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tburbage
11-24-2013, 01:38 PM
I'm spec'ing out my once every 4 year home desktop PC, building up the spec around this 6 core Core i7 processor. I've noticed the 4930K being mentioned in some other threads, so it is obvious that there is a common interest in a greater-than-4-core solution in the CG community that isn't the full "workstation" Xeon approach.

I hoped I might get some comments on my spec before I pull the trigger this Black Friday, and that this thread might then be of interest to others trying to work up their own spec around the 4930K.

My desktop machine at home serves multiple purposes -- CG workstation, developer/build machine, entertainment/game play, and just general purpose. I imagine that describes the needs of many LW (PC/Windows) users in terms of their home setup. It is easier to spec a machine primarily dedicated to a single purpose, e.g. pure 3D content and ray trace/GI render monster (dual Xeons, as many cores as you can afford, as powerful a Quadro or FireGL as you can afford), but my needs are more general purpose. I'm upgrading from a Core i7 quad core w/ 12 GB of RAM. I'll be running Maya, LW, ZBrush, Photoshop, etc. on the CG side, and Visual Studio 2013 on the dev side. Good performance is obviously an objective, but I'm also trying to build as quiet a PC as possible. I'm not inclined to spend time tweaking the system (i.e. overclocking).


My tentative spec with NewEgg links for reference:

Intel Core i7-4930K Ivy Bridge-E 3.4GHz LGA 2011 130W Six-Core Desktop
Processor BX80633i74930K
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116939

MOTHERBOARD
ASUS P9X79 PRO LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
with USB BIOS: $320 NewEgg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131800
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/x79-ud3-p9x79-pro-dx79si-benchmark,3111-4.html

RAM
G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory Model F3-2133C9Q-32GZH NewEgg: $350
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231564

BOOT DRIVE: SSD
This is now an obvious way to improve user experience. I'm still undecided about what to do about a secondary drive, but definitely want SSD for the boot drive. I have a new "workstation"-spec'ed MacBook Pro at work with a 500GB SSD and love it. For example, but not firm:

SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE500BW 2.5" 500GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive
(SSD) $340, 3 year warranty (the Pro is $130~ more)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147249

My internal debate is whether to get a regular high capacity drive to serve as the primary data/backup drive or wait a while (as prices drop) and go with another SSD... Great 1 or 2 TB hard disks are very cheap now...

GPU
I'm aiming at a somewhat less than top of the line NV Geforce, like 770 or 760, and with 3-4GB of RAM. Although I know Quadros can have better performance characteristics in certain CG app contexts, I don't see them as worth the extra $$$ for me. My old GTX 260 ain't that bad, so I think I'll be thrilled with the increased performance of the 770s and 760s. This search url shows a range of what I'm looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100007709%20600451269%20600007787&IsNodeId=1&name=4GB

MONITOR
Love my dual monitor setups at work, but my home office is a very small room... I currently have a single 24" that really only does 1080p, and I'm leaning toward a 27" or 30" single display capable of higher resolution. I'm kind of intrigued by displays that can do 10bit color, but in practical use not sure how useful that would really be in my usage. Am also interested in a display that is 3D ready, as might want to try out the NV shutter glasses thing, but that constrains the selection to >=120Hz refresh rate monitors. More research needed on this topic...

CASES, CPU COOLER, POWER SUPPLY, BLU-RAY PLAYER
Will comment on these if somebody is curious. Aiming for quiet, and relative power efficiency.

JonW
11-24-2013, 02:30 PM
Get more real estate!

I would keep your old GTX 260 & get a 27' or 30" monitor. I am still using a GTX 260 & GTX 280, unless you are doing absolutely massive scenes these are still great cards. I use the 280 with 30" & have used the 260 as well in different box, both are great, the 280 is only a touch faster but it is hard to tell the difference, & I use a 9500 for my 24" for menus. Did use the 280 for both monitors but running XP my Spyder would not calibrate 2 monitors on 1 card. Also have another Dell 30" for my Mac Mini. it is so much easier with more real estate.

