Question Worth Upgrading Dell Precision T3600?

cowboy_wilhelm

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Sep 26, 2008
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I acquired an old Dell Precision T3600 workstation from work and have been using it for basic desktop browsing. Now I'm wondering if I can upgrade it enough to play some older games I've missed out on for a "reasonable" price. The CPU and GPU are the weakest points right now. I know this thing will never be able to play 4K, VR, etc. GTA V is probably my goal. Something like RDR 2 would be nice, but I'm not expecting a miracle here. I've spent $0 on the system, but I know it's probably not worth sinking too much into it. I'm also not looking to spend the amount it would take to build a new system right now, especially when I can save and re-purpose an old system.

Current setup:
32 GB DDR3 RAM
Intel Xeon E5-1603 (four-core @ 2.8 GHz)
NVIDIA Quadro 2000 1 GB (lol)
2x 250 GB WD 7200 RPM in RAID

Potential Upgrades:
An Intel Xeon E5-2680 (eight-core @ 2.7 GHz) can be found on eBay for around $50. Not too shabby. A Xeon E5-2687W will maybe(?) work, but it doesn't seem like it's worth the extra cost ($130 is the lowest I've seen), but that is 3.1 vs 2.7 GHz. Is there a better option for the LGA2011? It's a bit limited with the Dell MB BIOS.

I have a stroke every time I look at GPU prices. A GeForce GTX 1660 Super or TI looks like it could do the trick without breaking the bank.

I can't decide on storage, but something needs to be done. I hate to waste two good HDDs, and I'm fine with leaving the OS on the old drive, but there's no room left for physical expansion due to Dell's case setup. Plus, a SSD would require some Dell proprietary caddy junk to fit the 2.5" inch in the 3.5" slot. Maybe a PCIe adapter for a NVME SSD to store games? Can you get by with 500 GB any more?

Here's what I've come up with to land in the $400 range. Is it worth spending that much on an old system, or would I be better off putting that towards a new build? Would it be worth spending a little extra to make it worthwhile?

CPUIntel Xeon E5-2680 (used)$50
GPUGeForce GTX 1660 Super or TI $250-$300
NVME SSDWD Blue 500 GB$65+ PCIe adapter
$380-$430
 
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Vyrvelata

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May 19, 2020
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That's good and the NvME and the GPU can be used later in another future build...
1660 super is really good card and wont be so limited by the proc....
What is your PSU?
 

cowboy_wilhelm

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I went with an Intel Xeon E5-1660 (six-core @ 3.3 GHz [3.9 GHz "turbo"]) for $70 off eBay.

Will the GTX 1660 Super be bottlenecked by the older CPU? I'm assuming anything faster would be, and it would start to push the PSU as well. Anything slower and it seems like I might as well plan a new build that can take advantage of today's GPUs. The CPU is a good upgrade for the system either way.
 
Sep 21, 2020
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So, I see this is a little bit older- but I just wanted to share what I built mine like. I bought my T3600 several years back. I picked up an MSI Geforce GTX 1650 Ventus XS OC Edition (Ridiculously long name)... I don't remember how much it was but they're around $160 new right now. The good thing about this GPU is that it's affordable, and it's powered by the PCIe slot- so no adapters are needed. I got a Xeon E5-1650, which can be had for $40- $45 regularly on ebay. It offers 6 cores at 3.2Ghz with 3.8GHz Turbo, and multithreading. Like cowboy, I also have 32 gigs of DDR3 RAM, and it's non ECC. That's right- you don't have to use ECC, even though a lot of older posts you may come across will say that you do.

As for actual performance, I play eve online with it at max settings at 1440 resolution, and I never have a problem. Obviously results will vary depending on the game you're playing. But, if you're just a casual gamer playing at 1080- this computer will run most of the popular games without any problems.

I'm curious though cowboy- does the NVME SSD run as fast as it should? On another thread I read a few months back, a number of people were saying that they won't run as fast as they should because the motherboard doesn't have proper support for them or something like that. If it works well I might check into throwing one in to mine. Another question- what bios version is yours running? Thanks for posting this! When I first got mine all of the posts I could find were pretty old and not much help. 🙂
 

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