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I need to buy a box to be used as a development workstation and install windows 2003 x64 server on it. I will be using VS2008, SQL and similar tools on it. I bought a box from HP (HP Compaq dc7900) and can't get drivers for the chipset and sound for 2k3 server (tried everything). My concern with buying a low end server box to be used as a workstation is poor graphics card (I have 2 monitors) and lack of sound card. Besides building my own (which I don't have time for) are there options out there that will likely work? I am trying to stay on the lower side of the budget.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

I've been running XP x64 which is the same code base as Win 2003 server x64 for over 3 years. Apart from my ancient Samsung laser (now deceased), I had no problems with any drivers.

x64 support is far better then you expect.. and I expect HP's website would have them all too. However, you have bought a SFF which is not a workstation. Oddly, HP site offers Vista x64 drivers

Any sensible desktop PC would be OK: check your vendor's website first... or move to Vista/7

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After looking at the workstation you have, if you can return it I'd look into buying a more compatible workstation with Win2k3 x64 so that driver compatibility isn't an issue. For a developer workstation, I can see how Win2k3 x64 is absolutely necessary so really the machine needs to change in order to run it. As this might not be an option, I have another idea.

It looks like your computer is more of a low-end desktop. Assuming you have enough memory (2GB+), maybe another option would be to run Windows XP x64, and run Windows 2003 x64 virtually (for free) with VirtualBox. It's a bit a of a stretch, but you can tune more resources for the server and VirtualBox maybe able to abstract the chipset/sound and get the underlying host OS (WinXP) to take care of the issue for you. Again, it's a bit of a long shot but it could resolve your issue. I'd read up on the VirtualBox site and all the compatibility issues (maybe like running a 64-bit guest in a 32-bit host, or dual monitor issues) for more information.

For your dual monitor situation, I'd add an additional (compliant) video card. Matrox, nVidia, etc. would probably be better suited for dual monitor setup. Now, I don't have any experience with running VirtualBox and dual montior setups so again, refer to the VirtualBox site.

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Thanks a lot, that's a great idea. I would prefer a hardware solution, but if it doesn't work out, this seems like a good option. –  Greg R Aug 19 '09 at 22:55
    
Glad to help out. Seems odd to me that Win2k3 wouldn't have the driver support for the chipset itself. I could understand the audio drivers, but chipset support is usually much wider and really based on CPU. If the OS supports 'X' CPU, then whatever chipsets support 'X' will have driver support. Either way, I guess the virtualbox idea is worth a shot. –  osij2is Aug 20 '09 at 18:22

Windows Server 2003 x64 and Windows XP x64 should use the same drivers. I'd try looking for XPx64 drivers if the hardware vendor offers them. I'm afraid your alternative would be to look at Windows 2008 x64 on your workstation or 64-bit Vista or Win7 and then run 2003 x64 in a VM. There is a wealth of information on using 2008 as a workstation at Win2008Workstation.com

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