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systems_glitch

Junk Bin Staging/Services Server Build

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Since getting the HP 420 squared away with a proper mirrored ZFS volume, I've been working on getting to the point where I can shut down my old workstation, which was still limping along running a few applications, like my Dynamic DNS widget. I needed somewhere to run things like the Dynamic DNS system, and leave a tmux running for persistent IRC. I don't have a server rack up yet, so my old VM hosting box is currently offline. It's really too loud to run out in the main workshop area (you can hear it upstairs, the workshop is in the basement). Until then, I dug into the junk bin and put together a server:

 

Fx6k8hS.jpg

 

The case is a massive Lian Li aluminum ATX server case. I picked it up at a local tech surplus auction for, I think $10, with a power supply and a DVD drive. It looks kinda silly with so little hardware in it:

 

xzHXvEE.jpg

 

The motherboard is an Intel Desktop Board DP43TF from a machine I built in probably 2009 and dismantled in 2010 or 2011 -- it developed a RAM error and I stole the Xeon CPU out of it to use in something else. The CPU is an Intel Core 2 Duo E4300, 1.8 GHz LGA775, 2 MB cache, that came from a computer we found in the trash that had exploded motherboard caps, but a good CPU and RAM. Power supply came from a friend's junk PC that I was given when he replaced it. There's no onboard video on the DP43TF so I've got a GeForce 8800GT stuck in there for the console at the moment :D 8 GB DDR2 came from another junk PC someone gave me. DVD drive and WD RE4 250 GB drive were on the spare parts shelf.

 

IO5q394.jpg

 

I updated the BIOS to the 2011 release (was the original 2008 release) which is supposed to improve stability. It's currently running OpenBSD 6.0 AMD64, with various applications deployed to it with Capistrano (manages your deploys over plain SSH). Telephoney is going to send me a less power hungry PCIe card with VGA so I can get the GeForce 8800 out of there! I've though about finding another Xeon X3360 (quad core, 12 MB cache) for the board -- that's what I originally ran in it, and it's the fastest thing it will support, but it doesn't really seem worthwhile since this box is pretty old and should be temporary anyway.

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With the Xeon, you could say its a machine built for about $20.00 that will run circles around an $800.00 Mac Mini. ;-)

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Hah, true! I had a Shuttle XPC with a Core 2 era Xeon in it that would do basically all development-related tasks faster than our first gen i7 iMacs at work.

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I had an iMac, once. Kind of funny; left it running JTR for two days and returned to see a huge black spot on the inside of the screen. On the bright side, I knew exactly where the CPU was located. :-)

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Ouch! You can tell the iMac's thermal management was definitely designed to try and keep the fans off. The ones at the office got uncomfortably hot on top before the fans would come on. I guess most iMac owners don't use them the way programmers use them, or something.

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Steve Job's philosophy: how it works should be opaque to the end-user. It should offer a great end-user experience. A fan takes away from that. My bedroom has a Mac-Mini sitting on my desk, within reaching distance of my bed. It is ultra-quiet. No so for a 3.6Ghz i5 with a high powered nvidia GPU/

 

Like you mentioned, how many people run JTR for 48 hours? LoL

 

I think that is a big reason Apple uses lowered powered CPU's.  I mean how many times have you seen a laptop that sounded nice on paper? i7, 32GB ram, snazzy nVidia GPU. But the display is ultra dim, keyboard feels like poo, and it heats up so badly it needs to be on a desk propped up, and sounds like a Hoover vacuum cleaner from 1982.

 

 

Not so for a MacBook Pro: aluminum uni-body construction helps dissipate heat w/o high revving fans. Display is top-notch, keyboard and trackpad are top-notch. But its a laptop. If you want video editing get a Mac Pro. If you want games get Windows. Total Steve Jobs philosophy in play, still.  

 

Not saying its for everyone. But is what it is. :-)

 

 

Edited by tekio
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I have a MacBook Pro, I believe the first year they made retina display.  It rarely gets warm during normal use, and even more rare will the fan come on.  But when the fan actually does spin up, and sounds as if its never going to stop accelerating in speed, It always startles me at first and I find it little disturbing.  Usually because I moved on from whatever resource intensive task I started in the background, and usually forgotten there is no noticeable performance decline with other tasks.

 

But if I were to make the choice again to buy MacBook Pro again, and spend the amount of money I did, I'd seriously consider going with Macbook Air and maybe with a desktop system too.  It's fine for a few hours of web browsing but in no way can match the battery life of Mac Book air.  Also a bit too heavy to lounge around with for casual browsing.

 

One of the iMacs I have has some type liquid cooling and head dissipators inside towards to core of the unit.  I always ran very hot where as the unit i had purchased about 4 years prior, roughly same price and display size rarely got warm and had had no plumbing in it.

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3 minutes ago, Denguefevre said:

But if I were to make the choice again to buy MacBook Pro again, and spend the amount of money I did, I'd seriously consider going with Macbook Air and maybe with a desktop system too.  It's fine for a few hours of web browsing but in no way can match the battery life of Mac Book air.  Also a bit too heavy to lounge around with for casual browsing.

 

That's the approach I go with -- small, highly portable laptop, let the desktop do the heavy lifting. Works out being cheaper anyway, since you can get beefy off-lease workstations for good prices. My poor Lenovo X201 laptop is nearing retirement though!

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I typed that and waited about an hour before I came back and hit post

 

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Lenovo's are nice, Glitch!  My favorite laptop ever was my Thinkpad T30. Lasted about 5 years and only ended up on eBay because a RAM bank went out. Left me with a max of 500GB. 

 

Think that was by far the best Windows based notebook I've had by far: all quality parts from the U.S. Robotics 56K modem - to the Prism WiFi Chipset. Loved that notebook. 

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