Shuttle SX79R5 build / review

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
I've had a bunch of leftover parts from my last build (CPU, RAM) that I couldn't sell, so I decided I'll do a build from it.
Due to the cheap Xeon craze last year, my original ASRock X79 Extreme4 MB sold within a few days after I listed it. But now I needed another X79 MB if I had any hope of turning my leftover parts into something usable.

So I went on to look at s2011 boards, but there were none. At least none that I could buy new from a retailer, except some Supermicro server boards, that are completely useless as desktop boards and cost a fortune anyway.

So next step was to look at classifieds despite my apprehension of buying used MotherBoards, that are well out of warranty by now. But, the Xeon craze seems to be still too storng, any s2011 board is snatched up very fast, and the ones that are still up for sale are the ones by idiots who want to get rich by selling their old junk.
One person offered to sell me his entry level Gigabyte board for close to $300. LOL. I sold my Asrock for $100 a year before that. So I was not going to pay 3x that for an arguably lesser board.

That's when I started to give in to the idea that I won't be able to use my old parts after all, at least not sensibly. And I forgot the idea.
But a few weeks later while looking for something completely unrelated I bumped into this, listed at a retailer for less than $250, brand new.
A full barebone with ITX size case, X79 chipset, and even a 80+ Power Supply included. So I pulled the trigger on one almost immediately. ROTFLMAO at those idiots trying to push used MBs for 300.

SX79R5_HQ.png


So after that prelude, let's see what we have. The stuff arrived 2 days after ordering. (That's as fast as it gets here)

It comes in a nondescript white box.

It might not be apparent in the image but the box is much larger than I expected. So I suddenly started to have second thoughts. When I ordered I didn't even look at the specifications, I had no idea of the exact size or features of this thing.

But after opening the box, my fears were alleviated. It's just wasteful packaging.

They just left a lot of space for the accessories box, and the power cable. Other manufacturers simply put those inside the case.

This is all that was in the box apart from the case.

No written manual either, just a completely useless quick-start guide. Which fails to mention anything useful, like memory / CPU compatibility, in what order you need to populate the DIMM slots, or which PCIE slot is the primary, nothing. And to my surprise there is not even a downloadable manual on their site for this thing. So that's -1 for them right away.

The case is in a foam bag, nothing fancy but it protects it from scratching.


After taking it out, it has a pretty cheap feel to it. I expected more quality from a barebone system.

That front bezel feels very low end plasitc to me. But I noticed that this thing actually has 2 LAN connectors. That's a big plus for me. So one minus one plus we're still at -1.

Let's look inside:

Well, that's not very neat, more like cable chaos right there. We'll have to do something about that. And that has to be largest bag of silica I've ever seen.
And here comes my second surprise of the day. This thing also comes with a cooler. That makes it even better value. So we're back up to 0.

The the cooler from behind, and the power supply.

Note that the fan shroud has quick release screws, no idea why as you must use a regular screwdriver to release the CPU end of the cooler anyway.

Let's look what extra goodies we have.

Oh. That's not much. Why such a big box? They gave two yes, two cable ties. That are less than 2 inches long each. Completely useless. This is the point where it would've been better if they didn't even bother. -1 again.

So let's get that drive bay out of the way and see under it.

Nothing out of the ordinary. Apart from the chaos of cables. Usually when I do a build the chaos only happens when I touch it, not right out of the box.

I didn't have a VGA readily available so I decided to use an old discarded Quadro 4000 from work. These were retired years ago due to overheating problems.

Let's try to fix that. And no surprises here, after de-lidding I found old petrified gue, that probably lost all it's thermal conductivity years ago. (The picture only shows the after cleaning state)

I've tried to fit this old aftermaket cooler I've had laying around since forever.

But ultimately had to scrap it, as I couldn't make it stick. Zip ties don't fix everything apparently.

The front panel controls cable came out of the other side went all the way to this side to connect to the MB.

