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_Grid21

What was the point of this computer when it was in production?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I was up until yesterday using the Dell T5550 Precision computer. But since switching to my old gaming hardware to be a server, I look back on the Precision computer and asking, what was the original point of this? First off, the onboard network card was a Broadcom 10/100 NIC, supper slow with Gigabit networking on my network. It only had space for 4 hard drives at 3GB/s. And the Xeons themselves, while Xeon is designed for performance and not speed, were also slow. So what was the point of Dell producing this series of the computer because now I am using a 4790, Z87-A motherboard, full Gigabit NIC onboard, yes I can actually hit 1 full gigabit on my network now and faster cores. And also, the SATA ports are full 6GB/s too. I wanted to have a general discussion and I wasn't sure where to put this topic. 

 

https://www.dell.com/lv/business/p/precision-t5500/pd


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dual socket, up to a six core xeon, ECC, a quadro. It's probably got an older xeon, so of course your haswell i7 is faster with single core performance.


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My company has (had) a bunch of these. Probably 30+. We used them for drafting workstations until we eventually determined them EOL and moved onto to some other dell workstation (Can't remember what model rn, may update later). EDIT: Dell 3620

 

Usual specs were:

Xeon E5520

Quadro 4000 or Quadro FX 3800

 

I saved a couple from the dumpster for my broke friends and slapped a ssd and $100 gpu in and they actually make OK budget desktops. The chips can be upgraded for very cheap as well.


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Seems like workstation/rendering system ... not necessarily high core count cpu, but you get 12 dimm slots, allowing up to 192 GB of memory and you get 2 full size pci-e x16 slots for a main video card (quadro, radeon) and potentially a tesla / opencl accelerator  and you also have a pci-x slot, in which you could plug a 10gbps card if you want to.

 

Click on Tech Specs on page here: https://www.dell.com/lv/business/p/precision-t5500/pd

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
11 minutes ago, Votivee said:

My company has (had) a bunch of these. Probably 30+. We used them for drafting workstations until we eventually determined them EOL and moved onto to some other dell with a xeon (Can't remember what model rn, may update later).

 

Usual specs were:

Xeon E5520

Quadro 4000 or Quadro FX 3800

 

I saved a couple from the dumpster and slapped a ssd and $100 gpu in and they actually make OK budget desktops. The chips can be upgraded for very cheap as well.

 

8 minutes ago, mariushm said:

Seems like workstation/rendering system ... not necessarily high core count cpu, but you get 12 dimm slots, allowing up to 192 GB of memory and you get 2 full size pci-e x16 slots for a main video card (quadro, radeon) and potentially a tesla / opencl accelerator  and you also have a pci-x slot, in which you could plug a 10gbps card if you want to.

 

Click on Tech Specs on page here: https://www.dell.com/lv/business/p/precision-t5500/pd

 

Ah ok, I got this from a friend and added a PCI Gigabit card, but found that the PCI (version 1 according to a friend) wasn't really that fast and apparently as I found today, I was getting HALF the SATA performance. Apparently, from the Intel Arch page, the X5550s came out in Q2 of 2009 (I think). Was 6GB/s SATA not a thing in 2009?  NOT TO MENTION, this machine got SO HOT that airflow is really bad and it collected dust like none other which also leaves me questioning what Dell was thinking when they considered "Dell's advanced thermal engineering and efficient processor heat sinks help to sustain Turbo Mode even under extended periods of activity." Like what a joke! Especially in the summer. 


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11 minutes ago, _Grid21 said:

Was 6GB/s SATA not a thing in 2009? 

Nope. That was X58, so SATA2 is all you got.

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2 minutes ago, Crunchy Dragon said:

Nope. That was X58, so SATA2 is all you got.

Some X58 mobos come with SATA3 ports, but they're on a Marvell controller which is garbage, the SATA2 ones are always more reliable and IIRC faster sometimes, lol. PCIe add-in cards are always an option though, and server boards tend to have a ton of PCIe slots. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
8 minutes ago, Crunchy Dragon said:

Nope. That was X58, so SATA2 is all you got.

Oh, so what SATA version are we on now? 

