Threadripper 3D/gamedev workstation sanity check

Hello there,

I have spent a week now rendering an animation I’ve been working on, during the nights because I need the workstation to work during the day.

It’s not a bad machine at all (Ryzen 9, rtx 3090, 64GB RAM) but I decided I need something even better finally (or rather 2 machines - while upgrading my workhorse)

Some background - I’m a 3D creator / gamedev, I use houdini, unreal/unity. I also need to compile code etc. so I think a threadripper makes sense for me, so this is what I base my new build on. I also need the ability to add a lot of storage eventually.

I’ve scoured the internet, watched videos and read forums (especially this one, thanks :)) and I came up with a list of components. I would really appreciate, if someone could point out mistakes with my main components, in case they see them. I have chosen some lower end specs ( 5955WX ) but I want the ability to upgrade as I see fit in the future - for example get a second 3090 or more cores (which is why I’m looking at the highend PSU and mainboard)

  • Threadripper PRO 5955WX
  • ASRock WRX80 Creator
  • Asus ROG-STRIX-RTX3090-24G-GAMING (maybe 2…)
  • Define 7 XL Case ( I was wondering if maybe the mid tower would work but after having to deshroud the gpu for my current - stupid- small factor build I want to be on the safe side…)
  • Seagate FireCuda 530 NVMe SSD 2TB
  • Noctua NH-U14S for CPU and a few Noctua NF-P14s for the case

I’m roughly coming to 4000/5000 Euro which makes me almost wonder if I forgot something (looking at other builds here… but I guess its the “cheap” CPU variant)

Thanks so much for taking a look!

(PS: I could not post the animation here, but in case you’re interested I linked a - STILL - lowres version in my profile :blush: )

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What Ryzen 9 are you currently on? Moving to a 7950x could be a better bang for your buck as long as you don’t need all the PCIe lanes.

Neat clip - looking forward to the movie!

Re: case, if some customization is possible in your “case”, I can report some success with a Lian Li O11D XL. I have this laid horizontal (think motherboard tray / test bench) with an ASUS WRX80.

Nice thing about this case, it leaves plenty of space on all sides of the motherboard, and handles up to 3 full size PSUs “underneath”. (I have 240V, so my single EVGA 2000W PSU is enough for my 3 x 3090 Ti.)

Note: since the ASUS WRX80 is true E-ATX, I needed the optional “extension bar”, which was not available, so had to make my own.

Main customization was getting rid of the front and side (now “top”) glass panels, set 3 x 120 fans in the front, and shape a new top to support the 3 radiators for the 3 x ASUS GeForce RTX 3090 Ti LC.

With 3 x liquid-cooled 3090 Ti, this becomes a quiet and cool little dev box.

I have the 3975WX chip. Amazing processor, I have no issues or grips.

If I would suggest it because prices for items are through the roof. I am not sure how cool you are with buying items second-hand. My only suggestion - is find brand new old stock of the 3995WX. The main reason I know you need the punch is due to the software you use. So if you can hold back and keep some cash right now in that location, it is beneficial. Also, I am poking around and discovering the 7XXX Pro will hit the market. And personally, once I put my machine together, the 5 series in the pro processor was released. I am not bitter because I believe I have a processor built for the long game. And personally, I plan on trying to find a 3995X brand new old stock and upgrade to 64 cores that way.

Just a suggestion

Also, the items you have are right on point! Getting the 3090 right now is right on point. And if you get a dual 3090. I would suggest getting a larger PSU. I like to keep some power on reserve. I use the EVGA 1600 T2, it has an eco mode, so it turns the fan off unless it is really needed. So where I have my computer and keep everything cool. I have no issues, and I do not deal with a consistent PSU fan running 24 hours a door. The only time it kicks on - is when it’s really working away. And due to the setting of the computer, I have only heard the PSU fan twice. So I like the reserve power, and it allows me to grow the system. If I swap to a 4090 or a pair of them, I would not need additional PSU power.

If you have any questions - let me know.

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My current machine has a 3950X - my understanding was that the threadripper would be far superior in terms of multthread performance but now checking some charts it seems that even the 5965WX only has a slight margin over the Rysen 7950x (while being slower in single thread):

Thank you - this is food for thought. I do want at least 2 GPU’s and 256 GB ram in the future and I do need a lot of storage for backup etc. I’m not sure if the pci lanes are then a justifyable argument in my case…

@nnunn Thank you for the case suggestion (and compliment :)) 2000W, wow. I used to not think about that too much (right now I have puny 750W) but indeed, 1500W is just right for that cpu and 2x3090’s, none more…

@CltSvs I really want to avoid buying second hand :smiley: - I checked the prices on the previous gen and the 5000’s were only 300 Eur or so more - but maybe I should double check. Thanks for the suggestion! I wonder if the next threadripper series 7xxxx would still work with the current main boards… but yes my idea was similar to yours, upgrading to a higher core model of the current series.
And yes… maybe 1500W is not quiet cutting it after all…

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This is something not possible on on 7950x
128GB of ram is limited to 3800mhz sometimes 4-4.4Ghz which is awful for ddr5 and the 7950xs fabric clock

Thanks for pointing that out! :slight_smile:

@sschoellhammer - The great thing about what your doing - you are doing your homework first. I did a little homework, but I could have done more.

