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Price Check - Buying a used, small server-like PC

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November 12, 2010 10:57:18 PM

I'm looking to buy small server-like PC for my house. Redundant storage, ease of use/setup, an actual video card (doesn't need to be great), and some real processor power will be necessary.

I found something which looks pretty good for my needs, but I'm not sure how much it is worth. Could I have a price check on a computer with the specs below? How much would you pay for this used computer?


Pictures:
http://d.imagehost.org/0394/IMG_0692.jpg
http://d.imagehost.org/0370/IMG_0693.jpg
http://d.imagehost.org/0648/IMG_0694.jpg
http://d.imagehost.org/0964/IMG_0695.jpg

Specs:
Case: Lian-Li Classic Series PC-A70B / Black / Full Tower Case
-Side panels lined with sound-dampening insulation
Newegg.com - LIAN LI PC-A70B Black Aluminum ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Motherboard: ASUS Z7S WS Dual LGA 771 Intel 5400 SSI CEB Dual Intel Xeon Server Motherboard
ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

CPUs: 2 x Intel Xeon E5410 Harpertown 2.33GHz LGA 771 80W Quad-Core Processor BX80574E5410A

Memory: 16GB Kingston DDR2 FB-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) ECC (4x4GB)

PSU: ZALMAN ZM1000-HP 1000W

Video Card: XFX nVidia GeForce 8600 GTS

Sound Card: Turtle Beach RIVIERA 5.1 Channels PCI Interface

DVD Drive: Pioneer 20X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model DVR-115DBK

RAID Controller: (Dedicated) 3ware 9650SE-8LPML KIT PCI Express x4 SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card
-3ware BBU-MODULE-03 Battery Backup Unit for 3ware 9650SE
-8 500GB Seagate hard drives configured in a raid5 array for a total of 3TB usable space
-This array is being used for dedicated storage

3 x Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3250310NS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"
-These drives are configured as in a 750GB raid0 array using the raid controller on the motherboard
-Currently being used for the OS to boot and run off of

Cooling: As seen in the pictures, the following heatsinks/fans are installed to provide adequate ventilation for this monster.
-4x 120mm intake fans in the front of the case; 2 that are pushing air into the case and over the hard drives, and 2 on the other side of the hard drives that are pulling air
-2x 120mm exhaust fans
-2x Noctua NH-U12DX heatsinks for the CPUs
-3x Noctua NF-P12 120mm fans for the CPU heatsinks
-1x Noctua NF-R8 80mm Fan (Blowing air onto memory sticks)
-1x heatsink and 80mm fan added to cool north bridge chip
November 12, 2010 11:14:43 PM

That's a lot of hardware.

And, a lot depends on the age and clock time on all of those hard disks.

I do see some dust on the left-side panel (the black one laying flat);
on the other hand, the interior looks very clean.

Lian Li make exquisite cases: I'd be sure that there is an exhaust fan
at the upper rear, to keep the air flowing through the 2 x HSFs.

UPDATE: OK, I see it now in this photo of yours:

http://d.imagehost.org/0648/IMG_0694.jpg

See the photos here:

http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_i...

"There are two 12cm fans at the rear of the chassis, one is fitted with the HDD cage to help cooling down the HDDs, and exhaust the hot air out of the chassis, another one is right next to the CPU area, equipped with a fan guard to protect user's hand."

I would also want to know if that machine was powered
by a UPS 100% of the time, or not.


I suggest that you begin by adding up the cost of all those
parts as if you purchased them brand new, then start from there.


p.s. There is something to be said for a dual-socket server that
is fully integrated and operational.


MRFS
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November 12, 2010 11:25:17 PM

> Memory: 16GB Kingston DDR2 FB-DIMM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) ECC (4x4GB)

FB-DIMMs tend to run very hot, especially at moderate to heavy loads.

I'd add a large fan in the left-side panel, right over the DIMM slots,
to give all that RAM more cooler air: it appears that the Noctua fan
mounted above the DIMMs was an after-thought, maybe?


We looked closely at that chassis many moons ago:
it was designed before cable management motivated
manufacturers to add holes in the motherboard tray
in order to route cables around the back side.

A shroud would also be a good idea, to direct the
intake air straight into the DIMM slots, instead of
being sucked out by the main exhaust fan in the
rear panel. On this page:

http://projects.fleettrikes.com/pictures1.htm

... here's what came to my mind:



... only attach the shroud to the left-side panel and
customize it so it almost touches the FB-DIMMs.


The main power cables should also be moved to
one side, because there appears to be enough slack
to make room for an intake shroud.


MRFS
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November 12, 2010 11:36:44 PM

I'd also consider adding a double-wide slot fan:
see the 2 empty PCI slots in this photo, in-line
with the red x16 PCI-Express slot in this photo:

http://d.imagehost.org/0394/IMG_0692.jpg


MRFS
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November 12, 2010 11:45:29 PM

I'm unsure about the age of these parts and UPS (I'm not sure I can get an answer), although everything is in working condition.

I've added up the value of new parts. It would cost approximately $3,800. I'm able to buy this $1,500. That sounds pretty reasonable to me. What do you think?

Thank you for telling me about the fans. I'm pretty clueless about such things. When I get this computer, I'll definitely be following your advice.

Lastly, what important advantages do you see in a dual-socket server that is fully integrated (and operational)?

Thank you!



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November 13, 2010 12:09:02 AM

> I'm able to buy this $1,500. That sounds pretty reasonable to me. What do you think?

That was also the number that came to my mind:

hard drives will eventually wear out, but from our experience
ASUS motherboards like that one will last for many years
if they are properly cared for.

Input power quality and ambient air quality and temperature
are 2 of the more important considerations for longevity
in addition to proper cooling and ventilation.


> Lastly, what important advantages do you see in a dual-socket server that is fully integrated (and operational)?

Power and reliability! Actually, if you look very carefully,
the motherboard says "workstation" -- immediately to the
right of the empty red x16 PCI-Express slot in this photo:

http://d.imagehost.org/0394/IMG_0692.jpg

That's what "WS" means in the motherboard model: ASUS Z7S WS

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Even with lower prices, you could NOT build the same computer today
for $1,500. NO WAY!!

Xeons are always more expensive, as a rule, because they are
designed for 24/7 operation.


p.s. Moving the main power cable should be a cinch:
just lash it to the auxiliary cable to the right
so as to make room for a cooling shroud directly over
the FB-DIMM slots:

also, keep in mind that optimal cooling should achieve
a balance between input CFM and output CFM.

Finally, lots of case manufacturers are implementing
the "stack effect" at least by adding one or two fan mounts
in the top panel: as a matter of fact, I was going to purchase
an A-70, and I pre-ordered Lian Li's Aluminum Top Cover,
Model T-70, which came with 2 x 120 mm fan grills in a
replacement top panel.

Google "Lian Li" +"Aluminum Top Cover"
e.g. see photos of a similar accessory here:

http://www.thepotterhouse.net/livestore/default.php?cPa...


You can have mine, if you want: but it's silver, not black.

Just email a SHIP TO address to mrfsys (AT) gmail.com
and I'll ship it to you n/c.


MRFS
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!