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upgrading Precision 670 to Paxville

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upgrading Precision 670 to Paxville

  • hi all,

    I read in internet that it was possible installing Xeon Paxville DC 2.8Ghz on my Dell Precision 670. So I bought two brand new Xeon Paxville 2.8Ghz (HP BL20PG3 X2.80/800-2x2M DC kit) and was surprised it did not work (Incompatible CPU detected! System halt! kind of BIOS message).

    After some research it turns out that there are two boards for Precision 670:

    - My Precision 670 came with X0392 chipset and 2x Nonocona Xeon 3.2Ghz
    - The Paxville enabled board part code is XC837.

    Ok so I am buying XC837 chipset to install my two new Paxville CPUs on it but then I have a few extra question that some of you might be able to answer:

    - Except for my current Nonocona CPUs is there anything else incompatible with this new board XC837 e.g. will my Precision 670 power supply be compatible with this board change? chassis too? everything else?

    - I have the original VRM that is currently working with board X0392 and Nonocona 2x CPUs but also have the VRM shipped with the Paxville Xeons specifically HP ProLiant BL20p Voltage Regulator DL360 G3 351063-001. Which one should I use?

    Many thanks in advance,
    Best regards,
  • Got the following back from Gold Tech Support. The challenge now becomes the differences between the various part numbers. :(

    Visually, I am not aware of an obvious difference. The Paxville motherboards have a different part number when ordering -- JG454 as opposed to HG593, if ordering through Spare Parts.

    It's good you got back in touch; there are three other items that you would want. The VRM for the second cpu is different as well, with a part number of KG229. The heatsink is bigger, with a part number of KD513. Finally, the fan and shroud assembly is different, with a part number of PD690.

    So to sum up, if you were ordering this through Spare Parts, you would want JG454, KG229, and two each of KD513 and PD690. Otherwise, you would want Paxville-capable components; avoid the explicitly-labeled Irwindale and Nocona Xeon motherboards as they won't support the Dual-Core.

  • Many thanks! I can't wait to end this puzzle .. I have repeatedly called Gold support and they give me minimal really minimal support on the upgrade. How do you order spare parts? like the ones you listed? I haven't found any way to find these spare parts in Dell's web site. Many thanks again! Best regards, Giovanni
  • I'm also in the same situation, I have a 670 with the X0392 motherboard.  I read ( http://www.dellcommunity.com/supportforums/board/message?board.id=pw_upgrade&message.id=4597 ) that all one needs to do is to flash the BIOS in order to be able to use dual core Xeons.  So I did just that, now I have BIOS version A07.
    But I guess it's too good to be true, since this thread is saying that the motherboard needs to be changed to a new one (XC837).
    So, if this is true, then isn't that almost like buying a new computer altogether?  Since getting a new mobo implies new memory modules (might as well), new heatsinks (no choice), new cpu fan shrouds (no choice), new voltage regulator (no choice)?  Might as well get a new video card as well...
    Is there any truth to the BIOS update for enabling dual core Xeon compatibility?  Has anyone had success with this?
    Best regards,
  • Hi Victor,

    I got caught in the same as you did, I thought it was great only needing to update the BIOS to A07 but indeed this was only for the lucky ones that got the right motherboard.

    I did the math and nevertheless opted for upgrading. I will end up with such a machine that you can not have right now in the market without spending (again) over the 5000USD.

    I don't think you have to change the RAM memory and absolutely not the video card. You might have to change the VRM and of course buy the Paxvilles but I think that's about it. Anyway I will be soon putting all components together, and will also post the result.

    I currently have:

    - Motherboard 0MG024 (watch out because there are several different motherboards for 670 you must buy part XC837 ask to see it in the barcode and get exactly that)
    - 2x Xeon Nocona 3.2 1M.
    - 2GB DDR2 ECC SDRAM (4x512MB)
    - nVidia GeoForce 7800GTX

    My upgrade goes:

    - Motherboard XC837 (bought on ebay waiting for it as we speak)
    - 3x Xeon Paxville HP ProLiant 2.8Ghz DC (bought them very cheap in ebay approx. 290USD each).
    - New EVGA nVidia 8800 Ultra connects through PCI-Express so no problems. This was luxury :)
    - Planning to buy 4GB RAM 2x2GB memory slots that will accommodate altogether into 6GB summing to the ones I already have.

    Might be that I will need to only require buying extra the VRM for a few bucks, no concerns about it. I will try with the heatsink and shroud I already had, leave the sames and see what happens.

