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32 Thread Monster (Dual Xeon Build)

by cwatkinson



Date Published

July 5, 2017

Date Built

April 8, 2017

CPU Clock Rate

2.6 GHz

CPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

50.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate

2.15 GHz

GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate

8.4 GHz

GPU Temperature While Idle

35.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

65.0° C


With the issues that I was having with Windows 10 running on my old Optiplex 780 sff, I decided to build a machine that I could run Arch Linux on and play games by passing my GPU to the VM Windows machine. To embark on this quest I completed a ton of research to find a setup that would work for what I was looking to achieve. After finding various builds using dual Xeon E5-2670 cpus, I knew I found an interesting project. After some trouble shooting with my 1070, I was successfully able to pass through the GPU to my Windows 10 VM and am able to run games on Ultra at 1080p with no negatives in FPS then running bare-metal Windows 10 on this machine.

EVGA - GeForce GTX 750ti 2GB Superclocked Video Card

To satisfy my VM gaming itch, I used an old 750ti that I had laying around to use as my main card for the Arch system, passing through the GTX1070 to my Windows 10 VM for gaming. This card is perfect to use as a daily driver and pairs well with the 1070 when using Steam's in-home streaming.

Part Reviews


Finding the cpus took some time, I scoured eBay for months until I found a matching pair for $150 CAD. I have to say these CPUs are incredible, especially ripping my many DVD collections to move to a more digital library. In gaming, again these CPUs, even with a max clock of 2.6GHz rip through any game that I have in my Steam library with ease.

CPU Cooler

Due to how close the CPUs sit on the Asus motherboard, I could only find one CPU air cooler that would get the job done, and the Hyper 212 EVO is one of the best budget air coolers on the market, so why go with anything else.


Once I found the CPUs I began my search for a dual CPU motherboard that could fit in a standard ATX case. This Asus board was the only one in a reasonable price range that I could find, and other than all the server features it provides, all-in-all it is a solid motherboard.

Video Card

What can I say about the Zotac 1070, well it destroys framerates at 1080p and I was able to overclock mine way over stock clocks, considering the reviews show poor overclocking results. One grip against this card is that one of the fans are off balance when the card's fans run between 45-60% but using MSI afterburner and some user fan curves, I don't get the annoying ticking


To fit all my computer components, I looked for a cheap but well designed case that had a side window. After picking this case up for $65 after taxes, I was pretty happy overall. Its not the best case but it gets the job done, and with having two cats, the included intake filters were an amazing extra.

Comments Sorted by:

someta 4 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

I've been eying the same processors, but putting them on a EEATX Supermicro board so I could fit more RAM. I'm already trying to replace my dual LGA 1366 server-turned-desktop with something more powerful for VMs.

Only problem is that there are no cheap cases that fit EEATX since it's basically unique to Supermicro. I may have to get an EATX motherboard tray and build a case around it. Good to remember there are ATX boards as a backup.

Also, +1!

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 2 points 17 months ago

Due to the price of EEATX cases and their size, is why I looked for an ATX case. The good thing about the motherboard I bought it the fact that it can hold up to 64GB of non-ecc memory but up to 128GB, I think of ECC memory. Would need to check the motherboard manual but I am pretty sure it holds more ECC than non-ECC memory.

someta 4 Builds 2 points 17 months ago

Honestly, 64GBs of RAM (or 128GBs of what's probably registered ECC RAM) should be enough for me, but I can technically put 96GBs of registered ECC RAM on my current board (I actually only have 12GBs right now) and I would love to run basically everything out of a massive RAM disk.

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Yes that would be a good project, especially as high available data is becoming more mainstream for large corporations. For the price of RAM, I don't see the benefits, so hopefully it drops back down in price

someta 4 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

For me, there's not enough benefit to loading up on RAM for the price (although I have seen used server RAM drop to as little as two dollars per gigabyte on ebay). For big corporations (and data scientists) there may be more of a benefit. I too hope memory drops in price....

foohydude5 1 point 17 months ago

Nice build, was it difficult to pass of the 1070 to the VM? Are there any other hiccups with the VM?

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

I was having difficulty with my 1070, but once I compiled the omvf from the git repository i was good to go. So far I have had no issues with the VM. I was having issues running Dirt Rally and Dirt 4 when running Windows 10 bare metal but they work perfectly in the VM. I am passing 4 cores to the VM with 10GB of RAM and get 100 fps in Ultra so no complaints.

foohydude5 2 points 17 months ago

Okay, I may bug you for help in anywhere from 6 months to a year, I really like how you set it up in a VM. I may even use server processors (Although I may be better off saving up and using a higher end cpu).

EDIT: That MOBO though...

FurryJackman 2 Builds 1 point 15 months ago

Fedora and the virt-manager GUI have made this easier than before where it was all CLI based. Fedora 26 is what I use to run my passthrough VMs by combining nano, virt-manager and virsh.

If you miss Mint's interface, Cinnamon CAN be installed in place of GNOME Desktop Environment on Fedora.

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

It's all Arch for me and virt-manager

FurryJackman 2 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

Arch and KDE is a winning combo right now if you're sticking to Arch.

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Like the Solus desktop so I use Budgie, which looks exceptionally slick

DerrickForeal 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

soo cool

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 2 points 17 months ago

Thanks, it was a nice little project that came together rather well

mlach 4 Builds 1 point 17 months ago

you're gonna want to flip both heatsink fans to the other sides. the fans have arrows on them to indicate the flow of air. right now, they're pushing air back towards the front of the case and fighting with that rear exhaust fan.

you can clearly see the arrow in pic 8.

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

Yes, I have switched them after I noticed the airflow. Haven't taken pictures since the fix, these were taken right after all the parts were installed, but thanks for letting me know

mlach 4 Builds 1 point 17 months ago


CalamityXKiss7 1 point 15 months ago

You mentioned in your overview of your build for the Xeon's "In gaming, again these CPUs, even with a max clock of 2.6GHz rip through any game that I have in my Steam library with ease". What kind of games do you play? Im curious because I had searched up a project similar to yours on dual Xeon's for gaming as well and it was stated that it wasn't enough for modern titles. How does your setup hold up?

cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

It holds up well. I am able to place most AAA titles at over 80FPS no problem. This includes Wildlands, which is a huge open world game. Again this has been all through a virtualized Windows gaming box, not on the bare metal which should get better performance (roughly 5%)

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cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

For my job I use an assortment of systems and applications and decided that it would be beneficial to have a system that I could use as a test environment to hone my skills. In that sense it is perfect, but everyday use, way overkill on the CPU front. But the performance per Dollar is very minimal compared to a system that performs as well.

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cwatkinson submitter 1 Build 1 point 17 months ago

My board only has 2 PCI slots that I currently have my graphics cards using so a PCIE SSD is currently out of the question, as I have thought about it. The only times that I find it would be great to have a faster storage solution is when I am downloading games as the SSDs cant keep up with my internet.