Tower vs Rackmount server

Posted on 2009-04-22
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Here is another "simple" one.  Many of you may have seen my recent "refurbished server purchase" question.  Well, this one is for the same reason, but slightly different.

I am curious about advantages / dis pros/cons etc on Rackmount vs. Tower (workstation) Servers.

I have one of each and I love them both.
I love my 1U because it was my first.  But we have a small office, and it forever changed the dynamic (and decibel level) of our daily work environment.  
My tower is also fantastic.  It is a backup and so it doesnt run as hard all day - but i can barely hear that its on sometimes.  After sitting near my rack for a while, working near the tower is a day at the beach.

So, why do you buy/choose/like/dislike one over the other?  Especially when you can buy towers with rackmount kits (which I have).
And in your experience is it always that one is more expensive than another?

Again, I would love to just listen to you experts for a few - answer me directly or just provide some insight into your experience and preference.

Your time and advice is appreciated!
Question by:mmorocco

    Author Comment

    To clarify a bit - I am in the market for a box.  And on top of budget and config and how big to go off the bat (and new vs refurb) I am debating tower vs rackmount.  I have the space for either, and if it is going in my main office a quieter tower is preferable.  And so I just got to thinking, gee, why do people buy one vs. the other.

    If there are reasons other than the obvious ones, which I am sure there are - I figured EE community would have something to say about it.
    LVL 22

    Accepted Solution

    Servers are usually relegated to a data center or a computer room.

    Rack mount server are neat and tidy in a cabinet or rack, rack mount server fit in a cabinet cleanly.

    Sure tower servers can sit on shelves but probably couldn't get as many into a rack.

    If the servers are in an office area a quit tower would probably be preferred.

    As what type to get next, that would depend on what kind of horse power is required to run your apps, expansion requirement for future.

    I would almost expect a rack mount server to cost a little more as one has to pay for the rack kit.
    LVL 13

    Assisted Solution

    65td has covered the main point - that racks are usually elsewhere so noise isnt a problem as you dont sit in there with them

    One thing I'd mention about the "buy a tower and convert to rack" is that this approach can be good if you need to have an internal tape drive.

    Most rack servers now are 1 or 2u which means you cant get an internal tape drive in but a toer to rack conversion will be 5u so (though you can get less in rack) you can get an internal tape drive in there.

    Yes you can have external tape (but this adds either 1 or 3 U so may make the space argument moot) but manufacturers (I'm thinking HP) will include the internal tape drive in the warranty of the box but an external drive will need additional cover.

    Author Closing Comment

    I hope no one gets upset.  i am splitting the points as your both responded with good points.  I admit i  dont think i should have made it 500 to begin with, but i probably wasnt paying attention.
    i thank you both for your input - and since it has been 5 days i am going to say thanks and close this one out!

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