Please help me with a new machine build

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Message 1860741 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 14:46:59 UTC
Last modified: 10 Apr 2017, 14:58:42 UTC

Hi guys!

After almost 4 years of continuous service, my GTX 660 died, and as a result I'm now going to replace my almost 6 years old main machine. Problem is, I haven't been following the hardware business for years - so I thought I might as well ask some experts.

I have already decided on the key features:

- MB: Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P
- CPU: i7-7700K CPU @ 4 x 4,20 GHz
- GPU: Manli GeForce GTX 1080, 8GB GDDR5
- RAM: 24 or 32 GB
- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64
- The machine will be used for crunching, programming and occasional HD or even 4K video editing.
- My old GTX 680, which is still working, should be used in the new machine as well.
- I don't intend to do try any overclocking this time around.

However, I slightly overran the budget I'm willing to spend, so I need your help with some adjustments:

First, RAM:
The shop allows me to decide between these three options:
4x Crucial DIMM 8GB, DDR4-2133, CL15 (€ 240)
4x Crucial Ballistix Sport LT UDIMM 8GB, DDR4-2400, CL16 (€ 276)
4x 8GB Kingston HyperX Fury, DDR4-2400, CL15-15-15 (€ 300)

Is the difference between DDR4-2133 and DDR4-2400 big enough to warrant a 15%/25% price increase, especially for my intended uses?

24 GB (3 x 8 GB) of RAM would be enough for me. Is there any downside to using an "odd" number of RAM modules (or a total RAM size that's not a power of 2)?

Second, CPU cooler:
The shop I want to buy from provides a "default cooler" at no additional cost, but unfortunately doesn't specify what the default cooler is. Apart from that, the shop gives me several options to choose from:
LC-Power Cosmo Cool LC-CC-95 (€ 20)
Scythe Katana 4 (€ 30)
Alpenföhn Ben Nevis (€ 35)
be quiet! Pure Rock (€ 40)
Water cooling solution Enermax Liqmax II 120 incl. assembly (€ 95)

Do I really need a cooler different from the "default cooler"?

Thank you in advance!
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Message 1860743 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 15:04:44 UTC - in response to Message 1860741.  

I've always found the speed of the RAM does have an effect on how quickly systems complete work unit. I have 1 computer that has a slower speed ram, but better GPUs but scores consistently lower in RAC compared to my other computers. But as you say, the increase in speed comes with an increasing price tag.
You say you don't intend to Overclock the system? If you want to get the better speed then you will have to overclock as most RAM is native (automatically set) to 2133. You would need to set the XMP or manually set the RAM speed to get higher speeds. So if neither of those sound like something you want to mess with, or have the company building it do it then you should just consider going with the 2133 ram.

As far as coolers, I always use a liquid cooler on my chips. Temps tend to rise with increase workload on them.

My 2 cents...
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Message 1860747 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 15:37:25 UTC

You probably only need 16Mb ram. SETI is not that memory hungry - my computer with three GPUs was very happy when it was running Windows. As Zalster says speed of memory is more import once you get above about 8Gb, also many computers run better with a "nice round" set of RAM (2, 4, 8 modules of the same size & type)
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Message 1860748 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 15:38:23 UTC

U´ll be need a 2xx chipset mainboard , because there is a need of flashing the newest bios to a 1xx chipset mainboard, caused by choosing Kaby Lake CPU.
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Message 1860753 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 15:46:46 UTC - in response to Message 1860747.  

You probably only need 16Mb ram. SETI is not that memory hungry - my computer with three GPUs was very happy when it was running Windows. As Zalster says speed of memory is more import once you get above about 8Gb, also many computers run better with a "nice round" set of RAM (2, 4, 8 modules of the same size & type)

Unless he really does need the 32 GB for the video encoding he says he will use the computer for also. I have no knowledge of whether that is true since I don't do any video editing or encoding. Anyone with direct experience with video editing or encoding want to chime in and educate me?
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Message 1860757 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 16:05:12 UTC
Last modified: 10 Apr 2017, 16:06:37 UTC

U´ll be need a 2xx chipset mainboard , because there is a need of flashing the newest bios to a 1xx chipset mainboard, caused by choosing Kaby Lake CPU.
I guess the company assembling the machine will do this for me in that case - they probably couldn't even test whether it works otherwise?

