28 Replies Latest reply on Jul 28, 2011 12:57 PM by Frédéric Segard

    Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!

    Frédéric Segard Level 2

      After weeks of planing, researching and negociations with my systems integrator, here's what I'm going to get (some minor things to consider still). I'm getting it via business lease, so I'm maximizing my components as much as possible, while staying in the realm of sanity. Example, SSDs would have been nice... but... hehe!  Its a rig not just for PremierePro, but also for After Effects, Photoshop and 3ds Max (hence the Quadro and not the GTX).

       

      - Case: Lian-Li PC-A77F (To get as much drives as possible with proper cooling) - Alternative Antec Twelve Hundred V3

      - Still looking for non-hotswap 4x 3.5" to 3x 5.25" cages (or better), frame only for better airflow. Suggestions?

      - Power Supply: Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200

      - Motherboard: Asus Rampage Extreme III (Greater control for overclocking)

      - CPU: Intel i7 990x (O.C. to 4.2GHz, or to it's Speed/Stability sweet-spot), with Antec Kuhler H2O 920

      - RAM: 24GB, Dominator GT 2000MHz C9 (2x12GB kit) and Airflow II Fan

      - System Disk: 300GB SATA3 Raptor

      - Support Disk: 2x150GB SATA2 Raptor (on mobo, JBOD or RAID0, for scratch, pagefile, cache)

      - RAID disks: 12x Hitachi Deskstar 7k3000 SATA3 64MB cache 1.5GB (RAID3 or 5, will run benchmarks to see what works best with this setup)

      - RAID card: Areca ARC-1880ix-12, 4GB cache

      - Optical Drives: Liteon Bluray burner IHSB112, and Liteon DVD burner IHAS124

      - GPU: PNY Quadro 5000

      - Video IO: Blackmagic Design Decklink Extreme 3D

      - Monitor: NEC PA271W-BK-SV (27" IPS with calibrator)

      - Adobe Production Premium (50% for FCP users... great timing!)

      - Mouse and Keyboard: Logitech G500 and Logitech Illuminated Keyboard

       

      Any thoughts, comments, and warnings before I officially order?

       

      Thanks,

        • 1. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          Lian Li has several drive cages, 3-in-2 and 4-in-3 with large fans.I still have several lying around.

           

          One suggestion, upgrade the 1880 to the 16 or 24 port version. Using two optical drives, you can easily fit 19 disks into that chassis.

           

          I'm looking forward to receive your benchmark results. You should be able to achieve a top-rank or very close to it.. Great system. Really great.

          • 2. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
            Islanders66 Level 1

            Nice work with that set up! I'm wondering if you install another hard drive cage at the top of the Lian Li A77FB, where will the DVD burner and Blue Ray burner be installed? In one of the HDD cages?

             

            Also is it easy to remove the harddives if you want to switch them out?

            • 3. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
              screeen Level 1

              Hi Fredrick, Harm and others.

               

              I am quite new to this forum and discussions about hardware, have been a Mac user until recently, and i have a question about your choice of chipset Fredrick. Why x58?

              Sorry if my question is somewhat daft.

              thanks.

              • 4. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                Harm Millaard Level 7

                The choice of a chipset depends to a large degree on what kind of stuff you want to use in your computer.

                 

                Of course you need a fast nVidia card and these normally use 16 PCIe lanes. If you need a second video card to drive three monitors, you will often see that these two video cards use 8 PCIe lanes each, using 16 in total. Now if you want to add a raid controller, that requires another 8 PCIe lanes, bringing the total up to 24 lanes. Every system uses some PCIe lanes for other devices, like USB, etc.

                 

                So, PCIe lanes can be a limiting factor. For instance all Sandy Bridge platforms are limited to 20 PCIe lanes, or in case additional circuitry has been added to the chipset to increase the number of PCIe slots, they share some lanes. The X58 platform OTOH has 36 PCIe lanes, so you have a lot more lanes available for expansion, without having to reduce video card speed from 16 to 8x and you can still add things like Matrox, AJA or BlackMagic in addition to the raid controller.

