The Ultra EPYC Build
This was one of those projects that seemed fun, but could easily have taken a turn for the worse. The process was very straightforward.
The motherboards were quite similar in their layouts since they are both ATX and both designed more like professional workstation assemblies rather than gaming assemblies.
Likewise, the Sun team used a surprisingly nice 530W 80Plus ATX power supply which meant that the EVGA SuperNOVA 1kW G3 unit was a drop in replacement. The EVGA G3 may put out almost twice the power, but it is only marginally longer and has modular cables which make installation much easier.
Storage in the Sun Ultra 24 utilized 3.5″ hot-swap bays that are frankly more evolved than many consumer cases today. Our Solaris 10 OS was installed on a Seagate ES.2 7.2K rpm SATA drive. We opted to replace this with a 380GB Intel Optane M.2 SSD.
This SSD we utilized a heatsink to keep the device cool. We also affixed it directly to the motherboard.
Sun utilized a standard ATX I/O faceplate, so we were able to retrofit this easily.
If you look at the size of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, it is amazing to see how far we have come in the last twelve or so years since our CUDA 1.1 Quadro FX 1700 was a viable option.
The add-in card area was a challenge. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is so long that it only fits in one of the lower slots.
We added a Noctua NF-A9x14 fan to the front of the chassis. It was the only 92mm fan we had in the lab when we did the build. There was some custom mounting mechanism that we did not have the parts for since the donor Sun Ultra 24 did not have a fan here. Zip ties can fix almost all issues and they did here.
The “beauty mark” was retained, by putting a similarly minimal amount of effort to find a color matching part and using something black and ugly. Mission accomplished.
Finishing off the Ultra EPYC is the badging. We purchased a retail boxed AMD EPYC 7351P for the STH hosting cluster (yes if you are reading this, you are using AMD EPYC today.) The retail unit came with a case badge that is too big to fit on a standard 1U chassis. This case badge has sat for months looking for a home. Now, it found its spot right next to the Ultra 24 badging. STH is proud to bring you, the Ultra EPYC.
The Intel Core 2 Duo sticker was removed, and the Ultra EPYC is born.
Now for the challenges in the build, because not everything went perfectly.