Intel Xeon W5580 Cpus & S5520SC Motherboard Review @ DH

Discussion in 'Reviews & Articles Discussion' started by HardwareHeaven, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    I have a CoolIT Systems Boreas Chassis, which is a modified SilverStone TJ07. I was thinking of having a hole cut in the plexi side pannel directly above the 5520 northbridge and installing a 120 mm fan. Do you think that would be effective enought? I'm not sure if I have enought room for a 220 mm fan given the way the plexi joins the metal on the side panel. How important do you think it is to angle the fan?

    Cheers, Eric
     
  2. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    The silverstone TJ07 is a pretty good chassis. Only issue is it doesnt really offer any air cooling from the side. The best 'standard' case for this system is actually a coolermaster HAF932 which comes with a massive 230mm fan on the side. and vented panels almost everywhere. I know it seems a little bit of a step 'down' from your silverstone, but its actually a surprisingly well made case with massive airflow for this particular motherboard. I found my temps dropped with this case quite a lot over even high end cases like the Li Lians I used before.

    As for the 120mm fan. the only reason I angle them is to give a little bit of cooling to the surrounding board components as well - you wouldnt really need it in the HAF932 however.

    I wish Silverstone would make an extended version of the Raven RV02 for the server style boards, that vertical air flow idea is very impressive.
     
  3. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    OK, I got my northbridge cooling problem under control. I had a 120 mm hole cut in the plexiglass directly in front of the 5520 IOH - only cost me $28.00 CDN. I opted for the Antex TriCool 120 DBB. The plastics company even made a nice slot in the plexi for the speed control switch (which fits snugly inside). Pictures on my blog.

    It turns out the fan cools the 5520 adequately well on the slowest speed setting. I might need to turn up the speed later when I put in some newer, larger graphics cards.

    The last major problem left is that I have five 2 TB drives configured as a RAID array. Unfortunately when I run Windows Setup from the BIOS, by default it creates MBR paritions which limits Windows to 2 TB, and there is no way to see the rest of the array. Windows Setup will not install to a GPT disk when running from the BIOS.

    I tried doing an EFI setup of Windows, which was partially successful. I was able to get Windows Setup running, and it did create a GPT layout of the array, but there is a problem with the S5520SC firmware in that (I assume) the EFI loader cannot see the RAID. After Setup finished building the initial disk image, when the system rebooted, nothing happened. Doh! So close, and yet so far.

    The S5520SC also has the ability to create multiple virtual disks on the RAID, but this feature does not seem to work reliably. When I try to configure the second virtual disk from the BIOS, the RAID setup hangs the system and I have to power cycle the system to get it working again.

    When I had my previous S5520SC, I was able to configure two virtual disks by using the Intel Deployment CD and running the Web UI RAID Setup. However, since getting my replacement S5520SC the Intel Deployment CD will not boot if I have SW RAID enabled in the BIOS.

    If I could get multiple virtual disks working I could use one small one (500 GB) for my boot drive, and the other one (the rest of the array) for my data drive.

    I've escalated these problem to Intel Engineering and I'm waiting to hear back from them.

    Cheers, Eric
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2009
  4. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the information Eric. thats a hell of a configuration you have.
     
  5. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    And the story continues... I hope people don't mind me adding to this discussion instead of creating my own, but if people are seriously considering an S5520SC I have a story to tell...

    So recently I upgraded my S5520SC to the latest firmware version. Two interesting things happened:

    1. I was suddenly able to configure two virtual disks on my RAID, whereas before I was only able to configure one.

    2. My system fans started spinning in the opposite direction

    I have been corresponding with Intel technical support and they assure me that the firmware cannot change the fan direction, but the fact remains I am certain that the fans spun in the proper direction before the upgrade. I tried down-grading to the previous release of firmware, but that did not change the direction of the fan, or even after up-grading again to the most recent release again.

    Anyway, it's really a mystery how my system fans could change direction when I have made absolutely no hardware changes.

    Cheers, Eric
     
  6. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    I actually think its great Eric that you are updating us with your findings. I know a lot of people from google are reading this thread on a daily basis.

