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NZXT H1 build: compile and Second Life engine

This system is built for two main purposes: building and running the Firestorm client for Second Life. The client is a 1.2MLOC C++ monstrosity that takes 30 minutes or so to build on my current system, a dual-hex Mac Pro 5,1 with 64 GB, and it’s getting kinda slow running two clients simultaneously on that system with a GTX 960. The OS is Pop!_OS 20.04, an Ubuntu variant from System76 that has the singular advantage of being very good at Just Working out of the box. No fiddling required. Pop!_OS does Nvidia a lot more easily than it does AMD, so I’m sticking with it.

I got interested in the NZXT H1, and Wendell told me he liked it, so I specced out a build and came up with this, based on not only what was good but also what I could actually get. (B550 motherboards are hard to find at the moment.)

PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8 GHz 12-Core Processor $429.99 @ B&H
Motherboard Asus ROG STRIX B550-I GAMING Mini ITX AM4 Motherboard $229.99 @ B&H
Memory G.Skill Trident Z Neo 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR4-3600 CL18 Memory $274.99 @ Newegg
Storage Sabrent Rocket 4.0 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive $199.98 @ Amazon
Video Card Zotac GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB GAMING Video Card
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total $1352.91
Generated by PCPartPicker 2020-07-20 18:34 EDT-0400

I wound up spending just under $1800, soup to nuts, including the H1 (at $349). My budget was $1500, but I’m not unhappy. I was originally going to get a 1660Ti, since the Second Life client doesn’t and won’t ever use the RTX raytracing, but for $30 more, the 2060 is a bit faster, so it was an easy upgrade.

As I write this, I’m waiting on the SSD and graphics card to arrive; both should be here tomorrow. I’ve gone ahead and built the system aside from those two. Putting it together was straightforward, though you do want to take your time and route the cables carefully so as not to get any between the motherboard and AIO fan. I am going to take Wendell’s advice and force the PCIe slot to PCIe 3, just to make sure it’s good and solid. I’m also not planning on pushing the CPU clock much if at all, certainly not before seeing what the temps look like running flat out.

My big hope is that I get better performance with less power use. PCPartPicker estimates 363W; my Mac Pro idles about 280 or so, and can hit 450 if I push it hard. I expect this to idle down in the low 100 watt range or maybe even less. I don’t expect to save all that much on my power bill, but it will be nice not to have quite so much heat.

I’ll report back when I have everything in it and the OS installed.

CPUs these days shut off cores that aren’t in use

Full load compiling won’t hit the GPU so I doubt you’ll hit 200w stock

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Works for me. Since the box has a conservatively rated 650W supply in it, it should be loafing.

Linux rotates active CPU usage across cores if the system’s not running hard. Does this affect how well the CPU powers off unused cores?

Got the rest of the parts in this afternoon, and finished the build. The new system is about 4 times faster running Firestorm than the Mac Pro it replaced. It runs about 45 C at idle, ramping up to 80 C during a build. The fans are quiet until the CPU gets above about 75 C, and then they speed up audibly, but still aren’t loud at all.

The system idles about 70 W. A Firestorm build, which taks about 15 minutes (as opposed to 30 on the old system), will run about 220 W with occasional spikes to 240. Firestorm itself will run about 200 W on an average scene at 70 FPS; a simple scene with framerates above 100 FPS will push it to about 250.

I’m quite impressed. Technology has come a long way! :smile:

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what you can do is set a more aggressive fan profile for the lower and mid temps that way the rad will take longer to saturate with heat and take longer to hit the higher fan speeds the higher temps demand