December 2016 update:
The gaming performance was sadly just... passable. The amount of value i got from 24 threads was less than i expected and the suboptimal single thread performance did hurt my gaming performance so i decided to figuratively and literally pull the plug from this rig and rebuilt the system with a 6700k instead. If only i had done my research, i would have known that Photoshop/illustrator/indesign that i mainly work with much prefer clocks over cores.
2016 summer update:
Added GTX 1080, swapped fans to NF-P12, replaced the HDD with a larger one, replaced the "super speedy awesome ssd" with 500GB 850 EVO. My desk is still a mess and will most likely remain that way until i manage to move to a new apartment and get a proper desk upgrade.
After over six years of loyal servitude it was finally time to lay my old x58 based system to rest and build a new system from ground up. I use my PC for graphical design work and of course gaming, so performance in various adobe CC applications was high up on the consideration, but gaming performance had to be passable as well. Gaming wise i also find some justification for the 12 core monster in the fact that i can record footage with literally no impact on gaming performance.
Why did i pick the parts i did? It all really started with the CPU, and there is not even much of a story there; i went with the e5-2678v3 simply because i got it cheap as a "server pull". And yeah, it is actually e5-2678v3 instead of e5-2680v3, but pcpartpicker does not list my cpu, so i had to display 2680v3 which is practically the same chip (trust me, it just is). Had i gone with a overclockable consumer chip such as 5820k or its 8 core brother the PC would look very different, but since i gone with a relatively cool xeon, i decided to go with a "moderate" m-atx form factor instead of a huge tower. As the processor is able to turbo to 3.3GHz in 2 core load, the horsepower should be passable for gaming now, and in the near future, and the 2.8GHz speed across all 12 cores brings sweet performance to applications that are able to leverage the cores.
As the processor dictated the form factor of the build, the choice for mobo was simple. I pretty much went with the cheapest x99 m-atx board that had full speed m.2 and support for the cpu. With this particular processor i don't need all the fancy overclocking optimizations of some higher tier motherboards as i would not be doing any overclocking on a xeon. As the motherboard only has 4 dimm slots, i went with a 4x8GB kit of DDR4 at 2133 which is the highest officially supported ramspeed for the cpu. In retrospect i probably could have gone with a 64GB kit for better performance in AE, but 32GB will do for now.
BitFenix pandora was a clear choice for the case; it is relatively compact tower, but still has enough room to accommodate all the innards i want to stuff in it. Oh, and it looks nice, something else than a black box for once. It's not the best case in terms of airflow, but cooling is not really a huge issue with a xeon. Speaking of cooling, i took a bit of a leap of faith with the Raijintek triton as it does not have the best reputation on the interwebs, but for me it has worked just fine so far. It was fairly inexpensive, but once again, looked nice. Something else than a black plastic block and opaque tubes. I am well aware that a 240 radiator is way overkill for a heatload of this caliber, but i wanted to keep my system quiet and in that i have succeeded. I have the two fans on the radiator spinning at 1000RPM and the pump at its minimum speed and it is keeping the cpu idle tems at 10 celsius and 100% load temps at 30 celcius delta to the room temperature.
PSU is also a clear overkill, but i wanted to get a PSU of reasonable quality and power to be ready in case i ever want to stuff two GPUs in my system. And GPU, well, i decided to wait for 2016 summer for new releases as i anticipate a considerable jump in performance from the long overdue die shrink.. so i kept my old 7950 which will do just fine until the next generation of graphics cards come out. I have a stack of cash with a GTX1080's name on it waiting for the release.
For local storage i am reusing my old 2TB HDD and got a Samsung SM951 256GB M.2 SSD as my high speed boot disk. The case also has a place for showcasing a 2.5 inch drive on the side under the window, so for the sake of having something on the spot, i put a 250GB drive from one of my old laptops on it. I am utilizing it as a dedicated disk for temporarily storing my recent game captures.
Some notes on the build:
The case is not very large in any way. There is very little cable management room on the back, you will absolutely not be storing any excess cables back there. Speaking of cables, the cables on the PSU are not exactly the most suited for a confined case like this. Getting the largest cables around in the case was a total pain in the *** because of the fuses or whatever they are on the ends on the cables, they really add some unwanted bulk to them. Triton also caused some headaches on the installation in this case; the hoses are way too long for this case and very, very flexible. It was only after considerable amount of struggling that i was able to get the hoses to even fit in the case with the side panel on without a major kink in them.
PS: Sorry i never took any pictures, so this bad phone pic of it sitting on the corner of my messy desk will have to do.
PPS: Just ignore the mess of the cables on the desk, i will have to fix them once i source myself a desk that is a little bit less cramped. Right now i just cant be arsed.