    I will have to dust off the system and fire it up again. I haven't used it in quite some time as it is not really a very practical system for me to be using when testing most of our hardware. That fan information is particularly interesting and rather unusual, to say the least.
     
  7. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    On a hunch I reverted my firmware back to the previous revision, but that did not change the fan direction back. I'm now back at the latest firmware revision. Intel assures me that the fan direction cannot change unless the polarity changes and that the firmware has no control over that. When I have time I will connect the fans to the processor fan headers and see if that makes a difference (as those fans did not seem to be affected).

    On a happier note with the latest firmware - BMC 00.45, BIOS 42, ME 01.11, FRUSDR 21 - I am finally able to boot the Intel deployment CD again with the SW RAID enabled. I was finally able to reconfigure my RAID 5 with two Virtual Disks. The first VD is small (0.5 TB) and is the boot drive C: with MBR partitions. The second VD is huge (6.8 TB) with a single GPT partition D: (and 64K clusters). I am finally able to access all my disk space from Windows 7 now.

    The BIOS version of Windows is unable to boot from a GPT disk, and in fact Windows Setup will refuse to install to it. Using a USB Optical Drive I was able to run \EFI\BOOT\BOOTX64.EFI on the Setup DVD from the EFI shell. Once the EFI version of Setup was running I was able to create a GPT layout on my RAID, and Setup was more than happy to install Window 7 to the RAID 5. Unfortunately when Setup rebooted the system, the firmware was not able to boot from the RAID. One of the things I noticed while in the EFI shell is that the shell cannot see SATA Optical Drives or the RAID, so I suspect this is some stupid limitation of firmware. I've asked Intel to consider it a feature request to be able to boot an EFI O/S from the RAID. FYI - the maximum size of an MBR disk is 2 TB.

    Normally when you use an EFI O/S (I think) you are supposed to enable "EFI Optimized Boot" in the BIOS settings of the S5520SC. There are two problems with this though:

    1. EFI Optimized Boot does not work with any PCI-E video cards, you have to use the on-board video adapter. I could live with that (but it would be a hassle).

    2. EFI Optimized Boot is not compatible with SW RAID enabled. I can't live with that.

    Thinking about the big picture it is interesting to note that Intel created the EFI standard to replace BIOS - but they do not seem to implement it very well as current EFI functionality is clearly inferior to BIOS.

    Just so people know why I want to use EFI Windows

    a. I don't need to create two Virtual Disks, I can have just one VD with a GPT and boot from it. That way I can make more optimal use of my RAID.

    b. I want to get more experience with using EFI because (supposedly) it is the successor to BIOS.

    Cheers, Eric
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  8. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    maybe I missed it, but did the latest firmware ever resolve the polling LAN cable issue with Win 7 ?
     
  9. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    I'm not sure - I'll have to try that next time I have some time to play with my system a little more.
     
  10. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    I still haven't gotten around to rebuilding the system again, maybe this weekend when I get some time. Good feedback Eric appreciate you coming back here with info.
     
  11. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    OK, I finally tried unplugging one of my network cables and the polling problem started almost immediately. Even after plugging the cable back in the problem did not go away, I had to reboot my system.

    So, the firmware update has not fixed the polling problem.

    On another note, I tried connecting the two fans that were connected to the system fan headers to the processor fan headers instead. It made no difference, the fans still spun in the same direction.

    I thought it might make a difference because the two chassis fans that were connected to the processor fan headers had not changed direction after the firmware update.

    So it appears this mystery will remain unsolved.

    Cheers, Eric
     
  12. hypermeta

    hypermeta New Member

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    Hey all,
    This is my first post. I'm a UNIX/App admin in the telco field.

    I got a couple of the 80GB X25-M 2nd Gen drives for my S5520SC board today. After creating a SW RAID0 volume using the embedded utility, I launched the Win7 Ultimate 64bit installer via EFI. The first stage of the install went ok and three partitions were created on the volume. Then the system rebooted to complete the next phase of the Win7 installation.

