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Message boards : Number crunching : Advice on upgrade. Q9300 > i5-3570K

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Message 33736 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 10:40:04 UTC
Last modified: 3 Nov 2013 | 10:50:09 UTC

I have reached the point where I want to upgrade CPU and MB.

As the title says I quite like the look of the i5-3570K and wanted advice from more experienced users on this CPU. (AMD = No because I prefer Intel)

In addition, any help on Mobo (preferably Asus) to go with this CPU would be appreciated. This will go on my Q9300 system with Asus GTX660TI

I would also like to know if I could use built in CPU graphics to run mundane stuff like browsing and HD Video while using 660TI as dedicated cruncher.

Thanks in advance with any help. It has been over 4 years since I last built a computer and feel a little out of touch with the current processors.


ADDED

Must have "Virtualization" USB 3, PCIe 3 and Sata 3 but these are probably already a given just thought I'd mention.

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Message 33737 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 11:06:00 UTC - in response to Message 33736.

Why not look at the i5-4570 'Haswell'? The internal GPU is no slouch at crunching, either, and without a discrete GPU that entire system box is drawing less than 90 watts from the wall (monitor powered separately).

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Message 33738 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 11:27:08 UTC - in response to Message 33736.
Last modified: 3 Nov 2013 | 11:40:47 UTC

The K following the 3570 means it's unlocked which means you can OC it easily. If you don't want to OC then you might be able to find a non-K model running at similar speed for less money.

Since it's Ivy Bridge I don't think that model has PCIe 3, I think you must go to the newer Haswell models for that.

It doesn't have HT (hyper-threading). If you look you will find Xeon models that run at similar speed and have HT and are similarly priced. What the Xeon's don't have is onboard video but your mobo will likely have that anyway.

Edit added:

I just noticed at Newegg Canada, the i5-4670K (Haswell, new) is $5 cheaper than the i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge, old). That's a bargain but you might find the mobo's for Haswell are more expensive than mobo's for Ivy Bridge but you may have to go Haswell anyway if you want PCIe 3.
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Message 33742 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 12:58:05 UTC

Thanks Richard and Dagorath I've looked at those and while I'm a long way from deciding yet I have dropped the requirement for PCIe 3.0

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Message 33747 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 15:17:30 UTC - in response to Message 33742.
Last modified: 3 Nov 2013 | 20:58:15 UTC

An i5-3570K does support PCIE3 (it's the i3's that don't), but PCIE3 doesn't offer any significant advantage for this project at present, just at POEM.
I agree however that one of the i5-4xxx processors would be a better buy; they are slightly more powerful/power efficient. The i5-4xxx series also supports PCIE3, but have better iGPU's (~50% for most).
You can plug your monitor into the on-board video port and still use the 660Ti as a dedicated cruncher. You can even crunch on the iGPU too (not here, but at OpenCL GPU projects such as Einstein).

The price difference of the motherboards isn't much, and it makes sense to get a newer motherboard for a new system.

Basically most Intel processors now support USB 3, PCIe 3 and Sata 3, but while almost all support Virtualization not all support VT-d Virtualization introduced with Haswell.

There are no i3-4xxx processors, and I don't know if any are in the pipeline.

Note that the K models don't support VT-d Virtualisation, this includes the i5-3570K, i5-4570K and the i7-4770K. - VT-d is Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O

i5-3570, i5-4570, i5-4430 and i7-4470 support VT-d Virtualisation

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html?select=desktop
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Message 33750 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 16:37:21 UTC - in response to Message 33747.

Please note that the K models also Do Not support Virtualisation. This includes the i5-3570K, i5-4570K and the i7-4770K.
By Virtualization I mean, Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)


VT-d being distinct from VT-x which is the feature some projects require for running their Virtual Box.

Would a cruncher miss anything if a rig didn't have VT-d? That's not a rhetorical question, I don't understand how it might be useful for DC or number crunching.


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Message 33752 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 18:29:15 UTC - in response to Message 33750.
Last modified: 3 Nov 2013 | 18:32:44 UTC

Please note that the K models also Do Not support Virtualisation. This includes the i5-3570K, i5-4570K and the i7-4770K.
By Virtualization I mean, Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)


VT-d being distinct from VT-x which is the feature some projects require for running their Virtual Box.

