X58 platform still viable in 2016 thanks to cheap Xeons

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by mrcorbo, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Just replaced my i7-920 with a Xeon W3690 for $170 and my urgency to upgrade in the near future has gone away. Now that I have 6C/12T @ 4.3Ghz, I'm feeling like this platform still has some life in it, which after 8 years is pretty amazing.

    My plan now is to hold out until platform support for PCIe 4.0 and Optane are out in the market.
     
  2. Gubbi

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    Power consumption ?

    My i7-920 uses >180W when maxed (220W difference at the wall between idle and load). With the stock cooler it would clock throttle when maxing a single core.

    I'm holding out for the release of AMD's Zen. Even if it isn't a stellar performer, it should provide negative price pressure on Intel's SKUs.

    Cheers
     
  3. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    So these xeons are unlocked? Pretty wicked. Is the W3690 the high-end model?

    I have a socket 13xx-based PC - which still works! - and this is actually a bit interesting to me. :) It would make a wicked folding box if nothing else. :D

    Btw, how the hell did you get it to clock to 4.3GHz tho - you have a two-stage phase change cooler strapped to its back, or is that a typo? :p
     
  4. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Remember the 990X? This chip is the Xeon equivalent. Additionally, there are X56XX series Xeons around which are also reported to work in many motherboards and they go for even cheaper. People are pulling the chips from decommisioned servers, cleaning them up, and selling them on EBay. Ironically, it's socket 1366 motherboards which are now selling at a premium.

    And, surprisingly, it hit that frequency pretty easily. I didn't change the multiplier, since I wanted to keep SpeedStep enabled and on my first try that seemed to defeat my multiplier adjustment. So, I upped the BCLK to 166 instead. That's it. I didn't even have to raise the voltage. Runs a bit hotter than at stock frequencies (which are already 3.4Ghz base 3.7Ghz Turbo) but even running 12 threads of Prime95 it stayed under 80c with my HSF. It may even go higher. I haven't tried to really push it as this frequency enables a divider to let my RAM run at its XMP spec at DDR-1333. I may, though, order some higher spec DDR3 and see if additional memory bandwidth improves performance any. I've seen some having trouble with stability when running the IMC out of spec (this chip only officially supports up to DDR3-1333).

    Since my pre-rev D0 920 was a bit of a dud as an overclocker (3.2 Ghz max) this is a *significant* upgrade when you add up the additional frequency on top of the additional cores.
     
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  5. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    No idea. It's 32nm instead of 45nm, but the TDP is still rated at 130W, the same as the 920 (but with more cores and a much higher clockspeed). I'm not running a stock cooler, but as I responded to Grall, It's not temp throttling under load for me at this clock. The X5650 from the X56XX series I mentioned has a TDP of 95W since it's stock clock is only 2.66Ghz. Probably lots of headroom on that one to OC before power and heat become a problem. If I had been certain it would work in my MB, I would have grabbed one of those. I mean, look at this. These processors are dirt cheap for what they can do. *That's* why the motherboards to run them are disproportionately expensive to find used. People are buying them up to run these in them.
     
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  6. fellix

    fellix Hey, You!
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    The X5650 is a fine overclocker on a bargain, but it requires a robust X58 board to reach high bus clock. The problems with those LGA1366 Xeons is the gamble with the motherboards, since X58 has been phased out long time ago, incl. the BIOS support. Some good second-hand X58 boards still hold a good price up.
    I'm still holding on my X58 + X5650 main rig, despite the fact that I'm tempted to move to a more "pedestrian" solution with Skylake and Z170, it somehow sucks to downgrade from 6 to 4 cores. I'll wait for Zen and whatever Intel is cooking for it, so X99 prices finally come down to earth.
     
  7. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    Yeah, the unlocked multiplier of the W3690 definitely makes things easier.
     
    #7 mrcorbo, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  8. ieldra

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    Solid upgrade choice, I've been looking to sell my X58 board for a while now,and looking at ebay it seems average price is actually on par with how much I spent for my shiny new X99 board.

    X58 is legendary :)
     
  9. hughJ

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    This was the same boat I was in a few months ago. Was running a x5650 @ 4.0 and ended up needing to upgrade for USB 3.0 and single threaded perf. I danced back and forth between X99 and Z170, ended up going with skylake and now I regret it anytime I bump into some heavier threaded workloads. Also the task manager window showing the core utilization boxes isn't as cool looking. :p
     
  10. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    Can't you keep your old box around for these situations?
     