    All in all I will be spending on the region of 2000USD. Sorry but right now in the market you can not find a machine not even close to that for 2000USD :) And this does not include the fact that I will be selling all replaced parts in ebay (so get back at least 500USD) and that I am so crazy to want an extra spare new Paxville for the just in case :)

    Probably anyway would be a good idea for you to wait for my ending result, where I will have the full balance sheet :)

    Good Luck!

    Best regards,
  • Hi Giovanni,
    That is a nice upgrade system you are planning!
    I'm not sure if this is overkill, but if you go to crucial.com they suggest getting pc2-4200 memory (533Mhz) for the Precision 670... I'm using only pc2-3200 memory (400Mhz) right now.  Also, are you installing a 64-bit OS?  Because only 64-bit OSes can see/use more than 3.5GB of memory.
    That 8800 Ultra card you're getting is the best card right now, but I wonder if you will get the full benefit since the XC837 motherboard doesn't have the nForce chipsets such as 650i or 680i...
    That's true, if your current heatsinks and shrouds fit into the XC837 motherboard then they should be fine.
    One thing though, does your current setup generate a lot of heat?  When I open my case, it's very hot inside.  Especially when I have it running for hours.  My heatsinks are very hot and so is my hard drive.  Is there any way we can improve the cooling of Precision 670?
    For finding the correct CPUs for upgrading, we just have to find ones that fit into socket mPGA 604, right?  If so, does that mean we could use any of these CPUs:  http://www.intel.com/cd/channel/reseller/asmo-na/eng/products/server/processors/7000/feature/index.htm ?  This is a bit confusing for me and I just want to be absolutely sure to get the correct CPUs if I decide to upgrade.  (What is the CPU model for 'Paxville'?)
    Best regards,
  • NOTE: I got my original post wiped out by some moderator, they sent me a copy of the
    original post BUT not before removing the most important upgrade codes I provided ...
    what a coincidence!

    Hi Victor!

    Very interesting.

    The memory upgrade you suggest is very interesting and seems to be faster than the one I've got.
    I also got PC2-3200 (200Mhz) slower. The point is not only the memory speed but the Bus speed
    may then become the bottleneck. I will for sure research it, but I will try to avoid paying
    more for a faster memory that our system will not take advantage of. Might be an expensive experiment.

    *** After lot of research I found the following to be the most important keywords for finding
    the right Processor: "EM64T, Paxville, SL8MA, Socket 604."

    e.g. in this site it is confirmed please have a look in http://www.ncixus.com/products/17319/BX80551KG2800HA/Intel/
    Title: "Intel Xeon 2.8GHZ Paxville Dual Core"
    Spec. Number: SL8MA

    In ebay you will find plenty of offers for this processor just search for its code "SL8MA".
    Often ebay sellers show the part number "SL8MA" but they are unable to confirm the
    Xeon code name Paxville. Which is probably why you search in ebay for Paxville and
    find nothing.

    I bought mine from the following seller (really reliable and excellent price):

    While I strongly believe this specific processor is gonna work with the XC837, I can not
    assert it just quite yet until I test everything. I would recommend you to wait for me
    to post the upgrade result. I will do so within the next few days.

    Probably you should contact support because my Precision 670 does not get so hot inside at all,
    actually I think I already got the big heatsink and shroud. May also be that I live in
    Switzerland and right now it is -3C outside :) who knows ...

    BTW I highly recommend getting PerformanceTest 6.1 PassMark software. I bought it and
    was able to somehow estimate the improvement that would bring buying some of the new
    components. I posted my Passmark baseline under:

    My current passmark score is 630.3 which is **bad** I will also post the new passmark after upgrading if everything goes smooth.

    Best regards,

    PS: Just in case the content of this post
  • Hi,

    Excellent news! today received the missing piece and just a few minutes ago
    was able to complete assembling it on my own :)

    Everything worked smooooth :). I did a risky probing to see if my existing
    VRM code H2703 would work with the second Paxville CPU and it DID worked fine,
    though don't know if this may yield any negative consequences in performance
    degradation. I will anyway buy the proper recommended one NJ664 on ebay
    (replaces H2703 and KG229). I had to also upgrade the BIOS to A07 but it
    was fast.

    I bundled the complete upgrade including:

    - Motherboard to XC837
    - 2x HP XEON DP Paxville 2.80/800-2X2M 4MB DUAL CORE SL8MA
    - Graphic card to EVGA 8800Ultra

    I did another run of the PerformanceTest comparing vs my previous and another
    Precision 670 Dual Xeon 3.8Ghz:

    - My old Precision 670 2x Xeon 3.2Ghz scored overall: 630.3
    - The 2x Xeon 3.8Ghz single core Precision 670 scored overall: 665.4
    - My upgraded Precision 670 2x Xeon Paxville DC scored overall: 949.4

    The new one over performs the other two by 33% and 29.9% respectively.

