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Repurpose old server

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Occasional Contributor

Repurpose old server

I posted this in another HP forum and they suggested I post it here to get assistance.


HP ML350 G5 Server.

Windows Server 2003 installed.

product model number 459262-005

Twin Quad Core processors at 2.66 Ghz.


4x146 GB 10K drives, RAID

Tape drive with SCSI card.

Graphics ATI ES1000 16 MB


O.K., so I'm new to this forum as the date will show.  I have repurposed and re done numerous computers and HP printers, mostly 4050 and 4100 for people to reuse.  They last.

But, I was gifted with the server and well, with Windows Server 2003, it has a limited time to be used for anything and I can't seer buying a newer version.  That costs!

I was thinking of repurposing it for a storage source and constantly remotely avaliable unit for our P2P net. But what I'm wondering is if it is possible to get faster RAM (DDR3 instead of the DDR2) and if those processors are upgradeable or do I need to replace the motherboard. 

And I'll just remove the SCSI card and tape drive, never gonna use those anyway.

And if that's not enough, would it work to put in a Windows version, 7 or 8, or would Linux be better?

Neat little challenge project, but assistance or advice is needed.

Have I left anything out?

Thanks every one.


p.s. I now know that the DDR2 upgrade is only do-able with a system board replace. don't really want to do that yet.  And I hope HP can sell me the bracket to install a SATA hard drive for more storage.

again thanks and if this is in the wrong place. - Aplogies.



P.S. This thread has been moved from Proliant Storage Systems to ProLiant Servers (ML,DL,SL) - HP Forum Moderator

Occasional Contributor

Re: Repurpose old server

and just to add to this:

I'd like to add internal storage to this unit that is not on the SCSi array (RAID)

is there a bracket that can be had to do this?

There are of course cable spots evident on the motherboard, but HP doesn't seem to show a bracket for this.

Googling hasn't given me anything but brakets to add more drives to the array.

any ideas or is this just not done?


Frequent Advisor

Re: Repurpose old server



The ML350 can take up to 32GB PC2 5300 DDR2 667 Fully Buffered Registered RAM.


Other than that, the processors will suffice as they are, if you want an upgrade, 2 x X5460 Xeons 3.16 Ghz, would provide some perfomance boost.

The CPU socket is LGA771 running at a bus speed of 1333 Mhz, however with a bios update, will run 1666Mhz processors.


The Server can accomodate up to 6 1TB sata hdds, the SAS adapters will work with SATA drives, just not the other way around, you can use SATA drives with the current HDD cage, the SAS drives are removed, and the new disks use the same backplane.


Windows 7 / 8 is not supported, but will work with a RAM upgrade.


Hope this helps.






Frequent Advisor

Re: Repurpose old server

Hi Matthew,


I would worry myself about changing the systemboard at a later date the form factor is custom as is the psu pinout so there are no real upgrade paths that way.


Still the system has enough upgrade options to allow it to be a powerful server workstation for some time to come, an 8 core 2.66GHz system is still pretty meaty these days.  The highest officially supported CPU's for this system are 3.16GHz X5460 Xeons, putting anything higher in there runs the risk of either not posting or if it does post receiving the dreaded "unsupported cpu installed system will now shut down" message.  As X5492's are still expensive cpu's due to their rarity this could be an expensive experiment.


As has been mentioned by others it can take a good sized chunk of ram so it's unlikely you'll need to worry about running out of headroom anytime soon. 


As for SATA, the SAS bays can take SATA drives too, so with you 4 free bays you can put 4 x 1TB 2.5" drives in there if you wish and all you would need to do to utilize them is to buy 4 hotplug caddies for them from eBay for around £5 each. You can also get a Large form factor drive bay for the 350G5 but this would mean losing your 4 x 146GB SAS drives & it only allows for 6 LFF drives rather than the 8 the SSF bay supports.  I suppose it just depends on how much capacity you really need.


Windows 7 will definitely work on it but I'm not sure this is the right o/s for the server unless you want to turn it to a workstation but then you'll have to source a discrete gfx card for it that's less than pcie 16x as the slots on the board are 8x slots or if you're very brave take a dremel to the end of one of the slots to cut a groove in the plastic to allow a 16x card to be fitted. This can be done but it's NOT recommended unless your both steady handed and really keen.   Also to turn it to a workstation you'll ideally want to find a sound card for it too.


If disk performance is paramount the one cheap performance boost you can get is to add a P400 array card to replace the integrated E200i as this is very slow compared to a P400 especially if it's just the 64MB version & P400's are available for next to nothing nowadays.  Selling the Tape drive & scsi card would more than pay for this.



Hope this is of some help to you.






Honored Contributor

Re: Repurpose old server

I wouldn't bother upgrading the motherboard or processors until you have been running it to capacity and found it slow.

You should put in as much memory as it will take (16GB or 32GB depending on model) but see this link for supported memory configurations.


Have you considered installing vmware ESXi ? Version 3 will work, version 4 may work, version 5 may not, but it's free.

This will give you the option of running any guest operating system.


Make sure you have the HP smartstart CD from


This machine has an iLo port for remote management, you have to press F8 on boot to configure it




Occasional Advisor

Re: Repurpose old server

Onyl for storage?

If you want to have a large ammount cheep storage you can buy an used Smart array p600 and a 5 bay 3.5" internal storage cabbinet (similar to this:, these are not ment for proliant but they will fit wit a small ammount  of voilence. 

But if you only are going to use ut for storage a pro consumer NAS would be better, I gave up using my Proliant for storage.

Occasional Contributor

Re: Repurpose old server

Thank you everyone for the very helpful comments and suggestions.

Pondering this will take time.

In fact, I may re-gift it to someone who has more time to play and may be able to put it to better use.

Then again.... having paid nothing, I have nothing to lose.

But I'll make sure the unit doesn't become a shelf queen.

It needs to run.

all the best,