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New Workstation Build for 2014

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#1 +goretsky

goretsky

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 07:51

Hello,
 
My ~5 year old workstation (i7-950 + Asus P6T Deluxe V1) is starting to exhibit some RAM detection problems, and it seems like a new system build is in order, given the age of my current system.  I am planning on recycling many components from the old system that test out as good. 
 
I should point out that I am not a much of a gamer, nor do I do any video editing, distributed computing (BOINC, Folding, SETI, etc.) or coin-mining.  I do run multiple virtual machines, work with large data sets (think of databases like SQL and technical software like MATLAB, etc.) and your standard office productivity apps, and test/debug/benchmark software.  Stability is paramount, so there will be no overclocking of components.  Having a somewhat quiet workstation is nice, too.
 
Here are the specs for the new build:
 
Chassis

Antec - Easy SATA hot swap bay

Corsair - RM750 750 watt ATX power supply

Fractal Design - Define R4 Black Pearl mid-tower ATX case
 
Planar
ASUS - P9X79 PRO motherboard
Intel - Core i7-4820K Processor processor (BX80633I74820K)

Intel - LGA2011 fan (RTS2011AC)
Corsair - 8 × 4GB DDR3 XMS3 Memory Modules (CMX4GX3M1A1333C9)
 
Storage
Asus - BW-12B1ST Blu-ray drive

Samsung - 256GB 840 Pro SSD (MZ-7PD256) OR Intel - 240GB 530 Series SSD

Western Digital - 4TB Desktop Performance HDD (WDBSLA0040HNC)

Expansion Cards

Asus - U3S6 USB 3.0 & SATA rev. 3.0 PCIe×4 expansion card
Creative Technology -
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatality PCIe×1 sound card
EVGA -
GeForce GTX660 SC 2GB PCIe×16 video card

 

Components which are listed in gray text are those which I already have.

 

On the RAM side, I actually have 24GB (6×4GB) of the Corsair XMS3 DIMMs, so I would be purchasing 2×4GB more, in order to bring the system up to 32GB (8×4) to take advantage of the quad-channel design of the motherboard.

 

On the PCIe card side, I'm not certain if I'll need the U3S6 card or the X-Fi card in the new system, however, they'll be sitting unused if I don't, so I believe I might as well install them in the new build.

 

On the storage side, I have both the Samsung 840 Pro and Intel 530 SSDs, the 16GB difference in space between them is a complete non-issue for me.  I am wondering if anyone has any thoughts about which might be better in this build, given the usage scenario I've outlined above?

 

As always, your feedback is most welcome and appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

 

Aryeh Goretsky




#2 Haggis

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 08:21

If your not going to overclock why bother with the K processor?

 

Storage i would go with the 840 Pro, i always hear good things

 

Everything else looks good to me though but there are a lot more experienced guys on here :)



#3 +Phouchg

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 17:49

Hello,

 

Going for Ivy Bridge-E X79, but still opting for quad-core seems like loads of money is being paid for squat unless - are you certain your mentioned workloads will benefit from its insane memory bandwidth? Because it doesn't have any other redeeming qualities (for a non-gamer, that is), but does have many caveats - price, no-good USB 3.0, no iGPU, lower SATA 6Gbps ports count (2+2) and high power consumption. Perhaps Haswell H87 and 4771 (!) would do fine?

 

Of course, that leaves the RAM question. With Haswell you'd be forced to sell or otherwise utilize your current sticks and get 4 x 8 GB modules. One thing in favor of getting new sticks is that 1333 MT/s sticks you have now will not use full potential of either system's memory controller - Haswell's 1600 MT/s (~83%) and more so on Ivy Bridge-E - 1866 MT/s (~71%), so the bandwidth impact of just having quad channel will not be as large as one may imagine without taking numbers.

 

As for PSU, you can easily cut down on this and go for RM550 instead. If video card is going to sit mostly idle, the highest workload on X79 would be 300W and for Z87 - 225W. Add 125 W if video card is going to be involved (but that almost never happens together) and there's your end result, which sits at the highest point of RM550's efficiency curve and also gives certain savings right away.

 

Points for using Define R4. It is the best mid-tower case I've personally worked with. Except its door will make your quick swap bay a little unwieldy, but no solution to it comes to my mind anyway.



#4 OP +goretsky

goretsky

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:54

Hello,
 
The i7-4820K processor was chosen based mostly on price. I had already decided to upgrade to an X79 motherboard (considered C60n, but decieded not to), because I wanted to re-use all of my existing 4GB DIMMs, instead buying four 8GB DIMMs for 32GB RAM. When it came to LGA 2011 socket CPUs, I looked at pricing and decided the i7-4820K was closest to the spot I wanted to pay. I had thought about going with a i7-3820, but the extra 100MHz the 4820K offered seemed worth the additional $20USD to me (especially if amortized across 4-5 years of use).

In the reviews I've looked at of the Samsung 840 Pro and the Intel 530, the results have often been similiarly matched, or one does better in a specific set of areas (840 Pro on 4K reads, 530 on 4K writes) etc., but when taken overall, the 840 Pro seems to be rated slightly better than the 530.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

If your not going to overclock why bother with the K processor?
 
