Dell Precision t3500 for gaming?

Susquehannock

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A friend gave me a Dell Precision t3500 he acquired from work. GTX 560ti card is installed.
How will this be with today's FPS games? Any upgrades I should consider? Thanks.

  • Dell precision t3500
  • Xeon W3565
  • 6gb RAM
  • EVGA GTX 560ti
  • 250gb sata hdd
  • Win 7 pro
 

cyclone3d

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The video card is going to be the main bottleneck for newer games.

Personally I would get an SSD for the boot drive and a better video car at the very least.
 

Susquehannock

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Agreed. Looking at 960 and Mushkin 128gb SSD. Trying to decide if I should go more RAM too.
 

Susquehannock

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12GB would be nice.. add another 3x 2GB.. or go big and add 3x 4GB.
From what I have been reading this board does not like different size sticks in the same channel, so 3 more 2gb sticks for total of 12gb might be my best route.

Considering I am still running the rig in my sig, anything is an upgrade at this point.
 

cyclone3d

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Should have 6 slots.. if you leave the 3x 2gb in there and add 3x 4gb sticks, they would be on a different channel than the 2GB sticks.

You could always get 3x 4GB sticks... will be pretty cheap since that setup will only do either 1066 or 1333 max.

4GB sticks for $20 each shipped
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RAMMAX-1X4G...hash=item3f6e911fb3:m:mqOcPr4r8FiTuLjfqUrQaSA
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RAMMAX-1X4GB-1X8GB-DDR3-RAM-1600-PC3-12800-240-PIN-MEMORY-DESKTOP-FAST-SHIPPING-/272437944243?var=&hash=item3f6e911fb3:m:mqOcPr4r8FiTuLjfqUrQaSA
Then again, a 3x2gb set is only slightly more than a single 4GB stick.
 

sinisterDei

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12 GB should be enough, so I'd add the cheap 3x2GB set.

As for the video card, the 560 Ti will let you play some things OK (Counter Strike, Dota, etc) but it should definitely be your upgrade focus. A GTX 960 will get you into the realm of 1080p with some compromises in the settings department. Even something like an RX 470 or 1060 would be a *massive* upgrade to it and likely move you into the realm of happy 1080p gaming all around.

And the SSD, yeah. Amazon had a cheap deal on the 275 GB Crucial MX300 SSDs the other day, something in the $60 range. 128 GB will be tight to actually get both Windows and more than one game on there - the recent Doom game is 60 GB just for a size example.
 

mnewxcv

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dont get anything fancy for a ssd, that machine uses sata2. That being said, I used a T3500, T5500, and Z600. Great platforms. Super reliable too.
 

Susquehannock

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Graphics card being the main focus now ... looking at gtx960, 1050ti, and rx470.

960 and 1050 seem to be roughly same in many benchmarks. After reading Brent's excellent comparrison article, looks like rx470 pulls ahead in performance. This PSU specs on this t3500 do seem to support the extra power needed for the 470, yet not sure the board is up to the task.
 

sinisterDei

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I wouldn't worry about the power much; the 560 Ti isn't exactly a power efficient machine.
 

Susquehannock

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Good to know that. ^^
RX 470 it is. Hopefully there will be a black friday deal on them of some sort next week.
 

sinisterDei

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If you have an AMEX card, there have been repeated deals on RX 480 4GB and 8GB cards as well. I've seen the 4GB cards as low as $155 and the 8GB as low as $180, but those numbers are after a bill credit from AMEX and a MIR.
 

Susquehannock

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No amex card. The PowerColor RED DEVIL RX 470 is $164.99 after $20 rebate at NewEgg.
So probably going with that.
 

s10010001

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Remember if you upgrade the ram, that rig is tre channel (some Xeon CPU vassiend of the X58), it uses ECC 1333Mhz Memory. We have had problems running 1600Mhz ram in them, in stability, lockups, BSOD. Stick with 1333Mhz ECC. But it has 6 slots so 12 gb is easy.

Dell uses pretty good PSUs in these, It should have a 525watt 80+ unit it in. I believe there was 3 rails and two PSIe 6pins.

Were starting to retire T3500s at work now, there pretty power hungry, louder and the 1st gen Core I is showing its age. But I would imaging you could game on it with a decent GPU. For the price you can't go wrong.
 

sinisterDei

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I wouldn't mix memory of any types if you can avoid it. All the same is always better for memory.
 

