Workstation Build

Myth

Member
Feb 27, 2018
148
7
18
Los Angeles
Hey Guys,

I'm working on a high end workstation build (think $20,000ish) with on board storage. We are happy with the threadripper (TR4)CPU performance for rendering video, but not happy about only having 4 PCIe slots on the motherboard. So we aren't happy with the current "gaming" motherboards which TR4 supports.

We need 5 FULL PCIe slots on the motherboard, two for GPUs, one for Kona 4 card, One for Fiber Channel HBA, and other for RAID Controller card. So really we need 5 slots but we need them to run at x8 for the HBA,RAID CARD, and Kona Card then x16 for the two GPUs. The threadripper board only has 4 PCIe slots running at full speeds. It does have a single x1 slot which is useless. We even went so far as to convert a m.2 slot into a x4 PCIe lane for the RAID controller card, but it's buggy.

Anyways, I've found a nice workstation motherboard with 6 or 7 PCIe slots all of them by 16 or x8 which is great. I'm wondering if anyone has compared the Threadripper VS the Xeon Workstation Class CPUs. They are more expensive than the Threadripper, but if say the Xeon W-2145 is equal to the ThreadRipper 1950x in terms of render speed, I'd be happy to pay the $300 or $400 more for the nicer CPU since we can get all PCIe Slots on the ASUS WS-C422 Board (see link below)

WS C422 SAGE/10G | Servers & Workstations | ASUS USA

Additionally, does anyone know if I can get an i9 CPU to run on the board above? I see the i9 and the Xexon W-2145 are both the same physical chipset (LGA 2066), but that there is a different x99 vs C422 motherboard chipsets which I'm not sure will be compatible with the workstation board.

Again, let me rephrase. I'm trying to fit an i9 processor into the asus workstation motherboard. I want to do this because it has a higher clock speed, more cores, and less cost than the Xeon workstaion CPUs, but I don't know if the i9 will work in that motherboard. But I'm asking because both the i9 and the Asus Mobo support Socket LGA2066, however on the ASUS workstation website, it specifically says it's designed for the Workstation Xeon processors.

Anyways, let me know what you guys think! Thanks.
 

Bernhard Neuhauser

New Member
Aug 16, 2018
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Usually it would go like:
  • reliability first (ECC, up to 512GB RAM, IPMI): C422 + Xeon W 21xx
  • performance first, cheaper (non-ECC, max 128GB RAM, no IPMI): X299 + i9-79xx
This is also the reason, why they say that the C422 board is made for Xeons. You will lose the ability to use ECC RAM and also subtle features like some hardware raid options. The reason why overclocking features are usually missing in xeon boards: it contradicts the reliability requirement.

In case of the X299: maybe this is a better fit for the i9? https://www.asus.com/de/Motherboards/WS-X299-SAGE/

In theory, there should ba a cpu compatibility list on asus website, but to be honest i am unable to find it. Worst case contact their support. In theory, c422 boards should also work with i9, but it seems like several manufacturers are really sparse with their cpu compatibility list.
 

matthelm

New Member
Sep 19, 2013
11
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Chicago, IL
Myth,
If I'm reading the WS C422 ... datasheet right, the best you can do is either 4 x16 slots, or 1 x16 slot and 6 x8 slots. You can't get 2 x16 and 3 x8.
 

Kupaloid

New Member
Mar 16, 2018
18
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They will require a new chipset, the C422 chipset, and despite the common LGA2066 socket, the Xeon-W will not work with the consumer X299 chipset (reaffirming the split we see with the E3-1200 v5/v6 series which require the C236 chipset and will not work with the Z170 chipset).
Intel Launches Xeon-W CPUs for Workstations: Skylake-SP & ECC for LGA2066

I would assume it won't work the other way around as well.

*E3 v5 did have modified BIOS that allows you to use Xeon on consumer motherboards. It's entirely possible that C422 chipset motherboard has the same exploit, though I would not recommend it.
 
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Myth

Member
Feb 27, 2018
148
7
18
Los Angeles
Myth,
If I'm reading the WS C422 ... datasheet right, the best you can do is either 4 x16 slots, or 1 x16 slot and 6 x8 slots. You can't get 2 x16 and 3 x8.
But I think I can, because the number of PCIe lanes is the same. 4x16 = 64 2x16 +3x8 = 56

Edit: Actually there is a chart in the motherboard manual.On page 1-8. It looks like if you have two x16 video cards then there will be only two other x16 slots availabe.... wtf is that shit. Can this be true?

@Bernhard Neuhauser The motherboard you linked is all in German. I can't understand it. Oh nevermind I found it. Yest it's the same slot configuration but it supports the x299 chipset.

Does anyone know of a threadripper board with more than 4 slots?
 
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