Recently, I stumbled across Tech Yes City’s video about buying a 12 year old Xeon (server) processors an dusing it in a gaming machine..
I do not need a gaming PC but I do need a spare development PC and PC my kids can use for Homework.
I was mesmerized by the 18 Memory Slots and dual CPU sockets.
I orderd 12 x Hynix RDIMM PC3-10600R 1333Mhz (HMT351R7BFR8C) memory modules (48GB in total).
I ordered 12 because I could not find a cheap set of 18 x RDIMM’s. I will try and find 6 more memory modules later.
I ordered 2x Intel Xeon E5620 SPEC SLBV4 for 99c. These chips are 4 core, 8 threads per processor.
After some research, I realised these chips are way too slow.
At the same time, I accidentally won an auction for 2x 6 core/12 Thread Intel Xeon E5645 Processor (SLBWZ 2.4GHz 12M).
The more I researched, I realised I should purchase 2 of the fastest X5600 series processor possible. I purchased 2x X5690 Xeon processors from Ali Express.
Each processor is a 6 core/12 thread 3.46Ghz (single-core boost to 3.73Ghz), 12MB cache processor made with 32nm lithography.
1 hour after purchasing from Ali Express I has confirmation from the seller.
The board arrived in a few weeks, The board was in mint condition.
I ordered2 S7012 compatible heatsinks (Noctua NH-U9DX i4)
Preparing the Processor(s)
I was a bit scared of the potential 2x 130W each processor could generate at 100% usage so I decided to lap the surface of each processor using 400 to 3000 grit sandpaper. I used a sheet of glass to lap each processor with a fresh wet/dry sandpaper sheet. I used Isopropot alcohol to lubricate the paper and carry away metal.
It turns out that each processor was very distorted. The IHS was bent out of shape.
I lapped each processor to remove each concave and convex shape.
Each processor IHS was very flat.
I was lucky enough to get a Phanteks Enthoo Pro 2 D-RGB Tempered Glass Full-Tower ATX Case – Black case for $141
The Tyan S7012 Mainbioard is 30cm x 33cm and it will nt fit in a ATX case.
The installed Tyan S7012 case looks tiny when installed in the Phanteks case.
I ordered a Corsair RMx Series™ RM1000x — 1000 Watt 80 PLUS Gold Fully Modular ATX PSU as it has the 3x EPS12V power connectors that the Tyan S7120 requires.
I added a Sound card, USB 3 card, 12 fans.
I added a Wifi6 card
I grabbed a DVD Drive, 500Gb Solid State Drive (from an old Retina Mac book and a GT1033 Video card and plugged it all together. I had read that the northbridge CPOU gets hot so I added a fan to the heatsink on the Northbridge.
The S7012 booted after a 30 seconds self-test, I installed Windows 10 and to my surprise, everything was detected.
After the first boot, the Windows 10 Task Masnger reported 12 cores/24 threads and 48GB of memory.
On a cool winters night, the CPU’s were barely 10c above ambiet temperatures.
Time to run Cinebench R23 and stress every core.
Now CPU cores were hitting 39c under 100% load.
Cinebench R23 was reporting 8277 points, that’s only 20% behind my AMD Ryzen 3700X
What was concerning was 366 Watts full load (all Core stress test
I set the Windows Power plan to “Power Savings” and now the power dray is a respectable 128W.
Using more than 4x PCIe Cards
In order to use more than 4 PCI cards, I had to buy some PCI over USB extension cards. The Heatsinks were blocking 2x PCIe slots.
In routed 2x PCI-E slots over USB to allow the Heatsink to intake air.
I routed 1x sound cards and 1x USB 3 card to the vertical PCIe card mounts on the case.
Looks ghetto but it works
Filling the empty memory banks
I managed to find 6 more RDIMM memory sticks that matched the memory that was installed. It was even made in the same week.
18 Memory banks were populated.
72GB memory installed at full speed.
I installed the fans ready for summer.
I routed some case RGB under my power cable.
Even though this system is 12 years old it boots Windows in 20 seconds (after self-test) and it is a fast machine to use.
Would I game on this? No.
Would I code on it? Yes.
Would I run it 24/7? No.
Would I do this again? Yes
I still have a spare PCI-E slot for a SATA 3 card.