IBM x366 server--convert to desktop use?

Posted on 2011-03-03
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
I have an IBM Xseries 366 Quad Intel 3.66GHz 32GB Ram server sitting here doing nothing important.  

I need a Linux desktop computer.... So... can I make use of this as a desktop computer?  Or would that be silly?

The specs are here:

The two posible limitations I see are the video and audio.  

Video: I am thinking I could use xdmcp to connect to it, so the video shouldn't be a problem.  It would also be more convenient due to the size and noise of the server.  I can leave it in the rack and access it from another room.  

Or, I could use a long VGA extension and add a video card, but I don't have a clue what kind to put into it.  As far as I am aware the PCI-x 266 slot isn't conducive to video cards--or am I wrong there.

Or thirdly--should I use a thin client setup.  How are they performance-wise.  I would think it's pretty much the same as the xdmcp solution performace-wise.

Audio: That leaves the audio.  The main purpose of this computer would be office style usage, and I want to use it to run a data feed with trading software--using audio alerts.  So I would need an audio card.  The thing is it uses PCI-x 266 slots.  What card would I use?

Is there any reason this is a bad idea?  Any suggestions of how best to go about it?

Due to the nature of this question, I will probably end up accepting multple answers.

Thanks in advance,

Question by:ibanja
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Accepted Solution

PowerToTheUsers earned 500 total points
ID: 35028619
Using some kind of remote-display solution is a good idea, especially if the network is high-speed (100mbit or even 1gbit LAN). You could add a video card and use a long VGA-cable, but as the server has only PCI-X slots, your optons will be limited: you could use a PCI-card, or maybe find a PCI-X card, but a PCIe-card (today's standard) will not fit in there.
As for audio: it should be easier to find a PCI audio-card.

A thin client could be a solution, but that fits in the same category as xdmcp. I'm not familiar with Linux, and not at all with xdmcp, but I presume it's some kind of remote desktop-solution. Whether you cannect from a thin client or from a fully-flavoured desktop doens't matter that much to the remote-desktop-software you're using. As long as it supports the features you need (audio throughput, your desired screen resolution, and maybe USB-redirection or something).

I certainly recommend to remotely connect to the server and put the server in a rack in another room as it's quite noisy, as you certainly must have noticed :)

Are you sure this x366 is financially interesting in the long run? Off-course it has very powerfull specs for CPU and RAM (and hard disk maybe), but it consumes a lot of power too. Maybe it's more interesting to sell this server and buy a more energy-efficient desktop computer?

Author Comment

ID: 35032960
thanks PowerToTheUsers:
>> Whether you cannect from a thin client or from a fully-flavoured desktop doens't matter that much to the remote-desktop-software you're using.

That's what I thought, but wasn't sure.

>>As for audio: it should be easier to find a PCI audio-card.
Does anyone know if I actually need the audio-card if I am forwarding via thin client or xdmcp?

>>Are you sure this x366 is financially interesting in the long run?
:) No... still trying to figure that one out.

Author Comment

ID: 35039733
I'm thinking that the HP gt7725 Thin Client will be a perfect fit for this application.  Anyone have any experience with this product?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 35109733
Thanks for the input.  I think I've decided, as you say, I don't thinik "this x366 is financially interesting in the long run."  

I can do better with a new desktop.

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