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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The X58 platform is still as usable and reliable as it was in the beginning. With enough homework and careful combing of the second-hand market, you can find affordable but working parts to create something plenty potent in gaming at 1080p - even with the current GPU hike.

There are one or two parts I am still looking to get, so the components may change up a little, but nothing that will greatly affect the outcome of this bargain gaming build. Lets get started!

CPU: Xeon X5650 6C/12T 2.66Ghz
CPU Cooler: VTG120 AIO Water Cooler
Motherboard: Asus X58 Sabertooth Motherboard
RAM: 16GB DDR3 1600Mhz (2X8GB)
GPU: ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 760 MARS
PSU: EVGA 850W P2 Platinum PSU (Originally: Corsair TX 650W PSU)
Storage: 250GB SSD, 500GB Seagate HDD, 2TB WD HDD (Originally: WD 500GB)
Case: Corsair Carbide Air 540 Case

- Burgers
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
In anticipation of receiving the Motherboard, CPU and RAM, I have installed the Corsair PSU and have routed all the cables as best as possible to where they need to be and have cable tied the rest to keep it as neat as possible in the back.

I have also managed to snag an ASUS ROG MARS GTX 760 4GB graphics card for this build! More pictures of that to follow!
 

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ლ(╹ε╹ლ)
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I'm curious why you didn't go with a unlocked model for the CPU, the W3580 for example is 4c/8t, but has unlocked multiplier and I bought one two weeks ago for like $40 CAD shipped.

Can't wait to see how it looks like though :)
 

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I'm more curious why you didn't go with a 6-core processor like an X5675. The best excuse to get a secondhand X58 motherboard is because they support six cores. The additional L3 cache makes quite a difference. I noticed my system perform smoother before ever overclocking my X5670.

For your RAM, did you go 2x8 or 4x4? X58 uses triple channel. I've never tried triple channel with four DIMMs but that seems like an awkward proposition to me.

Lastly, the single best investment you can make, in my opinion, is a solid state drive. Your motherboard doesn't have real SATA3, but that doesn't really matter. SSD performance with SATA2 makes HDDs look like they're standing still.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
An update, and with it, answers to your questions.

So, I originally bought the Motherboard, CPU and RAM as a working bundle on eBay. However, the seller did not state specifically which Xeon CPU was in it, so I low-balled and predicted it to be a X3440, which is why I listed it as such and would edit my original post if it were in any different. I can now happily say it came with an X5650 and was overclocked to 4.0Ghz, although I reset that during some initial no-boot issues, which are now fixed - turns out there was some very small hair and fluff in the CPU socket that I did not notice upon first inspection!

The motherboard is currently running in a 2x8GB configuration, and if I ever find myself with the opportunity to get my hands on a third 8GB stick for cheap, I will stick it in the system.
 

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That processor is a pleasant surprise. The Westmere Xeons are stellar overclockers. As for your RAM, you aren't missing much by running dual channel. You won't notice unless you're doing something that depends on memory bandwidth. That isn't gaming.

I'm not sure how much experience you have overclocking on this platform, but I recommend keeping QPI/VTT at 1.35V or lower. Higher values are known to kill processors. These processors are rather affordable so you shouldn't have a problem getting your hands on a replacement, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
After unwrapping the parts, I began installing everything I had so far. I was very excited! My progress followed as in the pictures below.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That processor is a pleasant surprise. The Westmere Xeons are stellar overclockers. As for your RAM, you aren't missing much by running dual channel. You won't notice unless you're doing something that depends on memory bandwidth. That isn't gaming.

I'm not sure how much experience you have overclocking on this platform, but I recommend keeping QPI/VTT at 1.35V or lower. Higher values are known to kill processors. These processors are rather affordable so you shouldn't have a problem getting your hands on a replacement, but I think it's better to be safe than sorry.
2x8GB it is, then! I will be sure to keep the QPI/VTT below 1.35v. When I get around to overclocking, i'll be sure to drop you a message if I need anything, thank you! Hopefully a video or a thread around here will save me from bothering you. This system looks very complicated but suitable for overclocking.