2 minutes ago, Zando Bob said:

Some X58 mobos come with SATA3 ports, but they're on a Marvell controller which is garbage, the SATA2 ones are always more reliable and IIRC faster sometimes, lol. PCIe add-in cards are always an option though, and server boards tend to have a ton of PCIe slots. 

I am not familiar with the Marvell Controller, nor what an IIRC was. Would you mind telling more about those two things? :)


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Just now, _Grid21 said:

Oh, so what SATA version are we on now?

SATA3.

Just now, _Grid21 said:

what an IIRC was

IIRC = If I Recall Correctly

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That thing's from a time when Haswell isn't even designed yet, of course it's much inferior for daily tasks. It's more comparable to Core 2 stuff

 

Quote

I am not familiar with the Marvell Controller, nor what an IIRC was. Would you mind telling more about those two things? 

@_Grid21 It's an integrated expansion chip, turning PCIe to SATA3.


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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, _Grid21 said:

 

Ah ok, I got this from a friend and added a PCI Gigabit card, but found that the PCI (version 1 according to a friend) wasn't really that fast and apparently as I found today, I was getting HALF the SATA performance. Apparently, from the Intel Arch page, the X5550s came out in Q2 of 2009 (I think). Was 6GB/s SATA not a thing in 2009?  NOT TO MENTION, this machine got SO HOT that airflow is really bad and it collected dust like none other which also leaves me questioning what Dell was thinking when they considered "Dell's advanced thermal engineering and efficient processor heat sinks help to sustain Turbo Mode even under extended periods of activity." Like what a joke! Especially in the summer. 

Plain PCI has a bandwidth of 133 MB/s ... a gigabit network card peaks at 125 MB/s so it's quite enough. In some super cheap implementations and older motherboards (socket A, pentium 3 times old) that had onboard audio on PCI, sometimes you'd get glitches in audio when transferring at super high speeds, as the network card would keep the cpu too busy to fill the audio chip buffers... but it's ages ago like I said... extremely unlikely to happen with xeons and modern OSes.

 

However, keep in mind the board has one PCI-X 64bit/100MHz (pci-x can do up to 133 mhz) .... as an idea, pci-x 64bit / 66 mhz has bandwidth of 533 MB/s , about as much as a pci-e 2.0 x1 lane.  You can easily shove inside a 2 x 10 gbps InfinityBand or 1-2 x 10gbps ethernet cards on pci-x ... so sata2 is not a big deal if you would load projects and files from network attached storage.

 

Edited by mariushm
typo , 533 MB/s not Mhz
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5 minutes ago, _Grid21 said:

Oh, so what SATA version are we on now? 

I am not familiar with the Marvell Controller, nor what an IIRC was. Would you mind telling more about those two things? :)

Like Crunchy said, If I Recall Correctly. And the Marvell Controller was just the worst SATA controller known to man a SATA controller commonly used on the X58 mobos, I don't know why. But it's pretty garbo. 


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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 minutes ago, mariushm said:

Plain PCI has a bandwidth of 133 MB/s ... a gigabit network card peaks at 125 MB/s so it's quite enough. In some super cheap implementations and older motherboards (socket A, pentium 3 times old) that had onboard audio on PCI, sometimes you'd get glitches in audio when transferring at super high speeds, as the network card would keep the cpu too busy to fill the audio chip buffers... but it's ages ago like I said... extremely unlikely to happen with xeons and modern OSes.

 

However, keep in mind the board has one PCI-X 64bit/100MHz (pci-x can do up to 133 mhz) .... as an idea, pci-x 64bit / 66 mhz has bandwidth of 533 Mhz , about as much as a pci-e 2.0 x1 lane.  You can easily shove inside a 2 x 10 gbps InfinityBand or 1-2 x 10gbps ethernet cards on pci-x ... so sata2 is not a big deal if you would load projects and files from network attached storage.

 

Haha that's a lot of numbers for sure! I hated the precision board because it was so proprietary too. No real way to upgrade or move things around the system plus all the small fans on it made me worried if I ever had to replace it, would Dell service it or not.