Would a cruncher miss anything if a rig didn't have VT-d? That's not a rhetorical question, I don't understand how it might be useful for DC or number crunching.



I don't think it has any use in the world of DC. However both are supported by the i5 4670

Thanks to all of you, I really appreciate it and without your help I would've bought the wrong one. I have decided to go for i5 4570 or 4670 (shame about the locked multiplier) so it looks like I'll be joining Richard crunching at Einstein (used to be one of my projects) with the integrated GPU while continuing to crunch here with the GTX660TI.

Will there be any problems running 2 GPU projects? I mean I won't want a GPUGrid WU on the integrated GPU.

Now to hunt through the potential MB's

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Message 33754 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 18:44:59 UTC - in response to Message 33752.

Thanks to Richard for pointing out that the onchip GPU can be used for crunching with OpenGL, I didn't know. I think I will go Haswell for my next CPU purchase too.

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Message 33757 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 20:51:29 UTC - in response to Message 33752.

Will there be any problems running 2 GPU projects? I mean I won't want a GPUGrid WU on the integrated GPU.

No problem. I also have an Ivy Bridge i7-3770K which sometimes crunches here using one of two GTX 670s - it's on light duties at the moment because it seems to have been suffering from heatstroke.

That same machine is currently crunching OpenCL (not GL, Dagorath) tasks at Einstein using the on-chip HD 4000: we seem to be using older server software here which doesn't display the Intel GPU in the host details.

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Message 33759 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 21:33:13 UTC - in response to Message 33750.
Last modified: 3 Nov 2013 | 21:37:09 UTC

Please note that the K models also Do Not support Virtualisation. This includes the i5-3570K, i5-4570K and the i7-4770K.
By Virtualization I mean, Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)


VT-d being distinct from VT-x which is the feature some projects require for running their Virtual Box.

Would a cruncher miss anything if a rig didn't have VT-d? That's not a rhetorical question, I don't understand how it might be useful for DC or number crunching.


Edited my post to clarify.
Just so people don't get confused, most recent Intel and AMD processors have Virtulization (of some sort), and the Boinc projects needing it just specify VT-x or AMD-V (I think). VT-d is just a Haswell improvement on this, but isn't in the Haswell K models or previous generations (VT-x is still there however). I've used my i7-3770K to support a couple of Boinc Projects that use Virtualization.
I think in theory VT-d could be faster as it would allow you access devices (disks, memory, possibly PCIE) directly without going through the main Operating System. Might require Boinc to run within the VM rather than just running a task within a VM.

PS. Thought Betting Slip wanted Virtulization for work rather than Boinc (don't know why)!

Richard, perhaps you could underclock the iGPU. Mr.S found that this reduces the impact on discrete GPU's, as well as keeping it cooler.
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Message 33762 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 22:18:23 UTC - in response to Message 33759.

Please note that the K models also Do Not support Virtualisation. This includes the i5-3570K, i5-4570K and the i7-4770K.
By Virtualization I mean, Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)


VT-d being distinct from VT-x which is the feature some projects require for running their Virtual Box.

Would a cruncher miss anything if a rig didn't have VT-d? That's not a rhetorical question, I don't understand how it might be useful for DC or number crunching.



PS. Thought Betting Slip wanted Virtulization for work rather than Boinc (don't know why)!



You are correct SK my need for Virtualization has nothing to do with Boinc and I wasn't aware that this technology played a part in any Boinc projects.

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Message 33764 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 23:13:52 UTC - in response to Message 33747.
Last modified: 3 Nov 2013 | 23:40:18 UTC

There are no i3-4xxx processors, and I don't know if any are in the pipeline.

I'd like to correct this factual error: there are i3-4xxx processors, I've already sold configurations containing the i3-4130.

EDIT: This and this hosts are those I've mentioned above. :)

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Message 33766 - Posted: 3 Nov 2013 | 23:57:53 UTC - in response to Message 33764.
Last modified: 4 Nov 2013 | 0:20:41 UTC

Thanks Zoltan, forgot that Intel don't always update their own CPU tables,

http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processor-comparison/compare-intel-processors.html?select=desktop

Released at the beginning of Sept too.

Not sure about the i3-4330, but the others are also PCIE3 compliant (which the earlier i3's weren't),

http://ark.intel.com/compare/77480,77481,77769,77770,77771

These i3-4xxx processors have VT-x (with EPT) but not VT-d.
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Message 33767 - Posted: 4 Nov 2013 | 0:13:43 UTC - in response to Message 33762.

