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PROJECT LOG HP Z420/Z620 workstation to hybrid gaming/rendering rig project log

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Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Hi all. Decided to take a crack at adapting an HP Z620 workstation motherboard (C602 chipset) with a 6 core sandy bridge Xeon E5-1650 to make a cheap decent workstation/gaming rig. Running into sense pin issues specficially with the memory fan (which reports two fans) and rear chassis fan connector (which reports 2 fans). Oddly, i can get by one of the rear fan errors as it uses a 6 pin fan header looking thing. Aligning a 3 pin 120mm fan to the right 3 pins gets that fan up and running and takes care of one of the two rear fan errors. The other pins don't seem to do anything though.

The memory fan header uses some wacky special fan, i was hoping that one didn't require a bios check considering the Z400 has a memory fan header on it too, but it doesn't stop on that error if it doesn't detect a fan. Didn't work out that way, unfortunately. Im hoping there is a sense pin on there i can ground out because im not sure how else to fool that connector. Would suck a little having to be stuck to always having to press F1 to boot.


z620.jpg


If i can get any help bypassing the memory fan connector and rear chassis fan connector, that would be so awesome. Hopefully somebody has been through this trouble already and can guide me along. Thanks in advance.
 
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OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Video from before i started on this project


I've made progress with this and the xeon e5-1650. Installed and tested it with 6gb ram. Downside is it seems to only work with ECC ram, though that appears to be chipset related and not CPU related since i had this exact cpu on an EVGA x79 board running standard ddr3. Upside is i had 6gb (3x2gb sticks) of ECC DDR3 sitting around to test with. Other upside, DDR3 ECC ram isn't all that expensive on ebay.

Cinebench R15, i saw a high score of 908. Physics score in firestrike was a little over 12k. Games benchmarked great with a 970, even with only 6gb ram. Other than the "press f1 to boot" issue, this is a pretty solid performer for the money for sure. Gonna be throwing it in an old spare apevia case where it'll wait for more parts to round it all out to be used as a rendering/editing workstation/light gaming rig. Pretty cool stuff.
 

||Console||

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
Sorry no help to your problem .
Have you used a meter to check what is on the pins?

I watched your video when you were showing it off. It pulls nice scores .
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Sorry no help to your problem .
Have you used a meter to check what is on the pins?

I watched your video when you were showing it off. It pulls nice scores .

Haven't tried using a multimeter but some more digging has shown that even finding the sense pins and driving them to ground, it didn't solve the issue. So i may just have to cut my losses with that idea, however the rest of the system works so its still a success. Yeah it does pull good scores indeed. Thanks for watching the vid!
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Got to the benchtest + benchmark point of the process before needing the CPU in another build and setting this mobo aside for sale or future use, possibly

 

Encore2097

Member
Joined
May 21, 2005
Got to the benchtest + benchmark point of the process before needing the CPU in another build and setting this mobo aside for sale or future use, possibly


Hey I'm messing around with a Z620 build and having trouble POSTing. I have the front USB 3.0 panel connected and a 4 pin heatsink fan to the top right fan connector but I'm getting a solid blue and 2 or 3 red blinks. Do I need the 6 pin memory fan shroud to POST? Any chance you got pics of the connections needed/minimal connecttions you get it booted with?
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Hey I'm messing around with a Z620 build and having trouble POSTing. I have the front USB 3.0 panel connected and a 4 pin heatsink fan to the top right fan connector but I'm getting a solid blue and 2 or 3 red blinks. Do I need the 6 pin memory fan shroud to POST? Any chance you got pics of the connections needed/minimal connecttions you get it booted with?

Hey man sorry for late response. Crazy you post now, I actually started experimenting with a z420 board and xeon e5-2667v2. The board should post even without those things plugged in you mentioned. I use the z620 board talked about here as a test bench. Only the CPU fan is plugged in. It will throw "press f1 to boot" errors, but it would still work. You might have other issues. Are you using the stock PSU or standard PSU with the PSU adapter?
 

justgosh

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Sorry I'm a little late to the party. It looks like the internet is devoid of good answers.

On the Orange USB 2 port, short the 2 ground pins on the top right side.
On the USB 3 port, solder a bodge wire to connect pin 10 to pin 7. You can connect a USB 3 header after.
On the 1394, you can short the ground pins or connect a new port paying attention to the pin out.
HP fan requires you to short pin 5 to pin 4. Pin extractor and crimper make this a super simple mod.

While I haven't tested Pin 5 (next to the key) is normally the sense pin for a pcie 6 pin however, aliexpress sells an adapter for $2 and a new shroud is $20.
Let me know if you want photos.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Sorry I'm a little late to the party. It looks like the internet is devoid of good answers.

