Dell Precision T3600 for Gaming?

1405

Honorable
Aug 26, 2012
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Would this Dell Precision T3600 Workstation be able to be turned into a gaming PC with the addition of a faster graphics card and new PSU? It looks odd inside. And what to they mean by power cord and "adapter" not included? Does it use a power brick instead of a conventional PSU?
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator
No,

First off those old workstations make awful gaming PC's. It has a low clocked, 6 year old processor. You can't replace the PSU without purchasing a new case. And it only has 4 gb of ram (you really want 8gb to play anything recent), of which you'll need to source ECC memory. The BIOS on those sometimes even has issues with newer GPUs.

For not much more money you can build a lower end gaming PC that will game a Hell of a lot better and not be a pain just go get together.
 
Here are the benchmarks for that system.
http://www.userbenchmark.com/System/Dell-Precision-T3600/1882
Workstations can be ordered with many configurations from 2 cores to 6 cores, with Hyper Threading, and typically support massive amounts of RAM.
Usually Dual GPU support. The Dell issue isn't with new GPUs (as you can see in the systems shown) but with AMD GCN3 and up not showing the BIOS screen.
That's why you see only Nvidia cards there.
You will notice that many of them are scoring well over 100% of a modern gaming system. I haven't looked into the T3600 specifacally but the T3500, and other single CPU workstations can usually use aftermarket PSUs. It's the dual CPU workstations that have PSU complications. ECC RAM often isn't required, and can sometimes be less expensive on the surplus market if it's obsolete for server use.
Here's one with 32GB RAM and a GTX1080. It's not the fastest one there.
http://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/3569489
The power cord is just the cable that goes from the PSU to the wall outlet. The adapter is probably for the Dual monitor workstation video card. They typically have a splitter cable to connect the GPU to 2 monitors. Workstation GPUs usually have a DMS 59 socket that needs an adapter to 2x VGA, or 2x DVI cables. You won't be able to connect a monitor without one, or a different GPU installed.
 
To be fair to Rogue Leader the Dell T7400 2x CPU workstation was a terrible gamer with strange PSU and MB connectors, and weird FBDIMM ECC RAM. The T7500 had a daughter card for the 2nd CPU. So you can lose your way with these things fi you try to over reach.
The workstation layout is not based on ATX PCs. It's a modification of the BTX form factor. This puts the MB on the left side of the case, and the difference from classic BTX is the CPU and RAM are at the bottom, and the expansion slots above. This allows wide GPUs to go away from the CPU cooler instead of hitting it. The BTX layout was favored for LGA775, but not needed after that, so The T3400 is BTX, the T3500 is the start of the modified form.
 

1405

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Aug 26, 2012
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Dang, William p. Did you use to design for Dell or something? I've read some of your other posts here, and it seems there is almost nothing you don't know about Dells. :ouch:

So the Precision T3600 example I linked to will have and accept a conventional PSU, and the "adapter" that was not included was in regard to the odd-ball (to me anyway) outputs on the video card?

And as long as I stay away from newer AMD cards, there won't be any problem accessing BIOS (blank screen)?
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator


I never said it won't take a new PSU, you can plug a conventional PSU into that T3600, however it won't fit into the case. So you'll need to buy a new case as well. You may run into issues with that motherboard fitting in aftermarket cases.

While they put up solid benchmark numbers, I still stand behind that the system makes a poor gaming PC. We have had many users here complain about poor real life game performance because the lower clocks and ipc can't keep up with today's games.
 
I don't work for Dell. In fact they've taken down some pages at Dell Community Forums I used to link to. But I've made a hobby of modding and overclocking them. Userbenchmark.com lets you see what level of performance different combinations provide. You can look up aftermarket MB, and CPU/GPU combos and decide for yourself whether it's worth doing. I own a T3400, and a T3500. Usually the PSU fitment issue comes down to folding in a couple sheet metal tabs that aftermarket PSUs don't use. In the workstations a couple strokes with a hacksaw blade might be needed to get them to move. Dell usuall y provides 2 levels of PSU in the workstations. One for single GPU computers, and another for 2 GPU setups. One will have a single 6 pin PCIe, the other 2 of them or maybe even a single 8 pin on one of the cables. Since modern gaming GPUs are so power efficient you can probably use the larger one of these anyway.
The owners manual shows a 635W option on page 60.
http://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_desktop/esuprt_dell_precision_workstation/precision-t3600_owner%27s%20manual_en-us.pdf
Case swapping isn't going to happen due to the odd BTX based MB layout. You definitely won't be a member of Intel's motherboard of the month club.
You can Google DMS59 adapter and see dozens of them.
DMS59= Dual Monitor Solution 59 pin.
 
I looked in the manual and the T3600 does use a proprietary PSU. So the 635W will have to do.
https://www.dell.com/community/Desktops-General/Dell-Precision-T3600-Power-Supply-Options/m-p/5185753
The T5600 uses the same 635W and an 825W for 2-CPU versions. You can get adapters from 8 pin CPU to PCIe 8 pin to use the extra CPU cable.. There are plenty of these running GTX1080Ti so it's not impossible to power them.
The workstation PSUs tend to be modular so you will need to get the harness that goes with the bigger PSUs or you won't have the connectors to use the extra power.
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator


Not sure where you are getting BTX, take a look at the auction, its clearly ATX, aside from the fact this system is a good bit newer than when BTX was basically phased out.

The case will never fit an ATX PSU though, bend whatever you want you'd need to hacksaw a hole in the side to do it.
 
