X99 dilemma - do I need HEDT

Hi everyone!
I’m about to buy xeon e5 2620 v3 for 20$ (on aliexpress) for my stop-gap pc that will be transformed into server/virtualization rig/nas/htpc (jack-off-all-trades, and master of none) after I gather every part i will need, which will take some time, as somethings aren’t even released.

So, my question is: would you rather buy used x99 taichi or new HUANANZHI X99 F8 or killsre x99 d8?

I can get any of them for around the same price (well, taichi costs bit more), but can’t decide which one

Before anyone asks: why x99? it has many connectivity options, it’s cheap, it supports virtualization and IOMMU

thanks ^^

Edit: I got persuaded to calculate yearly energy spending, and as it stands it’s cheaper to go ryzen, because diffrence in cost of platform is not big enough to absorb even a year of server-like usage
So as it stands rn part list looks like this
CPU ryzen 5 1600 AF with stock cooler
MOBO asus x370-pro
GPU rx 470 x2
drives: 3 ssd’s for various things and raid5 for mass storage/NAS
other PCIE cards: yes, but not decided what will be needed (yet; suggestions welcome)
case and fans: there is this cheap, local brand called silentiumPC, and make quite good value stuff

Brian did a couple of videos on these boards

Which may give you some more insight. I looked at them but the performance boost is not enough to get me off x79. If I were spending money today I’d go to consumer Ryzen for similar investment.

Depends if you already have spare ddr4, that is the deciding factor for me.

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unfortunately, he talked only about mobo’s with one pcie x16 slot, and I need at least 2

I’m going ryzen with my next main pc, but i could use server and my rig will be itx with custom loop, which means that adding secondary gpu will be at least challenging, and my current set-up doesn’t have IOMMU capabilities (also my mobo kinda sucks)

Problem with these old xeons is terrible performance per watt. If you pay your own electric bill, you owe it to yourself to get something newer. Short term saving in hardware but long term expense in operation cost. Especially for something that’s going to run 24x7 like a server.

If you’re dead set on the platform, shop around for a real motherboard instead of a hack job. Asus Sabertooth x99 for example, or a Tyan/Supermicro server chipset.


the problem is that if I spend more than 220usd total (i do have ram) i get to the point of diminishing returns - it costs enough to affect my future rig, and the gains in performance won’t justify it at all

performance per watt is a solid argument though, but I don’t know if there is any other way for me to combine every task i need in configuration i would like to go for

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If you are going to spend north of $200 then you would do better with a mid range x470 board and first gen Ryzen. Will give you solid iommu and threads.

Like I say the only reason I’m sticking with the older xeons is my pile of ddr3 and the unwillingness to spend a fortune on new ram. That means x79. If it is x99 the deal would need to be under $150 to make sense.

One alternative is to look at a used server build that is same generation (2011v3) and less “gamer” as those boards tend to be feature rich and well priced. Limits case options though and sometimes need patience to get up and running


Take a look at decommissioned Proliant servers, they’re a bit loud but solid work horses. You’ll get complete dl380 gen8 for less than you’d sink into diy components.

X2 on the recommendation for x470, it’s a solid investment and still valid for at least one more Zen revision coming out.


I meant 220 usd for whole rig, not cpu+mobo combo

the problem with servers in Poland is that everyone sells them with one psu and without hdd cages, which can get to ridiculous prices

x470 is tiny bit too expensive, but x370 may be the “sweet spot”. It would still cost bit too much, but may be better overall choice
I will look more into decommissioned servers, if not the Proliant line, is there any other reliable choice?

A thinkstation p500 would meet your needs. There are a few on eBay (UK) in the £200-£300 bucket with ram and drives. I’ve found them solid machines.


I have an X99 D8 on order from aliexpress right now. I already have an old 12 core xeon that I had in an AsRock X99 board. One of the RAM slots and the first PCI-E slot are shorted out due to a leaky water block when it was on my test bench.

I only used it as a test bench and to spin up the occasional VM for a game server. I couldn’t find a used X99 board cheaper so I decided to give one these a try.

