Dell Precision t3500 for gaming?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Susquehannock, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Funny you brought that up. Mentioned to my friend today that the memory shroud was missing in this system. So he is going to grab one for me. Looks like it does a good job directing a portion of air from the dual 120mm fans onto the RAM. Since all 6 memory slot temps show up in HW-Monitor should be easy to test it's effectiveness. Will see if it gets in way of this big GPU.

    Pic from the service manual.
     

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  2. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Missed your post before. That is some sweet storage space. Got a 1TB drive and put it up top in the optical drive bay. USB 3 and SATA 3 would be nice indeed. Our T3500 use 9KPNV model boards based on the Intel X58 chipset. So all that is a no go unfortunately.

    Figured I'd push this system to the limit and fired up FurMark graphics burn in test to max out the RX 480, while simultaneously running four SATA drives moving data around, and all 6 RAM slots populated. No power issues at all with the Dell 525w PSU. These rigs are built for hard work.
     
  3. Hi there. Trust me, I know the model number of our motherboard, as I bent some pins while upgrading from an X5560 to an X5672. Had to eBay a new board. I was so mad at myself!

    Since you seem more knowledgeable about the T3500 than I am, got a question for you. As I said, I installed a sound card. Given the amount of PCIe slots, is there a chance of installing a SATA 3 card? USB 3.0 would be nice, but SATA 3 would be a vast improvement over SATA 2.

    My Dell 525w PSU clicked and died shortly after I got the computer setup. But I have read that they are good PSUs. I guess I was unlucky. Installed a new Corsair 430W that a friend gave me, good to go.





    All in all, I love my rig. Very happy. As a Vet with not a lot of money, this is awesome.


    Kevin.
     
  4. sinisterDei

    sinisterDei Gawd

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    I'm not the T3500 expert, but my question would be what else you have in your PCI Express slots. The mobo has 2x PCI-e x4 slots and 2x PCI-e x16 slots, in the arrangement x4/x16/x4/x16. I'm assuming the blue x16 slot is where your GPU goes. If you've got a dual-slot GPU, that'll cover up the second x4 slot, leaving you with only the first x4, the blue x16, and the black x16.

    Assuming then that you want to get a sound card, a USB 3 card, and a SATA 3 card, I wouldn't think you have the slots. You would have room for two of them, but not all three.

    Then again, assuming you haven't already purchased a sound card, consider something like this for the sound- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16886112001

    You can get that, and that leaves your slots open to add both the USB 3 (which I consider the larger upgrade) and the SATA 3 cards.

    *edit*
    Just to clarify if you're unsure- you can install a 'smaller' PCI express card in a larger slot no problem. So if you've got an X4 card, and your only remaining slot is the second X16 slot, it'll plug in just fine.
     
  5. Hey, thanks for all the info. That clarified a lot for me!

    The onboard sound on the replacement board was DOA, and since I was tired of waiting for a working system I just bought a sound card. (SB Audigy FX, so much better than the onboard sound, anyway.) Yep, GPU is dual slot. I was leaning towards a SATA3 card to boost SSD and HDD speeds. Why do you consider a USB 3 card as a larger upgrade? All I use USB for: KB, mouse, and external 3 TB HDD. The external is only 5400 RPM, and, since it's just for data, speed on that drive really isn't a big deal to me. Can you explain your thoughts on that?

    You've been a lot of help.

    Thanks!
     
  6. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    No expert here either. Just reading info that is out there.

    It is as I was saying above. Our boards are only capable of USB 2.0 and SATA 2. No matter what we install, the devices will only transfer data at speeds the X58 chipset is designed for.

    Speeds just for reference:

    SATA 2 = 3 Gb/s .... USB 2.0 = 480 Mb/s

    SATA 3 = 6 Gb/s .... USB 3.0 = 5 Gb/s

    .

    x58.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  7. Oh. I was always under the impression that, even with X58, I could get a SATA3 or USB 3 card, and it would benefit the system.

    Wait. I'm confused again.
     
  8. matt167

    matt167 Gawd

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    From what I gathered, the pcie lanes can support a faster speed than sata II but the common 1x cards wont operate at full speed. A 4x card would be server quality and in the $100-200 range. It just defeats the purpose of one of these workstations. Putting an ssd in will be enough to make them much faster. A basic 7200 rpm disk caps at around 80 mbps. A good ssd can utilize the full speed
     
  9. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Me too. Only know the board SATA connectors are limited at SATA 2 speeds. May be possible to attain higher with expansion cards in the PCIe slots. According to the manual, these do have two PCIe x8 slots wired as x4 (half length). More research needed.

