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Old 2020-08-08, 17:16   #1
Xyzzy
 
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In this thread we will post about our journey building our newest miniature "super" computer.

Earlier this year we built a system to experiment with "large memory" and ECC memory in general. In the process we learned a lot!

The new system will be about raw speed. We plan to overclock the memory and CPU a little. We are going to try to build the fastest general-purpose computer possible using consumer-level parts. In all of our builds reliability is the most important criteria for success, so this system will be tuned with that in mind.

We have already ordered most of the parts. The current pandemic has caused some pricing and shipping issues, but we are patient.

As we build, we would appreciate any thoughts and ideas you may have.

(We seem to have more fun building and testing computers than we do running them!)

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Old 2020-08-08, 17:30   #2
lavalamp
 
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I've just build a Ryzen 3900X system using an X470D4U2-2T board, which explicitly supports ECC memory with the desktop Ryzen chips. Apparently all ASRock boards support ECC memory, but of course you won't get super high speeds with it, and you can't use registered (aka buffered) DIMMs which further limits choices.

tl;dr, if you want fast CPU and are willing to sacrifice some memory bandwidth, ASRock + Ryzen is a reliable option.
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Old 2020-08-08, 17:51   #3
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https://www.amd.com/en/products/cpu/amd-ryzen-9-3950x
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/t7C...0-100000051wof

This part is the star of this build. It has 16 cores and 32 threads.

We were very impressed with the 1920X Threadripper we used previously so we decided to stick with an AMD processor. We appreciate that AMD ships all Ryzen processors unlocked.

Our research tells us that we should be able to overclock the "Infinity Fabric" on this CPU to at least 3.6GHz. Maybe even higher. The advantage to this kind of overclock is the memory controller and the "Infinity Fabric" can be clocked at a 1:1 ratio. We should be able to get at least a 4GHz all-core overclock based on these statistics.

Here are a few videos that we found useful:



(Buildzoid's whole channel is great!)

Here is a very useful overclocking thread:

https://www.overclock.net/forum/10-a...ng-thread.html

We paid $615 + $0 sales tax + free shipping for this part. It is NIB. (All of our parts will be NIB.)
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Old 2020-08-08, 18:03   #4
Xyzzy
 
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https://www.bequiet.com/en/cpucooler/1378
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/F3g...u-cooler-bk022

We have been using Noctua HSFs for years but for this build we decided to try something new.

"Be Quiet!" isn't a brand we are familiar with but they appear to be very popular. We will admit that the main reason we looked at their products is because they look great! Their web site is fantastic. It is full of information and it is easy to navigate.

We considered liquid cooling but we have never done that before. Maybe for the next build?

We paid $89.90 + $8.54 sales tax + free shipping for this part.

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Old 2020-08-08, 18:14   #5
Xyzzy
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavalamp View Post
Apparently all ASRock boards support ECC memory, but of course you won't get super high speeds with it, and you can't use registered (aka buffered) DIMMs which further limits choices.
We considered ECC memory for this build but we decided on a "consumer-level" theme. Plus, overclocking ECC memory isn't common. (It may be doable, but we haven't seen much on it.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lavalamp View Post
tl;dr, if you want fast CPU and are willing to sacrifice some memory bandwidth, ASRock + Ryzen is a reliable option.
We took a huge gamble buying an ASRock motherboard for build #1 but it turned out to be a fantastic board. We are using a different brand for this build but their lineup was definitely in contention!
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Old 2020-08-08, 18:40   #6
Xyzzy
 
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https://www.bequiet.com/en/powersupply/886
https://pcpartpicker.com/product/mgw...r-supply-bn255

We decided to "go big" on the power supply. We have never owned anything this powerful before and we can't think of a situation where we would need 1.2kW, but maybe this will be the last power supply we ever buy?

We have used Seasonic products for a very long time but we'll try something new here. Mainly just to keep continuity with our decision for the HSF.

This "Platinum" efficiency power supply is 193mm long so it is a monster compared to our previous 170mm "Titanium" 650W unit.

It uses the same "Silent Wings 3" fans as the HSF uses. These are supposed to be real good fans that are quiet. We don't believe they really will "be quiet", but we've been wrong before. Just ask our family!



Single versus multi rail power supplies: http://www.jonnyguru.com/forums/show...f-the-12V-rail

We paid $279.90 + $26.59 sales tax + free shipping for this part.
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Old 2020-08-08, 20:17   #7
kruoli
 
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From my personal experience with my new Zen 2 work machine, there might be some trouble to get a chip stable at DDR clocks at (and surely above) 3,600 MHz. Sometimes, it is running multiple DCs without any problems. But my current DC already has four round-off-errors. When I first encountered this, I overvolted RAM and SOC slightly and it helped for a while. No, the ambient temperatures seem to be too high or something. Nothing in this machine is overclocked in any way. I only applied the RAM profile which itself reported to be designed for.

Last fiddled with by kruoli on 2020-08-08 at 20:18 Reason: Clarified intentions.
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Old 2020-08-08, 20:30   #8
M344587487
 
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Only the top end water coolers are worth it IMO (big rad, lots of fans), a good air cooler beats an intermediate water cooler so low end water coolers only really exist for bling or cramped builds.


I take it you're using P95 throughput as the measure of speed? The 3950X is a good choice for now, but it will be pipped by the 4950X when it is released 2020Q4/2021Q1. Are you planning to upgrade when it's available?
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Old 2020-08-08, 20:40   #9
Uncwilly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M344587487 View Post
Only the top end water coolers are worth it IMO
This looks top-end https://www.ebay.com/c/10015477098
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Old 2020-08-08, 22:11   #10
ewmayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xyzzy View Post
As we build, we would appreciate any thoughts and ideas you may have.
Since you aim to build a fast general-purpose beast as opposed to, say, a GIMPS-optimized one, I suggest you use one of those PCI slots to house one of those cheap Xeon Phi manycore add-on cards we've been discussing in a nearby thread. This, as has been noted, needs a non-generic Linux/freeware stack, but we know Xyzzy enjoys putting those together nearly as much as he enjoys the hardware-build aspects. :)

And we have found a cheap cooling solution, in form of adding on a suitably-sized 12V centrifugal fan, which might need just a smidge of custom-transition-ducting ... heck, for a crude 1st attempt I bet even strapping it onto the Phi card with duct tape would work. Main issue would seem to be how problematic the extra length resulting from the add-on fan is in terms of housing the thing in one's build.
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Old 2020-08-08, 22:44   #11
kriesel
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
And we have found a cheap cooling solution, in form of adding on a suitably-sized 12V centrifugal fan, which might need just a smidge of custom-transition-ducting ... heck, for a crude 1st attempt I bet even strapping it onto the Phi card with duct tape would work.
Fan URL?
Aluminum tape. Thermally conductive. Shiny!
PS efficiency curves seem to peak near half of rated power. Lots of power margin is good!

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2020-08-08 at 22:47
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