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The PC Builder's Guides - Pricepoint-Specific => The Premium/Extreme Gaming PC Builds => Topic started by: Ari Altman on August 11, 2016, 12:45:10 AM

Title: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on August 11, 2016, 12:45:10 AM
Comments or questions on TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016) (http://techbuyersguru.com/pc-builders-guides-assembling-ultra-high-end-pc-2016)? Post them here!

(http://techbuyersguru.com/sites/default/files/pictures/TBGbuilds/UltraHighEnd2016/16%20-%20FinishedBuildInterior.jpg)
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: eco_bach on August 29, 2016, 11:16:55 AM
Hi Ari
For this build you are using 2 different brand 1070's.
Why?

Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on August 29, 2016, 11:40:16 AM
Hi Ari
For this build you are using 2 different brand 1070's.
Why?

I purchase all my cards at retail, and buying identical cards would mean I have fewer products to test. I'll never buy two of the same product. In addition, running an open-air on top in combination with an externally-exhausting card on the bottom provides for a great balance of noise and temperatures. With two open-air cards, you'll have the top card running much hotter than the bottom card.

That being said, the GTX 1070 is efficient enough that you really don't have to worry too much about this, and buying matching open-air cards will work fine.
Title: Open-Air vs. Blower-Style GPU Coolers
Post by: TomBor77 on September 16, 2016, 08:14:27 AM
I am in the middle of a build and was intrigued by your use of both open air and blower style cards for SLI.

I have a question about this if possible.

Unlike your builds I am limited to using air coolers for CPU (D15s) but I have otherwise a big tower case which should allow for good airflow (Enthoo Primo). In my case would you advice on getting two blower style cards (I am looking at 1070s) or one of each like you did with your build?

I say this because whereas your cpu is water-cooled, mine would be air cooled so the open air card may raise the temps (?). I will be overclocking my cpu (5960x) to 4ghz if possible.

Many thanks!
Title: Re: Open-Air vs. Blower-Style GPU Coolers
Post by: Ari Altman on September 16, 2016, 09:01:51 AM
I am in the middle of a build and was intrigued by your use of both open air and blower style cards for SLI.

I have a question about this if possible.

Unlike your builds I am limited to using air coolers for CPU (D15s) but I have otherwise a big tower case which should allow for good airflow (Enthoo Primo). In my case would you advice on getting two blower style cards (I am looking at 1070s) or one of each like you did with your build?

I say this because whereas your cpu is water-cooled, mine would be air cooled so the open air card may raise the temps (?). I will be overclocking my cpu (5960x) to 4ghz if possible.

Many thanks!

Welcome to the TBG Forum, TomBor77!

Yes, indeed, many readers are interested in that particular mixed setup. I've done it with previous guides (including the 980 Ti 4K Challenge (http://techbuyersguru.com/taking-4k-gaming-challenge-gtx-980-ti-sli) and the 780 Ti Cooler Comparison (http://techbuyersguru.com/video-card-comparison-blower-style-vs-open-air-coolers)), and I'm always happy with the results. What you end up with is the two cards nearly in sync with regard to temperatures, as the blower style model on the bottom naturally runs hotter on its own, while the open-air model on top is forced to higher temperatures due to the dual-card configuration. You can't get ultra-low temperatures when running in SLI, that's just not going to happen, so balanced temperatures is much better for equalizing clockrates.

All that being said, I just got a second open-air GTX 1080 in for testing, and next week I'll begin running 4K benchmarks in SLI to see how two open-air cards do. I suspect I'll have a lot of work to do to keep the top one from running at lower clocks.

And then there's the issue of CPU cooling. Liquid cooling is essentially unaffected by GPU waste heat, but a tower CPU cooler like the D15s most certainly is. In fact, I've found the D15s actually loses a lot of performance when inundated by waste heat, underperforming thinner coolers that let hot air past them and up to the top of the case. Is there a reason you have to use the D15s? For SLI I really prefer liquid cooling the CPU. I just pulled my 1070 SLI system out of my NH-U14S-equipped 6700K test rig because it was becoming a hot box.

If you need to keep the D15s, I do think you'll be better off with a combination of a blower-style and open-air cooler on your video cards. That will cut waste heat hitting your CPU nearly in half. You could go with two blower-style cards, but in the end, they will not perform better than a combo setup, and will be louder. The only advantage will be slightly lower CPU temps, but the D15s is more than capable of handling the waste heat of one video card.
Title: Re: Open-Air vs. Blower-Style GPU Coolers
Post by: TomBor77 on September 16, 2016, 09:21:51 AM
I am in the middle of a build and was intrigued by your use of both open air and blower style cards for SLI.

I have a question about this if possible.

Unlike your builds I am limited to using air coolers for CPU (D15s) but I have otherwise a big tower case which should allow for good airflow (Enthoo Primo). In my case would you advice on getting two blower style cards (I am looking at 1070s) or one of each like you did with your build?

