Jan 29 2023

These are notes from setting up a Dell Precision R7910 rack to be used in a normal house environment as a desktop replacement.
Though the best usage would be a computer that you use Windows Remote Desktop to access from.
But even in 2023, it is still a very capable computer with with dual CPU's and plenty of expansion capability

The R7910 can easily be used as a desktop replacement, but keep in mind some limitations

Boot from PCI-E NVME

The Dell Precision R7910 can boot from a NVME PCI-E adapter. If the drive does not show up, then the BIOS just need to be updated.

Windows 11

Windows 11 will install onto the R7910. Do the BIOS update shown above if needed and that will enable TPMS 1.2.

Update: Had some weird issues with Windows 11 and wasn't sure if it was due to Windows 11 or because of R7910 hardware.
Had issues with certain programs locking up when disconnecting from RDP Remote Desktop. Google Chrome & Windows Terminal.
Installed Windows 10 and everything working as expected.
Also had a lot of devices showing up as missing drivers in Device Manager of Windows 11, but Windows 10 Device Manager has no outstanding issues

Loud fans with several PCI-E expansion boards installed

The 7910 has a safety feature that if you install too many 3rd party PCI-E expansion boards than the fans will run at moderate speed at all times.
Also called Third-Party PCIe Card Default Cooling Response Logic

To disable this feature, you need to hook up the iDRAC to the network. Plug in the CAT5 port to your network.
Reboot the R7910 and wait for the BIOS screen to come up. Select F2 to enter setup.
This initial screen will also show the current IP address for iDRAC

Once you hit F2, wait for the BIOS screen to load

Then select iDRAC Settings

Then Network

Scroll down to Common and IP Address settings.
Change the DNS name if wanted, but the IP address is important.

Scroll further down and make sure IPMI is enabled.

Select Back/Finish in the BIOS to apply the settings and reboot the system.
Now you should be able to access the iDRAC from the network.
Verify by going to a browser and typing in the IP address
The default login credentials are username: root password: Calvin

Update BIOS settings through IPMI

Here is the Dell knowledgebase for updating the fan settings

Where I got the idea How to Quiet a Loud Dell Server. Shows full install instructions.

Self hosted Open BMC driver OM-BMC-Dell-Web-WIN-8.1.2-1670_A00.zip

Check the current status of 3rd party thermal control
"C:∖Program Files (x86)∖Dell∖SysMgt∖bmc∖ipmitool.exe" -I lanplus -H -U root -P Calvin raw 0x30 0xce 0x01 0x16 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00
16 05 00 00 00 05 00 01 00 00

16 05 00 00 00 05 00 01 00 00 (Disabled)
16 05 00 00 00 05 00 00 00 00 (Enabled)

Turn off 3rd party thermal control
"C:∖Program Files (x86)∖Dell∖SysMgt∖bmc∖ipmitool.exe" -I lanplus -H -U root -P Calvin raw 0x30 0xce 0x00 0x16 0x05 0x00 0x00 0x00 0x05 0x00 0x01 0x00 0x00

If the command is successful, you should hear the fans slow down within a short period of time (20-30 seconds)

One extra thing, with the iDRAC setup, you can remotely login and turn the computer on/off from the webpage above.
Very handy if you have the server buried inside an enclosure as I have done

Primocache To Increase HDD Write Speed

With all the memory slots available on the R7910, you can install extra memory, and use that for deferred writes with Primocache.

Here is copying from the NVME boot drive to a Microsoft Storage Space pool, which can usually only do about 150MB/s (speed of one drive at a time).
But here it's just limited by the read speed of the NVME. And then later, in the background, the data will be written to the harddrive

Access each drive in the SATA bay individually

If you want to access each drive in the SATA bay individually, then you need to go into the BIOS and set the PERC to HBA host mode
Then the drives will show up in Windows Computer Management
Otherwise they will not show up until you make a RAID pool in the PERC screen (BIOS or iDRAC Webpage).


The fans in the R7910 are extremely loud. At startup when it cycles the fans to full speed, it is impressively loud.

To use the server in a house environment, I needed to mount the odd shape as well as reduce the sound of fans, while keeping air flow good

I already had an enclosure made out of MDF to house my other computers

The primary tools used were a track saw and a CNC machine.
Fastening was done with wood glue and a air nail gun with 1.25" nails. No wood screws are used.
EZ Lok Knife inserts are used for giving threaded inserts for the plexi-glass windows.

Bottom access panel. Sealed with Plex-glass to contain noise and preserve path for fans in the manifold area below.

The enclosure is mounted using 4x 5/8" screws along with 5/8" T nuts on the inside of the rack enclosure. The 5/8" bolts are inserted from inside the main enclosure stack

The R7910 is held in place by these 2 stops at the bottom. Additionally, when installed, the top plate of the enclosure compresses the server and holds it in place.

The bottom has 3x 120mm fans mounted pulling air through the enclosure. There are T-nuts to allow the fans to be replaced if needed.
A 3 pin PCB board was also made to allow the wiring to be switched easily
The fan header board then connects to the extra SATA power connector inside the R7910 (by the DVD-ROM drive).
I added a quick disconnect using a 2.5mm DC power plug so that I can still remove the rack if needed without fishing out the power wire

2.5mm DC power barrel plug added to one of the PCE-E slots to pass through the power for the fans

With all panels removed.