So I re-routed it inside the front panel to come out near the connector (the picture is taken after re-routing).
I was also able to route the PCIE connector and the ATX12V connector trough the front panel. That's a +1 on that.

Let's get the cooler out of the way.

It's not apparent but the screwdriver just doesn't fit because of the upper beam and the PSU, so you can only undo that screw at an angle. Not quite worthy of a minus though, just a mention.

This is the cooler in it's whole:

It looks quite small without the fan shroud. It only has a 90x90mm fan, for size reference. I'll give some cooling results in a later episode.

The front panel audio / USB cables aren't long enough to route them around the board, but I've did my best to tuck them away:


Installed the RAM, CPU.

And for a Quadro what's better to use than a Xeon? E5-2670 is the way to go. But no Xeons on the supported CPU list by the manufacturer. I decided to give it a go anyway. Google didn't give any results on this, just a few people pondering if it will work with a Xeon before buying. They had the brains to look at the support list before buying unlike me.
Well actually full disclosure: I also have an I7-3820 laying around, so I expected that to work if all else fails.

As I suspected the drive bays won't go back due to the large GPU cooler. (That I ended up not using in the end)


So I've had to improvise on where to fit the boot drive.

That's why it's good to keep every piece of scrap metal because who knows when you'll be able to use it?
This piece came from a case I got in 1998.

Finally back to the factory cooler for the VGA:


First try:

It boots and detects the CPU and seems to work normally. So that's a win! I forgot how we stand on the score, but who cares anyway?

I've installed Windows 7 Pro. Started to try out a few things, but unfortunately the VGA's overheating problem won't be solved by fresh TIM alone. It still idles around 85C° I have to try to find another cooler for it, or buy a new GPU. Until then this project has to be paused.

To be continued...
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
Just a quick update.
Prime takes the E5-2670 to 85C° within minutes with the stock cooler. Ofc it wasn't designed for 8 cores, but hey this is supposedly only 115W compared to the 130W TDP of the 4960X which they do support.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
Update 2:

I've removed the stock cooler, and to my surprise the heatsink only contacted the cpu heat spreader on about 1/3 of the surface, on the rest the tim didn't even touch the cooler. And it's not like it wasn't fixed properly, all 4 screws were tightened as far as possible in the proper order.

I've decided to check out overlclocking capability for myself. I've read that the board is completely useless in that regard. And this is again a case where you can't believe what they say on the net. True it's no OC king, it has no BCLK adjustment option. But multipler OC works well enough with it.
You even have the option to increase voltages in 50mv steps. up to +250mv which is enough to fry any cpu imo. I've installed my I7-3820 which is partially unlocked. And to my surprise the board can easily OC it to the highest allowed multiplier which is 43. It only needed a +50mv bump in VCORE and I was set.

However there is a drawback: RAM overclocking really doesn't exist. Or at least it doesn't work. There is an option to set the ram frequency to 1333, 1600, or 1866 in the bios, but it has no effect, the ram still runs at 1333 whichever is set.

As for cooling, it turns out that a coolermaster 140XL just fits in the case like it was meant to be.

nep.jpg

The only problem that there are no vents on the top of the case, so I'll probably have to cut a new one on it to allow the heat to dissipate, but that's a project for another day.


All in all I'm really chuffed on how this turned out. This thing is terrific value for money, and if you can get your hands on a cheap xeon or any 2011 cpu you get a PC that beats anything modern you can buy even for twice the price.
 

LigTasm

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 29, 2011
Messages
5,095
Yes, reading this was definitely an extraordinary experience.

I remember seeing those shuttle X79 boxes when they came out, cool stuff.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
I managed to update the BIOS of the board. Now it can run the RAM at 1600. It turns out even though the lateest bios is Dated 09/2013 mine still had an earlier version. How long has this been sitting in storage somewhere?
 

