Project Rogue was conceived out of necessity in September 2012. Constituent components were researched in October 2012 and then subsequently ordered end of October 2012. A week later the project was complete in the sense that it functioned as a whole. It was alive and breathing. One month later, in December 2012, Project Rogue has now completed its extensive accessorisation phase and now I reveal it to you in all its glory.
How was Project Rogue conceived?
Early September 2012 I started working with some insanely powerful desktop workstation hardware – dual xeon 16 core 32 thread watercooled cpus, 8 water cooled gpus, 128GB ram, dual 1200W power supplies and immensely large cases. We were loading up these beasts with heavy computations that were utilising both multiple physical cpus and multiple gpus.
At that time my personal machine at home was a humble 11″ macbook air which although previously had been more than adequate for my needs it had now essentially been made suitably redundant and in a sense outdone. It was clear that I would need something a bit more ambitious to be able to do the kind of work at home that I was doing at work.
Something that would allow me to do uncompromising computations on the cpu and across multi-gpus but within the constraints of a personal budget (which I far exceeded in the end due to my own uncompromising nature). Something that within loose constraints would be uncompromising in its demands for high quality components and power and not settle for what was just good enough – something almost rogue in nature.
What is Project Rogue?
Sadly it’s nothing as grand as the preceding section makes it out to be where I got a little carried away but to me, actually, it is grand for reasons I’ll get into below. Project Rogue is a home computation and gaming rig with modern high quality components within the constraints of a home budget (sadly a characteristically generous one).
There are two things that make Project Rogue highly significant to me which is why it is being made into a series of posts on this blog. Firstly, it is a real world machine born out of a real world need created from scratch in the modern day and I’m sure that there are many that would benefit from an account of the entire process of creating such a rig. I certainly wish there was such a guide for me when I started.
Secondly, and more importantly, this was my first pc build ever which I admit without reservation and given that fact and the calibre of this machine I feel a sense of achievement and would like to catalogue this milestone of mine. I also think that the latter point makes, this account to come, even more valuable for those out there who haven’t done this before in making it that much more accessible and approachable to them.
I have to say, that whilst my assumption was (as always) that I was the only one who hadn’t done anything like this before, that could not have been further from the truth. I was really very surprised to learn that most ex-colleagues and some current colleagues over the years had either had no exposure to hardware to date or had simply become totally disconnected from it in mainstream commodity development.
I’ve been there and I know what it’s like. You’re developing on a virtual machine. You don’t need to know where it runs and you don’t need to care. The illusion of abstraction and portability reassures you that as long as you write your code to be fast it will automatically run faster when put on better hardware but in reality that is not necessarily true. Hardware is never proactively part of the development process and developers are generally unaware of what hardware they are running on in production.
Home computation and gaming rig component list
Here follows the component and accessory list for a home computation and gaming rig. Each component was picked with a particular motivation in mind and I’ll write about those motivations in a separate post. But generally I tried to go for the best, not unreasonably expensive, quality components that were released most recently.
For the experts out there if you are expecting a workstation or server specification build or a high end consumer build such as a multi cpu, xeon or sandybridge build you’ll be disappointed. This is, sadly, a bit simpler and a bit cheaper but at least up to date with ivybridge and the latest 7970 cards. It is a consumer grade build built with two gpu computations and gaming in mind. It is uncompromising in the gpus chosen however. If you’re expecting a full build watercooled solution you’ll also be sorely disappointed. I needed to start with air-cooling but no doubt next up is water.
In terms of cost – the total cost of the following component list comes to £4385 but a few parts having been bought have been replaced and the sales of the older parts are still pending and once they go through the total cost will reduce to £3533 which sounds a little less mindless.
