I do 3D animation and built my first PC back in 2012 with an i7-3770, I figured it was about time for an upgrade so wanted to see if I could scratch together a Threadripper for ~$2000.
I started looking seriously in November 2017, but missed Black Friday sales. I was hoping to catch a break after Christmas, contrary prices skyrocketed.
After scouring the internet for a month I ended up snagging a deal in January on used RAM and a graphics card on Ebay. Luckily the vendors were legit and I got them in great condition. I got the RAM for $336 when prices were at +$400 if you could even find them in stock. Even now GPU's are selling out like crazy due to crypto mining, so I was lucky to get a GTX 1070 OC at $432 while I could easily have paid +$500. The best deal I got was for the CPU, there was a sale on the Threadripper 1950x at Microcenter for $700 ($1000 MSRP).
The case, SSD and HDD are from my old build, and I included the original prices in the list just to make it complete, but I factored them out for the net total.
I got some rebates and bought everything with a rewards card which will get me back an additional $285. If I subtract what I used from the old build ($270) along with all the rebates and cashback, my net total comes to $1935.
Originally I reused my old case to save money, I had to mod the case a little bit by removing the drive cage in order to make room for the AIO. In the end I'm glad I kept the case, I really like how it looks without panels, and it has good airflow. It also gave me a chance to clean everything up and take all the components from the old build and put it back together in a smaller case, so now I have 2 clean smooth running machines :)
I think I might write up another post for the re-build, so I'll spare the details.
I spent some time overclocking the CPU & GPU to get some more out of the system, it's a modest increase, I'd estimate a 10% gain in performance.
In the end I was able to score 3400cb on Cinebench compared to my old rig which got 635cb! A serious upgrade for a very reasonable budget. Out of curiosity I shopped around at a few custom PC sites and entered in my components, totals were coming out to +$3000, some even close to $4K.
I might have went overboard with the photos, but hope you guys enjoy the pics!
Amazingly fast rendering, will make iterations a lot quicker when animating! I spent some time learning how to overclock. In the end I didn't shoot too high, I read max temp for Threadripper is 68C (Tdie), which seems kind of low, but figure I'll play safe.
I gave the Voltage a modest boost to 1.24V which allowed for a 3.950MHz clock speed. Set the SOC Voltage to 1.1V and set the LLC for both to level 2.
This is a really well made unit, very impressed by the build quality. The fans are insane, they ramp up to 2300rpm and give a lot of pressure. It can get really loud, but using a fan profile keeps it running almost silent when not stressed.
I wish I could get better thermal delta, I keep reading people being able to push their CPU's to 1.35V, but mine seems to get too hot. I might remove the block to double check the paste is applied okay.
There were a lot of bubble sounds initially that had me concerned, but they seem to have worked their way out. Otherwise no frills and very easy to work with.
Great board, it has a ton of features and I got to learn them a lot better this time around. Most importantly was the BIOS flash reset function, not to be confused with the standard CMOS reset button. At one point while trying to overclock my RAM the settings wouldn't even allow the board to post. Got a little sweaty, but the BIOS flashback worked out just fine.
The UEFI layout is pretty clear and offers a ton of option for overclocking, and even BIOS controlled fan profiles. You can take screenshots with a hotkey which is helpful for posting to forums, and flashing updates is a cinch.
I read a lot of people initially having RAM compatability issues, but I didn't have any trouble, just selected an XMP profile and was running at rated speeds even using older DDR4 3000 sticks.
Was able to get it to work at rated speeds with my Taichi x399 board no problem. Just enabled XMP and selected the profile and it was running fine.
I bought this 5 years ago and I've never had an issue with it :)
I really like this direction in storage, it's very convenient. At first I thought it would be excessive to get one, but this is pretty much the same price for a SATA SSD.
Not having to run a power and SATA cable is really refreshing and makes the whole building process that much more enjoyable. The transfer speeds are kind of incomprehensible, overkill for most needs so the speed almost becomes irrelevant. I guess an M.2 SATA would have done just as well for a little cheaper and probably wouldn't notice the difference.
Really impressed with the boost speeds, I was getting 1987MHz out of the box, that's 7% more than advertised speeds of 1860MHz and 22% more than base clock speed of 1633MHz. I was able to overclock it to 2114MHz for a total increase of 29% from base clock. Temperatures don't really go above low 60C, most times the fans aren't even spinning. When temperatures do climb, the fans generally only have to spin at 60%, fairly quiet.
Although I do like this case and have gotten a lot of good use out of it, I wouldn't recommend it at this point. It's a 6 year old design and it's still being sold at it's original price of $80. Although it's spacious, people generally don't need 5.25" bays anymore and the hard drive cage is in the way if you want to mount a radiator in the front so needs modification.
There's poor cabling options in the back, the whole back end of the rear panel doesn't offer a single loop for zip ties, and there's no channel so wires can start to bulge.
My main pet peeve are the side panels, they flex easily so makes it really hard to get all the edges to catch when sliding it closed. You really have to push it against something or lay on it's side in order to get even pressure with both your elbows and forearms to slide it closed.
I've never worked with a modular PSU so didn't know what I was missing, now I can definitely say modular PSU's are the way to go. Saves a lot of headache when cabling and leaves you with a much cleaner, easier to work with system.
They provided plenty of cable options, velcro ties, and a handy bag for the leftovers. Overall feels very well built.
There's a toggle switch for fan modes. Either constant on, or hybrid mode that mostly keeps the fan off and only spins the fan on when it gets warm. I have no idea how hot it needs to get to turn on because I've never witnessed the fan actually spin in hybrid mode.
I never thought I'd be impressed by a power unit!
These guys feel kind of weak.
When I was researching them online I was reading 74CFM on vendor sites, but when I actually received them the box listed them as 54CFM, so pretty disappointed, though I guess not the fan's fault.
These were the cheapest alternative to mounting a 3.5" drive in a 5.25" bay, but I also just like the minimalism. Once you get them screwed on it's very solid.
Because it's so minimal there are no obstructions when attaching cables and better airflow.
Good solution for mounting a 2.5" drive in a 5.25" bay, really like the minimalism. Once you get them screwed on it's very solid. Slots for up to 3 drives is a great value and gives you a little more flexibility when running power cables.
Minimal design means there are no obstructions when attaching cables and allows for good airflow.
I wanted to like these but they ended up being horrible to work with. I liked the idea of having the flat nub on the outside of the case for a cleaner look, but having to pull the mount through the fan's screw hole while in the case was maddening. Ends up the fans I used had slightly smaller screw holes so it was almost impossible to pull through without tearing the pins, I ripped about half of them.
Once they are in, they seem to do their job, my case is very quiet now, but I definitely would not recommend these things.