I did a LOT of internal debating about swapping over to the current AM5 series of processors. A couple of hangups - Finding a smaller motherboard that supported ECC. I like the Asus board I have - no issues, but the larger E-ATX 12 x 13 in size is hard to handle when you are looking for cases, etc. Another hand up. Who was going to give me some cash or real value for the 3975WX processor, Asus WRX Pro motherboard, and the 128GB of ECC ram - non-none! So with three solid compliments, right now, I did everything I could to find a smaller case for my items. I currently have a Phanteks Elite Case - Watercooled. Right now, I am going to pull out my current system and place it into a smaller desk case. I will have to customize the case a little bit, but I will get the items to fit and function perfectly. I wanted a solid - MicroATX AM5 motherboard that supported 2 full-size PCI slots and ECC ram. At this moment, why not an “X” motherboard in a small format? None of the B650 boards support ECC ram. I am into CAD, 3D and etc., and I will have the support and stability for my system.

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Wow, I just did a Threadripper build, and mine is almost the same as yours. Except remove the RTX 3090 since mine is a headless server vs yours is a workstation. :slightly_smiling_face:

The Threadripper PRO 5955WX is awesome. 16 cores at 4.0 Ghz base and boosts to 4.5Ghz on all cores. With PBO, on this new sWRX8 motherboard, it goes even higher. I won’t spoil the fun, so I’ll let you see how far you can push yours. 5 Ghz is possible :grin: . Make sure to keep it cool!

The ASRock WRX80 Creator is an awesome motherboard, probably the best I’ve ever used. It fits perfectly in the Define 7 XL. There are cable management grommets that you can move to use the correct holes for cabling to fit the E-ATX motherboard. The only issue is that the 12V EPS (CPU) cables barely reached to the top left of the motherboard. The Define 7 XL is large, so be careful you don’t break the EPS cable or the EPS connector on the motherboard or PSU while stretching the cable trying to plug it in. Take your time.

As far as the cooler, use the Noctua compatibility guide to find CPU coolers that fit your exact motherboard. In this case:

You can see that the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 fits (and will provide great cooling), but the installation orientation will blow fans to the top of the case. You’ll need to use the mesh top on the Define 7 XL so the heat can exit from the top, but this means more sound noise. Are you ok with that? I was not, so I had to find another cooler that blew horizontally towards the back of the case, so I can keep the noise-dampening top on the Define 7 XL.

Regarding the CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB PRO 256GB 3200, I’d recommend against it. It’s a native DDR4-2133 ram, and only runs at DDR4-3200 speeds when overclocked (XMP is enabled). Overclocking memory on Threadripper is how you get an unstable system. I recommend instead going for a native DDR4-3200 ram, that is also ECC and registered for less headache. Samsung is top tier here, with Micron close behind. I went with Samsung (part # M393A4G43AB3-CWE), 8 sticks for total of 256GB, mine is super stable. Once again, use the search matrix to find exactly what you want:

Seagate FireCuda 530 NVMe SSD Is the best NVMe consumer SSD drives right now. Some of the fastest writes (6.9GB/s). It has a ~225GB SLC cache, after which is depleted the SSD continues to write at 3.85GB/s until 1.5TB has been written. After that, it drops down to 1.6GB/s. That’s truly class-leading, most others drop to the ~1.5GB/s right after the SLC cache is used up (for example, the Samsung 990 Pro). Oh, and the 0.7 DWPD is awesome. :smile: Keep writing all day, every day. Pop 4x of these into a PCI-e bifurcation card, and you have a massively fast and durable array for caching or storage. I have 2 of these PCI-e cards (8 drives total, plus the 2 on the board). Fast storage for days!


Thanks Kish for taking the time for a long answer and all this invaluable information - especially about the RAM, that would have caused me a lot of trouble and grey hairs indeed…

I’ll gladly follow your lead here - would you mind sharing the cooling unit you went for in the end? The only “vertical” one I can see on the page you linked, seems to be strangely incompatible with the TR socket. I guess yours is not a Noctua?

Again, thanks for your trouble,

I feel your pain and wish that you can realize your dream build in the end! :slight_smile:

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ARCTIC Freezer 4U SP3

Since you are in Germany, you can probably find this cooler easily, since it’s made by a German company. It’s quite difficult currently to find it in the US.

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If OP goes with thread ripper pro you can really juice your performance per watt with the curve optimizer

To my knowledge only the ASRock creator has this feature enabled

I was able to achieve a +200mhz freq over ride and -30 curve with a 5975x but your mileage may vary

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Thanks again Kish - I really appreciate it! :slight_smile: