Monday, September 29, 2014

Huge project finally completed...

So I have been looking to upgrade my system for a while now, but have been debating between going one very fast i7 chip or sporting dual slightly slower xeon chips.  It all came down to how Maya used the cores.

Since I bit the bullet and finally upgraded my Maya 2009 Ultimate to Maya 2015 (I have always bought them outright so I was not really interested in the subscription based version) I needed to know if 2015 was the same as previous versions in how it used the processor and ram, especially now that they have come out with viewport 2.0.  After a ton of research on the program, and a month and a half of going back and forth between i7 and xeon build I finally found out that 2015 will use muti-threads across multi-cores only when dealing with rendering, fur, cloth, hair, particles.  The rest of the time it really is all about single thread speed.

I decided to go with the dual cpu system but only buy one of the chips, which would allow me to spend the money in a much faster chip with the ability to add on additional one later.  Instead of two $880 CPUs, I spent $1600 on one faster chip with a much better benchmark.

I went this route because it would allow me a good working computer with continued upgradability when prices come down to a more reasonable range.  I am about $6000 in already on this computer. :\

Here is my current build.....

CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000 Case

Supermicro X9DAI-O LGA2011/ Intel C602/ DDR3/ SATA3&USB3.0/ A&2GbE/ EATX Server Motherboard

Intel Xeon E5-2680 v2 Ten-Core Processor 2.8GHz 8.0GT/s 25MB LGA 2011 CPU

Two 16GB Kingston 1600 DDR3 Registered ECC ram

Bluray rewriter, DVD rewriter, and internal Memory card reader for the front

I went with this board for the dual Xeon CPU capability and that it is able to be upgradable to a whopping 512GB RAM.  A lot of the "workstation" boards that I came across maxed out at 64GB RAM and while that may sound like a lot now, in a few years that will probably fall short of what I need.  If you are thinking of going this route, which I feel is a good option if you have the money, there are a couple things you should know. 

1.  Although the board says that it is a standard EATX board, it is not.  5 of the 10 mounting holes do not line up with a standard case and you will need to address the problem when mounting the board into your system.  You can either drill and tap extra holes for mounting, or do what I did which seems to work just fine; use metal, screw based risers in the 5 holes that line up correctly and modified plastic risers to keep the board off the metal bottom.  The metal risers will stop it from falling off, and the plastic risers will help reinforce the board against bending when you install cards, ram, etc.

2.  I didn't notice when I ordered the board, but it only has one double 9pin usb header for the front of the case.  While it does have one standard usb plug in there, I would have much preferred a lot more headers.  I am looking for a PCI-e card that will add more internal headers, as well as more external ports in back because when adding webcam, wacom tablet, spyder screen calibrator, mouse, keyboard, etc... I have a lot of usb accessories.  Not necessary if you don't have a lot of usb needs, but for me it is almost essential.

3.  Not a big deal for a desktop as it is on a laptop, but it doesn't have any onboard wireless networking.  It does have two wired connections and I am looking in to the ability to set up both in a LAG configuration to my switch. 

I also bit the bullet and went with the 8GB Quadro k5200. 

So far, I love this system and it is crazy quiet.  I have been able to get a bit more done with Clara, and will be posting more images soon, but I have been putting most of my free time into researching, buying and building this new system.  :)

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