Dell Precision T3500 Workstation as a Gamer?

1405

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Is there anything that would not allow me to use this workstation as a gaming PC if I add a decent graphics card? It has a Xeon W3670 3.2 GHz CPU, 6GB tri-channel DDR3 memory, and a 525W PSU with 3 x 18a +12v rails rated for 500W. I'm wondering if there is something about workstations that don't allow them to be used as a regular desktop PC?
 

iamacow

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A true workstation has a Xeon and ECC ram. otherwise its just a PC. The "workstation" just means higher stability, the trade off is usually lower CPU speeds and slower memory (ram).
 


There isn't. But that PSU may not handle very powerful graphics cards, so you may need to change it.
 

1405

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This one has ECC memory. Does it require ECC memory, or could I use non-ECC memory if I wanted to upgrade?
 


It may support non-ECC or it may not, but you cant mix anyway. So you'll have to get ecc. But don;t worry, it's dirt cheap on ebay these days ;)
 

1405

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It wasn't a link to one, just a description of one:
"Dell Precision T3500 Workstation... Xeon W3670 3.2 GHz CPU, 6GB tri-channel DDR3 memory, and a 525W PSU with 3 x 18amp +12v rails rated for 500W"
I believe the Dell PSU has 4 x PCIe 6-pin connectors too.
 

1405

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This one I just found comes with a Quatro 4000 that I'd probably sell, because I already have a couple of my own cards I can choose from.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/252249649088?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

It also has 24GB RAM and a small HDD that I'd swap out with my 1TB.

One other question...
This one is listed as a server desktop. Is that still the same as the workstation?
 


Same.
 

bambiboom

Dignified


1405,

System: Be aware that for a surprisingly similar cost to a T3500, you can buy a T5500 which supports 96GB of RAM and has an 875W power supply. A year ago February I bought a running T5500 with a Xeon X5620 in excellent condition for $171.

CPU: The Dell Precision T3500 could make a decent gamer. The Xeon LGA1366 were an excellent series capable of contemporary performance. The RAM is 1333 but the latency is 8 or 9 whereas DDR4 is 15. However, I would suggest buying one with a low specification and upgrading. The Xeon X3670 is an excellent CPU, but as is the case with more cores, the clock speed and especially the single-threaded performance is reduced. For games- or 3D CAD- I would suggest using the LGA1366 Xeon with the highest single-thread rating and clock speed, which is the Xeon X5687 4-core @ 3.6 / 3.86GHz. The Passmark single-thread rating of the w3670 is 1415 while the X5687 rating is 1581. I have a T3500 (which I bought for $53) and added a X5677 (3.47 /3.73) rated at 1520.

RAM: The T3500 can use up to 24GB ECC unbuffered or non-ECC. The X58 chipset is triple channel so for best results do everything in a set of 3 identical modules. At least with ECC, these seem a little sensitive so I would suggest using modules that are all the same rank. In my T3500 I have 6X identical Samsung 2GB ECC and the Passmark memory rating is well above average.

GPU: The T3500 may use two GPU's up to 150W but does not support SLI. The workstation cards of that time were huge and power hungry- have a look at a Quadro 6000 6GB that uses 225W- so I think anything you can buy today will work. IY's PCIe 2.0 of course.

Disk: The weak point of the T3500 is the disk system which is SATAII 3GB/s. Two days ago I bought a PERC H310 SAS /SATA RAID controller off Ebahhh as this convert the T3500 to 6GB/s. In a Precision T5500, with the same drives a PERC H310 changed the Passmark disk score from 1940 to 2649. The H310 will also run a whole pile of 10K and 15K SAS drives so it would support an NAS server stack.

Sound: The integrated sound on a T3500 is not bad, but I'm used to using good soundcards and am adding a used Creative Audigy XS2 6.1 soundcard- $14 shipping included. This was designed in 2009 but the sound is supposed to be very good. A way to use a PCI slot ! I use M-audio 24/192 in my two main systems as those have MIDI I/O. For a good gaming experience I recommend a soundcard and I've had good results with Logitech z-series speaker systems. a couple have wired remotes - worth their weight in gold.

USB: I've waited too long but will be adding a PCIe USB 3.0 card to the T3500.

The Precision Tx500 series were beautifully made, ultra-reliable, and quiet running capable of reasonable modern performance levels.

Cheers,

BambiBoom

__________________________________________________________

Purchased for $53 + $24 shipping:

Precision T3500 (2011) (Original) Xeon W3530 4-core @ 2.8 /3.06GHz > 4GB (2X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > GeForce 9800 GT (1GB)> WD Black 500GB
[[Passmark system rating = 1963, CPU = 4482 / 2D= 609 / 3D=805 / Mem= 1409 / Disk=1048]

CPU: $60 (12.15)
RAM: $43 (12.15)
GPU and Drives: Left over from T5500 upgrade

PERC H310: $29 (5.11.16, not installed)
Creative Audigy XS2 Gold 6.1 soundcard : $14 (5.13.16 not installed)
Logitech z313 2.1 speakers > $31 (new, not installed)

Results:

Dell Precision T3500 (2011) (Rev 2) Xeon X5677 4-core @ 3.46 / 3.73GHz > 12GB (6X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > Quadro 4000 (2GB) > PERC 6/i + Seagate 300GB 15K SAS ST3300657SS + WD Black 500GB > 525W PSU> Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > 2X Dell 19" LCD
[Passmark system rating = 2751, CPU = 7236 / 2D= 658 / 3D=2020 / Mem= 1875 / Disk=1221]


 

1405

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Update (for whoever cares)
Well, I went and got the used T3500. Surprisingly fast. I have a friend who has a FX-8350/8GB DDR3 2133MHz RAM (Mine only has DDR3 1066 MHz RAM). He eagerly agreed to do some comparison testing with me.
He set his overclocked FX-8350 back to its default settings (4GHz/4.2GHz) to make it fair since my T3500 can't be overclocked. We then took turns using a GTX 960 on each of our machines and ran the Firestrike benchmark.
My Firestrike score was 6915, his was 6600. His was insignificantly faster in the graphics scores, mine considerably faster in the physics scores. Not too shabby for a non-gaming work station.
 


Good for you, mate. Workstation/server SH copmponents are all the rage these days among enthusiasts on the cheap.
 

k1114

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I wouldn't say these days. Intel raised the price a little plus people getting cheap xeons has been done before any i series were even out. You still see most with consumer labeled parts. That's pretty sad when that xeon is like 3 years older and lower clocked but keeps up with the fx.
 


Yup. AMD really needs Zen to be competitive. Actually, we all do.
 

1405

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My friend is a bit disheartened after those Firestrike results and now wants to compare our machines using his GTX 980. He thinks the faster card will make his score better. (??) Technically... I should be able to do the 980 using one 18A rail for each 8-pin header. If interested, I'll report back the results.
 


:)) The videocard will not change the results.
 

1405

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Not in his favor, anyway...

Why are the physics scores so much greater for my Xeon? That doesn't seem right. PhysX uses the GPU, doesn't it? Is Firestrike borked for Xeons?
 

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