a quiet dell server recommendation

I need to get a server for 2012 R2 essentials that will sit in an office, a few feet from some users.  There's only 8 users total, with no remote access needs, etc.  Just file server and domain controller.  Anyone care to rank the current servers from Dell as to their sound level when running?  (spinning up / sounding like a jet isn't a big deal - it dies down in seconds).

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Cliff GaliherCommented:
Server class hardware,vwith one exception that I know of, is loud. Dell, HP, IBM, etc. All are built to sit in a datacenter or small server closet. The lone exception is the HP microserver which was purpose-built for light workloads and office environments. There also noise -dampening server racks and cabinets that look at home with office furniture  and makes more traditional servers office friendly.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
they already have an older machne - a poweredge 1800 that is being replaced.  Can't really tell that it's running any more than a desktop optiplex.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
So you want to try and compose servers today to something that is at least fifteen years old? I have you my advice and experience. Didn't realize you were looking to argue.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
servers usually have many small fans and to generate the same airflow they need to spin faster.. larger slower spinnng fans that move the same amount of air are a lot quieter.  

I'm guessing you're looking more at a minitower or full tower rather than a 2U/4U rackmount server. Rackmount servers have height limitations and pack a lot of components in a very restricted space.. so you need very fast fans to attempt to move a lot of air in an airflow restricted environment.

With a more modern cpu for the same amount of computing power the wattage required has dropped considerably over the years, this results in less energy being converted to heat (less heat to have to remove) and a saving in your electrical bill.  20 years ago I had hard drives that used 65W at idle.so it was like putting 60W light bulbs in the case (a lot of heat to remove)

You have to set the realistic goals of what level of computing power you need first.  For example you need a x64 cpu to reduce the memory crunch that x86 platforms have..  2x/3x/4x the existing performance in cpu power. Faster Hard drives ability to use SSD's to replace IDE hard drives. Where are your current bottlenecks?  What is your mix of office (low cpu low disk usage) vs graphics designer (high cpu/high disk)  / knowledge worker (high cpu, low disk) load.

You might be able to get away with just a NAS i.e. synology... asking a generic question re: a quiet running Dell server is just too open a question.

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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
Cliff - you really shouldn't take an attempt at conversation so defensively.  It's really not fun having you answer questions I post.  Why not save us both the trouble?  A previous question of mine that you answered, from what I remember, had you getting all defensive too when I asked questions about it (remote access via logmein I believe it was).  You know of 1 quiet server.  Good.  Thanks for the info.  I know of another older one not in current production.  From what little I know / heard, the T110-2 is 'basically' an optiplex and supposedly 'quiet'.  Yes, I was thinking tower but didn't mention that.  And from your vast experience, I'd think you could likely write a book on how only a fool would buy a tower.

David - thanks for the comments.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
was looking for more back and forth to try and narrow down your search..  Unfortunately your question left many answered questions.. Personally I tend to favour the HP Gen8's over the Dells.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
The question is closed so this is purely for future reference. I'm not defensive.  I don't *care* if you like my answers or not.  But it is silly to ask a question, get an answer, and then say "but I think your wrong because of <list some anecdotal thing here>"

If you know more than the experts you are asking then why bother asking??  When I see that, I will continue to point out why <anecdotal thing here> is misguided and silly and is probably why you asked in the first place, because deep down you know that it was misguided and silly.  That's not defensive. It's just brutally honest.   For instance:

The 1800 series was based on the same chassis as the 1400 series.  Before Win2000 shipped, Dell wasn't in the server space in any meaningful space.  As an x86 manufacturer, x86's weren't in the server space and so Dell didn't go there aggressively. That was dominated by companies like Sun's SPARC, IBM's AIX machines, etc.  You saw various RISC architectures, a few PowerPC chips (IBMs design before Apple got involved), and other proprietaries that Dell chose not to attack.  NT3.5 and even NT4 weren't exactly conquering the enterprise so there weren't many x86 OSes to make the platform a viable server option.  Even Linux was nascent at the time.

Win2000 shipped. Dell came up with the chassis design that carried through 2004, and the 1800 by proxy.  And those tower designs were somewhat quiet (still louder than an OptiPlex by a good chunk, but not a 1U server loud) so as I said, it was effectively a 15 year old design. Not efficient, not quiet, but serviceable.

Then in 2004, shortly after Win2003 shipped, Intel started shipping Core processors and Xeons based on the same architecture for servers.  The 9th gen servers from Dell were released and were significantly redesigned for the new world order. The 1950/2950 series is still one of the best selling servers of that era.  The 10th and 11th gen series (the R110 for example) are still based on that chassis.  And while they are great servers, they are LOUD.  Three times as loud as an 1800, and thus much louder than an OptiPlex.  Even with all of the die shrinks of the CPUs, the Core processors just have many more transistors than their PentiumII (or III in some cases) counterparts which were the common architectures of Xeon chips in the 1800 era.   Think of it this way; you could buy a tower desktop with a Pentium Pro/Pentium II that could be cooled with heatsink alone.  It was a *monster* heatsink, but they were available. When's the last time you've seen a CPU run cool enough for passive cooling?? Modern servers just run hotter than servers of that time, even with advances in technology.

Sure. You heard the R110 is quiet.  Compared to an R730?  It probably is.  Compared to your 1800??  I'd never put someone three to five feet from one.  The white noise is high pitched and would drive them insane. Quickly.  It is why, even above the HP Microserver, I quickly moved to recommending a sound dampening enclosure.  Even reasonably performing NASes are loud. at that distance.  But hey, you'd rather argue about me arguing, I suppose.  Always a battle.

As far as writing a book about nobody buying a tower, I don't care.  Towers are fine for the right environment. I'd never recommend using a desktop (like an OptiPlex) as a server, but tower servers have their place.  Note the HP Microserver.  It's a stubby short tower, but a tower nonetheless.  There's no rack mounting it without trickery.  Nor is there rackmounting the stackable switch specially designed to sit atop its case.  And yet I recommended it.  Gee, I must be against towers.  Towers are still loud.  Nearly universally so. Thus  I stand by my previous statements and assessment.

And hope that you take this critique to heart and realize that arguing with experts (because there is no way your statements can be taken otherwise) isn't causing them to be defensive (I've seen others react the way I have, other experts I respect and know on a personal level) but that they find the process far more cumbersome than it is worth. That isn't being defensive, but it is a signal of frustration. We volunteer our time to answer just to get a "but I disagree with you even though I asked for help and don't know the answer" type of response.  You are right. I can choose to avoid your questions from now on. And since that is what you prefer, consider it done.  Others I'm sure will appreciate the help. And when you've frustrated enough experts and can't get help here, you can reflect on those decisions.
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Windows Server 2012

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