Description

This rig will be used for deep learning and neuroimaging research, which benefits from the many CPU cores on the AMD Threadripper 2950X (parallel image preprocessing) and obviously GPUs. If I had the budget, I would have opted for the Threadripper 2990WX. I think these components would have been able to handle it.

The goal is to eventually put 4 GPUs in this case. One Titan Xp provided via the Nvidia academic grant program, and the other 3 will be used mining 1080 Tis. This is one reason why I chose the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic case, which seems like one of the more compact ones to still provide 8 PCIe slots. 4 GPUs will preclude putting SSDs or intake fans on the bottom/floor of the case. I also expect them to thermal throttle (probably regardless of Founders Edition vs side blowers), but even with this limitation it will be worth it to have this many CUDA cores in the same machine. From browsing online, it seems like because of the close packing of 4 GPUs, they will also probably throttle regardless of case size, so I still preferred to go with the more compact Dynamic case, versus a larger one like the Corsair 540 that NVIDIA used in their original "dev box", or full tower.

The Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme motherboard is E-ATX, but only ~1 inch wider than standard ATX. In the Lian Li O11 dynamic case, this means that it overlaps the angled cable grommets toward the front of the case, but not so much so that it overlaps the side intake fans. It would be helpful to buy a set of the flatter more flexible individually-wrapped PSU cables to make this tight turn.

The G.Skill Ripjaws V ram (4x 16 GB) default XMP profile at 3200 MHz was not stable (boot cycle, bios automatically reverted), however backing them off a bit to 3000 MHz seems fine so far.

Finding a suitable cooler to fit the threadripper TR4 socket was actually the most difficult part of this build. I wanted liquid cooling to minimize the ambient air temp in the case for input to the GPUs. I wanted AIO because I don’t have the knowledge or budget for custom liquid cooling. I first looked at the Enermax Liqtech TR4, which I ruled out because of all of the early hardware failures being reported. I next considered the Corsair PRO RGB series (6th gen asetek pump, round not-TR4-optimized cold plate), but unfortunately at this time (10/2018) the TR4 adapter is not available for purchase. NZXT would be acceptable, however they only have older 5th gen asetek pumps and no TR4-optimized full coverage cold plate. Finally, as luck would have it, the Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360 RGB TR4 Edition was finally released right when I needed it! The 360 mm radiator does slightly impede the inflow from the top side intake fan, but not too bad. I figured I’d need maximum cooling for threadripper, and while the case fits a 280 mm radiator, the top vents are not optimized for it.

I don’t need RGB, so that was not a consideration. I had extra Corsair ML120 fans, so I swapped out the coolermaster masterfan pro air balance RGB fans that came with the cooler. I’m sure either would have been fine.

Thermals are ~28-30°C at idle and ~58-60°C at 100% CPU and moderate GPU load. Fan curves for the radiator and side intake fans are attached (side intakes turn off at idle, and I cap all the fans ~1600 RPM to limit noise).

Part Reviews

CPU

Unbelievable multitasking. I wish I could have afforded the 2990WX.

CPU Cooler

TR4 threadripper full-coverage cold plate, great cooling, very quiet

Motherboard

An absolute tank. Every feature I can possibly think of. Great styling. This E-ATX is only 1 inch wider than ATX.

Memory

Great price/performance for 4 x 16 GB in quad channel.

Video Card

I received this GPU as an academic grant, and it does work great. Our research is often VRAM limited, so I do appreciate every extra bit of memory (12 GB here vs 11 GB on the 1080 Ti). However, even considering that, the 1080 Ti is still clearly better for price/performance, especially with all the used cards on the market lately.

Case

Simple effective design. The deciding factor for me was that this relatively compact mid tower case still has 8 PCIe slots to allow for a quad GPU.

Power Supply

I have used EVGA before and trust their PSUs. This one has all the power and cabling to handle AMD threadripper (180 W, 2x 8 pin CPU), and eventually a quad GPU setup (4x 250 W, 4x 8 pin GPU and 4x 6 pin GPU).

Case Fan

Really nice fan. Dead quiet at RPM < 1000. For this fan and position combo (Lian Li PC-O11DW in side intake position), there is some annoying resonance above ~1200 RPM. This is improved with rubber fan grommets (Pro version comes with rubber corners).

Comments

  • 9 months ago
  • 3 points

dude that cooler and the amount of RAM you have is SUBSTANTIAL

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks Anton, they both seem to be working great so far.

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

The Enermax hardware failures might have been solved with the revision 2 version of the cooler. And Wendell from Level1Techs never had an issue with his Enermax cooler.

Noticed the Linux temperature monitoring, so I had to mention Wendell.

  • 9 months ago
  • 0 points

Hey Furry, thanks for the comment. That’d be great news because it otherwise looked like a really nice cooler from all the “initial” reviews. Maybe it was just an easy swap of the coolant? Haha yep linux, Wendell has some really good videos!

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

It was a manufacturing defect where they simply forgot one of the anti-corrosion compounds. They fixed it for revision 2.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

OMG! That's the der8auer's Lian-Li PC-O11DW case!

Pure win!

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks skyrise, I really love this case, really simple and well done. The hangers for the side panels are the best.

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

Can you do a review of it?

  • 8 months ago
  • 1 point

How has this gone for you? I'm mostly curious about 4 GPUs and heat, as I'm planning to go from 2 1080 Tis to 4 (possibly a 2080 Ti as they come down in price).

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, I'm still at 2 cards myself. But considering the 1080 Ti founders edition basically hits its thermal limit even with only 1 card in open air configuration ( https://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/2830-nvidia-gtx-1080-ti-fe-review-and-game-benchmarks/page-3 , and I'm seeing similar), I expect it to be more of the same with 4 cards...

Also check this out regarding the general requirement for "blower" style cards when doing quad GPU:

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/NVIDIA-Dual-Fan-GeForce-RTX-Coolers-Ruining-Multi-GPU-Performance-1239/#WhatisCausingthisThrottling?

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

Good luck with your AI! +2

[comment deleted]