Dell vs. Silicon Mechanics vs. FreeBSD Systems

Jim Stapleton stapleton.41 at
Wed Apr 26 16:11:12 UTC 2006

I can't answer this too well unfortunately, but I can give  you a bit of info.

Dell does not carry AMD, and probably will not for a long time.
However they do have AMD64 compatable Intel chips, which are better at
bandwidth, though not as good for calculations. Dell treats their
business customers nicely, but can be rather unpleasant to individuals
not within a sizeable group.

I had good experiences with Penguin Computing at a previous job, and
their supports was good, but unfortunately, they are a mostly-linux
group. They do have good support and AMD systems though.

IBM is also a very nice choice, and I am pretty sure they have AMD
servers, as well as the AMD64 compatable Intel counterparts. Although
slightly more expensive than Dell, I definetly prefer IBM.

I've no experience with Silicon Mechanics.

> I've had bad experiences in the past with onboard SATA and/or RAID
> controllers from Silicon Mechanics but it looks now like their
> Rackform nServ A206 uses an Adaptec SATA controller and an Adaptec
> RAID controller (this will do RAID1, right?)

Probably, Adaptec makes pretty good stuff, and tends to aim towards
the features/performance market, rather than the low-budget market.

Silicon mechanics gives the model number of the card, so you can go
here to read the specs:

then go to the faq, linked to at and find out
the compatability level of the hardware.

I think the OpenLDAP thing with AMD64 is fixed (I had some apps that
required it, and they didn't complain), however Java is a pain to
setup (I gave up and just installed the i386 FreeBSD).

I hope this is helpful,

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