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Oldie power user (2008-09-last build) rebuilding, looking for tips

Last response: in Motherboards
June 14, 2013 7:59:46 AM

Okay, time to update--- big time.

Posting in motherboards because it is the most critical decision for this build. Essentially I need over 40 PCIe lanes but don't want to do it with another socket if I don't have to go that route.

I have a system in mind which I've been working on for a few weeks now. (TL;DR, build at bottom, criticize please.)

First of all, Hi! Power user, video editor and gamer here. I do some 3D, Aftereffects as well.

I'm coming off a 5 year old build which served me super well but is so dated... yadda... only crashed twice in 5 years, both my fault. Was a Tyan Thunder 2915 dual AMD barcelona opteron 2390 (i think) 2.5Ghz x4 core each, the 150watt ones, but demand is outstripping supply mostly in the single threaded department. Going to Intel for this reason.

I have noticed how even semi-server hardware is doing the things only workstations and servers used to do and due to budget I'm looking for something which will improve performance but still be robust enough to sleep at night during an overnight multicore render. (Hint: video editing doesn't pay as much as it used to.)

I also game on it w/ the GTX 680 no SLI.

I don't have the dough or patience for grabbing a few boards and testing them, sending back the rejects. I'll list the components in a sec. Primary questions first.

So the board I'm looking at is Gigabyte GA-X79S (maybe wifi not sure) to slam an i7-3930k into and probably OC it but only a little, maybe not at all.

Reliability is the most, most important thing. I like the server components and the possibility to upgrade from the 3930k to an octo Xeon in the future as an incremental upgrade. Also the ECC support. It's got at least 48 PCIe lanes as far as I know, but I'm still not sure how many lanes the C606 chipset adds. Anyone with info on that is my hero.

I tend to buy year or two old hardware so cutting edge isn't really an issue and the performance is only around 5% better each year anyway.

The other thing I need is 2x true PCIe 16x, an 8x and a 4x... Essentially, Kona + GTX 680 takes the 16x, 8x is for RAID and 4x is for 5.1 sound (need 192k recording and playback). The rest is gravy. Probably a thunderbolt card in the future but for now, meh. Still, it's critical there be at least 48 lanes of PCIe available. Preferably 52 as I think thunderbolt works off of 8x.

For those who don't know, Kona is essentially a video card dedicated to HDSDI video output. No tearing (offensive lines during video playback. They're subtle but a keen eye notices.) like regular DVI ,HDMI or DisplayPort has out of a normal video card.

2nd question is much simpler. What do you recommend in a power supply for 4x Cheetahs? 300W PSU atm which I think is plenty. I currently use SATA 7200 drives but demand is picking up for 2k and sometimes even 4k for retail display stuff so I need to be able to keep up. SATA doesn't cut the mustard. Do want, disposable (insecure) playback, but not insane prices / GB SSD's offer that's all. 15k fits the bill here at $200 for 300GB or $.66/GB. (or less, I'm sure if I look hard enough)

Okay, the build. (keep in mind, I do use this for video editing, simple-ish 3D/2D and gaming as well *and* it's in a machine room 20 feet away through a sound dampened wall so noise isn't a big deal.)
I already have the UPS, PSU, Kona, Case, 680, Delta and screens.

- 1500W APS UPS
- 1200W Toughpower
- Case is Lian LI full tower, fits E-ATX nicely w/ 10 drives. Good airflow. Not sure If I'm up for water cooling since it's in a machine room w/ 50' extenders / repeaters for displays and USB.
- Gigabyte GA-X79S (any u---whatever variation will do, just RELIABLE at a reasonable price.)
- i7-3930k (or 3960k if i can find a deal, or Xeon if I have to if 3930k isn't reliable enough)
- Noctua D14 Cooler
- 4Gx8 - 32GB DDR3 1866 (If I can pull it off, otherwise 1600 - also can do 8Gx4 but prefer quad channel on each side, ??? on which is better or if same.)
- Kona 3
- Areca 1880i RAID
- Intel 160GB SSD for OS
- 8x 1TB WD Black 7200 for mass storage / security in RAID 5 - on Areca 1880i (general use)
- 4x 300GB Cheetah 15k for performance in RAID 0 - on Mobo SAS RAID 0 (2k / 4k video playback)
- GTX680
- M-Audio Delta 1010
- PCI 1394b (legacy FW800 33mhz) (I won't cry losing this)
- 2x 1920x1200
- 1x 2056x1600 (the 4k stuff.. omg.. nevermind.. It's like the 90's w/ monitors there.)
- 1x 1920x1080 - Kona

The rest is trivial. I would like to try overclocking, hence the "K" proc choice but if it isn't stable I won't cry using it at stock.

