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By XJayX Deactivated
I have enjoyed building my own computer, and like seeing what other people have built. Just a bit of an appreciation for the hobby.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 2700
GPU: NVidia GeForce 2070 Super
MOBO: MSI B450
RAM: 4x8 3200
Storage: Samsung 850 Evo 1 TB, Seagate Ironwolf 10 TB
Case: NZXT H700
I mainly use it to game, and video edit.
"Starting up. . . Just for you!" Her computer said. It was strange, really. That computers became so advanced, that they developed emotions for their owners. The girl had ordered a new computer for work. But, she'd only end up getting distracted by the computer's sweet remarks and kind words. The computer she had bought could move it's own wires like hands, talk with her when she got lonely, and helped her with work when she wasn't caught up with talking to it in the first place. She'd come to love this computer, since it showed more emotion than regular people did. Whenever she got down, the little computer would help her get back up.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hello! I've thought about this idea for a while now, and I thought it was really cute!
For this roleplay, I'm hoping to get someone to fill in the girl role, and I'd love for this to be a super cute and sweet roleplay with a lot of expression! As I've said, expression is one of my favorite things in roleplay. Having lots of emotion through text and things like that. This can also be a nice wholesome roleplay too, if you don't feel like doing smut and just want a sweet roleplay. But whatever you choose is okay!
If you're interested, please EcchiText me~
What do you call a computer strapped to the back of a monitor?
Apparently it’s a AiO computer… 😕
I found this strange little thing on bid for £4.99, and there really wasn’t all that was said about it. No specs, no model number, nothing. Just “It turns on” but “It has a password” therefore it was being sold for spares and repairs.
A BIOS password is extremely easy to bypass; usually it’s just a matter of moving a jumper and turning the computer on, or just taking out the CMOS button cell battery (Usually a CR2032).
I figured at £4.99 (Plus £9.99 shipping) there really wasn’t much to lose, and took the plunge, putting in a bid for it. My max bid was £20; I wasn’t really willing to spend more than £29.99 on it, because it was a curiosity more than anything, and I had no idea what the specs were, at all. I was surprised that no one else was interested in it. He claimed he had brought a load of them from a joblot and was selling them individually on eBay. It was advertised as coming with the power cables and VGA cable, but other than that; there wasn’t much.
Of course after I bought it, the seller started charging £14.99 for them +£9.99 Shipping.
Item: Ex-School AiO PC (Parts and Spares)
Price I paid: £4.99 Shipping: £9.99 (Courier) Total Cost: £14.98 Came With: A heavily modified Windows 7 Installation. This topic won’t be as long as the others because there’s not really much to talk about.
When I got it, I was impressed with the condition of the machine; I have to admit I had reservations about the overall build quality, especially when one of the CEO’s for Viglen back in the day was Bordan Tkachuk who is perhaps famous/infamous for saying:
He’s completely wrong, of course, in more ways than one. So I wasn’t inspired to say the very least, as the man seems to know nothing about basic knowledge for people who are supposed to be working in Technology.
Anyway, the condition of the machine was pretty good, and when I booted it up there was indeed a BIOS Password. Removing this was a simple matter of opening the case and flipping the jumper which was readily accessible. When I turned on the PC it told me that the password had been cleared and that I needed to reboot the machine with the jumper in the correct position.
I did that, and I was presented with not Windows Vista (Which is what I was sold) but Windows 7 (Enterprise, I think) and it was very heavily modified. It seemed to have come from a primary school, and thus it was expecting a domain server on the network that it couldn’t find.
I’ve spoken about this before in regards to school computers and servers. Quite often there are no sensitive files on these machines because the files aren’t stored on them. Instead they’re stored on a kind of ‘Profile’ on the server that allows you to log into any authorised computer on that network, and have your files/documents travel with you when you log onto that computer. This is because the files aren’t stored on the actual computer - it’s just a workstation. The files are stored on the actual server. So there wasn’t any sensitive files on this device - I knew this before I hacked my way into the OS.
Once I was in the OS (Using a backdoor user account that was created on the machine probably during setup) I confirmed that there was nothing groundbreaking left behind. Not a single document, or text file, incriminating evidence, family pictures or otherwise. I ended up wiping the hard drive and put Windows 10 on it - although I some issues after I opened it up again and took it apart. Which I will get to in a moment. I had rolledl back to Windows 7 whilst I was sorting these issues out, but eventually I diagnosed the fault and put Windows 10 back on it.
And it works perfectly.
