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LADave
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Swap xw8600 motherboard into xw8400?

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Xw8400 workstation
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

I was gifted an xw8400 and want to prepare it for my son, the architecture student.  However its motherboard won't accept Xeon 5200 or 5400 series CPUs.  This eliminates the SSE4.1 instruction set extensions, in turn ruling out the latest version of AutoDesk's 3DS Max. and there will probably be more negative repercussions in the future.

 

Is it feasible to swap in an xw8600 motherboard, which supports these CPUs?  Would the existing heat sinks and fans still be applicable?

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SDH
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Only that back plate is different... that is where the rivets are and I think you can drill out about 4 rivets to get that plate free for easier working on it.

 

The motherboard attachments are the same.... very nice engineering.  Pretty much a slide in job, and then the main hold-down is actually the heatsink screws that lock everyting in place.  The nice non-HP hex head case screws that have the built in washer and a Philips head recess can be used (6-32 NC threads) for the 4 exposed holes if you start with using only 1 of the 2 heatsinks.... same threads as the heatsink screws use and those extra 4 screws really lock the motherboard down in perfect alignment when used in addition to the first heatsink.

 

I think you are good to go if you want to use a xw8600 motherboard and a Dremel.

 

I'm quite sure you'll need an official xw8600 power supply, under 50 shipped off eBay.  Same memory as the xw6400/8400/6600.

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SDH
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Nice idea, but the backplane of the xw8400 is not compatible with that of the xw8600..... see below after a moderator releases this picture:

 

xw8400 vs xw8600 backplane.jpg

 

The xw8600 motherboard's rear end does not fit into a xw8400 case perfectly, and the metal part where the ports are accessed is riveted on.  If you want the xw8600 I'd recommend just buying one off eBay.

 

The heatsinks:  Those from the xw8400 and the xw8600 are cross compatible.  Remember that processors running above a certain level of wattage will need the "double tall double fan" heatsink for the xw8600.  Those are rare.  So, if you go the xw8600 route then look at the mainstream processors that HP certified for that workstation.

 

Regarding fans.... the rear fan set are engineered as a pair...... the pair from the xw8600 can fit perfectly in a xw8400 and vice versa, but you cannot mix the 4 parts.... it is either A + B or C + D, but those two combos will fit equally well in both workstations.

 

Next real step up in a dual processor build is a Z600, preferably a version 2 of that with the later boot block date.  Again, the "Performance" heatsink/fan for the high wattage processors there also is rare and expensive, so stick with mainstream wattage processors in the Z600 too.  Two of the fastest quad cores or two of the fastest hexacores (mainstream wattages) for that run very nicely, and you can start with one and add in a second later.

 

A very nice single processor build is from the version 2 Z400 which comes with a Performance heatsink/fan almost always, and which can unexpectedly take the X5690 hexacore processor, and those are easy to recognize on eBay by having 6 memory slots rather than the 4 present on the version 1 Z400.

 

If there is more than one sSpec code for a processor always buy the latest.

 

 

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LADave
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Nevertheless, would it be feasible to  modify the rear of the xw8400 case to accomodate the different MB rear panel? 

 

You don't mention any power supply issues, and I'd imagine all the voltages are there in sufficient amperage anyhow. 

 

No insurmountable issues with attachment points?

 

It seems an xw8600 motherboard can be had for $100 or less, and selling old parts could probably recoup half the expense.  Shipping an entire xw8600 would be fairly costly, unless one is found locally.

 

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SDH
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Dave,

 

Don't get me wrong.... I like and respect the xw6600 xw8600 generation.... a big step up from the xw6400/xw8400.  I run a souped up xw6600 just to show my partners that we don't have to spend a fortune.

 

You can compare the pinouts for the 8400 vs 8600 power supplies via the Service Guides:

 

http://jp.ext.hp.com/lib/doc/manual/workstation/xw8400/364898-001.pdf

http://h20628.www2.hp.com/km-ext/kmcsdirect/emr_na-c01312464-10.pdf

 

I do know the xw6600 power supplies are different than the xw6400 power supplies, and are not compatible (have tried).  The xw8600 later version QuickSpecs get you the most mature level of info on how that workstation and its processors evolved.  There are not two versions for this one, unlike with the ZX00 and ZX20 generations.

