Description

Processor dead after 11 months of use. Got an Ivy Bridge-E replacement since I can't afford Threadripper at the moment: https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/mtyXsY


Sometimes, you just have to settle for good enough...

Because PCPP does not allow for multiples of different video cards, the EVGA GTX 1060 FTW+ DT is listed as a custom part pointing to a PCPP link.

Build Video: https://vimeo.com/279376903

This is the 2nd revision of this build: https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/V4q48d

I run Windows 7, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Fedora 26 Workstation, and macOS Sierra 10.12.6 from this one machine.

I went through 4 Xeon E5-1660 processors to get to this point, gaining valuable Sandy Bridge-E Overclocking experience.

Before Meltdown happened, this was supposed to be a build matching a Ryzen 5 1600 in terms of performance. With the Meltdown patches though, after those get ironed out, the performance loss will put it underneath the 1600 in terms of performance... so I have to settle for good enough for my uses.

This build started with the Cryorig A80 which I purchased to get 8 sticks of RAM working at 4.6Ghz... Turns out, 8 sticks limits you to 4.5Ghz and burns out your processor extremely fast by degrading it due to pushing the System Agent too far. The VRM fan on this AIO was extremely useful though.

My replacement CPU after this degraded one was a potato chip (extra poor silicon quality) and required immense amounts of voltage to stay stable. That was degraded by overdoing the System Agent again trying for 1866Mhz memory on 4 high density sticks. Keep in mind, System Agent is called IMC on Gigabyte boards and I thought it still meant it was the main IMC voltage, when it's actually like 1st gen i7s and VTT stabilizes the memory controller. System Agent only stabilizes memory frequency...

Unfortunately, Xeon has extra traces to support ECC memory, making it's IMC even weaker than a standard Sandy Bridge-E CPU, so the highest frequency you can hit on high density RAM even on 4 sticks is DDR3-1600.

Final voltages AVX stable on this 4th E5-1660 processor (best silicon quality out of all the E5-1660s I got, before this one died as well) are 1.46V Vcore, 1.26V VTT and 1.05V System Agent. (VTT and System Agent voltages are FAR LOWER than before. I learned my lesson that too much System Agent can rapidly degrade C2 revision Sandy Bridge-E chips. System was still BSODing with high ambient temps on 1.395V and BSODed on low CPU usage in Unity games at 1.42v, 1.43v, 1.44v Vcore and 1.225v VTT so I had to bump it up again. Benchmarks were taken on 1.395V Vcore.)

I also got one of the last ASUS STRIX GTX 1080 11Gbps cards in Canada before stock ran out after the card was discontinued. Awesome card, and a surprise when pairing my current EVGA 1060 with this ASUS 1080 is that the ASUS card is also K-Boosted in EVGA Precision when both cards are present. However, when you remove your EVGA card and Precision requests you enter more info, do not fill in any extra info or Precision will crash on exit without fail every time. Beware that 100% fan speed on the STRIX is 50DBA+ and plan your custom fan curves accordingly.

I got a Lindy eSATAp bracket special ordered from the UK to run 3.5'' drives externally with a 12V eSATAp cable, as demonstrated in one of the photos in the photo set. It's good for doing temporary transfers or temporary OS testing. Startech doesn't make this, only Lindy does. I also ordered a custom made 90 degree USB 3.0 adapter from the UK for cable management, cause no one wants to see upright USB 3.0 cables intruding into the primary chamber...

The primary reason I'm still running 2 cards is because there's a trick to OBS to make it run on a secondary GPU, and I'm planning to use this rig for Linux KVM GPU Passthrough. With both cards overclocked and the CPU overclocked, it's starting to push my PSU to the limit. Fortunately, the PSU is rated at 50C at it's maximum wattage continuous.

Also, positive pressure is everywhere in the revised Air 540 case which basically had all forms of air restriction removed, and still looks decent and kind of going for a look like the Thermaltake Level 10. I used electrical tape to close some vents to improve positive pressure. It also is taping a dust filter from a old NZXT case in place.

YES, I STILL USE DISCS. One, cause having DVD installers for games saves bandwidth, and 2, to run PS2 emulators without dumping the disc to drive.

I'm also still using a early revision Blackmagic Intensity Pro I purchased over 10 years ago. It still works.

I can't say enough praise for the Fractal Design HP14 PWM fans. Noise to performance matches the build perfectly. If I couldn't get Noctua, I'd go for these Fractal fans. Also, if you observe in one of the pictures I took, if you use a rubber spacer in an exact spot, you can screw in both the side panel screws for the acrylic side panel WITH a somewhat square HP14 PWM 140mm fan in place. The screw holes on the HP14 are on rubber, meaning it can be slightly moved by a rubber spacer pushing against the case frame and the fan frame to allow the screw hole to be unobstructed. I know this is a pet peeve of the Air 540, but I'm showing this is indeed possible if you use a rubber spacer of the right size.

I changed out the standard thickness 92mm fans on my GTX 1060 for slim fans which are attached, like the previous build, using zip ties. One of those 92mm Noctuas got moved to the back to add positive pressure to the back chamber. Gaskets were removed at the top of that chamber, and a slim 120mm fan was added to add a backside VRM fan to aid the Cryorig's VRM fan.

Of big note is the addition of white LED strips from Cooler Master and Deepcool TF120 White LED fans, plus Thermaltake Luna White LED slim 140mm fans to aid in push-pull on the AIO.

