Description

After 15 years I build myself another PC for practicing Machine Learning/Deep Learning. It looks OK but pretty disappointed in terms of option when it comes to PC Case. Before this machine I was using a 9 year old HP z600 dual E5520, 24 GB Workstation and what a machine that was. I never had to touch any tool to replace any PC component. The scalebilty and build quality of HP Z600 is still unparalleled and my current build unfortunately cannot come close to the ruggedness that machine offered. Why did I buy this machine? Price. Any workstation from HP, Dell , Lenovo with an 7940x starts from 4000 $. See for yourself, an HP workstation with similar specs cost f.... 8700 $

https://www.cdw.com/product/hp-z4-g4-core-i9-7940x-64gb-ram-1tb/5123387

I tried to find a good solid case below 150$ and could not find even one. NZXT H700 was something close to the quality I was looking for. I like its minimalist looks and the air flow. The case routing and fans are also good, but this machine is not built for workstation. I was very used to internal 3.5 hot swap tray of HP and I could not find even one internal 3.5 hot bay. Most of the internal hot bays were kind of an adapters for 2.5 hdd. Therefore had to come up with quickfix solution. I inserted an external 5.25 hotswap bay from Silverstone and it kind of worked but not as smoothly as I like it to be. The tempered glass window is joint by four thumb screws and its a big hassle if you continuously wants to swap things out of case. The other side back window is another story. It is the best feature of this case as you can dislocate that window by just pressing a button behind the case. This was another reason that I placed my hotswap in that window so that swapping of 3.5 HDD remains an easy task.

Also do not understand why there is such a shortage of core i9 7940x. Luckily I got it for below 1000 $ and that was the main intention to build this PC. Now coming to the actual use, I like how the machine works. I am using lubuntu and the PC just flies in most of the task. The main purpose of this machine was MAchine LEarning and I see a jump in performance. The only question is I bought my earlier PC, HP Z600 refurbished at peanuts and for its cost that machine was terrific. I learnt most of the MAchine Learning task on that machine. Its just that when my dataset and features started to become larger that machine was taking inexplicable amount of time. The gridsearch, K-Folds for larger datasets for proving to be a strong challenge and thats when I thought of building this machine.

Anyone on the similar boat who is trying to build a PC for Machine Learning/Deep Learning should buy this kind of CPU if he or she can afford. I also looked upon threadripper 1950x and 2950x but both were lacking when it comes to ML algorithms. 1950x cannot keep up with 7900x and 2950x cannot keep up with 7940x. It seems lot of ML algos. and Linux kernel is still optimized for Intel. Also, you would find lot comments on some blogs saying "CPU does not matter in Deep Learning" Avoid those. CPU does matter. You would certainly do things which cannot be migrated to GPU and for that you would need a strong CPU.

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Comments

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

If you get a case with 5.25" external bays, you can buy hot-swap adapters for multiple 3.5" or 2.5" drives. They'll be accessible from the front, without having to open the chassis. I see you have one inside the case somehow; how did you mount it?

That said, what are you using hot-swap for if you have only 1 drive?

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I second this. Since you're going full air cooling, the Define R6 can handle a 3.5'' hot swap and have proper air cooling with enough intake fans at the front.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

Fractal Design R6 and Cooler Master HAF XB EVO were the other cases that I seriously contemplating buying. I did not like R6 front plastic door at all. It is very flimsy. Also, I wanted a case with good airflow as I had no intention to water cool it and this is were I felt NZXT H700 was little better than R6. The build quality and looks of H700 also were little better than R6, in my opinion. CM HAF XB EVO is a wonderful case. It was a tough decision not to go with it as it had everything I wanted and the way I wanted. The case has the best airflow, it has hot swappable 3.5 HDD bays, it has horizontal layout. The reason I did not went with it was it has not so good wire routing. You just kind of cramp all the bottom section with all the wiring. And second, the space between PSU and the hot swaps is not existent and because of this hot swappable bay are very very poorly ventilated and its a known issues that those bay are known for killing your HDD.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I use hot swaps for using different OS and taking backups. Based on my anecdotal experience, taking a monthly backup is far better strategy then any raid config. I just clone the HDD to another HDD using a HDD clone hardware. For mounting I used a crude solution, obviously not all the screw position lined up with the external bay so it is held up with one screw which actually lined up with the case. But because, in order to dislocate your hdd, you have to physically pull the hdd through a mechanical lever, so it has to be mounted strongly within the case. For this I used strong braided steel wires that go inside the bay screw points in a zig zag manner and then exit through the exit points of the case and at the bottom of the case, I just tied all the loose ends tightly with a plier. It works, the bay does not rattle at all and I can safely pull the hdd out of it. I might go with second 5.25 bay as the bay I used has the capability to stack over itself. This was another reason I choose silverstone since you can mount two bays over each other.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

