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 Post subject: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:36 am 
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I just found myself looking at used GPUs on ebay. I know I can't afford them, but thanks to miners backing off a bit you can get a used R9 280x for like $250 and an R9 290x for $400ish. Now if my R9 270x gets about 65k PPD I wonder what those would do :twisted:

Too bad I don't have any money, well, that's what I keep telling myself to pay off some loans faster...


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:05 pm 
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That bug can get very expensive. A year or 2 ago I went from 1 PC to 5 because of that bug.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:32 am 
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I've got too many things to pay for... but once I've got a car or 2 payed off in the next year or so, i see a 290x (or something unreleased) coming my way.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:17 pm 
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Yeah, that itch is pretty contagious, unless you get it under control quickly! I'm starting to feel it myself, and see some relief in June-ish. Looking to put together a folding-only rig, and throw some pretty good coin at it. Was thinking some time ago that I'd like to play around with a server for BigAdv points, but since that program has a definite expiration date, I want to build something that is a bit more flexible if I ever decide to swap parts from it into my main do-it-all rig. Looking at about a $2K (+/-) budget and my goal is to get at least 350K PPD.

I'm curious about a few things...

--> I am going to build within a case, instead of an open-air setup and am thinking of going full tower instead of mid tower. I'm thinking (...always a dangerous proposition) that a larger case can allow for more fans and other solutions to keep things cool. Also if I decide in the future to go beyond closed loop water cooling solutions which I plan to do for the CPU, a full tower would give me more space and flexibility. Don't want to bake some serious hardware because of poor cooling. That said, I would love to hear compelling reasons to go mid tower instead.

--> From what I've read in the MPC forums and elsewhere, there does not seem to be a tremendous advantage of NVIDIA vs AMD in their high end cards for folding. But, I am curious about the difference in PPD of a 780ti vs 780 and 290X vs 290. The reason is that I could ~budget~ enough for 2x 780ti or 290X or 3x 780 or 290. I'm wondering which will yield the best folding stats. I know that if I went with 2x 780ti or 290X route, I could always get another card in the future, but I'm not certain when that opportunity will open up, and don't want to sacrifice PPD over the long run. Or, does it make more sense to throw 1 295X2 at it and call it a win :twisted:
That said, I am curious about the new Maxwell cards, but don't want to get caught in the waiting game for the next best thing.

--> CPU... Does it make sense to get a Haswell i7 for 4 cores (but 8 threads) of folding (assuming NVIDIA based GPUs), or save the ~$100, employ an i5 and get 4 cores (but maybe only 1??? if I go 3x 290's)? I am planning on doing some mild overclocking, but nothing extravagant. I can't justify a 2011 socket chip because the initial costs seem too high and I'd rather put my money towards the GPUs and a rock solid power supply. I am interested if anyone can make a compelling case for 1150 vs. 2011 or if I go with the 1150 socket getting an i7 vs. i5.

I've got a small hard drive from an old machine, and plan to do some bargain hunting on the ram, and will look at power supply options once I've decided on the GPU situation.

Just floating ideas out there. If anything strikes you or questions surface, I'm all ears. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:49 pm 
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Here's what I'm thinking-GPUs get more PPD then CPUs, so I wouldn't worry as much about the processor. I mean, get whatever you want to make the PC you want, but if you're worried about Folding (and you said this would start life as a Folding rig) then I don't think it matters as much. If you can get 3 BFCs (big fing cards) in it then it doesn't matter if there's a quad-core proc (no HT) feeding them with not much leftover for Folding of it's own. Those GPUs are gonna be cranking out ridiculous points. If you're only going to have two cards, maybe a quad- or hexa- core proc. Even then, two top end cards are going to be a lot of horsepower. So, all-in-all I'd say a quad core is fine. If you want to squeeze every last point out of the available silicon, maybe i7 is the way to go, but I think spending on GPUs is more dollar/point efficient.