Storage i would go with the 840 Pro, i always hear good things
 
Everything else looks good to me though but there are a lot more experienced guys on here :)



#5 OP +goretsky

goretsky

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Posted 26 January 2014 - 05:17

Hello,

I think with this configuration, I will have no trouble running more than 10-12 VMs at a time, which is very useful when simulating the behavior of a small network, and is currently where my existing system beings to bog down. Also, I do plan on at least one major CPU upgrade (maybe two) and maxing out the RAM in the future, so that would get me to a hexa-core system with 64GB of DDR3. Also, one of the datasets that I periodically work with is about 1.8TB in size, so I think that going from 24GB to 32GB (and, eventually 64GB) will be of benefit there. I'm less clear on how the bus speed of the memory will be a factor, but I suspect I'll have more of an advantage with a larger amount of RAM.

The lack of good-quality USB 3.0 is a pain, because I have been transitioning to that for backups, however, this particular motherboard also has two eSATAp ports, which I am hoping perform decently. There's a lack of eSATAp external drives in the market, right now, but enclosures are still readily available. I also have the Antec drive bay for backing up to a bare drive. I have been using the U3S6 card in my current build for USB 3.0, which I can't imagine is any slower than the on-board USB 3.0 in the P9X79 PRO.

I am going to look at H87+4771+32GB of RAM, just to get an idea of pricing for that configuration.

The Corsair RM750 PSU is on sale at my local Frys right now, which is why I was looking at it. I hate buying cases and PSUs mail-order because of the additional shipping charges. I'm not sure if I'll ever go beyond a 130W CPU (not sure if Intel will even offer one), but I suspect going to 8×8GB DIMMs and additional HDDs will increase the power draw, somewhat. Do you think a 650-watt power supply would be a better happy medium between the two? I do intend to use the base system for 4-5 years, so I would like to do as much future proofing as possible.


Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Hello,
 
Going for Ivy Bridge-E X79, but still opting for quad-core seems like loads of money is being paid for squat unless - are you certain your mentioned workloads will benefit from its insane memory bandwidth? Because it doesn't have any other redeeming qualities (for a non-gamer, that is), but does have many caveats - price, no-good USB 3.0, no iGPU, lower SATA 6Gbps ports count (2+2) and high power consumption. Perhaps Haswell H87 and 4771 (!) would do fine?
 
Of course, that leaves the RAM question. With Haswell you'd be forced to sell or otherwise utilize your current sticks and get 4 x 8 GB modules. One thing in favor of getting new sticks is that 1333 MT/s sticks you have now will not use full potential of either system's memory controller - Haswell's 1600 MT/s (~83%) and more so on Ivy Bridge-E - 1866 MT/s (~71%), so the bandwidth impact of just having quad channel will not be as large as one may imagine without taking numbers.
 
As for PSU, you can easily cut down on this and go for RM550 instead. If video card is going to sit mostly idle, the highest workload on X79 would be 300W and for Z87 - 225W. Add 125 W if video card is going to be involved (but that almost never happens together) and there's your end result, which sits at the highest point of RM550's efficiency curve and also gives certain savings right away.
 
Points for using Define R4. It is the best mid-tower case I've personally worked with. Except its door will make your quick swap bay a little unwieldy, but no solution to it comes to my mind anyway.



#6 OP +goretsky

goretsky

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 01:26

Hello,

Just as a follow-up, it appears I cannot mix my "old" 24GB of RAM (two older Corsair CMX12GX3M3A1333C9) kits) with an 8GB kit for 32GB, so I will be running the system on the 24GB for a bit while I research 32GB (4×8GB) kits. As with all my personal computers, the goal here is reliability and stability over raw performance, so I'm probably looking at 1600-1866MHz RAM, as opposed to the 2133MHz+, which I don't think I would see any major benefits from.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

#7 OP +goretsky

goretsky

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 11:18

Hello,

 

After doing a bit of searching, I ended up purchasing a Patriot Memory Viper 3 32GB DDR3 PC3-12800 kit, which was chosen based on prior experience with Patriot Memory as well as price.  No problems noted so far.

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky



#8 AStaley

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 14:36

Just reading through the posts looks like you've had some good advice and already gone ahead with your build.  Just looking at your storage would you see any benefit in moving away from the single 4TB drive and moving to a dedicated NAS to house your data sets etc?  You would certainly gain some resilience with a RAID 0 setup and perhaps some flexibility if you use multiple machines?



#9 +LogicalApex

LogicalApex

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 14:53

Just reading through the posts looks like you've had some good advice and already gone ahead with your build.  Just looking at your storage would you see any benefit in moving away from the single 4TB drive and moving to a dedicated NAS to house your data sets etc?  You would certainly gain some resilience with a RAID 0 setup and perhaps some flexibility if you use multiple machines?

What kind of resilience can be gained from a RAID 0? How would moving the 4TB drive to a NAS improve performance (moving it to a Gb network link will only slow it down)?



#10 AStaley

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 16:04

What kind of resilience can be gained from a RAID 0? How would moving the 4TB drive to a NAS improve performance (moving it to a Gb network link will only slow it down)?

 

Doh!  Should be RAID1 for mirroring, it's been a long day.  I wasn't so much thinking of performance as data security and flexibility in where or how that data is accessed, although it comes at extra cost and is perhaps out of scope of the original topic.



#11 OP +goretsky

goretsky

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 10:46

Hello,

 

That's actually a really good question.  Right now, one of my biggest problems is environmental:  I am in a small, old apartment with old electrical wiring, and I have more than once tripped a fuse (yes, fuse, not circuit breaker) by having to many electronic devices on at once. 

 

Later this year, I should be back in a large house with modern electrical wiring (but no cable runs... yet), and at that point I am going to look into having a dedicated server closet, with all of the things you would expect, like a small home NAS or SAN to offload workstation storage to, managed GbE switch, and other goodies (domain controller?).

 

Regards,

 

Aryeh Goretsky





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