Linux Workstation for MorphoGraphX

Hello, my fellow labmates have tasked me to propose a build for a linux workstation to primarily run the imaging software MorphoGraphX. I am not too familiar with the software myself and have not tried running it yet. I posted on their forum and they seem to suggest a 3070 or 3080 for CNN for deep learning, a 14 core processor (more cores being better for OPM), and 128 GB of RAM. My background with regards to computers is windows machines that I have built for gaming so I am new to this and am not entirely sure what questions I should ask. I would be very grateful to hear any suggestions regarding GPUs, mobos, processors, etc for this machine. Thank you!

Here are my recommendations:

Case

Something with good airflow, Meshify C perhaps? Might want to buy a few fans on top of that. Maximize airflow, don’t go water cooling, no need. Buy a big-ass CPU cooler and call it a day.

PSU

Anything gold-rated that can provide enough power, an 850W might be enough but if the price difference is small go with a 1000W supply just to be sure.

RAM

Simple enough, max all slots on your motherboards, so either 8x16 or 4x32 GB DDR4/DDR5 at 3600 MHz or higher.

Harddrive

A 2 TB m.2 stick should be enough for a boot drive and to host current projects, with the archived ones on the NAS. If no NAS is available, take the hit and invest in an 8TB extra SSD.

Graphics card

3070/3080 is nice, but I’d go with an A4000 card or even A5000 card. They cost as much in todays market but has much better productivity results.

CPU & Motherboard

Motherboard will depend heavily on CPU choice. You have three viable choices here, Ryzen 9, Core i9 or low-end Threadripper. See build examples for further info.

Example builds

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X ~ $4100 (Part List)

The current top-end consumer offering. Motherboard should be an X570S or so.

Intel Core i9 12900K ~ $4500 (Part List)

Tried and true, noone ever got fired for buying Intel right? CPU is slightly cheaper than AMD, but motherboard and DDR5 not so much. Buy Z690, top of the line.

Threadripper 3960X ~5100 (Part List)

If you really want this workstation to last, Threadripper is it. 24 cores, 48 threads. Costs a small fortune, but will last you for years, and years, and years, with minimal if any upgrades.

Hope that helps some!

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Thanks for the response and builds, greatly appreciated. I will definitely bring these up to my lab members for consideration. For the threadripper build, why is the memory configuration 8x8GB instead of a configuration with 128GB of RAM?

Sorry, you’re right. That was my mistake. Add $100 to increase 8x16 GB. I have updated the parts list to reflect this.

These are just some suggestions, I also recommend checking out System76 if you are from US / Canada, their Thelio Major series really makes it simple to run Linux workstations. :slight_smile:

If you go for the intel build, do yourself a favor and buy a network card as well. Z690 is so new that only the latest kernel 5.15 has support for its integrated network card&wifi. But with 5.15 comes a new libc6 requirement as well, so no cuda and tensorflow/pytorch, yet.

@Steven_Jarsen if you are going for threadripper beware that most of the motherboards are EATX and Meshify-C case is ATX only.

I have Threadripper in the exact case, and I needed to make compromises when it comes to motherboard, as there is very little ATX boards with TRX40 socket.
Another thing is with that small case you will need to buy a lot of high quality fans to provide enough air to CPU and GPUs during intensive work. Threadrippers takes 280W. That’s a lot for a CPU.

If you have enough space it would be better to have bigger case like Meshify S.