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Dell Precision T3500 Workstation as a Gamer?

Is there anything that would not allow me to use this workstation as a gaming PC if I add a decent graphics card? It has a Xeon W3670 3.2 GHz CPU, 6GB tri-channel DDR3 memory, and a 525W PSU with 3 x 18a +12v rails rated for 500W. I'm wondering if there is something about workstations that don't allow them to be used as a regular desktop PC?
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More about dell precision t3500 workstation gamer
  1. Workstation is nothing but a label. If you can run windows then a pc is a pc.
  2. no they will make a great gaming pc if you get a good gpu
  3. A true workstation has a Xeon and ECC ram. otherwise its just a PC. The "workstation" just means higher stability, the trade off is usually lower CPU speeds and slower memory (ram).
  4. 1405 said:
    Is there anything that would not allow me to use this workstation as a gaming PC if I add a decent graphics card? It has a Xeon W3670 3.2 GHz CPU, 6GB tri-channel DDR3 memory, and a 525W PSU with 3 x 18a +12v rails rated for 500W. I'm wondering if there is something about workstations that don't allow them to be used as a regular desktop PC?


    There isn't. But that PSU may not handle very powerful graphics cards, so you may need to change it.
  5. iamacow said:
    A true workstation has a Xeon and ECC ram. otherwise its just a PC. The "workstation" just means higher stability, the trade off is usually lower CPU speeds and slower memory (ram).


    This one has ECC memory. Does it require ECC memory, or could I use non-ECC memory if I wanted to upgrade?
  6. 1405 said:
    iamacow said:
    A true workstation has a Xeon and ECC ram. otherwise its just a PC. The "workstation" just means higher stability, the trade off is usually lower CPU speeds and slower memory (ram).


    This one has ECC memory. Does it require ECC memory, or could I use non-ECC memory if I wanted to upgrade?


    It may support non-ECC or it may not, but you cant mix anyway. So you'll have to get ecc. But don;t worry, it's dirt cheap on ebay these days ;)
  7. i can confirm it supports both ecc and non ecc ram.
  8. cdabc123 said:
    i can confirm it supports both ecc and non ecc ram.


    Thank you.
  9. cdabc123 said:
    no they will make a great gaming pc if you get a good gpu


    Would you consider the one I outlined above a good one?
  10. i dont see one above?
  11. Xeon support both ECC and Non-ECC. you cannot mix and match but you don't have to use ECC ram.
  12. cdabc123 said:
    i dont see one above?


    It wasn't a link to one, just a description of one:
    "Dell Precision T3500 Workstation... Xeon W3670 3.2 GHz CPU, 6GB tri-channel DDR3 memory, and a 525W PSU with 3 x 18amp +12v rails rated for 500W"
    I believe the Dell PSU has 4 x PCIe 6-pin connectors too.
  13. whats your budget for a card because xeons have no video output
  14. cdabc123 said:
    whats your budget for a card because xeons have no video output


    This one I just found comes with a Quatro 4000 that I'd probably sell, because I already have a couple of my own cards I can choose from.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/252249649088?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    It also has 24GB RAM and a small HDD that I'd swap out with my 1TB.

    One other question...
    This one is listed as a server desktop. Is that still the same as the workstation?
  15. 1405 said:
    cdabc123 said:
    whats your budget for a card because xeons have no video output


    This one I just found comes with a Quatro 4000 that I'd probably sell, because I already have a couple of my own cards I can choose from.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/252249649088?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    It also has 24GB RAM and a small HDD that I'd swap out with my 1TB.

    One other question...
    This one is listed as a server desktop. Is that still the same as the workstation?


    Same.
  16. Not the same exactly. Servers may not need a gpu.

    For $300 you can find a better pc for gaming. You can find ivy bridge i5 pc for that price.
  17. Best answer
    1405 said:
    Is there anything that would not allow me to use this workstation as a gaming PC if I add a decent graphics card? It has a Xeon W3670 3.2 GHz CPU, 6GB tri-channel DDR3 memory, and a 525W PSU with 3 x 18a +12v rails rated for 500W. I'm wondering if there is something about workstations that don't allow them to be used as a regular desktop PC?