You are correct SK my need for Virtualization has nothing to do with Boinc and I wasn't aware that this technology played a part in any Boinc projects.


The following projects use virtualization:

Test4Theory
RNA world
Climate@home (this is a new climate modeling project, not the venerable CPDN project)
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Message 33780 - Posted: 5 Nov 2013 | 12:19:40 UTC

Note that Haswell compared with Ivy Bridge will run very hot under full load. Haswell has from origin also a lower turbo boost ratio on low-end models compared to Ivy Bridge.

IMHO, the greatest advantage from Haswell is:
- USB3.0 integration in chipset 8 series
- AVX2.0 support (only no folding project support at this moment)
- power saving @ idle loads (folding isn't @ idle load... :P )
- a little bit more (single core) performance compared to Ivy Bridge (avarage 5-8%)

The bad:
- heat under full load
- price (compared with new and second hand Ivy Bridge)

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Message 33819 - Posted: 10 Nov 2013 | 13:47:26 UTC

The i5-4xxx without K and crunching Einstein on the iGPU are my recommendation, too :) Another option would be the Xeon E3-1225 v3. Haswell at the same clock speed as the i5-4570, including the iGPU, but with HT for ~35€ more. That is a bit more expensive, but if you'Re running CPU projects profitting from HT (e.g. ~30% at Einstein) that may well be worth it, especially compared to the i5-4670, which it beats in such situations for just 15€ more.

Make sure not to skimp on main memory speed, as the iGPU and especially Einstein need some serious throughput. DDR3-1866 9-11-9 should be the minimum (fair price), but depending on your budget upgrading to 2133 or at most 2400 on good latencies will yield some performance improvement for Einstein (not GPU-Grid).

Mainboard: I suggest to look for the smallest Asus (personally I'd prefer Gigabyte, but both are popular due to good reasons) which has 4 memory slots (keeping it usable as long as possible) and otherwise the features you need. I see little value in spending big on mainboards, unless you're sure you need whatever additional controllers they provide. Then there's still the question of the chipset remaining. Z87 obviously provides everything Intel currently has to offer, whereas H87 is just as good if you don't overclock (which won't work without a K CPU anyway). Cheaper chipset compromise in the number and speed of USB and SATA ports, as well as support for Intels SRT SSD-caching (which I like a lot).

Regarding the dreaded Haswell heat there are two point the panic-spreading crowd usually forgets:

- Haswell does indeed become hot under sustained AVX2 load, generated e.g. by the current LinX. But using these new instructions it's also a whopping 70% faster than Ivy Bridge over there! This performance has to come from somewhere. And achieving 70% higher performance for ~10% higher power consumption is actually an epic win and not a failure. However, this matters as much as FurMark for GPU-Grid in the real world.. not at all. No real application can use AVX2 exclusively, or as much as LinX. Call it a power virus, or at least an unrepresentative work load.

- This topic only becomes an issue if you OC hard (>1.2 V) or have subpar cooling. Neither are things you should do for 24/7 crunching anyway.

And comparing the price of Ivy and Haswell: considering the ~8% average performance increase per clock, a Haswell i5 4570 at 3.2/3.6 GHz for 155€ is actually slightly faster than an Ivy i5 3570 at 3.4/3.8 GHz for 170€. As a 2nd hand CPU Ivy can still be of great value - but not when buying new.

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Message 33822 - Posted: 10 Nov 2013 | 15:16:41 UTC - in response to Message 33819.

Make sure not to skimp on main memory speed, as the iGPU and especially Einstein need some serious throughput. DDR3-1866 9-11-9 should be the minimum (fair price), but depending on your budget upgrading to 2133 or at most 2400 on good latencies will yield some performance improvement for Einstein (not GPU-Grid).

I´m building a new system with a Haswell i7 (4771) and a 780Ti. It should be crunching within the next month to replace 2 of my old and energy consuming rigs.
But a question after reading the above by MrS.
When checking Intel´s site for a processor, the memory types that can be used are 1333 and 1600. Would it make sense buying faster memory?
PCIe 1x16, 2x8 and 1x8/2x4, so an expensive MOBO with 2x16 or even 3x16 has no use to buy.
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Message 33853 - Posted: 12 Nov 2013 | 22:02:24 UTC - in response to Message 33822.