I say this because whereas your cpu is water-cooled, mine would be air cooled so the open air card may raise the temps (?). I will be overclocking my cpu (5960x) to 4ghz if possible.

Many thanks!

Welcome to the TBG Forum, TomBor77!

Yes, indeed, many readers are interested in that particular mixed setup. I've done it with previous guides (including the 980 Ti 4K Challenge (http://techbuyersguru.com/taking-4k-gaming-challenge-gtx-980-ti-sli) and the 780 Ti Cooler Comparison (http://techbuyersguru.com/video-card-comparison-blower-style-vs-open-air-coolers)), and I'm always happy with the results. What you end up with is the two cards nearly in sync with regard to temperatures, as the blower style model on the bottom naturally runs hotter on its own, while the open-air model on top is forced to higher temperatures due to the dual-card configuration. You can't get ultra-low temperatures when running in SLI, that's just not going to happen, so balanced temperatures is much better for equalizing clockrates.

All that being said, I just got a second open-air GTX 1080 in for testing, and next week I'll begin running 4K benchmarks in SLI to see how two open-air cards do. I suspect I'll have a lot of work to do to keep the top one from running at lower clocks.

And then there's the issue of CPU cooling. Liquid cooling is essentially unaffected by GPU waste heat, but a tower CPU cooler like the D15s most certainly is. In fact, I've found the D15s actually loses a lot of performance when inundated by waste heat, underperforming thinner coolers that let hot air past them and up to the top of the case. Is there a reason you have to use the D15s? For SLI I really prefer liquid cooling the CPU. I just pulled my 1070 SLI system out of my NH-U14S-equipped 6700K test rig because it was becoming a hot box.

If you need to keep the D15s, I do think you'll be better off with a combination of a blower-style and open-air cooler on your video cards. That will cut waste heat hitting your CPU nearly in half. You could go with two blower-style cards, but in the end, they will not perform better than a combo setup, and will be louder. The only advantage will be slightly lower CPU temps, but the D15s is more than capable of handling the waste heat of one video card.

Many thanks for the warm welcomes and for getting back, that was very informative.

I think it is interesting we are not seeing more talk of your combo, I have been looking online and most results come from your testing. Many of my colleagues swear by blower-style cards, it has become almost gospel among our ranks. 

I am building this machine for rendering, it is my first build and my first PC so I am a little hesitant to use any form of water cooling. I have read a number of discussions pertaining to leaks and pump failure, and whilst I know that it is a case of a minority of these coolers developing faults, I am trying to err on the side of caution by using a reliable (if less effective) air towers.

As for the D15s specifically, that was chosen for compatibility. I am using Deluxe II, and most big air coolers block the first PCIe slot, or the m.2 slot on this particular board. I looked at benchmarks and it appears that the D15s performs on par with a single fan D15. And for a modest overclock of 4ghz I hope it is adequate.

Out of interest, which cooler would you recommend for my build? My cpu is 5960x and case is Enthoo Primo, and I plan to have two 1070s in there.

When you say two blower style will be louder, if you had to put a percentage what would it be? I am trying to imagine the difference but I have never used high end PCs with powerful cards so have little idea of what the difference in noise between open air combo and two blower style is.

Again many thanks for your valuable input!
Title: Re: Open-Air vs. Blower-Style GPU Coolers
Post by: Ari Altman on September 16, 2016, 09:41:05 AM
TomBor77,

It sounds like you're using this setup for professional work, and in that case, yes, an air cooler is slightly more reliable (and quieter) than a liquid CPU cooler.

As for video card cooler noise, blower-style coolers are a lot louder. In my testing, I've found blower-style coolers to be 4-5dB louder. That makes a big difference. For single-GPU systems in large cases, I do not recommend them. But there are two scenarios when they make sense: (1) in small cases with low airflow, and (2) in SLI systems. The only time I'd recommend two blower-style cards for SLI, however, is if you have no spacing in between the cards, as in the photo below, which I took at an Nvidia VR demo earlier this month:

(http://techbuyersguru.com/sites/default/files/pictures/PAX/PAX2016/VR/Nvidia%27s%20Dual%20GPU%20VR%20Machine%20800x600.jpg)

In that situation, open-air cards would simply overheat. Otherwise, I like the top card to be open-air.

By the way, I'm going to merge this with the Ultra-High-End Assembly Guide thread, as your build is actually quite similar to the build profiled in that article.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 16, 2016, 10:37:40 AM
Ari,

Again thanks you very much for all your help.

This is indeed intended for professional work and being a PC hardware novice, reliability is of outmost importance. It would take me much longer to fix things should they go wrong, at least until I am up to speed with the build and its components.

Regarding the difference in noise, 4-5db is indeed a lot. I think I will stick with your combo for my build.

