To support my children's creative interests, I built a 12 core Xeon super small budget system for Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop. As this is a home build for the living room, I wanted something low cost, small, with some room for expansion. This is phase 2 of a build with 4 or 5 phases.
Improve on my kids' video editing experience. Upgrade their current system which is built around a 4790K i7 overclocked, watercooled, SATA SSD, and 16GB of RAM. They're running into limitations with HD and 4K video editing as they develop skills with special effects and VR/AR 360 video editing.
- ITX or MicroATX form factor with with max dimension of 12" on a side, the smaller the better.
- low noise, close to silent
- start with 32GB of memory and expandable to 64GB of memory
- start with SSD main drive, mechanical bulk storage drive and future upgrade path to M.2 PCI-Express 3.0
- start with GTX 950 and upgrade path to GTX 1060
- 2011-v3 or 1151 socket, nothing older (and thus DDR4 is also a requirement)
I like the Silverstone Sugo SG13B for the small size. I would prefer a higher build quality with thicker metal and a window, but alternatives like the Thermaltake Core v1 and Corsair Obsidian 250D were too big for my taste. I have two pictures of the SG13B compared to the Thermaltake Core v1, which I use for my test build. The Themaltake is easier to build in, has a nice window, and is cleaner. However, it's huge. I like the SG13B overall because the form factor is wonderful. I also looked at the Coolermaster Elite 110, but the graphic card length is limited to 210mm and the build quality is about the same. I spent a long time thinking about the Silverstone Sugo SG10 with a MicroATX board, which would give me more memory expansion. However, it's double the volume and I think a limit of 64GB RAM with my current ITX board is ok for the next few years. The NCase m1 was too expensive and bigger than the Sugo SG13B.
With an SFX power supply, I have space for at least 4 2.5" SSD or 2.5" HD disks in the case. I think I can fit 5. I am using the power supply bracket as a SSD bracket with sticky tape.
As this is a computer for children and creative hobbies, my daughter modded the case with a hot glue gun and sticker pack. I think there will be more mods to come.
I'm hoping the Xeon E5-2658 v3 12 core CPU will perform better than the current 4790K overclocked 4 core CPU for video rendering and Photoshop editing. Benchmarks with Cinebench indicate significantly higher performance compared to the 4790K (not overclocked) in multi-core rendering. I'll be satisfied if it gets a 20% boost over the 4790K in it's current overclocked and watercooled state. The cheaper 12 CPU with slower per-core clocks is getting similar multi-core rendering performance to a more expensive enthusiast class 5820K or a i7 6800K 6 core. With the 2011-v3 socket, I can also upgrade the CPU later if the CPU shows sluggish performance. Cinebench scores do not indicate any advantage of the low-end enthusiast class 6 core CPUs 5820K or 6800K over the E5-2658 For the money, the Xeon 2658 CPU is a great value. I recommend it.
Cinebench Scores 1361 cb
- Xeon E5-2658 12 core at 2.3 GHz: 1350 cb (this is my CPU, my own benchmark)
- i7 6800K 6 core overclocked at 4.5 GHz: 1361 cb
- i7 6800K 6 core stock 3.4 GHz: 1096 cb
- i7 4790K: 840 cb
- i5 6600K overclocked @ 4.5 GHz: 702 cb
- i5 2500K: 492cb
- i7 laptop dual-core 5500u @ 2.4Ghz: 274 cb
Blenchmark Render 108 seconds
Comparison Blenchmark scores from their site.
- Xeon 2658 12 core: 108 seconds (this is my CPU, my own benchmark)
- 4790K @ 4 Ghz (overclocked) takes 147 seconds
- i5 6600 is 215 seconds
- E5 2695 v3 14 core 2.5Ghz boost: $308
- 6900K 8 core, 3.2 GHz overclockable to 4.2Ghz: $1100
I originally purchased a CoolerMaster Seidon 120v for watercooling. The pump didn't work. I reverted back to the stock air cooler that came with the motherboard. The system runs almost completely silently when not under load. BIOS settings for the CPU fan speed are as follows:
- 57c = 20%
- 63c = 30%
- 70c = 50%
- 75c = 70%
- 80c = critical temperature
The Dynatron air cooler will not fit with an ATX power supply. I am using an SFX power supply and there's a no problem with clearance. People have commented that the Dynatron is too loud, but it's silent on my system unless the system is under heavy load. I'll need to upgrade the CPU cooler if I upgrade my CPU to something that can be overclocked.
