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dell precision T3500 for budget x58 and some overclocking

Hey Guys, I'm pretty new here but I've been an enthusiast for a while now.
Ive been really interested in the x58 builds but the brand name motherboards on ebay are so expensive most of the time, but Dell precision t3500 computers with 16 gb or ddr3 ram and a hyper-threaded quad core are about the same price as those motherboards I mentioned above alone. After doing research I found out the xeon W3680 and W3690 hexa cores, as well as the xeon w3580 quad core have unlocked multipliers and can be overclocked with throttlestop. I think because these older dell workstations are so cheap they would make great budget builds, does any one on here have experience using these dells as gaming pc's, and what are some opinions on the motherboards in these dell precision t3500s?    


  • WavadeeWavadee Posts: 94
    Kinda yes and kinda no. I started, but it's currently on the back burner on a HP Z600 with twin Xeons. It takes down my Ryzen 5 on Cinebench, I've only tried the 4GB GTX 960 and with only one 6 pin PCIe I can do a GTX1060 6GB max, which I have. The only drawback so far, is the gaming performance is average, but solid, it's clearly weaker at single core/threaded performance, rather like Bryan's Dunicron build. Ideal I guess if you do productivity and some gaming, for price. As a gaming machine in isolation, maybe not so much. However, I am enjoying the case modding :) 
  • WavadeeWavadee Posts: 94
    You might have trouble overclocking though, to be honest, not sure with Dell, but as an OEM, assuming it's like HP, I'm locked out, so just relying on turbo clocks, so obviously cooling solutions are a premium, let us know how you get on :)
  • I've built a few gaming computers using the T3500.  I can tell you right now, forget about unlocked multipliers for it, the system does not support overclocking.  This basically means to get the best performance on the machine, you'll want the highest clocked CPU you can get, without overclocking.

    This obviously means the X5690/W3690 would be the best overall, but they're also the most expensive, about US$80-US$100 on average.  Alternatively, I would recommend either the X5680, if you're after a six core system, the W3680/X5680 are pretty much identical and both go for about US$50.  Otherwise, I would just say get the W3580, which boasts the same clock speeds as the W3680, but only has four cores and 8 threads, vs six cores and twelve threads.  It also averages about US$30.  If all of this is still too rich for your blood though, then the W3565 is a solid option, averaging US$10 and plays anything I throw at it.

    With all that said, there are some other things to keep in mind.  The T3500 comes with a 525 Watt 80 Plus Silver rated PSU (some of the PSUs don't have the rating on the label, but they all have the same components, so the rating technically still applies).  The PSU has a single 6-pin VGA power connector, so your best bet for a graphics card without updating the PSU would be a GTX 1060 6GB.  Now, I have used some SATA/Molex to 6-pin adapters in the passed to sneak in some higher power cards without any issues so far, but I always urge caution when doing this.

    The other thing of note is the BIOS.  For some reason, the T3500 has CPU Hyper-threading disabled in the BIOS by default.  I honestly don't know why.  As such, among other reasons, I highly recommend updating the BIOS to the latest version, you can find it here: 
    And be sure to enable Hyper-threading.

    Finally, if you do decide you want to upgrade the power supply, take note that you will need a rather long-necked philips head screwdriver.  Reason for this is that the preinstalled PSU has the CPU power cable running under the motherboard, so you'll have to remove the motherboard to get the PSU out.  The issue with this is that one of the motherboard mounting screws is hidden under the 5.25" Drive bays and the only way to get to it is through a series of holes that go through top of the bays.  You'll need a screw driver long enough to reach the motherboard from above those bays.

    That's really all I can think of that you would want to know about the T3500.  If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
  • I know in the bios there is no overclocking options, i do have several pcs ranging in specs and brands, i also noticed the hyperthreading was disabled and i even had to update bios for it to actually turn on. I just saw a video on youtube of a dell xps 9100 (another dell x58 variant) overclocking the w3690 to 4.1 ghz on turbo clock multiplier alone using intel xtu, and on one thread there is a guy that mentions the using a dell precision t3500 to oc the same xeon i mentioned above to 4.16ghz with throttlestop, so i want to try it too. so far ive replaced the power supply with only a 500 watt i had kicking around but it has way more connectors overall, i put a 72 mm fan on the x58 chipset heatsink and i put ram chip heatsinks on the intel southbridge. I'm waiting on heatsinks for the vrms around the heatsink and i want to get a ssd for a boot drive, and a more powerful psu will be considered. I'd love to do some case modding on this pc too. Ill post pictures once i got my cable management tidied up of what the inside looks like with a radeon hd 7950 gpu in it
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