As far as the GPUs I'd have to say that three high end, but not very tippy-top high end will out produce two of the very tippy-top ones. I'm not sure what the Folding difference is between say a 780 and a Titan is, but I'd be hard pressed to believe that the Titan can do 1.5 times the work of the 780. I have no actual data for this assertion right now, I'm going to have to look into it. As for which card specifically, hard to say. It doesn't look like the high end Maxwells are going to be released anytime soon. Like you said, you build with the hardware you have. So, I guess we can look into the kinds of PPD people are seeing with various cards and figure it out. Some of the decision will depend on heat, noise, power consumption, etc (unless these are no object to you).

For case, I say go full tower. Why? Because, well, more cowbell. Seriously, they're easier to build in, especially if you want to do some custom liquid cooling in the future. Also, better for cooling as you said. If you're running multiple high end graphics cards you're going to need a lot of cooling power. Even if you had the 295x or other cards with custom closed loop coolers, you have to stick the radiators somewhere.

Ok, I think that's my $.02 on everything. Sorry no actual numbers, yet. That's just an outline of my thinking so far. Keep us posted and I'm sure you'll have more conflicting advice than you can shake a lemur at. I'm excited by your new rig; if I can't build one I'll do my best to help you build a beast. Now if you'll excuse me I need to blow the dust off of this AM2 board I found laying in my pile-o-parts. It's got two full speed PCIe x16 slots, yay.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:03 am 
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crwlngsnk, thanks for your input! At this point, I'm not super concerned about numbers, just a gut check that I'm on a path that helps me get to my goal. I'm hoping to generate enough interest that I will get dissenting views on hardware choices. And, please, let's minimize the shaking of any lemurs... they have enough trouble as it is :)

Ultimately, I can only build one machine, but I'm curious about the different approaches that folks would take to get there.

Quote:
As far as the GPUs I'd have to say that three high end, but not very tippy-top high end will out produce two of the very tippy-top ones. I'm not sure what the Folding difference is between say a 780 and a Titan is, but I'd be hard pressed to believe that the Titan can do 1.5 times the work of the 780.


This is pretty much where my gut is, too. I'm guessing that diminishing marginal returns will kick in pretty substantially when comparing the two top cards in a line up, especially when looking at PPD/$. But, I'm curious if this is in fact the case.

Quote:
Some of the decision will depend on heat, noise, power consumption, etc


...I'm consigned to the fact that I'll be drawing a significant amount of electricity, generating a bit of heat, and have a dozen or so fans spinning to keep the new build running. Our place is 101 years old, so the windows are more akin to pasta strainers than actual physical barriers to air movement. So I'm already used to higher than preferred utility bills... our A/C bill can already get pretty high during the summer, and don't even get me started on our heating bill this past winter :shock: So, as long as we can keep it reasonable on the electric bill, I'm cool with that, and during the winter, the addition where I have my office is not insulated very well, so the extra heat will be much appreciated.
I guess my biggest concern, given my ambivalence to heat and power consumption, is noise. I know that I won't have a silent machine, but I'd prefer to keep noise down where I can.

Also wondering... I'm thinking about the OS, and while I can get Windows 8 for < $10 (have to pay full price for Win 7, my preferred OS), I was also rolling around the idea of taking this opportunity to learn a bit of linux, but I don't know anything about the learning curve around this, and am wondering how much of an impact that will have on my folding.

Thanks again for your help!


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:59 pm 
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Windows 8 for $10?!?! How? I would still rather pay $100 for 7, but i thought 8 was also $100


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:46 am 
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I'm going to jump in here. Reverse order:

Win 8 for anything less than $50 is a great deal (especially if you get pro for that range). With the forthcoming up dates to 'take the edge off' from desktops, you should be fine there. Especially if you are going to use it as an exclusive folding machine. If you're willing to take the Linux leap, do that! I haven't yet, but I've always wanted to. I say go for it if you have the time and willingness.

