New build (and the story behind it)
It's been established that I don't like to do a standard single CPU/GPU build because that's boring. The down side is that sometimes it's hard to find parts at a reasonable-ish cost. My now previous configuration, an i7-2600K, Gigabyte G1.Sniper 3, 3xR9 290, 32GB DDR3-1866 setup developed an issue... More specifically, the motherboard did - it refused to display video during POST or boot unless all GPUs were removed and the 2600K's GPU was used. Since the motherboard was just barely within its 3-year warranty, Gigabyte had me send it to them for service. A couple weeks later they got back to me with the bad news: the board is bad and they would be unable to repair or replace it with anything comparable. Instead, they offered to refund the full purchase price, shipping included. No complaints on that front, but it left me without options to use the rest of the system in its desired setup since there weren't really any Z77 boards available that support three GPUs plus a RAID card. Fortunately I have an AMD FX-8150 and Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 board that can do just that, so in it went. All was good until I started firing up virtual machines...then it wasn't so good. No big deal, virtualization works well on my laptop. Then I started doing some x265 transcoding and realized this wasn't going to cut it anymore.
Then I started looking for a new setup.
I've toyed with the idea of moving to an LGA-2011 setup for a while now. It would actually cost less for my requirements than a Skylake setup. While searching for a motherboard, I stumbled across something that was completely unexpected: many (if not most) non-server LGA-2011 boards would support Xeon E5 CPUs. And then I looked at Anandtech's Bench comparison of the 2600K and some of the more ridiculous Xeons. And then I looked on eBay...
Now for the fun part...the new system specs:
Motherboard: EVGA X99 Classified
CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2695v3 (14C/28T, 2.3GHz)
RAM: 64GB (4x16GB) G.SKILL DDR4-2400
GPU: 3xRadeon R9 290
Storage: 256GB SSD (OS), 12x3TB RAID-6 array
I'm also in the process of moving from flexible to rigid tubing for the water cooling system for a more clean look.
Some fun facts:
- Even though the i7-2600K is clocked 1.1GHz faster, in single-threaded benchmarks that Xeon is only marginally slower. Multi-threaded applications that I use every day (virtualization, video transcoding) heavily favor the Xeon.
- There seems to be a very poor market for used server CPUs.