Teasing TR’s next build log: our CPU, graphics card, and motherboard

The Tech Report staff is about to kick off a new build log with help from a wide range of great sponsors. We've got a great story to tell, but sharing any details of why we're putting this system together will spoil the surprise. For the moment, enjoy the first round of high-octane components that will make up some of our build.

AMD provided the CPU and graphics card for this system, and its contributions in both departments are top-notch. We've got a TR Editor's Choice-winning Ryzen Threadripper 1950X for our system's CPU socket. That chip will provide us with 16 cores and 32 threads of processing power, 60 PCI Express 3.0 lanes direct from the CPU for expansion cards and storage devices, and fully unlocked multipliers for easy overclocking. At $900 right now, the Threadripper 1950X is among the most powerful CPUs available for the money.

AMD also sent over one of Sapphire's Nitro+ Limited Edition Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics cards. This beastly take on an RX Vega 56 should keep its GPU cool and stay quiet while doing it, thanks to a monstrous triple-fan cooler with a massive fin stack. Three PCI Express power connectors should keep this card adequately fed if we choose to overclock it, as well.

That CPU and graphics card will slot into Gigabyte's X399 Designare EX motherboard. This board comes from Gigabyte's pro-sumer family of mobos, and it drops many of the RGB LEDs of its Aorus cousins in favor of a fancy silver paint job, an extensive backplate for added rigidity, and an integrated I/O shield for convenience. Between the bevy of USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the back panel, wired and wireless networking options, and more PCIe and M.2 slots than we know what to do with, this board will be an excellent foundation for the rest of our build.

Stay tuned as we tease the remainder of this build over the next couple of days.

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    • Static
    • 2 years ago

    Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Just checked Newegg and saw the 1700X selling for $300. Good grief that’s one helluva CPU for the money. Makes me curse Intel for charging $340 for years and years for 4C/8T. And they’ll still be charging that if Ryzen didn’t come out. So yeah, let’s keep buying Intel.

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Partially AMD’s fault for not making a worthwhile CPU for almost a decade, ronch…

        • ronch
        • 2 years ago

        Yeah but it’s not like these things are sugared water, Jack.

          • DancinJack
          • 2 years ago

          No, but a decade is a long, long time for a company to have virtually zero competition. Gotta get dat $$$$$$.

            • ronch
            • 2 years ago

            Well to be fair they are a far smaller company with an annual R&D budget equivalent to Intel’s monthly snack bar budget. :-p

            • DancinJack
            • 2 years ago

            Which makes it all the more awesome when they succeed. I just wish they could do it consistently.

            • K-L-Waster
            • 2 years ago

            Does the size of the budget make a difference to an end user’s experience running the CPU? No? Then how is it relevant for purchasing decisions?

            (And for the record, I agree the 1700X at $300 US is a great value proposition.)

      • srg86
      • 2 years ago

      Now I realize this is anecdotal, and maybe I was unlucky, but hardware wise my machines have been far more dependable since switching to Intel (and noticing it more and more as the years start to go by).

      So yes, I will keep buying Intel, and I’m happy to pay a little more if it means more dependability.

        • brucethemoose
        • 2 years ago

        Alot of bulldozer chips were clocked within an inch of their life out of the box, and the Phenoms had some chipset issues (often from the 3rd party controllers they needed to use).

        Not saying Ryzen is totally peachy, but alot of those old AMD issues aren’t applicable anymore.

    • bthylafh
    • 2 years ago

    One reason why is because your current test box won’t boot from an NVMe drive; you already let that cat out in a recent review.

    • Mr Bill
    • 2 years ago

    What a lovely piece of kit.

    • DancinJack
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]Three PCI Express power connectors...[/quote<] lol

      • albundy
      • 2 years ago

      now that’s efficiency. 3x 12v rails for a freakin video card that will be laughed at by next year’s mid end model.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        To be fair, it got laughed at by 2016’s GTX 1080 which uses less power and gives you more performance.

