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We had an HP Proliant DL160G5 racked in a datacenter that after an year of good work started to show instabilities that we couldn't trace down to specific hardware elements. When doing an hardware upgrade we replaced it with other servers and took it in our office, then had HP replace the motherboard and we replaced the disks. I'm trying to do some stress tests on it to see if I can reproduce instabilities or not.

Being used to Dell servers, this thing is noisy and "sounds" strange to me! Our Dell servers will run fans fullspeed for just some seconds right after poweron then slow down. They will slowly get faster when under load.

This damn thing instead does like this:

  • at poweron it will keep fans low (I'd say under 3k RPM) for 40 seconds, no output on console, no IPMI readout
  • then it'll show the white screen with HP logo, IPMI reads 3.0~3.5k RPM on all fans, ambient temp around 40°C, no cpu temp readout. This goes on for 2.5 minutes, more or less.
  • then it'll show the text summary of installed hardware and proceeds to start the bootloader (grub in my case). Fans will fly up to 12~13k RPM, ambient temp drops to 25°C and CPU temp reads more or less the same
  • in some other 4 or 5 minutes fans will slow down to 9~10k RPM and stay there with all temps stabilized between 25 and 30 °C, with a totally idle Ubuntu 10.04 server booted up
  • if I get all 4 CPU cores to 100% use the cpu temp will rise just a little and then stabilize, fans will not get faster

Does anyone have the same HP server or similar ones to compare it? Would you consider normal to have fans at over 9k RPM during normal usage? Our Dells, ranging from older SC1425 to newer R300, all stay at half that fan speed in even hotter racks.

My server configuration is:

  • HP Proliant DL160G5 with 1x Xeon E5405
  • 2x1G + 2x2G + 2x4G = 14GiB of ram
  • SATA non-hotswap 4 disk backplane populated with 2x 160GB 7200rpm disks
  • no PCI addon cards, standard single non-hotswap PSU

I used distributed.net's client to get the 4 cores to 100% utilization, it's pure CPU load with no load on memory or disks.

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I would say yes, it's pretty normal - those 1U HP servers make a lotta noise!

I have a Proliant DL360 in my server room (not the same as yours, but still 1U) and it is one of the noisiest (if not the noisiest) server in the room. I had reason to turn it off once, and the noise in the room went down a phenomenal amount when it was off.

You might want to see if there's any firmware updates available and apply them - they solve some weird and wonderful problems, as well as do your server some good. I've had them solve things like reports of overheating, as well as some fan issues before.

It might also be worth your while poking around the BIOS to see if there's any settings for the fans. I doubt it, as like I said, the 1U servers are noisy little things - but you never know.

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