Unless he really does need the 32 GB for the video encoding he says he will use the computer for also. I have no knowledge of whether that is true since I don't do any video editing or encoding. Anyone with direct experience with video editing or encoding want to chime in and educate me?
32 GB is definetely overkill, but 16 GB might just be barely enough for some of my needs. That's why I thought of 24 GB instead, but I don't know whether using 3 RAM modules instead of 2 or 4 is a good idea.
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Message 1860761 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 16:16:57 UTC
Last modified: 10 Apr 2017, 16:18:16 UTC

As far as i know, Kabeylake (socket 1151) don't use quadchannel, so 2 times 16 gigabyte would be great i think. Watch in this case the comaptibility list of your mainboard.
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Message 1860763 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 16:22:58 UTC - in response to Message 1860757.  

U´ll be need a 2xx chipset mainboard , because there is a need of flashing the newest bios to a 1xx chipset mainboard, caused by choosing Kaby Lake CPU.
I guess the company assembling the machine will do this for me in that case - they probably couldn't even test whether it works otherwise?

Unless he really does need the 32 GB for the video encoding he says he will use the computer for also. I have no knowledge of whether that is true since I don't do any video editing or encoding. Anyone with direct experience with video editing or encoding want to chime in and educate me?
32 GB is definetely overkill, but 16 GB might just be barely enough for some of my needs. That's why I thought of 24 GB instead, but I don't know whether using 3 RAM modules instead of 2 or 4 is a good idea.


. . My basic rule is to take advantage of the dual channel memory access the mobo provides so go in pairs, 2 or 4 but not 3.

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Message 1860766 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 16:42:56 UTC
Last modified: 10 Apr 2017, 16:43:19 UTC

OK, so I did a little research on dual channel RAM and it seems that one way to get a viable 24 GB solution would be:

2 of these: (2 x 8 GB)
https://playit.de/crucial-ballistix-sport-lt-udimm-8gb-ddr4-2400-cl16.html

and this dual channel kit (2 x 4 GB):
https://www.cyberport.at/form/?DEEP=2410-16U&APID=294&STOREID=7

If installed correctly (12 GB in one channel and 12 GB in the other), this should give full speed across all of the 24 GB, right?
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Message 1860768 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 17:26:38 UTC - in response to Message 1860766.  

You want to use the same RAM and amount in all the slots. So either you go with 2 or 4 sticks of 8 GB (ie 16 or 32) or you go with 2 or 4 sticks of 4GB(8 or 16 GB)
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Message 1860770 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 17:38:21 UTC - in response to Message 1860766.  

OK, so I did a little research on dual channel RAM and it seems that one way to get a viable 24 GB solution would be:

2 of these: (2 x 8 GB)
https://playit.de/crucial-ballistix-sport-lt-udimm-8gb-ddr4-2400-cl16.html

and this dual channel kit (2 x 4 GB):
https://www.cyberport.at/form/?DEEP=2410-16U&APID=294&STOREID=7

If installed correctly (12 GB in one channel and 12 GB in the other), this should give full speed across all of the 24 GB, right?

The math would work out as 16 Gb in one channel and 8Gb in the other channel. Still it is never a good idea to mix memory capacities. All the same type in either one channel, dual channel or quad channel. Since Kaby Lake is dual channel only, either go with two sticks or 4 sticks of the same memory density. That means 2 X 16 GB sticks or 4 x 8 GB sitcks for 32 GB total. Or just go for a total of 16GB. I have never been able to figure out just why anyone needs 32 GB of memory unless it is a server class machine and that would be on the low end of memory. I have no familiarity with any typical desktop or productivity applications that use that much memory. BOINC normally uses less than 2 GB of memory. I believe the recommended minimum for Windows is 4 GB and at least 8 GB preferred. 16 GB seems to be the common capacity for Windows of any modern flavor.
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Message 1860774 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 17:44:21 UTC - in response to Message 1860770.  


I have never been able to figure out just why anyone needs 32 GB of memory unless it is a server class machine and that would be on the low end of memory.