That might not be a good idea. Internal connectors are not designed for frequent insertion and removal and may wear out. From what I've read, SATA connectors are only required to be rated for 50 mating cycles. The connector in a good-quality hot-swap bay should be more robust, but you may still wear out the connector on the drive.

I'd recommend looking into backing up using online snapshots. It's much more convenient; you won't even have to reboot. On Linux you can do this using LVM, Btrfs, or ZFS; I imagine recent Windows versions something similar.

  • 15 months ago
  • 2 points

I would have to disagree with you there. 50 "mating cycles" sounds absurdly low . It would make the whole idea of hot swappable bays impractical. And I can vouch for its reliability atleast from my previous pc experience. Dont know how many times I have actually inserted/extracted hdd from bays but surely it was far more than 50. Also, both the sata connectors and the hdd which is now more than 9 years old are working flawlessly till this date.

If you buy a quality bay from IcyDock, Silverstone those are actually rated for 50K insertions.

I find hardware cloning better n faster than both raid n software solution but I will look into the LVM, Btrfs, or ZFS solution u suggested. Thanks.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

You're probably right; my concern was more that it's not the typical use case for enterprise hot-swap (replacing failed drives) so I wasn't sure whether the drive-side connector is robust enough.

Online software cloning is obviously going to be slightly slower, but the performance doesn't matter as much since you can keep working while it happens.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

And that is why I dont use Software cloning since it takes atleast some CPU resources. It is for the very reason that I use Lubuntu since I want a very lean and performance oriented machine. I would have used pure CLI but I need GUI for some task. I keep my machine very lean and I love the performance so much so that working on any other OS including Mac is an adjustment. Things like gridsearch and large matrix multiplications can actually squeeze your system to limits.

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

You can't go wrong with either of these cases:

Fractal Design - Define R6 Black ATX Mid Tower Case

Corsair - Air 540 ATX Mid Tower Case

Let me know what you think. (or if you want to even go through the trouble of a case swap)

  • 15 months ago
  • 1 point

I already listed why I did not go with with FD R6. Corsair 540 is also a good case. Infact if you search Machine Learning PC, most of the PC sellers from smaller manufactures who do not have their own case designs actually use Corsair 540 for the kind of PC I built and there is a good reason for that. The case has everything, load of space inside, good airflow and swappable internal bays that I miss so much. I somehow did not like its dimensions and I felt lot of space is actually wasted in this case. There is also a limitation of how long GPU you can mount within this case which is surprising given its dimensions. The build quality is kind of acceptable. In my opinion whatever this case offer is bettered by CM HAF XB EVO. That case is also cube, smaller dimension, excellent airflow, hot swappable bays and horizontal MB layout which this case lacks. CM HAF XB EVO was my other option. But seriously one should see the build quality, space utilization and the tool less design of HP Z600. A design which is now nearly 10 years old and smaller than everything listed in comments. I thought I would be able to find something similar but I could not. This is the only reason I was disappointed. In terms of performance, this build is actually good.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you for posting your great build. I'm thinking of switching to the same CPU cooler. I've got the same CPU. I'm wondering what temps you are seeing when you stress test the CPU?

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Have run lots of grid search and other ML algorithms, the cpu temps were fine.I do not remember the absolute highest temp. that I have got. I use psensor for monitoring cpu temp.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

what speed is your ram running at?

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

2666

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you thought about delidding your 7940x ? The 7940x is currently around the same price as the 9920x but I am worried about delidding if the paste becomes less effective over time

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Nope, I did not delid it. The Noctua is really doing good job and the case comes with three front fans which are good enough. Although I do monitor temps. some time but till now have not see any scenario where delidding would have benefitted. It might help but I really do not want to tinker it right now.

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