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New Build for Server / Media Center / HD Video Editing / FEA

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hello all!

I am looking for some general computing advice: Having been out of the computer-building game for nearly a decade now, and am growing in my desire for more power. During this time I have gotten by on cheap laptops for light tasks, partially waiting for processor development to start to slow down. From reading reviews on intel's new Haswell design, it seems like the company's focus is no longer on performance but the mobile market, indicating that now may be the right time for my purchase.

My ideal system will run 24/7. I will use it as a file server and media center (perhaps even watching TV through it using a capture card). I may also use it for a few home automation functions I have in mind. The kicker is that I would also like to use it for several high-end functions, such as HD video editing and finite element analysis. Furthermore, I would like to build this system for longevity. As you can probably tell, building systems is only a minor hobby for myself, so this is not a rig I will be upgrading every 6-12 months. I want something that will last 10-20 years (keep in mind I have had my current crappy laptop for 6 years now).

How I intend to go about this is by building an LGA 2011 rig with either a 6-core sandy or ivy bridge - e processor. For graphics, probably only 1-2 non-bridged high-end cards for at least dual monitor support. For ram, either 32 or 64 GB of 1866 MHz DDR3. If I build now, I would also probably go with the ASUS Rampage IV motherboard. I would then watercool pretty much everything in the case (cpu/graphics/mobo/ram... not hard drive because I'll use SSD) to keep temps as low as possible to increase the life. I would not overclock with normal operation, but may when running an intense FEA model.

So I would really appreciate everyone's advice on this! But more specifically:

1. Am I biting off too much with this rig? Would it be better to build two systems: one low-power media center / server and a second high-power video editing / finite element solver?
2. Is now the right time for this build? Is there a new technology on the horizon that is expected to blow performance out of the water? I 'could' wait up to 2 more years for building this. If not, should I at least wait for ivy bridge - e?
3. Is my longevity goal unrealistic? Will extreme cooling without overclocking help this?

Thank you!
Brent
post #2 of 3
I have an Amiga (1986) but I wouldn't consider it as anything other than of historic value....

A ten year old machine is useless today, even a high spec. one, IMHO.

I like your idea of two PC's better. The low power media/automation/server machine makes good sense.

As for the FEA box, you need to know what the software runs on to best effect, an eight core Xeon 2011 CPU might move more maths than a faster six core ? Nvidia "PRO" spec cards might be more cost effective, depends on your budget really.

All IMHO. Asus P9X79 WS might be more suitable for FEA.

dunx
Edited by 2002dunx - 9/16/12 at 1:10pm
Wee-PC
(17 items)
 
Wee black box
(13 items)
 
Boinc Box
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 - 960 Asus P6T7 WS Revolution with MIPS water blocks. XFX HD 7950 + waterblock Powercolour R9 280X 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Crucial Ballistics Tracer 6 x 4Gb 2Tb WD caviar green Crucial M4 64 Gb SSD  Sony NEC DVD  
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Apogee Drive + Allphacool 180mm rad W7 Dell 29" 21:9 IPS monitor Coolermaster 1250W PSU 
CaseAudio
Antec P280 Scythe Kama Bay Speaker 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7-4770K Asus Impact VI HyperX beast 2400MHz 2x 8Gb WD 1Tb caviar black x3 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Intel X-25 SSD 80 Gb Corsair H80 W7 Panasonic 32" HDTV 
KeyboardPowerCaseOther
Keysonic wireless Silverstone 450 W SFX PSU Fractal Design Array R2 Griffin Powermate 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 870  Asus Maximus III Formula GTX 480  HD 5870 
RAMHard DriveCoolingMonitor
OCZ 4x 2Gb  WD 2TB Green Corsair H70 Dell 17"  
PowerCase
Coolermaster Silent Pro 750W NZXT Panzerbox 
  hide details  
Reply
Wee-PC
(17 items)
 
Wee black box
(13 items)
 
Boinc Box
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 - 960 Asus P6T7 WS Revolution with MIPS water blocks. XFX HD 7950 + waterblock Powercolour R9 280X 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Crucial Ballistics Tracer 6 x 4Gb 2Tb WD caviar green Crucial M4 64 Gb SSD  Sony NEC DVD  
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Apogee Drive + Allphacool 180mm rad W7 Dell 29" 21:9 IPS monitor Coolermaster 1250W PSU 
CaseAudio
Antec P280 Scythe Kama Bay Speaker 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7-4770K Asus Impact VI HyperX beast 2400MHz 2x 8Gb WD 1Tb caviar black x3 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Intel X-25 SSD 80 Gb Corsair H80 W7 Panasonic 32" HDTV 
KeyboardPowerCaseOther
Keysonic wireless Silverstone 450 W SFX PSU Fractal Design Array R2 Griffin Powermate 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 870  Asus Maximus III Formula GTX 480  HD 5870 
RAMHard DriveCoolingMonitor
OCZ 4x 2Gb  WD 2TB Green Corsair H70 Dell 17"  
PowerCase
Coolermaster Silent Pro 750W NZXT Panzerbox 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2002dunx View Post

I have an Amiga (1986) but I wouldn't consider it as anything other than of historic value....
A ten year old machine is useless today, even a high spec. one, IMHO.
I like your idea of two PC's better. The low power media/automation/server machine makes good sense.
As for the FEA box, you need to know what the software runs on to best effect, an eight core Xeon 2011 CPU might move more maths than a faster six core ? Nvidia "PRO" spec cards might be more cost effective, depends on your budget really.
All IMHO. Asus P9X79 WS might be more suitable for FEA.
dunx

I agree with this member's assessment. The P9X79 WS is the board you want if overclocking isn't your primary goal. It supports workstation grade peripherals like hardware RAID controllers and server-grade network cards. Of course, it has a workstation/server form factor, so it won't fit in your average ATX case. I would suggest that you use a good quality 4U rackmount case for it, anyway, if it's meant to be a closet server sort of machine. I would only recommend this route, though, if you want to go with one of the LGA 2011 consumer CPUs.

If you are truly serious about building a beast for FEA, then you really are probably going to want a C600-series workstation/server board. They support dual or quad CPU configurations of Xeon chips from the same LGA 2011 line. There are 6 and 8 core HyperThreading Xeons that are capable of outperforming the 3930K and 3960X available, and you have the option of starting with one and upgrading to 2, 3, or 4 later if you decide to do so.

I'd suggest that you take a look at the Dell PowerEdge R820 server. They start with two quad-core 2011 Xeons that you can choose to upgrade to 6 or 8 core Xeons. You can also upgrade the whole system to a quad CPU configuration if you have around $23k to blow.
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