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Help in choosing server config

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July 15, 2004 1:09:40 AM

Hello,

I am putting together a server for the office to basically share a common Microsoft Access application (100 MB) that gets used daily as well as function as a file server that gets rarely used. I will be running Windows Server 2003. There are about 5 users in the office that would access the computer at a given time.

I am wondering if an Athlon XP (2800+) configuration will suffice or if I need to go for an Opteron Server chip and mobo.

I am currently looking at using the Giga-Byte GA-7N400 Pro 2 for the Athlon XP or the Tyan Tiger K8WS if I go for Opteron.

Also, how do people feel about the stability of an AMD Athlon configuration. I need this server to be very reliable as all our office files will be on it. I will attempt to set it up as a RAID config, but it still worries me. Should I be considering Intel CPU only?

Thanks in advance

More about : choosing server config

July 15, 2004 3:57:53 AM

Personally, I ahven't seen an AMD chipset that I'd trust for a 24/7 server yet. But that's jsut me.

If I was building one rather than buying, for something small like that, would get a P4 northwood, Intel OEM board, Crucial ram, Seagate hard drives(scsi if you can swing it) and raid 1 or 10, depending on space you need. Enermax, Antec, Fortron or PC Power and Cooling pwoer supply.

That's for Single processor system. If you think you need a dual, would say all the same, except to look at Serverworks chipset boards too.

If you want to buy a server, I'd say buy a prebuilt from IBM or Compaq. Andtry to find a local reseller to spec one out for you, think we saved about 20% on this last system doing that(an IBM)
July 15, 2004 5:25:45 AM

""Personally, I ahven't seen an AMD chipset that I'd trust for a 24/7 server yet""

lol, I double that (even with misstyep;) hehehe.

As far as your situation goes, get a good low end box from IBM, you'll be happy camper. Or I saw lots of good dual, RAID-5ed P3s on eBay (search for "raid server") for just few hundred bux, those will even be cheaper and better (tested already, most have SCSI setup;) caz you need nothing but a simple server that needs to feed only 5 users, I think even P2 will do that easily with SCSI drives on it. Yeah, and Access in no good for network (hope you know that one already) build them a good mySQL database, it's free and work better for network (don't take me seriously on this one, I am just being smart;)

PS: yeah, and by the way, there will be many yellings about AMD this and AMD that, but you'll have to decide if you want to be slacking off during work or thinking very very hard (and probably screaming out here about how great your AMD server is), looking for what is going on with this thing when it "suddenly" after "so many days" of "best AMD performance ever" gives you a "this or that" weird error ;) >


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July 15, 2004 8:15:31 AM

Well enough from the Intel team.
If either tells you there is a more stable chipset than the nforce2 you can look them straight in the eyes, and see the brown of thier [-peep-].. The xp2800+ will do fine .
July 15, 2004 1:09:07 PM

Have to remember that 99% or more of the AMD fans have only ever built AMD systems for workstations/game systems, where an occasional reboot doesn't matter. When I build a server personally, it has to stay up. Only time it's allowed to reboot is if power is off long enough to run out UPS(which of course server will automatically shut down before battery is drained), or when I'm installing an update or moving it and personally choose to shut it down/reboot it.

AMD for workstation use is fine, that's a personal choice(Prefer Intel, but have nothing against AMD, and even admit the 64/FX beats P4s at gaming). But unless you go all the way to the Opteron, which I'll admit not having tried, I woulddn't suggest any AMD system for a server. And going with an opteron is overkill for what you are doing.
July 15, 2004 2:56:24 PM

JMO, but for that low-level use as a server, just about any machine will give you decent performance. Go for reliable hardware (power supply, hard drives) and don't skimp on the RAM. SCSI is nice to have, but not required. Yes, it will give you a little more performance, but hardly noticeable.

Intel/AMD I think is a wash. I've never had an AMD as a 24/7 'server' specifically, but I've had my home PCs (all AMD since the 486DX2/80) running 24/7 with never a (confirmable) processor related burp (i.e., Win98 was a pain after a few days... but since upgrading to win2k, nothing). My 1Gig Athlon runs Win2k 24/7 and never has a problem.

Fishmahn
July 15, 2004 9:00:46 PM

Thank you for all the information. AMD seems reliable, but it is probably worth an extra $100 to go for the Intel system. I have no intention of using this for gaming or overclocking at all.

I've narrowed it down to the MSI-NEO2FSIR which has gotten pretty good review and P4 2.8 Northwood w Hyper Threading. I'm debating btw Kingston 512 MB and 1 GB of ram and will also add a pair of 160 GB Maxtor drives in RAID 1. Hopefully that will suit my needs and let me scale up down the road if I need to.
July 16, 2004 2:43:09 AM

The 875 board is a good choice. Use ECC memory for stability.
The northwood c may not be your best choice. The faster fsb makes them a little less stable, and a good deal warmer. If like most small servers, this is going to sit in a closet somewhere, heat is a real problem. A P4 2.8b will be enough for your needs.
a b V Motherboard
July 16, 2004 4:17:48 AM

You don't even need a modern system for that, my 2003 server was a PIII 700 with 768MB RAM. I'd probably get an old PIII 1000 workstation or server.

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