DREAM MA­CHINE 2017

Maximum PC - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - –MAX­I­MUM PC STAFF

We rise to our an­nual build chal­lenge to put to­gether the best sys­tem pos­si­ble—money def­i­nitely no ob­ject.

IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS, there is also op­por­tu­nity. In the con­vo­luted world of tran­sis­tors and nanome­ters, bat­tles are be­ing fought, as In­tel and AMD vie for your hard-earned cash. The core count is ris­ing, and we’re cur­rently see­ing the land­scape change at an in­com­pre­hen­si­ble rate. Soon, 16- and 18-core parts will be­come the weapons of choice for any­one look­ing to build such a lu­di­crously bank-break­ing sys­tem as this.

For now, though, the heady heights of 32 threads are noth­ing more than a fevered dream, hid­den from con­sumers un­til their grand mas­ters see fit to re­lease them upon the com­pu­ta­tional world. But Dream Ma­chine doth wait for no man. It’s the cul­mi­na­tion of a year’s worth of tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment, and the ma­chine we build now, one of the most pow­er­ful and in­tri­cate of its kind, would look very dif­fer­ent if we were to build it in even six months’ time. It is an ex­er­cise in hubris, nei­ther ad­her­ing to any bud­get, nor any per­ceived spec—it is the best of the best of what we have avail­able to­day.

Dream Ma­chine is a con­cept, not some­thing that should ever re­ally be at­tempted. It is, by its very na­ture, an un­rea­son­able ma­chine, be­yond any rec­om­men­da­tions. So, when no holds are barred, what can you do with the lat­est and great­est hard­ware out there? That’s what we’re here to find out—to build, in-house, one in­cred­i­ble sys­tem, at one in­cred­i­ble price.

AS WE’VE ALLUDED TO AL­READY, spec­c­ing out Dream Ma­chine 2017 was a chal­lenge. The pro­cess­ing world is in a state of ex­treme flux right now, with both In­tel and AMD pro­vid­ing fan­tas­tic so­lu­tions for any­one look­ing to build be­yond a quad-core sys­tem. And let’s go on the record: If AMD’s Thread­rip­per were avail­able to­day, with all of its 16 cores, we would have used that (be­lieve us—we al­most had it, but, un­for­tu­nately, AMD wouldn’t budge its ship­ping dead­line by a week), and if In­tel’s $2,000-plus Core i9-7980XE were around, that would have been on the cards, too. How­ever, dead­lines are a kicker, and you could wait around for­ever for the next big thing.

CPU CONUNDRUMS We went through three it­er­a­tions of tub­ing runs be­fore set­tling on two bow loops. The dis­tance be­tween the mem­ory fit­ting on the left of the CPU and the one on the right is about half an inch, so we couldn’t use one as a tem­plate, and in­stead had to bend both loops by hand, us­ing two dif­fer­ent cylin­dri­cal ob­jects—in this case, our de­bur­rer and an un­used reser­voir.

CUSTOM CA­BLES These ca­bles turned out great, and def­i­nitely add some piz­zazz. Our one re­gret? Not opt­ing for longer ca­bles. The Elite is ridicu­lously big; the 24-pin was fine, but the two eight-pins at the top nearly didn’t make it. If it weren’t for some clever rout­ing and Phanteks’s eight-pin EPS ex­ten­sions, we wouldn’t have made dead­line.

PASS-THROUGH PERFECTION One of the main rea­sons we wanted to use the Enthoo Elite was the com­part­men­tal­ized de­sign. Com­bin­ing it with pass-through fit­tings keeps the top aes­thetic ex­cep­tion­ally clean, and al­lows us to hide the ma­jor­ity of our more com­plex tub­ing runs out of sight be­tween the two loops, and be­hind the back of the case.

RESER­VOIR RIDICULOUSNESS These plates are ge­nius. De­signed to hide SSD/HDD mount­ing points, you can re­move or keep them, depend­ing on what you plan to in­stall. If you want to in­stall a res, re­move one of the brack­ets, and choose which­ever fit­tings you want. We drilled straight through the alu­minum plate to in­stall our two reser­voirs, to keep the aes­thetic clean and fit more than one loop.

HARD DRIVE HIGH JINKS “But Max­i­mumP C? Where are the two 10TB hard drives?” Good ques­tion. We ac­tu­ally took them out of this shot, so you could see the com­plex­ity of the tub­ing runs, lead­ing into the back of the chas­sis. How­ever, the hard drives fit here snugly, un­der the tubes and slightly above the fans/ra­di­a­tor, on in­cluded brack­ets. You can just about spot the mount­ing hooks.

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