    My box had the optional Firewire card in one of those slots. Which I eliminated to get rid of the huge red wire going to the front panel.
    .
     
  10. matt167

    matt167 Gawd

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    An lsi 2008 series card would work great. But they will cost $50 on the low end. Over $200 new and its only gonna notice if your chasing benchmarks. A sata 2 ssd is still 3 times as fast as a hdd
     
  11. whateverer

    whateverer Gawd

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    I wouldn't worry about SATA2 limiting your performance.

    Modern SATA3 drives barely top 100MB/s throughput when you give them a tough real-world load (copy lots of small files).

    http://techreport.com/review/26701/samsung-850-pro-solid-state-drive-reviewed/4

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Even to get things above the 300MB mark on BULKY movie files, Samsung has to use their memory write caching software, called RAPID. ON ONE OF THE FASTEST SATA6 DRIVES YOU CAN BUY!

    In other words, you won't be missing anything running an SATA3 drive on an SATA2 controller. IT still has a very high IOPS throughput., which is something those cheap SATA3 chips don't have.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IOPS

    But a USB 3 upgrade card would be beneficial if you hook up a lot of external hard drives to your machine. USB2 tends to limit those drives to half their speed.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  12. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    ^^^ Many thanks for the info. Makes sense.

    Been running some benchmarks today. Both drives on the board SATA headers. And a USB stick for the hell of it.
    Did not expect such a difference. Already have my games on the 1Tb drive. Makes me want to put the OS on there too.


    Western Digital, 250Gb 7200-rpm, 8Mb Cache, SATA 3.0Gb/s
    = 78 Mb/s (seq read multi) ... 71 Mb/s (seq. write multi)

    Toshiba 1Tb, 7200-rpm, 64Mb Cache, SATA 6.0Gb/s
    = 182 Mb/s (seq. read multi) ... 162 Mb/s (seq. write multi)

    USB 2.0 stick, 64Gb
    = 24 Mb/s (seq. read multi) ... 6.7 Mb/s (seq. write multi)
    .
     
  13. sinisterDei

    sinisterDei Gawd

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    The reason I view USB 3 as a larger upgrade than SATA 3 is that, for the most part, the biggest speed increase a SSD provides is *not* the throughput speed but rather the access times. SSDs are double, triple, even quadrouple the throughput speed of a HDD, but they are *exponentially* faster when it comes to access times. Much of the perceived system responsiveness increase folks get from the SSD actually comes from the seek time reduction, not the throughput. So SATA 3 has faster throughput than 2, but the seek times don't go anywhere because that's still limited by the drive and so close to zero as to not matter.

    This is also the reason that, while nice, NVME SSDs will *not* be the 'performance revolution' that SATA SSDs represented; they're *way* faster on a benchmark than a SATA SSD, but their perceived performance on an average desktop isn't much difference.

    Anyways, with all of that out there, USB 3 *is* a performance revolution compared to 2 for an external attached disk. Now, if you don't use any external storage very often, then fine - go with the SATA 3 card. But if you do, then the difference between USB 2 and 3 is night and day. Like, sub 30 MB/s versus 100+ MB/s (or 200+ if the external device is a SSD). Accessing a USB 3 attached disk is often times just as fast as if the disk was installed natively in the system.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
  14. matt167

    matt167 Gawd

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    The T3500's do have an E Sata port so, going with an external hard disk that has an Esata connector ( WD Mybook comes to mind ), could just use that.. But I agree. USB 3 would be the card to add.
     
  15. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Can anyone tell me why the Toshiba drive does so much better? (specs above) Larger cache? 6.0 Gb/s?

    USB 3 does seem like the next logical upgrade. Before receiving this workstation, I was running 5,400 rpm PATA drives and AGP graphics card. So these new speeds will satisfy me for the time being.
     
  16. whateverer

    whateverer Gawd

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    Higher platter density, and much larger cache, plus better algorithms for managing that cache than we had 8 years ago!

    More dense platters mean you can put more information under the hard drive read head at once.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Areal_density_(computer_storage)

    There's still plenty of speed to be found in that SATA2 interface if you upgrade to an SSD.
     