Now, the AIO cooler I have ordered has yet to arrive - that will be later this week - and I wanted to get this thing running and posting. Up until this point I did not know which CPU I had installed. So, I went and borrowed the Seidon AIO cooler from my D5400XS Skulltrail Build and had a go at installing it in this build. Initially the back plate objected and didn't feel like lining up properly, but, I persuaded and said nice things to it for encouragement, and now it's finally installed.

I plugged in the power, hit the power button and it burst into life! However, after noticing a red CPU and RAM led lit up on the motherboard permanently and no video signal going to my monitor at all, I was stumped and worried I had an expensive problem on my hands - a dead *something* or other. After multiple RAM configurations, a different graphics card, a different PCI-E slot, double checked every power connector to the system, a different video output (HDMI instead of VGA), I bit the bullet and decided to recheck the CPU socket. After removing the cooler, it turns out there was a very small hair within the pins of the socket itself, with a very, very small amount of fluff on the end of it. I picked it out carefully with a pin and prayed that this was the culprit, and, thankfully, the computer gods smiled upon me and answered my prayer! A few minutes later, I hit the power button and both the CPU and RAM led disappeared and the system booted into life, posting immediately! Woo!

Once my new AIO cooler arrives, I will remove the placeholder and install it. After that.. possibly, maybe.. scratching the now new itch to make this my main system, replacing my currently stock i5-2500k, 6GB of RAM and GTX 660Ti - the 4th RAM slot on the end decided to stop working recently, going from 8GB to 6GB. It does have a fast 250GB SSD to boot and two large hard drives.

I would definitely like to get overclocking this thing, knowing it has great potential! And, if I do, my EVGA 850W P2 PSU will be going in it, the XFX 850W CORE will go in the D5400XS Skulltrail build, and then the Corsair TX 650W will power the i5-2500k build. In doing this, the "budget" idea of this build does get warped quite a bit, but the opportunity to make some money back on selling the two remaining systems once all is said and done, plus gaining a 6C/12T beast, it's hard to ignore the opportunity.
 

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There's two X58 threads in the Intel - General section. You can get all kinds of help in either of those threads. There's a wealth of information about this platform in both threads.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
An update on the situation - mostly good!

The AIO cooler I ordered arrived earlier this morning, so I decided to remove the placeholder that I was borrowing from my D5400XS Skulltrail build and made a start on installing it.

I have to say, it was a rather unpleasant experience, to say the least. The mounting is not exactly "quick and easy", neither is it very friendly. After removing the placeholder cooler, I decided to give it a quick clean and reapply a fresh amount of thermal paste. I felt it best to take the CPU out of the socket so that I didn't accidentally wipe it on any part of the socket or motherboard. After wiping the CPU clean, I noticed a small amount of thermal paste leftover on the tightening bracket around the socket - no problem, i'll gently clean that off with some tissue.

However, as I did this, in one foul stroke, the tissue snagged one single pin in the socket and bent it at least 90* in the opposite direction it normally faces - hindsight-tip, go with the grain in case you accidentally snag a pin in the socket! Many very strong and loud swear words later, I bent the pin back as close as possible to its original resting position. You can notice it's not quite right just with the naked eye, but I couldn't get it to fair any better in comparison to the rest of the pins.

I prayed to the gods that I hadn't ruined the idea of ever using my motherboard again, but, thankfully, it booted no problem once I re-seated the CPU and installed the new AIO cooler. However (again), the motherboard no longer detected more than two RAM sticks at a time in the slots I had been using up until now - uh oh.

After some more profanity, I found that the only combination that would detect all 16GB of RAM was the two slots closest to the CPU itself. Any other combination was a no go. I have successfully moved my storage and boot items over to this very X58 build, as well as installed my 850W P2 EVGA PSU for when I start overclocking, and I wasn't too sure about the Corsair TX 650W under heavy load with a GTX 760X2 and an overclocked X5650, anyway - or even a stock one.