Word to the wise: Long-term Folding is all about PPD/ Watt, don't worry about PPD/$. Your electric bill will thank you! My meager rig costs around $40/month to run (one first gen i7 cpu & 7970 gpu; pulls 24/7 ~= 410 W). I could pay for multiple GPUs over a year for the cost of running the rig.

CPU ==> I'd say go for an i7. GPU folding will take a thread, not a core (two threads). You'll be far better off for CPU and GPU folding in that regard. I'd recommend the least expensive i7 available. Unless you get a killer deal on some 8-core (16 thread) CPU, go with four or six core. The extra money is not worth it to blow on a 'big' CPU. I'm not sure how AMD's offerings stack up, but feel free to research there as well.

GPU ==> Definitely see how Maxwell shakes out for as long as you can. It doesn't seem like you will be buying parts tomorrow, so this should be the last thing you pick up. I'd completely agree with going 3x Top-end GPUs vs. 2x Bleeding edge GPUs. Like you, the only thing I'd consider better than this is with x2 cards (ala 295x2 or 790 [or whatever Nvidia would call theirs]). I ran an Nvidia 9800x2 for a while as the best bang for the buck on PPD/W. These cards typically seem to go around 170% their single card TDP counterparts (290x ~= 295 W TDP; 295x2 ~= 500 W TDP
|!|
An Nvidia Titan Z runs a 350 W TDP vs. Titan Black's 250 W TDP, 140% of single card Wattage!!).

Case/Cooling ==> I prefer air for cost and ease, but I don't care much about noise. My office is a closed room in the basement. I use a larger mid tower case and things seem to fit fine. The bigger the better for case. Fewer larger fans seem better. I run all 120 mm fans. I'd like to throw on some larger fans to run them slower and get more air flow. If I had the machine elsewhere in the house, I'd definitely do that. For your considerations, I'd go with large fans that don't spin as fast. Maybe 200 mm fans, especially if your full case will allow for one or two exhaust on the back and/or top, then one or two intake on the front and/or bottom. that should be more than enough cooling and keep things relatively quiet. I have and would recommend Scythe fans, but whatever you go with, do some good research. Mine were around $10-12 or so and have been working very well for quite a while.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:17 pm 
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Thanks all!

R3D88, because I'm a teacher, my school has a program with Microsoft and we can get software through them for "work at home" machines. I was able to get Win 7 Ultimate for my personal home build, and then Win 7 Home Premium for a build that I did for my mother-in-law, both at ~$10. Same deal with Office 2010 and 2013 on different machines for myself and my wife. So, now I'll go to the Windows 8 Pro well for my newest build. May fire back up my old P4 to play around with Linux this summer, but If I'm building a machine to fold, I don't want my incompetence to get (too much) in the way.

Gero1369, thanks for the low-down on the value of thinking in terms of PPD/Watt instead of PPD/$. Makes a lot more sense. Also, I like where your head's at when it comes to fewer, but larger fan. Was thinking of closed loop water cooling, but I could save some money by going air cooled initially, and then I wouldn't feel as bad if I added a full custom water cooling system to the build. I usually look for more plain cases (right now I have a Thermaltake Soprano), so I'll keep an eye for those that fit my aesthetic and can fit larger fans. Looking at the Fractal Design Define XL R2 as a possibility, but we'll see what else fits the bill. Also, thanks for the rec on Scythe fans. That segment seems to be totally saturated, and difficult (for me) to pullout the quality items from the mediocre ones, but I will be sure to do my homework! Still going back and forth on the i7 vs. i5. May end up being a budget based decision, but I certainly won't go beyond the low end of i7-land because I'm confident that most of my points will come from the the GPU array.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:45 pm 
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Hate to make a "me too" post, but here goes (guess I don't hate it enough to stop me from doing it). I agree with Gero1369 about the PPD/Watt. I mentally included that in my calculation when I said PPD/$. Watts are dollars, but I understand the distinction that people probably make between dollars reflecting the short-term upfront cost and the watts representing the long term cost. That's why power consumption should be included in the scoring rubric for card selection. I soft pedaled it a bit so as to not come off like an NVIDIA fanboy. I lean NVIDIA, but I'm not fanatic about it. However, I am excited about the performance and efficiency of Maxwell.

