16 core 3.4Ghz ECC RAM workstation

pcunite

Senior member
Nov 15, 2007
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Hello,

I need to build a workstation (no gaming) system to handle my workload.

Minimum spec I want:
  • At least 16 cores
  • 3.4Ghz base clock
  • Support for ECC RAM (32GB or 64GB will be plenty)
  • Two NVMe drives

Workload:
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Visual Studio
  • Multiple VMWare instances in memory
  • Handbrake
  • Vegas Movie Studio
  • Web browser with several tabs open (~snicker)

What processor and motherboard should be on my short list for consideration given the above? Prefer Intel but will consider AMD.
 
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whm1974

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What is your budget? I would consider getting Threadripper since it is quite a bit cheaper then Intel's 16 core CPUs and due to it being overclockable up to 4000Mhz.
 
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Feb 25, 2011
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What is your budget? I would consider getting Threadripper since it is quite a bit cheaper then Intel's 16 core CPUs and due to it being overclockable up to 4000Mhz.
This is not an overclocking situation.

Ryzen and Threadripper have sort-of ECC support, but it appears to be still unofficial. PCPartpicker lists a few ECC DIMMs that are supposed to work with certain X399 motherboards, but it's not a listed feature.

That said, you probably don't need ECC for a software dev / video editing workload.

And if you are paranoid enough to demand ECC (and good for you if you are!), you can just as easily build a crappy box (or a laptop *hork*) to sit in front of, and offload your encoding/hosting tasks to a proper rackmount server. Used enterprise gear is usually pretty cheap. Noisy, goes well in a garage, but cheap.

What processor and motherboard should be on my short list for consideration given the above? Prefer Intel but will consider AMD.
Xeon E5-XXXX v4. (Get the combination of core count and price that suits you.) Or Threadripper. (Same.) 16-core varieties of both are available. But I bet you could get away with 12.

Regardless of whether you get AMD or Intel, ASRock usually makes the best bang-for-the-buck workstation motherboards. ASUS and SuperMicro are also awesome, but more expensive.
 
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pcunite

Senior member
Nov 15, 2007
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What is your budget? I would consider getting Threadripper ... overclockable
It is a business expense, so price is not too big an issue. Not going to get something exotic, however. I can not overclock.

Xeon E5-XXXX v4 or Threadripper. 16-core varieties of both are available. But I bet you could get away with 12.
12 core would be okay. But I would like this system to last a while. To get the Mhz with Intel I'd need the 12 core. Ugh ... little nervous about AMD, but the threadripper does check the boxes. Just wanted to confirm from you guys.
 
Feb 25, 2011
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12 core would be okay. But I would like this system to last a while. To get the Mhz with Intel I'd need the 12 core. Ugh ... little nervous about AMD, but the threadripper does check the boxes. Just wanted to confirm from you guys.
Not all clockspeeds are created equal. It's not as big a difference as it used to be, but a ~3GHz Intel will probably pace an AMD at ~3.4GHz.

But since your workload is going to be heavily-multithreaded, I'd not worry about it. Just get the highest core count you can afford and call it a day. MOAR COARS!!!

You're generally not going to find the big multi-core CPUs running at typical desktop PC (>3GHz) speeds, at least not without paying a LOT of money for a relatively small amount of extra performance. Even if it's a business expense, it's still coming out of somebody's budget, and IMO it rankles.
 
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