Building a Dual-GPU supported Deep Learning Rig for $1500

After some thought and going from cloud to cloud I decided to build my own deep learning rig

Picking up GPU, mobo and processor

Price of a 1080Ti is so high at the moment I decided to settle for an AORUS 1060 Rev 2 GPU with 6Gb memory. I was initially going for the 3Gb variant of this GPU but after reading this post I decided not to, note that there were two other variants of the 1060 6Gb GPU with slightly lower clock speeds so I decided to get a higher clock speed model

Dual GPU support was crucial to me for when GTX 1080Ti becomes reasonably priced again or Nvidia releases newer GPUs, so I decided to get a motherboard and processor that supports at least two GPUs within my budget. I went with the latest Intel Z370 chipset so I chose Asus ROG Strix Z370-H and 8th Generation Core i5 8400 processor to support it. This processor only has max 16 PCIe lanes because Intel doesn’t support more PCI lanes even in 8th Gen, so that means dual GPUs would work in x8 x8 mode only instead of dual x16 mode, which according to some isn’t a big deal.

My mobo supports SLI for dual-GPUs if I ever wish to use them together, but I prefer to do multiple experiments and train models on each GPU. I spent a lot of time on PCPartPicker to check compatibility and with my local vendors for parts availability

Storage, RAM, OS…and everything else

For boot OS and storage respectively I chose an Intel M.2 240 Gb SSD and Seagate Barracuda 1TB hard drive for those large datasets, I have a NAS with 4TB storage for everything else. I choose to use Windows for my work because it also offers great support for deep learning with a GPU.  Since my mobo supports higher speed memory so I got a Corsair LPX 1×16 Gb @ 3000 Mhz. I also chose a Corsair 850W Gold rated power supply unit, which is more than enough power to support dual GPU

I have connected this rig with an HDMI cable to a 27” screen and extended the laptop’s screen with a VGA cable, it’s easier to switch between both with the touch of a button on the screen, but I’m thinking to add another monitor. Putting this all together in a nice Antec GX 330 case

To add backup power I installed 1 KVA Easy Tech UPS that I previously had to support my newest rig in the event of a power failure.

Here’s my full configuration https://pcpartpicker.com/list/MyfWD2

CPU Intel – Core i5-8400 2.8GHz 6-Core Processor
Motherboard Asus – ROG Strix Z370-H Gaming ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory Corsair – Vengeance LPX 16GB (1 x 16GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
Storage Intel – 540s 240GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage Seagate – BarraCuda 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card Gigabyte – GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB AORUS Video Card
Power Supply Corsair – RMx 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply

Benchmarks

I trained a variant of GoogleNet called DeeperGoogleNet from my friend Adrian’s awesome book, 5 epochs take 20 minutes on my 1060 GPU which is comparable to results from Adrian’s mighty Titan X GPU, so I’m quite happy with the results

Finally here are some shots of my unit and my not-so-optimal setup 🙂

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