Description

This is the first PC I build in maybe 15 years. Building a PC wasn't in my mind until a few days ago. But when I realized that I need to move all my deep learning experiments from my cloud servers at the end of this month and also finding it impossible to get a good X server setup working from the current headless bare-metal machines, I decided a local machine may be the way to go.

My first thought was to just go ahead and order a decent enough pre-built one like the Corsair One or a more expensive Lambda labs one. But as expected they are priced premium for the convenience. Before this I may have visited PCPartPicket maybe once or twice in the last few years, but knew this is the right place to come.

The things I cared about for my purpose are, a decent enough CPU, lots of RAM, fast storage and the right GPU. Having used a fully loaded Bare metal server (32 core, 64GB+ RAM, few TBs and 2 or 4x Nvidia V100s) in the past, anything would've been a step down for the budget I set myself, $2500.

First I went through lots and lots of completed builds looking for compact, boring, gets-the-job-done builds. But then I came across some cool looking ones that made want to build something that's also aesthetically pleasing since if it's going to be sitting on my desk, might as well have something nice looking.

When I finally came across the Reach, I knew this is what I wanted. I then tweaked it to my needs. It's just a great looking one I instantly fell in love with. That's why this is almost a 90% clone of dcrddck at the end.

None of the 2070, 2080 super GPUs appealed to me because of the 8GB memory situation, most single precision large neural networks won't fit in them and also all of these cards were sold-out or at exorbitant premiums. Decided to check ebay for New (to keep away from crypto abused) 1080Ti. Found a new in box EVGA one for a very good $615 that ended up located a 100 miles from my place. Chatted with the seller and ordered it on Thursday evening and he shipped it the next day.

To expedite the build time, I ordered 100% of the parts from Amazon with one or two day shipping, made some sacrifices to get the parts that matched the requirement, ordered on Friday evening and got all the parts by Sunday afternoon.

In the meantime I watched enough youtube videos to learn the assembly process, best fan configurations, cable management etc. The build took about 8 hours (more than I anticipated), mostly because of changing the fan positions and carefully routing the cables etc. Booted it around 9pm for the first time and but didn't see anything on the display. My first thought was it's going to be a long night to troubleshoot this.. but found by pure guess that a single front panel pin was in a wrong position. Booted fine afterwards, installed Windows 10 first, then Ubuntu afterwards.

The Logitech G29 wheel for a simulator project I'll be working on in the coming weeks. Got a number of accessories that to keep it tidy. Got a cheap hygrometer too that looks nice and also gives me an idea about internal temperatures.

All in all, this was a very satisfying build that works pretty great. I ended up not using the RGB fans to keep the build under budget and limit too much RGB goodness. What's on the parts list is what I used for this build. Pretty sure this build can be a lot cheaper with careful parts procurement from multiple sources at lower prices and also optimized for maximum benchmark. For me, this works!

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