I don’t think I would want this setup in a pc/server that will be running 24/7 for the same reasons others have pointed out but it should make for a decent test rig on the cheap.

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Well if go with x99, don´t get choose Chinese knockoff boards, just don’t.
Get the Asrock X99 Taichi then.
Because those knockoff boards are just garbage really.


My biggest worry is a microcode update recently nerfed any multiplier adjustment even on the unlocked CPUs. It’s not worth it if that is going to keep happening.

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sorry i still would get on the Ryzen bandwagon just a few bucks more fore same core count and cost of outdated mobos ram and storage if applicable and as soon as someone sees this the poorest man never gets a chance at it things like this should stay on under-skin of our markets and in forums not allowed to be re-inflated if you had a couple 300 bucks and need a computer quick and cheep and would benefit tinkerers both viable issues everyone jumps on his rigs cause there cheap until there not anymore just save a couple more checks and go Ryzen and good luck i had no luck with Linux and Haswell ark.

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I’m personally a fan of reusing old hardware, however, the costs don’t have to be too disparate. As others mentioned, energy bills would be something to consider. I’ll give you a boring economics lesson and hidden time-preference costs: consider you will have the server powered on 24/7. Find out the average cost of electricity in your area (look at old bills), find out your server’s annual power consumption with an (assumed) average load of 65%, look how much electricity costs used to rise per year (again, 1-2 years old bills), then calculate the cost of electricity your DIY server will use in 2 or 3 years. If the cost of electricity is lower than building a DIY server from scratch using PC components, like Ryzen 5s (or similar) + its power consumption for 2 or 3 years with an average of 50% load (the load should be lower, because of more efficient components), then you may build around the old Xeon.

Usually after 3 years, the electricity costs will start favoring newer components (as a rule of thumb). So, you either use old components for 3 years, or new components for up to 5 years (new, as in newer generation). There is a factor of savings involved though, you may not be able to financially save enough money to buy a new computer every 3 years, but the fact of the matter is, that in the long run, you will definitely spend more money than you would otherwise could spend with newer gen components. And no, buying new PCs every year will most likely not save you on electricity costs, unless they are something insane like 200% more efficient (unlikely), so there is a balance on electricity costs and computer purchasing costs, as mentioned, from my experience usually between 3 to 5 years.

Here’s an online PC power consumption cost calculator: https://energyusecalculator.com/electricity_computer.htm

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Pretty much this. DDR4 is still a good chunk more. If you need a massive amount of RAM and it’s gonna end up as a server anyway, get something Ivybridge and buy regECC DDR3 instead. Just don’t open that thing up to the world.


Unless you live somewhere hot, inefficient hardware isn’t that bad; every watt that my computer converts to heat is one less that my central heating has to generate.

Admittedly electricity is more expensive than gas… but that’s likely to change over the next few decades.

I’d take your estimated electricity cost & halve it before comparing the options.

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Your central heating sucks. Buy a heatpump and maybe it’ll save you enough money for a better PC.

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There is a lot to be said for buying a mobo, cpu, 64GB ECC ram, boot drive and a cool sticker for your case for less than the price of 32GB DDR4.

@Linux_Guru I get your point on old Vs new and if I were spending someone else’s money i’d go for new in warranty kit. Always nice spending other people’s money.

The other argument for used gear is that it can be reused kit. My first NAS was just my old desktop with some medley of drives. It took a while before my needs grew to where proper kit was needed, and frankly what I have now is likely overkill.

Agree on power bills though, important to factor total cost of ownership not just initial spend.


How do you figure DDR4 is a “good chunk more”? DDR4 is a lot cheaper than DDR3 ram, unless you’re comparing the cost of brand new ddr4 to used ddr3? Also a server does’t need gaming ram, green sticks of ddr4 1600 or 1866 is a lot cheaper than the fancy 3+ghz gaming sticks with their aluminum heat spreaders.

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What is the point of that?

Most common is 2133, a reg ECC 16GB stick of that is about 50,- bucks on ebay in Germany. DDR3 1333 reg ECC (again, most common option) is 30,- bucks for a 16GB stick.

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