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Re: Ideal Server Hardware Choice



Timothy Alberts wrote:
> The
> main reason I'm going to brand name is that, we we're buying from local
> dealers who put systems together (or we just buy parts and put them
> together since we have a staff of software and electrical engineers who
> all think they know everything).

In case you get Dell, read these articles:
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=3243
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=3262
The articles are a few years old now, but the gist is that Dell have
been known to use standard ATX physical power connectors, but wired to
Dell standards. So you can plug them into other manufacturers kit, and
quite possible wave goodbye to both power supply and motherboard.

Your staff should also be alerted to this. Because you can be pretty
sure that the servers will go wrong while you're on holiday, and someone
will suggest bunging in a spare power supply...

My experience with name brand systems has been that you need support
contracts anyway -- there's too much custom-designed stuff inside, and
the only easy way to get spare parts is through official support.

As for the original question, I'd be cautious about SATA adapters. In
particular, I understand you can't install Fedora Core 4 using SATA CD
drives or DVD drives (because the libata drivers in the Fedora install
media don't support ATAPI, which CD and DVD drives need). And there have
been some people reporting that the FC4 install media won't detect the
SATA adapters on the latest nForce 4x0 motherboards (nForce 4 seems to
be OK.)

For what it's worth, my company's experience with the local dealers
ended during the days of AMD K6 processors. They were all buying
motherboards (mostly from PCChips), based on the cheap and *extremely*
tacky SiS chipsets of the day. This cut around £20 off the cost of a
system, and left us with unreliable junk that was *just* about reliable
enough that we couldn't take it back. Until one of the on-board Ethernet
adapters went wrong, taking down the entire network. We ended up
rebuilding the worst four around Gigabyte motherboards with Via
chipsets.

We found it surprisingly difficult to find suppliers who would
consistently use quality hardware: if you tried to buy more expensive
machines, you'd just get faster processors, larger disks and more memory
on the same cheap motherboards. Since then we've been building our own
systems around "name brand" components (Kingston or Crucial memory, Asus
or Gigabyte motherboards, etc) and have had very few problems.

But then, you'll notice I'm in the UK too:

> So either we live in parallel universes or the Chinese are selling
> quality cheap parts to the UK and leaving all the junk for us poor
> Americans (oh no, I've gone political..).

James.
-- 
E-mail address: james | Five miles as the hippopotamus bounces...
@westexe.demon.co.uk  | 


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