Introducing the Dream Machine – a no holds barred gaming monster PC that we constructed along with Most PC.
It’s the end result of a yr’s price of technological growth, and the machine we have constructed now is likely one of the strongest and complicated of its variety.
It’s an train in hubris, neither adhering to any price range, nor any perceived spec—it’s the better of the most effective of what we’ve accessible as we speak.
CPU: Intel Core i9-7900X three.30GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 9
RAM: 128GB (8x 16GB) Essential Ballistix Elite
GPU: 2x Nvidia Titan Xp
OS Storage: 2x Samsung 960 Professional 512GB M.2 PCIe SSD RAID zero
Different storage: Samsung 960 Professional 2TB M.2 PCIe SSD, 2x Samsung 850 Professional 2TB, 2x HGST Ultrastar He10 10TB 7,200rpm
PSU: Corsair HX1200i and CableMod Cable Package
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Elite Tremendous Tower Case
Cooling: EKWB Cooling Suite, 8x Corsair ML120 Professional, 3x Corsair ML140 Professional
Monitor: Asus PG27UQ 27-inch 4K 144Hz HDR
Mouse: Mionix Castor
Keyboard: Logitech G413 Carbon
Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Professional
Microphone: Razer Seiren Professional
Equipment: Rode PSA1 Increase Arm, Noblechairs EPIC Sequence (White), Nvidia HB SLI Bridge
OS: Home windows 10 Residence
Dream Machine is an idea, not one thing that ought to ever actually be tried. It’s, by its very nature, an unreasonable machine, past any suggestions. So, when no holds are barred, what are you able to do with the newest and biggest on the market? That’s what we’re right here to search out out—to construct, in-house, one unimaginable system, at one unimaginable worth.
The specs of the beast
As we talked about earlier, speccing out Dream Machine 2017 was a problem.
The processing world is in a state of maximum flux proper now, with each Intel and AMD offering incredible options for anybody seeking to construct past a quad-core system.
And let’s go on the report: if AMD’s Threadripper had been accessible after we began the construct, with all of its 16 cores, we’d have used that, and if Intel’s $2,000-plus Core i9-7980XE have been round, that may have been on the playing cards, too. Nonetheless, deadlines are a kicker, and you can wait round ceaselessly for the following huge factor.
1. CPU conundrums
We went via three iterations of tubing runs earlier than deciding on two bow loops. The gap between the reminiscence becoming on the left of the CPU and the one on the best is about half an inch, so we couldn’t use one as a template, and as a substitute needed to bend each loops by hand, utilizing two totally different cylindrical objects—on this case, our deburrer and an unused reservoir.
2. Customized cables
These cables turned out nice, and undoubtedly add some pizzazz. Our one remorse? Not choosing longer cables. The Elite is ridiculously huge; the 24-pin was nice, however the two eight-pins on the prime practically didn’t make it.
If it weren’t for some intelligent routing and Phanteks’s eight-pin EPS extensions, we wouldn’t have made deadline.
three. Cross-through perfection
One of many foremost causes we wished to make use of the Enthoo Elite PC case was the compartmentalized design. Combining it with pass-through fittings retains the highest aesthetic exceptionally clear, and permits us to cover the vast majority of our extra advanced tubing runs out of sight between the 2 loops, and behind the again of the case.
four. Reservoir ridiculousness
These plates are genius. Designed to cover SSD/HDD mounting factors, you possibly can take away or maintain them, relying on what you intend to put in.
If you wish to set up a reservoir, take away one of many brackets, and select whichever fittings you need. We drilled straight via the aluminum plate to put in our two reservoirs, to maintain the aesthetic clear and match multiple loop.
5. Laborious drive excessive jinks
“However, TechRadar, the place are the 2 10TB onerous drives?” Good query. We truly took them out of this shot, so you can see the complexity of the tubing runs, main into the again of the chassis.
Nonetheless, the onerous drives match right here snugly, underneath the tubes and barely above the followers/radiator, on included brackets. You possibly can nearly spot the mounting hooks.
Processor: Intel Core i9-7900X
The secret this time is 10 cores and 20 threads. Intel’s newest Skylake X elements are a number of the gnarliest we’ve seen.
With a reimagined smart-cache superstructure and a top-end turbo of four.3GHz, the Core i9-7900X is a single-core IPC-demolishing and multi-core rendering powerhouse.