Before I get into it this time; let's find out what I bought:
Viglen Genie AiO PC (With Intel DQ35JO Motherboard)
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo (E8400) LGA775, 45nm Chip Dual Core @ 3.00GHz L1 Cache 2 x 32 KB instruction caches 2 x 32 KB data caches L2 Cache 6MB (3MB per Core) 4 KB Pages, 4-way set associative, 128 entries 4 MB Pages, 4-way set associative, 32 entries 52.81W Typical Power Consumption (65W TDP) 4GB Max Supportable RAM Chipset: Intel(R) Q35 Express Chipset Family (North Bridge: Intel Bearlake Q35) (South Bridge: Intel 82801IO ICH9DO) RAM: 4GB DDR2 (4 x 1GB) 2x Samsung M3 (1GB Each) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC-5300 (667 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 333 MHz 5-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 200 MHz 3-3-3-9 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 12-26-2-3-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: M3 78T2863QZS-CE6 2x Kingston (1GB Each) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (667 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 400 MHz 6-6-6-18 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 24-51-3-6-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 333 MHz 5-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: Unknown Optical Media: Optiarc DVD RW AD-7633A SCSI CdRom Device Firmware: 1.00 Can read: CD-ROM CD-R CD-RW DVD-ROM DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Can Write: CD-R CD-RW DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Network Cards: Intel(R) 82566DM-2 Gigabit Network Connection (1000M) Graphics: Intel GMA 3100 (Integrated) on the Intel(R) Q35 Express Chipset. VGA Output DVI Output Upto 256MB shared memory PSU: 1 x Enhance 250W Power Supply (80 Plus Bronze Efficiency Sticker) Model ENP-7025C HDD: 1 x 80GB (Originally: WDC WD800AAJS-00WAA0, 80GB, 7200 RPM, SATA II) Monitor: A 4:3/5:4 Ratio Maxdata Belinea 17” Display with USB Passthrough and built in speakers (They’re awful). Sound: Realtek High Definition Audio (Realtek ALC268) Stereo Speakers Integrated with Monitor (I don’t know the wattage, they’re absolutely atrocious though). For £4.99 ($6.30 USD, $9.09 AUD, €5.57 EUR, $8.35 CAD, at the time of writing) the specs are really not bad at all! I could easily flip the computer on it’s own for quadruple the price, which makes back the shipping and I get a free monitor for my troubles. It could make a fantastic computer for a child who uses it for homework and basic word processing, as well as light internet usage.
I think it’s got reasonably competent connectability; a gigabit ethernet port is a major plus with this machine, which is on the back with a firewire port, six USB2 ports a VGA and DVI port as well as microphone, headphones/speakers and a lineout port. On the front it has two USB2 ports, a headphone jack and a microphone jack.
However; as I expected with Viglen - which might as well mean buy the cheapest possible components and throw it all into a computer case to see if it sticks - the internal engineering is absolutely abysmal. At 5.1KG for the computer unit alone, (5164g) this is not a lightweight. Cable management was an absolute nightmare and no thought was put in to the case either.
Take a look at the inside:
This is after I cable managed it.
The major problem with this machine is heat, and on that note I’d love to meet the absolute spanner who thought it was a good idea to put a PSU directly above in near contact to the Intel 82801IDO Southbridge heatsink! It gets to temperatures in the region of 92oC hot and it cannot dissipate the heat properly because there’s no airflow over that area, and to top it all off the PSU is generating a generous amount of heat as well. In addition; the HDD is right on top of the RAM (Also generating a good amount of heat). The Power distribution of the system seems precarious at best.
The thermal paste was god awful and was causing several Thermal Cutoffs (Where the machine would outright shut down to protect the CPU), not allowing me to do an accurate test of the CPU temp before thermal pasting. But in fairness most OEM’s have poor quality thermal pastes. I replaced it with my standard Arctic Silver 5, but under the current configuration it’s temperature is erratic under load:
But at least it’s not cutting off outright.
This is this machine’s biggest enemy, and I think I might know of a few solutions to help with it. The CPU fan seems to be an intake, where as the PSU fan and the one opposite are output fans.
Picture I took whilst I was dismantling it to replace the Thermal Paste:
After stabilising the machine, I did some cable management and tied it up. I did try replacing the HDD with a higher capacity one, however I had lots of errors happen when I did that, such as “Memory_Management”, and so on until the computer just outright failed to detect any other hard drive other than the 80GB one. You’d hear it power up, and then it’d power it down repeatedly - and this was with a good hard drive (Because I use it in the HP AiO now and it’s absolutely fine) This is why I suggest that the power distribution is precarious… Perhaps and SSD will do fine in this system - were it not for the heat issues I’m finding. I do not like subjecting SSD’s to more than 35oC of heat, certainly no more than 45oC if I can help it.
That said. Despite the system running much hotter than I’d personally care for, it does run now, and I’ve not had a problem with it. But perhaps I will run it in the winter when I don’t want to use the heater in the house.
I believe this motherboard could be translated to a different case and utilised to its fullest extent. With a decent cooler on the CPU there is plenty of upgradability here; especially with those SATA ports (Red one is designed for External SATA).
There’s not really that much more to say about this machine, it was extremely cheap and you get what you pay for, however individually, the parts are worth more to me than the whole machine. Why I can use the RAM with another old machine I have, and the CPU with the next item I will be featuring. If you do have any questions please leave them below!
I’ll close with some AIDA64 Benchmarks, but I will be comparing them to my next ‘Shit I’ve Bought on eBay’ as the next machine is comparable as it has the same CPU:
Memory Read: 7,098 MB/s
Memory Write: 6,955 MB/s
Memory Copy: 6,384 MB/s
Memory Latency: 100.0 ns
Central Processing Unit Benchmarks:
CPU Queen Score: 12,662
CPU PhotoWorxx Score: 3,498 MPixel/s
CPU ZLib Score: 75.3 MB/s
CPU AES Score: 328 MB/s
CPU Hash Score: 959 MB/s
Floating Point Unit Benchmarks:
FPU VP8 Score: 2,102
FPU Julia Score: 4,056
FPU Mandel Score: 2,144
FPU SinJulia Score: 1,099
SIMD-Enhanced Ray Tracing Benchmarks:
FP32 Ray-Trace: 582 KRay/s
FP64 Ray-Trace: 305 KRay/s
Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - ACER Veriton L670G PC
What use is an all in one PC, especially by HP of all OEMs?