                 

                Second, the X58 platform is the only platform where you can use hexa core CPU's and can use 24 GB RAM, where Sandy Bridge platforms are limited to 16 GB.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                  screeen Level 1

                  Thanks for your thorough reply:)

                  great day to you.

                  • 6. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                    Islanders66 Level 1

                    It was late last night when I asked about installing the upper drive case. I'm assuming that by installing the 4th hard drive case, either there will be room for the optical drive or you will use an external optical device? I've been using lap tops for a while now so please forgive me if this is too basic a question. I'm interested in this case but not sure if I should order an internal or external optical dive. I suppose I could shoot them an email at the beginning of the week. Very informative info anyway.

                    • 7. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                      With two optical drives internally, you have room for 15 disks in three Chenbro drive cages, that occupy 9 5.25" slots together, leaving you with one spare 5.25" slot. Additionally, there is a three disk drive cage in the back of the chassis. So, you can either fit in - next to 2 optical drives - 19 3.5" disks or 18 3.5" disks plus 4 SSD's.

                      • 8. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                        Frédéric Segard Level 2

                        Harm Millaard wrote:

                         

                        With two optical drives internally, you have room for 15 disks in three Chenbro drive cages, that occupy 9 5.25" slots together, leaving you with one spare 5.25" slot. Additionally, there is a three disk drive cage in the back of the chassis. So, you can either fit in - next to 2 optical drives - 19 3.5" disks or 18 3.5" disks plus 4 SSD's.

                        Darn... i just looked more closely at the Lian-Li PC-A77F, and it doesn't seem to have room to put 3 HDDs in the back, like some other Lian-Li cases.

                        • 9. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                          I have the A77-B model which lacks the top fans but includes the back cage. Maybe they left it out on the F model because of the cooling to the top. In that case I think you have two options, either get the B model, or install a Lian Li cage yourself.

                          • 10. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                            JEShort01 Level 4

                            Frederic,

                             

                            It looks like an excellent build!

                             

                            My comments:

                            - I prefer the Logitech Performance MX over the gaming mouse that you chose, mostly because it has no cord; BTW, I have the same keyboard that you have listed and I love it - cordless, good feel, and the back-lighted keys are great with the room lights down

                            - Treat yourself to an Intel 510 series 120GB instead of the Velociraptor; this is a beautiful spec., and while those building lower budget systems are rightly advised not to do it, I would say get the SSD in your case. And, if you have a maximum budget in mind, go with a lower spec. RAM.

                            - Suggest using 2x1.5TB Hitachis for your "support disk"; the performance should be very similar to the 10k drives, but going this route will provide you with on-hand drives that you could stick in your big RAID temporarily if you ever need to RMA a drive.

                            - i7-970 would likely get you to 4.2 OC without too much trouble, and they are way less expensive than the 990x; My i7-970 runs at 4.4 with no instability or gotchas whatsoever, but also have a much more substantial cooler that what you have planned (240mm rad and 655 pump). OTOH, if you really have a number like 4.4 in mind, stick with the 990x - unlocked would be WAY easier to get up to that speed, but also think about a stronger cooler. Side note: lots of gamers are running high clocks with coolers like the Kuhler H2O 920, but probably most of them are not running all cores as hard as CS5/CS5.5 can push them.

                             

                            Good luck!

                             

                            Jim

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                              Frédéric Segard Level 2

                              Harm Millaard wrote:

                               

                              I have the A77-B model which lacks the top fans but includes the back cage. Maybe they left it out on the F model because of the cooling to the top. In that case I think you have two options, either get the B model, or install a Lian Li cage yourself.

                              I found a more expensive, but more flexible alternative.... yet still way cheaper overall then getting an external enclosure for the hard drives. I'll never need another cassing in my life after that. Like a tripod, this thing should last me for several PC generations if properly configured...hehe It's a custom built case from Mountain Mods. They provide a CYO flash page to get exactly what you want and/or need: http://www.mountainmods.com/CYO_picker.php. I'm selecting the Extended Ascension (24"H x 18"W x 24"D), roughtly a double wide full tower.

