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DIY Deep Learning Computer for Training

For anyone needing a monster computer to do machine learning with deep learning, image detection, CNN, image classification, region proposal networks or whatever.  This is a box I personally built, so I know these components work together.  

The links go to amazon which are usually pretty well priced.  At the time I bought the parts I compared prices with Newegg and decided Amazon was a better deal and shipped to me faster.  This may or may not still be true and the prices are likely to have changed.

Parts List

Hard Drives

Case (Choose either rack mount or floor)

Server Rack = $80

Legacy GPU Option

I've also used the older liquid cooled Titan X with factory liquid cooling, but there isn't much of advantage to this now that the Pascal version is out.

Why Only 2 GPUs?

The CPU only has 40 PCI-Express lanes to communicate with the GPU.  The Titans take 16 each (32 total) leaving only 8 for another GPU.  That means if you add another GPU it will only be able to transfer data half as fast as the other 2.  This current setup should be able to handle another GPU, or at least the motherboard supports it and the power supply can (I think) probably take one more Titan.  In the end though, I run out of memory with 2 GPUs, so it seems like a waste of money all around.

Warnings, Hints, and Advice

  • Be really careful about swapping out any of these components.  The motherboard needs to handle the 128GB RAM, but so does the CPU.  The CPU needs 40 PCI-Express lanes and not 28.  A lower efficiency rating on your power supply can turn this little computer into a small furnace!  Even the case needs to be really big.  I don't care if you change the parts...it doesn't hurt me at all.  But keep in mind this build is pretty maxed out on a lot of fronts, so you should make sure you do your homework before changing stuff.
  • CPU 8 pin power connectors are not the same as 8 pin PCI connectors.  If you get this wrong the computer won't even post. (Sometimes I'm such a n00b)
  • The CPU cooler was a pain to figure out.  This youtube video helped some, but it still took a little trial and error.  In the end, my cooler could moved some when twisted...but wasn't going to fall off.  I haven't had any overheating issues, so I guess it is okay.
  • I needed a lot of storage so I went with 2 hard drives.  I cache files to disk on the SSD and have the 3TB HDD for anything else.  500 GB might be enough for many people's needs.