Watching YouTube or listening to music in the Kitchen, of course. Naturally.
I found this one whilst browsing on eBay. It was marked down as broken; specifically “The Screen is Cracked” but it otherwise powered up. It included everything internally - HDD, RAM, processor, etc. But did not come with a power pack.
There was no excitement with this one, I put down a maximum bid of £20, with the intention of taking it up to £30, and I pretty much won it at the end of the seven day listing for the listing price of £5 +£8.99 Shipping. Although I knew I would need to make other purchases, so £13.99 is not all I paid for it.
Honestly I was surprised to have won it as over the last few days I kept getting bid sniped on everything (Where someone comes in and put in a bid with a few seconds to spare so you can’t react to it) so I didn’t expect to win it. But I did and I was ecstatic. Immediately after paying I put in a call to a well known supplier of odds and sods of computer parts to see what kind of deal he could offer me for a HP Pavilion AiO LCD Panel; after taking the part number, he told me he could get one for £39.99. I thought that, that was a reasonable price, but I said that I was going to do some shopping around first. Credit to this supplier: He did say that if I can find a cheaper price to contact him and he’ll see what he can do.
A few days later I found one for £17.49 on eBay; that was pulled from a fully working MS215UK model HP AiO PC. Now these OEM computers sometimes use the same components as similar models, such as it were I found out via HP’s Partsurfer that the same LCD Panel is used in the MS215UK as the MS228UK and a handful of other HP AiO’s. It was a risk; but I decided that it was worth going for it.
After I had gotten the AiO, I noticed that there was no power supply; so I needed to shop around for one. I found an aftermarket one for £10.49 and after testing it on the computer I was able to turn it on. However my problems started with it, which I will explain later. So I went and purchased a genuine power supply for £22.90, and I have sent off the aftermarket one back to the seller for a refund.
There are several items that made this possible.
Item: HP Pavilion MS228UK All in One Desktop PC
Price I paid: £5.00 Shipping: £8.99 (Courier) Total Cost: £13.99 Came With: An entire family’s private data including pictures, bank information, passports, password files, pay slips, tax information, memes and music. Item: HP Pavilion AIO MS215 LCD panel
Price I paid: £17.49 Shipping: Free (Courier) Total Cost: £17.49 Came With: Enough bubblewrap that @Neptune will be happy for a while. Item: HP Part Number: ‘594294-001’ Power Supply
Price I paid: £10.49 REFUNDED Shipping: Free (Royal Mail) Total Cost: £10.49 REFUNDED Came With: UK Mains (Clover Power Cord) Item: Genuine Original HP Compaq 594294-001 90W SMART AC PSU
Price I paid: £22.90 Shipping: Free (Royal Mail) Total Cost: £22.90 Came With: Nothing. Grand Total Cost: £54.38
As you can see from the above image; I was successful in repairing the AiO PC. I am quite confident at repairing computers and I have been doing off and on for over two decades. My first computer that I repaired was when I was five or six years old; and it was at school. The school teachers knew I was great with computers - it seemed to be this ‘Natural Talent’ I had, and I remember telling them frankly “I get on with computers better than I get on with people.” Which is still true today. I had always owned a computer (My first ever being a Basic Amstrad CPC464) so when I was presented with a C drive error and my teacher had no idea what was wrong with the computer, I told her that I could fix it; I knew how to put Windows into DOS and perform a ‘Scandisk’ of the C drive; which found errors and fixed it. When the computer booted up afterwards it worked perfectly. In my primary school after this incident; I became the primary school’s defacto IT technician as they didn’t have a real one; and back then things were much simpler. If there was a problem with a computer somewhere in the school; that teacher would end up sending a student to come to the class with a note to the teacher, and I’d be excused to go fix it, although I always had time limits (10 Minutes, 20 minutes, etc). This all changed when a new headmaster came in, and I don’t think this headmaster liked me very much; but that’s a different story. My point is; from a young age I’ve been learning and studying computers. Playing around with them at home trying to break and repair them on a software level and learn how they work. Reinstalling Windows, and DOS, playing around with the various settings and such. Back then there was no Internet in the house so I had to teach myself everything.
It’s precisely those lessons that I applied here, I have a set of diagnostic steps which I use to identify and repair faults, then I fix them. For a start on the listing I knew the screen was cracked - common fault on LCD monitors. Usually this is caused by a person; especially if the screen is cracked. I knew that there is no point in repairing the actual panel; it’d need to be replaced. I have never had a HP AiO before; so I opened it up.
First of all I opened the two panels on the back - one was for the RAM, the other was for the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) but had a screw in there that held the CD drive in place. I ejected that and set this components aside; I took the HDD out of it’s caddy and put it into a hotswap bay on my PC only to discover that it had a full Windows installation on it.
OH DEAR. OH DEAR… We’ll come back to that.
Going back to the actual computer now; when I finally got it opened, I was presented with a shocking display:
The whole system was caked in dust, and I knew instinctively that if this thing had an integrated GPU; on the same copper pipe as that one heat sink (Which I could already tell was infinitely likely) then there was going to be a problem with the GPU on this, which is a common fault caused by overheating that the original XBOX360 owners will know all too well.
