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Quiet Tower Server
Looking for high powered, yet quiet tower server

 10:16 pm on Dec 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am going around in circles on this, so thought I would ask for help from the community. I need a very powerful server that isn't too noisy to sit by my desk. I'm currently running a three year old Dell Precision 690, but the motherboard is going...

Specs that I need:

Dual Quad/Hex core processors for 64 bit OS
> 48GB of RAM
Raid 10 SAS - 4 x 600GB preferably at 6Gb/s

I originally thought I would try a Dell PowerEdge T710, but then I saw some complaints on noise and an article on modding the fans (not something I want to do).

I guess I'm steering towards a Dell Precision T7500 today, but I just noticed that it doesn't have 6GB/s, at least with the configurator options I've been trying.

Does anyone have experience with a powerful, yet quiet tower server?



 2:36 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

well if you don't want to mod fans then my suggestion of if you want something like that, that is going to be quiet. build it yourself.

If thats to much pay someone else to do it, everything that goes into that server is going to have to have sound in mind, so each part will have to be picked out with that in mind.


 3:45 pm on Dec 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I really want a 24/7/365 onsite warranty for 3-4 years. While I can do mods, upgrades, and repairs its not the best use of my time.

I just noticed that the HP Proliant tower servers appear to have a lot less noise pollution than the comparable Dell models.


 1:00 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Have you considered a quiet, custom built PC instead of a straight server?

I just bought a PC that'll easily hold 4 hard drives. The drive chassis's come with silicon holders to dampen noise.

You can then easily have installed top notch (and quiet) system and CPU fans for not much money.

Throw in some real fast and dirt cheap DDR3 Ram

And use SSD hard drives - they're completely silent. And fast.

The other option would be to drag a network cable to somewhere away from your desk and park the machine in another room. My two servers at home go in the basement.


 5:15 pm on Dec 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have been looking into high end workstations as well. My current workstation only has 4 drive bays and its limited expandability has been a sore point for the last 1.5 years. e.g. maxed out at 48GB of RAM, power supply not big enough, not enough drives, no RAID 10.

I guess that's why I'm leaning towards a larger server. I want the ability to add drives & RAM as needed. I'm really I/O bound with the data processing I do so large drive arrays with a very fast I/O bus is needed.

You are right about the SSD's and my plan was to wait until Intel releases their new, larger capacity SSD's in the first half of 2011. I've just been getting about 2-3 blue screens a week, coupled with a dead PCI controller and a dying SATA controller.

I really benefited from the Dell onsite warranty with "keep your drives" with my current computer. I tend to kill drives pretty quickly with constant read/writes from many threads, 24/7/365. Then again, I was using WD Raptors, which have a very high failure rate.

I'm mulling over the idea of moving the server into an existing server closet, but cooling would be an issue. I would need an HVAC guy to come out and add a thermastat. I currently only use this closet for modem/router/UPS/switch box.


 1:27 am on Dec 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

HP has a professional workstation serie which comes close to your needs. The only limitation is that they allow only one hex-core processor as far as I know.


 5:23 am on Dec 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am trying to imagine why someone needs that horsepower on their desk. I bet it's a cool reason.


 3:04 pm on Dec 22, 2010 (gmt 0)

The simplified answer is that I build a large Lucene search index for use by my website. I need a dev box that is also capable of building the same Lucene index so that I can test code changes without interrupting the production servers. I have to pre-process a little more than a terabyte of data prior to the Lucene build and I need a rebuild to finish in less than 24 hours, else code tweaks become very painful.

I use my dev box for a lot more than that, but the Lucene index is the primary reason for the power.


 12:41 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)


mm cool application (I must ask my colleague from the Search side of our firm what they used to build their Lucerne index on) ,

Have you considered a system built on EVGA's SR2 Motherboard (dual xeons) - there is a company that does overclocked bundles.



 1:58 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

jskrewson - I understand what you're saying about buying something off the shelf and the value of your time. I build my own computers and it is an investment.

Just a quick mention since SSDs came up. I don't know your total storage needs, but keep an eye out next year for drives like OCZs Z drives. They make Enterprise class SLC devices (up to 512 gig) as well as MLC devices (up to 2 TB).


 2:24 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

This is difficult. Servers meant to be reliable as possible so the fans tend to run full speed to prevent overheating and dust accumulation.

You can either change the fans to lower dB / similar CFM devices, or undervolt the existing fans but this would probably invalidate the warranty.

Take a look at the bios. There may be fan speed options in there where you can set for optimal / silence / performance. Changing that will not affect warranty at all, with only a slight speed trade off.

Work out the total cost of the server with 24/7/365 warranty and then price up similar or better with a self build and then price up a hardware contract with a local IT hardware support co.

It's no joke working with loud fans in close proximity. Your hearing will be damaged over time.


 2:27 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

I forgot. If you are looking at a self build look for water cooling. You will be able to overclock thus get extreme performance for a lower cost, and you will use less fans.


 2:46 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

dell poweredges sound like hair dryers! I worked in a room with a few of those monsters. :-(


 9:51 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

Good to know J_RaD. Computer manufacturer's must publish noise pollution data, so I've been comparing numbers with my current Dell Precision. It looked like the Poweredge's were much louder, but its good to hear from someone who knows for sure.

In production, I currently build my Lucene Index with dual quad core X5570's, 48 GB of RAM, 2 x 600GB 15 RPM SCSI in RAID 1, with a 2 x 64GB Intel X25-E SSD's in RAID 0. I use the RAID-0 as a scratch space, specifically to build the Lucene index. Unfortunately, it isn't big enough for the final optimize step. I'm really looking forward to bigger Intel SSD's. I also could use more RAM, because I am paging quite a bit during some of the pre-processing steps, which involve clustering the data.

I think with about 70+GB of RAM and larger SSD's, my entire search index build will scream along. I've been holding off on upgrading my back end production server until I can get faster I/O with larger SSD's. Hopefully in the first quarter of 2011.


 10:21 pm on Dec 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

1st time i heard a poweredge fire up my jaw dropped, I couldn't believe i had to install a few of those in the server room that my desk was currently in as well....good thing i had a black box cabinet to shove them in.

how come you aren't running some fast 15,000 RPM drives?


 12:17 am on Dec 25, 2010 (gmt 0)

I am running 15K RPM SCSCI for mirrored backup of my important data, but the SSD's are necessary for Lucene index creation. They are much, much, much faster than the 15k RPM drives.

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