Let me know what you think and if I've found a sweet spot in price / performance or if I'm barking up the wrong windmill! Thanks muchly!

P.S. I know this is wishful thinking, but are there any boards similar to this Gigabyte which trade a PCIe or the legacy PCI for a PCI-X? I have another Areca card I'd prefer to use but have written it off because PCI-X is dead.

More about : oldie power user 2008 build rebuilding tips

June 14, 2013 8:21:29 AM

On the DRAM the 8GB sticks by 4 total would be best config for 32GB - using only 4 sticks will be less stress on the MC (memory controller) than 8 and still runs true quad-channel, for X79 in particular, I'd go with GSkill Ripjaws Z preferably, their advanced timings are tuned a little in favor of true Quad channel and the X79, Tridents would be second choice
June 14, 2013 8:29:46 AM

That's a great tip. Thanks muchly. Probably in service to keep the CPU a little cooler then? (actually it'll be less heat overall that way)

Anyone out there know exactly how many PCIe lanes the Intel Xeon C606 chipset adds? I think I've got the right board for the job but it hinges on this. If it doesn't push the lanes over 48 then I'm going to be forced into dual Xeon which makes my wallet cry.

Update: You get 8 lanes to make a total of 48. (JUST squeaking by to fulfill mah needs) Oh well on thunderbolt expansion.

Update 2: Did a bunch of research on Tbolt and it seems to be chipset dependent or so for now, no-go on PCIe Tbolt cards. I think that will change soon as Tbolt is more widely adopted and not just used for holistic video + daisy'd peripherals. In 6 to 12 months we should see PCIe to Tbolt. I also need to specify, Tbolt is now in 2nd gen, Tbolt 2. Tbolt is a PCIe 4x equivalent. I'm not sure about Tbolt 2 yet.

I am just assuming Tbolt will be adopted by the content creation community which is why I'm looking at it. It's my job.

We'll see how the hardware manufacturers deal with the transition.

I expect at 10+Gbps it will eventually be widely adopted just like Firewire 400 (1394a) and then 800 (1394b) now is.

My two cents! Iunno what that's worth but it'll probably help someone.
June 14, 2013 8:39:31 AM

Does that too, less stress is nice and can aide in higher OCs of the CPU. On the PCIe, I'm not positive offhand, though generally chipsets like the C606 targeted at Xeon have more than say the stock X79...will try and take a look later this PM
June 14, 2013 10:22:54 AM

On that DRAM, I'm thinking the Gskill Ripjaws Z 4x8G 2133 rated at 1.6V, CAS 9 would be the best bet to give me room for OC but also if I do, keep it more reliable than the 1.5V sticks? I also don't expect 2133 to be the final frequency. 1866 will do the job fine and leave even more overhead.

I'm used to DDR2 800 so this is a huge jump in memory speeds for me.
June 14, 2013 1:02:11 PM

Great set, have used a number of these sets, generally have headroom up to about 2400 with a single CL step, drop to 1866 and can tighten to CL8 and, at times, depends on cooling and airflow, drop Dram voltage to about 1.46 1.47
June 14, 2013 1:12:24 PM

Sounds great, Tradesman, I'm very excited to get building.
Thanks so much.
June 14, 2013 1:19:24 PM

Don't be a stranger, keep us updated
June 14, 2013 1:36:34 PM

It might be a few months before I can verify the stability and power... but mostly the stability.
I have this thread BM'd on my chrome tabs w/ !!!!'s so hopefully if everything works out, I'll have something to show for.
1200 bucks plow >>>> Super cheap for what I'm used to in building the core of systems.
Fingers crossed.
June 14, 2013 1:44:42 PM

Praxisseizure said:
It might be a few months before I can verify the stability and power... but mostly the stability.
I have this thread BM'd on my chrome tabs w/ !!!!'s so hopefully if everything works out, I'll have something to show for.
1200 bucks plow >>>> Super cheap for what I'm used to in building the core of systems.
Fingers crossed.


Will be around
June 17, 2013 10:33:16 AM

Simple solution. (mostly aimed at Tradesman)

Everything should work and then some since it's PCIe 3.0 gear.
I didn't realize it had so much more bandwidth and everyone I'm talking to says I probably need half the lanes to get the same performance as what I'm used to.

Not only that, but the 3930k will take the full punishment I can give it with that hardware and still have a ton of overhead for 30 million more threads. At least that's from a few people.

Anyhow, regular old PC enthusiast board is going to be the way to go.
Some late version x79 where all the bugs have been worked out. Brand doesn't matter. Hell, supermicro will do. (although I do want better actual capacitors than that)

That DRAM tip still stands though.
June 17, 2013 10:41:25 AM

Good info, glad to hear