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.NET Hobbyist Programmer Staying Confused in a Busy World

In Robert Burns "To A Mouse," the author said that the "The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley."  In modern English, we render this as "the best laid plans of mice and men, oft' go awry."  I remember reading the entire poem during high school long ago.  I was reminded of that when I found the report I subsequently wrote for my English Literature class.  Little did I know that the saying would apply very strongly to me.

I wrote earlier that I intended to add a SATA RAID to my current server board in a new chassis.  I ran into a few problems with that plan.  To set the stage, I wanted to move the motherboard of a Dell PowerEdge 500SC to a new Antec case.  The first problem I noticed was that Dell used a proprietary ribbon cable connector for the front panel controls.  Second, the rear IO panel was smaller than the ATX standard.  Third, Dell used a custom CPU cooling arrangement where a rear case fan (a small, fast, noisy three-bladed one too) took suction over the CPU heat sink via a plastic duct ("cooling fan shroud").  I did not want the down time and hassles of crafting a custom solution to solve each of these, so I decided to go all the way and build a new SOHO server to hold my new SATA RAID.

The first challenge was to choose the motherboard.  I wanted it to be good, but not cutting edge in order to reduce the cost.  I decided to go with an Intel server MB based on their 875 chip set.  The server board choice got me embedded video and NIC, thereby eliminating the requirement for extra cards.  The processor choice was broader, but I looked at the price points and went with a Pentium 4 at 2.8 GHz.  The HyperThreading model I chose from WiredZone gives me a 800 MHz front-side bus with this 875 MB.  This drove me to DDR400 (PC3200) DIMMs from BITS.  Choosing the right processor and memory was easy once I selected the MB because I just used the Intel website to download the lists of compatible units.  It was very easy once I puzzled through all the links and options available.

Next I had to choose the peripherals.  I already had the RAID controller, enclosure, and hard drives.  My optical drive choice was a DVD+/-RW 12X SONY DRU-540A unit from NewEgg.  This will allow me to do backups of the drive images I intend to start making.  A simple 3.5" floppy drive rounds out the equipment list.  This is necessary for loading the RAID drivers and other BIOS updates.

This equipment is either on-hand or on-order.  As it arrives, I'll build the system and see how things work.

Posted on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:56 PM & Etc. | Back to top

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