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Questions about the ability of a server and multiple processors.

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June 17, 2010 11:47:13 PM

I want to set up a server for the first time, and I have some questions. The purpose is to upload images of many computer hard drives to it, so they can be downloaded at a later time. I plan to use Acronis and upload/download several images every day.

I have acquired a Dell Poweredge SC1425 blade server. It seems to be in perfect working order with a single Xeon 3Ghz, 800Mhz bus, 2mb L2 cache, and 2GB of RAM. It is a little outdated, but I don't really have the money to buy one.

-Does the server listed above sound powerful enough to do what I want it to do?

-Would adding a second processor to the server ($60 upgrade) help it do it's job better?

-Does a computer with dual processors need to have two identical processors or can they be different? Will one clock down to the lower one's speed?

June 17, 2010 11:53:05 PM

For just a simple file server like you want the single 3ghx XEON will be more than enough power. If you did want to add another processor you will have to get a identical processor with the same spec code, but the single XEON will be more than enough for your needs.
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June 18, 2010 12:09:30 AM

Thanks for the help.

If I wanted to get a second processor at some point in the future, how would I figure out the exact spec code to search for? I know that it is a single core Xeon 3Ghz, 800Mhz bus, 2mb L2 cache, and has an "mPGA 604" socket. Is getting the EXACT same model crucial or just recommended?

Is there a difference between a mPGA604 socket and a 604 socket? Would a processor like this fit into the socket (assuming it were the right model)? http://cgi.ebay.com/Intel-XEON-Socket-604-SL6VP-3-0GHz-...
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June 18, 2010 12:18:38 AM

Yes that is the same socket but the spec you can find on the CPU itself. You should pair CPU's with the same spec code for compatibility. You can find the spec code by removing the CPU's heatsink and fan.

If you look here
http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=27094&processor=&s...

You will see towards the bottom of the page a list of processor's and you will see the spec codes for each.
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June 18, 2010 1:09:27 AM

I was hoping that I wouldn't have to remove the heatsink, but it looks like I need to now. There also seems to be many people selling matched pairs of Xeon processors. That would make it easy to ensure compatibility. The only question would be whether the server board supports the new processors. The link below looks like the link that has that info.

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/se7520...

I'll try the single Xeon to see how it handles the load. I'll grab a second one later if it seems like I'll need it.

Will the 2GB of DDR2-400 ECC RAM be enough? I plan to be simultaneously downloading/uploading the images of about 10 computers all the time. I will be using gigabit internet to connect the computers and two SATA drives in RAID 1 to store the images. Is there any other factors that I should consider?
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June 18, 2010 1:19:02 AM

I would recommend at least 4GB preferably 8GB. 10 computers hmm yea you might want to just go ahead and get that second XEON. Like you have found they sell matched pairs. I would just suggest for you to take the heatsink off and clean the thermal compound off and get the SL number then reapply some fresh thermal compound, something that should be done anyway considering the age of the system.
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June 18, 2010 2:00:22 AM

Upgrading to 6GB ($120) and a second processor ($60) would total to a $180 upgrade. Would it be foolish to spend this kind of money on a computer of this age? Will this server from 2003 die soon? Will it definitely be able to do what I need it to well with the upgrades?
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June 18, 2010 2:31:34 AM

Personally I beleive the server should handle all the traffic fine since its bottlenecked at the hdd. If you really want to upgrade it look into a raid 5 setup and dividing your network in half to make effient use of that 2nd gigabit nic.
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June 18, 2010 2:57:30 AM

The server I have is a blade type, so there is only room for two hard drives. I was thinking that RAID 1 would allow extra protection, but maybe I should consider RAID 0 if hard drive speed is that important. I suppose I should be sure to use SATA drives and not IDE drives.

I did just realize that I only have two Ethernet ports for ten computers. Could I connect each port to a gigabit router, and connect five computers to each router? Would that still allow each computer to communicate with the server independently?

Also, do you, popatim, disagree with SAAIELLO on the need for more RAM? I don't mind spending $60 on a second processor, but $120 more just for RAM seems like a lot.
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June 19, 2010 10:59:29 PM

I've decided to get the extra processor since it's a pretty cheap addition. I'm going to wait on the RAM, because it costs more and is easy to add later. I'm going to need to get a new hard drive, since the one it has is only 80GB. I'll think about grabbing two for RAID 1, but RAID 0 is too risky for this data.

I'm still not sure about the previous Ethernet question. If I connect multiple computers to a router or switch, can they each communicate with the server independently? Would gigabit hardware be almost mandatory to keep this from being a bottleneck?
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