Seeing as I may populate all three PCIe slots with cards (1070s for now but potentially 1080tis), would you still advice to have the top most card be open air? So two blower style and one open air at the very top?

(I wont use SLI in any grouping of the cards as rendering scales very well with additional cards linearly in programs like Octane).
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 16, 2016, 10:43:51 AM
Ari,

Again thanks you very much for all your help.

This is indeed intended for professional work and being a PC hardware novice, reliability is of outmost importance. It would take me much longer to fix things should they go wrong, at least until I am up to speed with the build and its components.

Regarding the difference in noise, 4-5db is indeed a lot. I think I will stick with your combo for my build.

Seeing as I may populate all three PCIe slots with cards (1070s for now but potentially 1080tis), would you still advice to have the top most card be open air? So two blower style and one open air at the very top?

(I wont use SLI in any grouping of the cards as rendering scales very well with additional cards linearly in programs like Octane).

What motherboard are you using? I'd like to take a look at the slot spacing for triple-card setups (noting that you will not be using SLI, which is no longer fully supported by Nvidia, but rather up to three independent cards).
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 16, 2016, 11:01:47 AM
Sorry I should have added, I am using the X99 Deluxe II from Asus.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 16, 2016, 11:38:43 AM
Sorry I should have added, I am using the X99 Deluxe II from Asus.

All right, with the Asus X99 Deluxe II (US Link (http://amzn.to/2cD19ve) | UK Link (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01FHVDFRQ/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B01FHVDFRQ&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21)), you will want to use the first slot and the fourth slot for dual cards, and the first, fourth, and sixth for triple cards. This is with the 2-way/3-way switch on the board in 3-way mode. Note that only the first and fourth slots support PCIe x16 connections, so when you add the third card, it will be operating at PCIe x8, which will cut performance by about 3-5%. Also note that you'll need an extended ATX case, as the last card will hang off the bottom of the board. Finally, note that you will not have access to M.2 or U.2 functionality with all PCIe slots used. For more information, see this Asus manual (http://dlcdnet.asus.com/pub/ASUS/mb/LGA2011/X99-DLX_II/X99-DLX-II_Guide-o.pdf?_ga=1.113342095.949410488.1449920360).

Here's a photo of the board for reference:

(https://www.asus.com/media/global/products/f3t1UbKe9B61bqmk/EA0H3CWke0krlPmf_setting_fff_1_90_end_500.png) (http://amzn.to/2cD19ve)

Assuming you're going with the 3-card setup, I'd absolutely recommend blower-style cards in the lower two positions, and potentially an open-air card in the first slot. The nice thing about the open-air card is that it will shut off its fans at idle, cutting noise somewhat when you're not working (although you'll still have the other two blower fans going constantly).

One other thing to note: most open-air cards are factory-overclocked, while the Founders Edition blower-style card is not. If having clock speeds that are as similar as possible is best for your workload, you may want all cards to have identical specs, although I can guarantee you that the top card is going to run at higher boost rates no matter what, so the open-air models will just extend on that lead. Keeping all three cards at the same clock rates will be impossible.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 17, 2016, 05:16:03 AM
That was incredibly thorough, thank you so much for taking the time to explain.

I will go with your combo for now, so one blower-style and one open air, and if/when I add the third card it will be another blower style and will place both below the open air card.

One last question if you do not mind. If my reading of the manual is correct, if I use 3 cards in x16/x8/x8 I can still use an m.2 card? (with both x8 cards having 3-5% reduction in performance).

Thanks again for your help, much appreciated for a first timer like myself!
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 17, 2016, 08:07:46 AM
That's exactly right. There is a menu within the UEFI (BIOS) called Onboard Devices Configuration that offers an option to manually switch the PCIe lanes from the PCIe slot to the M.2 slot, although in automatic mode it should detect the presence of an M.2 drive and auto-negotiate the lane allocation.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 17, 2016, 08:42:50 AM
I do not know how to express my thanks, you have been so very helpful! I think that is it for me, I feel I know what I am doing now. Hope you have a great weekend!  :D
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 17, 2016, 09:38:35 AM
I do not know how to express my thanks, you have been so very helpful! I think that is it for me, I feel I know what I am doing now. Hope you have a great weekend!  :D

Can I quote you on the home page? Just need a first name and hometown. That's all I ask!
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 17, 2016, 09:41:14 AM
Sure thing, Thomas from sunny Glasgow Scotland :)
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 17, 2016, 10:10:06 AM
Sure thing, Thomas from sunny Glasgow Scotland :)

Excellent, you are now on the home page!

