Description

First build in 15 years :-)

Objective: a data science / parallel computation / software dev machine, occasional game every now and again.

Build

The CPUs are actually E5-2696 V4s, but have identical specs to the E5-2699 V4. Got them for a reasonable price from a vendor on Ebay. Admittedly a bit of a gamble but turned out fine. A GTX 1070 to get my feet wet with deep learning models and perhaps some gaming.

The Corsair 750D Airflow Edition doesn't officially support EEB form factor motherboards. I drilled two additional holes for motherboard standoffs. I went with this case because I like its minimalistic aesthetic and I didn't want a huge case on my desk. I replaced the standard case fans that came with the case with Bequit! Silent Wings 3 fans. There are two noctua fans in the top position. I originally planned to have the CPU coolers facing upwards with a push-pull fan configuration but this turned out to be practically impossible because of space limitations. I rotated them 90 degrees, and mounted the two leftover fans in the top instead.

OS

The installation of Ubuntu 16.10 was a bit tricky for 2 reasons. First, the installer didn't recognize the Samsung 950 Pro nvme m.2 disk. It was possible to start up Ubuntu from the usb disk, but the necessary nvidia drivers were missing causing the mouse indicator not to move. I ended up solving the problem by acquiring another ssd, a Samsung 850 Pro, which connects to the motherboard with a trusty old-fashioned SATA cable. The installer recognized that one without problems. With some hassle navigating the installer using the keyboard, I was able to install the operating system, the nvidia drivers were installed using apt-get in a terminal.

I also ended up buying a small and cheap m.2 to PCIe 4x adapter card for the Samsung 950 pro, and installed it this way instead of using the slot on the motherboard for two reasons: the interface on the z10pe-d16 WS apparently is only 2x, so it doesn't make sense to install a fast drive in a slower slot. Secondly, the people at Puget systems recommend not installing a drive on the motherboard for thermal reasons because there is a high probability it will end up under the graphics card. According to them, an adapter card is recommended, and as a PC building newbie I simply complied with this advice ;-)

Issues

From a thermals perspective, having the hot air from one CPU cooler blow into the other one is a design flaw. The Noctuas are ~12cm wide, just a tad too large to have them blow upwards. To make sure thermal properties of the system are reasonable I ran stress-ng -c 88 to keep all of the 88 threads busy. It turns out there is a big difference in CPU temperature under load. The first one ran comfortably around 55°C, whereas the second one hovered around 68°C. As long as it remains under 70° I do not worry too much. [UPDATE] it turns out the guys at Puget systems also use this fan configuration:

Another peculiar phenomenon is that the motherboard produces a soft but still annoying "chirping" noise when the CPUs are (almost) idle. Probably this is caused by some power/voltage management system. I figured out that by feeding one thread some busywork, the noise disappears. [UPDATE] I managed to get rid of the noise by disabling the power-efficiency setting in the BIOS IntelRCSetup section. Expectedly, when idling, the CPUs run averagely on a higher clock speed, and therefore a little hotter. I monitor each core's clock with sudo watch -n 1 cat /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu*/cpufreq/cpuinfo_cur_freq. The system is now inaudibly quiet when not under load, which is nice. When under load it emits a low-pitched hum, but still a lot quieter than my MBP with fans blazing.

As already pointed out in other builds with similar hardware, a downside of a system like this is the slow startup time, around a minute. On the other hand, as it's not a laptop it's probably going to stay on for long stretches of time anyway.

Conclusion

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out. Ordering the Xeons on Ebay was a gamble, which fortunately turned out OK. The overall price I paid was lower than the estimate calculated by this website, I paid around 2300$ per CPU, customs included. So the total cost was around 2 beefy MBPs. IMHO very reasonable for a system like this. For an enthousiast build like this, it's worth keeping an eye on the second-hand market and strike when an opportunity presents itself.

Now all that remains is putting this rig to good use. In the short term it will be used to develop algorithms to visually explore high-dimensional data sets from the life sciences domain.

