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I have an old HP ProLiant DL145 G3 server I'm now using mostly as a budget 3D rendering node. Right now it has two Opteron 2218 processors (each is dual core). I'm looking at picking up a couple cheap Opteron 2425 HE processors for it (hex core) to speed it up.

Both of these processors are Socket F. The TDP on the 2425 HE is lower, so I shouldn't need to worry about heat. However, HP only ever officially supported up to the Opteron 2220 for this model server, which is a "Santa Rosa" model processor instead of "Istanbul" as in the 2425.

My concerns would be:

  • I don't know if the OS starts up cores by itself or if it depends on the BIOS to enable them first - if the BIOS has to enable them, chances are it won't enable all six, since the system was only designed for dual cores (for instance the BIOS won't enable AMD-V even though the 2218s support it).

  • The 2218 uses a 1 GHz HT link whereas the 2425 uses 2.4 GHz HT. However, I've read that HT autonegotiates with a controller on the motherboard, so I'm guessing this isn't a problem but I'm not sure.

  • The 2218's voltage is listed as 1.30/1.35 .. I'm not sure which that is, but the 2425 is listed as 1.15V. I think the mobo negotiates the voltage with the CPU, but I'd hate to be wrong and have the new procs burn out.

(There's also the matter that the 2425's per-core cache is actually smaller (512k vs 1M,) which could have an impact on performance but I'd probably have to test them to see what works better.)

EDIT: I know off the bat that not all Socket F Opterons are interchangeable, since various models have different limits on the number of processors. In this case that is not a problem since both models considered are designed for dual processor.

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closed as too localized by Breakthrough, Brad Patton, Dave M, BloodPhilia, 8088 Apr 17 '13 at 3:49

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Hard to know without trying it.

However, there is a very very high chance it won't actually work. The BIOS actually configures the CPU to make it run properly so it needs to be properly supported by the BIOS.

Sometimes they start but don't operate correctly or even get passed the POST process. e.g.

If you look at a modern bios they have feature settings for each processor core. Your CPU is only a dual core. So it'll not have the settings for the other cores in the BIOS for starters. The DL145 G3 is an old product... HP have not added support for this CPU even though the socket appears to be the same.

Since you're into 3D rendering your best bet is to put money into the GPU and use GPU rendering software like Octane which doesn't put that much load on the CPU.

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Thanks for the early warning! :) That made me dig further and it seems from this and this that it definitely won't work on HP's BIOS. I've heard of people using CoreBoot (open-source BIOS) on these systems with some success. With enough effort that might work but it's not worth the trouble when I've got faster systems in the farm anyway. Octane is interesting; if only it could do Vue EcoSystems... – Kevin Apr 16 '13 at 6:29

It is important to note that a BIOS is written to recognize processors, not just read data from them and spit that data back out. Thus, it is possible to put a processor in a socket it technically fits, and have the motherboard not recognize it because the BIOS was never written to recognize it. Moreover, you will find motherboard manufacturers release BIOS updates that contain nothing more than increased processor support.

I bring this up, because the last BIOS update released by HP for that system was on 7/19/2007 while that processor wasn't released until 7/13/2009... almost 2 years later. So, while there is a small possibility that the processor will work, it is almost certain that the processor will have functions not recognized by the motherboard.

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