Opened up the metal panel cover the motherboard, disconnected the fan and then unscrewed it before pulling it away from the board. I was then able to see how clogged the heatsink was:
Yeah - that’s not a good thing. There is very few fins that the air can escape through. On top of that, dust can be an insulator; and that coupled with heat is not good. I thought for sure - this computer is going to have suffered overheating damage. This wasn’t good. I was not going to boot this up in this state. Taking this off of the motherboard was an absolute pain in the arse to be quite honest with you.
The problem is, is that it was practically glued onto the CPU. There was such a tight seal between the two with the thermal paste between them which had hardened that I actually delidded the AMD processor under it, which I did finally remove it. I cleaned up all the thermal paste that was on it and replaced it immediately with Arctic Silver 5 (Including the processor chip under the IHS), and then cleaned the heat sink with some compressed air, and an old tooth brush with Isopropyl Alcohol to clean it up. When I was satifiied I attached it back to the board and then I looked at the fan, and took it apart.
The fan was in a shocking state as well. I’ve cleaned up desk fans before and I’ve noticed with all of them that if there is a lot of dust built up on the blades, the amount of air that they push out seems to be diminished. If they’re cleaned up they noticeably push out a lot more air. I haven’t scientifically tested this, but it is something I have noticed, and I wonder if the same principle applies here.
Here is it after just a basic cleaning:
I finished up on it and made it look as good as brand new.
Taking a look at the motherboard; I could see no obvious signs of capacitor wear and tear; nothing exploded or bulging:
But I did notice that as I suspected the GPU was on the same heat pipe as the the CPU, all on one heat sink… Oh boy.
USB Ports Ethernet Port (I think it only does 100Mbps, I’m not sure) Power Port SATA Wireless Card SD Card RAM Slots (4GB Max, DDR2) Central Processing Unit Graphics Processing Unit Monitor Connection I knew straight away that the GPU was going to be iffy and would need reflowing (The act of heating up the chip to ‘reflow’ and refresh the solder) which was extremely risky. In everything I had tried this on, I had failed and made things worse - I had NEVER successfully reflowed/reballed a chip a before… So I was hoping that I didn’t have to.
I didn’t take any pictures replacing the screen; but needless to say it was a tedious and careful process. I had to remove a lot of screws and connections, and carefully note what I had done so I could reverse it when I wanted to put everything back together again.
Taking my time, and being as careful as I could, I attempted for the first time ever to put in the screen; and when I did it and had almost everything back together, I breathed a sigh of relief. I powered on the machine and saw!
The power light came on, the fan span up, but then everything went dead, the power light was still on and it was powered up, but nothing appeared on screen. SHIT! I thought. I then tried to diagnose the problem, and according to a HP forum post I read this was likely to be a power pack failure.
At this point I was using the after-market power pack and I tested the power output through an AMECal ST-9905 (As used by BigCliveOnline, one of my favourite YouTubers) and found that the output voltage was at 16.32 and dropping (The last test I did with it, it was at 14.59V). The computer needs 19V to operate, and the amperage needs to be 4.79A which surprise - surprise this Power Supply wasn’t and was all over the place.
I started a refund and returns for this power supply and got a genuine HP one which took some finding as they’re quite difficult to come by at a reasonable price nowerdays. When that arrived I plugged in it; and booted it up.
The screen came on, and everything seemed to work, for a moment. Then everything went dead again. There was another problem; and after a lot of diagnosing and avoiding what I knew in the back of my mind to be true, I came to the conclusion that the GPU needed to be reflowed… I don’t own a heat gun…
I do however own one of these bad boys from my weed smoking days:
Let there be fire
It’s basically a lighter that’s more like a fucking mini-blow torch. Risky… Very fucking risky. This has the tendency of quickly setting fire to things, and so I wanted to be extremely careful with it. Turning it on, I ran it over the chip for thirty seconds, making sure to keep it moving, and not too close to the chip as I moved it around making sure to cover each part of the chip equally. Afterwards; I hovered my hand over it afterwards to feel that it was hot, but I did not touch it - and nor should I. I let it cool down on it’s own without touching it any further for the duration of an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation and put the heat sink back on…
Oh I also replaced the HDD with a WD Black 1TB Drive, and installed Windows 10 Home.
It worked. To be clear though it only works with the Genuine HP Power Pack; the other power pack has the same problems I described earlier. Therefore I can deduce that the aftermarket brand Power Pack is not fit for purpose. I installed Windows 10 Home, and spent some time setting up the machine, which will be in our kitchen so we can watch things on YouTube, or BitChute whilst we’re in the kitchen - or have music playing.
So now I’ve been through the repairs, and this machine is 100% operational again, let's get right into this shall we?
