID 10 setup would be just as fast while giving you more storage and a safer backup as well.

 

So you think PCI SSD is also a waste? At least the specs of some models (eg Revodrive X3) are just insane, for example 1,5 GB reads / sec and 230,000 IOPS. Does a conventional RAID 10 deliver that? Plus, 4 HDDs make more heat and noise, but you're right about data protection. So therefore, the original thought was to use a PCI 512GB SSD for System, RAID1 on two 512GB SSDs for "hot" data (for fast read times and added protection) and two additonal 3 TB HDDs, where I think I simply don't need any RAID (they will be "sleeping" most of the time anyways). Basically, I want a lot of speed on a smaller data set (maybe about 0,7 TB overall) and much less speed would be needed on a greater set of data (about 4 TB). "Speed" also means not only throughput, but also very fast access times since I am dealing with many many rather small files on a regular basis. 16 TB is way too much, what shall I do with it ;)



#27
Rampage Dev

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To start I said RAID 10 (4 4TB drives = 8 TB usable)...

 

PCIe SSD's are a waste as there are unstable and suffer from many issues unlike there professional counter parts... 

 

The HDD's would get RW around 300MB sec. That would be good enough for anything you would want to do. What you had thought up for a raid system would be so unstable that at the first glitch good bye data. 



#28
frankiee

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To start I said RAID 10 (4 4TB drives = 8 TB usable)...

 

*slap on head* Well, yes.

 

PCIe SSD's are a waste as there are unstable and suffer from many issues unlike there professional counter parts...

 

Understand. But would that also apply to a RAID1 with "conventional" SSDs? I mean the main point of doing that would be added failure protection just for the case if one of the two goes down or corrupt, not so much data protection, that what's backups for imho. I am still a bit wary of putting my data and home folder on a SSD, but on the other hand, after changing my System drive to a SSD a year ago, it was such a dramatic increase in performance and a completely flawless experience (so far) that I have to admit I am _really_ tempted to move more of my stuff to a SSD for even more speedup. And stressing 4 harddrives a bit at the same time sounds not too nice in my ears at least in my 3,1 (just tested - normally they never run in this way). So I would rather prefer to reduce that type of noise, ideally to zero.

 

OK, still some time to think about it anyway, waiting for 10.9 ... just saw GM is out ;)



#29
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*slap on head* Well, yes.

 

 

Understand. But would that also apply to a RAID1 with "conventional" SSDs? I mean the main point of doing that would be added failure protection just for the case if one of the two goes down or corrupt, not so much data protection, that what's backups for imho. I am still a bit wary of putting my data and home folder on a SSD, but on the other hand, after changing my System drive to a SSD a year ago, it was such a dramatic increase in performance and a completely flawless experience (so far) that I have to admit I am _really_ tempted to move more of my stuff to a SSD for even more speedup. And stressing 4 harddrives a bit at the same time sounds not too nice in my ears at least in my 3,1 (just tested - normally they never run in this way). So I would rather prefer to reduce that type of noise, ideally to zero.

 

OK, still some time to think about it anyway, waiting for 10.9 ... just saw GM is out ;)

 

Time Machine backup of the SSD on the RAID 10. That will back up your SSD. 



#30
frankiee

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Time Machine backup of the SSD on the RAID 10. That will back up your SSD. 

 

Yeah, Time Machine is my first line of defence against data loss. But I also do off site backups in addition. Still not sure about the additional noise of 4HDDs, but I will think about it. So, no problem running time machine in a RAID? Never thought about this option I have to admit.

 

Regarding case: the Lian Li you recommended is quite massive, so what do you think of the Fortress FT02 as an alternative? Will it be suitable for this build? I like it's looks and this seems to be one of the relatively few cases that are both silent and still have great cooling capabiltites, so it might be even suitable for OCing a bit without generating too much additional noise. Not too much room for the board it seems though, but should fit according to the specs.



#31
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The SAS card allows for bootable RAID under Mac however you lose Sleep with the card as it does not support sleep as a boot drive. Apple has been addressing sleep issues with RAID cards as of late. 

