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Help with new 3-SLI or 4-SLI board


mrossco
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Hey guys, I have a new project I'm starting to put together, and I'd like your input. I'd like to build a 3-SLI or 4-SLI rig, but I'm not quite sure which motherboard to turn to. So far, I've been looking at Gigabyte and ASUS's WS Supercomputer boards, but I'm trying to balance cost with features. If you were going to build such a rig, what board would you use?

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You don't talk about >2-way SLI and then talk about balancing cost, as the only reason to build such an extravagant GPU setup is to run a 30" monitor, in which case cost obviously isn't that much of a concern.

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You don't talk about >2-way SLI and then talk about balancing cost, as the only reason to build such an extravagant GPU setup is to run a 30" monitor, in which case cost obviously isn't that much of a concern.

 

Well, the prices seem to swing by hundreds of dollars in this realm, so I guess that's what I meant. I really like the idea of Gigabyte's new GA-X58A-UD9, but that sucker's $600!!! For planning purposes, we'll call this a gaming rig, though my real focus is on CUDA/DirectCompute development.

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Nice! I spent some more time looking over various boards, reading reviews and trying to get an overall picture of how I'm going to build this thing. It allowed me to come up with some additional thoughts...

 

1) I think I need NF200. It apparently doesn't do much for gaming except add latency and heat to your rig. For my purposes, however, I think the added bandwidth for inter-card communication will come in handy.

2) I would prefer to have USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps, either onboard or via addon cards. It's not an absolute requirement, but even with Sandy Bridge coming around the corner, I'd like to future-proof my investment as much as possible.

3) I think watercooling is a must. With 3 or more Fermi cards packed in there, I can't see how I won't be watercooling. This will cut into my $3000 budget significantly. What I'm not sure about is my setup, and whether or not I'll need a waterblock for the northbridge/southbridge.

4) This is a workstation that could game, which is different than a pure gaming rig.

5) This is going to be fun.

6) This is going to be frustrating.

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Since Sandybridge as I understand it will be a different socket and considerably faster especially in video encoding, it might be worth waiting for. The new MB should have both USB 3.0 and Sata 3 so unless you are in a major hurry, wait a few months.

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Since Sandybridge as I understand it will be a different socket and considerably faster especially in video encoding, it might be worth waiting for.

That begs a great question. What software is going to be used for the computing? Is it one that will offloading 100% to CUDA/direct compute, or will it be highly multithreaded as well?

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That begs a great question. What software is going to be used for the computing? Is it one that will offloading 100% to CUDA/direct compute, or will it be highly multithreaded as well?

 

 

Good question, but as I understand it it will be CPU based. Not sure intel has much interest in supporting Cuda.

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Good question, but as I understand it it will be CPU based. Not sure intel has much interest in supporting Cuda.

He did say:

For planning purposes, we'll call this a gaming rig, though my real focus is on CUDA/DirectCompute development.

Hence the question. If it is CUDA only, you can probably get by with something like a core i5 that has 4 x8/16 slots.

 

For pure computing, you might look into nVidia's quadro and tesla lines:

http://www.nvidia.com/object/quadro-fermi-home.html

http://www.nvidia.com/object/tesla_computing_solutions.html

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I've written my own program that implements a Data Mining algorithm. Most of the work is handled by the GPU, but other areas require lookups to external data sources, so those are kept within the context of the CPU. One reason for the new box is I want to be able to tackle larger datasets.

 

If I understand correctly, Sandy Bridge is only going to cover i3 and i5 initially. It may be another year before an i7 equivalent is released.

 

So, now you guys have me wondering if an i5 would be a viable option...

 

Quadro and Tesla are super expensive. So far, I'm still pretty sure consumer cards will be fine for my purposes...

 

Oh, and thanks guys for the input so far!!!

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