Hey guys, Jarrod here and today I’m going to show you how I upgraded the CPU in my desktopto 6 cores for just $26!For almost 7 years now I’ve been running a first generation Intel i7 950 quad coreCPU at 3GHz.
For the most part it’s been fine for me, I’ve only started to noticeissues over the last year or two while I’ve been creating videos, as rendering can takequite a long time.
While I’m very keen to upgrade to a more up to date computer, I’m still playing thewaiting game, as Intel recently launched Skylake-X, but more interestingly AMD is about to launchThreadripper, so until the new CPUs are available and I can decide what to get, I wanted tosee if I could upgrade what I have on the cheap.
My current 45nm CPU uses socket 1366, and after some investigation I found that thesocket also supported slightly newer 32nm Xeon CPUs with up to 6 cores.
So I hit up Ebay to see what other CPUs that use socket 1366 were available.
In the endI settled on the Intel Xeon X5650, which is a 6 core CPU at 2.
66GHz that can turbo upto 3.
It’s clocked a little slower than my i7, but it has 50% more cores.
Atjust $26 delivered from China I just had to know how it performed.
A couple of weeks later my cheap Xeon arrived and I started running a ton of benchmarks,let’s take a look at the results and find out how the $27 hex core CPU goes againstmy quad core i7.
In Cinebench the i7 got a score of 487, while the Xeon got a higher result of 646 whichwas expected as this test really favours more cores.
I’ve used Adobe Premiere to render my recent 970m vs 1050Ti video at 1080p which is justunder 5 minutes long.
The i7 CPU completed the task in 13 minutes and 33 seconds, whilethe Xeon chip completed the same task a little quicker at 12 minutes and 12 seconds, so notmuch of an increase but still nice to have.
I’ve used Handbrake to encode a 500mb MP4 video file that I recorded from 1080p to 720p.
The i7 completed the task at a rate of 22 frames per second, while the Xeon was aheadat 29 frames per second, but again this test favours multicore cores.
Next I ran the 7-Zip benchmark with a 16mb dictionary, the i7 received a score of 17,006while the Xeon performed a bit better with a score of 22,372, so we can see the extracores are improving overall compression and decompression speeds.
Geekbench 4 performs both single threaded and multicore tests, we can see here thatthe i7 CPU performed slightly better in the single core test, which is to be expectedas it’s running at a higher clock speed than the Xeon.
In the multicore test howeverthe Xeon pushes out in front as expected owing to those extra cores.
In the Passmark CPU benchmark the Xeon CPU came out ahead again in all tests, exceptof course the single threaded test as expected just like before.
In the Corona benchmark the full image was rendered in just under 7 minutes with thei7, while the Xeon completed the same task in just over 5 minutes, so almost a 2 minutedifference there.
Next we’re going to take a look at some more graphically focussed benchmarks, as wellas some games.
For reference I’m using an AMD 6990 graphics card in the PC, so let’ssee how much difference the slower clocked Xeon makes im games.
In Heaven benchmark with the quality set to medium, tessellation on moderate, with antialiasing set to 2, the Xeon CPU performed almost 1 frame per second better.
In Valley benchmark with the quality set to medium and anti aliasing on 2, the Xeon CPUactually performed 5 frames per second worse compared to the i7.
In the 3DMark Skydiver benchmark the Xeon CPU came out slightly ahead with just over17,000 points while the i7 was around the 15,500 mark.
In Ashes of the Singularity the i7 CPU scored 16.
5 frames per second while the Xeon wasonly slightly behind at 15.
6 frames per second, so hardly much difference, both aren’t reallyplayable in any case.
In the Witcher 3 with medium settings both CPUs performed at 45 frames per second, sobasically the same which was interesting.
Based on all of these benchmarks, on average the 6 core X5650 Xeon CPU performed 13% betterthan the i7 950 quad core CPU.
I expected the better single core performance of the i7 to give it better gaming results,however it seems that the slightly slower Xeon CPU is still a match for it.
My benchmarkswere done with stock speeds, no overclocking has been done at this stage, however I’minterested in testing this in the future, as from what I’ve read it should be possibleto overclock the Xeon chip above 4GHz, so that could change things quite a bit.
Thereare slightly faster clocked versions of this CPU available, the X5670 and X5690 for instance,however they cost quite a lot more, more than double in some cases, so I figured it’dbe better price to performance to get this 2.
6GHz one and overclock it later instead.
In terms of temperatures the Xeon chip actually ran cooler, both at idle and under full load.
Both CPUs were cooled by my Coolermaster V10 cooler, which did a pretty good job, so Ithink we’ve got enough cooling capacity to try overclocking and get even more valuein the future.
In general the Xeon CPU does a pretty good job at keeping up with the i7.
The Xeon obviouslydominates in multicore workloads as it has 50% more CPU cores, however even though it’sclocked slower than the i7 it still does quite well in single threaded tests.
The small handfulof games and graphical benchmarks even showed that it doesn’t make that much practicaldifference, so I’m going to stick with the 6 core Xeon as it gives me a small boost invarious productivity use cases such as video rendering with Adobe Premiere.
So what do you guys think about my cheap upgrade to 6 CPU cores? I think that low priced XeonCPUs offer a cheap upgrade path, potentially allowing you to get more life from an otherwiseoutdated computer.
Let me know if you’ve picked up any cheap Xeon CPUs for your PCand how they perform down in the comments, and leave a like on the video if you foundthe information useful.
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