So finally got around to doing the first of a few upgrades to my new Dell T5810 server. Originally the Dell ships with an Intel XEON E5-1608 V2 a server processor with a 4 core 2.8ghz clock. This was interesting to me though, as for many years we have had the option of turbo boost, virtual cores, hyper threading etc. Part of my desire to rebuild one of these old servers was the ability to upgrade the insides, and what do you know adding E5 series XEONs is actually pretty easy.
Original list prices however were astronomical for upper level performing XEON processors, which can be evidenced by the pricing of older Dell T5810’s when built to order. For example, say the street price of the Dell was around 3k, with a CTO CPU upgrade you could be looking at another 2-3k for a giant upgrade for the day.
Enter the search for reasonable CPU’s to upgrade to, and the internet is awash in various options. Now, there are certainly versions that allow hyper threading in the E5-2xxx series, which is where I went. You can use E5-1XXX series with no problem, but when I found out that multi core multi CPU system processors where readily available on the old Ebay – I poked around and scored a nice Intel XEON E5-2680 V3 with 12 cores, AND hyper threading (making 24 logical cores) was available for less than $100 I thought why not give it a try.
This processor is pretty cool – and can be found here for all the folks who want to see its particulars at the Intel spec sheet which shows that when new it was about $1750 mfg recommended price. So – I waited and received a lovely packaged CPU from the Ebay sellers shortly after ordering.
Straightforward the installation went without incident: update BIOS, clean old thermal paste, install new paste, re-install riser cooling package (you can indeed use the stock cooler), and whoa! What a difference, the new XEON flies through tasks, and when it comes to multithread tasks – look out! Some programs like 3D rendering, IRAY for example will cruise along on ALL 24 Cores at once.
It’s pretty fun to work on photos, crunch what I consider giant Hasselblad digital files, and render 3D composites on this workstation, and I’m looking forward to building out more pieces.
For anyone looking for a great option to tinker with CPU’s try the upgrade path for your own system, you just may have fun, and your older computer may see some new life!
Until next time,