OFFTOPIC: HP DL1xx vs IBM x3250 vs DELL R200

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Tue Jul 14 09:03:09 UTC 2009

Peter wrote:
> Hello,
> We are about to buy 1U rack mount server for the office. The server room
> is small and close to meeting room so we have two priorities:
> 1)Good FreeBSD support.
> 2) Low noise level (!)
> Speed is not a priority, system load will be small.
> Which one will you recommend ?
> HP DL160G5 E5405 2x1GB 2x250GB NHP-SATA CD-DVD Combo 3y
> carepack;Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® processor E5405 (2.00 GHz, 80W, 1333MHz
> FSB);Supports up to 64 GB of PC2-5300 (DDR2-667) and up to 32 GB of
> PC2-6400 (DDR2-800) fully buffered DIMMs (DDR2-667) with Advanced ECC;
> Two embedded NC105i PCIe Gigabit Server Adapters;Five USB ports (two
> front, one internal, two rear);650W Power Supply (Non-Hot Plug,
> Autoswitching);Rack (1U)
> VS:
> IBM x3250 M2 1 x  Xeon Q3330 QuadCore 2.66GHz/1333MHz FSB Hyper
> Threading with EM64T, 6MB Cache, 2x1024MB ECC DDR2, 2 x 250 GB SATA/SAS
> HDD HotSwap, OpenBay Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Hot Swap, Integrated
> RAID-1, 1x351W, DVD/CD-RW, Dual LAN 10/100/1000, 3 year on-site warranty
> VS:
> DELL™ PowerEdge™ R200		1	
> Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processor X3210 2.13 GHz / 1066 MHz FSB / 8 MB		SAS
> 6/i Integrated RAID Controller Card for SATA and SAS Hard Drives,
> RAID 0,1			
> 2GB 800MHz ECC Unbuffered DDR-2 SDRAM			
> 2 х 250GB, SATA, 3.5-inch, 7.2K RPM Hard Drive (Cabled) 			
> Slim DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive			
> R200 PCI-E Riser Card (2 x PCI Express slots)			
> dual embedded Broadcom® Gigabit Ethernet NIC			
> Sliding Rack Kit for Dell Racks (Rapid Rails)	
> Prices are almost the same :-)
> Please recommend.

None of the above are going to be particularly quiet I'm afraid.  The 
main noise source in all cases will be the cooling fans, both in the PSUs
and the ones blowing air across the CPU heat sinks.  They should all have
adaptive fan speed controls -- so the fans work harder when the machine
gets hotter -- but the distinction in noise levels is between unbearable and
merely loud.

Now, if compute performance really isn't your limiting factor, then you may
be able to get away with a low-wattage processor such as the Intel Atom --
these can be operated fanless with the right sort of case design.  The trick
is finding a supplier.  Tranquil PC ( is 
someone I've seen recommended elsewhere on FreeBSD mailing lists, and I believe
their systems are generally FreeBSD compatible, but I have no real confirmation
that is the case, just some hearsay on mailing lists.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP:     Ramsgate
                                                  Kent, CT11 9PW

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