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Thread: Recommandation for a silent workstation PSU

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    Default Recommandation for a silent workstation PSU

    Hello,

    I am looking to purchase a PSU to power a new workstation with the following configuration:

    - Asus KGPE-D16 motherboard
    - 2x AMD Opteron 6386SE processors
    - 12x16GB (192 GB) DDR3-1600 1.35V Crucial ECC RDIMM modules
    - NVIDIA Quadro P4000 graphics card rendered fanless with an Accelero S3
    - NVIDIA GT 1030 MSI fanless graphics card
    - ASUS PIKE 2008 RAID controller (LSI SAS 2008 based)
    - up to 8 Samsung 860 EVO SATA 3.0 1TB or 2TB SSDs (the exact number and capacity of which has not yet been decided)
    - Creative Sound Blaster ZxR sound card
    - 2 Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM CPU fans
    - 3 Nanoxia Deep Silence 140mm case fans, that I might replace by Noctua 140mm fans if they are too noisy
    - a 4xUSB 3.1 gen 2 generic PCIe expansion card
    - Nanoxia Deep Silence 5 case

    The motherboard is in the SSI-EEB format.

    It requires a 24 pin SSI motherboard power connector, and 2 independent 12V 8 pin SSI CPU power connectors.

    I am looking for a power supply that would be able to provide enough power for the above, while at the same time being as silent as possible.

    The noise level is critical for my application. It should ideally be inaudible, or at the very least always below the ambient level in a quiet lab.

    I do not plan on overclocking anything. I might however add one or several GPUs dedicated to OpenCL computations in the future, provided I manage to run them without fans.

    The stock BIOS will be replaced by coreboot. Coreboot does not yet handle the low energy states as well as the stock BIOS, so the idle power usage might be higher than what would be with the latter.

    I live in France. I do not really have store links to provide you for price estimation in my country. However cost is not the limiting factor. Reliability in a 24/7 setting, quality and noise level are the decisive factors.

    The Corsair AX1600i seems to fulfill these requirements, but it is the most expensive power supply available.

    Is there a more economical alternative that would fulfill my requirements?

    If it is not too much trouble, how would the answer vary between the configuration without extra GPUs, and one with extra GPUs?

    Regarding the AX1600i, why do several review sites list in cable capacitors as a negative?

    Best regards.

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    You mean old workstation right? Because this is a really old workstation, the AMD Opteron 6386 SE was launched in 2012. It isn't based on the Zen CPU architecture but Bulldozer. CPU/motherboard this old is only interesting if you can get it really cheap or for free.

    But about the PSU, here in The Netherlands we have the Corsair HX1000 Platinum which is only 100 euro including VAT, maybe one of those stores can send it to France. Or maybe you can get another really silent power supply for around the same in France.

    https://tweakers.net/pricewatch/7425...hx1000-v2.html

    With a PSU like the HX1000 V2 you have still room for a couple of extra graphics cards.

    In cable caps don't are there for lower ripple in reviews, they don't have a real life purpose.

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    Yes indeed, this is a new workstation based on old hardware, but that comes with many advantages.


    The first advantage is that this hardware is old, so it can be had for relatively cheap second hand. I managed to obtain the 2 processors, the motherboard and the 192GB of ECC registered RAM for 650 euros in total.

    I reckon this is not the fastest workstation you could buy today, but its performance is still very adequate.

    For instance, the processors are Opterons, so they have plenty of cache. And with two of them, you get 32 real cores. A 1950X Threadripper is barely faster than 2 6386 SE Opterons for multi core loads. A 2950X Threadripper is about 20% faster. And that's using hyperthreads. If you want to disable hyperthreading for security reasons, you would need to buy a 2990WX to get 32 real cores.

    It is true however that the Zen and Zen2 architecture are 70 to 90% percent faster in single core loads.

    The price of a second hand 1950X, the cheapest of them, is about 600 euros. For barely above that price, I got the processors, a very capable motherboard with plenty of PCIe lanes, and 192 GB of ECC RAM, that I could expand to 256GB.


    The second advantage is the enhanced security this platform offers.