GPU anti-sag was achieved by the Jayztwocents trick, and a little help from a Rick action figure. The anti-sag on the 1060 was achieved by the PCI-E power cable and some pulling force from the cable itself, with the sag on the STRIX 1080 compensated by Rick Sanchez. If you see the PCB of the 1060 still flexing, that's the result of the zip ties holding the Noctua fans on the 1060. (I went through an entire bag of 100 zip ties just to get the optimum attachment method)

The EKWB fan was relocated to deliver fresh air to both GPUs, I'm not putting lighting on my EK fan with a Phanteks Halos frame or etc. There's already enough lighting and RGB just comes standard with the STRIX card.

This rig USED to have the Cooler Master MasterFan Pro 140 Air Pressure. Avoid that fan at all costs. Resonance at 2000RPM so it's useless for PWM, and no blade clearance for intake.

Fire Strike score: 18926 https://www.3dmark.com/3dm/24613562

SteamVR Frames Rendered: 17069

Cinebench R15 Multithread: 1204

CPU-Z Multithread: 3340 https://valid.x86.fr/feixd2

Unigine Superposition Linux 4K Optimized (with Coolbits OC): 6722

I'm so glad I'm finally back to 4.6Ghz 24/7 with 32GB of RAM. It would have been having my cake and eating it too, but Meltdown caused the cake to melt. *sigh*

Part Reviews

CPU Cooler

Awesome VRM fan, but the included fans are actually sleeve bearing + magnet fans. The stock fans don't work well in a top exhaust configuration unless you take out the magnet. Replace the stock 140mm fans with different ones, cause the noise produced by the fans and the lack of static pressure really removes from the potential performance of the AIO.

Memory

XMP for this RAM works on X79. Just be careful using it's full rated speed on CPUs with weak IMCs. This pair would also run well with the XMP profile on the 4770K or 4790K.

Video Card

This GTX 1080 has 11Gbps GDDR5X and the STRIX 1080 Ti's 2.5 slot cooler, which makes this card better at heat transfer compared to the smaller cooler on the 2 slot standard STRIX 1080. Unfortunately, this card is now discontinued, so if you find a good condition one on the second hand market and you're in need of a GTX 1080, go for it.

Case Fan

Just around 30DBA at full load, these fans are whisper quiet. The FDB bearing also means this fan will last you quite a while. Best Noctua alternative fan out there. Highly recommended when replacing the stock fans on 280mm AIOs.

Case Fan

One of the only square slim 140mm fans out there. I use it to assist push-pull on my 280mm AIO. Hydro bearing is a plus for these fans.

Comments

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow, one of my new favorite builds on PCPP. Amazing job my friend!

+1

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

this looks like one hell of a pc. does the rick provide pickle-clocking?

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

I was highly tempted to add a Pickle Rick sticker to cover up some scratches in the acrylic. Alas, I want to keep the outside of the case pristine...

If I really wanted to theme this off of Rick and Morty, I'd put that sticker on the radiator. I'm broke after building this though...

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Great write up and nice pics. Thanks for sharing! +1

  • 17 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build bro. Very powerfull. Congratz ;)

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

Its nice to see builds like this. You did a great job and even with the performance loss due to meltdown it should still do very well. If you jump to 1440P the load should be shifted back to the GPU so frame loss should be negligible. If I could give you extra points for Rick I would.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

I use Dynamic Super Resolution with the Nvidia driver to render games at 4K. With the 2 GPU setup, it is also possible to use NVENC on the 2nd GPU with OBS with almost no encoder overload.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

I love it. +1

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

What is the purpose of this build? Do you only use for gaming or do you use this for study/work?

I personally love those kind of builds, reminds me that a personal computer can be a server for multiple purpose too. I would love to build something like that, but i live in a third world country which even the second hand/used market is more expensive than a brand new part.

  • 23 months ago
  • 2 points

Everyday use and trying to learn overclocking on a readily available chip available on the used market. Because I went through 4 CPUs learning the ins and outs of the architecture, I learned all there is to know about OCing these Sandy Bridge-E chips.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

I just saw your video, very funny! xD

But your video make me feel more intrigued about the software layer in your build. Are you using any kind of "virtualization on bare metal"softwares like EXSi or unRaid?

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

I plan on using Linux QEMU KVM.

I'm still figuring out if the build video for this will be independently released or released elsewhere...

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

"I'm so glad I'm finally back to 4.6Ghz 24/7 with 32GB of RAM. It would have been having my cake and eating it too, but Meltdown caused the cake to melt. sigh"

that gave me a good laugh. great build :)

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

This looks great... and unique. Well done. May it serve you well.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Much love for the xeon... +1

I currently have an e5-1660 v2 and also experimented with the e5-1620 v2 for a little. Both are great cpu's. I purchased the 1620 for $60 and was playing 4k games with a 1080ti.

Nice photography btw

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

I think the E5-1660 clocks higher cause Ivy Bridge had a OC headroom regression for little IPC gain. The only reason to use a E5-1660 V2 is PCI-E 3.0. E5-1660 doesn't have PCI-E 3.0.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Is the slime Thermaltake fan not available in the U.S? I cant find it anywhere.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

*slim

I had to special order it, so it's not available in regular retail channels directly. You have to special order this fan.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

How can I go about special ordering it?

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

You need to find a retailer with a direct supply from Thermaltake and ask them to order the fan direct from Thermaltake.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Alright, thanks for the info. I've been looking for a slime 140mm fan for so long. The only ones I can find have 120mm mounting holes. Apparently a normal slim 140mm fan is rare.

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

Also, I don't mean to keep bothering you, but do you know which retailers I may be able to buy it from?

  • 20 months ago
  • 1 point

I bought it from Memory Express in Canada. If a store has a lot of Thermaltake stuff, you can go to them to get them.

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

This is the first build I've seen here using a Xeon. Nice

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

This build is great!! I love the pics and the somewhat clashing colors that make it look extra cool.

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