Virtual Machine Server

The goal of this machine was to replace the oldest machine build recorded on this blog – the 2009 Core i7 920 build. This is the current workhorse virtual machine server.

The approach taken (refurbished) was a direct result of (1) DDR4 RAM prices being high, (2) Video card (GTX 1080) prices being way too high, and (3) Intel 8700 CPU just not being exciting.

So instead of new, once I ran across these refurbished Dell Precision T3600 machines at, I set a budget at $400 and got the best available. After a 10% bump in the budget, the 64GB machine was the “just right” choice. It has a 6-core CPU and a decent clock speed.

Some facts on the CPU: the Xeon E5-2640@2.5GHz is currently #255 on PassMark [9,500] compared with the i7-920@2.67GHz at #683 [4,938] There are multiple versions of the e5-2640 – v4, v3, v2 and original.

Some facts on the system: The Dell Precision T3600 was reviewed in 2012 by AnandTech at a review price of $4,450 – but that machine only had 8GB of memory (and a better CPU and Graphics card). So call it a wash – $4,500 retail price six years ago. Ebay has a 4x16GB kit for sale for $340 right now.

All product links are from the actual vendor.

Item Product Cost
System Dell Precision T3600 Workstation
Cached Newegg
CPU Intel Xeon E5-2640 2.5GHz 6 cores socket 2011 incl.
RAM 4x 16GB DDR3 DRAM 1333 RDIMM ECC, 12,913 MB/s incl.
Motherboard Single CPU socket 2011, Intel C600 chipset, 2x USB 3.0 incl.
Power Supply 635 Watt externally removable toolless 80 Plus Gold incl.
Video NVIDIA Quadro 600 (96 CUDA Cores, 1 GB DDR3) DVI-I/DisplayPort “Entry 3D” incl.
DVD/CD Thin form factor DVD incl.
Case 2x 3.5″, 2x 2.5″ bays incl.
SSD Drive 128GB Vertex reused
HHD Drive 2x Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB 7200RPM HUA723020ALA641 Enterprise $60 each $120
OS Either Ubuntu 18.04 or Centos 7.4
Software VMWare Workstation 14 Pro $250
Total $810

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