 

Fortress FT02 would work however with only 5 HDD bays it limits the expansion for more HDD's and SSD's in the future. You never know when you need more internal storage. 



#32
frankiee

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The SAS card allows for bootable RAID under Mac however you lose Sleep with the card as it does not support sleep as a boot drive. Apple has been addressing sleep issues with RAID cards as of late. 

 

Fortress FT02 would work however with only 5 HDD bays it limits the expansion for more HDD's and SSD's in the future. You never know when you need more internal storage. 

 

Yeah, sleep for the boot drive is not what I want anyway, also not for my "hot" data drive. Where it would be interesting though, is for the HDDs holding less used data. Sleeping would be what these drives do most of the time anyway. And I think anything that saves heat (and energy) while not being actively used can not hurt.

 

As for the case, I counted 9 drive bays total? And especially the fact that this case is much narrower is nothing to ignore, since the machine will sit under my desk. So I think for now I'll stick with that case - until I find something better of course. But it already seems to be quite perfect for me, may only need some even quieter fans. I also looked at the Fractal Design R4, but I think this might have some cooling issues then, especially when I decide to go with 2 GPUs now or later.

 

Again, thanks for all your input, I feel that I am slowly progressing towards a nice solution. I begin to realize that this is really not about getting some extreme scores in some benchmark, or about looking at one specific component in isolation - but rather about finding the right overall balance, so that the result would fit to my various "needs and wants" as good as possible. Very interesting, and I am already curious about the result ;)



#33
frankiee

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Why even use bootcamp on a pc? Use a vm and have even faster access.

 

Well, one thing came to my mind why it still could make sense to use at least some parts from bootcamp, and that is keyboard support. I will surely continue using a Mac keyboard, and it would be nice if the Volume and Eject keys (plus the screen overlay) would still work with a hack.



#34
frankiee

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RampageDev,

 

what would you think of using the ASUS P9X79 WS as an alternative to the RIVE?

 

Did some more extensive research with mobos, and I think this might be a quite better fit for me:

  • Frankly, I think I do not need all these additional OC related capabilties of the RIVE, things like "Subzero Sense" of "VGA Hotwire" will surely never needed by me. I mean, I will leave the record breaking to the more experienced users ;) While I think I might OC my CPU a bit (but not my RAM!), I would prefer doing this by leaving voltages and BCLK at stock as close as possible, and I think this board should take this kind of mild OCing with ease. On the other hand, features like XMP are also still there.
  • This board has also a Firewire port - big plus for me if that would spare me an extra PCI card, leaving more room for future expansion
  • Also heard that the 2nd SATA controller on the RIVE (the ASMedia one) is not too good esp. when using SSDs. So I am under the impression that I might even need another card if I want more than 2 SSDs running at SATA III speeds (which I probably want anyway, still working on my storage solution)
  • It has no fan, therefore less noise. Also heard that the RIVE onboard fan can be quite annoying.
  • Also, there would be even an upgrade path to some E5 XEONs, so if I would ever see that I need some more cores I could even use a 12core like in the new Mac Pro.
  • Also has SSD caching, might be useful to speed up my traditional HDDs

Also despite the differences, looks like the two mobos are relatively similar, and also seems this board will run well as a hackintosh, so what would you think?



#35
Rampage Dev

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If you do not want the R4E get this:

 

GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI

 

Unless you like the other Asus board which is fine.

 

Lets make a few things clear ok? I done testing on almost every OEM board on the market for LGA2011 for home use. So please read carefully what I have to say:

 

I have the R4E and AsMedia is by far the best SATA III 3rd party controller and works fine for SSD's. 

 

There is no sound at all from the onboard fan. What the issue with the users who have fan issues is that they damaged it. You can turn it off as well but is there when you are running the system long term. 

 

The Xeons are slower the new latest Ivy B E I& @4.2 GB for the record. Also the R4E supports Xeons however they do not list it so people do not think that they can OC them on this board as they are locked.

 

SSD caching is a joke and does not work on Mac. 



#36
frankiee

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So if the ASMedia controller is working without issues (also for SSDs) that would solve my biggest gripe I had with the RIVE. As for the XEONs, this was merely another rather theoretical option I would have, but for now I think I'll stick with the CPU you recommended anyway, since my workflow  should be indeed faster with this type of CPU. Think a single XEON will only be faster if you really need a lot of cores, or do not OC the i7 at all.

