Jump to content

New display machine


Recommended Posts

Hello all, long time listener first time caller.


I am looking for some general hardware advice. I am about to upgrade my WO6 display machines with two new machines, and I was wondering if anyone has any recent experience with a new build, and any do's or dont's they may have come across.


Also are there any resources or general guidelines around building a display machine from scratch. I realise it is a little bit "how long is a piece of string" but if anyone has any tips, or any recommended and / or tested configurations, I would be very glad to hear them. ( I also understand that Dataton and its recommended re sellers can provide tested hardware configurations, but budget, and the desire to learn more about the hardware, means a build-it-myself solution is the preference )


I am looking at something like the following:


- Gigabyte X299 AORUS Ultra MB + Intel i7 7820X

- GPU with 4 matching ports (  AMD Radeon Pro WX7100 )


- GPU with mix of ports ( one of the many GTX 1080Ti options, which is my preference. )

- 500gb NVMe M.2 data drive ( Samsung 960 Pro )

- 256gb 2.5" SSD OS drive ( Samsung 850 Pro)

- 32gb RAM ( 4 x 8gb, 3000mhz )

- Windows Pro 7 or 10 

plus 850w PSU and rack mount case.



Some general questions:

- is Windows 10 Pro 64 bit and WO6 stable, or if I should stick to Win7 ?

- are there any suggested non-RAID backup methods for the data drive ? ( having read other forums regarding the negative impact of RAID controllers on SSD speeds )

- are there any sync or latency issues with outputs on different port types ( ie mixing DP with HDMI )



Thanks in advance, any and all advice and suggestions appreciated.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

Hey AVTermite!

Nice Nickname! :D


We run Watchout very successful on WIN 10 on more than 20 machines for around a year now.

We also builded machines for some clients based on our WIN 10 image.


About hardware:


Get the fastest single core performance processor you can get. Currently this is either the XEON 1650 V4 or the i7 version of it.

We are experimenting with the new generation but this is still under development and I can't tell you exactly what to buy if you want to be safe!

Also think about PCIe lanes. With additional SSD storage and maybe capture cards you need a lot of storage! Your choice just got 28 PCIE lanes.

If this is enough for you OK. But you will be at the limit of what is possible very soon with PCIe cards.


From the current Intel range I just see the i9 7900x as suitable for WATCHOUT.

Still I prefer the new Xeons. They are even faster than the i9. Dont think about Turbo Boost 3.0. The most important thing is a stable frequency as high as possible for as many cores as possible. The indicator is the ALL CORE TURBO. Means how much speed do you get if all cores are working on full power.


The WX7100 is a good choice. Get it together with a S400 sync card to sync outputs for LED walls.

Emulating EDIDs is a absolute must have! Worth spending the money for a professional card.

If you use ACTIVE adapters you get every signal you want out of the card. The only adapter i can recommend is the CLUB 3D DP to HDMI 2.0


Besides the system SSD stay away from m2 SSDs.

They are getting way to hot and drop in performance. There are some versions with active cooling but nothing I would put into a machine.

We prefer Intel or Micron PCIE SSDS. They are made for 24/7 usage and deliver up to 3250MB/sec.

Regardles of what people are saying, its fine to also run them in raid configurations.

Our current demonstrator goes up to 15.000 MB/s. Think about running uncompressed picture squences in 4K.

Every layer of 4K uncompressed video will need arround 1200-1600 MB per second. Of course this comes at a price. These disks are not cheap and they might fail like others do.

But a least you will have a red LED at the back of your machine reporting the problem. You also got long waranty periods on these disks so in case they fail you will get

a new one fast.


About RAIDs in general. I would trim the machines for absolute performance. A software raid 0 can give you more then 6500 MB/sec on your machine with 2 PCIE NVME disks. Backups should either be made through a content management workstation or on a second backup system. Usually on big productions we do both! Some Raids I got im my hands had caching functions activated. This is totaly dangerous because this function might work good for some small office files but not for delivering stable video streams. By the way - dont buy SATA SSDS go NVMW for the IOPS. These are relevant if you want to play uncompressed TIFF or TGA sequences. Also a lot of RAID 5 controllers are the bottleneck for this. A single Micron or Intel PCIE SSD should give you the storage and performance needed.


10G Network. Absolute standard if you build a machine now! And only with Win 10 you will be able to use the whole 10G. Of course depending on the content. We found that NVME on Production and Display Computer gives you the best performance. 10G cards are not expensive anymore. Intel X-550 is the card to buy.


Bios: Please deactivate all energy saving functions on the processor:  C-States, Thermal Protection and most important Intel Speed Step technology. If you got these functions active the machines will run out of sync!!!


The real challenge besides the right hardware choice is of course Win 10. Its a beast to configure and we spent a LOT of time testing different configurations. Once its running its the best system you can run Watchout on. We are currently able to playback 4x4K TGA sequences out of one machine and I guess it will be even more with the next generation we are currently developing. Besides the regular Watchout tweaks we got a list of arround 100 more tweaks for WIN 10. In the end its really a lot to do and you need profund IT knowledge to get the best performance out of the machines. It really becomes an industrial PC and when looking at the taskmanager there should be 0% CPU load and the absolute minimum of processes running in the background. We customize systems for usage as media servers and if you need help you can write me a PN.


