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Home-built PC as a network server?

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October 9, 2008 7:08:04 PM

Can a home-built PC be used as a network server? We have a PC that is not being used and want to use it to replace our existing server. The PC is an AMD Biostar MCP6P-M2 AM2 mobo with an AMD Athlon 64X2 5200+ 2.7Ghz Dual-Core processor, 4GB RAM and a 320GB SATA HD. We have the Windows Server 2003 server software currently loaded on our old server. The old server is a Dell with a 2.4 GHz Xeon processor, but with only a 36GB SCSI HD and we are at the max capacity.

I am not sure if you have to have a PC built as a server to use it as a server. Any help would be much appreciated.
a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 9, 2008 7:17:30 PM

What type of server? File server? Application server? Web server? Audio/Video server? FTP or mail server? All of the above?

As long as you can get Windows Server 2003 running stable on the X2 5200+ and Biostar MCP6P-M2 it shouldnt be a problem.

Are you running out of HDD space on the Dell server? Add another or bigger HDD?
October 9, 2008 7:31:31 PM

The current server is a file server and web server, but the web site it hosts is a site that is for the employees only that we do not advertise or publish to the general public. We are out of space on the HD's. We have a RAID 1 setup and if we can use the un-used PC instead of having to buy two new larger SCSI drives (which are kinda pricey) we wanted to try that, but didn't know if a standard PC would even work as a server.
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a c 90 B Homebuilt system
October 9, 2008 7:43:04 PM

File server and web server (especially when used a local intra-net server) demands are actually pretty light. A X2 5200 is a lot more CPU power than you'd actually need.

Have you looked into what other HDDs the Dell server can use? Chances are you could swap out the SCSI drives for standard IDE drives and not loose much in way of performance.
Got a model number on the Dell server? Check to manual to see if you can RAID IDE drives (or maybe even SATA drives if its not too old a model)
a b B Homebuilt system
October 9, 2008 7:56:37 PM

^+1. With a server you also have to consider the network bandwidth.
October 9, 2008 8:11:28 PM

The Dell is a PowerEdge 1600SC. Don't have the manual. It was lost before I came onboard. Don't think (but don't know for sure) it has SATA connectors. It was purchased spring 2003. One reason I don't think it has SATA is because I know it has 1.0 USB. That's how old it is.

I'll try to find this model on Dell's site to see what info I can glean re: an IDE RAID.

Network bandwidth? We have a T-1 connection to the internet, and usually only 2-3 people at a time actually in the office. The others work remotely. Sometimes connected to the server, most of the time not.
October 10, 2008 10:07:37 PM

For reference, I'm running a Sempy 3400+ EE with 2Gb of RAM and a couple of RAID arrays. It's being used by 6 people as a domain server, and it isn't flinching. You don't need to have really high-end servers until you start getting a large number of users. For basic file, print and domain duties you're probably just as well off with something that isn't going to chew power up.
a b B Homebuilt system
October 11, 2008 12:03:57 AM

^True.
October 13, 2008 9:13:10 PM

If we can't use the PC that is sitting around un-used, we will probably stick with the current server, so we really don't have a budget. The desktop that isn't being used is a dual core 2.7GHz, with 4GB RAM. The current server is a Xeon 2.4GHZ with only 1GB RAM. One problem is that the HDD on the server is full and we are trying to figure out the best way to get more storage and keep a RAID array. We just weren't sure if a regular desktop could be used as a server.

BeakerUK: Based on your comment I think I'll try to setup the 64 X2 5200+ as our server. If a lower end machine will work, that will sure give us some breathing room without having to get a new higher powered machine, or replace the HDD's in the existing.

Thanks a bunch for all your comments. I appreciate your help.
!