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New Rig Time Approaches

edited December 2015 in General
So I'm running a relatively old i7-950 rig with 6G of ram and a 128G SSD, with two shit Dell monitors on an 660Ti video card. Video card excluded, my rig is approaching six years old and I'm starting to feel it's age. It's held up quite well, all considered.

I've been considering my new build quite carefully. I really wish 4k was more common at this stage, but I think I'm stuck at 2K if I want quality without spending $1000+ a monitor. I'd be curious to get some feedback on this build - I haven't locked on specifics yet, but worth the discussion in any case.

- i7-6700k / Skylake 14nm 4Ghz 4 core
- 16G DDR4
- NVMe based SSD, possibly M.2 based, probably ~512G
- nVidia 980ti, probably
- Dual 2K 144Hz monitors, TBD.

This won't be a cheap build, I know, but I do this very rarely and I want a long term build.

- Skylake, while new and not much better than the 5930k, is 14nm and will provide forward compatibility if I want to do a chip-only upgrade in the future. I'm still on the fence here, but single core perf seems more beneficial than extra cores.
- I'll reuse my existing case. It's quiet as hell, which is one of my primary concerns.
- I want something capable of driving an Oculus Rift or other VR solution
- I _might_ overclock. I've never been big on this, but some of the water cooling solutions out there are pretty cheap and safe these days.
- I'm big on dual monitors. If I wanted to run dual 4k, I'd probably have to go SLI or Titan. I'm curious what people think of the Titan cards vs. the 980ti cards.
- Mostly gaming and casual use - maybe some VMs for work.
- I'll probably go Win10 and block the callback functions at my network edge.


  • Explain more about the callbacks you want to block? How bad are they?

    The build looks good to me though you haven't gone into many details like mobo selection.

    I'm calling in Incomer who loves this sort of stuff. Expect an essay from him. :)
  • edited December 2015
    I'm big on dual monitors. If I wanted to run dual 4k, I'd probably have to go SLI or Titan. I'm curious what people think of the Titan cards vs. the 980ti cards.
    WARNING: You are very likely to roll your eyes at this stuff. I can see you doing it already.

    If you are considering SLI or Crossfire, you might want to think about going to an X99 chipset board. The 6700K only has 16 PCIe lanes (on the CPU) total. This is totally fine for two cards (there is virtually no penalty for running at x8 3.0 vs. x16 3.0 (see here for the cards I use, I imagine it'd be similar for NV cards). Of course, this assumes that this is all that you're using your PCIe slots for. Your NVMe-based disk on an M.2 slot will use 4x PCIe lanes, but these will 'chipset' PCIe lanes, and not impact the bandwidth available to your GPUs.

    However, if you install any other PCIe cards in your system you will drop (at least) one of your cards to x4, and probably start to notice the effect. This will become more true as you upgrade your video cards and the bandwidth use becomes more significant. I know you're probably thinking that you'll never need to install other cards, but in your specific case I can easily see you wanting to put a 10 Gbps network card in your system, or some crazy PCIe SSD or RAID controller.

    Just something to keep in mind.

    The 980Ti should be fine for Oculus use. Certainly SLI 980Tis will be. The 980Ti will probably also be fine for 1080p or 1440p gaming, but it really depends on what you're trying to do.

    Basically, everyone's use case is totally different. Some people super-duper care about 144 fps at 1080p for their twitch gaming. Other people live and die by smooth apparent framerates at all times, and go for GSync or FreeSync monitors. Some people love the ultra-widescreen thing. GIF uses a 4K monitor, driven by a Titan X, wanting big prettiness at playable framerates. That configuration is a slam dunk for him. I use three monitors in a mixed-resolution, mixed-orientation Eyefinity configuration, and NVidia doesn't support it. R9 Fury X cards are a slam dunk for me.

    I would take any advice that you get about the 980Ti vs. Titan X or any AMD cards with a grain of salt. There is more than enough data to decide for yourself. Pick out your desired display configuration, then decide on what kinds of games you're likely to play. Head over to any benchmarking site (TechPowerUp has great summaries for comparing cards, for example here) to compare the performance of the cards you're looking at, at the resolution you want, in the games you're likely to play. You can basically predict your framerate for your specific config. Review sites are insanely thorough these days. It's fucking great.