That is additionally Intel’s first use of its Turbo three.zero tech. Much like AMD’s XFR good overclocking, in purposes that aggressively use fewer than 4 threads, the Core i9-7900X allocates the method to its “finest” cores, and boosts their clock speeds as much as four.5GHz.
Something able to maxing out greater than 4 brings the complete chip again to the four.3GHz commonplace Max Turbo. In comparison with final yr, we’ve additionally seen enhancements to the variety of PCIe lanes (from 40 to 44), a rise in DDR4 reminiscence assist, and the DMI (direct media interface between the processor and chipset) enhance from 4x PCIe 2.zero lanes to 4x PCIe three.zero, to alleviate any bottlenecks.
The Core i9’s true potential, nevertheless, lies in its overclocking functionality. It’s an intriguingly combined bag. And, for as soon as, we’re not restricted by silicon instability, however by thermals. There’s no denying the i9-7900X is one hell of a scorching chip. Even with a 240mm AIO cooling the 10-cored behemoth, overclocking even to four.5GHz can result in thermal throttling hitting that TJMax of 100 C.
That mentioned, for those who can circumvent the cooling conundrums with a sound liquid-cooled setup, it’s not unattainable to see four.8GHz or four.9GHz—probably even 5.0GHz—on this powerhouse of a chip, pushing Cinebench R15 scores all the way in which as much as 2,600-plus, and smashing CPU-heavy rendering occasions into the filth.
Motherboard: Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 9
When it got here to picking a motherboard, we had a number of standards in thoughts. We wanted a board that might overclock like a champ, with a clean-looking black aesthetic, and have the potential to assist as much as three PCIe M.2 drives, with none ugly protrusions jutting out from the PCB.
The final half was our foremost concern. We wished two 512GB Samsung 960 Execs in RAID zero for our OS, and a 2TB mannequin for the rest we might consider. Coupled with two old-school 10TB HDDs, plus two 2TB Samsung 850 Execs for much more storage, and connectivity is massively essential.
That left us with one winner: the Gigabyte Aorus X299 Gaming 9, a mammoth of a board to suit inside our equally gargantuan case. It’s one of many solely mobos to assist greater than two PCIe SSDs on the board itself, second solely to the Gaming 7, which lacks the heatsinks.
Plus, its onboard audio is outstanding, it options twin eight-pin EPS energy for smoother voltage software throughout overclocks, and 5 PCIe x16 lanes, in concept enabling us to run three-way SLI in x8x16x8 configuration.
Graphics card: twin Nvidia Titan XP
12 teraflops of pure drive, three,840 CUDA cores, 12GB of GDDR5X, and the total would possibly of Pascal’s GP102 core. Multiply that by two, and what you’re left with is $2,400 (£1770, AU$3000)-worth of pure graphical energy.
Pascal was nothing in need of a grasp stroke by Nvidia, making the spectacular Maxwell structure seem like a toddler’s plaything compared. Designed to place AMD’s Vega on the again foot, we doubt even Nvidia anticipated what was about to happen.
As AMD vacated the higher echelons of efficiency GPU computing, Nvidia was left unchallenged. Quick-forward a yr and the Titan X (Pascal) of that era was trumped by Nvidia’s personal GTX 1080 Ti, matching it spec for spec, sans one further GB of GDDR5X.
The answer to derailing its personal flagship? Unleashing the total would possibly of the GP102 core on to the world. That includes an extra 256 CUDA cores, 16 extra texture models, and a powerful enhance to core and reminiscence clocks, the true Titan Xp arrived to sink its tooth into that higher ecosphere as soon as once more. A real 4K gaming card—however at a value.
RAM: 128GB (8x 16GB) Essential Ballistix Elite DDR4-3200
Reminiscence hasn’t modified an enormous deal — most capability stays the identical at 128GB, and the one factor that basically has seen any enhance is frequency, which now caps out at round four,266MT/s.
That mentioned, at that velocity, you chop your most capability in half, and as huge advocates of capability over velocity, we merely can’t warrant it over the choice.
That mentioned, we did need to do one thing totally different, so this time round we determined to place all eight DIMMs on ice, stripping them of their inventory heatsinks, and liquid-cooling the lot of them.
We’ve all the time beloved Essential’s reminiscence kits for his or her stability, availability, and efficiency, so we requested in a not-so-subtle 128GB (8x 16GB) of its Ballistix Elites, operating at three,200MT/s, with a CAS latency of 16.
