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New Mega Workstation Build

Last response: in Systems
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July 19, 2012 3:53:44 AM

Building myself a new workstation to replace my seven year old Mac Pro. Grew up PC but went Mac when I started freelancing. Now it is time to return to Windows and build myself a workhorse workstation for the next 7 years that can update with the times. I work in Film Color Grading, Motion Graphics, and 3D. So I need a lot of horsepower and a lot of CUDA GPU power. Here's the breakdown and some photos of the first items to arrive! I will try to continue to document my build as it progresses.

Lian Li PCZ70 Silver Case
1 Asus Z9PE-D8-WS Mobo
2 Intel Xeon E5-2687W
2 Corsair H80s
32GB of ram
9 hard drives
2 SSDs
3 Galaxy GTX 680 4GB
1 Areca Raid card
1 Blackmagic DeckLink
1 Blu-ray burner
1 Enermax Maxrevo 1350 PSU


NewWorkstationCase.jpg by ViperJPB, on Flickr


MoboBox001.jpg by ViperJPB, on Flickr


MoboBox002.jpg by ViperJPB, on Flickr


MoboBox003.jpg by ViperJPB, on Flickr

May have to buy several Scythe Gentle Typhoons to silent her up. Also may mod a 120mm fan intake into the case side panel for extra cooling of the triple video cards if temps become a problem. Love to hear thoughts and tips s this build progress.

More about : mega workstation build

July 19, 2012 2:54:36 PM

for the psu, id get a xfx 1250w psu instead. it has silent fan technology meaning the psu fan doesnt spin until you use more than 20% of rated output which is 250w.

for the gpu, id get a quadro card since they do much better in compute and workstation environments. or you can wait for nvidia to release new quadro cards. geforce cards suck in most things other than games


id prefer that if you do happen to get the h80, please slap some corsair sp120 quiet editions on it. stock fans are hair dryers under loads. corsair aftermarket fans on the other hand are actually good.
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July 19, 2012 2:56:08 PM

one more thing to take note of is that a h80 does take a large amount of space on a 120mm fan mount after you slap the fans on
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July 19, 2012 3:13:47 PM

Why not go with GTX 690s in SLI? One 690 takes less power and almost equals the 2 GTX 680 in SLI.

Also, I hope you're not using the two SSDs in RAID.
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July 19, 2012 3:21:02 PM

690s are not suitable for compute/workstation as well. not to mention that they are quite hard to find
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July 20, 2012 5:57:12 AM

Thanks everyone for your responses. I will definitely have to look at that PSU. As far as the GPUs are concerned I would normally totally agree with the Quadros, however this is a specific setup. Im using DaVinci Resolve for color grading and the performance of the 580 and 680s for accelerating that software is more than 4 times faster than even a Quadro 6000. Actually a 580 is slightly faster than the 680 computationally despite the difference in CUDA cores. For Premiere the same has proven to be true with their Mercury Playback engine. Where the Quadros shine is in the 3D rendering department and advanced OpenGl functions. 
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July 20, 2012 6:22:10 AM

Yes, I was going to suggest going with 580s instead of 680s, they are better for 'compute' tasks.
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July 20, 2012 11:13:53 AM

ok then. id get the 580s with the 3gb frame buffer incase you load large textures on it
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July 20, 2012 4:34:25 PM

Yeah that was my predicament. I had been watching several auctions for 580 GTX 3GB cards but had missed my chance. Now I can only find the the rare new one for over $600, used, or Classified editions which are super noisy and suck a ton of power. When for less I could buy a 4GB GTX680 that only slightly under performs the 580 in DaVinci Resolve. Plus when rendering to 4K you need a minimum of 2GB per card and 4 should give me some overhead.
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July 20, 2012 7:40:19 PM

you could check out a 7970 from sapphire. its the toxic edition 7970 with 6gb of frame buffer if frame buffer is what you need. then again you will be using cuda.


but does the programs you use support OpenCL? if it does, the 7970 makes a ton more sense
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July 20, 2012 7:54:24 PM

Sadly no. It does have some support for OpenCL, but the real muscle comes from it's CUDA algorithms. I'm hoping the slightly slower 680s (in comparison to the 580s) will compensate by their sheer numbers. 1 for the Monitors and than 2 dedicated for the GPU calculations.
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July 21, 2012 1:25:25 AM

too bad no OpenCL since the 7970 will destroy the 580 and definitly the 680 in compute tasks


it kinda makes more sense to go with 3gb 580s since 4gb 680s are like 600 dollars a piece and they are very hard to find still.
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July 21, 2012 1:47:30 AM

That's what I thought too. But the opposite I have found. Only new 580 3GBs I could find were going for over $600 or they were the overclocked versions which would be way too loud, hot, & power hungry. The 680 4GBs were easy to find and I found 3 of them for $570 apiece.
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July 21, 2012 1:52:54 AM

ok then, can you list the 680 4gb models that you found?
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July 21, 2012 1:55:21 AM

Yup the Galaxy GTX 680 4GB. Found them on Amazon. The reviews I have read say they can be clocked higher then the EVGA counterpart and run quieter. Was too good to be true I thought. So we shall see. If I don't like uhm I will send them back and snag some expensive 580s.
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July 21, 2012 2:02:18 AM

id get evga since they do have good customer service and great warranty policies

heres their gtx680 4gb for 559.99 at newegg. if you would like a better PCB for the card, id get their ftw edition but it will cost a bit more. wouldnt matter much since you wont be anyways overclocking

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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