The Round Up: X99 Workstation Insanity Machine!


The Round Up: X99 Workstation Insanity Machine!

February 24, 2015 12:00 PM

By: Ben Kuyt


Before we start doing this whole round up, let me go on record: I would never recommend an X99 system at this time strictly for gaming. There are many more cost effective ways of getting to the glorious 1080p, 60FPS, Ultra setting goodness without using the latest and greatest stuff. X99 is workstation level stuff, but that doesn't mean we can't dream.

So what is X99? It's the latest chipset from Intel designed specifically for workstation and server chips. The big main three are the i7-5820k, i7-5930k, and i7-5960X. These range from moderately affordable to insanely expensive, but not without their reasons. All of them are insanely powerful, sporting six or eight cores, all with hyperthreading. They're so powerful, and require so much power to utilize them (for an Intel chip), that they don't come with graphics capabilities or even coolers in the box.


This means that the price goes up at every turn, but for those willing, the benefit is perfection. Everything from games to multi-tasking to rendering and more, these chips are amazing. Which is why we are going all out today and using the X99 platform to build one of the most insane computers ever put together on this site. As usual, all prices are in USD from where applicable.

Let's get started on the X99 Workstation Insanity machine. Add "of doom" if you want to sound crazier.


CPU: Intel i7-5820k

No, we're not going to use the top tier chip. That truly would be insane at an MSRP of $1000.00 USD. We're going to go for the cheapest option, which is still over $300. The 5820k is a six core, 12 thread chip, and even though it's the littlest of the three brothers, it is a monster.


Ever wanted to render Titanic while playing Crysis and Far Cry 4 at the same time? While I haven't seen it, this chip would probably be capable. Amazing chip, and the first affordable six core Intel has released that's worth looking at.

CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i

A beefy CPU needs a beefy cooler, and a lot of people love the H100i from Corsair. Cool, quiet, and with some really smart software, this cooler will keep even X99 CPUs cool under a heavy load. Might not allow for super crazy overclocking, but you could definitely try a little with this cooler.

Motherboard: Asus X99-A


Personal opinion here: This board is gorgeous. The colour scheme looks great, the heatsinks are edgy but not stupid looking, and everything just looks great on it. It also supports 64GB of RAM, has 3-way SLI support, 10 USB 3.0 ports, all the fixings for front panel support, a separate audio system featuring Crystal Sound 2, and it is one of the cheaper X99 boards on the market. This is one of these best boards in my opinion, and a lot of people seem to think the same.

RAM: Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB DDR4 2400Mhz

Yes, you read that right. Double Data Rate FOUR. X99 is one of the first chipsets to offer support for DDR4 RAM. What does this mean for you? It means faster rendering times as a content creator, faster load times if you use a RAMdisk for games and programs, and possibly increased speed in games. That's awesome. Downsides? mainly the price and that it is only available on one consumer chipset at the moment. No AMD support yet.


You may be saying "But there's 2400Mhz DDR3 RAM, isn't there? What's the difference?" Yes, there is 2400Mhz RAM and even 2600Mhz RAM in DDR3. But that's the high point. 2400Mhz is the low point for DDR4, and the savvy user will be able to take advantage of this through overclocking. Just be super careful if you do.

SSD: Adata Premier Pro SP600 128GB

This is a really snazzy little SSD. Adata makes really good memory and SSDs, so putting them in this system is a perfectly fine fit. If you wanted more insanity, you could put two of these in the system in Raid 0 and get even better speeds. Just hope you don't get any major errors.

HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB

You're gonna want a lot of space for all those movies and stuff, so here's 3TB for under $100. Seriously, take it, it's awesome. If only the consoles could have this sort of space. If only.

GPU: Asus Strix GTX 980

It has 4GB of RAM! Sorry, had to make that joke. Anyway, this is easily my personal favourite 980. The Strix, a bloodsucking bird of prey from ancient Roman and Greek myth, is only heard when it has to be. Similarly, the Strix GPUs have a special silent running mode which completely turns off the fans until the the chip gets above a certain temperature. This means in games like League of Legends and web browsing, you won't hear a peep from this awesome looking and awesome performing card.

Case: Fractal Design Define R5

Much like the Asus Strix, this case is all about silent function. Spacious, elegant, and with tons of features, this case is great for a premium build like this. Room for all your water cooling needs, and with amazing sound dampening, you may not even hear your system running above your breathing.

PSU: Fractal Design Tesla R2

An 800W, 80+ Gold power supply will feed this machine. As most Fractal products, it is silent yet offers great performance. The Gold rating means clean power goes to the system, and the 800W means you'll have more than enough room for a second graphics card or a ton of fans.

So, there it is. X99. Really quite something crazy. Coming in at the low, low (not low at all) price of $2069.14 on PcPartPicker before OS and peripherals, this thing really is an insanity machine. If you have anything to do with content creation, you want an X99 Workstation. These truly are the best you can buy.

Happy gaming.