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 250u AM2+, 45nm Chip K10 Microarchitecture (64 bit) Dual Core @ 1.60GHz L1 Cache 2 x 64 KB 2-way set associative instruction caches 2 x 64 KB 2-way set associative data caches L2 Cache 2 x 1 MB 16-way set associative caches 24.9W Typical Power Consumption (25W TDP) 4GB Max Supportable RAM* Chipset: AMD RS780M + AMD K10 IMC (Northbridge) and AMD SB700/710 (Southbridge) RAM: 4GB DDR2 (2 x 2GB) 2x SK Hynix (2GBN Each) Non-ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-6400 (400 MHz, DDR2) Timings: @ 400 MHz 6-6-6-18 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 24-51-3-6-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 333 MHz 5-5-5-15 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 20-43-3-5-3-3 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) @ 266 MHz 4-4-4-12 (CL-RCD-RP-RAS) / 16-34-2-4-2-2 (RC-RFC-RRD-WR-WTR-RTP) Model: HMP125S6EFR8C-S6 Optical Media: HP DVD A DS8A4LH SATA CdRom Device Firmware: DHD5 Can read: CD-ROM CD-R CD-RW DVD-ROM DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Can Write: CD-R CD-RW DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL DVD+R9 DL Network Cards: Qualcomm Atheros AR5007EG Wireless Network Adapter (b/g only) Realtek RTL8139/810x Fast Ethernet Adapter (10M/100M) Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics (Integrated) No external output. Upto 256MB shared memory PSU: 1 x External “Laptop Style” Genuine Original HP Compaq PSU (594294-001) 90W Model 594294-001 HDD: 1 x 1TB (Originally: WDC WD5000AAKS-65V0A0, 500.1 GB, 7200 RPM, SATA II) WDC WD10 EALS-002BA0 SATA Disk Device (1 TB, 7200 RPM, SATA-II) Monitor: (Reportedly) Samsung LTM185AT01 (18.5”), but is actually a AUO M185XW01 V2 (18.5”) Sound: Realtek High Definition Audio (ESS1869 Chipset, I believe) Stereo 2x 2W Internal Speakers (Built in) Remember when I said that we’d come back to what I found on the hard drive? Yeah; we’ll let's talk about that shall we?
So I rebooted my computer and booted into that windows installation to see that it was Windows 10 Home, upgraded from Windows 7. The user account that logged in, which I will call ‘User 1’ didn’t have a password so I was in - instantly. I then discovered that the hard drive seemed to be taking a long time to do anything. It was at that point I decided to terminate the session as I believed I was looking at a dying hard drive. Long story short: I was correct. I rebooted back into my Windows 10 and took ownership of the /users/ folder, then copied off to my hard drive; I then ran a file recovery program on it, and recovered a massive payload of deleted files that had not been overwritten.
Whilst this was doing that, I had a look at the files I copied over to my hard drive; and oh deary me… This hard drive wasn’t even formatted before being sent to me. In the Users Folder I found five (5) different user accounts; User 1, User 2, User 3, User 4, Admin 1 (I’ve removed the names), and I have permission to share the details of what I found in there, and what happened.
In total I recovered 38GB of information from the drive.
I didn’t find any porn; or porn collections but I’ve not fully gone through everything. What I have gone through and seen on this hard drive is the following:
Lots of family pictures and selfies, including pictures of people using this very computer. Bank information, such as sort codes, account numbers, card numbers and pin numbers for those cards. Scans of passports Unencrypted text files containing: Passwords Pay Slips Tax information Tame Memes One or two spicy memes Music Documents Homeworks, coursework information and so on. Pirated Movies Internet Browsing Histories of 5 people Autocomplete passwords access Their contact information (Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers, Email Addresses, etc) This is why I left the feedback:
And no I won’t be doing that, I'm not that sad.
Within this treasure trove of information I found the names, addresses and phone numbers (And even a passwords text file) of the family and made contact with them. Yes; I called them up, and spoke to the father, which was quite risky. I asked if I could have five to ten minutes of his time, and that I wasn’t trying to sell him anything or do market research. He agreed and I thanked him. I then explained to him why I had called…
I told them that I had brought this computer off of eBay and described the computer to him; I told him that all of their data was still on it's hard drive. The man wasn’t very happy - and I don’t blame him at all. He told me that they had an an accident something got knocked over and smashed into the screen, and they took it to a repair shop to get it repaired. However… They were told that it was beyond economical repair, that it wouldn’t be worth repairing the PC, but they will if they wanted them to; it’d just cost £199.
The father went home to discuss this with his family, however when he got home he found his son setting up a brand new PC that he had brought with his own money (I think he was the one who broke it) to replace the broken one for the whole family to use.
Now that’s sweet, isn’t it? A young person taking personal responsibility for his actions. You don’t see that too often nowadays.
So the father went back to the repair shop and told them “Categorically”, to "Destroy the Hard Drive, and dispose of the PC as you see fit". So to find out this after the fact; you can imagine that they were not happy with the shop to say the very least, and I can’t blame them.
The family were not aware that their PC was sold on eBay either!
I told them that I would be very happy to send the files back to them, via a flash drive in the post - completely free of charge, and I confirmed their address, however they wanted it sooner and so it was emailed to them instead. They were extremely happy that I was able to recover their files and I had sent it back to them, but the father (Admin 1) said it was a little surreal that I called out of the blue and offered to do something extremely kind. Meh; that’s the kind of person I am, I guess. I told them to change their bank pin, and debit cards and passwords as I had access to that information and if I did; whoever’s hands the computer has been in before I got it, could have it too. I also told them that I was able to repair it for about £20; and that this repair shop was nothing short of extortionists.
I sent the files back to them and they have received it and thanked me. They even offered me money for my assistance (£100) which I have declined; although that would have completely paid for this PC and then some.
The hard drive after all this got completely corrupted; and it was clear that there was something going on under the hood. So I pulled up Crystal Disk Info:
Yikes. 9,773 pending sectors (9,773 * (Sector Size(4096 bytes)) / 1024 = KB / 1024 = MB = 38.17578125MB of the drive is unstable) and 15 uncorrectable sectors. I would not use this hard drive for anything at all. Still - I zero wiped it twice and this didn’t change. So I’m inclined to believe that this drive is on its way out. I will not be selling it - so I might play around with it, or take it apart for the magnets, and assign it to physical destruction (I have a place that I can go to that allows you to chuck them into this giant shredder.)
