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We have two 3rd party cards that we would like to install into a Rackmountable box. One card is a full-height & full-length 5volt PCI card, so we cannot put this into a PCI-X slot. The other card requires a PCI-X slot. It would be nice to have a PCIe slot or two for possible future upgrades.

The real kicker is that this box needs to be able to run Windows XP as this is currently the only supported OS for the cards' drivers. I only mention this because we tried putting XP on our Dell Poweredge 2950 and it wouldn't even boot into the blue XP install screen.

Ideally we would like to get 2x Quad Cores in there with support up to 4GB of memory. Going up to a 4U chassis would be acceptable but a 3U would be preferable.

I would appreciate any recommendations you guys have to offer.


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When you say "Box" you actually mean a complete server, don't you? Because a "box" (literal) doesn't care what operating system is on it... – Mark Henderson Feb 3 '10 at 23:52
In that case, yes, a complete server as Win XP support is a must have. – SiegeX Feb 4 '10 at 0:16
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Getting a server board with PCI 5v, PCI-X and PCIe is still possible (Intel currently produces a couple/few - the S5000VSA series boards). You'll probably have to approach a reputable/local Intel reseller and get them to work with you to build a custom server for you that implements one of these boards, especially if you're concerned about rack space.

Intel server boards don't support XP inherently (since it's not for servers), but their drivers are unified enough that we've gotten XP working on their lower-end server boards that don't 'support it' in the past.

If you don't like Intel then I'd say identify a board by another manufacturer that you like, but still work with a custom server builder as it sounds like your needs go beyond the usual 'off the shelf' from the bigger OEMs.

You better act quick ;) as all the newer boards have all but dropped everything but PCIe.

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Some of the older IBM x3850 (pdf) series had PCI-X and PCIe, no idea if you could get Windows XP to load on one though

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