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  1. I acquired a Dell PowerEdge 6850 and a PowerVault 220S from my boss (so swell)! Since I don't have a desktop I figured... "how hard could it be" to make this server into a desktop! Answer: it's really heavy --- I mean difficult Specs: PowerEdge 6850: Four Xeon 7140M = Hyperthreaded Dual-Core 3.4 GHz 16x 4GB DDR2 @ 200 MHz = 64GB total 5x 450GB 15k RPM SCSI = 1.63 TiB total (Tebibyte/formatted) pair of 110V -> 220V 1500W transformers PowerVault 220S: 14x 73GB 15k RPM SCSI Notes about each PowerEdge 6850: came with Windows Server 2008 R2 | ugly for desktop OS | only supported 32GB RAM not terribly loud | with my audio setup it would drown it out | sits opposite side of desk so noise is tolerable Runs off of 220V | thus the 110V -> 220V step-up transformers HEAVY | I'm not going to your LAN party, sorry bub PowerVault 220S: SCSI connection | older SCSI hardware doesn't work with Windows Server 2012 R2 | so is sitting off to side unused WHY IS THIS SO LOUD I CAN'T HEAR WHAT I'M THINKING WHY DO THE FANS NOT SLOW DOWN For today's times, this is a bit excessive for the 1TB of storage it gives. I'll stick to external HDDs heavy | not as bad as the 6850, but still a chore to lug around -------------------------------------------------- Step 1 (OS): So I started by changing the OS. Pretty straightforward... not really. Since I want it to be a desktop and not a server, I initially tried Windows 8.1 (I like Win8.1). Turns out Win8.1 doesn't support more than 2 physical CPUs, which in this case isn't nice. I attempted to force more than 2 physical CPUs to no avail. You can see my efforts here: http://forum.techinferno.com/microsoft-windows/5607-windows-8-1-physical-processor-limit.html Since I'm a student, I was able to join the Microsoft Dreamspark and get Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter. Very nice! I then followed the information provided here to make WinSrv behave more like it's desktop OS counterpart: http://www.win2012workstation.com/ This got me a bulk of the way there.... or so I hoped. Pics: -------------------------------------------------- Step 2 (GPU): Here I was hoping I could just plug in a GPU and get it working after a driver install... heh. that was a funny joke... I cut away the backside of the PCIe 8x slot (wired 8x) to make it an edgeless connector. This was successful. But: Server PCI widths are not the same, double wide cards don't fit Server motherboard doesn't put out adequate power, assuming 25W instead of the normal 75W Reflectional thought: May have been a PRSNT1# and PRSNT2# issue which I discovered about later instead of the above Soooo, I bought a powered 8x to 16x extender cable. I knew coming into this I'd have an external PSU (ePSU). I soldered on a GND to the cable (only had +12V since it assumed there would just be one PSU and the ground going through the mobo and whatnot). And plugged this all together..... nothing. Got some reference material here: [Guide] Homebrew powered risers. So then I started looking around for why. I found this: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=36061.msg757661#msg757661 (With all the BTC and LTC mining, lots of info on risers) This turned out to be the ticket! I bridged A1 to B48 and BOOM, card turned on. Big thanks to @chmod1337 for his help with this section. I was doing this testing with an old 8800GTS (this is important for later). I finalized the extender by soldering the bridge nice and neat then.... (next step) Pics: -------------------------------------------------- Step 3 (case / making it look remotely decent): This will be just a series of pictures mainly. I used the same case as I did with my eGPU. Actually, nothing changed but the interface cable and a new hole cut. Quite nice. Images: -------------------------------------------------- Step 4 (Nvidia woes): 8800GTs worked great! It's actually what I'm using while I type this post up. GTX 660 Ti: Works during POST and other pre-boot environment areas, also in DOS Blackscreen and makes the system beep when it loads any thing else (and just before entering BIOS setup and DOS) Doesn't work for anything else @svl7 helped me with some info (paraphrase): nvidia loads a leagacy vBIOS for pre-boot environment and such, thus it worked here. But loads a different vBIOS for OS and such. This might be were the issue arises. (svl7, feel free to edit this to make it more accurate) I plan to get my hands on a friend's AMD card (R9 280X). If that works to getting me to the OS then: I jump around in an overly excited manner. Look in wallet and find nothing useful, and then proceed to halt jumping around in an overly excited manner. Realize this is a pure Nvidia problem and that their modern cards are far too finicky and can't use them for this Server GPU setup. Resulting in AMD being the choice for this Server GPU project. Newer servers may not have this issue. Thanks to @svl7 for help in this section! Quick Edit: The R9 280X works, albeit slowly. See the links at the bottom of post for results of that. Pics: -------------------------------------------------- Step 5 (testing): At the moment, I can't do anything too impressive. You can satisfy your appetite with this hopefully, more soon if I can get this working fully. NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB/640MB video card benchmark result - Intel® Xeon™ CPU 3.40GHz,Dell Computer Corporation 0RD318 Doesn't appear to use / doesn't actually use all CPUs: http://i.imgur.com/XxrZEB2.png -------------------------------------------------- Step 6 (endnotes): Carrying this up stairs wasn't fun. I'm not moving it more than dragging around a few feet. If this does end up working more than it does now, it'll be a glorious moment. Certainly look forward to it. I'll have more in this section later. --- R9 280X:: Link storage zone for writeup: http://i.imgur.com/KqH5rQU.png http://www.3dmark.com/3dm11/7807356 http://i.imgur.com/39D2ZH2.png
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