I have Noctua fans including replacing 3 x 80mm UPS fans, on all computers & I can easily work in the room when the render farm is going. Heat is the reason I leave the room & the computers are nowhere near overheating.

hrgiger
11-24-2013, 03:48 PM
I would not buy the x79 pro. It will not work with your processor without a Bios update. If it were me (and it was, I just built my system a month ago), I would go with the X79 deluxe. Better board, comes standard with wifi also. I got my system together and had the x79 pro and it would not boot. Tried doing the bios update but still could not get it to work. Upgraded to the x79 deluxe on a recommendation and worked just fine. I also saw several comments about this on Newegg in the reviews. Supposedly a common problem. Another LW user on Skype had a similar problem.

spherical
11-24-2013, 04:14 PM
Nearly my system, with the exceptions of the X79 Deluxe and Corsair RAM. GTX7xx series wasn't released when I built my box, so it's a 670. For data drives, I went with two 2TB Western Digital Blacks. Water cooled with a Corsair H100i in a Corsair 650D case which has a hot-swap SATA slot in the top for backing up those 2TB drives onto identical internals.

akademus
11-24-2013, 11:16 PM
Almost identical as mine

4930
p9X79 it does work with it, wont put at first, but you need to update it, which is easily done via dedicated USB port.
16GB Patriot memory
I opted for 2x250GB SSD in strip raid, price is the same but twice the speed. Regularily backed up just in case
3x3TB for storage
GTX780 for octane rendering, in case it proves good, I'll get another one
and 27" screen

tburbage
11-25-2013, 12:16 AM
<in reply to JonW>
Jon, thanks for the suggs. I'm probably going with the Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler. I have one of those in my current machine and it has done its job and is quiet.

tburbage
11-25-2013, 12:27 AM
<in reply to hrgiger>
Yeah, what I had read was that almost any X79 board at this point in time would need a bios update for IB-E CPU compatibility. I had decided on the P9X79 PRO over the Deluxe simply because of the cost difference and my evaluation that I really don't need the extras provided by the Deluxe. But I'll spend extra to not have big hassles come up in the build. Thanks for the warning, and I'll read up some more before pulling the trigger...

akademus
11-25-2013, 12:38 AM
Its really not such a hassle

http://event.asus.com/2012/mb/usb_bios_flashback_guide/

You plug the usb with the update, push the button and its done for you...

tburbage
11-25-2013, 12:39 AM
I opted for 2x250GB SSD in strip raid, price is the same but twice the speed. Regularily backed up just in case
3x3TB for storage

I'm afraid I've never done a raid setup. But interesting. Is that for performance, or do you get some sort of "fail over" should one of the SSDs fail? Yikes: 9 TB of storage? You must be doing heavy video editing work... I've come to the realization that in the last 4 years I haven't seriously threatened to fill up my 1TB drive...

akademus
11-25-2013, 12:45 AM
I'm afraid I've never done a raid setup. But interesting. Is that for performance, or do you get some sort of "fail over" should one of the SSDs fail? Yikes: 9 TB of storage? You must be doing heavy video editing work... I've come to the realization that in the last 4 years I haven't seriously threatened to fill up my 1TB drive...

Its strip, so it gets 2 times faster and you have 500GB as well. In case one fails, everything goes, but I guess you bear similar risk with single disk only. That;s why it backs it self up everynight to one of 3TB drives.

It costs the same but its even faster.

As for drives, I just have a lot of archives. I was buying them one by one.

The only downside of this setup I have, is Corsair water cooling, I've got H80i, its fans were too noisy, so I replaced them and there still no support for Win 8.1.

