It’s February 2019 at time of writing; and I haven’t released any music since January 2018.
The reason for that is money – and that’s the same reason why I’ve been concentrating on computers for the last year: There is far more money in computers than there is in entertainments. Also, the workload is more manageable too.
I’ve always been a tech-geek, and have always worked in related fields until 2012 – when I indulged my teenage-passion to create music and to perform and entertain. I made that my sole career for a number of years, and as I strived for success, acclaim, and fame, the goalposts kept receding as the task became more and more demanding of time and resources with smaller and smaller reward. – Yet the entertainments industry continued to grow, and I found myself becoming a slave to that industry, while my pathetic amount of income continued to dwindle. After around 6 years I found that it was difficult to do better than to break even at this game, and that many entertainers who’d also chosen a career in the entertainments field were constantly making a loss.
I decided to rebuild my studio from the components of the units up, while I reappraised the financial nightmare… And since technology and geeking-out was something that I was used to and proficient at, I continued building computers and electronic equipment; partly as an income-source, and partly because I needed new equipment.
So here we are in February 2019; and I’ve decided to undertake another computer-project: Not because I need another computer as such – although another one will probably come in handy in the future – but because a large amount of used AMD Opteron; 8, 12, and 16 cored ex-server processors, appeared on the market in January 2019 at unbelievably-low prices. How could I resist?
Yes I know this is meant to be an entertainments website, and here I am talking tech: I do hope you’ll find it entertaining. – If not there are other, more on-topic articles.
Let’s do this: –
The following is an articulated-record; articulated in the form of an article, of that build, in several parts.
I’m beginning Part #1 at this moment in time on Saturday February 9th; having collected most of the parts that I’ll need. I still have a set of USB speakers, plus an optical drive, awaiting delivery from CCL Computers, but other than that I’m pretty much all set to go.
It was on 27th January that I searched for low-cost processors on Google, and found that I could source any number of Opterons for around £15 or less each. That sounded like an interesting deal; but I was already aware that Opterons were server-processors that were usually utilised 2-or-more to a board. – That was far more than I needed for my requirements; and I’d end up spending the cost of a new cutting-edge PC on something that was already old-tech and that would be far more powerful than I’d need. – So I needed to find a motherboard that utilised the Opteron’s G34 socket and which only required a single processor.
As luck would have it there was one available, brand new, in the form of the Docooler Motherboard SR5650 SR5670 SR5690 Chipset Supports mSata AMD Opteron X89 4 8 12 16-Core CPU OEM. (‘Data-sheet follows:- )
Docooler Motherboard SR5650 SR5670 SR5690 Chipset Supports mSata AMD Opteron X89 4 8 12 16-Core CPU OEM Mainboard with Cooling Fan AMD
· Support AMD Opteron G34 6100 6200 6300 Series 8/12/16 core CPU.
· Tailor-made CPU heatsink fan included.
· All solid capacitors, stable and durable.
· support for both Registered ECC & non-ECC DDR3 memory up to 32GB capacity.
· Onboard mSATA slot for fast storage support.
Chipset: North bridge SR5650/ SR5670/ SR5690/South bridge SP5100
CPU SUPPORT: AMD Opteron G34 series
MEMORY: Support Dual Channel DDR3 1066/1333/1600 MHz
2 x 240PIN DDR3 SDRAM Memory Slot
Max. Supports up to 32GB Memory
BIOS: AMI BIOS, Supports advanced power management ACPI
CPU / System Temperature Monitoring
CPU / System Fan Monitoring
System Fan Monitoring
System Voltage Monitoring
1 x PCI-E 2.0 16x
1 x PCI-E 1x
STORAGE: 4 x SATA2 Connector (3Gb/s)
Support SATA RAID: 0,1,10
8 x USB 2.0 Gen1 Port
1 x USB 2.0 Gen1 Header
1 x USB 2.0 20-Pin Header
LAN: Realtek RTL8118AS – 10/100/1000 Controller
Supports 6 channel HD Audio Codec
Front Audio port, Mic port.
