Got a free Xeon, how should I spec the rest?

Just got a free xeon e5-2683V3. Any suggestions on how to spec a workstation around this? Will mostly be running scientific computing codes, that will require higher memory capacity. My codes don’t really rely on heavy IO or networking. I could also potentially land a second one and go dual socket.

Later Xeons don’t necessarily work with the X99 chipset. If you want high memory density, definitely get registered DIMMs and a Supermicro board with a Cxxx chipset instead of X99.


Seems to suggest this model will work with Asus X99 boards.
This is about as useful as I can be on the subject though :smiley:

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I recommend a Supermicro X10 Board, maybe one like this:

It can usually be found on eBay for a good price, lacking IPMI that most buyers want for their servers.


The supermicro ones look like they’ll get the job done, and it looks like samsung has some decently priced 32 gb rdimms


I have a 2683v4 running in a Gigabyte x99 board. Memory is an issue, despite Gigabyte website and manual stating RDIMMs being supported with a Xeon, could not get any recognized.

It’s working fine with non-ecc UDIMMs.

IOMMU not as smooth on x99 as it was on x79, needed a few kernel command line tweaks to get vfio and sr-iov working adequately.

Definitely will have a better experience using the proper Xeon chipset (c6xx)

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That’s good to know. Will most likely be going C6xx, looks like there isn’t really a price advantage on other chipsets either. Now the question is get a small cabinet and a rack for this thing, or just regular tower case? I’ve never actually dealt with racks before.

I don’t know about small. I suppose if you find a micro ATX board or ITX but then you’re giving up the best feature of the Xeon, it has 40 pcie 3.0 lanes.

A lot of SMC boards are EATX and designed for aggressive air cooling (ie small heatsinks compared to desktop boards.)

oh by small cabinet I meant a short cabinet, something like a 12U to 18U, vs using a desktop tower

I had an X10SRA-F-O that was the daily driver back in my 2011-3 system. It ran a QS Xeon e5-2676 v3 and was rock solid. If it were me, I’d absolutely get an older Supermicro X10 board.

Think you’ll be putting any other 19" rackmount equipment in there with it? If not, I’d personally just grab a desktop case and call it a day. If you decide to go dual socket, the Supermicro EEATX (taller than ‘standard’ SSI-EEB) boards seem to be a bit cheaper, probably because they just aren’t compatible with most desktop cases and so people don’t want them… but the new Fractal Meshify/Define 7 XL cases officially support these. They’re usually designated by a ‘+’ at the end of the SKU (X10DRi-T4+, X9DR3-LN4F+, etc). Just an interesting bit of information.

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officially supports is a bit generous, since EEATX is not an official standard, and there are numerous different measurements out there for EEATX depending on manufacturer.

I can report the x10****-+ board does fit in the 7 XL, but it’s not happy. The front edge of the board rests on a stiffener “lip” stamped into the motherboard tray. If you get a board with SAS connectors, this could be a problem. Luckily on my x10dri-ln4+ there’s no electrical connections along that edge of the board which would short out from touching this lip.

all of the motherboard tray cable pass-throughs are covered, so you will bring cables in from the top or bottom. also with the power supply mounted far below the board, your ATX and EPS leads will not reach the 30+ inches to connect with the board inputs which are at the very top. having the power supply mount above the board would be a strong recommendation.

I think you’re thinking of EATX in general, which I’d agree with - EEATX is specifically Supermicro’s form factor for 13.68" x 13", which is just SSI-EEB, but extended above the I/O shield.

Height in this case is not an issue, but width of the board is where I have conflict. The bare pcb is physically touching part of the metal motherboard tray.

I wouldn’t believe Fractal would “officially” design it that way?

Ok, I managed to source a second chip so will be going dual socket. I am only considering a rackmount because I’ve already got a a pretty large footprint with my current cases, and putting all future builds into a rack might be nice.

Supermicro seems to have a nice selection of X10 boards with C612 chipsets, but Asus has the Z10PA-D8 which is also C612 and a bit more compact at 12 x 10. I haven’t found too many people reporting on their experience with this board vs supermicro though

You can’t really go wrong with Supermicro, if you’re building a server. As a workstation / desktop board they’re a little… unpolished.

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