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[Build Log] Matte Machine (4U Rackmount)

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New Parts:

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core
Noctua NH-U12A + 2x Noctua NF-F12 Chromax
ASUS AMD AM4 PRO WS X570-ACE ATX Workstation Motherboard
Crucial Ballistix Elite 16GB 2 x 8GB DDR4-3600
Corsair Force Series MP600 2TB Gen4 PCIe X4 NVMe M.2 SSD
Samsung SSD 960 PRO 1TB - NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD
Corsair RM850x 850 Watt 80 Plus Gold ATX Modular Power
Rosewill RSV-R4100-4U Rackmount Server Case

Noctua NF-F12 Chromax (Front Intake)

2x be quiet! Pure Wings 2 80mm PWM
@CableMod C-Series RMi/RMx Basic Cable Kit

Existing Parts:

Aquantia AQtion 10G AQN-107 NIC

2x ASUS Turbo GeForce RTX 2080

Asus NVLINK Bridge (Used only for Benchmarks, will not be permanently installed)

Mesh Used for Dual 5.25" Bay

Black Vented L Brackets

This is a rackmount build going into my test lab. The client I’m working with on a project sent over a Rome based server for me to work with, but it was huge and wouldn’t really have been convenient in the slightest.

Things I loved about the build:

  1. Ryzen 3000 of course! HEDT class performance has come to the mainstream. The 3900X is right on the heels on my 2950X in nearly everything I tested. It still gets handily beat when it comes to lane count, but performance is there all day.
  2. Putting it all together. It was a seriously simple build that took all of 15 mins. This Rosewill chassis is essentially a big, empty box since I gutted the drive tray mechanism. Not having any cabled drives made it an absolute breeze. The Noctua installation was dead simple as always. It surprises me that it took other companies so long to simplify their designs when it comes to installation. Especially since the CPU area is so sensitive. Messing around near it is just not something you want to do.
  3. Matte black everything. I got seriously lucky with component choice. I knew once I picked the board that I would want everything to be matte black. I hate gloss black for more reasons that one and aesthetically, matte finishes look better to me. The Ballistix Elite was always my favorite RAM kit visually. The no-nonsense design of the PRO WS X570-ACE was refreshing. Even the Aquantia NIC had a black PCB!
  4. Per CCX overclocking! Benchmark stable, I was able to push CCX1 to 4.55GHz, which I believe is 3 cores at that speed. Memory support was also fantastic. I’ve never had trouble outside of first gen with getting memory to run at all , but I didn’t have to play around too much to get this kit to 4000. I didn’t want to dabble too much in Infinity Fabric clocks, so I kept it simple at 3600 after seeing if 4000 would post and complete a CB run.
  5. I can’t speak much about the project I’m working on involving PCIe Gen 4 due to restrictions of discussion, but the virtualization world has a bright future in PCIe Gen 4!

Challenges:

  1. Case choice. From day one, I knew this would be a rackmount build. The limit to case choice is due to my own stubbornness, but it was still a challenge. I wanted to use the NH-U12A at all costs. I bought a 3U case I liked, intending to leave the top off since it was going in a rack anyway, but it (and none of the other 3U cases I found) could accommodate any manner of shrouded GPU. The next issue was wanting a front access case. There were only two above 2U. One was not an option because it was a 3U case in a 4U body, so I still could not use shrouded GPUs. The other was only available if you purchased the whole system from them. I ended up with this Rosewill case and I don’t hate it.
  2. The Pro WS X570-ACE. While I love this board for its looks, I bought it for its remote management capabilities. I knew it was a gamble because there wasn’t much info about the board online, but getting it in-hand there wasn’t much info about the board supplied with it. The Asus Control Center Express had 0 documentation and it also had a default password. When I spoke with Asus support about it, they kept referring me to the documentation about the full blown Asus Control Center software which is a much different product. It’s in fact a CentOS based VM that I WISH the Express version was. A higher level of support did get back to me, but they also told me to just read the manual. This was after they hastily uploaded it, so the upload date was AFTER the date of my support ticket. Sadly, it was a “getting started” guide which really doesn’t explain much about the product (and supply the default password). Seems like the feature was rushed. A lot of the remote management capabilities in the express version are software based. Windows-only at that. This was disappointing. You can turn the machine on or off , update the BIOS, and clear CMOS. When you think of this out-of-band management you’d think KVM support was possible, but it isn’t. I was basing this off of their marketing material which states “Its out-of-band management enables hardware-level control such as remote hardware reset, BIOS setting and update, and operating system installation across multiple clients, and remotely troubleshoot crashes or unexpected shutdowns.” Oh well. I still like it. I just think for the lack of true remote management features, the pricetag is way off. Who knows. Maybe its in the works or just needs more/better documentation.

