Author Topic: TBG's Guide to Assembling a High-End PC  (Read 1917 times)

Ari Altman

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TBG's Guide to Assembling a High-End PC
« on: June 27, 2014, 10:55:22 AM »
We've just published a new feature-length article on assembling a high-end gaming PC. The article can be found here.

Feel free to comment on the article below.

volcanoz

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a High-End PC
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2014, 07:25:24 AM »
Hi,
I am trying to build a high end pc for running pre-built virtual machines in Hyper V. I tested with my laptop which has i7-4710 processor with 12 GB RAM and found that the VM on Hyper V struggles to start and run, as there is not much of memory left to allocate to the Virtual machine. After researching some more about high end and custom build laptops, I found that the maximum memory they can get to is 32 GB RAM which may run short when I need to run multiple virtual machines simultaneously. So I decided to look at building a high end desktop and while researching about it, I got this forum.

Final goal is to have a high end desktop with 128 GB RAM, I may not buy all of them today, but want to be able to expand as required in future.

Following are my questions:
1. I found that the latest version i7 processor supports maximum of 64 GB, further some forums indicate that the processor cannot recognize more than 32 GB RAM.
2. So I have started looking for Intel Xeon processor (X 2) which 4 channel for RAM in each so it provides a total scalability of 128 GB RAM.

I would like to validate the above findings and request for feedback on following build specification on Intel Xeon. Note that I went for Xeon 2620 as it is less expensive compared to the latest version of Xeon.
Casing: http://www.coolermaster.com/case/ultra-tower/cosmos-2/
Processor: Intel Xeon 2620 V2 (2 nos)
Power Supply: Seasonic 850W
Mainboard: ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS
Processor fan: Intel STS 200C
RAM: Samsung 16GiB ECC Reg
Display Card: Sapphire HP6450 1 GB
Primary HDD: Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB SSD
Secondary HDD: Western Digital Blue 1 TB 3.5" HDD
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit Edition
« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 07:38:26 AM by volcanoz »

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a High-End PC
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2014, 09:08:48 AM »
Hi,
I am trying to build a high end pc for running pre-built virtual machines in Hyper V. I tested with my laptop which has i7-4710 processor with 12 GB RAM and found that the VM on Hyper V struggles to start and run, as there is not much of memory left to allocate to the Virtual machine. After researching some more about high end and custom build laptops, I found that the maximum memory they can get to is 32 GB RAM which may run short when I need to run multiple virtual machines simultaneously. So I decided to look at building a high end desktop and while researching about it, I got this forum.

Final goal is to have a high end desktop with 128 GB RAM, I may not buy all of them today, but want to be able to expand as required in future.

Following are my questions:
1. I found that the latest version i7 processor supports maximum of 64 GB, further some forums indicate that the processor cannot recognize more than 32 GB RAM.
2. So I have started looking for Intel Xeon processor (X 2) which 4 channel for RAM in each so it provides a total scalability of 128 GB RAM.

I would like to validate the above findings and request for feedback on following build specification on Intel Xeon. Note that I went for Xeon 2620 as it is less expensive compared to the latest version of Xeon.
Casing: http://www.coolermaster.com/case/ultra-tower/cosmos-2/
Processor: Intel Xeon 2620 V2 (2 nos)
Power Supply: Seasonic 850W
Mainboard: ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS
Processor fan: Intel STS 200C
RAM: Samsung 16GiB ECC Reg
Display Card: Sapphire HP6450 1 GB
Primary HDD: Samsung 850 Pro 1 TB SSD
Secondary HDD: Western Digital Blue 1 TB 3.5" HDD
OS: Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit Edition

It definitely sounds like for your uses, a laptop is not the ideal solution, so building a desktop is the right approach. Your need for 128GB of RAM does limit you, however, to the server-class Xeon desktops. Even the new Haswell-E enthusiast-class processors are limited to 64GB, as can be seen on the Intel info page for the $1,050 i7-5960X.

Note, however, that Asus actually specifies that the motherboard you have selected supports a maximum of 64GB of RAM.

A better solution may be to go with a single-socket LGA2011 motherboard and a higher-core Intel CPU, such as the 10-core E5-2660 V3. It requires an LGA 2011 R3 motherboard, such as this SuperMicro model. This socket requires the use of DDR4 memory, but has a memory limit of 512GB, much higher than the series you were looking at.

Another option is going with the V2 version of the Xeon X5 and an older LGA 2011 motherboard, along with DDR3 ECC RAM.

As workstation and server-grade equipment is a bit beyond the scope of The Tech Buyer's Guru, perhaps you can check back with some more options available to you where you shop, and I can provide additional comments.

volcanoz

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a High-End PC
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2014, 10:16:13 PM »
Thanks a lot for the feedback and guidance. I made some more inquiries with the Vendor, following are my findings.
1. Regarding the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS motherboard, it seems it supports up to 256 GB for Registered RAM. Since we are planning to use a registered RAM ( Samsung 16GiB ECC Reg), it should not be a problem. Please advise.

2. Regarding the  E5-2660 V3 processor - it seems it would support only maximum 64 GB as it has only 4 channels for memory.

3. Regarding V2 version of the Xeon X5 - I am not able to locate this, can you please help with the link.

4. Please note that in the planned configuration below, the processor is Intel Xeon E5 2620 V2, sorry about my typo in original post, I missed mentioning that it is an E5.

Regards,

Raja S L N

Ari Altman

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Re: TBG's Guide to Assembling a High-End PC
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2014, 08:41:01 AM »
Thanks a lot for the feedback and guidance. I made some more inquiries with the Vendor, following are my findings.
1. Regarding the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS motherboard, it seems it supports up to 256 GB for Registered RAM. Since we are planning to use a registered RAM ( Samsung 16GiB ECC Reg), it should not be a problem. Please advise.

2. Regarding the  E5-2660 V3 processor - it seems it would support only maximum 64 GB as it has only 4 channels for memory.

3. Regarding V2 version of the Xeon X5 - I am not able to locate this, can you please help with the link.

4. Please note that in the planned configuration below, the processor is Intel Xeon E5 2620 V2, sorry about my typo in original post, I missed mentioning that it is an E5.

Regards,

Raja S L N

1. You are correct - for registered memory, the maximum capacity of the Asus Z9PE-D8 motherboard is 256GB.

2. Memory capacity of a processor is not determined by the number of channels, but by the number of slots. The number of channels simply determines the maximum potential bandwidth of the memory subsystem. Most motherboards supporting the E5-2660 V3 would have eight memory slots, and DDR4 ECC memory modules are available in sizes up to 16GB each. I have not yet seen any motherboard with 16 memory slots. Because DDR4 is a new standard, 16GB is the largest module available. Therefore the maximum capacity for motherboards using this standard is currently 128GB. Because 32GB and 64GB DDR3 modules are available, older motherboards currently support larger memory configurations.

3. I am sorry - I intended to type E5-2660 V2, not X5. It uses a different motherboard socket (the older LGA 2011) and different memory type (the older DDR3) than the V3 version.

One more issue for you to consider: you have chosen a workstation motherboard, which is optimized for different tasks than what you described. I believe that what you want is a server motherboard. There are many server motherboards available with both LGA 2011 and the newer LGA 2011-3 sockets. A server motherboard will focus more on supporting extensive storage options than video card options. There is overlap between the two types, however, so either will work for your purposes.

Given the limitations and expense related to DDR4 memory, you may be better off using a Xeon V2 CPU and an older motherboard based on LGA 2011. Just note that a single-socket motherboard and a CPU with a higher core count may be a simpler solution for you than using a dual-socket motherboard.