    1405,

    System: Be aware that for a surprisingly similar cost to a T3500, you can buy a T5500 which supports 96GB of RAM and has an 875W power supply. A year ago February I bought a running T5500 with a Xeon X5620 in excellent condition for $171.

    CPU: The Dell Precision T3500 could make a decent gamer. The Xeon LGA1366 were an excellent series capable of contemporary performance. The RAM is 1333 but the latency is 8 or 9 whereas DDR4 is 15. However, I would suggest buying one with a low specification and upgrading. The Xeon X3670 is an excellent CPU, but as is the case with more cores, the clock speed and especially the single-threaded performance is reduced. For games- or 3D CAD- I would suggest using the LGA1366 Xeon with the highest single-thread rating and clock speed, which is the Xeon X5687 4-core @ 3.6 / 3.86GHz. The Passmark single-thread rating of the w3670 is 1415 while the X5687 rating is 1581. I have a T3500 (which I bought for $53) and added a X5677 (3.47 /3.73) rated at 1520.

    RAM: The T3500 can use up to 24GB ECC unbuffered or non-ECC. The X58 chipset is triple channel so for best results do everything in a set of 3 identical modules. At least with ECC, these seem a little sensitive so I would suggest using modules that are all the same rank. In my T3500 I have 6X identical Samsung 2GB ECC and the Passmark memory rating is well above average.

    GPU: The T3500 may use two GPU's up to 150W but does not support SLI. The workstation cards of that time were huge and power hungry- have a look at a Quadro 6000 6GB that uses 225W- so I think anything you can buy today will work. IY's PCIe 2.0 of course.

    Disk: The weak point of the T3500 is the disk system which is SATAII 3GB/s. Two days ago I bought a PERC H310 SAS /SATA RAID controller off Ebahhh as this convert the T3500 to 6GB/s. In a Precision T5500, with the same drives a PERC H310 changed the Passmark disk score from 1940 to 2649. The H310 will also run a whole pile of 10K and 15K SAS drives so it would support an NAS server stack.

    Sound: The integrated sound on a T3500 is not bad, but I'm used to using good soundcards and am adding a used Creative Audigy XS2 6.1 soundcard- $14 shipping included. This was designed in 2009 but the sound is supposed to be very good. A way to use a PCI slot ! I use M-audio 24/192 in my two main systems as those have MIDI I/O. For a good gaming experience I recommend a soundcard and I've had good results with Logitech z-series speaker systems. a couple have wired remotes - worth their weight in gold.

    USB: I've waited too long but will be adding a PCIe USB 3.0 card to the T3500.

    The Precision Tx500 series were beautifully made, ultra-reliable, and quiet running capable of reasonable modern performance levels.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom

    __________________________________________________________

    Purchased for $53 + $24 shipping:

    Precision T3500 (2011) (Original) Xeon W3530 4-core @ 2.8 /3.06GHz > 4GB (2X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > GeForce 9800 GT (1GB)> WD Black 500GB
    [[Passmark system rating = 1963, CPU = 4482 / 2D= 609 / 3D=805 / Mem= 1409 / Disk=1048]

    CPU: $60 (12.15)
    RAM: $43 (12.15)
    GPU and Drives: Left over from T5500 upgrade

    PERC H310: $29 (5.11.16, not installed)
    Creative Audigy XS2 Gold 6.1 soundcard : $14 (5.13.16 not installed)
    Logitech z313 2.1 speakers > $31 (new, not installed)

    Results:

    Dell Precision T3500 (2011) (Rev 2) Xeon X5677 4-core @ 3.46 / 3.73GHz > 12GB (6X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > Quadro 4000 (2GB) > PERC 6/i + Seagate 300GB 15K SAS ST3300657SS + WD Black 500GB > 525W PSU> Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > 2X Dell 19" LCD
    [Passmark system rating = 2751, CPU = 7236 / 2D= 658 / 3D=2020 / Mem= 1875 / Disk=1221]
  18. Update (for whoever cares)
    Well, I went and got the used T3500. Surprisingly fast. I have a friend who has a FX-8350/8GB DDR3 2133MHz RAM (Mine only has DDR3 1066 MHz RAM). He eagerly agreed to do some comparison testing with me.
    He set his overclocked FX-8350 back to its default settings (4GHz/4.2GHz) to make it fair since my T3500 can't be overclocked. We then took turns using a GTX 960 on each of our machines and ran the Firestrike benchmark.
    My Firestrike score was 6915, his was 6600. His was insignificantly faster in the graphics scores, mine considerably faster in the physics scores. Not too shabby for a non-gaming work station.
  19. 1405 said:
    Update (for whoever cares)
    Well, I went and got the used T3500. Surprisingly fast. I have a friend who has a FX-8350/8GB DDR3 2133MHz RAM (Mine only has DDR3 1066 MHz RAM). He eagerly agreed to do some comparison testing with me.
    He set his overclocked FX-8350 back to its default settings (4GHz/4.2GHz) to make it fair since my T3500 can't be overclocked. We then took turns using a GTX 960 on each of our machines and ran the Firestrike benchmark.
    My Firestrike score was 6915, his was 6600. His was insignificantly faster in the graphics scores, mine considerably faster in the physics scores. Not too shabby for a non-gaming work station.


    Good for you, mate. Workstation/server SH copmponents are all the rage these days among enthusiasts on the cheap.
  20. I wouldn't say these days. Intel raised the price a little plus people getting cheap xeons has been done before any i series were even out. You still see most with consumer labeled parts. That's pretty sad when that xeon is like 3 years older and lower clocked but keeps up with the fx.
  21. k1114 said:
    I wouldn't say these days. Intel raised the price a little plus people getting cheap xeons has been done before any i series were even out. You still see most with consumer labeled parts. That's pretty sad when that xeon is like 3 years older and lower clocked but keeps up with the fx.


    Yup. AMD really needs Zen to be competitive. Actually, we all do.
  22. My friend is a bit disheartened after those Firestrike results and now wants to compare our machines using his GTX 980. He thinks the faster card will make his score better. (??) Technically... I should be able to do the 980 using one 18A rail for each 8-pin header. If interested, I'll report back the results.
  23. 1405 said:

    My friend is a bit disheartened after those Firestrike results and now wants to compare our machines using his GTX 980. He thinks the faster card will make his score better. (??) Technically... I should be able to do the 980 using one 18A rail for each 8-pin header. If interested, I'll report back the results.


    :)) The videocard will not change the results.
  24. Hlsgsz said:


    :)) The videocard will not change the results.


    Not in his favor, anyway...

    Why are the physics scores so much greater for my Xeon? That doesn't seem right. PhysX uses the GPU, doesn't it? Is Firestrike borked for Xeons?
  25. Update
    We ran some more benchmarks. And some in-game benchmarks and the two processors are neck and neck with a slight edge to the Xeon. Firestrike is the only odd one.
  26. No the physics test is not physx, it's a cpu based physics engine: bullet.
  27. k1114 said:
    No the physics test is not physx, it's a cpu based physics engine: bullet.


    Ahh. Another new thing I learned. Does that have any practical benefit in gaming since most games use PhysX on the Nvidia cards?
  28. Most games do not use physx. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_games_with_hardware-accelerated_PhysX_support Look how short this list is and this is all phsyx games going back to it's first commercial implementations in 2005. The majority of physics engines are cpu based. Hence why synthetic gaming benchmarks use cpu based physics. This doesn't mean all physics in game is running on the cpu as some things will use the gpu and many effects are actually simplified or pre rendered and run off the gpu.
  29. 1405!!!!!
    You've gotta help me man. You say you have a t3500 yeah? Well I have to. I've upgraded ram. Easy. I've also bought a GTX 960 to. Like you tested with right? So if that's the case WHAT POWER SUPPLY ARE YOU USING. you must have upgraded because the standard power supply dosnt have cables for a gtx 6 pin. Please help your my last hope. I've bought a power supply and the shop I went to fro them to fit it said they can't do it because the cables are ribbon or something like that
  30. kieran98_28 said:
    1405!!!!!
    You've gotta help me man. You say you have a t3500 yeah? Well I have to. I've upgraded ram. Easy. I've also bought a GTX 960 to. Like you tested with right? So if that's the case WHAT POWER SUPPLY ARE YOU USING. you must have upgraded because the standard power supply dosnt have cables for a gtx 6 pin. Please help your my last hope. I've bought a power supply and the shop I went to fro them to fit it said they can't do it because the cables are ribbon or something like that


