Description

This 1950X low-budget workstation was built to prioritize Blender3D, SONAR Cakewalk, and Native Instruments/Kontakt 5 workflows. For the most part I have been pleased overall, but I do have some complaints and shoulda-woulda's. Below, I will list more cons than pros, but this does not at all mean I am dissatisfied with the build.

The 32 Threads of the 1950X Processor do exactly what you'd assume they'd do; handle large tasks without breaking a sweat.

The ASRock X399M Taichi motherboard was specifically chosen for 2 reasons:

1 - it supports up to 3 M.2 PCIe drives. (Needed to migrate 2 from a previous system)

2 - at time of purchase, this was the only board that could run Tripple x16 (x16-x16-x16) PCIe at all times. This remains true even when all 3 of the M.2 PCIe x4 lanes are populated.

The Vega 64s were chosen because they were the best performance per dollar to render images in Blender3D software (Radeon VII didn't exist at the time). To get an unbiased idea of your GPU's Blender performance, check out Gamers Nexus or Techgage on YouTube.

The Enermax Liqtech was chosen because they made the only full-coverage copper TR4 AIO at time of purchase.

Pros:

  • Handles multitasking EXTREMELY well. Can run 5 or more instances of workloads that my 4C/8T PC hangs trying to run 1.

  • CPU Price/Performance ratio very difficult to beat.

  • All system components remain nice and cool.

  • Vega 64 Blender image render times unbeatable at price point.

Cons:

  • I despise ASRock's UEFI for the X399. Among other things, it was over a year's time before I could carry over custom settings after a BIOS update. Previously, saved settings files were only readable by the BIOS version they were saved on.

  • Loud. Running everything full load sounds like a wind tunnel. Doesn't bother me when I have closed-back headphones on. But does when wearing open-back.

  • Insane power draw. I knew this going in, but was still somewhat surprised when I had to upgrade to a 1600W PSU because 1200W wasn't enough. Did some heavy under-volting for CPU/GPUs. Draw is now very reasonable during low utilization, and slightly cooler during demanding tasks.

  • All system components remain nice and cool, but can't say the same for my 12'x12' work area. Closing the door while working feels like sitting inside of a sauna.

  • Liqtech cooler was plagued by the infamous growth/clogging. I drained and replenished with proper additive and have had no issues since.

  • 1st gen Threadripper has slight delays when some tasks are initiated. I'm not sure if 2nd gen does or 3rd gen will, but compared to my Intel system, it is noticeable. I assume it's largely a result of the infinity fabric.

  • EOL. Rumors say the Zen2 TR CPUs will not be compatible with my X399 board. I have little path to upgrade (Zen+ only). This means getting only 1 gen use out of a $300 board.

  • I use my 4KTV as a display. Not sure how a 1080p would work, but I get constant screen flickering unless I increase the Vega 64 memory clock. There has only been one Radeon driver where I didn't have this issue, but it was so long ago I cant remember the version.

  • Vega 64 nowhere near as stable in Blender as my Quadros. Random hangs, and blue screen errors. Not very frequent, but still bothersome. If my Quadro can't handle something, the app crashes. When my Vega can't handle something, the PC might freeze.

Shoulda/Wouldas:

  • Blender3D rendering allows GPU to work alongside, but not with the CPU. As a result, it's faster to render with only 2 GPUs than it is to render with 2 GPUs + CPU. So the 32 Threads of my 1950X are completely unused during long, overnight renders. Had I known this before purchase, I would have saved money and purchased an 8C/16T processor.

  • Enermax Liqtech AIO does an amazing job of cooling the TR. But the problems with growth in the line were an unnecessary headache. With the money saved if I bought a cheaper CPU, I maybe would have gone with open loop instead.

  • Zen architecture prefers faster RAM. I should have gone with 3400MHz or higher in hindsight.

  • I initially bought a 1200W PSU thinking it'd be enough. Had to upgrade to 1600W.

  • I prioritized NVMe storage in a prior system. That storage was migrated to this build. During large file transfers, my SATAIII drives outperform my 960EVOs. Should have prioritized standard SSDs.

  • While I can't complain about the render times of dual Vega 64s, sometimes I think I should have just spent the extra cash to get similar performance from an evenly matched Quadro or a 2080ti. I'm certain they would have been more stable, and the 2080ti would achieve drastically higher FPS in the viewport. I might do this in the 2.0 build.

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Comments

  • 5 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah, but it looks great so put that in the Pro column:)

  • 5 months ago
  • 1 point

haha Will do. And thanks.

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Sweet Space Heater XD

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

lol Thanks. Comes in handy in the winter. Not so much in the summer.

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

Do watch out for that Enermax cooler failing over time. In the case that happens, you may be better served by a Dark Rock Pro TR4.

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the advice. Had no issues with the pump for over a year now (knock on wood). If/when it fails, I'll probably just go custom loop. Pretty sure the only reason I can run all 16 cores under full load at 3.85 (and sometimes 3.95) for 17+hrs without throttling is because I have 360mm push + 240mm pull on the rad. Janky, but I had to make do with the chasis limitations.

  • 4 months ago
  • 2 points

were you able to o.c the ram

  • 4 months ago
  • 1 point

Not one bit.

First off, let me thank you. Your comment made me realize I need to change my build list from Vulcan "Z" to just T-Force Vulcan.

Anyway, 3000MHz is my RAM's XMP 2 (base is 2400). I guess they were already at their limits. Now to be fair, I refused to give the RAM any more than 1.38V to work with. I also refused to relax the 16-18-18-38 timings. I could get the RAM up to 3400 and Windows would seem stable. But if I ran a Blender render on anything above 3KMHz, the system hung. Not sure if it was a limitation of the board, the voltage, or the modules themselves. But now I just run 3K at 1.25V and 16-18-18-38. No problems.