  11. hughJ

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    Yep, but the old box isn't much faster for those situations. Skylake's IPC improvement over Nahalem/Westmere is roughly equivalent to the extra two cores (they have similar Cinebench scores with both @ 4.0 GHz). Where the multi-threaded performance of the new system is comparatively weak is really when stacked up against what I could have purchased instead of the skylake build. It's just weird when you've held out for an upgrade for your new system to not be appreciably faster in a lot of situations.
     
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  12. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    You can't divvy up your tasks over 2 PCs then, or it doesn't work that way? :D
     
  13. ToTTenTranz

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    I would be weary of using pre-sandybridge CPUs with Radeon graphics cards.
    It seems that CPUs without AVX are taking huge performance hits, even with the newer APIs that should be less dependent on the CPU.
     
  14. fellix

    fellix Hey, You!
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    Is it really (except in some video encoders)?
    BTW, No Man's Sky initial release got some trouble with 65nm Core 2 CPUs, lacking SSE 4.1 support.
    SSE3 for instance is pretty much in the minimum requirements for more and more games and apps. The first AVX implementation was really a half asset job, to be honest, and the more versatile and useful AVX2 still needs to cover a lot of market share to be mandated as a min spec, not before the software tools and compilers can mature as well.
     
  15. Gubbi

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    I get around 90 fps on my Fury Nano (slightly underclocked/powered) @2560x1440 in Doom using Vulkan, and around 105fps in 1920x1080, on my stock clocked i7-920. This doesn't seem out of line with what various reviews report.

    I could imagine games making heavy use of physics (especially the Nvidia kind) might be at a slight disadvantage, but otherwise not. These old chips have poorer SIMD performance and worse branch prediction but better instruction latencies. You win some, you loose some.

    Cheers
     
  16. tangey

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    That's a pretty neat idea. I just checked and my Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R rev 1.0 motherboard bios will take all the Xeon W3xxx, it won't take the E5 or X5 chips. My i930 was overclocked from the start getting 4.1G on it. This last couple of months it's got a little unstable, more so I recall since going to windows10, but knocking it down 200mhg solved it.

    I might look into doing exactly what you did. I won't see the same increase, as I'm getting 3.9Ghz or so on the i930, but a 50% core count improvement would be a good boost. I'm totally out of touch with intel core development over the years. Did W3xx cpu cores have any clock for clock performance improvements over the core in the i9 series ?

    Given I've already installed a 970 graphics card, and now W10, this system has had amazing legs. Only shortcoming is it only has 6G of ram, 3xmatched sticks to help with overclocking. Not sure if the memory for this board is still available, and anyhow I'd basically have to throw that 6G away to do an upgrade.

    For others with Gigabyte X58 motherboards, heres the Gigabyte doc that lists boards/bios revisions that are compatible with the various intel 1366 socket cpus
    http://uk.gigabyte.com/support-downloads/cpu-support-popup.aspx?v=AE72F6F9D4ADD0D78A3DDEFA445422EB653B8D5BBA0B7340&s=Intel Socket 1366&cs=Intel X58
     
    #16 tangey, Sep 1, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  17. hughJ

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    No, you're basically just looking at a die shrink, so the biggest difference between them is a drop in TDP (albeit a pretty substantial one). I always struggled to get my 920 stable above ~3.5, but the x5650 was pretty comfortable at 4.0. My computer case and room were noticeably cooler after the switch. Only reason I didn't go higher was my concern over the chipset temperatures as my mobo had pretty inadequate cooling there and it being my main rig coupled with the high cost of good x58 boards.
     
  18. fellix

    fellix Hey, You!
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    The Westmere generation added the AES instruction set, support for larger page tables, faster virtualization nesting and more flexible L3~DRAM clock ratios (the last one is not available for the X5650 SKU)... oh, and higher turbo boost, I think. Rather minor tweaks, not even an architectural refresh. The biggest novelty was the 32nm process and more cores.
     
  19. mrcorbo

    mrcorbo Foo Fighter
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    You'd have to weigh the cost/benefit of throwing even more money at old tech, but DDR3 triple-channel kits are definitely still available and 12GB is nice to have.
     
  20. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    If you have six memory slots you can just buy three two-packs and you're all set...
     
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