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Hardware Thread, Small Form Factor Computer For Windows Server 2008 in Technical; ...
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    Small Form Factor Computer For Windows Server 2008

    Hi,

    I want to get a small form factor computer to install server 2008 on and work towards somce microsoft certifications. Currently i've been using virtual machines, however i only have a laptop and it struggles a bit if i try to run to much...

    I was looking at something like this
    eMachine ER1401 Desktop - Desktops | Ebuyer.com

    Has anyone used these before? It seems ideal for the job and should be fine for a test environment to learn.

    I dont want to spend a great deal. Maybe £250 max. Can anyone recommend any others that would be up to the job?

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    If your laptop struggles then the Neo CPU in this will probably be worse, it does have VT extentions but at only 1.3GHz running more than one instance of Server 2008 is going to be an adventure in patience.

    It should probably be alright with just a single instance running as it is more powerful than an Atom by a reasonable margin and an Atom runs 7 quite well. I would be dubious about putting other server products on it as well for learning on though.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 13th May 2011 at 03:20 PM.

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    ihaveaproblem (13th May 2011)

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    HP Microserver would be perfect for you, cashback offer seems to have been extended yet again, so £130 (make it £170 if you want to chuck 4GB RAM in it) after cashback for a box that is great for Hyper-V/VMware

    HP ProLiant MicroServer Athlon II Neo N36L 1.3GHz 1GB.. | Ebuyer.com

  5. 2 Thanks to sidewinder:

    ihaveaproblem (13th May 2011), tech_guy (13th May 2011)

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    Thanks both. My plan was to only run 1 instance of Server 2008 as the Main OS ( No VM's ) because i dont expect these systems to be able manage that.
    I just noticed these HP Microservers as well and they look very tempting with the cash back offer.

    I have a few questions if either of you are able to help

    1) I would need use to use a wireless NIC. I cant see why there would be any problems installing a pci express nic to do this?
    2) Can the CPU be upgraded in these easily like any other "standard size" computer? It might be something i look into in the future if i plan to run VM's because the 1.3ghz cpu will struggle i think.
    3) Where is the deal of £170 cashback if i upgrade to 4gb ram?I cant find that offer

    thanks

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    1: should work as long as it has signed Windows 7 drivers avalible
    2: I don't think so, the stuff I read showed it as BGA (ball grid array) meaning soldered to the motherboard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveaproblem View Post

    I have a few questions if either of you are able to help

    1) I would need use to use a wireless NIC. I cant see why there would be any problems installing a pci express nic to do this?
    2) Can the CPU be upgraded in these easily like any other "standard size" computer? It might be something i look into in the future if i plan to run VM's because the 1.3ghz cpu will struggle i think.
    3) Where is the deal of £170 cashback if i upgrade to 4gb ram?I cant find that offer

    thanks
    1) Aside from having drivers available, as long as it is half height it should be fine
    2) Same as Synack, I dont think so. However I'm running 1 server 2008R2, 2x 2003 and a smoothwall VM on there and it doesnt feel sluggish (granted they arnt doing much yet)
    3) There isnt one. I worded it badly. I meant that after cashback the box itself is about £130. 4GB of RAM is about £40 (not ECC though so you have to remove the 1GB that comes with it) so £170 total

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    +1 for the HP MicroServer

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    Quote Originally Posted by sidewinder View Post
    4GB of RAM is about £40 (not ECC though so you have to remove the 1GB that comes with it)
    4GB of ECC RAM is only ~£44. I would get two of these for a total of 8GB, since 4GB RAM is a bit limiting.

    Edit. Non-ECC RAM is even cheaper still (£58.84 inc. VAT for 8GB!!!).
    Last edited by Arthur; 13th May 2011 at 04:44 PM.

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    ihaveaproblem (18th May 2011), tech_guy (13th May 2011)

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    Ok I'm fairly sure i will get the HP Micro
    Do I really need ECC ram for a test environment? I was thinking of getting 2x4gb DDR3 RAM Non ECC and saving a few £..

    For a wireless NIC would something like this be ok? I cant really see on NIC's where it says low profile.
    ASUS PCE-N13 802.11b/g/n Wireless PCI-Express Adapter: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

    I will search some more! I've not done computer component shopping for such a long time..