 

As for the fan: well I actually heard quite a lot of complaints about the fan noise, even with some reviews. So I do not think they really all actually destroyed their fans, but maybe let them run at 100% instead? And these types of fans surely can be quite annoying if they are running at full speed. Maybe that sounds strange to you, but this is really an important point for me. I remember changing GPUs, respective their cooling systems several times, bc I was so annoyed by the stock fans after some time. Also, it is just another moving part, which can get dusty or even die. But, if I can switch it off without having any side effects, I would be fine with that.

 

And the GA-X79S-UP5-WIFI was actually one of the first Mobos I had in focus, think I also asked about this board in this thread. However, after a second look I discovered that this board seems to have only two SATA III connectors onboard (the other two are eSATAs on the backplate). Therefore I would actually prefer both ASUS boards over the Gigabyte. And as it seems now, the only real remaining advantage of the P9X79 WS over the RIVE would be the firewire port, which could spare me using an additional PCI card - but of course only if that port would work with OS X ... does it?

 

So now, it seems that it all boiles down to either the RAMPAGE IV Extreme or the ASUS P9X79 WS ... at least I have narrowed down my choices quite a bit, and my question of choosing the right CPU / Mobo combination is (almost) answered now ;) Thanks again!



#37
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Firewire port does work. Its a VIA port if I recall. So now its just which board you like. lol 



#38
frankiee

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So now its just which board you like. lol 

 

Haha, don't make it that easy ;) Bc I saw that with both boards, there are somewhat newer variants: the ASUS P9X79-E WS and the newly announced Rampage IV Black Edition.

 

The R4 Black Edition is said to be optimized for IVY-E - which I plan to use. I wonder what that optimization might be, and if it could be worth waiting a bit more for this board to arrive? On the other hand, it is not out yet and it would mean to work with a very new board.

 

The P9X79-E on the other side would give me even more SATA III ports by using an additional controller, and a better onboard sound (ALC1150). So does it make sense to consider also these variants?

 

And I have also a question about the R4E: What I basically would really like is to have a cooling solution that is 100% temperature controlled for optimum noise / cooling ratios - of course at the BIOS level and not using some software. The h80i just seems to do that out of the box - which is nice - and the R4E also has these additional temp sensors. Does it make sense to actually use them, and can I build such a variable fan solution solution using the R4E only, and not by needing some additional fan controller? That would be a big plus. The WS boards on the other hand, have some similar BIOS settings for fan control, but lack the additional sensors, so I think they only can use the onboard sensors. But I could also use some temp controlled fans with their own sensors in this case.



#39
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Haha, don't make it that easy ;) Bc I saw that with both boards, there are somewhat newer variants: the ASUS P9X79-E WS and the newly announced Rampage IV Black Edition.

 

The R4 Black Edition is said to be optimized for IVY-E - which I plan to use. I wonder what that optimization might be, and if it could be worth waiting a bit more for this board to arrive? On the other hand, it is not out yet and it would mean to work with a very new board.

 

The P9X79-E on the other side would give me even more SATA III ports by using an additional controller, and a better onboard sound (ALC1150). So does it make sense to consider also these variants?

 

And I have also a question about the R4E: What I basically would really like is to have a cooling solution that is 100% temperature controlled for optimum noise / cooling ratios - of course at the BIOS level and not using some software. The h80i just seems to do that out of the box - which is nice - and the R4E also has these additional temp sensors. Does it make sense to actually use them, and can I build such a variable fan solution solution using the R4E only, and not by needing some additional fan controller? That would be a big plus. The WS boards on the other hand, have some similar BIOS settings for fan control, but lack the additional sensors, so I think they only can use the onboard sensors. But I could also use some temp controlled fans with their own sensors in this case.

 

The new boards have some stability issues from tests I have done. Very early to start recommending them. PWM fans are what you want. 



#40
joe75

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A PWM splitter would be the best option without using individual controllers.

 

http://www.frozencpu...l?tl=g12c34s274







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