I've heard good things about Scythe fans. The Gentle Typhoon is supposed to be very quiet and effective (but regardless, bigger and slower moving is a good suggestion). I thought that was really good thinking about the fans when I read it in Gero's post. I'm a little partial to the Corsair Obsidian line of cases. They have a very spare aesthetic, like Shaker furniture.

My recommendation on CPU was colored by system cost. I was figuring a zero-sum game between a higher core (or thread) count (hehe, thread count) and a third video card. In that case GPU FTW, but if there is flexibility in the budget (and losing the closed loop cooler saves a few bones) then definitely go for as many cores/threads as is reasonable. The 4770K is LGA1150. I'll know more after I poke around on partpicker for a bit.

TL;DR=>I agree with Gero.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:14 am 
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Thanks for seeing things my way :twisted: I've been at this for a while and try to know what I'm talking about 8) I'm still a young'in on the team though.

Watch out, general life ramblings that can be loosely tied to folding; somehow??
I will always have plenty to learn and I know it. The best way to do so is to ask questions.

Also, no single solution will fit for everyone, but sometimes you have to make a decision and run with it or even choose from a group of less than desirable options and make it work. Also, even short-term hindsight can be learned from as well as long-term. People and options will always change and remain the same (quite the paradox!). Waiting on tech stuff will always be a good option, but don't wait until you're dead :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:08 pm 
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For what it is worth.

My main machine is an AMD 8350 8 core CPU with an Nvidia GTX 760 GPU. I have it installed in a Fractal R4 mid tower case which has 3 140 mm fans blowing in along with one 140 mm fan blowing out.

I am using a Corsair H100I all in one water cooler on the CPU which adds another two 120 MM fans blowing out, This case also contains 6 HDDs with over 14 TB of storage and two SSDs with another 360gb of storage.

My power supply is a Corsair AX860I which is connected to a Corsair link system which helps me monitor my system cooling needs and power usage.

When not folding, my wattage consumed is 117 Watts, and while folding my power consumption jumps to 397 watts which translates to about 280 watts just for folding.

When folding, my CPU has all 8 cores running at 100% and the GPU also at 100%. Temp wise, the CPU sits at 40 degrees Celsius and the GPU is at 150 degrees Celsius.

My internal case temp is at about 89 degrees while my office temp is 80 degrees. All in all, I would say that a Fractal R4 mid tower case is sufficient in size to provide adequate cooling as long as one doesn't have an extremely high power GPU pumping out massive amounts of heat.

My HTPC also runs folding and also is in a Fractal R4 case utilizing a H100I for cooling (to keep the noise down).

It has a much weaker AMD Phenom II X6 1090 processor and an extremely weak video card which is incapable of running folding.

My HTPC is in line for major upgrades to both it's CPU and GPU. I am extremely interested in the new Maxwell GPUs because of their high performance but even more so for their lower power consumption and heat output. One can get two new GTX 750 TI GPUs for a lower cost than a single GTX 760 GPU which will out perform the GTX760 using less power and generating less heat.

My recommendation for anyone running one of the high power AMD Radian R9 GPUs is To apply water cooling to it. Arctic Now has an all-in-one closed loop cooler strictly for GPUs which would help greatly in keeping case as well as GPU temps under control.

I must state that I am retired and living on Social Security along with a very small pension so I can't afford the extremely high end equipment so I must get the most bank for the buck out of whatever I do get and it has to be able to last a long time. If I confine my itch scratching to simply updating my two machines which I have running 24/7 I can keep my wife from complaining about spending too much on computers since there would be no more machines to explain away and all upgrades would be internally hidden.


