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Old May 16th, 2012, 10:20 PM   #1
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Your experience with Dell T5500

If you own a Dell T5500 that is configured anything like mine, please let me know how you've fared with it. I'm asking because I've spent more than 50 hours in the past two months on working unsuccessfully with Dell techs to get it to simply do the job, e.g., it has had four motherboards, two of which malfunctioned immediately and had to be removed, another on which the integrated audio quit working, etc. ad nauseum. I purchased the T5500 in late December, 2011.

After lengthy negotiations, Dell has offered to replace the one I own with a new (vs. refurbished, which Dell's policy normally calls for), slightly upgraded T5500, OR the company will give me a full refund. The slight upgrade is an additional 1 TB, 7200 rpm drive and a RAID controller.

The easiest thing to do would be to accept the replacement Dell is offering. But if members of this forum have had big issues with the T5500, then I obviously need to accept the refund and go elsewhere (any suggestions?). If your T5500 problems have been solved, please describe the problems and solutions.

My current Dell T5500 configuration: dual 6-core 3.06GHz X5675, 12M L3, 6.4GT/s; 12GB DDR3 RDIMM 1333MHz ECC; Nvidia Quadro 4000; 1 TB SATA 3Gbs 7200 rpm boot drive w/ 32MB DataBurst cache; Matrox mini; SoundBlaster Fatality recon 3D; Windows 7 64-bit; Avid Symphony 6.0.1.1.

NB: Please be as objective and specific as possible (and please skip the rant routine) in your replies. In addition to motherboard issues, 1394 card is problematic, can't use Matrox MX02 Mini card, Quadro 4000 card seems slow on redraw....

FYI, I posted essentially the same inquiry on Avid's Community Forum.

Thank you.

Tom Kaminski, Avian Video Center

Last edited by Tom Kaminski; May 16th, 2012 at 10:23 PM. Reason: omitting redundancy
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Old May 31st, 2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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Re: Your experience with Dell T5500

Hey Tom,

Sorry to hear about all your issues. To me, it sounds like everything as a whole will not work together for some reason. I would first remove the Mini because Matrox's Windows drivers suck. They have gotten light years better than when the Mini first came out (which I bought) but I would b wary of their drivers.

Personally, I'd go with a custom built PC or HP's Z820 - my home PC is custom built by me and my studio PC is a HP Z800 with dual 6-core, Quadro FX3800, 24GB ram, and a ton of other stuff. You know what, since you are having issues getting an entire system to work together, I will list everything I have in my Z800 (I say that because some people might think I am 'bragging').
CPUs: 6-core X5660 / Ram: 24GB Kingston 1333 / Quadro FX3800 (via Displayport I get 10bit to my Eizo which Premiere Pro & Win 7 support)
Drives: OS=Intel 80GB X25 SSD / 3 different Seagate 7200.12s inside for cache and exports / 7 - 2TB Seagate Constellation ES.2 in Raid 5 in an external 8-bay box connected to an Areca 1680ix inside the Z800. All backup drives are now Seagate Green 2TB in the Retail box because u get a 5yr warranty only in the Retail box whereas Western Digital gives only a 1yr warranty in their Retail drives versus 3-5 yrs in OEM drives (doesn't come in a box, no difference in actual hardware). The external cases are Antec eSata with a fan built in but the fans don't last long so I'd recommend only Vantec which last forever.

Lastly, a BMD Decklink Extreme 3D; BBU for Areca; a Siig Expresscard to PCIe adapter for downloading SxS cards and any other Expresscard device.

The Z800/820 has Firewire 400 built in and FW800 is an additional upgrade option via a PCI express card. So far, the FW400 has worked flawlessly with a Mackie Onyx 1220i (firewire mixer) and a M-Audio FW410 (inputs/outputs & midi controller). If there was going to be a problem with the FW chip used in the Z800, the M-Audio would have had issues because it only works with a very few firewire controllers. I imagine that your Dell uses a different FW chip; thus, you have issues. Side note: I would not recommend the Mackie Onyx as a computer mixer due to their poor drivers and the audio cutting out randomly.

For the HP, you should be able to get 25% automatically taken off and if they don't, tell them you won't buy until they do. When I first requested a quote 2 years ago, the email sent to me included 25% off without me asking. Ever since then, every quote I have requested for Z800s, Z600s & a Z400, they have all included 25% off from different sales reps each time.

FYI, the HP Z800/820 is the only PC certified by Avid.

To save money, never buy drives from HP or Dell; however, HP's prices on ram for the Z820 are somewhat reasonable.

Btw, 12GB of ram is not enough for a 12-core/24 thread system for optimal performance. You want at least 24GB.

Also, the Z820 offers the new 8-core Xeons for roughly the same price as the 6-cores were 6 months ago. One other option is the Quadro 2000 if you don't need all of the 4000's power and its half the price. You can also choose between the displayport version or DVI only.

I hope this helps.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 05:45 PM   #3
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Re: Your experience with Dell T5500

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Hey Tom,

Sorry to hear about all your issues. To me, it sounds like everything as a whole will not work together for some reason. I would first remove the Mini because Matrox's Windows drivers suck. They have gotten light years better than when the Mini first came out (which I bought) but I would b wary of their drivers.