Other than that, I'm quite happy with it.

tburbage
11-25-2013, 01:00 AM
GTX7xx series wasn't released when I built my box, so it's a 670. For data drives, I went with two 2TB Western Digital Blacks. Water cooled with a Corsair H100i in a Corsair 650D case which has a hot-swap SATA slot in the top for backing up those 2TB drives onto identical internals.
I came away from a couple of review reads thinking there was no clear advantage in water vs air cooling, at least for the non-overclocker like me. The Noctua air cooler is rated very highly for both efficiency and low noise. What made you decide on water cooling and the Corsair H100i?

hrgiger
11-25-2013, 02:57 AM
I went with the Corsair H100i as well. Great cooler. With a mid overclock to 4.1 Ghz, and under full load while rendering keeps my CPU in the 40-50 degree Celsius range over the 6 cores. Idle temps are around 20-25 degrees Celsius.

spherical
11-25-2013, 05:17 PM
I came away from a couple of review reads thinking there was no clear advantage in water vs air cooling, at least for the non-overclocker like me.

Standard clocks definitely don't generate as much energy as higher rates. It's all BTU's/s. I normally run a mild overclock that doesn't stress the system, while gaining significantly on the throughput. My machines aren't for gaming, where I need to extract every last bit of performance to beat the other guy and, if it crashes, well,, I lost the game. These are work machines, so a balance between performance and stability must be struck; with stability being the overriding governing factor.


What made you decide on water cooling and the Corsair H100i?

Thermal conductivity of water is 0.58, while air is 0.024. A water block attached to the CPU will extract more energy per second and transfer it to a larger heat exchanger that is not at the location of the CPU. The larger surface area of the remote exchanger can make up for the lower thermal conductivity presented by the water/air exchange. The aluminum of the exchanger tubes and fins has a thermal conductivity of 205 so, compared to the two fluid media, the transfer can be considered to be between them; unless you really want to get exacting about it.

The Corsair is a factory closed system. Other water cooling rigs are more efficient, have more capacity and can include the GPUs if desired. With those advantages comes a price; they're more complex. I needed to get a set of three long overdue hardware upgrades built and really didn't want to spend the extra time at this point to learn the ins and outs of a custom H2O rig.

I've been considering replacing the static pressure fans on the coolers with Noctua PWMs (man, I wish they would offer a black option), but they will require a firmware update on the water block. Right now, I don't have the time to risk bricking essential hardware.

One item that should not be overlooked is that when you place a water block on the CPU there is no longer any ambient airflow on and around the CPU. The capacitors that are near receive less cooling as a result. My 650D has a 200mm intake, two 120mm exhaust pushing through the heat exchanger mounted to the top vent and a 120mm case fan that is turned around to pull air in through the rear port. This introduces cool air across the motherboard and more directly feeds the heat exchanger fans that push the warm air out. It is a natural path that creates a slight positive pressure in the case; keeping dust entering through every crack to a minimum and assists the static pressure fans in overcoming the resistance of the radiator.

This goes against Corsair's general recommendations to pull outside air in through the heat exchanger; which never made any sense to me. Of course, they are only concerned with the area of their product; not the system as a whole. I posted this set up in detail on the Corsair Support Forum: Push Hot Air In or Out? (http://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=117122) and a few of the Corsair Devs commented favorably on it—as have a number of users who have tried it.

Caveat: When you go there, remember that it, like this, is a support site. There's a lot of people not understanding how things work and/or voicing a significant amount of complaints—some, but not all, of which are justified. Let's just say that, like all software, theirs has room for improvement.

Both the exchanger fans and the rear intake are tied to the water block temperature, not the CPU temperature. Many people make this mistake. All you care about when controlling fan RPM is the water temp. CPU temp is once removed from the fans (by the water) and is therefore not a reliable driver for them. CPU energy rates fluctuate dramatically and immediately. All the fans should be concerned with is cooling the water. The water cools the CPU. If you try to drive the fan RPM by CPU temp and the load is removed when a render is complete, the fans drop immediately to low RPM; leaving residual energy within the system. This then removes the energy depth that would be available if the water had been cooled properly to its normal idle temperature.

In addition, the cooling configuration is stored in the water block. This makes it self-contained and allows it to function without having to run the software that would be needed to monitor the CPU temperature.

spherical
11-25-2013, 05:25 PM
I went with the Corsair H100i as well. Great cooler. With a mid overclock to 4.1 Ghz, and under full load while rendering keeps my CPU in the 40-50 degree Celsius range over the 6 cores. Idle temps are around 20-25 degrees Celsius.

