Monday, October 23, 2023

Stormputer reborn!

Amazingly, seven years have passed since Dan built Stormputer. At that moment, it was certainly state of the art and astonishingly powerful, and in the intervening time, it's been everything I wanted, and completely reliable.

But anyone who's not been living in a cave knows that the last 10 years have seen enormous innovation in computer technology, most significantly in the area of GPUs. Computer graphics is of course one of the oldest areas in the world of computing, but the recent innovation in GPUs has been driven by people who have found new uses for these specialized and extraordinarily powerful devices. Cryptography, blockchains, neural networks, and other non-video applications have catapaulted companies such as nVidia to the top of the computing world's leaders.

And during the seven years of Stormputer's existence, nVidia released a vast number of new GPUs. The GeForce 10 series which we used in Stormputer was succeeded by the GeForce 20 series in 2018, by the GeForce 30 series in 2020, and by the GeForce 40 series in 2022.

So, it being 2023, I asked Dan if he thought it was possible to replace the 1070 GPU that I was using with a GeForce RTX 4070 Ti.

Dan, bless his heart, replied "Sure!", and so we set about figuring out the details.

Which turned out to be a lot!

The 4070 Ti is a very large piece of equipment, so to start with you need to have a full size case to mount it. Moreover, due to its size and weight, that graphics card comes with a special additional steel brace to allow it to be supported fully by the case, rather than imposing too much stress on my motherboard's PCI slot. It also needs special power cables (supplied by Gigabyte as part of the 4070 Ti).

Those special power cables, in turn, needed to be connected to a modern, more powerful, and more sophisticated Power Supply, so we upgraded to a wonderful EVGA 1000w G5 SuperNova 80Plus Gold power supply, which comes with its own new 15Amp-rated power code to the house power.

As long as we had the case open, and were re-wiring everything with new power cables etc., it was a good time for a general tuneup, so we also added:

Not only do we use every inch of the lovely Stormputer full size case, when we seated the new GPU in the motherboard slot, we discovered that one of the case fans no longer fit, as it physically had no room left in that part of the case.

So far, so great! The control software confirms that all the temperatures are running well, and we aren't seeing any alarms in the Event Viewer.

Hopefully I'll get seven more years of great PC performance out of Stormputer!