Personally, I'd go with a custom built PC or HP's Z820 - my home PC is custom built by me and my studio PC is a HP Z800 with dual 6-core, Quadro FX3800, 24GB ram, and a ton of other stuff. You know what, since you are having issues getting an entire system to work together, I will list everything I have in my Z800 (I say that because some people might think I am 'bragging').
CPUs: 6-core X5660 / Ram: 24GB Kingston 1333 / Quadro FX3800 (via Displayport I get 10bit to my Eizo which Premiere Pro & Win 7 support)
Drives: OS=Intel 80GB X25 SSD / 3 different Seagate 7200.12s inside for cache and exports / 7 - 2TB Seagate Constellation ES.2 in Raid 5 in an external 8-bay box connected to an Areca 1680ix inside the Z800. All backup drives are now Seagate Green 2TB in the Retail box because u get a 5yr warranty only in the Retail box whereas Western Digital gives only a 1yr warranty in their Retail drives versus 3-5 yrs in OEM drives (doesn't come in a box, no difference in actual hardware). The external cases are Antec eSata with a fan built in but the fans don't last long so I'd recommend only Vantec which last forever.

Lastly, a BMD Decklink Extreme 3D; BBU for Areca; a Siig Expresscard to PCIe adapter for downloading SxS cards and any other Expresscard device.

The Z800/820 has Firewire 400 built in and FW800 is an additional upgrade option via a PCI express card. So far, the FW400 has worked flawlessly with a Mackie Onyx 1220i (firewire mixer) and a M-Audio FW410 (inputs/outputs & midi controller). If there was going to be a problem with the FW chip used in the Z800, the M-Audio would have had issues because it only works with a very few firewire controllers. I imagine that your Dell uses a different FW chip; thus, you have issues. Side note: I would not recommend the Mackie Onyx as a computer mixer due to their poor drivers and the audio cutting out randomly.

For the HP, you should be able to get 25% automatically taken off and if they don't, tell them you won't buy until they do. When I first requested a quote 2 years ago, the email sent to me included 25% off without me asking. Ever since then, every quote I have requested for Z800s, Z600s & a Z400, they have all included 25% off from different sales reps each time.

FYI, the HP Z800/820 is the only PC certified by Avid.

To save money, never buy drives from HP or Dell; however, HP's prices on ram for the Z820 are somewhat reasonable.

Btw, 12GB of ram is not enough for a 12-core/24 thread system for optimal performance. You want at least 24GB.

Also, the Z820 offers the new 8-core Xeons for roughly the same price as the 6-cores were 6 months ago. One other option is the Quadro 2000 if you don't need all of the 4000's power and its half the price. You can also choose between the displayport version or DVI only.

I hope this helps.
In addition, the Z820 has a quad-channel memory controller rather than a triple-channel memory controller (this is due to its use of the new Sandy Bridge-E Xeon E5 CPUs rather than the older Nehalem/Westmere Xeons used in the Z800). Thus, the OP will want at least 16GB per CPU (or at least 32GB total) with the Z820. 64GB total RAM (32GB per CPU) would be even better.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 09:45 PM   #4
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Re: Your experience with Dell T5500

32GB ram is if he gets the 8-core Xeons. Otherwise, 24GB of ram for dual 6-cores is plenty of ram, especially because he is using Avid which isn't a ram hog like Premiere Pro.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 10:33 PM   #5
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Re: Your experience with Dell T5500

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
32GB ram is if he gets the 8-core Xeons. Otherwise, 24GB of ram for dual 6-cores is plenty of ram, especially because he is using Avid which isn't a ram hog like Premiere Pro.
True enough. Unfortunately, I believe that the LGA 2011 platform does not officially support RAM kits in sets of three. This means that there is absolutely no guarantee at all whatsoever that the Z820 will even function at all with only three sticks of RAM installed, even per CPU (meaning six sticks of RAM total). Only one, two or four (but not three) sticks of RAM per CPU is supported. And on this system three sticks of RAM per CPU will result in either a forced single-channel-only memory controller operation that's permanently fixed at a fail-safe 400MHz (DDR3-800) speed or a system that fails to POST at all. Both will seriously degrade system performance.
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Old June 4th, 2012, 08:52 PM   #6
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Re: Your experience with Dell T5500

Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful replies. I unfortunately had to make a decision before you posted them, so I accepted the replacement T5500. Didn't mention in my first post that the (third) motherboard's integrated sound failed a few days before a project was due and, after being up all night with a tech support guy who left the computer inoperable (I subsequently got it to work after a fashion), ran out the next morning to buy the first sound card I could get. It cost $163.

Dell refuses to reimburse me for it, saying the RAID card and drive are sufficient compensation for, again, the more than 50 hours in two months that I spent trying to get the T5500 to work while on couple of serious deadlines, plus the past three nights of effort in deactivating, installing, reactivating and updating my programs, transferring files, etc. (and I'm not done yet). Their decision is one I'll make sure they regret, even though it will cost me more time and money.

So: in my first post I asked those who replied to skip the rant routine. Forget I said that.

As for HP: the company on Fiorana's watch sold to me an xw8200 in which, according to their tech support guy 2-1/2 years later, the processors were improperly locked to the motherboard. I'll never, ever purchase another computer from either Dell or HP. It henceforth will be DIY for yours truly.

Again, thank you for your thoughts -- and your time.

Tom
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