The overclockers, pro-users and enthusiast hardware scene has been growing for many years now, in fact it has become an interesting market for ODM's and manufacturers to address. Hence all the overclock products names, tags and optimizations on hardware and let's not forget all the competitions.
There is however an extreme overclockers scene that will take it a step further, and especially for a very select demographic some manufacturers try to kick out something really cool. It is without little surprise here that I am talking about eVGA's SR-2 motherboard, which exceeds its reputation.
The SR-2 is a dual-socket Intel 5520 chipset based server motherboard dressed up for hardware enthusiasts, it supports 4-way SLI, has 8-phase PWM and comes with support for a staggering 48GB DDR3 memory, USB 3.0 and even SATA 6Gbps.
The motherboard uses the new, large, massive and huge HPTX form factor that measures 15" x 13.6". When combined with compatible Intel Xeon six-core Core CPUs, you create a massive system capable of up to 24 CPU threads of compute power, which is actually what we'll do today.
Now we won't be testing this board here in the Guru3D office in the Netherlands, instead we had the board shipped to Guru3D's Beaux Loy aka BODAR, the team Guru3D professional overclocker from our forums. Bodar and yours truly have been working on getting this article together. I will get you a technical overview after which we hand out the tests to Bodar to see if we can break some world records.
We'll first cover a technical overview of the board and then we'll test a setup in three stages:
- Air cooling
- Liquid cooling
- Liquid Nitrogen
We ended up using two Xeon X5680 processors, these are six-core Xeons each running at 3.33 GHz.
Though this article will show and cover benchmarks, the 3DMark Vantage application is the record we will try to break up into a shattered horizon. Considering 3DMark Vantage only uses 16 threads, our gear is overkill and it will be a daunting task to make magic happen.
In the end the processors are going to be cooled with liquid nitrogen, and for the sake of it we will pop in four GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards as well, these will also be cooled with liquid nitrogen. That's six Liquid Nitrogen pots on one motherboard... consuming 40 to 50 liters of liquid nitrogen with each hour of testing. Beaux has become a muscular dude from dragging around the hundreds of liters of LN2 used solely for this article. This article has been hard labor, we had to trial-error, and a lot... and a serious amount of resources went into this article.
You guys can expect a very interesting article. Here's a photo of the dual socket board, and let's start up this massive, seriously massive experience with dual six-core processors clocked over 5 GHz, quad GTX 480 SLI (each over-volted and clocked to 1050 MHz).
Got your safety goggles on? Let the freak fest begin!