Building a Multi-GPU Deep Learning Machine on a budget

Chipsets supporting 4 GPU’s after https://silentpc.com/articles/performance-and-pci-express-bus-lanes

X79 / C602

The oldest chipset listed above is X79 with a LGA2011 socket, which supports the venerable E5–26xx v2 series CPU’s. Many server motherboards supporting this chipset have dual CPU sockets such as the ASRock Rack EP2C602–4L/D16.

LGA2011 chipset, enough room for 2x Xeon CPU’s and 4 GPU’s

X99

The next most modern chipset is the X99 which was released in 2014. Here you will find M2 NVMe support, and generally abundant USB 3 ports. The motherboards supporting 4x GPU’s with dual slot spacing I have found are shown in the table below.

X99 motherboards with room for 4 GPU’s at dual slot spacing
Gigabyte GA-X99P-SLI motherboard
NVIDIA® DIGITS™ DevBox

X299

Another common platform is the X299 chipset with its somewhat affordable i7 78x0X 28 lane CPU’s and pretty expensive i9 44 lane CPU’s. Here there is a bit more choice, with examples such as the ASUS WS X299 SAGE, ASUS ROG STRIX X299-E GAMING, EVGA X299 DARK. There are however a ton of X299 boards with support for three dual spaced GPU’s.

Watercooling 3 GTx 1080ti’s with two types of waterblocks.

April 2020 Update:

I sold the EVGA X299 FTW K motherboard (+ i7 7820X CPU) I was using for a build and have bought a Supermicro X9DRi-LN4F+ motherboard on ebay. The Dual socket R (LGA 2011) C602 chipset board has 24 DIMM slots supporting 1.5TB ECC DDR3 RAM! and 4 x16 PCI-E 3.0 slots (though can only use 3 if using dual spaced GPU’s without PCIe riser cables).

My tips for bargain hunting on classifieds:

Be patient — if you can

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