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3D Workstation New Build - Cooling Advice Needed

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April 15, 2014 6:08:45 AM

Motherboard: Asus P9X79 E-WS or just WS

CPU: Intel i7 4930K or i7 4960x (if I can get one for a bargain on ebay)

RAM: 32GB (4x8) DDR3 1600MHz (non ECC)

GPU: PNY Nvidia Quadro K5000

CPU Cooling System: Kraken x60 Extreme

PSU: Corsair 1200w 80+ Platinum

Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D Paid: 2390SEK / £217
Overclockers.nu_900D

Monitor: Dell 2412M IPS LED Backlight



Hi all. This is my first post on Tom's Hardware. I'm building a new workstation for 3D work - mostly focused on modeling, lighting, rendering high quality stills but I've been getting into animation and dynamics a bit more recently. Primarily using Maya 2014 with standalone mental ray. I also use the vray and arnold renderers.

From the list above, the 900D case is the only thing I have bought yet as it was on deal here in Sweden. The reason I got this particular case was for its expansion possibilities down the line. I'm not planning on overclocking the CPU unless I really have to.

The question is, apart from the Kraken CPU cooler, what else should I add to my shopping list to keep the components cool? I know the 900D was made with water cooling in mind, but since I'm not planning on OCing just yet and will only have the one GPU to start with, can I get away without an AIO water cooling system/radiators for now?

Should I fill out the case with the maximum 15 fans? (3x front 120mm and 1x rear 140mm are included with the case)

Thanks for any advice. It's probably quite apparent to you all that this will be my first home build.

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April 15, 2014 6:23:09 AM

You definitely do not need to fill all the fan slots, especially with your current component list. All that will do is create a large amount of added cost, power draw and noise with very little added benefit. Make sure you have a few fans that can get a good airflow path onto the motherboard chipset heatsinks and you will be fine.

I would highly suggest going with a faster ram, especially if you are getting into further rendering. 32gb is great so you can possibly set up a ramdisk on 16gb or so, which will really boost your render responsiveness, especially when saving/loading large textures, light map files and other shared resources. I would check into some 2133 mhz ram from Corsair or Gskill.

The power supply is mega overkill. Unless you plan on building up to a 4 GPU rig (those Quadro cards sip power), then you definitely do not need a 1200W PSU. You should be looking more for a 500W-600W unit for what you are detailing currently.
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April 15, 2014 6:25:29 AM

Everything will stay pretty cool with what you have, if you really aren't going to overclock the heck out of everything. I'm pretty sure you're going to find you don't need anything more for cooling.

The question of how many fans to use... Since each fan adds more noise, my philosophy is use as few fans as possible to stay within temperature tolerances of your components.
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April 15, 2014 6:32:48 AM

If you have your workstation in a room or office you can close off (not your bedroom) you definitely should keep the system as cool as possible without adding a ton of fans, so I'd say fill the front slots. I'm an architectural designer and build all of my firms workstations and rendering rigs. I've got a few 3960X chips with H100 and Noctua NDH14 coolers on them. When rendering in 3dsmax with mental ray or vray (Vray RT sometimes on a GTX 680), I don't see temps over 60c (~24c ambient) with the NDH14 and usually around 50c max with the H100 builds. These are all mildly overclocked to 4.1ghz with stock voltage. Builds (don't judge on my case usage, limited budget points for individual components) are in Corsair Carbide 500r, 2 120mm fans in the front, H100 on extract in push configuration on the roof and 120mm top rear on extract for those temperatures previously listed.
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April 15, 2014 8:25:04 AM

AMD Radeon said:
toms made a benchmark recently. for your reference
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/specviewperf-12-wor...

for cooler, i suggest getting corsair H105


Thanks for the link. I wish I could slap a couple of 780 Ti's in my build but I need certified hardware and drivers. The Firepros also look impressive in synthetic benchmarks but I hear their driver support leaves a lot to be desired.

Do you think the H105 would outperform the Kraken x60?

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April 15, 2014 8:38:24 AM

The H105 is terrific. I've used it in 2 builds thus far, it beats the rest of Corsairs offerings and ties the X60 unless the X60 is running full tilt. If you put a second set of fans on either unit for a push/pull setup, you'll see even lower temperatures, with minimal noise increase if any at all at normal fan speeds.

I don't like to link non-Toms resources, but here is a review with tons of AIO cooler figures. The H105 is sitting at the top of the charts for the most part.

http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/cases_cooling/corsai...
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April 15, 2014 8:45:47 AM

dwatterworth said:
You definitely do not need to fill all the fan slots, especially with your current component list. All that will do is create a large amount of added cost, power draw and noise with very little added benefit. Make sure you have a few fans that can get a good airflow path onto the motherboard chipset heatsinks and you will be fine.

I would highly suggest going with a faster ram, especially if you are getting into further rendering. 32gb is great so you can possibly set up a ramdisk on 16gb or so, which will really boost your render responsiveness, especially when saving/loading large textures, light map files and other shared resources. I would check into some 2133 mhz ram from Corsair or Gskill.

The power supply is mega overkill. Unless you plan on building up to a 4 GPU rig (those Quadro cards sip power), then you definitely do not need a 1200W PSU. You should be looking more for a 500W-600W unit for what you are detailing currently.


Thanks dwatterworth!

It's good to know that I won't need to fork out a lot of money on an elaborate cooling system just yet, although I do intend to add more GPU's later on. Would it not be more economical to splash out on the 1200W PSU now with further expansion in mind? If I got a 600W now could I put it to use along side another PSU later on? I think my case allows for 2 PSU's.