2 x 16 slots are OK if you want to run 2 GPUs. They slots will "only" run at 8x PCIe 3, but the GPUs fit and the boards are not much more expensive than others. But more slots than these are.. borderline.

Regarding the memory: I'm not entirely sure how the low-end chipsets handle this, but on the Zx7 you can run your memory as fast as it can. You may be right though, that H87 and lower won't allow you to do so.

If you're using the iGPU for Einstein the added bandwidth of higher speed memory should be worth it, although I don't have exact numbers at hand. And it's not like the CPU wouldn't want a memory cycle here and there ;)

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Message 33862 - Posted: 13 Nov 2013 | 11:25:59 UTC - in response to Message 33853.
Last modified: 13 Nov 2013 | 15:28:52 UTC

A few notes on other projects.
If you have one eye on running Einstein WU's on the iGPU, but like to do some CPU work, then it's definitely worth getting an Intel HT model; you need to make sure you don't saturate the CPU (run at less than 100% CPU usage) otherwise the runtime inflates ten fold. This impacts on GPU projects too - would make GPUGrid slower.
POEM also benefits from running work across more threads and especially likes fast RAM (might even be more important than an overclocked CPU), but it doesn't like PCIE3 x8.
Einstein thought they might have to stop/reduce the flow of iGPU work in a couple of months but recently got word of a new batch. POEM hasn't had a steady flow of GPU work for a long time but it's intermittent.
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Message 33865 - Posted: 13 Nov 2013 | 16:30:37 UTC
Last modified: 13 Nov 2013 | 16:31:30 UTC

Well a lot of you have more knowledge from hardware than I. I can only make decisions on things I read at "official" sites (and some trusted people). So for information of my new Haswell I go to Intel's page and with the i7 4771 I want, it says that only 1333 and 1600 memory can be used.
I will put this CPU in an ASUS Sabertooth Z87, and that can indeed handle faster memory. I have read in the past that when you put in faster memory (more expensive) and the CPU or the MOBO can't handle it, it will run at lower speed. That is why I have concerns and already bought 8GB of 1600.

Indeed I would like to run Einstein on the iGPU and some Rosetta/FightMalaria/Docking on the CPU. With HT on I use 60 to 75% of the CPU. So a core free for GPU and a core free for me to check the system, using internet and such.
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Message 33882 - Posted: 14 Nov 2013 | 16:31:25 UTC - in response to Message 33736.

Asus Z87-WS is good for us.

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Message 33883 - Posted: 14 Nov 2013 | 16:37:13 UTC - in response to Message 33882.

Asus Z87-WS is good for us.


I'm sure it is but it's a lot of pennies for a MB :(

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Message 33886 - Posted: 14 Nov 2013 | 21:16:42 UTC - in response to Message 33883.

Asus Z87-WS is good for us.


I'm sure it is but it's a lot of pennies for a MB :(


The mobo is the foundation of any computer so it makes sense to spend a little more, IMHO. A mobo that is already equipped with features that you will likely find useful when the next generation of CPUs, GPUs, RAM, whatevers, becomes affordable is a sound investment. For example, for this project the current wisdom is that PCIe 3.0 does not benefit performance. That might be true for the current generation of GPUs and apps but what about the future? With GPU performance increasing as quickly as it is, future models might benefit significantly from PCIe 3.0. Also, with the right power supply, you'll be able to put two hi-perf cards on a mobo with PCI gen 3.0 without taking a performance hit due to PCI bus bottleneck.

If I were to buy a new mobo today I think I would settle for nothing less than 2 X PCIe x16 3.0 slots that run at x16 when both occupied. You can buy a less capable board and replace it in the future but if you also want to upgrade your GPU at that time you'll be looking at a big expenditure. To me it makes sense to upgrade 1 component at a time to keep purchases small. That way I can pay cash and save interest charges and wait until what I want goes on sale. You'll never get the mobo, GPU and CPU you want all on sale at the same time so wait until the best mobo you can get goes on sale then pounce on it. Then wait for the other components to get marked down 1 by 1.

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Message 33897 - Posted: 15 Nov 2013 | 17:42:15 UTC - in response to Message 33886.

