Hardware Selection

For some unknown reasons and motivation, I started to seek some ‘very cheap’ second-hand hardware on Taobao.

Or to say, the reasons are not so vague. My friend is recently setting up his own NAS from cheap hardware, maybe I was inspired by him. And in aspects of our(my dormitory) demands, I need a platform to do high load computing and profiling, my roommate needs a platform to train his dl-model.

However, those are just excused! Just because I want to do something. And I want my personal HPC platform yet. So our destination is to set up an ultra-cheap platform with relatively reasonable performance, at least, higher than my 4800H on the laptop.

I currently have Z170-AR, i7-6700k, GTX 1060 O6G, and a 4T Seagate storage, from 2016, when my parent bought my desktop for me(I had a laptop before). Nowadays, we can buy 6700k in 500yuan. So I decided to upgrade ‘a little bit’. After a long time of filtering, I chose E5-2683 V4, which has a relatively modern architecture. E5 V2 series are cheap, and their motherboards are easy to find, I can even put two together to get an exaggerated number of cores. However, DDR3 is too backward in technology.

V3, V4 required an LGA2011-3 socket, which can adapt mostly X99 and C612 series. Both of them made by mainstream manufacture are relatively expensive to buy(I even spend more on the motherboard than CPU). And since V4 is modern, I finally chose the 16C32T E5-2683 V4, which is enough for me. It’s a little regrettable that I do not choose a two-way CPU considering I need to spend an extra 2000yuan to upgrade. However, 32C64T is so appetizing :(

I chose X99-A from Asus finally, which has a reasonable price of 1100yuan. And I let my father send the GTX 1060 from home to me, which equips us with CUDA and OptiX. Although it is not worthy to use this graphics card in our ‘HPC Platform’. But it saves us 3000yuan, that’s enough.

This is my configuration:

Type ID Price
CPU E5-2683 V4 861
GPU GTX 1060 null
Motherboard Asus X99-A 1111
Memory Micron 32G(to be extended) 480
Chassis CoolerMaster Q500L 259
Radiator CoolerMater T400Pro 179
SSD ??? 512G null
HDD Segate BarraCuda 4T null
Power source Great Wall 600w V6 469
Extra 100
Sum   3459

Oh, the price looks great.

Well, there’s some accident from then on, thus I haven’t update for such a long time.

When I received that motherboard, I found that it’s not compatible with the ECC Memory, which I did not carefully check, since Asus X99-WS is compatible with ECC Memory. And the motherboard is too old to have AURA.

I was a little upset then, thus I went to Taobao to search for 3700X, only to find that I just need to append 500yuan or so, and I can upgrade it to a much newer model.

The problem is, motherboard for E5 CPU(and most server sockets) is too expensive than the common gaming motherboard, I bought my brand-new X570 TUF-Gamming later, which only costs me 300yuan more. Which have a rather powerful power supply, Bluetooth and WIFI support, and AURA support.

Luckily, I bought a powerful enough 600w power source, if I want to switch to another CPU model, I don’t need to buy the power source again. I returned the purchase later, the procedure is good, except when I contact the CPU seller, he told me that he could refund me 100 if I cancels returning it, which surprised me a little.

After struggling for a day, I decided to empty my pocket, buying 5900X + X570. Well, It seems that it’s a little bit off the original destination… whatever!

Then I took the two fans off the original CoolerMaster as decoration(so I have five fans in the chassis) and bought a water cooling for my 5900X.

The installation process is a bit tough since the chassis is small, I could just have two 120mm cooling fans. And the power source is just to the right of the motherboard. (So I meet a lot of problems that the wire is not long enough).

Except for a little disappointment after I find that this 1060 is not even powerful as my 1660Ti on the laptop, and it could not even run my CUDA program when the threadsPerBlock is greater than 1.

There’s a lot to modify on BIOS, I simply change some basic settings(the overlocking constitution for the two 16G RAM are not good).

I’m planning to buy a 3080 level graphics card.. when I have money :(

System MaintenanceMigration

Thanks to dd, and btrfs, the migration is quite easy. I just dd the part from my laptop to the new SSD, btrfstune -u to change the UUID, modify fstab a little, finally btrfs filesystem resize. After a little modification to output settings, in less than half an hour, I had my new computer work!