An Xeon workstation build as your main PC, Does it make sense ??

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CPU cores , we all love them but unfortunately on many consumer Intel platforms we are still stuck with 4 cores . If you upgrade to the X99 platform from Intel then you would have access to 6 and 8 cores CPUs . Unfortunately the i7-5960X 8 cores is hovering around 900 which is far from good value for money. Its an impressive CPU though.

Ok , you want a powerful system to use with your CPU bound rendering applications but do not want to spend hundreds of pounds only on your CPUs . Fear not the Xeon second hand market has some very interesting sweet spots . We will be exploring two builds today based on two Xeon CPUs .

Xeon Build featuring two X5672 at 3.2GHz :

This build is based on the LGA 1366 Intel platform . 2 of the X5672 is about as fast as a single E5-2637 v3 or an i7-4770K . The performance of the 2 Xeon processors might be the same as a single i7-4770k but you are getting twice as much cores which is very useful if you are planing to run multiple virtual machine . Otherwise the i7 4770k has much better single core performance .

- Bundle ,lets start by the base of our build , the RAM , MOBO and CPU bundle :
SUPERMICRO X8DTH-i + 2x XEON X5672 3.2GHz 8 cores +24GB RAM
with 24GB of RAM and both CPU and motherboard bundled together it saves you the trouble finding each component separately. Note that each CPU has a TDP of 95 watts . This costs 419 .

- GPU, next we need the GPU , The GTX 970 still offer amazing value . Costs 269 .
MSI GTX 970 4GB

- Case, lets choose the case now , we need a case that can fit our E-ATX motherboard :
Fractal Design Core 3300 E-ATX
The Core 3300 is a very affordable case and it costs only 50 , a very good option.

- CPU cooler ,next lets choose CPU cooling . Because of the 95 watts TDP , we can choose a fairly cheep and cheerful cooler :
ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev-2
The ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev-2 is a very affordable CPU cooler that is both quiet and compact with a 150 watts cooling capacity . two will cost you 33 .

- PSU, now we need to power the system .600 Watts should be good enough to power the GTX 970 and the 2 Xeons :
Corsair Builder CX-600 PSU
The Corsair Builder Series CX 600 watts PSU is a fantastic value but it is not a modular PSU which is fine by me because our case has very good cable management . The PSU is 50.

- Adapter, our PSU does not have 2 x 8 Pin CPU power connectors so we need to get an adapter :
8-pin-motherboard-cpu-EPS adapter
For around 6 this will fix the problem .

- Storage, finally Storage we will go with a 240GB SSD , 512GB ssd and a 2 TB HDD . the 240GB SSD is for your OS and applications . The 500GB SSD can be used for your games , as a scratch disk or for your video recording application . The 2TB disk is for file storage . In fact you can get two and pair them in RAID 1 so your storage is more secure .
850 EVO 240GB
The 850 EVO is a solid SSD that I used personally many times. At 68 it is a good deal .
Crucial BX200 480GB
The Crucial BX200 480GB is true value for money at 100 , the drive is very good too . The BX200 is a value drive so performance will not be as good as the EVO drive but this is less relevant because we are mostly going to read from it only in the case of video games and we will be writing large sequential files when we are video recording/editing .
WD Blue 1TB HDD
We went with two 1TB HDDs because the cost of 1TB drives is very low and it was worth getting that extra backup safety in our build . two of these will cost you 76.


Total cost is : 1071

This is as much as you expect to pay for an i7 4770k build . As you can see this build is seems less attractive than buying all new system , but if you need the CPU cores as part of your project then this build will fit just fine .

Xeon Build featuring two E5-2670 at 2.6GHz :

Here where the fun starts , the E5-2670 is a very capable chip . Match two together and you will have some serious performance . A single E5-2670 V1 is as fast as the Intel Core i7-6700K . Now pair two together and you are getting an amazing performance . We will be using mostly the same parts as the previous build . The CPU TDP is 115 watts so nothing too crazy .
SUPERMICRO X9DAi + 2x XEON E5-2670 2.6GHz 16 cores + 32GB RAM
You have now 3 times as much CPU power and 8GB of extra RAM and this is for 625 , which is 206 more expensive than our previous build .


Total cost is : 1277

This is amazing value for money , the performance is massive and the cost is very reasonable .


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