I needed to get up to speed on the T3600. It's not as similar to the T3500 workstations as I expected. The PSU "looks like" they're using Rack mount server parts. This means Dell PSUs. But there are several options available. The BTX type workstations actually could use ATX PSUs. The last link I gave goes to some posts by bambiboom who modifies T3600s and gives specific answers to the PSU issue. I haven't seen him posting here in a while, but he and Susquehannock are the real workstation experts here. I just answer workstation posts because I have some information on overclocking them that isn't available elsewhere.
I'm trying to help the OP figure out how others have done what he wants to do. I think I've answered his question about GPUs, and PSUs. Even if it is an ATX, it's still a Dell, and case swaps usually end badly due to proprietary connectors and devices on the front I/O board.
if you want to play the game of who's right and who's wrong go back and read all the misinformation you gave in your first reply. Mostly incorrect, and not very useful.
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator


Passive aggressive much?

I've been doing this quite a long time and I've seen many of these systems pass through here with many disappointed users when they don't play the way they expect them to. So where is the misinformation?

1. low clocked 6 year old processor - True
https://ark.intel.com/products/64619/Intel-Xeon-Processor-E5-1607-10M-Cache-3_00-GHz-0_0-GTs-Intel-QPI

2. ECC Ram (and you want 4 more gb) - true
http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/desktop-and-all-in-one-pcs/dell-precision-t3600-workstation/spd/precision-t3600

3. proprietary sized PSU that can be replaced but you need a new case due to its shape (looks like it at least has a 20/24pin) - true - just look at the pics. And you just admitted doing that is a bad idea.

4. BIOS has issues with newer GPUs - true - you admitted yourself AMD GPUs may not work with it. In my experience I have seen Nvidia ones have issues too, but thats also why I said "may" because I can't say for sure.

So come on, where is my misinformation? Don't go accusing people without being able to back it up.
 
I just PMed you about this.
1- People are making gaming computers out of these using the faster CPUs that they support. I posted a link showing this.
http://www.userbenchmark.com/System/Dell-Precision-T3600/1882
2- Because they're 6 years old they tend to be inexpensive. I don't think someone who can afford the latest hardware would be asking this question.
3- The computer supports up to 64GB RAM. I see no reason to exclude it because of the ECC issue. It's not hard to find used.
4- I was wrong about the PSU based on my experience with Dell workstations up to the previous model the T3500. They were all BTX based. And could use ATX PSUs. I gave a generic response that wasn't true.( I'm not the only one guilty of that). I did correct that and also provided the needed information about the actual Dell PSU options up to 825W.
5- People are running GTX1080Ti in these. AMD has a known issue.

I think I provided useful information to the OP. Answered his questions correctly in the end. They can now make their own decision about this project.


 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator


Yes I got your accusatory PM's, why don't we keep the discussion to the thread at hand, as well as the facts and information posted here, instead of speculation.

1. So additional cost, added to an old system, with processors that still have a low ipc, and users still have complained about. Benchmarks do not tell the whole tale.

2. He doesn't need to buy the latest hardware to get a gaming PC that would beat this one up. Hence my first post. The money he would spend is a good start towards a Ryzen 3 or I3-8100 system that would beat this one up all day long in any game.

3. Where am I excluding it? I am pointing out it will need a minimum of 4gb ram upgrade to bring it to 8gb which is best for gaming, adding to the expense.

4. And yet I am still correct, if someone wanted to use an aftermarket PSU, they need a new case, as it won't fit this one. But it will accept a normal 20/24pin plug. Whats the problem here?

5. So again I am still right, some GPUs do not work right in it.

To provide some context here, using myself as an example. My prior system has 2 R9 280's in Crossfire. I replaced them with 1 RX 480. In doing that I lost almost 2000 points in 3d mark, however my system ran games "better". Now what is better? Kind of subjective. But games while the ultimate frame rate was lower, they ran smoother, and it was much easier to get games running properly. Now clearly we aren't dealing with crossfire here, but while a 1080ti can put up huge fps numbers in any system, saddling it with a low clocked lower ipc processor will cause hangups and stuttering in many games, thats annoying at the least. We have many users with such systems that have experienced this.

You did provide useful information, you just decided to attack me and my perfectly correct argument otherwise for I don't know what reason.
 

ticojon

Commendable
Dec 13, 2016
2
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1,510
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I own a T3600 with an E5-2690 & 64GB of ram. I added a solid state drive and a GTX 980; this machine plays most games at max settings in 2019. It can even handle some games in 4K. I also added USB 3.0 and bluetooth for convenience.
This old processor benchmarks better than any i5 and most previous generation i7's (some current).
The only downfall is that the case cover will not fit if you install a full size video card and you'll have to pull the second video card 6-pin power from the spare SATA power cables because there's only one 6-pin video card power plug. You might consider installing a smaller video card that only requires one 6-pin power (like a GTX 970).
 

Rogue Leader

Titan
Moderator
This old processor benchmarks better than any i5 and most previous generation i7's (some current).
No it doesn't.

You are using passmark for reference which is a benchmark that has no bearing on real world usage. Sure if you are running a massive database or multithreaded workload this will beat a lowly quad core i7. However when it comes to gaming even games that are multithreaded, the significantly faster cores with significantly better IPC than that Xeon will demolish it in any benchmark.

Also your processor has little to do with being able to game at 4k (in comparison to high end processors). Limitations of todays graphic cards are the driver of 4k.

I have no doubt it can play 2019 games at max settings. It also is handicapped quite a bit compared to current equipment, its also not putting out the fps of current equipment, and in the case of this system it requires a bit of hackery just to get a GPU working and fitting in it. Some people like that sort of challenge, but in the end in a couple years you will have a further outdated system that starts to be a lot more handicapped by that processor.
 

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