I want to urge everyone here; if you’re selling your computer/laptop then please at least do a proper format (Not a Quick Format), or worse yet don’t just *delete* your files or “Restore Windows from a Factory Image” and call it job done, it most certainly isn’t. Do not be lazy about this. Overwrite that data. So assholes like me can’t come along and recover it; I really can’t stress that enough. In most cases a single pass of random bits will do, but if you want to be sure, 3 passes like with the DoD 5220.22-M is usually a good idea, but if you’re a little paranoid, a 7 pass write like DoD 5220.22-M ECE I guess is alright. But if you’re extremely paranoid - just don’t sell the hard drive, and physically destroy it, and sell/give the rest of the computer. Chances are if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to be told that.
There are far worse people out there and I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve purchased second hand hard drives online, that people haven’t properly formatted the hard drives of. I’ve had access to various kinds of sensitive materials that have either been too hot to handle or have been wiped properly by myself. But the stuff I will talk about openly is that I’ve also had access to a company’s customer database which included names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card information of their customers. But most commonly I’ve had access to people's private and personal files, and in one case I got access to someone’s private porn library. Even if you’re taking your computer to a repair shop and tell them to dispose of it- as for the hard drive back! Don’t trust them with it! This is exactly why you shouldn’t.
To see someone actually take data protection seriously and to wipe their drives before selling them is a good thing to me. I actually like that they do it properly. But I always format again; just to be sure, it roots out any bad sectors, and makes sure that the drive is properly cleaned and conditioned, ready for use. You don’t need to use the Gutmann method (35 pass write) because that is most certainly overkill.
For more information you can read the following:
• https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html - Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory (Floppy/Tape/HDDs)
• https://www.cs.jhu.edu/~astubble/600.412/s-c-papers/remanence.pdf - Data Remanence in Semiconductor Devices (Flash/SSDs)
Due to the fact that this drive was dying I put a 1TB HDD that I had spare. I thought it was a WD Black; but apparently it’s a Blue. Which is strange because the label is black. Hence the assumption. Either way I think it’s only capable of SATA II, so it’d be a waste of time putting in a SATA III drive.
Despite HP’s reputation for overheating; when I ran AIDA64, and told it to stress the CPU, FPU, Cache and System Memory, I couldn’t get it past 40-45oC. I don’t think any thermal throttling was going on either. The air coming out of the top of the device was pretty much cool and the system was running fine without breaking a sweat. In fact I was concerned that the stress test wasn’t even running. Strangely however despite that kind of temperature the cores of the CPU seemed to be running at about 20-25oC which is about a 20oC (50%) difference to the rest of the CPU. I’m not really sure what was going on here, as I’ve never worked with AIDA64 before. But Prime95 and Speedfan, as well as HWInfo produced the same data. Apparently the maximum operating temperature of the CPU is between 55°C - 81°C so to get what I’m getting - I consider that to be extremely good.
I know the CPU is vastly underpowered (25W) but that is incredible results to me. Especially for a a HP. By this point I had already refreshed the thermal past of the CPU and GPU; when I repaired it. But this is actually highly encouraging. It’s a shame I can’t overclock the CPU. CPUID doesn’t display correctly for this either. The Socket has AM2 printed on it, the CPU is AM2+ (Or AM2 Revision 2) and yet CPUID reports it as AM3:
This small CPU clock of 1.6GHz pretty much reminds me of the crappy netbooks that was quite popular about about ten or so years ago, and the computer does struggle from time to time especially when things are loading up, but that could be a hard drive bottleneck as well as in Task Manager I’d frequently see the HDD activity stuck on 100%, and the CPU would be fine. It might be something I consider later, buying a cheap SSD to slap in there so that it boots up quickly and we can truly use it as a PC-TV. That said it seems to be able to run videos be that from YouTube, BitChute in 720p and the DVD Drive plays our Star Trek and Babylon 5 episodes just fine. So for the purpose I’m using it for, it’s fine.
EcchiDreams loads in the browsers, no problem too. So that’s also good. Although I’m not ever going to sign into EcchiDreams (Because my staff account is a high security account, and I’m not even allowed a duplicate account) and I do not consider this machine to be a high security machine.
For a start; doing a full disk encryption for the system drive is most certainly going to slow it down to a crawl. Secondly I can’t even put in a BIOS level password. Where I showed a picture of the motherboard, look carefully towards the edge of the motherboard in box 7; You can see two sets of two silvery looking contacts, one says “CLEAR PASSWORD” and the other says “CLEAR CMOS”. Instead of hiding this further into the board, where it can’t be easily accessed, all you need to do is remove the memory cover, and press on the two contacts to remove password with your screwdriver to clear the password and boom. Job done. You’re in. I don’t consider this to be a good thing, and is a prime example of convenience defeating security. As this has been designated a low security machine on my network, it doesn’t have access to any network resources such as any of the servers, or the NAS or our computers which means music and stuff needs to be manually loaded onto it via flash drives. It doesn’t have a username or password so you can just turn it on and it’ll go straight into Windows. The USB ports on this machine are all USB 2.0 from what I can tell, which means it’s capable of 480Mbps maximum and there are six USB ports on the device. Four on the back and two on the side.
It also has a built in SD Card reader; which I can honestly see using that instead of putting in DVD’s, or holding music libraries on that and having and SDCard case next to the computer as SDCards are dirt cheap nowadays.