Sadly, as a result of all this, I am now stuck in single-channel mode, and it has been bugging me all day! I couldn't make any progress with it since lunch time as I had to go into work, but the fact that the slightly-off pin in the socket is not quite right and isn't allowing me to run dual-channel OR run certain configuration of RAM sticks.. it's annoying, you know? The idea of removing the newly installed cooler is putting me off quite a lot as it was a right sod to mount and fasten down, and I am nervous that I may balls up the pin (or pins) even more! I also don't want to lose performance from going from dual-channel to single-channel - which isn't much of a choice right now. I have read that there is very little real world difference or in games between the two modes.. I hope that this is indeed true.

With all this said and done, the temps are way, way better than the placeholder cooler I had installed up until earlier this morning, both at idle and load!

Remember, kids, patience, taking your time and being calm wins the race! For my efforts, I won a headache.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
There's two X58 threads in the Intel - General section. You can get all kinds of help in either of those threads. There's a wealth of information about this platform in both threads.
I looked in there, but the big threads put me off due to how many posts there are to sift though. I would imagine the search function allows one to comb through it better?

Up until now I have been struggling to get my memory running at its rated spec of 11-11-11-28 @ 1600Mhz, 1.5V. The UCLK is supposed to be at least two times the RAM speed (according to the bios information), so I would manually set it to twice the rated RAM speed I wanted the RAM at, which was 1600Mhz. However, the computer would fail to post, let alone boot.

It turns out that leaving the UCLK on Auto works fine. Who would have thought? I've raised the base clock from 133 to 166 and set the maximum multiplier to 22, set the memory to 1600Mhz with the rated timings, and then left everything else on Auto. For now, as a result, I am at 3.6Ghz @ 1.2Volts (CPU Voltage on Auto). Temperatures are good under idle and load, 30*C and 55*C respectively, and my Cinebench score has improved 200 points in multithreaded!

I am now looking to get even more out of the system.
 

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Uncore had to be double the RAM frequency with Bloomfield. With Westmere, the requirement was 1.5x. Higher uncore does give better overall system performance. QPI/VTT is the voltage you adjust for uncore.
 

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Check this out
Best to leave the cpu in the socket btw. Looks good bud
 

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I looked in there, but the big threads put me off due to how many posts there are to sift though. I would imagine the search function allows one to comb through it better?
Nahh, you just gotta bite the bullet and dig through it. Search will help with something specific but you're sure to find all kind of helpful tips that you might not have been looking for.
 

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Per Intel spec the ram is supposed to run at 1.65v in x58, and if you're using 1.5v ram then it's not actually designed for x58 systems. You can sometimes get 1.5v ram to work in x58 @ 1.5v but that's not how it's "supposed" to work so it's totally "your mileage may vary" and (according to cpu-z at least) it says you're using single channel, that's probably why it works at all, usually in all my past experience overclocking x58 for years I never could get any ram to work in x58 @ triple channel with 1.5v in multiple systems. Maybe it'll work for you. Maybe I was unlucky.

I see you have 2 sticks of ram, you may want to refer to the manual for your board for how to populate the ram correctly for dual channel. At least make sure you're getting the most out of the ram you already have. Triple channel ram kits are really cheap today online if you look around.

You will probably have better luck with a 1.65v-designed kit.

Also your scores in cinebench would improve a good bit with triple channel. The memory performance in x58 is severely crippled with single or dual channel configuration.

I also wanted to share this: https://ark.intel.com/products/4792...r-X5650-12M-Cache-2_66-GHz-6_40-GTs-Intel-QPI

You can go all the way up to 1.350v v-core with that chip per the intel spec and you aren't even exceeding the rated voltage for that chip.

You're using the revised 32nm Westmere core chip there, with the improved memory controller compared to the 1st generation x58 chips based on Bloomfield. The 32nm x58 chips should be good for at least 2400 mhz ram @ 1.65v @ triple channel. I had a 32nm i7-980x that ran @ 2400-triple-1.65v for 5 years daily at one point.

