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Intel P4 system specs:  pre-purchase input requested

Posted on 2005-05-10
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Last Modified: 2011-10-03
I'm about to purchase a system very similar to the one described below.  Any input or recommendations regarding the components would be greatly appreciated (as well as rewarded with points).

The system will be used as a Windows Server 2003 system in a small business (3-5 users max) who will access the machine via Terminal Services to run various MS Access queries and MS Excel analyses.  Currently we are using a similar system to accomplish the same task (same processor and storage setup).  The two drives are to be set up as a single logical drive using RAID 0.

I just want to check whether anyone can spot any obvious deficiencies, potential compatibility issues, or has any suggestions on improving the specs:

1 x Lian Li PC-65B Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
1 x SUPERMICRO MBD-P4SCi-O Socket 478 Intel E7210 ATX Server Motherboard
1 x ASPIRE ATX-AS550W-BK ATX 550W Power Supply
1 x intel Pentium 4 3.4E Prescott 800MHz FSB Socket 478 Processor Model BX80546PG3400E
1 x CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) 184-Pin DDR SDRAM DDR 400 (PC 3200) Unbuffered Dual Channel Kit System Memory Model TWINX2048-3200PRO
1 x NEC FD1231H-302 Black 1.44MB 3.5" Internal Floppy Drive
2 x Western Digital Raptor WD740GD 73GB 10,000 RPM Serial ATA150 Hard Drive
1 x HP DVD640I Black IDE DVD Burner w/ Lightscribe
1 x VANTEC VP4-C7040 TMD (Tip-Magnetic Driving) Cooling Fan

Hey, thanks.
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Question by:psk1
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by:Callandor
ID: 13971797
You realize that with a RAID-0, any error in one drive will render the array useless, so the system will be offline until you replace the drive and restore from a backup.  Is it acceptable for users to lose a day's worth of work (or whenever a backup was last done)?  I would also suggest a UPS to keep the server as stable as possible.  Since you're using Terminal Services, do you want to step up to gigabit?  It's fairly cheap these days for a switch and associated NICs.
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by:psk1
ID: 13971871
Hi Callandor,

I believe that the motherboard has dual on-board gigabit NICs - http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/P4/E7210/P4SCi.cfm

We have a UPS.

What other storage systems would you recommend?

Thank you.
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Callandor earned 2000 total points
ID: 13971990
Those drives are pretty snappy by themselves.  If you configured them as RAID-1, you would have up-to-date backup.  Add another large IDE or SATA non-RAID drive for archiving data, and I think you have covered it.
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LVL 2

Author Comment

by:psk1
ID: 13972190
I'm now thinking SCSI RAID to take advantage of larger-capacity 10Krpm drives.

My boss likes the RAID-0 for the performance speed-wise he sees on our dual 7200rpm setup now.  If we go 10Krpm SCSI, he may be blown away just by the increase there (you tell me;  I've never seen it).  Maybe I can lure him from RAID-0 to RAID-1.  He isn't as concerned about live mirroring as he is about speed.  We're currently running daily backups to external storage.
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 13972288
The advantage of RAID-1 is up-to-the-second backup, versus daily.  SCSI will probably cost you twice as much per drive, and you will need to get a SCSI card as well.  They are great  when you have lots of people accessing the array, but in your situation, it seems hard to justify.  On the other hand, SCSI drives can go up to 15000rpm (Seagate Cheetah), and you can implement RAID-5 for a balance between RAID-0 and RAID-1.  There are also SATA RAID-5 controllers, but they're not cheap (3Ware Escalade 85xx series).
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by:psk1
ID: 13973114
Thanks Callandor, decision has been made.
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