Susquehannock

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You need ecc as far as I know.
Just looked to confirm. The t3500 spec sheet does state:
"Up to 24GB 1333MHz ECC and non-ECC memory in 6 DIMM slots"

Must be all one or the other. However, have found several posts in the Dell forums where the system does not like registered modules.
 

sinisterDei

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ECC does not imply registered; unbuffered ECC is a relatively uncommon (now) thing because Registered ECC Is typically required for higher density DIMMs.

The memory it has now, is it ECC or not? If it's ECC, I would try and get 3 more 2GB ECC DIMMs, or 3 4GB non-ECC DIMMs and remove the existing sticks entirely.

This whole conversation got me thinking, and I've actually just gone digging in my closet, and I have 8x 2GB unbuffered DDR3 ECC sticks doing literally nothing. They are 4 kits of KVR1333D3E9SK2/4G, which is a 2x2GB kit. This link has a picture of them, mine are of the really tiny height variety. If you want to cover shipping costs, I'd be happy to send you 3 sticks. They're not doing me any good and nobody bought them in my FS/FT thread :)
 

Susquehannock

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This whole conversation got me thinking, and I've actually just gone digging in my closet, and I have 8x 2GB unbuffered DDR3 ECC sticks doing literally nothing. They are 4 kits of KVR1333D3E9SK2/4G, which is a 2x2GB kit. This link has a picture of them, mine are of the really tiny height variety. If you want to cover shipping costs, I'd be happy to send you 3 sticks. They're not doing me any good and nobody bought them in my FS/FT thread :)
Yeah, sounds great! :D let me know shipping to MD.

Dead sure these are unbuffered ECC. Looked up the numbers (samsung m391b5773ch0-ch9).

Thinking there is a serious supply/demand discrepancy on registered ECC modules in this speed. Finding many places that sell 4gb sticks for under $5 each.
 

mnewxcv

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that ram is dirt cheap. I assume tons and tons of servers and workstations were retired and parted out, hence the huge supply.
 

Susquehannock

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Indeed ^^
From what I can tell so far, the t5500 and above will support registered (buffered) memory but the t3500 will not. A shame because it would be great run 24gb for less than $30.
 

mnewxcv

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Indeed ^^
From what I can tell so far, the t5500 and above will support registered (buffered) memory but the t3500 will not. A shame because it would be great run 24gb for less than $30.
if you keep an eye out, you can probably get the non registered ecc modules for a similar price. I had a T5500 and T7500 that I bought ram for and pretty sure I used non reg, but it was still super affordable.
 

Susquehannock

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Pulled the trigger on a Rx 480 in a cyber monday deal. Well as a 6 pin to 8 pin adapter. Hoping this t3500 can handle it.

Updated to the latest BIOS and the system starts up faster now, seems more snappy too.
 

Susquehannock

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Been playing around inside this thing today. Always liked Dell cases. Sturdy and easy to work with. Did some measuring and a few modifications are needed for the rx480 to fit, which was expected.

Installed HW Monitor then ran Prime95 stress test. The temps shot up over 200-f range so quick it scared me. Shut p95 down after one pass. Doubt the TIM had been changed since the April 01, 2011 assembly date. (april fools day - lol)

Cleaned & applied some AS Ceramique. Right off the temps were substantially better. Dropped from 201-f after one pass to max of 184-f during an hour. And the TIM has not even settled in yet.

cpu-1.jpg
 
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Susquehannock

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Fabricating a new HDD cage from scrap aluminum to make room for the new Video card.

Now, if the Egg would just ship the thing.
.
cage.jpg
 

Susquehannock

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Now maxing out at 172-f after two hours of p95 at same 67-f ambient temp.

29 degree drop simply by redoing the TIM. If this CPU could smile it would.
.
p95-4.jpg
 
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Susquehannock,

I have a T3500 and I love it. Specs:

X5672 (3.2/3.6)
8 GB DDR3/4X2, triple chan (Yeah, it really is. I was surprised, too.)
GTX 750 Ti SC 2 GB
SSD boot drive,
Corsair 430W PSU - The stock Dell PS up and died.
Etc.

Like you, I was using an older computer, so the T3500 was a definite upgrade. I, too, had to apply better/newer TIM.

But now it's chugging along fantastically.

If you have any questions, ask away.


Wyo.
 

s10010001

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The T3500 will run ECC or Non-Ecc, however it will NOT mix.

We also NEVER Found Non-ECC memory that ran stable, lol. But this was years ago when we were buy these machines.

The T3500 is good about running 1, 2 or 4 sticks of ram, however run a memory benchmark. I almost guarantee it gets Single change performance :) IIRC, the BIOS will say 3 channel, but yea.. performance benchmarks will not show it. toss in 2 mores sticks for 12gb, 3 channel.
 
