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Planing a VT-D linux build (Part 1 - The CPUs + Motherboard)



Mods! I am planning to change the title of this thread as time goes on, so do not fear multiple topics!

Part 1 -

So step one, I'm asking for help to decide a motherboard + CPU combo for around the £200 ($125) mark, the plan is a new Linux build, and as I've been struggling on with my G3258 for two almost three years now I would like a good upgrade, due to my soon starting of a audio mastering and sound design course, which will require a reasonable upgrade (for my enjoyment), VT-D would also be nice, as you know, games :stuck_out_tongue:

Currently I have spied this deal on Ebay:

Sure its quite old, but dual X5550s will give me a real performance boost, the CPUs and motherboard support VT-D, it comes with 12GB of RAM, has a PCI-16x slot and best of all 'fits' in a standard ATX case. For £189 I feel you cant go wrong, as the ability to utilise both CPUs in VT-D usage would be great, as I mentioned I am soon starting said course, so having these extra threads would be a treat for audio synthesis, and of course just general use.
However, I am concerned that the age of the platform may result in some issues, for one the power consumption is huge near 200W for the CPUs alone, which despite not being a deal breaker, keeping the bills down would be nice, also my upgrade path is pretty limited, as this motherboard does not support the newer E**** series 1366 Xeons, I'm not too bothered by that however It would be nice to have a bit more freedom in that sense. So I ask for your help, good people of this forum, please bless me with anything which you think could be a suitable contender for this Ebay listing, and falls in or around the same price range whilst also still maintaining the features I would be after.

Any more info wanted? Just ask!


TLDR: Recommend £200 CPU + Motherboard combo


checkout the HP Z600 workstation...I had one a short while ago that i loved because in my eyes it kicked ass for the price...pricing on those is all over the place but you could likely find a complete system fairly inexpensively even if it is only say a single quad core and 8gb of memory or something like can upgrade it from there in time since parts are dirrrrt cheap for those...for instance i have a pair of 2.66 base quad cores just sitting here that i haven't put on to ebay because they're worth so little which i had in it at one point.....i bought 48gb of ecc ddr3 dimms for something like $120 a few months back too...ultimately i wound up with that memory and dual X5660 hex-core cpus @ 2.8-3.2 that would sit at 3.1 on all cores under full load all day long...perhaps something like that would fit your needs and if so, personally, i was really impressed with the usually totally underwhelming HP offering...
you could also checkout wendell's video on upgrading an older mac pro with i believe X5690's or something to that effect...that looked like a pretty cool idea though i think it would be more expensive, it would net a similar system in terms of hardware as to what you get with the HP workstations


Oh wow, looking now I see some great prices, thanks for the advice!


JEEEEZ, that has only slightly worse CPUs than what I listed, that is a mad price seeing as it is a full system :stuck_out_tongue:

Though non standard PSU....


yea and non-standard mobo so if you did decide to go this way keep in mind that changing that psu or case would mean customizing the case to fit the mobo and either buying psu adapters or making your own adapters (or rewiring without an adapter) but it can be done....the case itself kicks ass really imo BUT if you needed more power might not easily fit a diff psu and so it opens a big can of worms...and the only one avail is a 650W with a single PCIe 6-pin so if you need dual 6-pins or an 8-pin youre looking at adapters there too...there is also a Z800 with i think either an 850W or 1150W psu but they're more costly....and unfortuantely you can NOT put a Z800 psu into a Z600...i really liked that lineup though and would (may) buy another one...had to leave mine with my former roommate though as it would have been difficult to bring it home from where i was


Thanks a lot for the help, there is definitely a large amount of good deals, I guess that with every positive comes a negative, and in this case it seems to be stupid issues such as proprietary connectors and case layouts, non the an 'ex' server or workstation is going to be my direction, as I am perfectly comfortable dealing with these issues, and dual CPUs is just plain cool lol :stuck_out_tongue:

Again thanks a lot


well if you find a system using those old westmere cpus and want to upgrade i have a pair of E5640's you can have to try out, ill send them to ya for nothin...i took them out of my rig when i stepped up to X5660's hex cores and dont really have any use for them...hate to see them going to waste if someone else could use them


Oh right, thanks. I'll let you know what I plan to do closer to purchase and if anything shows it's face, but i might hit you up on that offer if I find a good mobo. Thanks a lot!