    The 6386 SE is the fastest of the latest generation of AMD Opterons without a PSP (the supervising micro controller that runs in the background at a level of privilege greater than even a bare metal hypervisor such as Xen running on your platform, similar to the Management Engine on Intel CPUs).

    Also, that platform can be ran with 100% open source replacement firmwares, among which Coreboot. A couple of years ago, a crowd funded projet was used to pay a company to develop and fully test those firmwares. You can have complete control on what is running in your system.

    Combining Coreboot with security oriented projects, such as Heads and Qubes OS, you can build a very secure systems that cannot be bootkitted without you knowing it.

    Furthermore, that motherboard has a very good design security wise, as the IOMMU is positioned in the northbridge, as there is IOMMU for graphics, and as it has correct PCIe ACS. With this, you can do proper separation of memory and PCIe ressources between bare metal VMs, such as Xen VMs.

    It also has a BNC module for which a fully open source replacement firmware has been developed, it has 4 NUMA nodes, and you can add a 2.0 TPM and an 8xSATA3/SAS2 RAID controller for cheap (10 and 20 euros, respectively).


    In the same way the Lenovo X230 Thinkpads are still very nice and capable laptops, that can be had for 100 euros second hand, and that can be made very secure with Coreboot, Heads, etc., the KGPE-D16 combined with 6386 SE processors can make a very capable and secure workstation for a very good price.



    Regarding the power supplies, thank you for the information.

    These in cable capacitors that are used to get good ratings in review regarding ripples, are they otherwise detrimental to the quality of the power supplied to the devices? My knowledge on that matter is rather limited.

    Also, if I decided to not add extra graphic cards in the near future, do you know if the 600W Seasonic PRIME Titanium Fanless PSU would be adequate for my system? I do not know if that forum is dedicated to Corsair power supplies. If that is the case, I apologize.
    Last edited by P vs NP; 03-20-2019 at 11:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P vs NP View Post
    192GB of ECC registered RAM

    The stock BIOS will be replaced by coreboot.

    I do not know if that forum is dedicated to Corsair power supplies.

    What are you doing that requires 192GB of RAM? (P vs NP sounds ominous)

    What are the advantages of Coreboot? (I'd be worried about messing up the BIOS)

    Despite the Guru's associations, this forum is for all PC power supplies
    Last edited by ashiekh; 03-20-2019 at 09:41 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P vs NP View Post
    These in cable capacitors that are used to get good ratings in review regarding ripples, are they otherwise detrimental to the quality of the power supplied to the devices? My knowledge on that matter is rather limited.

    Also, if I decided to not add extra graphic cards in the near future, do you know if the 600W Seasonic PRIME Titanium Fanless PSU would be adequate for my system? I do not know if that forum is dedicated to Corsair power supplies. If that is the case, I apologize.
    The in-cable capacitors are added to increase filtering performance without using limited PSU PCB available space. They're of no major concern regarding the PSU's output performance; as even if some or all of them fail, the PSU will remain operational and usually even with the filtering performance penalty, the PSU will still stay inside the ATX specifications. They're scored against in some reviews because they make cable routing a bit harder, as the point of flexibility of the cables is moved futher away from the connectors, plus the area around the connectors is made more bulky. So it's just a matter of the cables being somewhat more cumbersome to use (and especially if one is looking for a clean build with meticulous cable routing).

    600W would be sufficient if you were looking to add one more GPU, assuming prolonged full load scenarios. Adding more than one P4000 would be cutting it close or going over the rated output of the PSU, depending on utilization and actual consumption (as TDP/TGP/SDP and other estimates are not set in stone for every application). You'd expect to see about 250W total for both CPUs and up to 150W per GPU plus about 100W for the rest, worst-case scenario. Usually not everything will be running at full blast simultaneously, but you can get pretty close with some workloads. It is therefore best to plan for some headroom, especially as time goes on and dust and component wear-and-tear accumulates.
    Careful what you wish for... You just might get it.

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    i dont see how psu units are that loud..i have never heard any psu i have ever bought.....i believe some of u put ur ears up to the case...all my gosh..its too loud.

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