                               

                              I'm choosing a standard front panel to allow up to 10 front external 5.25" drives. I'm thinking future multiple DVDs and HD caddies for backups, and possibly other things, who knows, I'll have more then I'll ever need. I'm configuring it for an HPTX mobo, with the Horizon-10 back panel, again, for future proofing the case. The Horizon-10 will provide better natural heat dissipation from the cards, then standard vertical mounting. Top it off with a Tripple Quad top panel with multiple exahaust fan holes. I'm not much for seeing what's inside the computer, so I'm taking standard solid side panels.There will be a huge space for up to 36 hard drives at the bottom (well, probably less then that, but still. I could, if I ever wanted, max out an Areca 24 port, plus all the internal support, library and OS drives I could ever want or need.

                               

                              Of course, I'm not going to max it out at first. But it's nice to know that I have the option... all in one casing. Mind you, with so many fan holes, the words "bloody screaming airplaine noise" comes to mind when it comes to fan noise. But I figure, with so many, fan holes everywhere, I just need quiet, low velocity fans to do the same job as if it was a small case with less fans.

                               

                              Room... room.. room.... I'm stoked!  Problem solved! Costly, but compared to a high end Lian-Li, it's not that bad. But could this be called the perfect case?

                              • 12. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                About the X58 chipset question. Harm answered it perfectly!  Number of PCie lanes, 6 cores, tripple channel.

                                • 13. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                  Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                  JEShort01 wrote:

                                   

                                  - Treat yourself to an Intel 510 series 120GB instead of the Velociraptor; this is a beautiful spec., and while those building lower budget systems are rightly advised not to do it, I would say get the SSD in your case. And, if you have a maximum budget in mind, go with a lower spec. RAM.

                                  - Suggest using 2x1.5TB Hitachis for your "support disk"; the performance should be very similar to the 10k drives, but going this route will provide you with on-hand drives that you could stick in your big RAID temporarily if you ever need to RMA a drive.

                                   

                                  Yeah, I thought of getting an SSD for the boot drive (Corsair Force Series 3 240GB SATA III). Even SSDs for the 2 support disks. But I wanted to cut down on price for "unnecessary items" to invest in other more useful gear. But it's a good idea to have the same drive types for the support drives in order to have spares for the RAID. I'll do that.

                                   

                                  But one thing bugs me though. I've been told by a pc tech "guru" that having mixed SSD and HDs in a system can be touchy. All of one or the other is fine. He said, if I recall, that Windows handles both differently, and may cause some issues when diasnosing and testing drives (boot, scheduled or manual). It's the first I've heard of it. Amognst other things, defraging SSDs is potentially destructive, and disk checking could be problematic. Anyone know what he might be refering to? Is it really a problem?

                                  • 14. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                    JEShort01 Level 4

                                    There are no issues with mixing SSDs and HDs with today's drives, controllers, etc. Possibly what the tech. was referring to was:

                                    1) Some models of early SSD required IDE whereas hard drives on the same (motherboard) controller worked much better with ACHI; additionally, ACHI is required for RAID 0 on Intel's very popular ICHR on-board SATA controllers

                                    2) HDs like to be defragmented and SSDs do not; this is not an issue so long as any automatic defragmentation programs are set up to ignore any SSDs present

                                    • 15. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                      Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                      Good!  Thanks for clarifying!

                                      • 16. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                        Rishaar Level 1

                                        Very nice build Frederic !!

                                        I have a quick question for Harm, but i believe it could be helpfull for somebody else too:

                                         

                                        Does the 4GB cache upgrade on the Areca 1880-ix-12 really justify the 300 USD difference with the 1GB version? (NewEgg)

                                        Would'nt it be cheaper to do it myself?

                                         

                                        According to Areca 's HP, it is only a 240-pin DIMM DDR2-800 ECC registered SDRAM 4GB , which can easily be found around 100 USD even for a famous brand. I have past experience where the Card or Laptop makers overprice the RAM upgrade for no specific reason but just save you the effort of the setup, which i really don't mind to do.