Your temps are a bit lower than mine. What is your ambient? I also suspect that the heat sink is not in the best contact with the CPU that it could be. The standoff shoulders really need to be turned to obtain some clearance. As it is right now, the thumbscrews drive the mounting fixture tabs down into contact with the standoff shoulders; preventing any greater pressure. The stack is locked up and it really shouldn't be. A physical spacer is controlling maximum pressure; not how much you tighten the thumbscrews. Sometimes, it only takes a minimal additional amount to reach maximum thermal transfer of the TIM.

The 2011 sockets don't require a backplate, the board has mountings built in, but other users having CPU sockets that do not have the threaded inserts and need the backplate, report much lower temps when they augmented the install of the backplate with rubber or nylon washers to remove the slop. This allows the stack to not lock up and provides more pressure of the TIM against the CPU.

hrgiger
11-25-2013, 05:30 PM
Your temps are a bit lower than mine. What is your ambient? I also suspect that the heat sink is not in the best contact with the CPU that it could be. The standoff shoulders really need to be turned to obtain some clearance. As it is right now, the thumbscrews drive the mounting fixture tabs down into contact with the standoff shoulders; preventing any greater pressure. The stack is locked up and it really shouldn't be. A physical spacer is controlling maximum pressure; not how much you tighten the thumbscrews. Sometimes, it only takes a minimal additional amount to reach maximum thermal transfer of the TIM.

As I believe in a stable climate control I usually keep the heat on to 70 (F) in the winter and cool to 70 in the summer so its pretty constant. Also, what thermal paste did you use? I went with Silver as I heard it was one of the better ones for heat dissipation.


118394

spherical
11-25-2013, 06:51 PM
Just used the TIM that was on it from the factory for the present. I'll get fancier when I make the modification and have to re-apply. For a good (lengthy) read, consult the very thorough Tom's Hardware Thermal Paste Comparison Tests (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/thermal-paste-performance-benchmark,3616-17.html). Corsair factory TIM and Arctic Silver 5 are nearly the same thermal conductivity. The Coollaboratory Liquids are very good but more exacting to apply.

tburbage
11-29-2013, 02:35 PM
I ordered everything for the system today. The spec was as originally stated but with these changes:

Corsair H100i Extreme CPU water cooling instead of the Noctua air. Comments here and info on these links convinced me:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6530/closing-the-loop-contained-liquidcoolers-from-corsair-and-nzxt-compared
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6716/closing-the-loop-ii-new-liquid-coolers-from-corsair-and-swiftech
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6830/cpu-air-cooler-roundup-six-coolers-from-noctua-silverstone-and-cooler-master/4

Motherboard: Asus X79 Deluxe instead of P9X79 PRO, based on comments here and reviews, and deciding having WiFi on the desktop while not a requirement is useful.

GPU: Ended up with this card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125462
GIGABYTE GV-N770OC-4GD GeForce GTX 770 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0. Other than its obvious specs, it was described as very quiet in reviews, even under load.

Display: Still undecided, stuck between the possibility of >8bit color near-Adobe RGB gamut in the "pro" 27-30" and less expensive sRGB 2560 x 1440 models. Of the latter, the Dell U2713HM looks pretty good. Some of these higher end displays, esp. 30", are $900-$1100... I suspect we'll see significant evolution in displays in the not too distant future, so don't want to over invest... Note to others interested in displays capable of 3D stereo i.e. for nVidia shutter glasses, you are limited to >=120Hz displays and this currently limits one to 1080p-only displays.

spherical
11-29-2013, 04:31 PM
Looks like a good system. But, then, you knew I'd say that. :)

I have always used ViewSonic monitors in the upper end of their product line; going way back before there was LCD technology. The top level LCDs are too rich but next down is darn good. Current pair are VX2453mh-LED and VX2753mh-LED.