Last edited by dglang on Mon May 19, 2014 6:26 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:19 pm 
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The PPD/Watt is a GREAT point! Especially for those folding year round or in warmer climates. Personally I'm a gamer, and although I may fold year round one day, that day is not today, and its not gonna be for a few years. I will add folding to consideration for new hardware, but that only takes place when the AC is off. I posted a while ago how a PC is a near perfect efficiency space heater, so in the case of a winter folder, PPD/watt does not matter since more watts used just means less heat needed from your place.

dglang wrote:
My recommendation for anyone running one of the high power AMD Radian R9 GPUs is To apply water cooling to it. Arctic Now has an all-in-one closed loop cooler strictly for GPUs which would help greatly in keeping case as well as GPU temps under control.


I have an R9 270x and its never above 65C folding with the stock XFX cooler. It's not the tippy top end, but its also not the lowest of the R9s.

If you are running multiple 280x cards or any 290x cards, water cooling is a great idea to keep the case temps down, but I've heard of triple 290x's with air being done successfully, but it needs a few case fans and a well designed/laid out pc.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:18 am 
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I fully agree that air circulation is extremely important when running a high power rig. This especially true for the GPUs because if the case is not very well ventilated the heat remains within the case and that drives up the heat for every piece of equipment in the case which also includes the processor but also the motherboard and all of the electronics on it.

As I mentioned earlier, my case is a Fractal R4 which is very heavily insulated for noise levvem purposes. One unfortunate consequence of that is that it retains heat more than an all metal uninsulated case because the side panels can't act as a heat sink. Cases with Aluminum panels are better than cases with steel panels for releasing heat with the heavily insulated (for sound proofing) being the worst at relieving heat.

My main machine is used for video recording and editing as well as web browsing and it is in a small bedroom sized office where loud sound is not welcome. My second machine is out HTPC/server and it is important to keep the sound down when viewing videos either from the machine itself or Cable TV videos.

Both cases were Antec 900s before I replaced then with the Fractal R4s to help keep the sound down. I also added the Corsair H100I closed loop coolers on the CPUs to also keep the sound down as well as keeping the processors cool. When folding, both machines CPUs run at 100% with one machine using 8 full sized cores and the other machine using a lesser 6 core CPU.

One thing I probably should have done was use a closed loop cooling system with the larger 140 MM fans and radiators instead of the 120 MM fans which have to run much faster and therefore are the noisiest parts of the system.

I haven't applied the Arctic GPU cooler to the Asus GTX 760 DirectCU II OC GPU because Asus didn't follow the reference design on that GPU and the cooler simply doesn't fit correctly despite Arctic claiming that it was compatible with that Geforce series GPU. Lesson learned in that I should be certain that whatever GPU I put that cooler on must follow the reference design layout.

That Arctic GPU cooler includes a large heat sink back plate as well as the front mounted pump/heatsink. The back plate heatsink is used with thermal pads between the heatsink and components mounted on the back of the board. If the manufacturer of the GPU itself doesn't use the reference design layout it becomes much harder to cool the backside of the GPU. In either case, it is still important to have an exhaust fan mounted directly above the GPU to remove any heat from it before that heat spreads through out the case.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:01 pm 
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Okay, poked around on pcpartpicker, came up with this:http://pcpartpicker.com/p/3xwko.
With the third 780 it comes out to $2,700.00+. More than your guideline, I know. I just put this together as a sketch.
With three 780s it looks to make upwards of a half-million PPD, quite possibly more.
If you like it play around with it a little bit, try to shave some off the cost or whatever.
With a limited data set I came up with an average PPD of 267,985 for one 780Ti and 160,008 for one 780. I didn't account for OS, OC, or oh, anything else. I figure there's such variability in WUs and whatnot that it's a wash. I've been having a harder time turning up PPD data for the R9s. I kind of went with NVIDIA because of heat, noise, and power.
This is kind of a beast. I'm kind of thinking that you could just go with two 780s. That would shave off $500 and it would still pull PPD in the range you were looking for. That might allow for some more wiggle room in mobo, PSU. Just spitballing.
*edit* Just read your post again LemurWrangler and saw that you have a HDD to re-use. With two 780s and no SSD and HDD it comes out to $2,000+/-. Assuming here that you have peripherals and a monitor for it already as well.


