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melquiades 11-05-2003 06:08 PM

Dual-cpu 450Mhx AP400 suitable as a low-cost server?
 
Hi all,
I've recently picked up an old compaq AP400 box for about 120 (approx. $75) and I've got some upgrades in mind in order to turn it into a linux server box. At present it has one PII 350Mhz cpu with 128meg of pc100 sdram. The motherboard can handle two cpu's and upto a gig of ram. I was thinking then about picking up two 450Mhz cpu's and the ram but never having run a dual-cpu box was wondering about a few things - can anyone shed any light on a couple of points for me please :-

a) how easy would it be for me to get the two cpu's working with slackware 9.0 (my distro of choice :D ) - I realise that it means recompiling the kernel (I found an email through google where someone successfully got the same box running so I know it can be done), but what sort of performance (over a single cpu 450Mhz) increase can I expect? would it be like a 900Mhz box, faster/slower than that, or non-comparable?

are dual-cpu systems good as servers? and will I see a perfomance increase in all software, or only that which is written especially for dual-cpu systems? also, is it possible for me to have eveything running on one cpu and dedicate the other to say apache, php & mysql?

b) the AP400 has a built in scsi controller on the m/board, would it be better to spend the extra cash on a scsi hard drive, or is the performance of IDE drives good enough now that it doesn't matter. (I'd only be wanting a 20gig drive either way)

c) is there any point in getting a full gig of ram or would 640meg do the job equally well? i.e. not be a bottleneck for the rest of the system?

any and all thoughts are greatly appreciated on this, the box didn't cost me a great deal so I'm budgeting about 100 ($160) for buying extra hardware from around the 'net, the two cpu's, the ram and a hard drive. - it's not my main box so I can take a little time on this, it's more sort of a little project to use cheap old hardware and see how effective it is revitalised by the total removal of microsoft! and set up as my own server for running my own personal sites (as opposed to client's who are hosted by professionals!! lol!)

cheers all, and thanks in advance,
Mlqds

kith 11-05-2003 06:27 PM

Quote:

the AP400 has a built in scsi controller on the m/board, would it be better to spend the extra cash on a scsi hard drive, or is the performance of IDE drives good enough now that it doesn't matter. (I'd only be wanting a 20gig drive either way)
The Scsi drive would greatly improve your server's ability to find information. However, it really depends on what you would use it for. If it would hold alot of users,s and get access alot I would definatly go with a Scsi drive!


Quote:

are dual-cpu systems good as servers? and will I see a perfomance increase in all software, or only that which is written especially for dual-cpu systems? also, is it possible for me to have eveything running on one cpu and dedicate the other to say apache, php & mysql?

From what I have read about a herd. A duel system preforms just as well if not better then a server with a single CPU. Basicly what 2 Cpu's will do is devide up the load, so if you had lets say 100 users in accessing information, one CPU would take 50, and the other, the remaing 50. So if theres alot of traffic on the box, 2 Cpu's will greatly out preform one.

Quote:

c) is there any point in getting a full gig of ram or would 640meg do the job equally well? i.e. not be a bottleneck for the rest of the system?
My personal opinion would be stay with the 640, unless however you have many many users accessing information. I run a Samba/Apache/File server on a 800 Mhz box with 128 ram - It doesn't even slow down when I have 20 people on it.


As for question a) I am not too sure, however my friend got 2 CPU's working just perfectly =)

Hope this helps!

-Kith

melquiades 11-06-2003 04:42 AM

hey kith,
thanks a lot for the reply, very useful indeed, I think I'll go with your recommendations and see if I can find a scsi drive, and 640meg of ram - should be able to pull the whole thing in budget that way too :) good to hear that it should be ok as a server being dual, I was hoping that that would be the case - you don't know how it will run as a normal linux box do you, i.e. will programs run at '450Mhz speed' or will I see an improvement in all appps do you know?
thanks again mate, very much appreciated :D


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