That's interesting about the RAM. I'll look out for the 2133Mhz dimms.
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April 15, 2014 9:20:41 AM

The 2133 mhz dimms seem to be the most bang for your buck as far as faster sticks goes. You can usually find them for marginally more than the 1600 variety, if not the same when on sale. If you are certain you will be adding at least 1 more GPU, the 1200W unit is probably the way to go to save possibly (depending on the unit) over (2) 600W units, much less complex than trying to duplex the PSU's and most important, it will save on time, which far outweighs +/- $50 price difference between (2) 600W units and a single 1200W.

On the other side, if what you are rendering is mission critical/an extended paying job, down the road leaving that second PSU slot open now will allow you to go for a redundant set.

On top of those suggestions, I would absolutely recommend getting a good battery backup/UPS unit. Your computer, especially under full load/rendering will thank you with decreased strain/increased reliability on all your power delivery circuitry and of course saving you from lost and corrupted files due to power outages.
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April 15, 2014 12:15:34 PM

dwatterworth said:
The 2133 mhz dimms seem to be the most bang for your buck as far as faster sticks goes. You can usually find them for marginally more than the 1600 variety, if not the same when on sale. If you are certain you will be adding at least 1 more GPU, the 1200W unit is probably the way to go to save possibly (depending on the unit) over (2) 600W units, much less complex than trying to duplex the PSU's and most important, it will save on time, which far outweighs +/- $50 price difference between (2) 600W units and a single 1200W.

On the other side, if what you are rendering is mission critical/an extended paying job, down the road leaving that second PSU slot open now will allow you to go for a redundant set.

On top of those suggestions, I would absolutely recommend getting a good battery backup/UPS unit. Your computer, especially under full load/rendering will thank you with decreased strain/increased reliability on all your power delivery circuitry and of course saving you from lost and corrupted files due to power outages.



Thanks for the UPS tip. How about this one?
Fortron EP 850

I've looked at 4x8 2133 options and found the G.Skill RipjawsZ DDR3 PC17000/2133MHz CL9 4x8GB. I also looked at the Corsair Dominator Platinums but they're at least £100 dearer.

G.Skill 32GB 2133 CL9
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April 15, 2014 12:23:05 PM

I'm not familiar with FSP UPS units. I would recommend a larger unit. You could always wait and get it later. I've got a 3770k with a 290x in my home workstation and a 1000W UPS unit which gives it about 7 minutes of up time (while rendering on CPU--170w system load) on a full charge when the power goes out. There are usually software applications you can install on your computer that work with the UPS, letting you specify automatic shutdown or sleep/hibernate options when a specified amount of charge is left in the battery in a power loss situation. I would expect your system to draw a similar amount of power since the CPU has a higher power consumption but the GPU uses far less than my 290x at load or idle.

A fine PSU like you've chosen will go a long way to regulating voltages as well, so the UPS isn't critical up front other than work load protection, but with such a heavy investment, definitely desired eventually.
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April 18, 2014 8:05:15 AM

dwatterworth said:
The H105 is terrific. I've used it in 2 builds thus far, it beats the rest of Corsairs offerings and ties the X60 unless the X60 is running full tilt. If you put a second set of fans on either unit for a push/pull setup, you'll see even lower temperatures, with minimal noise increase if any at all at normal fan speeds.


Sorry to be a pain. With the push/pull setup, do you mean a radiator sandwiched between 2 sets of fans at the top of the 900D?

Would you recommend these Noiseblocker fans for a top push/pull setup or can I just use the Corsair SP120's?

NB_eLoop_B12-4

I bought a 4960x on ebay this morning for €625 incl shipping. Never been used as it was bought in error (or so the seller stated). Think I did OK as the cheapest, new 4930k I could find was €480.




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April 18, 2014 8:17:43 AM

Not a pain at all. Most people on these forums enjoy being able to share information and assist in everyone ending up with the best machines possible.

I do mean 2 sets of (2) fans each sandwiching the radiator body. I would recommend going with the SP120's for a push-pull setup or the Noiseblockers for only a dual fan setup in push configuration (fans on the inside face of the radiator, radiator to the outside face).

The Noiseblockers are rated at a lot higher CFM and static pressure, which is great for absolute radiator performance, but I am skeptical of the sound levels they quote with those figures. By putting up really high air flow and high static pressure over a radiator surface, not to mention the fan blades themselves, a lot more noise will be created.

Either radiator and fan configuration can fit in the top or front. 110mm of clearance on the top of the case, meaning 25mm fan + ~40mm radiator + 25mm (90mm +/- for possible washer/rubber grommet additional depth) fan will have plenty of spare room between the motherboard edge and the edge of the second (inner) set of fans.

That's a good price for the 4960x. That chip will be strong for a very long time.
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April 18, 2014 10:32:01 AM

dwatterworth said:
Not a pain at all. Most people on these forums enjoy being able to share information and assist in everyone ending up with the best machines possible.

I do mean 2 sets of (2) fans each sandwiching the radiator body. I would recommend going with the SP120's for a push-pull setup or the Noiseblockers for only a dual fan setup in push configuration (fans on the inside face of the radiator, radiator to the outside face).

The Noiseblockers are rated at a lot higher CFM and static pressure, which is great for absolute radiator performance, but I am skeptical of the sound levels they quote with those figures. By putting up really high air flow and high static pressure over a radiator surface, not to mention the fan blades themselves, a lot more noise will be created.

Either radiator and fan configuration can fit in the top or front. 110mm of clearance on the top of the case, meaning 25mm fan + ~40mm radiator + 25mm (90mm +/- for possible washer/rubber grommet additional depth) fan will have plenty of spare room between the motherboard edge and the edge of the second (inner) set of fans.

That's a good price for the 4960x. That chip will be strong for a very long time.



Cheers for that! Decided to go with the Cooler Master Nepton 280L in the end, The radiator is only 30mm, so there will be more than enough room.
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