It does really feel one thing of a disgrace to strip these kits down, as a result of the powder-coated end on the heatsinks is likely one of the nicest we’ve seen, however the aesthetic end and additional pep that liquid cooling your reminiscence provides to a water-cooled loop is tough to disclaim, particularly once you’re chilling two banks of the unstable SOBs.
SSD: Samsung 960 Professional (2x 512GB, 1x 2TB), Samsung 850 Professional (2x 2TB)
For our OS storage, we knew we wished one thing a bit of sooner than your commonplace M.2 PCIe SSD, and proper now, the one strategy to obtain that’s by RAIDing two, already highly effective, PCIe drives.
Though, with the X299 chipset, you possibly can put money into Intel’s on-processor RAID know-how for a payment, it’s, sadly, locked to its 600p drives, which, to be frank, pale compared to the likes of Samsung’s 960 Execs.
The chipset, nevertheless, nonetheless helps RAID zero, 1, 5, and 10, so the answer was easy: two 512GB Samsung 960 Execs in RAID zero for the OS.
On prime of that, we will present an extra 2TB of normal PCIe storage for another applications or video games we wish.
For media storage, we determined to up the ante a bit of extra, and opted for 2, now nearly historical, 2TB Samsung 850 Professional 2.5-inch SSDs. We’ve set these up in RAID zero once more, to capitalize on that extra velocity, and shall be backing up all 7TB of storage on to our 10TB mirrored HDD array.
Laborious drive: HGST Ultrastar HE10
Talking of onerous drive arrays, why repair what isn’t damaged? HGST is now a part of Western Digital, considered one of our favourite spinning platter manufacturers, and these helium-filled 10TB three.5-inch disks are a number of the finest within the enterprise.
Setting this pair up in RAID 1 offers us a complete of 10TB of mirrored storage, with loads of redundancy, for an on-site backup of the whole lot and something on the system.
And with their spectacular sequential efficiency, backing up weekly and even day by day shouldn’t be an excessive amount of of a problem, particularly given the infrastructure residing inside the remainder of the system.
We had fairly a debate within the workplace as as to if to incorporate these or not. The Phanteks Enthoo Elite does have assist for a number of HDDs within the backside tray, though, in actuality, we might solely use two, as a result of any extra would influence on our liquid-cooling plans. And there’s a sure noise factor we’re attempting to keep away from.
Relegating these disks to backup drives, nevertheless, does neutralize the noise considerably as, utilizing incremental backups, these ought to solely be working for a small a part of the day or week.
Cooling: EKWB liquid cooling and Corsair ML followers
As quickly as we had affirmation of the elements we’d be that includes in our Dream Machine, we headed to EKWB’s web site to seize the easiest liquid-cooling .
For us, nothing beats the clear, delicate look of EK’s elements. With the Core i9-7900X being notoriously scorching underneath the collar, and people Titan Xps being no slouches both, we additionally wanted some severe fan energy to chill the loops, so we went with a number of the finest we’ve seen this yr: Corsair’s Magazine Lev ML120 and 140 Professional sequence. With an enormous RPM working vary, spectacular static strain figures, and a incredible aesthetic, they’re a no brainer.
PSU: Corsair HX1200i
The selection of PSU this time round was a straightforward one to make: We went straight for Corsair’s HX1200i. After utilizing the 1,000W variant final yr, and appreciating simply how quiet it’s with its 0dB fan tech, plus the incredible Platinum power effectivity ranking, there actually was no different selection.
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Elite
The Enthoo Elite is undoubtedly the king of all fulltower circumstances. Coming in at a staggering $900 (round £660, AU$1100), this compartmentalized leviathan has the potential to assist each an ITX and an XL-ATX system concurrently.
Mix that with its class-leading liquid-cooling assist and exceptionally premium construct supplies, and there’s merely no argument about why we selected this case.
The Elite is available in its personal flight case to guard its huge 66lb bulk (when empty). It has two units of accent kits, and helps as much as 20x 120mm followers, or 17x 140mm followers (with 5 included).
Phanteks hasn’t spared any expense with construct supplies, both, using 4mm anodized sandblasted curved aluminum, a powder-coated metal chassis inside, and 4mm tempered glass with mesh air flow baked in. The record of options is nearly infinite, and the Enthoo Elite even comes with a five-year guarantee.