This build with run double duty. I plan on using it for LTT’s Folding Month event., but will also be using it to test a certain product supplied to me by a certain company. It’s got a lot to do with virtualization and PCIe Gen 4, but an NDA prevents me from discussing anything further.

PHOTOS:

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One of the best looking RAM kits around.

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Minimalistic design you just don’t see in today’s in-your-face GAAAAAAAMERRRRRRRRGGGGGGGBBBBBBBBBB boards.

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It lived on a cardboard box for a few days while I searched for a case to house it.

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The exposed Crucial MP600. Used the board’s own heatsink for cooling. Results were about the same. Put the heatsink this comes with on my 960 Pro since I didn’t want to waste it and it lined up so well with the overall system aesthetic.

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When taking out the hard drive mounting cage thing, that meant the 5.25" drive bays had nothing to mount to. The plan then was to put a piece of mesh there instead which would allow for more air to enter the system.

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I cut a magnetic dust cover to size and used some electrical tape to mount it. It’s great because I can see the mobo diagnostic lights this way!

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It was a bit of a bummer to not be able to use Noctua fans for rear exhaust, but hey… one can’t always and SHOULDN’T always pick components based on brand. That said, I would have done Noctua Chromax or Industrial in a heartbeat if they came in black. These Pure wings are great performers and very quiet though. Glad to have them aboard!

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Front 120mm Chromax intake.


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Benchmarks/Screenshots:

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The same GPUs from Hot Chocolate running w/ the 3900X. Both CPUs pushed to the maximum.

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4.4GHz Cinebench run puts this thing right on the heels of my 2950X. (My best 2950X run was 3672 @ 4.28GHz).

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Not sure if Superposition uses the 2nd GPU since it sat idle the whole time.

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Heaven Extreme benchmark. Seemed to use both GPUs.

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Obligatory Neofetch!

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Network transfer speed.

12 Likes

Great build! And yes … fuck RGB! :+1:

Can you actually close the case? I have a 4U case myself and I might switch my NH-C14S out for the U12A if that is possible.

3 Likes

Thanks! Yep I can close it. It touches the top of the Noctua, but doesn’t seem to impact anything. There’s no pressure on it and it still slid right into the rack.

2 Likes

Huh, I guess I’ll get a new cooler soon… xD

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Rackmount and aesthetics don’t often go together, but that’s tight af. Nice build.

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Almost forgot to take a shot of the backside!

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Found your website. You do some real nice camera/editing work.

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Thanks! Much appreciated.

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Well so far Asus has been completely unhelpful in regards to documentation on the remote management features and settings of the WS board. They keep sending me links to the quick start guide and manual which are poor at best at details.

Like the “manual” literally says Quick Start Guide. Disappointing for such a (maybe?) feature packed board.

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Perhaps my expectations are too high? But I don’t think they are. A quick start guide really shouldn’t be considered a manual.

Documentation Update: Well it took 12 emails and 9 days of Asus calling me every day to let me know they were still looking into it, but they did confirm that the actual, full manual for this motherboard will be done by the end of September. So that’s good.

2 Likes

Very nice build, I only would have picked a different case (something with USB3 on the front).

I don’t interact with the front much. It’s connected to a USB hub I’ve mounted under the desk so that I don’t have to go over to the rack.

That is super sexy…

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OMG the build is AWESOME but that terminal emulator is EVEN MORE AWESOME THAN THE SYSTEM ITSELF1!!

You made me very jealous… how do I get some sick skin like that?

Thanks! It’s just cool-retro-term with tweaked settings.
Not really practical for daily use. I use it for screenshots.

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CRT is a fun little thing. Even has a Commodore64 skin built-in, iirc.

I’m a sucker for terminal emulators…

I find myself using nano for small C/C++ stuff just cause I like the aesthetic.

Thank you very much and congratulations on this amazing build!

I hear you. I definitely use Ranger even though I could be more efficient in Dolphin lol. Though actually sometimes Ranger is quicker.

(post withdrawn by author, will be automatically deleted in 36 hours unless flagged)

2 Likes