                                         

                                        I'm about to buy a 1880-ix too, and would rather put the money where it counts, for example upgrade from a 12 ports to a 16 ports...

                                        What do you think?

                                        Many thanks

                                        • 17. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                          Harm Millaard Level 7

                                          You need a module like this: http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/226353/kingston-valueram-kvr800d2e6-4g.html#tab:info

                                           

                                          It is DDR2-800 ECC SDRAM 4 GB UNregistered. There was a time when Areca was very picky about the memory, so before buying a module I would send a mail to Areca to check whether the module you intend to buy is compatible.

                                          • 18. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                            illucine Level 1

                                            Frederic,

                                            Congratulations!  That sounds like a great system.  I'm curious about some of your choices.

                                            1. I know at one time you were      looking at the HP ZR30W monitor.  What made you decide to go with      the NEC PA271W?

                                            2. Why did you choose the Quadro      5000?  I know, for Max, but it's nearly 2.5X the cost of the Quadro      4000 and doesn't appear to have significantly greater performance (although I've not tried either one).       Maybe if you work with really large models it's worth it.  I'm      probably going to get the 4000 for LightWave.

                                            3. The 1200W PSU sounds like overkill      for a single-CPU+single-GPU system.  Why so big?

                                            4. Why did you choose the Rampage      Extreme III motherboard (you mentioned greater control for      overclocking)?  I've never overclocked a computer so I'm not sure      what "greater control" implies. I'm shopping for an X58 board and am      considering the Rampage III series as well as other boards from      Asus, Gigabyte, and Intel.

                                            5. Are you still not planning on      getting an SSD?  I probably will even though I realize it won't      affect Premiere much (although it should start up faster).

                                             

                                            Roy

                                            • 19. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                              Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                              Hi Roy,

                                               

                                              Long story short, with all the research I've done, I wanted to get the best I could afford on a business lease. I'm pretty close to a wish list as is, all the while toning down on some other items that can be added or upgraded later on.

                                               

                                              1. Monitor... well, after more deliberation and research, the general concensus from my circle of friends and colleagues is that NEC has an edge on color accuracy, especially in the NTSC gamut. I also took the model that comes with the calibration puck (hence the higher price).

                                               

                                              2. Quadro 5000: I didn't want to end up changing cards half way through my lease time. Then it would have cost me twice or more anyway. So getting a faster card, I can probably rest assured I won't have the "ichies" for swaping out cards. A risk I'm willing to take, being the computer geek I can be sometimes. hehe  OK, seriously... the card may not be twice as fast as it's price may suggest, but it is a much faster card. While PremierePro might not benefit as much is one thing, my other apps will. I'm pretty confident that I'll see some pretty nice real-time action from the Quadro 5000 on PPro. But... if I were to pay cash for a GPU, I would not hesitate to get the 4000. It's only because I can spread the expenditure over time that I'm indulging myself.

                                               

                                              3. 1200W: Yes, I like my PSUs to be overkill. It will last me longer (hopefully another generation PC), capacitor aging is reduced drastically, and I won't have to worry much about instabilities due to an overstrainned and prematurely aged PSU. But... and I say BUT!  Using the PSU calculator with 30% aging, (think of it as overhead, if you will), I ended up with 1330W. That was with fully loaded HDDs on the RAID card. I'm taking Harm's suggestion to get a 24-port Areca. If I ever go up to that many drives, 1200 is not so overkill.

                                               

                                              4. Mobo: The Rampage was not my decision. It was my system integrators. I trust his judgement on this one. Most motherboards O.C. capabilites are made through coarse increments. And from what he said, the Rampage can achieve finer control. Now, if someone dissagrees, then do tell, I'd be interrested to learn more. I personnally never overclocked PCs, so I don't know what I could or could not do without damaging the components. I don't have that patience anymore... I just want to work, and I want a computer that works well. I want my system to be overclocked to a certain point, keeping stability a priority, hence the needed finer control.

