I sometimes imagine I have the most long lived equipment of anyone here. I must have built over 20 PCs since right back when Atomic first started (or even well before actually). My current rig is still powered by a Conroe2 Quad core 2.4 Ghz chip, powering a 1070 GTX - which can still play games fluidly on my 30" Dell screen (plus I use 2 * 24" Screens in Portrait mode surrounding the Dell - but only for work purposes) - my priorities have been elsewhere for many, many years.
But this year I would like to build a rig to handle astro-photography image processing workloads that can also handle games. Astro image processing can require stacking of 100s of shots per night - each shot could be 10 - 40MB - and there is a lot of mathematical processing (that no software that I know of off loads to the GPU). So I was pondering getting a 10 Core Intel beast and doing a rig built for Astro first and games second.... when a thought hit me that I first entertained a decade or two ago but never acted on... what about a dual CPU server board? Then a simple google and youtube search showed me several folk have gone down this path and got great results - at a fraction of the price I was expecting - simply because old Xeon chips sell for about $200 for a 8 core 2.4 GHz chip.
Now I only remember high end Tyan motherboards (like the S7070) being dual cpu - but a simple search shows many people are using the Asus Z10PE-d16 https://www.asus.com...ds/Z10PED16_WS/ - which surprisingly supports DDR4 RAM (16 slots - up to a Terabyte of RAM) and has 6 PCI-E Gen3 x16 slots and can support NVidia in 3 way SLI or AMD in 4 way cross fire.
These boards sell in Australia for about $850 - or you might find dated rigs on Gumtree build on these boards (variant unknown) between $300 to $2000.
So a check on youtube and gumtree shows folks selling old Xeon CPUs that are 8 core, 16 thread, meaning this sort of build will give you a 2.4 - 2.6 GHz CPus with 16 cores and 32 threads to handle workloads that like many core solutions. I am yet to see if anyone astronomer has used the programs I like Deep Sky Stacker (freeware) or CCDStack on a multi core monster - but DSS does seem to keep all 4 core on my (or my kids latest i7 quad core machines) maxed out.
So my long winded question. What advice would folk have. I can guess that this rig could play games - but it would act much like a 4 core machine throttled at 2.4 - 2.8 Ghz even if it was running sat a pair of 1080s in SLI. I would have to check everything - OS (win10 x64 is supported) - memory types, Powersupplies, drivers - absolutely everything would work. Again there are folks building these rigs and they scream on 3d rendering that can use all the cores and they are decent at games (paired with a NVidia 980 or Titan card/s normally). Youtube has many examples of this working - e.g.:
Will it be the build of a life time or will it end in tears? Interested in folks thoughts!