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  • Gaming PC with capable Intel Xeon E5-2678v3 - power on budget

    One of the most interesting processors from AliExpress in 2020 - 12 core / 24 thread monster is sold just over $100 mark.

    Huananzhi offers new motherboard for gaming - X99-TF. Improved power lines allow more powerful CPUs and overclocking. Nice white radiators gives it a premium look. By coinsidence I had white Zalman case.

    I also got package-new GTX 980, probably it has spent couple of years on store shelf. And to power all that Watt-hungry electronics, I bought 750W power supply.


    Epic graphics in Fortnite took 100% of GPU producing 95-100 fps on FullHD. However CPU was only 25% busy. This make me think that replacing GTX 980 even with 1060s or 1070 will not load CPU over the top.

    I used Prime95 to load CPU and memory to the max. CPU temperature on Windows Desktop is about 30° Celsius. After half an hour on Prime95 test, temperature rose to 55-56°C and stopped rising.


    Hardware was purchased on AliExpress, while China was heavy hit by coronavirus. Because of lockdown it took 5 weeks for motherboard to be shipped, however it usually takes 3 weeks to arrive.

    CPU Intel Xeon E5-2678v3 2.5GHz $112
    CPU Cooler SilentimPC Fera2 $26
    Motherboard Huananzhi X99-TF Gaming LGA 2011-3 $106
    RAM 4x 8GB DDR3 1866MHz ECC REG 4x $16 = $64
    MSI GeForce 980 4GB $162
    SSD KingSpec 240GB m.2 PCIe $42
    SSD KingSpec 480GB 2.5" SATA3 $68
    HDD 1.5TB Samsung (used) $26
    Power Chieftec A-90 750W (used) $60
    Case Zalman Z3Plus (used) $30
    Total: $696

    Comparable system

    Building computer off AliExpress parts is more a sport than necessety. What if not to go for exotic configuration but assemble comparable PC from local store? I came up with this config (East European prices are higher than those in USA):

    AMD Ryzen 5 2600 $158
    CPU Cooler SilentimPC Fera2 $26
    Motherboard Gigabyte B450M DS3H $76
    HyperX 8GB DDR4 2666MHz CL16 Fury Black 2x $46 = $92
    Gigabyte Radeon RX 570 GAMING 4GB GDDR5 $164
    WD Green SSD M.2 240GB $38
    Kingston SSD A400 480GB $58
    HDD 1.5TB Samsung (used) $26
    Power Chieftec A-90 750W (used) $60
    Case Zalman Z3Plus (used) $30
    Total: $728


    Xeon CPU is still going strong in 2020, easily running modern games and video editing software. It has a lot to offer with its 12 cores / 24 threads. There's no price gain in building PC with chinese motherboard and used CPU, I bet in terms of calculating power Ryzen 5 with passmark of 13298 is as good as Xeon E5-2678v3 with 14514. But building PC with exotic hardware is definitely brings more fun.