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:39 pm 
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crwlngkngsnk, we are definitely on the same page with the system you picked out at pcpartpicker, and thanks a bunch for the data you found on the various GPU PPD. Yes, it is a handful of cards, but still puts us in the ballpark of the sort of numbers and delta to expect when comparing different GPUs.

Not sure exactly on the exact depth of the budget (got to wait till June for those numbers...) but you're certainly swimming in the right end of the pool. In terms of the parts, the good news is that I have an OCZ Vertex 4 128Gb SSD waiting to be used, that was in place before my upgrade to my current 480Gb Crucial M500 SSD. This will be more than enough speed and space to run my system, so we don't need to worry about the boot or storage drive. This saves about $280, which is more than half way to paying for the 3rd 780. But, based on a rough picture from eXtreme Power Supply Calculator, with 3 780's (as well as the other components on your list), it recommends that I strap a 1400-1500w power supply into the beast. This will (and should, for Pete's sake) add some cost to the bottom line. But, how responsible would it be to hook 3 780s to a 1000w power supply? I've read where folks building machines put way too much power supply into their machine for what they are hooking up to it. I want to acknowledge this, but at the same time I am concerned about putting too little power supply into the build, given the recommendations from the online calculator.

Again, thanks for pulling out this mock-up and the research. I know that you're working with imperfect information, but I feel a lot more confident that I'm not barking up the wrong tree with what I've assembled in my head so far.

Cheers!


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:07 pm 
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June? Hell, it'll be a different world in June. My first draft had an 850 watt PSU. I tried about 4-5 online PSU calculators and came up with varying amounts from less than 800 to 1200+. They tend to be on the conservative side, ensuring that you you have more than enough. I feel pretty confident that 1000 is plenty (I was also trying to be a little frugal, beastly PSUs have beastly price tags), but I'm not the one spending a few thousand bucks. They hit their peak efficiency at around 50% load, so if you get a real monster maybe it'll be more efficient; long term that might be a push, cost-wise. When you're a little closer to pulling the trigger you might try posting in the PC Building Lab, LatiosXT and FascistNation are really good with that sort of thing.
Oh, I also had an ODD in there. If you don't need one (OS can be installed via flash drive) that saves about $15.00. Not much considering, but hey. There might be new GPUs and such available by the time this thing gets real, so I'll keep an eye out on developments. It would be interesting to see some numbers on the 295X, but as of right now it would have have to pull about 400-500K PPD to match those 780s price-wise. Power consumption I don't know...


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:23 pm 
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Thanks, I appreciate it! Sorry if I jumped the gun a bit to soon, but...(looking up at the thread title :roll: )

I've scouting the PC Building Lab for the past month looking for hints, tips and the like, but I haven't seen anything folding specific, so I will be sure to post there closer to the actual buy date. And like you said, the world could be a different place in June so all the final budget and hardware fiddling will sort itself out for reals. It will be really interesting to see if anyone will be folding the the 295X2. ...I would love to see a single card pull 500K PPD!


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:44 pm 
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Nah, you didn't jump the gun. If anything I did. But when that itch strikes you gotta do SOMETHING to try to alleviate it. I've been doing a little scratching myself lately.
If you post your build in the building section they can offer advice about power consumption and the like. Make sure to mention that it will be Folding (and so running hard and long) and overclocked (you are gonna OC everything, right?).


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 Post subject: Re: I'm gettin that itch!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:30 pm 
Team Member Top 50
Team Member Top 50

Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 5:17 am
Posts: 190
Location: Chicago
Yep, planning on overclocking for sure. ...brings an additional sense of sport to the endeavor :twisted:


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