Another Hardware Question

Nicholas Leippe nick at
Fri Feb 20 09:50:48 MST 2009

On Fri Feb 20 2009 09:28:37 Kimball Larsen wrote:
> Instead, this is regarding a new server we need at my office.  This
> will be used primarily as a backuppc host to backup all the machines
> on the LAN (gigabit), as well as a secondary DNS for our domain.

All of these sound like I/O bound tasks--network or disk.

> We currently have an atx tower form factor machine with a bunch of
> hard drives crammed in it - it's an intel core2 duo @ 2.66Ghz with 4GB
> of ram.  The last few days it has been acting up, and I fear that it
> is experiencing some hardware failure on the motherboard.

Acting up how, exactly?

> So... while hedging that we may need an entirely new server, I found this:
> Freely confessing that I know next to nothing about the Xeon family of
> processors

Xeons are logically identical to Pentiums. The only difference usually being 
physical socket and the amount of L2 cache.

> , and if the raid controller included in this box is any
> good, I throw myself upon the mercies of the PLUG Hardware Gods™ to
> help me get informed.
> 1)  Is this machine too old to be worth the trouble?

Too old? 3GHz? I would say not. I'd like to point out that it does use DDR1 
memory @ 266, which is kinda slow. All the new Intel servers are shipping with 
_expensive_ FB-Dimms (which some people are already saying is a dead end). 
DDR1 is still cheap and plentiful, and where you're mostly I/O bound, memory 
speed isn't gonna be a problem for you.
If this a 32-bit xeon, that would date it a bit since just about everything 
shipping today is 64-bit.  Not that it matters at all for your application.

> 2)  Is the motherboard and raid controller Linux friendly?

There are very few PC parts these days that Linux does not work well with. 
Linux has come a long way :)

The only thing that seems fishy to me on that spec is the 350W power supply. 
Seems a bit low for two xeons and 4 hard drives. Though if it's enough, it's 

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