    TL;DR: Figure out your displays. Then figure out everything else based on that.

  • Just any FYI - One Titan X can barely run current gen games (Witcher3 GTAV, Dirt Rally) at 3840x2160 - lot's of tweaking involved to get a smooth frame rate, but once you do, it's gorgeous.

    But ya, Xocet is right, pick the displays you want to use and build around that, because different things will work better for what you want.
  • i can has .... laptop

    I'm clearly so massivly out of date on EVERYTHING here....

    it would run DOD though, right?

  • Since I am in the same boat as you, here are my thoughts. Xo hit a lot of good points so I apologize if I repeat his points.

    As mentioned above I think its better if you start from the displays. I'm currently running a 2K display powered by a GTX980 with a 3770K cpu. This will do while VR launches.

    The goal of the new build is to move up to a 4K Curved display something like the acer (Acer Predator X34, still deciding on the make/model) and VR. Since VR is not officially out I think I will be waiting for Q1 2016. I also want the rig to be able to grow and support additional monitors(more curved 4K).


    The consumer 1151 (Skylake) is perfect and in the past I have stayed on the consumer side as price/performance was great. Again as said above the E platform starts coming into its own with Multiple video cards and NVMe Storage. Since my next build will have NVMe storage and multiple video cards the x99 platform is currently winning.

    A note on the E platform. According to the intel roadmap, Broadwell-E Refresh is set to launch in Q1 of 2016.

    The good news here is it uses the same x99 platform currently available.

    For Video cards I am thinking of 980ti's and the extra funds can be put into other items. If I can get the performance from the 980ti's to support my single 4K Gsync and VR it will be the winner. Focusing my efforts on the x99 platform and Broadwell-E chip to support my storage and future video card changes.

    Ultimately choosing 980ti vs Titans will not matter as both do not support Triple 4K monitors and will be replaced when and if I get additional monitors. see triple 4K and 4 X Titan

    Ram, Storage, Case, Cooling are all simple so not worried about those.

    So if dates hold for Q1 2016 for the Oculus and Broadwell-E launch... I'm guessing I will be building my rig in march or as more details are locked in.
  • Thanks for the feedback - good points.

    Looking at the Acer Predator X34 is certainly tempting, but I'm not sure how I feel about dropping $1600+ on a monitor just yet. They seem to be having supply issues at the moment as well, but it sounds like the second manufacturing run has started and they're expecting more monitors on the market soon. Hopefully that will address the quality control issues that seem to be popping up quite regularly.

    Having to get a pair of 980ti's seems like a lot... my build would be comfortably over $3000 if I went that route. I am pretty surprised that the resolution improvements are so taxing on video cards. I think 4K is out of the running for the short to medium term, but the curved 21:9 monitors are getting great reviews. I think G-Sync is pretty much a requirement though, which limits my options. I'm not really prepared to jump to ATI cards, given the sketchy state of linux support.

    That said, X99 / i7-5920k or 5930k seems to be the immediate route, unless I wait for broadwell-e.

    I'll keep thinking, but may wait for boxing week sales for actual purchasing.

  • edited December 2015
    Explain more about the callbacks you want to block? How bad are they?
    In short, Windows 10 introduced "Telemetry", in which a fairly wide swath of information is returned to Microsoft. This has also been backported to everything Windows 7 and newer and pushed out via updates in the past few months.

    From - this is the high level:

    1. Microsoft creates a unique advertising ID for each user on a device running Windows 10. This can be turned off in the Privacy Settings.
    2. What you say or type may be processed by Microsoft, for instance by the operating system's Cortana service or by providing spelling correction.
    3. Windows supports a location service that allows apps and services, such as Find My Device, to request your location in the world. This can be turned off in the Privacy settings.
    4. Microsoft syncs some Windows settings automatically when you sign in to a Microsoft account. This is done to provide users with a personalized experience across devices. Data that gets synced includes installed apps and their settings, web browser history and favorites, passwords and wireless network names, and addresses of shared printers.
    5. Telemetry data is collected by Microsoft. This includes installed software, configuration data and network and connection data. While some of it can be turned off in the Settings, not all can.
    I'm probably going to do a moderate amount of research on this before I come up with a finalized solution, and my aim will be to do it entirely at my network edge rather than mucking around with windows itself.
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