[K12OSN] Server specs....how low can you go?

Gavin Chester sales at ecosolutions.com.au
Tue Jul 11 03:55:58 UTC 2006

On Mon, 2006-07-10 at 19:37 -0700, Carl Keil wrote:
> Hi,
> I wanted to take a second to reply to this, since it's one of the few things related to k12ltsp that I'm at all qualified in.  Right now I'm rockin' 3 thin clients on my home network.  It's 100BaseT cabling.  3 assorted clients.  An Amer T500, an old Gateway E-1000 and an Oracle NIC.  
> Anyway, the server is a Dell 400SC that I got new on ebay for about $350.  I've got 2 Sata drives in it one for /home and one for everything else and I upped the RAM from 512 to a Gig.  I think the CPU is 2.23 GHz. or thereabouts.  Upping the RAM made a huge difference in performance.  I personally think that the SATA drives are probably unnecessary at this level too.  I'm probably going to get a gig uplink Switch when I add another client or two.  
> I find performance for the very apps you mention to be excellent.  Many people use the terminals without knowing or caring that they are thin.  No complaints, or even comments.

Hopefully, this is not a 'me too' type of post ;-)

For a couple of years (until very recently) I ran a home network of two
clients off a single Xeon 450MHz with 2Gb RAM and U160 SCSI drives.  The
server doubled duty as my workstation while running the clients.  I used
Xfce to lighten the load on the server, because window loading and
switching took way too long using kde.  Sure, some apps were slow to
load, but it was very usable for most operations, kids games and

By comparison, I now run a  replacement machine with _dual_ Xeon 2.66GHz
(with hyperthreading) with 2Gb RAM and U320 SCSI with RAID controller.
I must say that I was surprised to see that some errors/crashes that I
saw with that old beast can sometimes still occur with the new beast.
Window loading and app start times are much faster and there are certain
graphics (GPU) & CPU-intensive operations that are possible now that
weren't before with the old beast.  However, I am disappointed that the
upgraded hardware was not the 'quantum leap' in speed and usability that
I had expected and hoped.

In a nutshell, if you are prepared to a have lower performance, a
cast-off PII will do as server for a small network, especially if mostly
web browsing, etc.  Just pay attention to your server's RAM :-).



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