PowerEdge Hardware General

2 Bronze

CPU upgrade


I would like to know if I can upgrade a T20 CPU currently with a Pentium G3220 to a Intel Core i7 4790K?

Is it possible to do it? Any changes required to the Motherboard?

Thank you

Replies (17)
Not applicable


As per the users' guide, I see two processors supported on this server; Intel Xeon processor E3-1225v3  & Intel Pentium processor G3220. Not so sure about Intel Core i7 4790K.

2 Bronze

Not Sure? or will not work? Socket is the same...

BIOS Restricted?

Thank you for your answer.

7 Thorium

Socket isn't the only consideration. Chipset must also support (and/or BIOS):


2 Bronze

My question is, T20 has the same chipset as the Precision T1700 however T1700 supports Intel® Core™ i7-4790 and why T20 doesn't seem to support aswell ??

7 Thorium

Because it is a different machine, designed for different uses. The T1700 is a pretty moderate- to high-end workstation, the T20 is a VERY low-end server.

If the T1700 supports the i7-4790 (for which I can find no "Technical Guide" to confirm or deny), it would be for one of three reasons: 1) Intel's documentation is incomplete/incorrect (unlikely, based on past experience), 2) isn't "supported" even by Intel but works anyway (like putting a cheap $20 NIC into a server; and there may or may not be bugs in doing so), and/or 3) the BIOS has added specific support for it to bridge the gap for either 1 or 2. If BIOS support was added by Dell, that work may not have been done for the low-end T20.

Because there is no documentation saying that it will work (Dell does not publish documentation on what their systems "can't" do), it must be assumed it will not. That said, it doesn't mean it won't work, but it is up to you to try. People try "unsupported" stuff all the time, so you might try searching to see if someone has tried it already. If not, try it and post your results so others will know.

3 Zinc

To add to what theflash1932 wrote, there can be many reasons why something may not work but my view is that it's simply a product decision by Dell to not include the required i7 microcode within the T20 BIOS. Their reasoning is likely that this machine was meant to be sold as a cheap server and not meant for upgarding that could cut into the T1700 sales, nothing more and no technical reasons for not allowing an i7.

Compare an OEM like Dell to say a motherboard manufacturer like ASUS and you will see that the later will update microcode and allow later versions of CPU's (where technically possible which is almost always the case) while Dell/HP and others will usually sit on their hands and not release updates that allow newer CPU's to be used (prefering you buy new replacement systems).

Case in point, my HP Z210 workstation, though likley capable of handling an E3 V2 chip, does not have the required microcode within its BIOS and HP has no interest in doing the simple update. Liklewise Dell isn't interested in T20 being updated to i7 and possibly cutting into T1700 sales so there will be no BIOS microcode updates. Such true customer support seems instead to be viewed by these big OEMs as lost new systems sales opportunities!

If the VW diesel debarcle has taught us anything, it's that we as a society need access to source code to see what is being done to us lest big business will continue to ignore laws and do unmentionable things like pioson the air we breath.

But instead of being open, OEMs like HP, Dell and others are closed with intent on putting the computer genie back in the proprietary bottle via UEFI and root kit styled 'lenovo' binary blobs thanks to M$ and their desire to 'help' us from computer theft.

Yeah, as i get older i get more synical but not without reason :emotion-4:


2 Iron

Happy to report that an i7-4790K works in a Dell PowerEdge T20, replacing the original E3-1225V3.

BIOS is A03. Initially, on power up after the CPU swap, all the fans went full blast. Then powered the machine off, and then powered it back on, started up normally, went into BIOS and enabled hyper-threading.

Booted Centos6, ran sysbench, and watched CPU temperature/frequency using i7z.

The new CPU will turbo to 4.4GHz, provided only 1-3 cores are loaded. When all 4 cores (8 threads) are loaded, then runs at 4GHz.

Frys was selling the i7-4790K for $299 today, so ran the experiment. Was earlier considering an E3-1246V3 for the CPU upgrade, similar to a companion T20 which was upgraded from a G3220.

2 Bronze

Do you know if the 4790k works with the latest bios update ? I think I'm on the A06 version. 

Also, does the chipset allow you to overclock to 4790k at all ? 

I currently have the E3-1225v3, and I'm debating weather the 4790k would be worth the upgrade

2 Iron

Yes it works on A06.

Dell BIOS does not have any overclocking options - turbo is the best you can do.

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