Actually I've had a system where I used up all the free memory (16 GB) watching it on SIV64X and then had a Neg value just before it crashed {but this was on a high end machine running multiple work units on a GPU} so I upgraded it to 32 GB and haven't had an issue since then. I only mention it as Keith asked a question and I thought to respond to it. But for this build, I think 16 GB would be fine. He could do 2 sticks of 8GB and if he finds in the future your processing for work needs more he can add 2 more sticks of 8 GB later
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Message 1860780 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 19:07:21 UTC - in response to Message 1860774.  

He could do 2 sticks of 8GB and if he finds in the future your processing for work needs more he can add 2 more sticks of 8 GB later


After reading through all your replies, I think that's what I'll do. If I really need it, I can add more RAM at any time.
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Message 1860785 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 19:30:21 UTC

As far as I can see, the motherboard has only one 1x PCIE-slot that runs at x16 ?
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Message 1860787 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 19:43:53 UTC - in response to Message 1860785.  

As far as I can see, the motherboard has only one 1x PCIE-slot that runs at x16 ?

Yes, and another one at x4. According to a graph in this article, there is no substantial downside to running a GTX 680 in a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/386054-33-would-pcie-slot-bottleneck
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Message 1860789 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 20:00:49 UTC - in response to Message 1860787.  

Yes, and another one at x4. According to a graph in this article, there is no substantial downside to running a GTX 680 in a PCIe 3.0 x4 slot:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/386054-33-would-pcie-slot-bottleneck

When it comes to crunching, 5% becomes 'substantial over time. A more modern mobo with 2x PCIe x16 slots wouldn't mean all that much $$$ in the greater scheme of your build, imho.
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Message 1860792 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 20:10:30 UTC - in response to Message 1860789.  

When it comes to crunching, 5% becomes 'substantial over time. A more modern mobo with 2x PCIe x16 slots wouldn't mean all that much $$$ in the greater scheme of your build, imho.

True, but in the end I don't expect my GTX 680 to last very long anyway, and I won't replace it when it finally fails. However, it has proven remarkably reliable - it has outlived 4 (!) GTX 560 Tis and now also my GTX 660.
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Message 1860796 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 21:00:20 UTC - in response to Message 1860774.  


I have never been able to figure out just why anyone needs 32 GB of memory unless it is a server class machine and that would be on the low end of memory.


Actually I've had a system where I used up all the free memory (16 GB) watching it on SIV64X and then had a Neg value just before it crashed {but this was on a high end machine running multiple work units on a GPU} so I upgraded it to 32 GB and haven't had an issue since then. I only mention it as Keith asked a question and I thought to respond to it. But for this build, I think 16 GB would be fine. He could do 2 sticks of 8GB and if he finds in the future your processing for work needs more he can add 2 more sticks of 8 GB later

Zalster was that with Einstein GPU tasks? I know that you have been crunching heavily for that project lately. I only have at maximum 4 Einstein GPU tasks running when SETI is out of work and I haven't seen my RAM usage go beyond 6.6 GB so far. That is what is currently running right now. I have 16 GB in all my machines and have never seen a need for more so far. I was wondering just what one has to run to gobble up that much memory. I've heard you can do it with video editing or encoding. Something about using RAM for a scratch file or something but I have no direct experience with any of those apps.
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Message 1860819 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 22:36:05 UTC - in response to Message 1860796.  

Keith,

Actually that was here when that happen. I was testing the different commandlines when I tried to see what I could get away with in regards to the -sbs values. I had ramped up the values to 2048 you had recommended and I think I was running 3 per GPU at the time. (But remember I have 4 cards per machine so 12 total) Can't remember but I do remember seeing Neg Physical Ram in SIV64X with at the time. I remember thinking, I've never ever seen that before. Then it crashed. And it wasn't BLC work units that did it, it was the Arecibo ones. Too weird. I repeated it a couple of more times with different WU and did it like 5 times so I figured, enough was enough. I cut down that value and cut back the work units and it's been fine since. Apologies to the OP for stealing this thread.
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Message 1860843 - Posted: 10 Apr 2017, 23:43:35 UTC - in response to Message 1860819.  

Yes, I too apologize for stealing the thread. I have only run two tasks per card so only about 4.6 GB max memory usage on each card so far. Only two GPUs in each system. Things might be changing in the future on the Ryzen system since it has enough cores to support more than two tasks per card now. I could do 3 tasks per card if I go ahead and upgrade the 970's to 1070's to match the other systems.
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