If you did all this you have to test your setup a lot to provide absolute stability and performance. The advantage of building your own PC can become a disadvantage if people build machines which crash and dont deliver performance. Thats why competitors of Dataton sell their machines for a lot of money. Because they provide everything from Software to hardware. Still if you do it the right way you will even be able to outperform systems which cost 50.000 $ or more! Of course high end Watchout Systems also cost a lot of money but its cool that you can build a machine which fits your purpose. The WATCHOUT advantage B)


The question in the end is: What do you want to do with the machines?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 9 months later...

Hi jochri,

thank you for your time and input.

I was wondering what SKUs from the latest Xeon generation would you recommend.

All core turbo specs are no longer published by Intel and therefore I have no clue which CPUs would be suitable.

Also, Dataton Windows 10 Tweak guide mentions Win 10 Enterprise Edition. Is there a plausible reason to use this over Win 10 Pro 64 in your opinion?

Thank you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Member

I built based on a Xeon W-2145. (Xeon w-2155 is also ok if you want to use the machines for rendering etc.)

It will run at 4,25 Ghz in all 8 core turbo mode. Note that you should populate the Ram slots with 4 memory channels. These are very important for uncompressed workflows!

If you want to spent more money: Im testing Xeon Gold 6144 and 6146 this month. They have 6 memory channels available. These are usually Dual CPU boards so they come at a certain price point. Its also a massive difference if you want to play 4K 60 or 4K0 streams. With TGA(A) the current maximum is 4 layers of 50p and 3 layers of 60p content

Keep an eye on the bios settings. I made a list of Bios tweaks here. https://watchlab.net/wiki/Tweakinglist

Win tweaking is super important but the Bios level tweaks can destroy all your work or make it succesfull. So dont forget to test that!

By the way I just tested on of these active cooled 4xm.2 PCIE adapters with and without intel VROC. Besides the WX 9100 blowing all the hot air directly inside ? Im not very happy with these devices. If you use them you should really go for enterprise ssds but also they are temperature throttling...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hey jochri!

I tried accessing your link above but the page says I font have permission to access the content. How can I log in to see your list?

Also, would you prefer a build with 2x Intel SSD 750 Series in Raid 0 mode instead of 2x Samsung 960 PRO Series - 2TB PCIe NVMe - M.2 in Raid 0?

Thanks a lot for all the knowledge shared!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Member

I currently redesign the Wiki. Please find the Bios tweaks here:


  • Sleep States: Talking about real time applications you should get rid of all settings which makes your CPU going to save energy. They are often called C- States and should be set so that your PC never sleeps. Sometimes you can also find a setting which is called "Block Sleep" (S3 State) So thats what you need to check and set to not stop your mediaserver from working at full power. Some mainboards have high performance modes. This is a good starting point. But dont just use auto tuning settings!
  • Intel Speed Step: Activate or not activate? The answer is it depends! Older CPUs, I would say before 2017 needed a certain amount of time to go from idle to full power (60-80ms). This milliseconds can cause too much delay to your mediaserver system. So on older systems it is neccesary to deactivate this setting to always run the CPU at a certain level to avoid the delays. - Since Intel introduced the Speed Shift function this setting changed. In a short way explained. Speed Shift accelerates the speed at which the CPU can go to full power to just a few microseconds(1-3ms). So activate it if you are using new hardware that supports speedshift! The CPU should run at full speed without changing frequeny up and down. You can verify this easily with the task manager. The best way is to force the CPU to full power through the Bios.
  • Memory Map above 4Gb: ON (Necessary for GPU memory)
  • CPU multicore support: ON
  • Intel Turbo Boost: ON
  • Hyper threading:ON
  • Adjacent Prefetch: OFF
  • Hardware Prefetcher: OFF
  • ISOC Mode: OFF
  • Home Snoop Mode: Standard
  • ASPM Mode: OFF (Otherwise PCIe devices are allowed to safe energy and need to much time to wake up when needed)

I recommend reading this document where the picture is taken from (page60): https://www.intel.com/content/dam/www/public/us/en/documents/datasheets/xeon-e3-1200v5-vol-1-datasheet.pdf

Intel C States P States.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have any recommendations for motherboards for a new Watchout build. Besides the obvious, make sure it's compatible with the processor, what else is a must have? 

One of the challenges for my particular use is that we have some Dell workstations that we've made into display machines, and one of the settings in the BIOS for those computers is WOL from an S5 state, which from everything I've been reading, is something that I shouldn't be able to do. I'm guessing it's a custom BIOS setting for Dell computers, but not something that is at all standard. The main reason I'd like to maintain this feature, if possible, is because we occasionally pull power to the display computers which forces an S5 state, and I would love to still be able to power them on through Watchout when power is restored without having to go to the computer and manually turn it on, but I also don't want to keep the computer in a power on state indefinitely. Currently, we can still do that with the Dell computers, but struggling to find a motherboard that would allow that for a custom build. Is my searching for this folly?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...
  • 10 months later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...