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I'm about to buy a new application server for my office. It will manage the key card system and the security cameras. Uptime is critical and I'm going to be working straight off of it for the cameras so I want a good video card.

The server I was originally planning on using is a Dell PowerEdge T410 but it is headless (no video card) so not ideal for this usage, plus it's quite a few years old already, and I've recently repurposed it as my domain controller at home anyways. So I'd rather just get something new. Any recommendations? Don't want to go too cheap.

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Last Post by Ezekiel_1
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I would recommend building a whitebox. Get a good case with lots of cooling, a 1000watt power supply, an Intel workstation/server motherboard, one or two 6 core CPUs, 8-16GB of ECC fully buffered RAM (reliability - one stick fails, and the system falls back to the others without stopping), and a bunch of 7200rpm WD discs (I have found them more reliable than Seagate - they run a LOT cooler and I have experienced a lower failure rate). The Intel board may have built in video, but you can also install a nice nVidia card (workstation, not gaming quality) for very little $. I did this 6 years ago, and the system is still running 24x7. It is dated, but still kicks serious butt! I've had to replace a few discs, but the basic hardware has been faultless. Check out the Intel website - they have a lot of options and good documentation on the specs for you. I've found that their gear can be had at buy.com (now Rakuten.com, but still can access via the buy.com address) for good discounts and free shipping. I've been buying a lot of my tech gear there for about 10 years, and they have always been good about dealing with the occasional failure - especially disc drives where early failure is not uncommon.

About the video. nVidia's mid-range cards (in the $100-200 retail range) can handle dual HD videos and have enough horse power to run multiple HD video streams at the same time. My old 8800GT card can run dual full-screen 1920x1200 720-1000p videos simultaneously without flicker - and I think it cost me about $75 6 years ago! Today's cards are a LOT faster. I think you can run 2 cards if you need more monitors. Check on the nVidia web site for tech specs.

Hope this helps. A system like this with 4 2TB drives and a 500GB system disc in the case will run you $4000-5000, depending upon the CPU and RAM. The Intel server/workstation mobos support at least 6 sata drives internally, and one option for it is hardware raid, which is good for the data drives. That gives you 6TB of usable space. I think you can have an external sata connector so you can plug in a backup drive - especially important for the system drive so you can keep a bit-image of the system to restore if it fails for some reason. You could even plug in an external raid with enough space to keep the system drive images, and all your data, just in case! Just remember our good friend Murphy... :-)

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No, no, don't want to build a whitebox. Been there. Done that a million times over. :) I was super into hardware when I was in high school and college. Now I sell advertising for a living, I hate hardware, I'm trying to juggle DaniWeb with opening an entirely new business, and I just need something quick and easy that takes less than ten minutes to order and I can have delivered straight to the new office in 48 hours or less for the security guy who is coming next week to install his software onto.

Edited by Dani

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Ok. Clearer now... I was just trying to give you my best advice based upon what you had said. Time is an issue, but that wasn't clear in your post. What I said about configuration and reliability still stands. Intel does sell fully configured systems, available many places. Look there and see if anything they are offering is appropriate - I like their hardware for highly-reliable systems better than most. They will also point you to resellers where you can get gear quickly.

If you were using Linux I'd recommend someone like ZaReason.com in California, but you say you are using Windows - they are a Linux/BSD house entirely, but great people and support.

I take it your aren't interested in rack-mount gear? Nah. The comment about "headless" systems tells me that. I used to be a big Dell customer, but I haven't been too happy with them in recent years. Ditto HP at least for their current laptop offerings, though their server gear may be good for your needs.

In any case, this is the kind of mobo I was talking about in my last post: http://www.rakuten.com/prod/intel-workstation-system-p4304cr2lfkn-barebone-system-4u-pedestal/234873044.html

I'm still looking for systems I would recommend for your needs. Most are pretty pathetic. Small power supplies are the least of the issues. Just remember, Google is your friend! :-)

Ok, they may be a Linux shop, but they have good gear and can ship with no OS installed. Look here - this meets my requirements pretty well, and I think yours also: http://zareason.com/shop/ZU-7110.html

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Hello Dani,

Please remeber that this is my opinion however personally I would go with an ASUS or an HP. Dell used to be a quality product but over the past few years (in my opinion) the quality has gone down hill. HP and ASUS make a rugged product that can take knocks and have enough expansion bays to take your security system cards. Levono and Toshiba also make a good product but they both also cost more. Acer makes good laptops but they are new to the desktop market and they also us ASUS boards on some of their systems. ASUS makes a large percentage of HP's boards and have been doing so for longer (about 10 years) than many people realize.

Buying an ASUS you can get the same high quality mother board that you would pay a little more with another brand name on it (HP, Acer, Dell,etc). They also make systems pre-configured with fairly decent video cards. Best Buy Fry's and Tiger Direct all sell a lot of desktop computers and they stock more ASUS and HP than any other brands because they work out of the box and have the lowest return rate. If you want a system that is going to be working still in a couple of years then I say go with an HP or ASUS.

Hope this helps.

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I dont have a specific model to suggest, but I have had excellent experiences with HP servers. Mainly due to the reliability and HP support. Years ago (about 4 or so) I was heavily involved in server support. Had alot of experience with the DL360 and DL380 models ranging from Generation 1-5 at the time. I am a little bit distant to that now, but I have heard from close coworkers that their blade servers are excellent as well. If you purchase support with the server 4 hour response time, I can tell you that they will deliver on that at least that is what I experienced. Love HP Insight Manager as well for monitoring servers. When we tried Dell servers, the expereince we had was that even though we bought similar models, the equipment inside the server could be different. Different technicians would show up whenever we called. We did not care too much for Dell equipment or service.

I know you are looking for just one box and you may get similar results if you try different vendors, but when you are in a data center with the same HP brand accross the rows, it is evident that the brand does provide a value and low cost of ownership.

If it was me, i'd go with HP for server and storage.

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Most of the Dell T series Towerr machines will have expansion slots for drop in video cards. I have a t110 sitting next to me right now running Nas4Free and I does have expansion capability. It only has the single PSunit, but the newer models may give you dual PS options.

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I've decided to repurpose my main computer (which is eight years old, but was super top of the line back then and more than suits my needs for this purpose) and buy myself a brand new computer as an office-warming gift to myself.

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