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Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

Lee Bernhang
Occasional Visitor

Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

Hello All:

Please excuse my ignorance on this issue. All the work I usually do is on individual clients, not servers.

Could someone give me a "heads up" on whether its possible to recycle a Proliant ML310 to use it as a standard desktop tower / client running Windows XP SP3?

If not, does it have all the parts I would need except I would need a standard motherboard for a stand alone desktop to use with the hard drive, memory, etc.?

Again, please excuse my ignorance on this topic and thank you for any thoughts. I don't know if this unit is a G1, G2, G3 etc., I only got a phone call about it so far, I haven't actually seen it yet.

THANK YOU.
6 REPLIES
KarloChacon
Honored Contributor

Re: Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

yeah why not?

just install window XP and let it run
I've seen a lot of people using servers as XP machines no need to change any hardware

bye
Didn't your momma teach you to say thanks!
Jonathan Rullan
Occasional Advisor

Re: Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

It is definitely possible as long as the drivers are available for XP (which they usually are).

The only thing you might run into is XP not noticing the hard drive when trying to set up. You might need to find SCSI/Raid driver and press F6 while the XP setup utility is starting up.
Ed Meadows
Advisor

Re: Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

Just some thoughts here on possible issues that you may want to check out:

While I've read that XP Pro will theoretically drive multiple physical processors (up to 2), I've read some discussions about situations where XP Pro didn't cooperate. If your box has multiple physical processors you might want to Google "XP Pro multiple physical processors" and have a look for yourself. In the hits, be careful to distinguish discussions about multiple CORES on a single CPU from multiple PHYSICAL processors; some people don't understand the difference.

For XP Pro, as mentioned in a post above, expect that you'll have to supply disk drive drivers (SAS or SATA). If your box has SATA drives I know you'll have to do this; I doubt that SAS drivers are there on the XP Pro installation disk, either. I've had to install non-resident SATA drivers at o/s installation time by pressing F6 and in MY situation my only option was to use a DISKETTE to supply these drivers, so my box had to have a diskette drive. You should verify that you can supply the drivers on a CD-ROM at F6 time if your box doesn't have a diskette drive. Finding the correct drivers may be challenging if you're not used to doing this.

Lastly, you should verify that your box will operate quietly enough in the environment you intend to use it in. Servers have many more fans than your standard desktop so expect it to be much noisier.

Good luck - personally I would love to do something like this.
Lee Bernhang
Occasional Visitor

Re: Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

Thank you all for the input so far. If I can work out the drivers for the disk drives, I was thinking it might run really well, better than a desktop if it has multiple processors...
David Claypool
Honored Contributor

Re: Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

This is a BAD IDEA. First, it was designed for computer room operation and will be a lot noisier and require a lot more airflow than you will be comfortable with deskside. Secondly, especially if this is an earlier model, the SCSI drives will be a lot smaller and a lot more costlier than consumer SATA hard drives today. Third, this almost assuredly is from generations before multi-core processors, and earlier generation processors at that. Fourth, the energy consumed will be much greater than a current desktop. Finally, a brand new high-end PC such as that at http://www.shopping.hp.com/product/desktops/m8500f_series/rts/4/computer_store/KT334AA%2523ABA will perform better and at $749 will be a lot less expensive than taking a server from years ago and upgrading memory, drive space, sound card, graphics card, DVD burner, etc. The Pavilion m8530f at the link has a quad-core processor, 5GB of RAM and 750GB of storage. Comparatively, the ML310 is going to probably come with <2GB of memory, 2 processor sockets with 1 or 2 single-core processors, and most likely somewhere between 100GB and 200GB of storage. Oh, and you won't have to struggle trying to find compatible drivers.
Lee Bernhang
Occasional Visitor

Re: Can a Proliant server be converted to use as a standard desktop?

David:

I appreciate your thoughts too. You have a LOT of good points.

I got the tower today, it is type 306669-002 P4 2.53gHz 512k 256MB I think two 40gig ATA drives. It still has Windows NT 4.0 loaded and it is VERY clean, not a spot of dust.

I wonder what it's worth? I think maybe $700-900 from what I saw on EBay and other sources...