That's the way I do it too, but it takes a long time to get a new rig complete.
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Message 33901 - Posted: 15 Nov 2013 | 21:21:46 UTC - in response to Message 33897.

All I can say is the bitter taste of a hasty purchase lingers long after the sweet taste of a quick, inexpensive purchase. It's your money not mine so I'll stop preaching.

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Message 33906 - Posted: 16 Nov 2013 | 12:56:45 UTC - in response to Message 33901.
Last modified: 16 Nov 2013 | 13:08:25 UTC

It's important to get a balanced system. No point getting a 1200W PSU or a 4 PCIE slot motherboard for one or two GTX660s, and forking out £700 for a CPU would be just as daft.

If you build your own systems then you always have the option of selling parts and upgrading dynamically, but if you don't build your own systems its better that they are future proofed to some extent - an unused PCIE slot, additional PCIE power connectors, CPU and RAM upgrade routes, and two PCIE3 X16 slots would be nice just in case you wanted to drop in a Maxwell or two some time in the future.

Unfortunately future proofing a system for GPUGrid is something of a guessing game; you don't know how powerful the next generation of GPU's will be or what the bottlenecks will be. We may well see GPU's that are less reliant on the CPU but we don't know yet. If the Maxwell's are more reliant on PCIE speeds then PCIE3 might be important.
We also don't know what the apps will be like in a year or 18months time.

If mid-high end GPU's, such as a GTX660 or GTX670, only see a performance drop of 1% due to PCIE2 x8 vs PCIE3 x16 it would go unnoticed as it's too difficult to measure. Consider an app change that would increase this to 3%. No biggie for a mid-range GPU, but for a GTX780Ti that might translate to 6% performance loss (per GPU) and perhaps 10% for Maxwells... When PCIE was more important for here it was proportional to the GPU performance; less noticeable on lesser cards.
Conversely, in 18months time PCIE2 x8 might be just as good as it is today, but we might become more reliant on system memory &/or the CPU. Note that the CPU performance has been a noticeable factor for years (again, less noticeable with lesser cards).

In my opinion, now is a good time to buy existing architecture; the prices are reasonable, the cards are mature and the apps are mature. It's likely that we won't be using Maxwells for a year and we don't know what the performance will be like or app redevelopment time. For sure they will be pricey when they turn up. Even when they do turn up, and the apps are redeveloped, the uptake by crunchers will be slow. It will likely be at least another year before the Maxwell's are in the majority. This means the projects focus will likely be continued support for the GK110 and GK104 architectures.
For GPU crunching, 2years of relatively high performance is about as good as it gets.

If you must have two PCIE3 X16 lane slots now the recent Intel i7-4820K is PCIE3 compliant and has access to 40 PCIE lanes (so two slots at PCIE3 X16). Ditto for the 4930K and the 4960K (but at a daft price). These are for the somewhat dated LGA2011 (but still the best) motherboards.

There is also an AMD option. The ASUS Sabertooth 990FX/GEN3.0 R2.0. This uses a PLX-made 48-lane PCI-Express Gen 3.0 bridge chip. There might be other similar AMD options.

These 4 PCIE slot options with support for two cards at PCIE3 x16 would allow you to use up to 4 GPU's now (when PCIE3 doesn't matter), and still be future proofed should PCIE3 and Maxwell's offer something more in a year or two, and when it might be a good time to upgrade the GPU's. Obviously this is only applicable if you don't build, are space constrained or want to buy reasonably high end GPU's now; the high cost of these systems is >twice that of basic systems that can support two GPU's.
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Message 33907 - Posted: 16 Nov 2013 | 13:48:48 UTC - in response to Message 33906.

That is a good piece of advice skgiven!

I would like to make one addition. The motherboards with 3 to even 6 PCIe slots have all the issue that the space between slots is two, so that means that 3, 4 cards will be very close to each other, which likely result in heat build up and thus lesser performance or even errors. Moreover most MOBO's have only 2 x16 slots
So in my opinion two high-end cards in one system are enough. That makes a system also less expensive as a PSU of 1000-1100W would be enough, not a to big case, less memory, less expensive MOBO.
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Message 33915 - Posted: 17 Nov 2013 | 5:28:47 UTC - in response to Message 33907.