 

Agree on cost of shipping.... we used to call these "the beasts" when we had to move them around.  You'll be getting out the Dremel tool and doing some ghetto mods.  Good on ya.  I'd drill out the rivets first and then free-hand that backplane plate area with the Dremel.

 

You'll end up with some holes back there, but nothing that duct tape can't fix.  Even better.... that metallic dryer hose tape inside and out.  Looks better, lasts much longer, and should keep the RF inside.  Keep us posted on the project.

 

 

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LADave
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Looking at your photos, HP has changed what is on the port section and moved things around, however the overall dimensions of that panel look about the same.  I actually can't see any indication that they changed the case.

 

If the M/Bs are riveted to the cases in back, rivets would need to be replaceable in order to replace a bad M/B. 

 

I really need to find a local sample of 8600, schlepp the 8400 over and set them side-by-side.  Compare everything: M/B size and shape, mounting points, power supply connectors.... Fortunately I have a dolly (wheeled thingy) to make transport easier!

 

No rush, as the 8400 is fully functional and can run the 2017 version of AutoDesk 3DS for a while.  I'll bide my time waiting for a deal, either a whole, local 8600 or the motherboard from anywhere in North America.

 

I'm a sucker for using older stuff as long as it's viable!

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SDH
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Only that back plate is different... that is where the rivets are and I think you can drill out about 4 rivets to get that plate free for easier working on it.

 

The motherboard attachments are the same.... very nice engineering.  Pretty much a slide in job, and then the main hold-down is actually the heatsink screws that lock everyting in place.  The nice non-HP hex head case screws that have the built in washer and a Philips head recess can be used (6-32 NC threads) for the 4 exposed holes if you start with using only 1 of the 2 heatsinks.... same threads as the heatsink screws use and those extra 4 screws really lock the motherboard down in perfect alignment when used in addition to the first heatsink.

 

I think you are good to go if you want to use a xw8600 motherboard and a Dremel.

 

I'm quite sure you'll need an official xw8600 power supply, under 50 shipped off eBay.  Same memory as the xw6400/8400/6600.

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DGroves
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the original cases for the xw6400/8400 HAD A REMOVABLE I/O BACKPLATE........ later revisions have the I/O backplate as part of the case.  (I have both case revisions of the xw8400 cases)

 

i have not seen a removable I/O plate on the xw66/8600 line.

 

while you could dremel a i/o area out of either model's case. it's better to buy a used case off ebay nowadays they are 

under 60.00 usually (+ shipping) and you don't have to modify anything

 

the power supplys between the xw64/8400 and 66/8600 are not compatable (diffrent pin outs)

 

the 8400 use a normal ATX pinout the 8600 uses a custom pinout. while it's possible to modify/change the wires location

in the 24 pin connector i would look for a used xw8600 supply and be done with it

 

i'm not sure if the locations for the cpu's are in the exact same locations between the 8400/8600 systems

as i recall they are not a exact match, but you could most likely cobble a new mounting with a drill and new standoffs

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LADave
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With all the differences, I finally decided to swap in E5345 quad cores for the original dual-cores and let him use it that way for a while.  If the lack of SSE4.1 becomes too problematic, I'll look to sell and replace with something newer.   I'm located near Hollywood so even the (upgraded) 8400 should remain relevant to many folks working in film and video.

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DGroves
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if you watch ebay, you can sometimes  find xw8600 systems complete for under 160.00 and sometimes the shipping is free but usually shipping should be around 25.00

 

 

however a much better solution is a HP z800, they use the x58 chipset and are much faster than a xw8600

 

they sell for around 150/200 dollars complete working systems with shipping usually 30/40 dollars

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Z800-Barebone-Workstation-Chassis/322314538874?hash=item4b0b718f7a:g:xe4...

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