[lug] server spec

Sean Reifschneider jafo at tummy.com
Thu Jun 14 22:40:39 MDT 2007

On Thu, Jun 14, 2007 at 12:21:15PM -0600, George Sexton wrote:
>There's no question that PC hardware sucks.

I don't know, I am quite happy with our gear.  Particularly the
price/performance of it.  I mean, these aren't super cheap boxes, the
motherboards tend to run $350+, for example.  Not the $50 motherboards you
can get at the low end of the spectrum...

>Power supplies die all over 
>the place, and anecdotally I've not seen any difference in performance 
>between the cheaper ones and the really more expensive ones. OTOH, I 

I've definitely seen the difference.  I don't think I've ever had a PC
Power and Cooling power supply die, though I had only a few of them.  Ditto
for the SuperMicro power supplies.  In the early naughties we were playing
with some NLX cases which we had very little choice in power supplies for.
Those power supplies failed every 6 to 12 months like clockwork.  From a
sample of around a dozen, I think we went through at least 20 power

>Dell isn't any better quality than a SuperMicro, not to mention their 
>service is just horrible. I have better things to do with my time than 
>speak to some guy in Bombay who's reading steps from a script.

You know, I've had pretty good response from SuperMicro support.  I think
I've called on them twice.  One was this evaluation I was doing where I was
putting a dozen drives into a system, using one of the SuperMicro P4 server
boards with 4 SATA ports on-board, and 2 4-port SATA boards.

The box would lock up in the BIOS during boot.  I initially thought that it
was the two controller boards that was causing it, because when I unplugged
either of the boards it would boot.

I e-mailed SuperMicro and a day and a half later they wrote back saying
they set up a system in their test lab with 2 of the controller boards I
had, and 8 drives, and couldn't reproduce it.  I was impressed that they
went through the effort.  So I tried replicating their setup, and sure
enough, it would boot.  I tried all sorts of combinations and finally found
that no matter what connection of controllers I used, the system would lock
up during boot once I connected the 9th drive (including PATA).

I wrote back to Supermicro with this new information, and a day later they
sent me a new BIOS that solved the problem.

The other time I contacted support was because a system that lists being
able to take 4GB of RAM, and Crucial says this RAM will work for 4GB in
that box, but it'll only take 3, at 4GB it won't boot.  In that case I
contacted Crucial and SuperMicro and they both said it should work and I
just finally dropped it.  We were buying more of a new model which supports
8GB so I'd just upgrade people who needed 4GB to the new model and use the
6 month old one for users who don't.

 Well I've been to one world fair, a picnic and a rodeo, and that's the
 stupidest thing I've heard come over a pair of earphones.  -- Major Kong
Sean Reifschneider, Member of Technical Staff <jafo at tummy.com>
tummy.com, ltd. - Linux Consulting since 1995: Ask me about High Availability

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