So, I'm tasked with helping buy motherboard/CPU/ram for a 2U server, that will be brought in luggage to China. The requirements are that the hardware is reliable/stable (read: long lasting) at the best price possible. It doesn't matter if it's not bleeding edge. Apparently they already have a 2U chassis over there that used to have a desktop board which is now having heat problems.
Unfortunately I am not well informed on the load.

I am not well versed in the intricacies of server hardware, and would generally just buy a reliable server and be done with it, so I don't really know how to pick. The guy over in China doesn't seem very well informed in general either. He had suggested a Supermicro MBD-X8DTL-iF-O with really bad reviews, and had wanted to buy the motherboard for its on-board RAID. He wants to try RAID apparently.

I am currently considering buying a Supermicro MBD-X8DTL-iF-O ($299.99), 2 Xeon 5506 CPUs ($460) and 2x(3x2gb) Kingston ValueRam (ECC unbuffered) (~$150) from NewEgg. I had looked at a ASUS Z8PE-D12X, but I see people not recommending ASUS and some strange complaints about PSU compatibility.

tl;dr: Please help with any suggestions. In fact, I would be happy to just be given specific models to buy. Motherboard/CPU/RAM for a 2U chassis.

Note: If there is a really significant stability difference, price will be less important. Support is irrelevant, as this hardware is going to China.

EDIT: Clarified some details, will go back to convincing those involved of just buying the server Just for the sake of information, if I was going to buy just those parts for build yourself, what should I get?

  • 5
    Have fun getting that through customs.
    – Joel K
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:41
  • A reliable server thats being carried through regular luggage? Isnt that a oxymoron?
    – pauska
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:44
  • 9
    * fetches crystal ball * I see a latex glove in your future
    – Chopper3
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:46
  • @Chopper3: I'm reminded of PCU. Just try to relax....
    – Scott Pack
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:50
  • Sigh, that's what I said. Not my choice. Well, at least it won't be me. FYI it's already been done before. Customs were generally okay with it. We even brought ~20 LCD monitors into the US. Go figure. Maybe it would be better if I was anonymous..
    – user9274
    Jan 31, 2011 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


1) Kingston ValueRam is generally Non-ECC, so stable it won't be. Certainly if you get memory errors, then you might get some pretty serious OS faults.

2) You want a server. A real live server.. That will cost you a lot more than $300. I reckon you should be looking to pay somewhere between $1500 and $3500. Look at the Dell Configurator, and spec up a Poweredge R515. It's a 2U server, you can put a crapload of RAM and disks in it, and a good RAID card, and you'll have a rock solid server.

3) Get it shipped straight to china. Don't take it over in your luggage! Throwers (Baggage Handlers) aren't very gentle, because they work on the assumption that clothes don't break. Hard disks, on the other hand, do. I suspect that the Chinese customs won't think very highly of you if you try and bring a server through.
"Honestly, guv, it's a gift for my wife.." No, I definitely can advise against this. I'm sure you can find a proper hardware courier who can send it for you, as well as providing insurance for it whilst it's in transit.

That said.. Why? These things are MADE in china.. surely it'd be easier to get it shipped straight there and have it waiting for you when you arrive.

4) Even Dell have an APAC wing, and will offer support in china..

5) You don't have to go with Dell, HP or IBM will be just as good. Just don't build your own. It's asking for a lifetime of pain and suffering. Take it from me. Don't Do It.

  • 1
    +1 - With modern RAM capacities a server doesn't have non-ECC RAM, period. Jan 31, 2011 at 16:57
  • 2
    @Voretaq7-yeah...let UPS or FedEx throw it around for you. At least it's in a box with packaging material around it. Hopefully. Jan 31, 2011 at 16:58
  • 2
    from those specs you probably want our sister site superuser.com
    – Chopper3
    Jan 31, 2011 at 17:11
  • 1
    Google is sparse and conflicting, because it's generally not the done thing. Jan 31, 2011 at 17:23
  • 1
    Just an update in case anyone is wondering what happened. I voiced concerns, and they're going to talk to an old consultant friend who had built his own racks while working for us. They will probably end up buying the parts in Taiwan and bringing them to China. Also, in general, quality and price is much better in Taiwan. It'll still probably be put in carry-on luggage or something. It can be declared "personal use", so customs shouldn't be a problem. HDDs, cases, fans, etc are already in China.
    – user9274
    Jan 31, 2011 at 21:15

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