ThreadRipper vs Xeon E5 for KVM workstation project

I am looking for a project to get into some virtualization using Linux KVM’s to experiment with multiple OS and some higher end hardware. The goal is to have 2, 3 OS that would be very light gaming capable and I have the GPU’s to pass through to the vms. I have been looking a the TR 1920X and a 2x E5-2680v3 systems as part of this build and was hoping for some advice on what would be better for this work load. The TR system would be on a off the shelf consumer MB but the Xeon system would be in a dell T7910, Dell R7910, R730, or lenovo p700.

Sounds like a fun project.

I have a 1920x and a thinkstation s30 so can answer specific questions but TLDR either would work.

Do you have specific concerns or queries you could list?

Thank you Airstripone
My main concern is just Linux compatibility and whether or not the Xeon systems support IOMMU or something similar.

Also have you encountered any issues with your threadripper that you can share. I am non a person who normally buys first generation products and was concerned about any bugs that haven’t been fixed since the 1920x was released.

I know this is vague but I just want an idea of which system is going to give me more of a headache (I embrace the struggle but I have to live in a dorm with my job and I cant always have internet access so small problems can put me out of that system for a few weeks if I don’t have what I need.)

I run Manjaro on my Asrock x399 board and it is rock solid except for a couple of games, but I think that is GPU related. Basically don’t buy a vega56. It was absolutely fine on my rx480. Also tried fedora and I have several VMs with windows.

The xeon system is currently running Windows 10 as I need it for work. Performance wise The xeon e5-2690v1 is on par with a modern Quad-Core so if I were building today with new parts it would be a bad investment. The only reason I still use it is I had the motherboard already from a previous server.

Depends on the motherboard but the CPU supports it. Groupings may need the ACS patch.

The 1920x came Out in 2017, so is a mature part. Most bugs have been patched out. The x399 platform is still getting maintenance patches but don’t expect many more updates beyond a couple of years, it is end of life.

My biggest issues with the build were:

  1. explaining to my partner why I need another pc

  2. x399 boards are big, but so are dual socket xeons… Cable routing was non trivial and I used all the “spare” cables in my PSU.

  3. socket tr4 was compatible with my Corsair h110i but I was lucky. It runs warm though and you may need to invest in a proper threadripper cooler. Ok keep meaning to do a custom loop, but see point 1 above.

  4. in the bios… Raid is just broken. In the end I jboded and used mdadm / lvm to do the same thing. On intel boards the rste drivers “just work”.

  5. the threadripper 1920x is… Not slow… But not the step change I was expecting. My benchmark is handbrake times and I was disappointed it was not faster. The 2920x would be a better buy for more $€£

I’m sure there are other things that got in the way but generally it has been fine and I plan to keep it for a while. Indeed I suspect this is the last ATX board I will ever buy. The future belongs to the mini pc and my servers.

Good luck

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