Impressions of a PowerEdge SC430 server

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Jonathan Eales, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. I'd promised this group my experiences of the new DELL PowerEdge SC430 entry
    level server. Here goes....

    This was to be my first exposure to new technologies; SATA, DDR2, dual-core,
    Gigabit Ethernet, etc. All for just £175 including VAT and delivery!

    The case is impressive, looks great and solidly built, opens easily and
    everything is accessible, even the memory slots. There are not too many
    expansion bays available just one SATA disk and an extra optical drive bay.
    Don't plan to install a RAID 5 disk array!
    The case looks like it will be used for the forthcoming Dimension 3100

    I added a CD-RW drive (£15) and a floppy (£4) which clipped into place using
    the special screws on the back of the blanking plates you have to remove.
    The optical drive data cable is already in place and the floppy cable can be
    clipped across the motherboard and CPU cooling duct.

    Starting the system as instructed using the DELL Server Assist CD causes
    video corruption halfway through the Linux installation followed by a screen
    which gives you no option but to reboot the system. Great!

    Installing the first CD of Windows Small Business Server 2003 gave no
    problems and allowed me to repartition the disk as I wanted. I then loaded
    Windows XP Professional into the other partition by preloading the SATA RAID
    controller files onto a floppy and doing the initial F6 trick. All
    subsequent drivers loaded easily. The graphics is integrated XGI Volari Z7
    which is a server graphics implementation without any 3D capabilities. I
    would have preferred Intel GMA900 integrated graphics.

    The system runs very quietly for a server.Just a low pitched thrumming
    noise. It sounds like a classic British sports car exhaust at idle. It has
    a large passive CPU heatsink and a 120mm slow running fan. This might speed
    up a bit with a hotter dual-core CPU under load.

    The system runs fast for a 2.53Ghz Celeron with just 256Mb memory. If you
    want to expand the memory you can add a rare 256Mb DIMM or get two 512Mb
    DIMMs from Crucial for just £84 and dump the DELL supplied DIMM.

    I'm impressed with this server and will buy them for my customers. DELL
    need to look at their software installation CD, however this is not a
    showstopper. It works well as a small file/print/web server in an office
    environment. A really good deal if you wait for the occasional special offer
    on this entry level server.
    Jonathan Eales, Oct 19, 2005
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  2. Jonathan Eales

    paul_ponting Guest

    Can you install a standard IDE CD-ROM drive in these? I have tried with
    mine and cannot get it to work?
    paul_ponting, Oct 20, 2005
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  3. Yes you can. Just connect it on to the IDE cable, set with the jumper it to
    Master device and then when the system reboots, you have to press F2 to get
    into the Setup BIOS and then activate the PATA device 0.

    If you have problems with this, then get back to me.

    Jonathan Eales, PC-fix-IT

    Can you install a standard IDE CD-ROM drive in these? I have tried with
    mine and cannot get it to work?
    Jonathan Eales, Oct 20, 2005
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