Yes, we can always rely on skgiven for good advice (not to say he's the only good advisor). I must agree with his thoughts regarding future-proofing within the context of crunching GPUgrid but in the broader scheme, there are other projects with GPU apps one might want to crunch, not just GPUgrid, and there will be even more in the future. Those might very well benefit from higher PCIe capacity. Or they may not. So really, maybe the only benefit of spending more on a mobo is that I would feel better knowing that if I need it I'll have it already. Hmmmm. Money just to feel good. Like beer without the hangover.

Ram

If you intend on eventually having 4 GPUs then it's slightly more economical (wrt RAM) to have all the RAM on 1 mobo with 4 GPUs because then you have RAM overhead for only 1 OS. If you have 2 GPUs on 2 mobos then you have 2 OSs to provide RAM for. It's a very small difference but I think it is slightly in favor of 1 mobo.

Power Supply

If you consider cost per watt rather than purchase price, bigger power supplies cost about the same as smaller power power supplies and in some cases even less. For example, st newegg.ca right now the cheapest (in terms of $/watt) Rosewill Capstone +80 Gold PSU is the 1,000 watt model at $5.00/watt. Their 550 watt model is $6.47/watt, the 750 watt model is $6.00/watt. If 4 GPUs on 1 mobo require 2,000 watts then I think maybe 2 X 1,000 watt PSUs properly connected and grounded might work. I haven't tried it with 2 modern PSUs but I have combined 2 old 250 watt PSUs together to power 1 mobo and it worked. One PSU powered the mobo, the other powered the HDD, CD and floppy. By worked I mean the voltages at the outputs didn't change, nothing over-heated, the computer ran fine and even crunched a few Einstein tasks error free before I finally shut it down and tossed it all in the trash. It was an old P3 mobo. I haven't had the cahones to try it with 2 new PSUs and a new mobo but I have heard it works fine with new active PFC style PSUs too. As for a 2,000 watt PSU... I haven't found a price for one but I haven't looked very hard. Newegg lists an Athena brand 1620 watt +80 certified (not Gold) with active PFC for $270 which gives $6.0/watt, FWIW.

Case Size

I think 4 GPUs in 1 big case is more efficient in terms of space and expense. And who needs a case anyway? Skip da Shu sticks his mobos in milk crates, no problem he says.

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Message 33917 - Posted: 17 Nov 2013 | 8:19:16 UTC - in response to Message 33915.


Case Size

I think 4 GPUs in 1 big case is more efficient in terms of space and expense. And who needs a case anyway? Skip da Shu sticks his mobos in milk crates, no problem he says.


I think I'll get a case from dutchcedar, metal flake paint, pin striping and a couple of clear coats. That should make it check email like a screamin' demon.

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Message 33926 - Posted: 18 Nov 2013 | 16:51:32 UTC - in response to Message 33917.

Flashawk, that would go fast for sure but I've noticed the fastest cars in NASCAR have wild flames painted on them, might work on computers too?

Seriously, wood is easy to work with but I would go with metal for better static protection and if I were to go to the trouble of making a case (which I will be doing) I would make it big enough to hold 4 mobos plus PSUs. I would make it with an easily removed false back that the mobos would butt up against. I would cut holes in the false back for the video cards to blow hot exhaust through. The space between the false back and the real back would be a duct that would carry the hot air out of the box. I would mount the case below/beside/over a window and I would continue that duct out the window. I would also have a duct to draw air into the box from the outside and put a HEPA dust filter in the duct.

The PSUs would attach directly to the false back and exhaust directly into the duct. I would likely vent the CPUs directly into the box because the mobos likely would not be all the same model therefore the CPUs would not all be in the same positions relative to the false back which would mean a custom duct for each CPU, doable but with adequate airflow through the case probably not necessary.

I would mount an ethernet switch inside the box so only 1 ethernet cable going into it. The mobos would boot off PXE and share 1 HDD configured as NAS.

Some of you will recall I did something like this months ago. It worked extremely well but I abandoned it because it was essentially a huge box that I stuck cased computers into. The duct work was complicated and wasted a lot of space. It proved the concept but I'm going to redo it as described above to shrink it's size and increase "component density".

That's food for a totally new thread so enough about that in this thread. I brought it up here only to continue the idea I brought up earlier about building farms slowly and inexpensively with scalability and cooling (always the biggest problem if running multiple rigs/GPUs) in mind.

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