    the t3500 uses a power supply that is standard you can replace it with any psu you like
  31. kieran98_28 said:
    1405!!!!!
    You've gotta help me man. You say you have a t3500 yeah? Well I have to. I've upgraded ram. Easy. I've also bought a GTX 960 to. Like you tested with right? So if that's the case WHAT POWER SUPPLY ARE YOU USING. you must have upgraded because the standard power supply dosnt have cables for a gtx 6 pin. Please help your my last hope. I've bought a power supply and the shop I went to for them to fit it said they can't do it because the cables are ribbon or something like that



    kieran98_28

    The T3500 has a 525W PSU and was specified to be able to use 2X 150W GPU's. The T3500 could be purchased new with a Quadro 5000 that was 175W. The NVIDIA recommended minimum power supply for a GTX 960 is 400W, so the stock PSU has plenty of power.

    The T3500 has a cable with a Molex 4-pin and 6-pin connector. You might check your T3500 to see if that cable is hiding in the bundle of wires at the top. I have the 6-pin connecting a Quadro 4000 that is rated at 120W. If that cable is missing in your T3500, find the spare Molex and add a Molex to 6 or 8 pin adapter.

    If this is not sufficient, as cdabc mentions, you can use a modern PSU, but another option is to use a Precision T5500 875W PSU. The T3500 and T5500 use the same chassis/ case. Used T5500 PSU's are sold for as little as $30-40 and new ones are $120, but for $150 you can buy a whole T5500. I have a T5500 also and that has two 6-pin connectors. I didn't know for a long while as the second connector was tucked up in the bundle of wires at the top of the case.

    Still, I think the stock PSU is fine for the GTX 960.

    Cheers,

    BambiBoom

    Dell Precision T3500 (2011) (Rev 2) Xeon X5677 4-core @ 3.46 / 3.73GHz > 12GB (6X 2GB) DDR3-1333 ECC > Quadro 4000 (2GB) > PERC 6/i + Seagate 300GB 15K SAS ST3300657SS + WD Black 500GB > 525W PSU> Windows 7 Professional 64-bit > 2X Dell 19" LCD
    [Passmark system rating = 2751> CPU = 7236 / 2D= 658 / 3D=2020 / Mem= 1875 / Disk=1221]
  32. kieran98_28 said:
    1405!!!!!
    You've gotta help me man. You say you have a t3500 yeah? Well I have to. I've upgraded ram. Easy. I've also bought a GTX 960 to. Like you tested with right? So if that's the case WHAT POWER SUPPLY ARE YOU USING. you must have upgraded because the standard power supply dosnt have cables for a gtx 6 pin. Please help your my last hope. I've bought a power supply and the shop I went to fro them to fit it said they can't do it because the cables are ribbon or something like that


    My standard Dell 525W PSU for my T3500 did indeed have a 6-pin PCIe power cable. And it was wired with six wires, not 4. So it was safe for using a 6-pin to 8-pin adapter. http://imgur.com/96PP3Xy
  33. cdabc123 said:
    no they will make a great gaming pc if you get a good gpu


    I BOUGHT T3500 A WEEK AGO .MY PSU HAS BEEN BURNT TWO TIMES IN A WEEK.I HAD TO REPLACE IT TWO TIMES.....IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG IN THESE PSUs ....I MEAN THEY ARE 525WATT AND STILL CANT HANDLE MY GPU GTX 950
  34. MobiIII said:
    cdabc123 said:
    no they will make a great gaming pc if you get a good gpu


    I BOUGHT T3500 A WEEK AGO .MY PSU HAS BEEN BURNT TWO TIMES IN A WEEK.I HAD TO REPLACE IT TWO TIMES.....IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG IN THESE PSUs ....I MEAN THEY ARE 525WATT AND STILL CANT HANDLE MY GPU GTX 950


    are you sure its a psu issue? generally dell powersupplys arnt nearly that bad.
  35. Maybe something short circuiting?
  36. cdabc123 said:
    MobiIII said:
    cdabc123 said:
    no they will make a great gaming pc if you get a good gpu