The case fan speeds are more aggressive.
I researched the performance penalties for my applications by not going to quad channel. The performance hit is negligible. I decided to go with 32GB ECC registered memory sticks as the ITX board only has two memory slots. Right now, there is only one stick, which I hope to upgrade to two sticks of 32GB in the future.
The SFX power supply is more expensive, but I think it was worth the extra money. I opted for the Corsair SF 600 instead of the Silverstone, though I think they are probably equivalent. I originally had a Thermaltake 600w ATX power supply in my build, but it was too loud. The Corsair SF 600 is great. I could have gone with the 450w, but I bought the higher power one in case I upgrade the system for overclocking in the future. The power supply is one of the best components of the build. It's a bit expensive for a 600W power supply, but it has a quality feel to it and is probably the best SFX power supply on the market. I have nothing against the Silverstone SFX power supply, but the Corsairs I've bought have all been great.
I wanted to put a M.2 PCI 3.0 SSD in to the system, but I downgraded to the 1TB Mushkin SSD to save money. I'm using the 2TB Seagate as archive. The 3rd Patriot SSD is for test programs so I don't mess up the main OS. I can easily mount 5 or 6 drives total in the system. The bracket next to the power supply can hold an additional SSD, the m.2 slot is empty now, and there's another 2.5" mounting point on the bottom of the case.
The board supports 64Gb memory and in general just kicks-***. I like the M.2 PCI Express module for Gen3x4 (32 Gb/s) storage and will probably use that in the future. I'll feel bitchin when I do use it. Honestly though, I'm not sure if I need kick-***. The board is overkill and seems like it's on the cutting edge. For an ITX, it'll have every feature you'd want and probably more. Do I really need the SATA Express 10 Gb/s connector? Are there any reasonably-priced disks that actually use this? Do I really need eSATA? on an ITX board when it has USB 3.1? Am I going to use both Ethernet ports? If there was something cheaper in the $150 range with less features, I would have bought that. There's not much choice out there for a 2011-v3 ITX motherboard. Buy this one and you'll feel like you got a Ferrari in your garage.
Planned upgrades in order of priority
- 64GB memory with additional 32GB DDR4 Crucial Memory module. Each stick is 32GB ECC registered
- SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) to replace slower SATA SSD
- GTX 1060 graphics card to replace GTX 950, though the graphics card does not impact rendering times that much in my usage. The GTX 950 is good enough. I'll only need to upgrade to play with a VR headset, which is not needed, but might be fun in the future. Our videos come from a 360 camera, not from games.
I've been using Blender more and have decided to migrate to a 6800K and overclock it.
My first attempt will be with the ARTIC Liquid Freezer 120. I'm going to try and use an Asetek Liquid Cooler Intel 2011 Narrow Retention Ring Kit to get a good mount of the ARTIC cooler to the 6800K CPU.
For the money, this CPU is an awesome deal. It runs cool and is stable. For everyday use, the per clock core speed is lower and you won't notice any improvement is some tasks. Some tasks may even appear to be slower. It's awesome for video rendering, which is what I got it for. I would place it between the 6700K and the 6800K for video editing. If you got the cash, the 6800K (6 core) would be slightly better. If you really have cash, then the 6900K (8 core) will be considerably better. However, for a budget build, the 12 core 2658 is great.
My other systems:
- 4790K overclocked for video editing
- i5 2500K overclocked with 32Gb DDR3 for web browser, email
- Pentium G3258 heavily overclocked for Linux development
- i7 5500u dual-core in laptop for client meetings
See my system build, Rainbow Unicorn, for benchmark info.
If you already have a 6700K, no need to upgrade to the Xeon 2658. However, if you haven't decided on your CPU yet, the Xeon 12 core is a solid choice. If you're using an ATX form factor, consider getting a dual-CPU motherboard for potentially expanding to 24 physical cores in the future. It's a ton of fun to use.
I have a small 3% overclock on the Xeon by adjusting the base clock up and it's stable.
Great case for the price.