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Proliant dual PIII Xeon processor mixing?

Occasional Visitor

Proliant dual PIII Xeon processor mixing?


I just managed to grab a Proliant 5500 dual PIII Xeon 500MHz with 512Mb EDO ram and 10 9.1Gb SCSI disks from my employer.
Could not believe they where going to throw it away with a lot of other servers,
so I nicked one before it hit the trash...lucky me!
Now, as it happened I also got around to rummange around some of the other servers designated for termination and got hold of a couple of PII Xeon 400MHz
CPU's and an assorted mix of additional 60ns EDO RAM (roughly 2Gb).

So, my question is....Can I mix in the PII Xeon's with my existing PIII Xeon cpu's in this server?
Has it ever been done?

I looked around a bit and found that you can mix frequency's and cpu steppings in this server. Most says mixing of CPU model's can not be done, but I saw one posting somewhere saying it could be done.....lost the location of it though.

If I do attemt to use the PII's can I destroy anything?

As it happens, a collegua of mine nicked a similar server and the last couple of
PII Xeon cpu's. So now we have the same hardware and possibly 2 PII Xeon's
each which neither of us can use. We could make a deal and let one of us keep the 4 PII's and the other get the PIII's so we both get a 4-way system.

Is it better to have a 4-way PII Xeon 400MHz system than a 2-way PIII Xeon 500MHz?
Steven Clementi
Honored Contributor

Re: Proliant dual PIII Xeon processor mixing?

First off...Nice swipe!!!

As far as I can remember, you can not run an older processor with a newer one... that is, the chipset on a p III motherboard would not operate with P II CPU's, nor would the chipset on a P II board work with P III CPU's. That said, I think the answer is no... BUT, it may be possible utilizing one of the "CPU enhancers" on the market that allow you to run an older CPU at higher speeds through an adaptor.

It is not suggested that you mix steppings/frequencies even if it may be possible.

I think the CPU would just "not work" rather than blow anything out. I would just NOT do it and look on ebay for some P3 XEON's.

Usually having 4 CPU's are better then having 2 especially if they are very close in speed. In this case, I think I would rather have the Dual P3 system, but it really depends on the OS and app your running. Some apps will run alot faster with 4 processors then in dual cpu systems, even if the cpu speeds are somewhat significantly different. From 400 to 500Mhz, you might be better with the QUAD machine.

Steven Clementi
HP Master ASE, Storage and Clustering
MCSE (NT 4.0, W2K, W2K3)
VCP (ESX2, Vi3, vSphere4, vSphere5)
NPP3 (Nutanix Platform Professional)
Occasional Visitor

Re: Proliant dual PIII Xeon processor mixing?

Thanks for the advice.

I now have inserted some of the extra ram I got hold on and now have 1048Mb (sweet !). The extra ram is 60ns 65Mb EDO chips and somewhat lower spec'ed than the rest of the ram which was in it, but more is better than speed. It is ridiculus to use up all the ram banks and only have 1048Mb though...but it's free so...

Tried yesterday to just insert one of the P2 cpu's, changed the dip switch on the mobo to give 400MHz. But sadly the machine would not POST. It just started and gave no screen image. The IMD screen said something about "xxx ROM" which really wasn't much helpful.
But at least nothing got destroyed as it started just fine when I removed the P2 cpu.

Should I try with both P2 CPU's?
Is there any other dip switches/BIOS settings I would need to set?

I believe the MOBO I have do support 400MHz P2 CPU's, would just like to mix P"'s and P3's...

Thanks anyhow.