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Ryzen Threadripper 2 2950x High-End Workstation Solver Build

Ryzen Threadripper 2 2950x High-End Workstation Solver Build

Building off of our previous Threadripper build post, here is an updated build for AMD’s Threadripper platform, with one of their newly released Threadripper 2 CPUs. Threadripper 2 brings peformance gains of around 10% to the platform over previous generation equivalents. Additionally, this build will feature some new parts additions due to advancements by other manufacturers now that they are more familiar with the platform, and also based on feedback we’ve received on the original build. Due to fluctation in prices, we have not listed the individual prices of the parts, however at the time of writing the estimated cost of this build is approximately 3,500 USD.

Let’s jump right in and go over the parts in question.

CPU:

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950x

The heart of this build, now with Zen+ microarchitecture, 16 cores and 32 threads. This chip features a slightly higher base clock of 3.5 GHz, with a significantly higher boost clock of 4.4 GHz compared to the previous generation 1950x.

AMD also recently announced and released some higher core count Threadripper 2 CPUs, namely the 2970x (announced) and 2990wx (released) with 24 and 32 cores respectively. We reviewed those CPUs as options, however we were not impressed by the benchmarks over the 2950x for the 2990wx 32 core part, as it either performs similarly or worse in a lot of workloads. This is partially due to the architecture used by AMD that enables them to put 32 cores on a single CPU die. For our target workload, which will be primarily Monkersolver for readers of this blog, this is likely to carry over, as Monkersolver prefers faster cores that interface well with each other. This is the case with the 2950x over the 2990wx. Also, at the time of writing, the 2950x costs half of what the 2990wx costs.

CPU Cooler:

Enermax – Liqtech TR4 II 360

All-in-one liquid cooler with  500+ watts of cooling capacity to ensure sustained low temperatures. This is useful to ensure both the sustained usability of your CPU, as well as to give you the option to overclock your CPU. There were some quality issues with the first generation of these AIO coolers, so be sure that you are purchasing the TR4 II part.

Motherboard:

Gigabyte – X399 AORUS XTREME

This is a change over our previous Gigabyte – X399 DESIGNARE EX selection for our 1950x build. The X399 Aorus Xtreme comes with some better out of the box cooling for the motherboard’s VRMs (voltage regulator module), to better support AMD’s 2nd generation of Threadripper CPUs that can have higher power demands than the previous generation of CPUs. This motherboard also has an extensive feature set, including built-in WIFI.

Memory (RAM):

Crucial DDR4-2666 ECC RAM

Here is another change over our previous Threadripper build. The X399 Aorus Xtreme officially supports ECC RAM and so we have changed our RAM selection to a supported ECC module. ECC stands for error correcting ram and is preferred for sustained workstation workloads. You will want to purchase 8 of these modules by Crucial, for a total of 128 GB RAM, which is the maximum that is currently supported on the Gigabyte X399 AORUS Xtreme and also generally on this platform.

Storage:

Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB

Typically solvers will not actively be reading and writing from the hard drive, so this isn’t a bottleneck in our system. Regardless, we would recommend using an SSD to reduce load and save times, which can add up over time. The 970 Pro by Samsung is more than up to this task. If you wanted to, you could purchase multiple of these M.2 drives and run them in a RAID configuration to further improve read and write speeds.

Seagate Firecuda 2 TB SSHD

For storage of solves, you will want to use a separate drive. First of all, you don’t want to run your primary SSD at maximum capacity, so that you can ensure sustained, high, read-write performance. Additionally, 500GBs can fill up relatively quickly, and you will likely need additional storage somewhere down the line anyway. Again, scale as needed and according to your requirements.

Video Card:

MSI GeForce GT 1030

An upgrade over our previous build. We wanted to make sure that the graphics card could comfortably output to two 4k monitors without needing additional adaptors. This card has both a DP and HDMI output, so this is not an issue.

Case:

Fractal Design – Define R6 Black

This case has been shown to work well with this hardware configuration, both in terms of completing the build, as well as providing adequate airflow.

PSU (Power Supply Unit):

EVGA SuperNOVA G3 750W

Essentially the same, fully modular PSU as in our previous build, but in it’s latest revision.

 

We hope this guide was useful to you. Please leave any questions or feedback in the comments below, and subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in the future.

Resources:

https://www.anandtech.com/show/13124/the-amd-threadripper-2990wx-and-2950x-review

Note on overclocking:

Based on feedback from a reader of our blog, we should point out that if you decide to overclock your CPU, you will void the warranty of your CPU. Furthermore overclocking can damage your CPU and other parts in your computer if done incorrectly. Overclocking is a trade-off between risk to your hardware (both immediate and long-term) and the time you save by decreasing computation time and getting more work done in less time. In this article we are not saying that you must overclock, but simply that this configuration enables you to do so effectively should you chose to do so.

Disclaimer: Solveoptimized may receive a commission if you purchase any of the above listed items using the links we’ve provided.

 

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. You have made a grave mistake in stating that Threadrippers higher than 2950x under-perform. They kill it on Linux version of the same benchmarks they perform poorly on in Windows ( because Windows has a bug in their Kernel that schedules threads wrongly. Don’t believe me? Check out Level1techs Youtube videos that prove it. AMD is wrongly being accused of a poor mesh memory design when it is really Microsoft’s problem.

    1. Thank you for your comment TrashPanda. It’s nice to see a fellow fan of Level1techs :). I’m sure Wendell’s results are reliable, however at the time our article was written, the benchmarks were accurate and we did link to them in the “Resources” section of the article. I believe most of Wendell’s testing followed in the months after those initial results.

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