On the Orange USB 2 port, short the 2 ground pins on the top right side.
On the USB 3 port, solder a bodge wire to connect pin 10 to pin 7. You can connect a USB 3 header after.
On the 1394, you can short the ground pins or connect a new port paying attention to the pin out.
HP fan requires you to short pin 5 to pin 4. Pin extractor and crimper make this a super simple mod.

While I haven't tested Pin 5 (next to the key) is normally the sense pin for a pcie 6 pin however, aliexpress sells an adapter for $2 and a new shroud is $20.
Let me know if you want photos.

Using a Z420 motherboard (that doesn't have the pesky socketed memory fan connector and a regular PWM 4 pin rear chassis fan connector) i just placed a jumper over those pins on the yellow USB port (same as repurposing a Z400 mobo), turned off the USB 3.0 in BIOS, turned off the 1394, in BIOS, and voila...clean boot acheived. I got USB 3.0 functionality back by just buying a cheap USB 3.0 PCIE card.

I do want to see your photos though. Post em up



This ended up being my result:
 
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justgosh

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Using a Z420 motherboard (that doesn't have the pesky socketed memory fan connector) i just placed a jumper over those pins on the yellow USB port (same as repurposing a Z400 mobo), turned off the USB 3.0 in BIOS, turned off the 1394, in BIOS, and voila...clean boot acheived. I got USB 3.0 functionality back by just buying a cheap USB 3.0 PCIE card.

I do want to see your photos though. Post em up

z420 photos
https://imgur.com/gallery/Tz0Rqnu

Waiting on some ram to max it out at 128GB.

Also thinking about doing a z820 but the case will need to be very specific.
 

justgosh

New Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2019
dang. Nice. Compared to how i did it, you put in a ton of work lol

I think you might have put in more time. For sure making the video. 2 years ago there was less information on how to modify this board to fit a diffrent case and a ton of bad information on the HP boards.

I think total I spent about 4-6 hours including shopping for parts on eBay and Amazon. During that time, I did a few other small projects while I had the tools out including mounting a magnet to a bottle opener and setting up a M1215 SAS controller (drill/tap & crossflash) and add kapton tape for that 3.3v PWDIS challenge. The RAM was tough to get but it looks like I got that taken care of for less than $1 per GB. Now I need to watch temps to see if those DIMM shrouds are needed. If I had to do it over again, I would just buy an aftermarket CPU cooler. I thought the HP watercooler might work better in the case but I had to go through 3 to get a good one. First was from China and second was from the US.

Do you have a 2.54 mm pin tool and crimper? Most mods like this need a pinout change or you give up a feature/port.

Also, have you see the Chinese x79 dual CPU boards?
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
I think you might have put in more time. For sure making the video. 2 years ago there was less information on how to modify this board to fit a diffrent case and a ton of bad information on the HP boards.

I think total I spent about 4-6 hours including shopping for parts on eBay and Amazon. During that time, I did a few other small projects while I had the tools out including mounting a magnet to a bottle opener and setting up a M1215 SAS controller (drill/tap & crossflash) and add kapton tape for that 3.3v PWDIS challenge. The RAM was tough to get but it looks like I got that taken care of for less than $1 per GB. Now I need to watch temps to see if those DIMM shrouds are needed. If I had to do it over again, I would just buy an aftermarket CPU cooler. I thought the HP watercooler might work better in the case but I had to go through 3 to get a good one. First was from China and second was from the US.

Do you have a 2.54 mm pin tool and crimper? Most mods like this need a pinout change or you give up a feature/port.

Also, have you see the Chinese x79 dual CPU boards?



I didn't do anything to mod anything tbh. Don't have the 2.54mm pin tool. I think it would just be easier to disable the USB 3.0 controller and not deal with the sense pin on that, and just buy a cheap PCIE USB 3.0 card with a header on it. Get rear USB 3 and a front header back in an easy plug and play package. The chinese x79 dual boards i've seen and have seen some other folks build and play with it. Look up Craft Computing on youtube, he sorta blew up reviewing Chinese x79 stuff. Dual socket is cool and all to me, but the issues it introduces has never really made it a draw for me. Ryzen has sort of made it fall out of a focus i think too. Good luck with what you're workin on there tho, man!
 

tirasoft

New Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2019
Hello guys.

I do intend to replace the stock cooler of e5-1680v2 on a Z420 with a Noctua cooler.
On the other hand , due to very flat response curve fan speed/ CPU temperature which is done by HP itself , I want to try to use an external Fan Speed controller.

My question is: if I disconnect all fans (front / rear / CPU) from motherboard to plug them in my controller , is there a way to fool motherboard fans are connected and hot having the BIOS error with F1 to be pressed at boot ??