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveaproblem View Post
    Do I really need ECC ram for a test environment?
    No.

    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveaproblem View Post
    For a wireless NIC would something like this be ok?
    Unfortunately that one isn't low profile. I'll have a look and see if I can find one.

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    the prolient microserver will run a vm under hyper and its just about usable with 3gb ram and win7 x64 hyper v and ive not bothered with ecc ram just shoved the first stick i could find in it

    be aware putting pcix card is will be a bit of a pita i think you have to take the board out to do it then slide it back in and that means disconnecting everything

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    I suggest you have a look around LinITX.com, they are specilists in small systems\servers and components. Start here: LinITX.com - NetTops

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    Thanks all. I took a look at those at LinITX.com but i still think HP have the best offer.

    I've been thinking to much...
    I'm starting to wonder if I should go for something like this instead
    HP ProLiant ML110 G6 Tower Server 2.8GHz 1GB 250GB GbE.. | Ebuyer.com

    I know it's moving away from being small small size... My concern is the CPU on the HP Micro. For now I only plan to install one instance of server 2008, but in the future i may want to install more. Realisticly the CPU on the Micro surly cant handle much?

    The HP ProLiant ML110 G6 has a much more powerfull 2.8ghz cpu which would allow more flexability to run VM's. However i cant claim money back because you have to buy a HP OS which i dont need, so the price would be £225+ £50-70 (8GB DDR 3 RAM) + £10-£20 (Wireless NIC) Total = £285 -£305

    A little more than i wanted to pay really. In the long run it might be better though because of the better CPU, plus i beleive i'm correct in saying i can upgrade the cpu in this one because it uses LGA? which again adds more flexability to upgrade that in the future.
    This will only ever been used for a test environment, i'm just concerned if i installed 2 or 3... or even 1 VM that it would struggle alot.
    Last edited by ihaveaproblem; 13th May 2011 at 09:44 PM.

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    I think i've decided i'm going to build my own. It wont turn out as cheap as the HP Micro, somewhere between £250 - £300 i recon. It should be much better though because i can get a decent CPU, good ram, and always have the option to upgrade parts in the future if i need.
    I was thinking of something like this

    Case=ITX Size case
    Motherboard = Gigabyte GA-H67N Gigabyte GA-H67N-USB3-B3 H67 Socket 1155 7.1 Channel.. | Ebuyer.com
    CPU = Intel Core i3 2100 Intel Core i3 2100 3.10GHz Socket 1155 3MB L3 Cache.. | Ebuyer.com
    RAM = Kingston 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz Kingston 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333MHz HyperX Blu Memory.. | Ebuyer.com

    Total= £240

    Add a case and it should still be under £300, and i've already got a hard drive i could use unless i wanted to get a SataIII which i'm not that bothered about.
    Or instead of going for Intel i noticed you can get a AMD phenom cheaper and its quad core AMD Phenom II X4 840 Socket AM3 3.2GHz 2MB Cache.. | Ebuyer.com
    Do you think the phenom would perform better for what i want due to the quad core ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveaproblem View Post
    Case=ITX Size case
    I went for an Antec NSK3480 microATX case for one of my home servers:

    Antec - NSK 3480 -UK

    Smaller size, comes with built-in energy-efficient power supply. I fitted a couple of harddrives in hot-swap caddies in the 5.25" slots in the front. That's running an Atom CPU, with the CPU and passive cooler all built-in to the £30-odd motherboard. That CPU doesn't include hardware virtualisation support (although it does run paravirtualised Xen VMs just fine), but I'm sure there are virtualisation-supporting Atom motherboards around (about £50?) - just might be a bit cheaper than your Core i3 and separate motherboard. The only issue might be finding a cheap motherboard that takes more than two SATA devices, although you can always add an extra controller card.

    My other home server is a Core i3, running in a passivly-cooled Tranquil PC case. That easily runs a couple of Windows VMs (one Server 2003, one Windows XP) and a couple of Linux VMs (email, etc) and is left on 24 hours a day with no problems.

  20. Thanks to dhicks from:

    ihaveaproblem (18th May 2011)

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