Comments

  • 31 months ago
  • 18 points

You paid more tax than my whole PC costs :) +1

  • 31 months ago
  • 12 points

+1 for the name, +1 for the CPUs, +1 for the hole ******* computer!

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points

+10 for the whole computer :/

  • 29 months ago
  • 6 points

When i see linux i instant upvote

  • 31 months ago
  • 5 points

22x my laptop's core count, 16x my RAM, you win sir

  • 31 months ago
  • 5 points

HOLY ****!!! THIS IS AWESOME!

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points

holy ****

this is a-mei-zing!!

  • 26 months ago
  • -1 points

triggered very triggered

  • 31 months ago
  • 3 points

I love it more pics pls!!!!

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

added a few

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice thank you!

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

looks awesome

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

I wish I had that kind of money o.o

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Dual socket builds. That's my fetish.

My first PC was a retired machine from my dad's office and had dual Pentium 2s. Always loved the concept since then.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Had to double take at the price lol, 44 cores holy moly.

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for "occasional game every now and again"

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Them "bequit!" fans sure are a pain in the ***!

Anyways, +1 for every core and +1 for that slick lookin calculator!

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

looks awesome! And what keyboard is that? I am duly intrigued by its layout...

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks. It's a "type matrix". I like it but now i have difficulty typing on a regular keyboard ;-)

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

Great Build! Thanks for sharing how you use it as well!!

  • 31 months ago
  • 2 points

This.....is...SO EPIC

  • 30 months ago
  • 2 points

you are a ******* god of pc's.. is amazing configuration. is my dream machine but i do not have money to make it, congratulations more pictures please.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

But can it run Crysis?

  • 24 months ago
  • 2 points

I love it.. But what would you use this for?

  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

answered above :-)

  • 19 months ago
  • 2 points

anti rgb confirmed

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

I cant afford to look at this build.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

What olkb is that? It's like the preonic on roids

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

typematrix

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

such a powerful pc but no windows i understand that this is probably not a gaming pc because of ubuntu you can do gaming but this is probably a productivity type pc right?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

It's mainly a number cruncher for data science and machine learning applications. In most cases I simply use my laptop at work to develop the software, but to actually train the models I fire off jobs on this rig.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

oh, cool

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

But how much fps can it get on csgo? that's the real question

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Whats the Monitor Boi

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Keyboard . +1

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

this probably costs more than bill gates' rent

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

My only con with this would be that you bought a cheap PSU to run super Intel Chips. If I was building this system I would always spend the most I can on a PSU, likely a Seasonic, Enermax or a Corsair.

Otherwise, I see it like buying an Aston Martin and putting a Lada engine in it :/

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

AFAIK a BeQuiet! is on par with Seasonic quality-wise, but with an extra quiet fan.

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

nice plex/ unraid machine you could use there

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

is this skynet on steroids?

or just for plex?

  • 24 months ago
  • 0 points

Very Cool, Would be nice if there was a MOBO for Dual 1950X Threadrippers, I've been inspired!

  • 23 months ago
  • 0 points

If it were me, I'd stick a GTX 1080Ti in, because so much is being spent already, you'd might as well get an insane graphics card. Tho the Xeons would handle the graphics of most games fine anyway...

  • 22 months ago
  • 0 points

I would instead of getting overkill ram upgrade the gpu unless you are not gaming and other stuff...

  • 22 months ago
  • 0 points

Btw Holyyyyy Jesus not tryin to be mean or anythin but u got alot of money

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  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Nah, the 20 bucks case fans blew it for me, that's just too much

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  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Actually, it's 44 cores, 88 threads...Such overkill, many wow.

  • 14 months ago
  • 3 points

Actually it depends what you are doing with the system. Overkill for gaming yes, for building a VIrtualised Environment on a VMware platform or Hyper-V no, for data science modelling= no

This system is not for gaming, it is for building complex models and using huge amounts of processing to run calculations of extensive degrees.

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  • 24 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, I guess not, because NOTHING uses 88 threads xD

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