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X79 / C602 chipset/board questions


My NAS is getting pretty damn long in the tooth. HP Microserver with AMD N54L Turion on it.

Looking to replace with something with a bit more power.

Discovered you can get a lot of cores and decent memory capacity for cheap with X79 or C602 Xeon based boards.

I have some questions… :slight_smile:

  1. Can you run a single CPU in a C602 motherboard with dual Socket 2011 sockets? There’s dual-socket C602 boards all over ebay really cheap. But i don’t necessarily want to fork out for two CPUs for one immediately, i really don’t need the cores… but it would be nice i guess. Use case: NAS + VM host… I’m aware that the memory slots are split between CPUs and i’d only be able to use say, CPU1’s memory slots if socket 2 was empty… but will it work at all with only one CPU present?
  2. thoughts on rolling the dice on this?

I believe it is a clone/variant of the board Linus reviewed here:

$172 USD for 32 GB of DDR3 ECC, an E5-2650 and a board… sounds like a bargain to me. It’s not going to be pushed. I think i’ll need a SATA card for it or something though. Then again, even if the board is shit, processor and memory is not far off that price on ebay…

I was originally looking for x79 because i have a bunch of ex-server DDR3-ECC Registered memory here already (48 GB)…

Then again, if i’m going to go cheap chinese board… maybe this would be a better idea:

  • Yes, should work just fine if you align memory channels to the first cpu. On some server boards you may need to reset CMOS or reflash the bios (some lenovo thinkstations needs this) to run in single CPU mode after a change.
  • depends on your risk appetite. I ran a similar board as a NAS for about a year before it died in smoky fire, so don’t invest in these cheap boards expecting enterprise longevity. Proper X79 boards are starting to come down if you look for the right models (old HP / Lenovo), but the branded boards (Asus / MSI) are still over priced. X79 is the last DDR3 generation so working boards get snapped up quickly.

If you want a board that will take RDIMMS and be basically bulletproof, I’d recommend finding an old thinkstation S30 or D30 and starting there.

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I might go to a dual socket board then, i just need to confirm what case i need, etc.

Dual socket with more DIMM slots would be nice for the additional RAM capacity for VMs.

Again, still R&D at this stage, but the fairly large amount of DDR3 ECC registered that i have on hand (potentially half a terabyte as stuff that was decommissioned is getting basically binned at work) means DDR3 based server platforms are … interesting to me at the moment :smiley:

If you’re looking at antiques, consider something like this:

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This kit is going to have to be a lot cheaper / more feature rich than just clever use of consumer kit. A first gen or second gen Ryzen can be picked up very cheaply, the RAM will of course cost you. Just for comparison do a build on paper just to have a figure in mind.

It’s so easy to get tunnel vision on a project like this. You set out with the idea that you can save some money by using old server gear. The longer you look the more money you spend and before you know where you are you have lost sight of the original objective.

I’m not suggesting it wouldn’t be a fun project because we all know it will. Just sometimes using more pedestrian products will get you where you are going by a more direct path.


x2 on this … not to mention, the performance per watt for this old gear is terrible compared to even low end 2nd or 3rd gen ryzen.

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Dual socket board without both sockets populated probably means only half the pcie slots work as well.

If work is decomm ram, what about the servers themselves, or just the processors?

If you’re set on used hardware, try using LabGopher to scrape ebay for any deals on old hardware. I’d say to try and estimate what your workload is as just ‘NAS + VM host’ isn’t a lot to go on. Getting more cores might not be as beneficial unless you’re hitting many cores at once constantly

Definitely am doing that… the post here isn’t the only consideration.

However, I know about Ryzen, my desktop is a 2700x. I don’t know much about X79/C602 and dual socket intel platforms…

The thing is though i have up to 1/2 TB of registered DDR3 ECC available for essentially FREE. We are literally throwing it out at work. There’s no way i’ll get anything more than 64 GB on an AM4 box, and certainly not at anywhere near the cost.

AMD’s DDR3 platform(s) could also be a possibility, however Sandy/Ivy bridge era will give me way better transcoding performance for example.

Also, C602 dual socket boards are… very cheap. Xeon E5-2xxx are also… very cheap.

Yeah, it’s not the cores so much, as the ability to use free DDR3 ECC registered memory and get enough slots (they’re all 8 GB sticks). If i was to go for a dual cpu board i’d be going for the cheapest pair of Xeon E5s i can find - purely to populate both sockets so i can use more DIMM slots.

Workload = home-lab, NAS, maybe my own mail hosting, PLEX transoder, etc. I’m memory bound more than anything at the moment.

Cheers, will look into opterons as well. I’m not requiring massive performance, this is NOT going to be used in any way for gaming, pass-through video, etc. Purely headless work…

ahh… SATA2 and USB2 might be just that bit too much of a step back.

If you only have access to 8 gb sticks it is going to be difficult to go beyond the 64 gb. The only Chinese option with 16 dimm slots is the huanan x79-16d, and that one is not ultra cheap… So if a lot of RAM is the goal make sure to have plenty of slots available!

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A lot of the dual socket boards have 16 slots :smiley:

Ah I see now. Yeah, getting a good C602 board would be good. Here’s an X9DRI-L4NF+ which has 16 RAM slots and 2 SAS2 SFF 8087 ports, though it ships from China. Here’s another with the 2650’s and heatsinks, plus more RAM you don’t need but the shipper is from the US

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Sure if you go the used Super Micro route there is plenty of options :slight_smile:

Supermicro is nice to be frank.

But as allways, non standard mounting, so you will have to drill and tap new ones in your case of choice.

Missed this… the servers are ex Cisco UCS chassis blades. I have no chassis for them (new blades went into it) :smiley:

So, maybe also grab the processors? :smiley:

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Hah. maybe. But they’re worth almost nothing anyway, they’re only 2.2 Ghz low power 10 cores. I’d prefer 3.6 Ghz 8 cores.

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