We’ve got this computer set up in the kitchen so that we can watch videos, or listen to music whilst we’re cooking or cleaning up, or just to have a ‘Stereo’ of some sorts, but let's talk about the sound quality shall we?
It’s bearable, but compared to my dedicated set up with the Matrix Mini-i Pro and HE400s it’s fucking awful quality. Watching things that mainly have dialogue isn’t too bad, but music sounds tinny, and frankly like they’re coming out of a set of laptop speakers from 2009/2010. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected much considering A) It’s age B) What it was intended to be used for and C) It's not specialist equipment. Lol
Despite having a sticker over the webcam, I actually disconnected it and left it disconnected (On purpose) whilst I was in there, and I think it’s on the same board as the microphone which was connected too because it’s on the same cable. I’m that type of guy who covers these webcams (And front facing cameras on their phone) for a damn good reason. It is something I have done to every laptop I’ve ever owned, where it’s been included. So I haven’t tested these out, but I am sure if I did it’d be absolute dogshit; given that it’s a VGA Webcam so I expect it to be around 0.3 - 1.3 Megapixels, and it’s from around 2009/2010. It’s a Chicony CNFA09921004171LH (Model: HP CFNA099-A2) (Part: 537546-001) If you’re interested.
Do not count on this machine to play any games; it doesn’t have the processing capability or the graphics power that would be required.
All in all I can say that I like this machine and it will serve its purpose in the kitchen just nicely. What I don’t like about this machine, is that in order to clean out the heatsink and fan, you need to take the whole damn thing apart which isn’t all that easy. But it’s something I will do yearly. I do not want to let this PC overheat again, otherwise I’m going to potentially have to reflow the solder; again. Other than that it’s a neat little thing and everything is very well contained. In my experience I wouldn’t call the internals ‘Desktop Components’ but more like Laptop Components, that’s neither a plus or a negative for me, although it does limit its power. I suspect that I could replace the CPU with a 260u; but I probably won’t, and I don’t know if it can take more than 4GB of RAM; according to the CPU Spec - it can, but according to the PC Spec, it can’t. I don’t have other sticks of laptop sized DDR2 RAM so I can’t test it.
It goes to show that there is a use for these older machines today; although as an everyday working computer? Probably not.
I’ll close with some AIDA64 Benchmarks:
Memory Read: 8,934 MB/s
Memory Write: 5,811 MB/s
Memory Copy: 8,089 MB/s
Memory Latency: 97.9 ns
Central Processing Unit Benchmarks
CPU Queen Score: 5,809
CPU PhotoWorxx Score: 3,122 MPixel/s
CPU ZLib Score: 40.7 MB/s
CPU AES Score: 212 MB/s
CPU Hash Score: 524 MB/s
Floating Point Unit Benchmarks
FPU VP8 Score: 1,156
FPU Julia Score: 2,005
FPU Mandel Score: 1019
FPU SinJulia Score: 509
SIMD-enhanced Ray Tracing Benchmarks
FP32 Ray-Trace: 303 KRay/s
FP64 Ray-Trace: 160 KRay/s
Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - Viglen Genie Ultra Small (2009/2010)
Have you ever seen a server before?
Well if not; you’re about to get a really good look at one.
I was just browsing around on eBay when this caught my eye… A HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Server; £21.00 with just 3 hours left until the end of the bidding. My first thought was laughter; “Alright? What’s wrong with it?” I asked myself. So I looked into the listings where it said what the specs were plus it had a full complement of hard drives and RAM (Kind of), it was all working and had Windows Server 2016 installed on it (Unlicenced). It was advertised as having light cosmetic scratches along the top but otherwise it was working perfectly and good as new. Now; I had a spare licence for Windows Server 2016 kicking around so activating it wasn’t going to be a problem for me. I am passionate about computers, and tech, and this is something I’ve never had my hands on before, and I wanted to have my hands on it, to open it up and see what it looked like on the inside, and that passion spurred me to share my experience publically… Even if no one reads or cares about this. But there was also another reason for this...
I was in need for a server to host a private Intranet site on, and/or a NAS (Network Attached Storage) and I figured, twenty odd quid for all of that? Fuck yes. The price of a NAS is usually hundreds of pounds or more, and a server can be in the thousands of pounds (GBP, £. Not weight.) And so I bidded, to test the waters I put in a bid for £22, only to see that the person I bidded against was still the highest bidder - because he actually put a max bid amount in. So I figured ‘Okay… I’ll come back to this.’ And come back to it I did.
At 17:00, about 15 minutes before the bidding ended, it was up to £25, and I figured I’d get it near enough to the last minute, or at least make the guy I was trying to outbid pay more. The maximum I was willing to pay was £30; that plus the £15 would have made it £45 all told and on the 17 Oct 2018 at 17:00, I put in the bid.
At £26.00 I was the highest bidder, and now I just had to wait for 15 minutes to see if the guy was going to try and out bid me… But it never came. I expected him to bid snipe me at the very last minute; which is the act of putting in a bid at literally the last second of an auction. It was exciting. In fact I watched the count down, and when it reached zero, I refreshed to be sure and got the great green banner “You won this auction.”
I grinned from ear to ear, although that was short lived as I figured what if the seller didn’t want to let it go for that price, and expected more money for it? Well… That never happened, I got a message through the eBay messenger system saying that (Long story short) there wasn’t a tracking number, nor would there be a courier delivery because of their corporation’s members of staff lives (Literally) across the road from me, and he was going to bring it here on Monday evening on his way home.