    I BOUGHT T3500 A WEEK AGO .MY PSU HAS BEEN BURNT TWO TIMES IN A WEEK.I HAD TO REPLACE IT TWO TIMES.....IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG IN THESE PSUs ....I MEAN THEY ARE 525WATT AND STILL CANT HANDLE MY GPU GTX 950


    are you sure its a psu issue? generally dell powersupplys arnt nearly that bad.


    YES IT IS A PSU ISSUE.....2 PSUs IN ONE WEEK ..EACH LASTING ONLY 2 DAYS......
  37. Possibly your residences wiring system? Properly grounded? Surge protection? Loose neutral somewhere? If you want to verify, pick up one of these for an easy quick check: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Gear-50542-3-Wire-Receptacle/dp/B002LZTKIA
  38. clutchc said:
    Possibly your residences wiring system? Properly grounded? Surge protection? Loose neutral somewhere? If you want to verify, pick up one of these for an easy quick check: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Gear-50542-3-Wire-Receptacle/dp/B002LZTKIA


    MY PC DOES GIVE ME ELECTRICAL SHOCKS WHEN I TOUCH IT ............IS IT RELATED TO THIS PROBLEM....ALSO MY HOUSE HAS FLUCTUATING VOLTAGE SOMETIMES 170V SOMETIMES 200 .......BUT I AM USING VOLTAGE STABILIZER FOR IT.....PLZ SUGGEST ME SOMETHING
  39. MobiIII said:
    clutchc said:
    Possibly your residences wiring system? Properly grounded? Surge protection? Loose neutral somewhere? If you want to verify, pick up one of these for an easy quick check: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Gear-50542-3-Wire-Receptacle/dp/B002LZTKIA


    MY PC DOES GIVE ME ELECTRICAL SHOCKS WHEN I TOUCH IT ............IS IT RELATED TO THIS PROBLEM....ALSO MY HOUSE HAS FLUCTUATING VOLTAGE SOMETIMES 170V SOMETIMES 200 .......BUT I AM USING VOLTAGE STABILIZER FOR IT.....PLZ SUGGEST ME SOMETHING


    Yikes! What country do you live in? What is the voltage supposed to be; 240VAC? 120VAC?
    You may have found the reason you keep going thru PSUs.
  40. clutchc said:
    MobiIII said:
    clutchc said:
    Possibly your residences wiring system? Properly grounded? Surge protection? Loose neutral somewhere? If you want to verify, pick up one of these for an easy quick check: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Gear-50542-3-Wire-Receptacle/dp/B002LZTKIA


    MY PC DOES GIVE ME ELECTRICAL SHOCKS WHEN I TOUCH IT ............IS IT RELATED TO THIS PROBLEM....ALSO MY HOUSE HAS FLUCTUATING VOLTAGE SOMETIMES 170V SOMETIMES 200 .......BUT I AM USING VOLTAGE STABILIZER FOR IT.....PLZ SUGGEST ME SOMETHING


    Yikes! What country do you live in? What is the voltage supposed to be; 240VAC? 120VAC?
    You may have found the reason you keep going thru PSUs.


    IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE 240V BUT SOMETHING IS WRONG IN THE WIRING....BUT THIS NEVER HAPPENED WITH MY OLD DELL OPTIPLEX WITH 300W (I GUESS) PSU....IS IT SOMETHING WRONG WITH MOBO ?
  41. It sounds like you not only have poor voltage control where you are, but possibly very 'dirty' power as well. Spikes, surges, brown-outs, etc.
    Since the tester I linked to above is for 120vAC US residences, this one should fit yours: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Socket-Tester-Wiring-Safety-Checker/dp/B00O8QQFDI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1467408329&sr=8-3&keywords=outlet+tester
    Check that the plugs are correct. If so, use it to first test that the outlet is wired correctly.
    I suspect your electrical system is eating PSUs.
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