  17. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Ahh, that was the missing element when I was trying to figure out the transfer rate dependencies. Knew about density but had not applied it to this scenario. Can only imagine how much larger a 1Tb drive would be if the platters were same density as my first HDD, a 12Gb IBM. :LOL:
     
  18. sinisterDei

    sinisterDei Gawd

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    Yep. Keep in mind, both of those drives would fall flat on their face if the performance test you ran was for non-sequential data (random read), whereas a SSD would continue to be a competent performer.

    The reason is simple: on a mechanical drive, there is a physical drive head and spinning platter, and in order to locate data both of those things have to move, which takes time. For locating small chunks of random data, more time can be spent on the moving of the head and waiting on the platter than is actually spent transferring data, and your 180 MB/s transfer rate can drop into the single digits. And if the drive is tasked to do multiple things at once - copy data to and from two directories at the same time, for instance, performance is way more than cut in half because again, the drive head spends a lot of time going back and forth and not actually doing any reading.

    On a SSD, things are solid-state- meaning no moving parts. *That* is the reason the seek times are so much lower- there's nothing to wait on. As a result, retrieval of data from random locations on the disk is exponentially faster than on a mechanical drive. Where with sequential data a SSD might achieve 500 MB/s, it might only drop to 200 MB/s when the data is random. There is still a loss of performance on random reads because it's more work for the internal controller on the SSD and the operating system of the computer, but significantly less impact than the same set of operations on a mechanical drive.
     
    Susquehannock and whateverer like this.
  19. Thanks guys! Looks like I'll go with a USB 3 card. As a po' Veteran, I have to choose my parts carefully. Best bang for the buck.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2016
  20. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Sounds good Wyodiver. Please let us know how 3.0 goes in these boxes.

    And you are right about these drives falling flat on random writes of course. 1.7 Mb/s and 4.3Mb/s on the WD and Toshiba drives listed above. One reason I did not mention them. Ever since cannibalizing a huge stack of IBM "DeathStars" (remember those?) for parts many years ago I always thought the moving actuator arm was a huge cause of lag time.
     
  21. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    On another note ... mounting a good fan to the CPU cooler dropped temps even further. A bit of silicone in the balls bearings, foam spacers, and some rubber bands to dampen any harmonics & keep the zip ties tight, this high velocity fan is virtually silent once the side panel is on. Continues airflow from from the front fans nicely out the back opening better without the two rear fans I installed previously.
    .
    cooler2.jpg
     
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  22. sinisterDei

    sinisterDei Gawd

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    Oh the 75GXP, you great death star. I had four of the damn things.

    By the way, looking at your heatsink there; I wish *all* heatsinks mounted the way that one does. Simple fucking screws into a backplate. The other day I tried to assemble a Cooler Master Vortex Plus fan and the mounting mechanism on the motherboard was the cheapest piece of shit I've ever seen and fell apart near instantly. I don't understand - four screws is not rocket surgery, why can't it be that simple for everything?
     
  23. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Agreed. A simple yet relatively foolproof design. Four studs on the board, with female caps on the screws that get tightened down until stop. Springs supplying constant pressure. The machinist in me has been thinking of ways to mount an aftermarket cooler on here. Going to keep my eye on the FS section for a good used one.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  24. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm getting another t3500. There is a seller on ebay that has them for 54 shipped missing hdd caddy apparently.
     
  25. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Good deal at $54. Wonder how much profit there is at that price shipping these 40 pound plus rigs for free.

    Easy enough to mount the drive in the optical bay. Screws needed should be on back side of plastic drive bezel.

    If you update to the latest BIOS (A17) they will run 5600 series CPU. Trying to source X5687 which do near 3900mhz in turbo, and would allow my RAM to run at 1333.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  26. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    yeah, I still have 6GB from the T7500 I sold over the summer, so that will go into the T3500. Its non registered ecc ram so should match what comes in it. Once I sell the parts from my current B machine, I should come out ahead money wise, and have a faster machine with plenty of room for CPU upgrades.
     
  27. I'm kinda looking to go from 8 GB to 12 GB...
     
  28. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Got the Blue plastic memory shroud today. No fitment issues with the RX 480 card. Module temps were 2-3 degrees lower. Nothing to write home about.

    Does seem to help with air flow to the CPU cooler. Top temps are a bit lower at 143-F after an hour of P-95.

    So that is a drop from 201-F to 143-F with better TIM, a fan, and the shroud. At first the front case fans sounded like a hurricane at full load. Now they hardly change speed at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  29. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Procured a used X5687 for $40. Wanted a 6 core but could not pass it up at that price. System seemed finicky even after Windows restarted for the hardware change. Slow boots, getting a fan error at start up. Re-flashed the BIOS (same, A17) and all is good.