                                               

                                              5. SSD: Actually, I am going to get SSDs. Again, because my lease gives me some financial flexibility to do so. I will have Corsair Force 3 disks. A 240GB system disk, and two 60GB support disks (pagfile, cache, scratch...) Although, I'm thinking of getting 4 and RAID 0 them together... hehehe.  Of course, my dream to have my media drives to be all SSDs will be put on hold.... for now! I do want to keep things sane for now. Anyway, swapping out disks is a lot cheaper then swapping out Quadro GPUs in the future... lol.  Imagine 16 to 24 SSDs in RAID?!?!?!  OK, back to earth!

                                               

                                              Frederic

                                              • 20. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                illucine Level 1

                                                Frederic,

                                                Thanks for the detailed answers.  I was surprised at first when I read the PSU calculator indicated 1330W but I suppose 24 drives really add up.  The calculator is giving me 741W minimum / 791W recommended with 30% aging and 100% loads so I was hoping to squeak by with a good 750W PSU but that may be pushing it.

                                                 

                                                I'll be curious to hear how your Corsair SSDs work out.  Seems like a lot of people have trouble with SSDs in general and I'm leaning toward Intel because they generally have fewer problems than most.  24 large SSDs in a RAID would be nice!  In less than 10 years that will probably not seem far-fetched in the least.

                                                 

                                                Roy

                                                • 21. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                  Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                                  By the way, Roy, when calculating your power supply, 30% capacitor aging is one thing, but you should always add about 10-15% overhead on top. So in reality, roughly speaking, you should get an 850W PSU.

                                                   

                                                  Yeah, 10 years from now, SSDs will be a dime a dozen. So when you fly in a McDonalds drive-thru, their next sales pitch phrase after you've ordered will be: "An SSD with that?"

                                                  • 22. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                    illucine Level 1

                                                    I assumed the higher "recommended" value rather than the "minimum" value already took overhead into account.  Are you saying add another 10-15% on top of the recommended value?  I'm also selecting 100% CPU utilization and 100% system load instead of their recommended values of 90% and 90%.

                                                    • 23. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                      Rishaar Level 1

                                                      Thank you, i will check with Areca

                                                      • 24. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                        Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                                        Yes, I'm saying it's a good practice to take a bit more, PSU wise. Because when you start adding new hardware in your computer, you don't want to worry about your PSU not being able to handle it. New hard drives, RAID controlers, Video I/O card, more burners, etc... This is why the 10-15% becomes yours headroom to grow.

                                                        • 25. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                          Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                                          Harm Millaard wrote:

                                                           

                                                          You need a module like this: http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/226353/kingston-valueram-kvr800d2e6-4g. html#tab:info

                                                           

                                                          It is DDR2-800 ECC SDRAM 4 GB UNregistered. There was a time when Areca was very picky about the memory, so before buying a module I would send a mail to Areca to check whether the module you intend to buy is compatible.

                                                          Just got an answer back from Areca, and they don't support that particular model. Well, I presume, from the Sino-English, dialect that he was refering to model I cut and pasted from Harm's link.

                                                           

                                                          -------

                                                           

                                                          Dear Sir/Madam,

                                                           

                                                          there have rare 4GB memory module met the controller memory requirement.  if you would like to upgrade the cache memory, please contact with our local distributor for assist.  most of our distributors have optional memory module for customers.

                                                           

                                                          and the memory module do not met the requirement, no buffered.

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          Best Regards,

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          Kevin

                                                          • 26. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                            Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                                            I'm revising my casing options. Mountain Mods are nice, but when everything is said and done, price-wise, I could buy 4 individual cases.... Scratch that!

                                                            • 27. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                              JEShort01 Level 4

                                                              If you like the Mountain Mods case, but didn't like the price, then maybe this is your answer!

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              http://www.extremetech.com/computing/91230-the-three-motherboard-workstation-made-out-of-l ego

                                                               

                                                               

                                                              Jim

                                                              • 28. Re: Ordering this bomb at the end of the month!
                                                                Frédéric Segard Level 2

                                                                LOL! That's the ultimate inch by inch configurable case I've ever seen!  Don't shake it to hard, or you'll litterally end up with a computer in two thousand pieces. hehe