|1||Case||£143||Corsair Obsidian 650D||Amazon, OC||Windowed and matte black|
|2||Motherboard||£231||Asus Maximus V Formula/ThunderFX||Amazon, OC||Multi-gpu PCI-E, dual band wifi|
|3||PSU||£205||Corsair AX1200||Amazon, OC||Fully modular and future proof|
|4||CPU||£240||Intel IvyBridge i7-3770K||Amazon, OC||4 cores, 8 threads|
|5||CPU Cooler||£80||Corsair H100||Amazon, OC||Sealed liquid cooler|
|6||Memory||£200||Corsair 16GB Dominator Platinum||Amazon, OC||Pure aesthetic beauty|
|7||GPU 1||£395||Asus Matrix HD7970 Platinum||Amazon, OC||Top end triple slot AMD radeon card|
|8||GPU 2||£395||Asus Matrix HD7970 Platinum||Amazon, OC||Top end triple slot AMD radeon card|
|9||GPU 3||£380||MSI R7970 Lightning Boost Edition||Amazon, OC||Top end dual slot AMD radeon card|
|10||GPU 4||£380||MSI R7970 Lightning Boost Edition||Amazon, OC||Top end dual slot AMD radeon card|
|11||Monitor||£489||Asus PB278Q||Amazon, OC||27″ LED, fully adjustable|
|12||SSD 1||£171||Corsair Force GS 240GB||Amazon, OC||90K IOPS, bright red|
|13||SSD 2||£171||Corsair Force GS 240GB||Amazon, OC||90K IOPS, bright red|
|14||HDD 1||£66||WD Scorpio Blue 1TB (Spec) (PDF)||Amazon, OC||Fast 2.5″ 1TB HD|
|15||HDD 2||£66||WD Scorpio Blue 1TB (Spec) (PDF)||Amazon, OC||Fast 2.5″ 1TB HD|
|16||Bluray writer||£80||Asus BW-12B1ST||Amazon, OC||Multi-purpose drive|
|17||4x SSD Rack||£58||Icy Dock 4×2.5″ SSD/HD Rack||Amazon, OC||4x drive hot swap rack|
|18||Fan controller||£47||Lamptron FC5V2||Amazon, OC||Multi-colour multi-output|
|19||120mm fans||£18||Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition||Amazon, OC||Radiator fans with red fan rims!|
|20||120mm fans||£10||Corsair AF120 Quiet Edition||Amazon, OC||Airflow fans with red rims!|
|21||200mm fan||£15||Bitfenix Spectre Pro||Amazon, OC||Quiet black 200mm fan|
|22||Speakers||£183||Corsair SP2500||Amazon, OC||Top end 2.1 speakers|
|23||Keyboard 1||£11||MS Keyboard 600||Amazon, OC||Cheap and nasty|
|24||Keyboard 2||£70||Logitech G510||Amazon, OC||Soft touch with macros|
|25||Mouse 1||£45||Logitech Performance MX||Amazon, OC||Cordless|
|26||Mouse 2||£35||Logitech G500||Amazon, OC||Corded|
|27||USB3 Stick||£50||Corsair Survivor Stealth 64GB||Amazon, OC||Stunning and fast|
|28||USB3 adapter cable||£7||Akasa USB3 adapter cable||Amazon, OC||Converts usb3 to mb header|
|29||Thermal paste||£10||Artic Silver 5||Amazon, OC||Thermal paste and cleaner|
|30||Cable ties 1||£3||Large velcro cable ties||Amazon, OC||Multi-coloured and chunky|
|31||Cable ties 2||£4||Large velcro cable ties||Amazon, OC||Black and chunky|
|32||Cable ties 3||£12||Small velcro cable ties||Amazon, OC||Thin ties bulk pack|
|33||Power meter||£19||Efergy Socket 2.0||Amazon, OC||Shows real time watts used|
|34||Sata cables 1||£5||Akasa 50cm sata3||Amazon, OC||Fat sata cable|
|35||Sata cables 2||£17||4x Akasa super-slim 50cm sata3||Amazon, OC||Super slim form factor|
|36||DVD-R||£7||25x Verbatim DVD-R||Amazon, OC||System restore discs|
|37||CD/DVD pens||£5||Fellowes CD/DVD Pens||Amazon, OC||No comment|
|38||External HDD||£62||Samsung M3 1TB||Amazon, OC||Out of case backup|
What’s next in the series?
Project Rogue will become a series starting with a step by step account of its own build in the form of a photo journal and then continuing to document its evolution in real time. I will also focus on important aspects of a computer build that would be relevant to anyone attempting any build. Post Project Rogue there will be another good few builds coming each offering a progression of some kind of previous builds and if I haven’t run out of cash by then and had to shut the site down I’ll document those too! Stay tuned!