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.
Update July 2023
I swapped cases and added a Radon 570 to this build (in PCIe Slot 3, 4th down from the CPU)
I need to mount this better as this was just a test.
I was planning on using a Bifufation and Power injector to add the extra 50W of power that PCIe 2 does not provide but the card worked without it.
I cannot mount this inside the PC as I added heatsinks to the UC’s on the board.
Before (Heaven benchmark running on a 1030 Ti running at 1920×1200)
After (Radeon 570)
Mounted the Video Card Inside
I moved the video card up a few slots and mounted it inside the case in PCIe 5 slot
The WiFi card was moved up to the top PCIe slot via a USB Extender
I did not stop there, I has a RTX 2080 where it has a AIO water cooling loop die.
I replaced the thermal pads and purchased a heat sink from Ali Express.
I mounted the tested the Temperatures with Furmark as I was not happy with the 1mm thermal pads on the memory. The memory needs 0.75mm pads.
269FPS at 64c on a PCIe 16x video card running at 8x is nice. I am using this system on a 25” 240Hz Monitor. If I can get 0.75mm thermal pads I might be able to lower temps more? The crazy thing is the Tyan S7012 can supply 45W on the PCIe slot. No Hardware adapters or PCIe power injectors were needed.
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? Yes now that I added a Radeon 570
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.