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Dell Dimension 4300S - What components to upgrade? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi -

    I've read a bunch of forum posts -- and am still not confident with suitability and upgrade path. I appreciate any help.

    My goal is build an economical WHS with 2x500 GB core storage using old Dell 4300S.  Use: media storage (primarily photo and music served to Apple TV) and network storage and back-up for 4 computers (wife is professional writer -- backup is very important).

    I figure this is worth the effort if I can achieve substantial savings vs. HP EX470 + additional 500Gb HDD.

    4300s configuration: P4 1.6Ghz, 845 chipset, standard 10/100 NIC, 256+128 133 memory,, CD-ROM. Space and noise not issues since I will put it in a closet

    Questions:

    1. Current configuration seems to meet the minimum and acceptable specs: Am I missing something?

    2. HDD upgrade: 4300S is a small chasis with a 3.5" main drive and IDE slots for a good old 3.5" floppy and the 5" CD-ROM. Should I (1) stick with ATA-100 and IDE and use one or both of the internal drives,  (2) move to external drives. If I go external, can I just use the USB ports (IDE or SATA drives?) or do I need a PCE/SATA card?

    3. Memory: By spec, I can upgrade to 512K; apparently, lots of people upgrade successfully to 512K+512K for Windows use. Does it matter?

    4. DVD- I'll buy the cheapest available. My understanding from the forums is to make sure the drivers are compatable with WS2003.


    5. NIC: Can I stick with the original Dell 10/100?

    Thanks to any and all for the help. If you think this is a waste of $$, please let me know.

    Regards,

    Ken
    Thursday, November 20, 2008 4:21 PM

Answers

  • Hello,
    1. No, your current system does not meat the minimum requirements with less than 512 MB RAM.
    2. Depends on how many clients you will backup and how many data you wish to store in Shared folders (with or without duplication). External solutions are often experienced as causing trouble, especially also USB attached devices added to the storage pool.
    3. Less than 512 MB is below the requirements, but the slower a system is by its other specifications, the more it can win with additional memory.
    4. DVD not much to say about, since you only need it for installation.
    5. NIC - again depends from the usage scenario - many clients with big disks to backup or big files transfered to or from shared folders may make the feeling slow. But also depends, how the home network infrastructure is at all.
    Generally said, I would not stick with old hardware, if you value your data, since the risk to fail due to hardware error is much higher. We have seen several Dell PCs fail due to faulty capacitors on motherboards (not the Dimension series, anyway) and power supplies.  Also the power efficiency is not what can be understood as cost saving.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, November 21, 2008 7:38 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hello,
    1. No, your current system does not meat the minimum requirements with less than 512 MB RAM.
    2. Depends on how many clients you will backup and how many data you wish to store in Shared folders (with or without duplication). External solutions are often experienced as causing trouble, especially also USB attached devices added to the storage pool.
    3. Less than 512 MB is below the requirements, but the slower a system is by its other specifications, the more it can win with additional memory.
    4. DVD not much to say about, since you only need it for installation.
    5. NIC - again depends from the usage scenario - many clients with big disks to backup or big files transfered to or from shared folders may make the feeling slow. But also depends, how the home network infrastructure is at all.
    Generally said, I would not stick with old hardware, if you value your data, since the risk to fail due to hardware error is much higher. We have seen several Dell PCs fail due to faulty capacitors on motherboards (not the Dimension series, anyway) and power supplies.  Also the power efficiency is not what can be understood as cost saving.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Friday, November 21, 2008 7:38 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,
    I agree with what Olaf has said, also, the HP server comes as 'standard' with 512mb memory but users have found that if you intend doing anything other than using it as a storage medium, then the minimum memory requirement is 2gb. Particularly if you ever intend streaming to more than one Client at a time.
    Also, that 'old' Dell just isn't very power efficient at all, in the end, your overall costs will be higher, just sreap out over a longer period.

    Colin

    If anyone answers your query successfully, please mark it as 'Helpful', to guide other users.
    Friday, November 21, 2008 10:08 AM
    Moderator
  • When you can buy an HP MediaSmart server for $299 it's time to forget about a build your own system and pull the trigger.
    http://www.homeserverhacks.com/2008/11/officemax-selling-mediasmartserver-for.html
    Monday, November 24, 2008 12:54 AM