      • DoomGuy64
      • 2 years ago

      I don’t know what sapphire was thinking. Their Fury card didn’t need 3 connectors, and neither did the reference Vega 56. Mining? Eh? Overclocking? eh? Doesn’t make sense either way. It’s a powerhog just for the sake of being a powerhog. Who told them that was a good idea? Get a new design engineer.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        Agree. Really bad look.

      • DrDominodog51
      • 2 years ago

      There are three because Sapphire put fuses on each one.

    • NTMBK
    • 2 years ago

    They sent you a GPU? Holy crap, they must really like you!

      • jihadjoe
      • 2 years ago

      But apparently no RAM. Must be a ploy to bankrupt TR by forcing Jeff to buy a whole four sticks of fast DDR4!

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 2 years ago

        Newegg actually has 4×16 GiB of DDR4-3200 for [url=https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820232090<]$676[/url<] this weekend. That's just ordinary stuff with 16-18-18-38 timings. The low-latency stuff never seems to be in stock.

          • Bauxite
          • 2 years ago

          That ram will not run at 3200 on TR, its hynix (16-18-18 bleh) which is almost a lost cause and dual rank makes it that much harder. The low latency stuff and all extreme speed kits are 100% samsung anyways. There are plenty in stock, just rarely on sale, 3200C14-14-14 for example: [url<]https://pcpartpicker.com/products/memory/#L=0,140&s=403200[/url<] Fortunately with threadripper (all ryzen really) you can have ECC and eat your overclocking cake too. During the ebay 20% off deal (100 off max) you could get 4x16 unbuffered DR samsung ECC from superbiiz's ebay store. Those run at least 2933 on threadripper quad channel, for the low price of $608.

            • Star_burp
            • 2 years ago

            Have had no problem running CL 16 on Ryzen as long as I boost the SOC Voltage to 1.35/1.4.

        • UberGerbil
        • 2 years ago

        I was thinking TR might be able to go ad-free and fund itself simply by selling off the RAM and GPUs they from the mfrs.

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 2 years ago

          Receive?

        • Wirko
        • 2 years ago

        OK, “no RAM” was later updated to “some RAM”.

    • brucethemoose
    • 2 years ago

    While a longshot, you think you could get AMD to loan you a 2401P and a SP3 motherboard?

    A 24 core CPU with 8 memory channels and 128 PCIe lanes for $1k strikes me as a great bargain for a workstation. I always wondered how it would stack up against a $1k 1950X… It’d be a very interesting test for TR to run.

      • Bauxite
      • 2 years ago

      The single socket boards are unobtainium still. The supermicro H11SSL crams quite a bit into regular ATX: [url<]https://www.supermicro.com/Aplus/motherboard/EPYC7000/H11SSL-NC.cfm[/url<] 3x16, 3x8 slots, x4 m.2, dual x4 u.2, another x8 to LSI3008, 8xSATA3 (I think derived from epyc SoC at x1 lane each) and a pair of x1 intel nics. Epyc has no external PCH so I believe those lanes are all direct to cpu, which would put at least 100 of 128 available lanes in use. Really amazing when you consider it has all that and 8 channel ram on ATX. The price when it finally shows up is in the same range as most X399 boards, $350~500 depending on version. I want one...

        • Waco
        • 2 years ago

        As much as I dislike SuperMicro for full server builds (power supply woes and lackluster cooling) they do make very attractive home server boards.

        • brucethemoose
        • 2 years ago

        That’s ALOT of mobo for ATX.

        Now I have a dream of a SFF monster workstation, just for the hell of it. 24 cores and 3 GPUs crammed in this tiny thing:

        [url<]http://www.coolermaster.com/case/mini-tower/elite-361/[/url<]

      • cygnus1
      • 2 years ago

      7401P ?

    • thedosbox
    • 2 years ago

    Meow?

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