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I love my rig. It's not great, but it's good.
 

Susquehannock

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The MSI RX 480 is in and running. The card is a tight fit, and had to remove a few pieces of the tool-less case hardware. No biggie.

Over doubled my 3dMark Skydiver score to 20,805 ... vs 10,214 with the 560ti. Have run several games so far, including Doom at 8x/16x.

Zero power issues as of yet.

Good rig, especially for free. Happy camper here.
 
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matt167

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I just got a T3500 for the same thing off Ebay from a server supplier. I couldn't have upgraded my old gaming rig ( which has been shelved for 2 years almost ) to usable standards for less.

Dollar per hp so to speak, these old workstations got it, even if you have to pay for them. Mine was on sale, other suppliers sell a little lesser processor and/ or ram for this money. $230 to my door
Xeon X5670
12gb ECC Ram
1 TB hard disk- Hitachi 7200 RPM. Not great but it'll work. I have better to use if I want
Quadro FX 580 ( Transferred to an Optiplex 755. Slightly better than Geforce 8500 it had in it )
MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC ( In place for now. It's the card from my old gaming rig )- planned replacement very soon

I'm thinking GTX 1050 TI or GTX 1060 3gb. I use a 22" monitor so I think 3gb ram will be enough.. The RX470 is my first choice but it looks like only a Reference cooler version will fit in the case since cards a little over 8" would hit the hard drive door if they are taller than the bracket. I'm not sure I like reference coolers. I really don't like modifying cases although I could I guess if I had to.
 

Susquehannock

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I just got a T3500 for the same thing off Ebay from a server supplier. I couldn't have upgraded my old gaming rig ( which has been shelved for 2 years almost ) to usable standards for less.

Dollar per hp so to speak, these old workstations got it, even if you have to pay for them. Mine was on sale, other suppliers sell a little lesser processor and/ or ram for this money. $230 to my door
Xeon X5670
12gb ECC Ram
1 TB hard disk- Hitachi 7200 RPM. Not great but it'll work. I have better to use if I want
Quadro FX 580 ( Transferred to an Optiplex 755. Slightly better than Geforce 8500 it had in it )
MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC ( In place for now. It's the card from my old gaming rig )- planned replacement very soon

I'm thinking GTX 1050 TI or GTX 1060 3gb. I use a 22" monitor so I think 3gb ram will be enough.. The RX470 is my first choice but it looks like only a Reference cooler version will fit in the case since cards a little over 8" would hit the hard drive door if they are taller than the bracket. I'm not sure I like reference coolers. I really don't like modifying cases although I could I guess if I had to.
That is good deal for $230. Decent CPU too. Been looking for one to drop in this box. Check settings in the BIOS. Should clock over 3.3ghz in turbo mode.

Your hard drive tray may be different, this one had a small removable section (seen below). That and eliminating the redundant blue plastic card retention arm this RX 480 fit nicely. Looks funny upside-down with this backwards Dell proprietary board.

In my opinion, these T3500 are an excellent choice for those interested in a budget gaming rig. So far this set up has handled everything I've thrown at it with ease.
 

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I know I love mine. I just threw in a new 1TB WD HDD. So I have the 120GB SSD as boot, the 1TB HDD for games, and the WD 3TB external for archival duties.

Sweet.

I just wish this computer had SATA 3 and USB 3.0. As I've recently added a sound card, I don't think I have any slots for a SATA 3 card, or a USB 3 card.


Still, I'm extremely happy with this computer.
 

matt167

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It does turbo at 3.3 GHZ. Mine has the same type of door but it's taller without that removable peice. Hard drive sits right where your video card does. Does your door have space for 2 hard disks? The edge of the hard drive is right in the way of the video card. I have about 8.2" to work with unless the card is as short as the card bracket where it could pass underneath. An XFX or Zotac GTX 1060 Mini are both short enough to fit in that space ( 6.9" on both IIRC ). The Sapphire or Visiontek RX 470's with reference style coolers are short enough to fit under the door but the power connector on the side might prove an issue, as well as the noise those squirril cage blowers make.. Just the challange of dealing with a pre built, but for the price I'll take it

I'm kind of liking the GTX 1060 3gb at this point. Little less power hungry, $30 more and just a little bit more card than the RX 470 but less than RX 480

Oh and yea, the blue useless thing is in my spare parts bin. It wouldn't fit without trimming for the 7790, so I just un screwed it
 
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What about the blue plastic memory shroud? Do you use it, and if so, do you think it does anything?
 

matt167

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To me it looks essential to cooling the CPU heat sync by way of shrouding and directing air over it. Its not in the way so, I use it.
 
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