Back in December of 2015, we threw together a budget eight core gaming PC for under a hundred and fifty bucks for the CPU RAM and motherboard. That is still a great deal almost two years later, and we were able to do this Thanks to a couple of things. One high-end, workstation and server equipment is often ahead of the technology curve in certain ways like multi-core processors and Two.
The way that businesses upgrade their IT gear on a regular cycle Can lead to big jumps in the supply of This older tech on sites like eBay, where the pricing often ends up much lower than mainstream hardware, because it’s less familiar to the average consumer and nobody’s Searching for it, So we thought to ourselves. Well Now, eight core CPUs are like mainstream. So how do we take this concept to another level? Let’S build the most badass machine possible using decommissioned server gear.
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May I mean what the crap, How difficult could it be to source some junky old stuff on eBay and slap it together? It’S story time So way back then Anthony, and I that was like way early on in his employment here. Even we sat down and we first looked for the biggest baddest motherboard. We could possibly find on eBay The most sockets, the most memory slots, the most actual physical size, and we settled on this. The Supermicro H8QG6F designed for the proprietary, SW TX form factor. It checked.
All the boxes – Four G34 CPU sockets 32 DIMM slots for up to a terabyte of ECC, registered ddr3 memory, Multiple PCI Express slots and even an on board LSI SAS controller. This thing is in another league, Look at all those connectors and, yes, those are fans on the chipsets plural chipsets, Speaking of which the i/o includes three Ethernet port, so two gigabit for data and another one for IP mi, Which is a remote management interface. You can learn more about here Next up, then Choosing a CPU, Or rather four of them, As we pointed out in our hundred and fifty dollar gaming rig. Video top of the line, SKUs for even very old servers, are still being sold at a premium but drop down a few tiers and aha There we go the Opteron 6276 with 16 cores each can be had for 30 bucks.
So we snatched up four of those. Then we grabbed a case lot of 16 four gigabyte sticks of ECC registered memory, giving us quad-channel memory for each of our 4 CPUs. That’S like 16 channels of memory Hahahahaha. So then, at this point we were ready to rip up the performance charts right. Not really so not only is this motherboard a crazy form factor That wouldn’t even begin to fit in any case or test bench we have here at the office.
We also needed to track down a power supply with three EPS 12 volt connectors. In order to supply power to all of these bloody CPUs, I mean even the highest end. Consumer units only come with two such cables at most, so what we ended up doing was frankensteining together the cables from two modular units onto one success. So then, with that issue you solved, we plugged it all in and powered it up.
Blank screen The board. Wasn’T posting Now the CPUs are on the supported list, so .. what gives well. We ended up shelving it and waiting a couple of months for a slightly stripped down version of the same board. It lacks the SAS controller and a few PCIe slots. So that’s a bummer, But it’ll do.
At least it came with some eight core Opteron 6128 already installed, So we were able to use those to fire. It up verify. It was working, then swap our 16 cores in and what Okay, I’m gon na skip the long version here, And it turns out that, despite the BIOS reporting that it was the latest revision, it Was not so a desperation BIOS flash later and we were finally in Business On an unrelated note, anyone want to buy an unexpectedly functional quad, socket Opteron board anyone Bueller Bueller Bueller, Oh right! No, you want to see how it performs first Huh. Well with a whopping 64 cores. We put it straight head-to-head with Ryzen Thread Ripper and Intel’s latest core i9.
I mean this thing’s gon na win with its eyes closed and one hand behind It’s back in the multi-threaded tests right We’ll get to those. But first, Let’s address the elephant in the video title Gaming. It sucks Like. Let me make this abundantly clear. This is a 1080 TI running at 1080p, So if you’ve ever wondered what a bottleneck looks like This is it rise of the Tomb Raider in DirectX 12? Got 10 % of the performance of the core, i7 7700 get 10 %, and it’s even worse.
In csgo I mean at least it was only half as bad in 3d marking Unigine superposition, But I mean if Supermicro is to be believed. This is, or at least was a machine that was designed to do work, not games, So will it blend Actually yeah in blender its 3d, rendering prowess doesn’t put it quite on the level of Thread. Ripper work For i9, but it handily outdoes the Rison. 7.
1800. X4, roughly the same overall system cost unsurprisingly, Cinebench and 7-zip show similar results, but the lack of a VX to support and Relatively low cache per core hinders its high core count significantly compared to its more modern competition. Even in these multi-threaded workloads and There’s more to buying a CPU than just performance too, so we tested our thermals with some Noctua nff 12s, just sitting on top of the heat sinks that were included with our board, and actually this wasn’t bad. Each CPU hit only 55 degrees at the worst in AIDA64. As for that power draw Hone le wow, that’s a number that only gets trumped by our overclocked 18 core core i9 7980XE extreme edition, though in fairness, this is 64 cores across four CPUs, So bottom line. Then umm Fun experiment, but did we get our money’s worth well, given that we bought two boards by accident?
No, no. We didn’t, but let’s play a game where we pretend We didn’t do that for gaming. This setup is super dumb, but for productivity, Surely doesn’t look that bad, Even though it is at the bottom of our charts, like so all in we paid about eighteen hundred and eighty eight dollars for this ghetto workstation as SPECT Using a motherboard box as an open Bench style case now, as soon as you buy modern hardware, like a 1080 Ti, the bottlenecking of that high end gear hurts your overall system value, But if all you wanted was CPU performance And you just put like a five dollar graphics card in then our system Here actually Delivers better value than Ryzen Thread Ripper, and if we had waited our testing more towards blender We’d have seen an even better price to performance ratio. This actually makes for a a really cool budget, blender box, but if You want to do almost literally Anything else with your machine, especially gaming, it Shouldn’t be your first choice, Especially given the headache factor. Speaking of headaches, do you find yourself with a headache?
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