    Knew these 32nm Westmere ran cooler but had no idea. Running 124-F at full load. 20-F lower than the W3565. And 77 less degrees than when I first got this box.

    All RAM running at 1333mhz now. Should be good for something.

    The CPU is topping out at 3734mhz in Turbo Boost when it should be closer to 3860mhz. Looking into that. And the cores show up as 0, 1, 9, 10 now. Maybe since these are dual processor capable where the other CPU wasn't?
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  30. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    got my $49 t3500 today. As I suspected, it wasnt missing the HDD caddy at all (since it isnt exactly removable anyway). So, a complete minus the HDD T3500 for $49. Sweet. Fan was loud as hell so reapplied thermal paste and through in my spare RAM and my gtx 660. Should be a pretty good secondary machine.

    W3520
    40GB SSD
    320GB HDD
    10GB DDR3
    GTX 660

    heres the link if anyone wants to get one:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Precis...854037?hash=item2cb0bec7d5:g:EXQAAOSw65FXrM8V

    as you can see it is listed as is, but the listed damage is "missing hdd caddy/cable", which mine has both caddy and cables. I will let you guys know how mine does, installing win10 now and then will stress test with aida64.
     
  31. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Sweet for sure. Glad to hear it's working well for you. The W3565 are $18 by the way. That and Win10 will be a nice upgrades for your box.

    The swing out HHD rack is removable with three screws. Was going to do that, then realized a small section is removable (pic above) as if Dell knew space would be needed for a larger GPU.

    Thinking of buying one like you did, install this W3565, and make it into a dedicated game server.
    .
     
  32. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    My gtx 660 is long enough that it tucks under the HDD swingaway, but it fits underneath. I will probably upgrade the CPU down the road, but for now, even the W3520 is faster than the AMD cpu that was in the machine this is replacing, so anything more would be overkill. In another year though, might just go right to a 3ghz+ hex.
     
  33. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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  34. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Heart of the matter - graphics. Changing the CPU raised my 3dMark score by nearly 2,000 points.

    Wonder how a card like the 1080 would perform in this box. Anyone care to loan me one? :D
    .
    Skydiver - X5687.jpg
     
  35. magnew0

    magnew0 n00b

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    Just made an account to say thanks! You all seem really knowledgeable and this thread was very helpful.

    I sort of impulse bought a t3500 with a xeon x5650 yesterday, and an MSI rx470 card separate.

    I had begun to worry the psu wouldn't support the added load, and that it might not fit in the case. From what I gathered in this thread it should be good to go, at worst some minor modification. Everything should get here tomorrow, can't wait to dork out this weekend.
     
  36. Susquehannock

    Susquehannock 2[H]4U

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    Welcome to [H]ard.
    Glad you found your way here, and happy we could help. If you have any questions don't hesitate to post here or start a new thread. And let us know how your gaming rig turns out.

    Have been discussing T3500 gaming in a few other forums as well. Here is one a member modified as a father/son project.
     

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  37. magnew0

    magnew0 n00b

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    Will do! I got the delivery notifications earlier this afternoon. Been pretty rough here at work knowing what's sitting at home
     
  38. Robert Luben

    Robert Luben n00b

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    Hey all I have a t3500 on the way by next week and though I don't plan on gaming much on it this still seems like a great thread to join in on. I ordered one with the w3530 cpu, 8 gb ram, 500 gb HDD and some kind of Cheapo Quadro. I'll repost here once it comes. If anyone's interested i picked it up for 68$+28$ shipping (I think I got a good deal but I'm hesitant to get too happy til I see it running). My purpose for this machine is to run my modest studio for making youtube vids, DJing and streaming. Thanks for all the info posted here everyone I can already see how I will upgrade it in the near future.
     
  39. QuiteSufficient

    QuiteSufficient Sufficiently [H]ard

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    I don't have a ton to add that hasn't been put in this thread. I really love those machines, they seem to just run and run. One of my clients had 3 T3500s that were cad workstations, and now they are doing Adobe Premiere with newer video cards (Quadro M4000s I believe). I also put samsung 840 EVO ssds in them when that was current gen.

    I know on paper SATA 2 is supposed to suck but in the real world they seem just as snappy as any other SSD machine to me. I doubt you could tell the difference without doing a bunch of sustained transfer benchmarks.
     
  40. mnewxcv

    mnewxcv [H]ardness Supreme

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    Having used ssds in my t3500, t5500, and t7500 machines, they are definitely welcome.