    The Passmark baseline of my upgraded you can find under this link:

    My new upgraded machine underscored in several places compared to the
    Precision 670 DP 2x 3.8Ghz. However it consistently outperformed my
    former setup except for a few benchmarks e.g. benchmark Graphics 2D lines
    but rather for a small margin.

    - CPU image rotation, Paxvilles behave weak in 2D Graphic computations
    even though for all other CPU benchmarks it just beats the Xeon 3.8Ghz
    to death :). Though this may have a bad impact in core gaming experience.

    - Another flaw of my current setup is indeed the memory speed. My new
    upgraded setup with exactly the same memory underperforms in memory reading
    and allocation speeds, not for a great margin though. I will really give
    a try to a different memory brand/speed but I think the different
    motherboard is somehow playing a role.

    Looking at the Performance test reports there is a lot to say but I am almost
    falling asleep.

    I wanted to upload several images with the benchmark comparisons and the CPU-Z
    tool view including every little nifty technical detail and spec of the new
    upgraded system :) but dont know how ... seems not possible in these forums.

    Overall I am very satisfied it was around 2000USD investment (without selling
    the replaced parts) for an upgrade that gave me 33% better performance and the
    top scoring Precision 670 in PassMark. I will anyway reinstall Windows XP may be
    that the current hardware is not setup optimally driver-wise e.g. reinstall
    Chipset driver etc, and rerun the performance tests, if it improves for sure
    will post it here .. :)

    So if you were like me suffering for getting the right info to upgrade your
    Precision 670 I will be happy to offer advice.

    Best regards,
  • Hi Giovanni,
    Wow.  That is great news!  I'm glad to hear that your upgrade was successful, and that it's much better than before!
    I think I'm going to hold off on upgrading for now.  I ordered a new VRM replacement but I still cannot get the second processor working, I fear there is something wrong with my motherboard.  And just today, my computer started to shutdown on me randomly, without warning.  Sometimes it shuts down after using it for 10 mins, sometimes it shutsdown before loading windows... really scary.... it might shut down before I type this...!  It's very unstable to say the least.  :(
    Anyway, I better post this now...   :)
  • Hi All!


     I read this thread with interest, and I just want to add some information. I got two 670, one of them with possibilities to run dual core, and the other one not.


    You don´t need to look at the product code or number, you just check out the processor information in the bios setup. If it is possible to run dual core, it has an option under the processor info that give the information if the processor is multiple core or not. That line is not present in the bios setup on the other 670.


     Cheers Johan

  • Hi! I´ve been checking around for more info on this subject, and on Intel´s site Processorfinder( http://processorfinder.intel.com/List.aspx?ParentRadio=All&ProcFam=528&SearchKey= )they state that the SL8MA is single core, and the only dual core 2.8 ghz is the SL8UB. I also have been locking at the SL8UD, which is 3.0 ghz and very similar to SL8UB, the only thing that differs is the 4 mb cache and the multiplier(15 instead of 14). Maube that´ll work as well?


     Rgrds Johan

  • I'm also intrested in an answer if the SL8UD works in the Precision 670 with the lastest MB.


     I have also found that it is the SL8UB that is dual core according to Intel, which is confusing, since that is has been suggested that the SL8MA, which is just a single core, and that the passmark tests has been giving results with a 33% increase in performance against, in reality, a faster CPU configuration.


    Is this the human factor or can the placebo-effect work on computers as well? Did the 670 is question also believe that it was equipped with dual xeon dual core and performed accordingly? Has AI already come such a long way?



  • SL8UD is is just a 3GHz version of the SL8MA.  Power is at 165W vs. 135W.  Both are dual core.  The single core Xeons are 110W.  I'd worry about sufficient cooling on the SL8UD.  I just upgraded my PE 2800 to the SL8MA, had to swap the mobo from V2 to V4 and get the upgraded heatsinks for it.  I installed Server 2008 64bit and here are my PassMark CPUMarks.  2x 3GHz single Core Xeons = 1008, 2x 2.8GHz SL8MA = 1841.  The HD config is 9x 15K HDs in a RAID 5.  Overall PassMark, 627 ->808.  In 2010 $, I did the upgrade for ~$200 from eBay resellers.  It makes a nice home server :-).

  • Dear Giovanni,

    I hope you're still in the forum because I'd like to know if you ever went further.  Several of us are looking at upgrading to the Tulsa, Processor Number 7140M aka SL9HA, or 7150N aka SL9YR using the XC837 board.  Please let us know how you're faring.