    I've tried various approaches and cannot get the system to boot from the RAID0 volume to complete the install :(

    From what I've been reading here and elsewhere, it seems this is not possible currently. Am I mistaken?

    The board's BIOS and firmware is:

    BMC 0.45
    ME 1.11
    SDR 21
    BIOS 42

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  13. Chairman

    Chairman New Member

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    I also have the S5520SC, 2x W5580's, 24GB RAM, and Win 7 Ultimate.

    I solved the frequent Freezes / Pauses by Disabling the Second NIC.

    Thanks to lhdlp for the pointer...

    Like Magic, the Box is as smooth as glass!!

    CoD:MW2 ROCKS NOW!!!

    Good Luck!

    Raul
     
  14. hypermeta

    hypermeta New Member

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    I got a RAID0 boot drive going and a RAID5 data/backup drive. Unfortunately, I don't what I had been doing wrong before. I flashed the BIOS and firmwares, made minimal changes to the BIOS, created and initialized the RAID volumes, installed win7, and made sure the RAID controller was first in the boot list the entire time. Everythin works now.

    Now if I could just get the BMC/SDR fan speed issue resolved, I'd be a happy camper. I tried running selview from inside win7, but it is not compatible with 64bit. I'll try the EFI utility.
     
  15. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    OK, I just downloaded the latest chipset, network, and audio drivers from Intel. The readme files indicate support for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2.

    After installing the network drivers the polling problem with the network interfaces has gone away, and the system works fine now with only one network cable plugged in.

    I'm still having a minor, but annoying, problem with my Realtek audio. Normally there is no problem, but if I plug my headphones into the front jack on my system and then unplug it the problem starts. Every now and then the sound cuts out from my main speakers (connected to the back of my system) and the system tray reports either "you just plugged a device into the audio jack," or "you just unplugged a device from the audio jack." It continues to do this intermittently until I reboot my system. I'm pretty sure it's a Realtek driver issue because the problem does not happen unless I install the Realtek audio driver, and then only after I plug my headphones into the front jack at least once.

    Cheers, Eric
     
  16. HardwareHeaven

    HardwareHeaven Administrator Staff Member

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    still enjoying the system I hope, even with all the niggling issues ?
     
  17. press

    press New Member

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    Great review:)
     
  18. kolotyluk

    kolotyluk New Member

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    Yup - I'm enjoying the system more now that I understand its quirks better.

    I would still like to try and install an EFI version of Windows, but the EFI loader only works with the motherboard graphics. I bought an adapter cable, but the socket is under my graphics card, so I have to pull the graphics card to see if I can install the cable under it.

    I'm on vacation from Dec 16 to Jan 2, so I'm planning to spend some quality time with my system and see if I can get everything set up the way I want it.

    Cheers, Eric
     
  19. coolmister

    coolmister New Member

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    First of all, cheers Zardon for a fantastic review and also to kolotyluk for sharing all your trials and tribulations which has made this thread a wealth of knowledge.

    Anyway, i got mine up and running but as with most it would seem, not without a few hic-ups along the way.

    I basically just set mine up on the bench using the bear minimum to get things going and loaded Windows 7onto a WD Raptor which loaded pretty much as normal.

    Once into the OP everything sort of felt a bit notchy and sluggish but i carried on regardless and added a Belkin 54g network card which is when things started to go downhill and not only would it not find my network, the system started to freeze.

    Long story short....

    The only other operating system i had was XP 64 bit so i loaded that without any problems and immediately everything seemed much snappier so went ahead and loaded my network card and i'm currently downloading Windows updates so it would seem shady cove doesn't like Windows 7 at all

    Once i get everything downloaded i'll go about updating the BIOS/FRU/SDR and see how things go from there.

    Just wondering if anyone else had any experience with Windows 7 good or bad and if it can actually be used as i feel a although XP is running flawlessly, i feel like i've taken a step back in time :(

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. coolmister

    coolmister New Member

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    I loop linking the NIC1 and NIC2 with a Cat5 cable and loaded W7 with the wireless network card installed.

    Worked a treat linking straight up to my network so Happy Days - time to run some bench marks :)

    [​IMG]
     

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