If you can manage cooling don't be afraid to push Intel x58 chips hard, I ran my x58 980x chip @ 1.575v @ 4.8 ghz @ average load temps video converting in the 90's C that way for 5 years. It still worked when I sold it in 2016 to a friend, and he's still using it to this day daily @ 4.8 @ 1.575v just like I had it. He games in guild wars 2 daily on it like that, still works fine, I haven't heard him having any issues yet. These chips can handle way more than most people seem to think they can. Remember, x58 series of chips had soldered IHS, just like sandy bridge. They're not as fragile as modern chips are.

It's nice to see someone making another x58 build in 2018. I always loved x58 myself. The only reason I don't still have one is I moved on to 1080 Ti for my modern-gaming computer, and x58 (no matter how high you overclock it) is a serious bottleneck for any modern card. Need at least 2014 or newer system to pair with a 1080 Ti to get the most out of it.

As long as you're sticking to GTX-760, or even dual 760's, or other older cards you'll be fine.
 

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You don't necessarily have to supply RAM with 1.65V. If it can run just fine with 1.5V, run the lower voltage. Worse-case scenario, you have overclocking headroom. The only thing I remember concerning RAM voltage was it has to be within 0.5V of QPI/VTT. The legendary Samsung "wonder" RAM was "designed" to use 1.35V, but people would pump up the voltage and overclock the hell out them.

Reaching a RAM speed of 2400 MHz without an unlocked multiplier will require a 240 base clock. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's highly unlikely to happen. My Sabertooth X58 taps out around 220 base clock. I pushed my RAM up to 2050 MHz at one point, but my system had a noticeable stutter with only 6GB compared to 12GB. That was the fastest I could get it stable.

 

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You don't necessarily have to supply RAM with 1.65V. If it can run just fine with 1.5V, run the lower voltage. Worse-case scenario, you have overclocking headroom. The only thing I remember concerning RAM voltage was it has to be within 0.5V of QPI/VTT. The legendary Samsung "wonder" RAM was "designed" to use 1.35V, but people would pump up the voltage and overclock the hell out them.

Reaching a RAM speed of 2400 MHz without an unlocked multiplier will require a 240 base clock. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's highly unlikely to happen. My Sabertooth X58 taps out around 220 base clock. I pushed my RAM up to 2050 MHz at one point, but my system had a noticeable stutter with only 6GB compared to 12GB. That was the fastest I could get it stable.

....
I don't know about other boards but my EVGA x58 classified board let me select ram speeds completely independent of the cpu/bus speed and there were dividers all the way up to specifying ram @ 4000 mhz even with the cpu at stock speed. Of course, the memory controller in the chip wouldn't do 4000, but with a board like the x58 sabertooth (another "high end exotic" x58 board) there should be dividers to at least get it to 2400, even with a stock speed chip. Back when I built my x58 system originally 2400 mhz ddr3 was the fastest ram sold, today we have much higher, I don't know if even a 32nm x58 xeon could do much more than 2400 though.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thank you for the input, Kithylin!

If I could run it in dual-channel, I certainly would! However, due to a slightly-off pin in the CPU socket (my fault) as mentioned in a previous post, I won't be running that anytime soon, and I have no plans to get it put right to the point where it will then run in dual-channel mode. For now, me and it are perfectly happy with 1.5V @ 1600Mhz, and if that's in single-channel mode, then I can live with that. I won't be spending anymore money on this build, and 16GB is more than enough for me!

I'll push the RAM higher soon and see where it takes me. At this very moment it is at 1460Mhz, as I now have the CPU at 4Ghz and dropped the RAM slightly below spec just to test stability on the CPU itself. So far so good. More results of this to come soon.

Below are a few pictures I recently took. Cable management is 99% done. It just needs some cable ties and the routing of the AIO pump 3-pin cable.
 

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