In other news, I've begun my open-air GTX 1080 SLI testing:

(http://techbuyersguru.com/sites/default/files/pictures/TheGamersBench/The1080SLI-Titan4KChallenge/IMAG0820.jpg)

It took about 30 seconds for the top card to hit its throttling point of 83C, which I never saw once while during my 1070 SLI mixed-cooler testing, nor when running a single GTX 1080. Now, I'm not pushing extreme overclocks, so I'm not too worried about losing a few speed bins, but this is the element of SLI that enthusiasts may not contemplate when going for the fastest open-air cards on the market. That top card is simply not going to perform as well as you might want!
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 17, 2016, 11:31:52 AM
Thirty seconds!

Would that be brand specific or just a case of 1080 generating a lot more heat than 1070?
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 17, 2016, 11:43:02 AM
Thirty seconds!

Would that be brand specific or just a case of 1080 generating a lot more heat than 1070?

I'm pretty confident the same problem would occur with the GTX 1070 in SLI if you used two open-air coolers. With my mixed combo of open-air and blower cards, I had temperatures around 75C for the open-air card and 79C for the blower card on the bottom. And that was without having to do any major tweaking.

Remember, this testing has been done with a 240mm liquid CPU cooler keeping CPU heat out of the case, and the ACX 3.0 cooler on the EVGA GTX 1070 and 1080 cards I'm using is one of the best. Yes, you can spend another $30-$50 to get a GTX 1080 with larger fans and a much larger footprint, but they'll still run into the same problem, just not quite as quickly.

Now, since I posted my results, I've tamed the top GTX 1080 card with an ultra-aggressive 1:1 fan ratio (i.e., it runs at 80% fan speed at 80C, which is NOT quiet, while just barely maintaining that temp). The bottom card is running at the same clock speed but is hitting 69C with a 40% fan speed. So, you can definitely use two open-air cards, but it takes more tweaking using specialized GPU applications running in the background.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 17, 2016, 01:35:03 PM
By the way, in case you're looking up prices in the UK, Amazon.co.uk has the Zotac GTX 1070 Founders Edition (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01G5DXPKW/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B01G5DXPKW&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21) for a great price, lower than any other FE. Given that all FE cards are identical and made directly by Nvidia, no need to pay a premium for another brand.

As for the open-air models, I'd consider the EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SC (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01GVHNWUK/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B01GVHNWUK&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21). The "premium" open-air model is the MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X (https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01GRCYPE6/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B01GRCYPE6&linkCode=as2&tag=thtebusgu-21), which has larger fans and may be able to maintain slightly lower temps at the same noise levels.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 17, 2016, 02:00:18 PM
Many thanks, duly noted.

For the founders edition I am thinking its a toss up between the Zotac you linked to and EVGA for me. I am not sure where you are based Ari, but assuming stateside? Had I been there I would have probably gone for the Zotac, but apparently they do not have their RMA centre in UK so for any issues the card will be sent to China. This is not the case for EVGA who has a centre in the UK so any potential issues should (in theory at least, I have no first hand experience) be dealt with much faster. Though the warranty on Zotac is longer (5 vs 3 years).

As for the open air card the SC looks very good, many thanks for the recommendation!
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 17, 2016, 03:02:06 PM
Many thanks, duly noted.

For the founders edition I am thinking its a toss up between the Zotac you linked to and EVGA for me. I am not sure where you are based Ari, but assuming stateside? Had I been there I would have probably gone for the Zotac, but apparently they do not have their RMA centre in UK so for any issues the card will be sent to China. This is not the case for EVGA who has a centre in the UK so any potential issues should (in theory at least, I have no first hand experience) be dealt with much faster. Though the warranty on Zotac is longer (5 vs 3 years).

As for the open air card the SC looks very good, many thanks for the recommendation!

Yes, I agree, the need to RMA to China is not ideal. The Founders Edition is going to be quite reliable, however, given that it's a design fully vetted by Nvidia and used by all system integrators.

EVGA is of course exemplary when it comes to service, at least in the U.S. where I'm based, so I wouldn't blame you for choosing EVGA for the Founders Edition card. Just realize that the card is not built any differently (nor does it have a lower chance of failure) than other Founders Edition cards.
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: TomBor77 on September 18, 2016, 12:27:58 AM
I see, so a FE from any partner should be identical regardless of the branding. Are they manufactured at Nvidia and then sent to partners to 'distribute' or does Nvidia just supply the designs for coolers with the partners actually manufacturing it?
Title: Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling an Ultra-High-End PC (2016)
Post by: Ari Altman on September 18, 2016, 07:41:12 AM
I see, so a FE from any partner should be identical regardless of the branding. Are they manufactured at Nvidia and then sent to partners to 'distribute' or does Nvidia just supply the designs for coolers with the partners actually manufacturing it?

The Founders Edition is an Nvidia Time-to-Market (NVTTM) product. They all come with a circuit board stamped with Nvidia's name, which means Nvidia builds the entire board, along with the cooler of course. Whether they are fully assembled by Nvidia I can't say for sure.