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I say 2012 as we'll likely be buying last year's hardware. We're non-profit (a two-man operation), and this purchase isn't on project funding, so we're cost-restricted, but I always advocate for long-term investment rather than the quick fix. We make do with what we have otherwise...

This is a simple Windows fileserver (5-10 clients) for storing large .TIF images. The transfers are part of the daily workflow (no matter how much we queue batches after hours, it ends up being a poor workaround). When even two clients are pushing/pulling concurrently, I notice the server CPU usage is solid at 100%.

Recently upgraded our 10/100 switch to a gigabit smart switch and hope to implement NIC teaming. I know there will always be a bottleneck somewhere, but it's clearly obvious the bottleneck now is the server CPU.

Looking for a mATX MoBo+CPU to upgrade in-place, either desktop-able (for when we get a 'real' fileserver), or future-ready.

current setup (hardly a 'server'):

old Acer MoBo

AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (socket AM2)
PC2-6400 2x1GB (running @ 368.3 MHz ?)
Windows XP Pro 32-bit
a somewhat 'hefty' PCIe RAID card that isn't running RAID yet (readying our collections for cloud storage first, then will probably go RAID-5)

I see people saying CPU isn't important for a fileserver, but my first thought after seeing the 100% usage was that even simply upgrading to a modern multi-core DDR3 system (such as a 'Bundle Deal' from NCIX) would be a great start, but then I wonder if I'm paying for features I don't need.

Intel i3 good enough? AMD Bulldozer a better bang/buck? Focus on modern bus speeds rather than multi-core capability? There's a relatively cheap Intel Mini-ITX 'server' board with dual LAN controllers ( http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=75073 ), but then we're talking about ECC 'server-grade' RAM and a Xeon CPU (it also takes i3, but then why don't I just grab the current weekly i3 bundle deal?)

Basically, we're losing valuable productivity to hardware that can't keep up with the competing workflows.

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closed as not constructive by Magellan, Michael Hampton, EEAA, MadHatter, faker Jan 19 '13 at 23:18

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possible duplicate of Can you help me with my capacity planning? –  MadHatter Jan 19 '13 at 23:00
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1 Answer

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There's no single recommendation that works in all cases. I'd seriously look at an entry-level HP ProLiant or Dell server that either comes with a Windows server license or is verified to work with it. On the HP side, a ML or DL 100-series is good. Buy a unit with enough RAM and a real hardware RAID controller/solution. Any modern CPU will have the requisite horsepower for this task.

I'd scrap the idea of building anew. The packaged servers are so inexpensive that it doesn't make sense.

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