Dell Precision 690 Quad Core Capatibility?

I have a Dell Precision 690 Motherboard OMY171 Revision A01 and i want to run 2 quad core Processors on it.  Is this Possible?  If it is how could it be Done.

I have read on other forums and i get different answers or mixed answers on the subject of dual quad core processors running on a dell precision 690. 

On one hand people are saying that the 690 OMY171 Rev A02 is the only revision of the motherboard that can in fact run dual quad core xeon processors. 

Now on other hand i read that the older motherboard can also run 2 quad core processors using some sort of battery pulling trick and a specific BIOS

Im wondering if Anyone can shed some light and say for certain from experience of some kind what motherboard is capable off running quad core processors 2 at the same time not one at a time. 

I have even read that the OMY171 Rev A01 is also capable of running 2 quad core processors. 

I have had 2 motherboards now.  Both were OMY171 Rev A01 and when i had 2 quad core processors installed the system failed to boot.  It would just turn on and then shut off.   One had bios A06 and the other had Bios A08 but with that one i never tried a single quad core cpu.  However i got the motherboard with Bios Version A06 to run with 1 quad core processor Only so far. 

So anyone preferably someone who had actually tried this.  Please fill me in on what the Dell precision 690 is actually capable off. 


Thank you


Kevin Hogan

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Re: Dell Precision 690 Quad Core Capatibility?

Hope this helps you and some others working on these machines. This is my personal experience as of July 2018. I recently picked up a used Dell Precision 690 1K without the memory risers, with the same motherboard as you, OMY171 Revision A01. Not my first computer, but my first workstation. Disclaimer: I am not a computer repair guy or even a computer guy, so this is just my own experience with this one Dell 690, reading tons of forum messages, watching lots of online videos, and my own trial and error experiences and results. It went smoother than expected but did take a lot of time to sort through some head-scratching moments.

I bought it from the original owner, so I know it's story. Looking up the Dell service tag online,  I can see it was sold new with quad-core CPUs, a pair of 5335's. They were still in it when I bought it. In fact, I can read at Dell support online that what I bought is exactly what Dell sold them 11 years prior. I think even the Bios (6 or 8) is unchanged. So I know the quads worked when it was bought new in about 2007. I saw some old ads where they advertised it as running quads. However, this machine apparently stopped working in 2008 or so, and it sat idle for 10 years before I recently bought it. Got a copy of unopened windows XP with it as well haha. When I turned it on, the thing would not boot. It ran through the Bios startup and then got to an "incompatible processor" message and stopped there. I can only guess that is what happened to a repair guy 10 years ago, and that was the end of it.

So based on what I read online,  I tried replacing what I thought was a dead battery. Same "incompatible processor" message. By complete accident, I stumbled upon the fact that once it has a good battery if I installed or removed a stick of ram, that allowed the quads to start working again. Go figure. I think I had to hit the return key for some message about the amount of ram changing. Can't remember exactly what the message was. I have not seen this specific problem mentioned anywhere online that I recall.

I was fortunate enough to speak with an IT guy who supported this model a lot over the years. He told me this is not normal behavior. Perhaps not. Perhaps a weird undocumented bug. I read in forums that there were a lot of motherboard revisions, with many different issues changing by motherboard and revision, as well as Bios version. So your mileage may vary. Worth a try. By the way, I removed the new battery and reinstalled it again to see if I could repeat the behavior, and yes exact same thing happened. "Incompatible processor."  Move a ram in or out and it works again. I suspect I don't have the only machine that does this. 

I've since added 32gb ram in 4gb sticks. I read it's picky about ram but I've been lucky, no problems worked right away. Found out just recently that it will take 8gb sticks, so will do that next and bump up to 64gb. There are memory risers for it that you can use with 4gb sticks, to take it up to 64gb. But that IT guy told me it was it was only in the 1K model and didn't come with all 1Ks. Se said it was an option. Seems if you don't have them,  it's difficult and perhaps expensive to locate all the parts, and hard to find the necessary cables for the risers. he said to use 8gb sticks for 64gb of ram and it runs fine. Apparently, 8gb sticks were not available at the time so that's why they had the memory risers. I imagine with 64gb of ram back then it cost as much as a house in some states.

I also Added a Nvidia 560Ti card, and downloaded the latest driver from Nvidia site,  no problems ran right away. I'm in the middle of trying to add an HP Array 410 card, but can't figure out the right cable to get that working with a SAS drive.

Installed Windows 10 and all the windows updates. No problems at all went smoothly it works well. But it was a slow installation because the onboard DVD drive is so old! Tried external DVD USB drive but it's got USB 2 so not fast that way.

I have tried out different CPUs listed as compatible, quads and duals. They all have worked. Waiting on a pair of 5355s at the moment. Amazing how inexpensive the old CPUs are. 

I read about noisy 690s online, but mine is very quiet, almost silent, even when encoding an Adobe After Effects renders. People don't notice it is on or complains even when rendering so that's interesting. It does put out heat through. By comparison, I have a Dell PowerEdge r320 server, which is almost dead quiet at rest, except when I encode to that, I can really hear the fans. People notice that.

Don't know why it is so quiet. That's not what I expected reading online comments.  Maybe because it had only about a year of use on it, and spent 10 years in an air-conditioned storeroom doing nothing. So no dust, dirt or marks anywhere on it. Looks like it just came from Dell factory actually. Maybe it's quiet because the fans are all in like new condition.

I wanted to post this because I've just learned so much about this machine from all I've read and watched online, so wanted to put experience out there in case it helps anyone out. 

And I know I've been fortunate, it really helped reading everyone's experiences online. I've made big leaps and avoided lots of problems, so thanks to all the people who posted anything about your Dell 690 experience, I've read what you wrote I'm sure!


Todd Finnigan

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