Emission

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
4,418
I remember when these first came out, I really wanted one but didn't have the scratch for it. If I didn't already buy into Ryzen, I might have considered it. Nice little build.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
Got a Zotac GTX 1080 Mini

It was still a tight squeeze because this damn card has a completely unnecessary protruding part on the PCB that serves no purpose but just hits the card retainer in the case. It's the highlighted part, which it probably inherits from another of their cards.

ztc.png


For a minute there I thought I have to return the card because it won't fit, but I was able to squeeze it in back first then force it trough the tight spot. But if it was 1mm taller it really wouldn't fit. Anyway I'll take pictures later.
Currently working on cutting a hole on the case cover for the radiator.
And I'm wondering how will I put 4HDDs in this case, because that's the plan if it is to become my main PC.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
So here is probably the last part of this build. Finalizing things, and putting in the drives.

First I moved the cooling fan to the outside of the case, and used one of the holes to bring the cable back in the case:

It had to be moved otherwise the radiator wouldn't fit, and I didn't want to run it without at least one case fan.

And here is the aforementioned offending part on the VGA:

Yes there is a screw there to hold the backplate but they could've put it at another place, or used the one holding the IO shield, many cards do that. For a "mini" card this bastard is quite a bit taller than average.
Will it fit?

Yes, but barely. the only way it goes in if I push the back of the card (the end facing the front of the case) into the slot, and then squeeze the other side down trough the tight spot.

The card is short, but still not short enough. Had to cut a hole into the drive bay for the power connector.

I was looking all over for a card that didn't have it's power connector facing up, but apparently everyone does that now. The Quadro I used before had its connector on the back.

All components installed:

I settled for 3 hard drives, 4 would've been really pushing it. Still I had to rotate one 90 degrees to face the side, and I had to cut a hole on the side of the drive bay for the SATA/Power connectors. The other two goes without problem into the two 3.5 spaces of the case below.
And an mSATA SSD for the system, and the "big" SSD for the rest of stuff that needs fast access.
Thankfully I managed to find the SATA3 port with the large SSD on the first try, even though there is absolutely no documentation available from the mfg. on which of the four ports are SATA3.
Unfortunately the mSATA slot is only SATA2, so the system feels a little less responsive than what I'm used to. But I can live with that.

Final state:

I still have to get something to cover the new breathing hole, it's not my finest workmanship but it could be worse. Thinking about using speaker fabric, but I don't know how well those let trough the airflow.
 

Emission

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
4,418
Maybe you could just pick up one of those squared aluminum fan grills, screw it to the radiator screw holes and call it a day. I feel like the mesh stuff never really lets enough air through.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
Well this is not going to work. The GPU is overheating the entire system. There is just not enough ventilation for it. I have to run it top down until I figure something out. But there is not much to do, there is no place to put additional case fans.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
Which way is air blowing through the radiator?
Up of course. But since only a 9cm fan fits next to the VGA, it doesn't provide enough airflow, at least not with the noise I find tolerable.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
Well, this sucks. Just As I brute forced the cooling issue I got another problem. There is some stability issue with one of the games. I keep getting bluescreens. Like it was an oc issue. But even with everything at stock.
 

jevans64

Gawd
Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
796
Shuttle was my go-to SFF box up until GPUs started to get more powerful. My last Shuttle is a P2 chassis with a Wolfdale E8500 and 560ti. The thing is extremely loud compared to my current Silverstone SG05 builds. Biggest mistake Shuttle did was decrease the vents on the side of the case where the GPU goes. I just ordered the Gigabyte 1080 ITX for one of my SG05 builds, so I'll probably do the GPU shuffle and the Shuttle P2 will get the GTX 760. I'll still have a 970 and 1070 ITX as backup, but I also have a tower system with a 580 in it.

You might be able to find a G2 cover that has the larger openings on the sides but not sure if it will fit the R5 chassis.
 

M76

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
11,831
So here is what I did:



Brought the radiator outside. It looks some borg ship now with the tubes hanging out and the big ass radiator sandwitched between a 12cm fan a 12-14cm fan shroud, and another 14cm fan. And the remaining hole can be used to get adequate airflow trough the entire case. It'll be great once I figure out why am I getting bluescreens.
 
Top