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
8 x USB 2.0
1 x RJ-45 Port
3 x Audio Connector
2 x USB 2.0 Headers (each header supports 2 USB 2.0 ports)
1 x CLR_COMS/JBAT1 Header
1 x Front Audio Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x CPU Fan Header
1 x System Fan Header
4 x SATA2 3Gb/s Connector, supports AMCI
1 x USB2.0 20PIN Header
1 x COM Header
1 x 24-pin ATX Power Supply Header
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power Supply Header
Micro ATX Form Factor Dimension: 25.5 cm x 19.5 cm ( W x L )
Support Windows 7(64it)/10(64bit)
1 * Motherboard
1 * cooling fan
This looked ideal; despite requiring DDR3 RAM, rather than the more-up-to-date DDR4. – I had 8GBs DDR3 on 2 sticks of 4GB each in an unused computer that needed repair anyway; so I decided that I’d use that for now. I ordered the motherboard for £83 plus the CPU for £15. – Total cost only £98.00.
Now bearing in mind that the cost of even a second-gen 6 or 8-core Ryzen processor alone is well over £100; yet here I am buying a 12-core AMD CPU and a motherboard – with a stock cooler – for under £100!
There are drawbacks however: The first of those is that, despite having USB ports on the i/o, and being littered with USB headers; the motherboard has no USB3 capability. It is also rather short on PCIe ports; having only one PCIe x 16 port for the graphics card, plus a single PCIe x 1 slot for an add-on card. There is also no facility for using an NVME card, and there is also no potential for inserting an NVMe adapter due to the lack of / lack of availability of a PCIe x 4 slot. Another thing is that the board is only PCIe II capable.
So first, to solve the lack of USB3 ports, I order a 4-port USB3 expansion card which I can plug into the PCIe x 1 slot. For the boot-drive I’ll use a brand new ADATA 480GB SSD, which I’ll connect via one of the provided SATA leads to the respective SATA port on the board.
I can’t do anything about the lack of PCIe slots: There will just have to be a lack of PCIe cards apart from the graphics card and the USB3 card.
I can’t do anything about the SATA II operation either: (SATA II is 10 times slower than the current SATA III. SATA IV will be arriving soon.) The SSD will still be around 4 to 5 times faster than a hard drive anyway; so no big worries.
Let’s take a look at what I’ve got and what I’ve got to come in the way of component parts: –
First; the motherboard: –
Docooler Motherboard SR5650 SR5670 SR5690 Chipset Supports mSata AMD Opteron X89 4 8 12 16-Core CPU OEM.
…Yes I’m aware you’ve seen the board already; but this pic is a bit bigger; so ‘better detail. – Also you get to see the box and cooler too.
Next; the graphics card: –
Palit GeForce GT 710 2GB Graphics Card
Yes it’s probably the cheapest 2GB graphics card that money can buy; but it’ll do: I’m not building this rig for gaming anyway. (Currently I’m intending to run folding@home on it.)
The Power Supply: –
Aero Cool Integrator OEM 500W 80+ Bronze PSU
I managed to pick up a Aero Cool Integrator OEM 500W 80+ Bronze PSU for just under £26.00; which is a good deal if you ask me.
The SSD: –
ADATA SU650 480GB SSD
I already had this in stock; so there was no extra purchase needed.
The USB 3 card: –
Approx (APPCIE4P) 4-Port USB 3.0 Card PCI Express
A rather cheap 4-port USB3 card. – I’m not looking to spend any more than I have to on this project.
Not forgetting the CPU chip itself: –
AMD Opteron – 12-core
Well at £15 it’s probably the cheapest processor I’ll ever buy.
More stuff: –
A Riotoro 120mm case fan, a TP-Link USB wireless dongle, and a few extra leads- should I need them.
There is also a card reader that I might use, as well as the case – which is in the store cupboard and will be cumbersome to remove, photograph, and replace. – Besides which I can keep it as a surprise for Part #2.
I have an optical drive and some USB2 speakers on order and still to be delivered. As soon as they arrive I’ll start building my Opteron – powered PC.