Skip ahead if you don't want to hear the background!
So after recently upgrading my workhorse commercial photography cameras to the Canon 5ds earlier last year and Hasselblad H6d-100 late last year, I've quickly come to the conclusion that my existing workstation just was not cutting it.
When I moved recently to NYC, I decided to leave my old Broadwell- 12 core workstation back home in New Zealand, and just 'make do' with my surface and a cheap iMac ( and more recently a cheap pc) to handle my work.
Now after an insanely busy few months of travelling and shooting, I've given in and said enough is enough. My files are now in the ranges of 70-150mb raw, 300mb as a single layer tiff, and 800mb-1.5gb by the time the images were finished. Now multiply by hundreds of deliverables every week and you see why I was tearing my hair out!
So now, short of buying a mac pro, I needed something that would work for the next 5+ years and just power through everything. GPU isn't important for my work except Capture One does gain a fair boost in speed with at least a single half decent card. But multithreading for heaps of tabs, windows and scrolling around high-resolution images is the key. This build is still in its infancy as one of the key considerations was minimum downtime while migrating to the new system so I took some shortcuts with coolers, fans and other non-essentials to ensure I had a working machine ASAP . And happy to say the build took 5 hours and we're back up to full speed!
This build came to a total of $1300 USD, about the same price as a single cpu with the same performance as this machine. I've done some quick benchmarks while doing other stuff (read, not entirely accurate but ballpark) but the cpu benchmarks look like my goal was achieved. An entire build with High end cpu performance but less than the cost of the cpu alone.
Will update as I do more.
PassMark CPU: 26099.5
Below I will list my parts and possible future upgrades as this year progresses.
My parts are as follows:
Mobo: AsRock Rack EP2C612 WS
CPU: 2x Xeon E5-2680 V3, 12-core 2.5ghz | Future upgrade to 18, 20 or 22 core Xeon V4 Generation (not really necessary but would be fun when they get cheaper lol)
Ram: 8x 4gb DDR4 RDIMM ECC 2133mHz | Future upgrade to 8gb or 16gb sticks. 32 is normally ok if I don't have too many photoshop tabs open, but more would be nice since there is practically no limit to how much RAM I can install with this build)
Cooler: 2x Noctua Dx14 for Narrow ILM | Future upgrade to dual 320mm rads, but might be moving soon so didn't want the hassle.
GPU: 1x Nividia GTX 980 | Future plan in the coming weeks and months upgrade to quad-sli 980. Not necessary, but with them so cheap, just wanted to play!
PSU: EVGA G2 Gold 1000W | Probably need to bump up to 1600w for quad-sli...
Case: Thermaltake View 71 Snow
Storage: Just a little 240gb Sandisk SSD and the 1Tb HDD I pulled out of the old PC. Everything else is External and on NAS.
Some notes during the build:
Excuse the python of an atx cable going in a beeline from PSU to motherboard. Unfortunately this big case and monster SSI EEB sized motherboard didn't allow me to route it out the back.
I have an longer cable coming in the mail tomorrow!
Motherboard shorted on first start up due to some standoffs for a standard ATX board I left in.
This case is an absolute delight to build in. It is so roomy as you can see by the massive gaps on the right, even with a EEB sized motherboard covering all but the bottom gromet. This is also why some of my cable routing is a bit ugly since there were no gromets to simply hide cables through. Some cable-tie cable combs were made on the back side to tidy things up, will add a photo of this tomorrow.
Some ram didn't immediately register but after reseating, all is well.
The bottom PCI-E slot won't hold a GPU because the headers are in the way, however this case has a vertical mount bracket which I plan on using later for sli.
See below some images from the build! Feel free to ask any questions and suggest some improvements I could add.
First image is my workstation, minus my 4k Eizo that normally sits in the middle but is currently packed in a Pelican to go on set tomorrow. Excuse the mess! Haven't completely cleaned up or cable managed after the new build.
So this machine typically is driving 4 monitors. 1 at 4k, the wacom at 2.5k and then the 27"iMac and the cinema display monitors 3 and 4. (iMac is in target display mode)