Can a server be used as a stand alone PC? Need quick answer

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JayDaniel, Feb 20, 2003.

  1. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Stunt Coordinator

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    I was reading the "deal of the day" from Dell in the Deals forum here at HTF. I'm considering buying the Dell Server (PowerEdge 600SC), but I want to operate it as a stand alone PC.

    Two questions:

    1. Can it function as a stand alone PC. I can't think of a reason why not.

    2. Can Windows XP or 98-SE be loaded on a server functioning as a stand alone PC? I'm not interested in buying Win2000 Server edition. Any reason XP or 98SE wouldn't work? I already own these two.

    Thanks for your quick response.

    JayDaniel
     
  2. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    It'll work, but servers tend to be more expensive than stand-alone PCs, so why would you want a server for this purpose?

    Servers are also noisier than stand alone PCs, since they're designed to house multiple drives, redundant power supplies, etc.

    KJP
     
  3. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    It will work. An OS is an OS. The case will be different then a standard PC and the hardware will be setup around what an office would use. A server may not be great for gaming without some hardware changes (Video & Sound card). Heck it may not even have a sound card since you usually dont need one of those on a server and the video card will be pretty poor too.

    KyleS
     
  4. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Stunt Coordinator

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    As to why would I want it - I can get it new, w/o an operating system, delivered free, for $300 (w/ memory, hard drive, basic video & sound cards, on-site warranty etc.). I thought between what it comes with, and swapping out my current video and sound card, and cd/rw drive, I could end up with a much better pc for only an incremental cost of $300. My current pc is 3 years old.

    Given all that, any thoughts on why I should or shouldn't do this?

    Thanks.
     
  5. Lee L

    Lee L Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like it could be a good deal. Some of Dell's low end servers are not much more than PC's with beefier power supplies and a motherboard that might require more expensive EEC ram. One thing to consider is if the thing has an AGP slot or not. That could really limit you video card options.
     
  6. Chris Rosene

    Chris Rosene Second Unit

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    Lee has it right. No AGP slot means no good for HT.
     
  7. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Reading through the specs on this machine, it has no AGP slot and no onboard sound. Still, it's an incredible deal.
     
  8. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    TechBargains reports that DELL doesn't officially certify this machine for Windows XP, though there are no reports of success or failure yet. The network drivers for 2000/XP can be downloaded here:

    http://downloadfinder.intel.com/scri...1&DwnldID=4275

    I also decided to give this machine a shot as a workstation, but it isn't due to ship for another week. At this point, it looks like I'll be running 98:SE on it, but we may have some spare 2000 client licenses by the time it arrives. I'll let you know how it goes.
     
  9. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Well, damn...they dropped the price on the 600SC and are throwing in a free upgrade to a Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, now starting at $270. (Check the Deals page.)

    You win some, you lose some.
     
  10. Mike Thompson

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    I just got off the phone with Dell support. The machine doesn't have an AGP slot, but there is a built in ATI Rage video. The tech said sound isn't guaranteed to work, also the pci slots are 3.3V. Its cheap, but a lot of work to make it be a good PC, I think.
    Mike
     
  11. Ken.Nischan

    Ken.Nischan Agent

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    After reading your post I went to check out Dell's deal on the PowerEdge. Looks sweet. Ended up showing as $389. I then went to Pricewatch to compare. Built a comparable system as follows:

    $21 Generic Mid ATX Case /w 250w PS
    $197 PC Chips M920LMR mobo with Pentium 4 2.4ghz chip (onboard lan, sound, AGP, modem)
    $15 Generic PC2100 128mb memory
    $5 Sony 1.44mb floppy drive
    $68 IBM 40GB 7200rpm IDE
    $19 Generic 56x CD-ROM (both 48x and 56x same price)
    $28 Rage 128 32mb PCI video card
    $353 Total

    The generic built was $353 and gave the ability to use AGP, which in doing so would drop $28 as you wouldn't need the Rage PCI. However you have to deal with the hassle of ordering from different vendors and whatnot. I would prolly still get the Dell, but just so you know there are other options too.
     
  12. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Fortunately, there are a few people on the DELL discussion boards who are determined to make the 600SC work as a desktop machine, and they've compiled a (non-centralized) list of video cards and sound cards they've gotten to work.

    The ATi Radeon 7000 is one of those video cards, and the 32 MB DDR version is currently $40 after rebate at both CompUSA and Micro Center. (I flashed this exact card for Mac use, and it makes a noticeable difference under OS X.) Cheap compatible sound cards are a little tougher to find; people have reported success with the Audigy cards, but I don't need to spend that kind of money just to drive speakers. I picked up a Diamond Monster MX300 on eBay for $10 shipped, which should do the trick.

    Mine should arrive tomorrow, and it looks like I will be running Windows 98 SE on it after all. The only major concern I have is finding drivers for the onboard 10/100/1000 Ethernet. I think I located the 98-specific drivers by following the link I provided above and poking around a bit, but I'll wait to post a link to them until I'm sure they work. If they don't, I have several spare 10/100 cards I can try, so it won't be a huge loss...our network is still 100BaseT, anyway.

    EDIT: Ken, there is a $100 mail-in rebate on this system, which would drop your configuration to $289 with free shipping. Thanks for the breakdown on a DIY machine, though!

    ANOTHER EDIT: The Ethernet drivers I found do indeed work, but gigabit is only supported with Windows 98 SE or better. Here's the link (for the PRO/10+ PCI):

    http://support.intel.com/support/eth...o10/tti004.htm
     

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