3 minutes ago, Zando Bob said:

Like Crunchy said, If I Recall Correctly. And the Marvell Controller was just the worst SATA controller known to man a SATA controller commonly used on the X58 mobos, I don't know why. But it's pretty garbo. 

I see. I didn't really have a computer from the X58 series. I personally came in at the Z87 Series with my Asus board now not supported since X470 boards came out. Btw, Asus is a lot better of a company IMO since I have dealt with their customer support. Not that Dell isn't great, I also own a really nice E5450 laptop that I dual booted and love it, but I know at some point all companies try to sell you new gear.

9 minutes ago, Jurrunio said:

That thing's from a time when Haswell isn't even designed yet, of course it's much inferior for daily tasks. It's more comparable to Core 2 stuff

 

@_Grid21 It's an integrated expansion chip, turning PCIe to SATA3.

Ah ok! Good to know! Since I was into building PCs back then I am unfamiliar with computing history.


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Are you seriously asking why your new computer is better than your old one?
It's worse because your old computer was made with parts that are a decade old at this point. Your question makes as little sense as me asking why the 2009 VW Gold isn't as good as the 2019 VW Golf. Because the newer model have better stuff in it which wasn't available 10 years ago.

 

 

4 hours ago, _Grid21 said:

First off, the onboard network card was a Broadcom 10/100 NIC

According to the spec sheet it's a 1Gbps Broadcom 5754. If you're only getting 100Mbps then you there is an issue somewhere. It should not be a hardware limit by the T5500.

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 7/23/2019 at 9:23 PM, LAwLz said:

Are you seriously asking why your new computer is better than your old one?
It's worse because your old computer was made with parts that are a decade old at this point. Your question makes as little sense as me asking why the 2009 VW Gold isn't as good as the 2019 VW Golf. Because the newer model have better stuff in it which wasn't available 10 years ago.

 

 

According to the spec sheet it's a 1Gbps Broadcom 5754. If you're only getting 100Mbps then you there is an issue somewhere. It should not be a hardware limit by the T5500.

Well, first of all, you don't need to call my question silly. I wanted to ask just to learn. And second, as for the onboard network card, Windows Server seemed to think it was capped at 100Mb NIC.


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4 hours ago, _Grid21 said:

Well, first of all, you don't need to call my question silly. I wanted to ask just to learn. And second, as for the onboard network card, Windows Server seemed to think it was capped at 100Mb NIC. 

Surely you must agree that, in hindsight, essentially asking why a 10 year old computer is slower than your new computer is a bit silly. Don't you agree?

 

Anyway, the NIC should be capable of 1Gbps. Check the drivers what it says, and make sure it's connected to a 1Gbps switch using at least a CAT5e cable.

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It's a workstation PC.  When they were new, I used one to design some pretty complicated stuff.

 

FYI, these are still great for people getting started using Engineering software on a budget.  

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Posted · Original PosterOP
15 hours ago, Gmoneyinthebank said:

It's a workstation PC.  When they were new, I used one to design some pretty complicated stuff.

 

FYI, these are still great for people getting started using Engineering software on a budget.  

What imparticular makes this an engineering PC over say an editing rig such as mine? (You know this would be a cool video for @LinusTech to talk about the different types of PCs and their use cases, Example Engineering, Server, Consumer, gaming, editing rigs, etc. And talk about how they have come a long way since the beginning.)


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Ten years ago it was cutting edge.

Dual quad core CPUs

64GB ECC RAM - 12 DIMM slots (192 GB max)

Workstation Quadro 6000 GPU with 6GB of VRAM

 

When it came out your editing rig would have 2 cores, 8GB of non-ECC RAM, and a 580 GPU with 1.5GB of VRAM

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12 hours ago, _Grid21 said:

What imparticular makes this an engineering PC over say an editing rig such as mine? (You know this would be a cool video for @LinusTech to talk about the different types of PCs and their use cases, Example Engineering, Server, Consumer, gaming, editing rigs, etc. And talk about how they have come a long way since the beginning.)

Stability, support for huge amounts of RAM, more IO and build quality. You need a 100% guarantee that the data that is being processed is correct and the hardware is built for it.

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