I am not going to lie; as I said to @Aura in the Discord it was “so fucking sketchy you could make an art book and start a Patreon on it.” But I decided to trust them, because this wasn’t just some random no body. This was a serious corporation, selling their old equipment on eBay.
Item: HP ProLiant DL380 G5 2U Server
Price I paid: £26.00
Shipping: £15.00 Delivered by one of the Corporation’s Member of Staff
Total Cost: £41.00
Came With: Rack Mount Brackets
When this server was handed to me at my front door I was taken back by how god damn heavy it was. My computer that I have featured in this topic weighs a tonne but it’s because of the bulky case it’s in. This server didn’t look like much but my goodness it weighs more than my computer, at least, and the weight is quite unbalanced. But once I got used to it, I carried it back into the living room and saw the guy who delivered it off, I think I can carry this thing quite comfortably now I know where the balances are. I’ve since had it on a set of scales and it weighs around 24.2KG ± 0.5KG (~53.35lbs ± ~1.1lbs)
Did I plug it in and start playing around with it first? Hell fucking no. In true David Jones (EEV Blogs) style of “Don’t just turn it on, take it apart!” I opened that bad boy up and had a look inside.
This picture will most certainly be relievent.
I was instantly impressed (Considering the age of server) by how plug and play all of the components were. The fans have a red tab that you can literally pull out of the the sockets, in fact you can see three sockets behind the four fans in the upper left corner of the image, with another socket at the bottom of the three that are opened up, covered with a cap, and you can see two capped sockets behind the fans at the bottom. I’d assume that this server can have 12 intake fans, max. But these fan’s are ridiculously loud; as I will show in a video later. When the server first turns on; it is between 70dB and 80dB, according to the sound meter app on my phone (So take it with a grain of salt). You can hear for yourself by subjectiveness how loud they are with this video I recorded on the 4th of November:
Once the system quite calms down, assuming that nothing goes under such insane load that it starts heating up to the point that the fans need to go on full whack again, it’s around 55dB which is something I didn’t think about when I bidded for this. This means that my plans on using it as an internal private internet server, or NAS wasn’t feasible; because there’s no where, where we can stick it with reasonable access to the router that wouldn’t be a pain in the arse.
CPU: 2x Intel Xeon E5335 LGA 771, 65nm Chip X86-64 Architecture Quad Core @ 2.00GHz (4 Threads) 4x 32KB L1 Cache Single Bit ECC 2MB L2 Cache per Core (8MB total L2 Cache) Single Bit ECC 65W Typical Power Consumption (80W TDP) 64GB Max Supportable RAM* Chipset: Intel 5000P rev. B1 (North Bridge) + Intel 6321ESB rev. 09 (South Bridge) RAM: 8GB DDR2 (8 x 1GB) 2x Elpida (1024MB each) ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (333 MHz) Timing: 5.0-5-5-15-20 @ 333 MHz (CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC @ frequency) Model: EBE11FD8AJFT-6E-E 2x Micron Technology (1024MB each) ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (333 MHz) Timing: 5.0-5-5-15-19 @ 333 MHz (CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC @ frequency) Model: MT18HTF-12872FDY-667D6D4 2x Hyundai Electronics (1024MB each) ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (333 MHz) Timing: 5.0-5-5-15-20 @ 333 MHz (CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC @ frequency) Model: HYMP512F72CP8N3-Y5 AC-C 2x Samsung (1024MB each) ECC RAM Bandwidth: PC2-5300 (333 MHz) Timing: 5.0-5-5-15-20 @ 333 MHz (CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC @ frequency) Model: M395T2953EZ4-CE65 Optical Media: HL-DT-ST RW/DVD GCC-C10N Firmware: 2.0 Can read: CD-R DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL Can Write: CD-R Network Cards: 2x QLogic BCM5708C Gigabit Ethernet Graphics: ATI ES1000 (Integrated) VGA Output only. 32MB SDRAM Video Memory PSU: 2x 800w Power Supplies (Redundancy) Model DPS-800GB A (Rev: 06M) Model ATSN 7001044-Y000 (Rev: C) HDD: 8x 72GB 2.5” SAS Hard Drives in RAID5 Configuration (~504GB Usable Space) HP Invent: 72GB, 10,000 RPM (DG072A9BB7) HP Invent: 72GB, 10,000 RPM (DG072A8B54) HP Invent: 72GB, 10,000 RPM (DG072A9BB7) HP Invent: 72GB, 10,000 RPM (DG072A9BB7) HP Invent: 72GB, 10,000 RPM (DG072A3515) HP Invent: 72GB, 15,000 RPM (DG072BB978) HP Invent: 72GB, 15,000 RPM (EH0072FAWJA) HP Invent: 72GB, 15,000 RPM (DN072ABAA6) * There is some conflicting information about this. Whilst the CPUs claims to be able to support a maximum physical address size of 64GB, HP claims that the server can only support 32GB. This could indeed be the case via a BIOS limitation or something, I don’t know.
The next thing I did was took a look at the hard drives to see if there was remnants of data left over on them from the previous owners - there wasn’t, it was clean, which means that they did full and proper wipe of the hard drives. So, thumbs up for that.
I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve purchased second hand hard drives online, that people haven’t properly formatted the hard drives of. I’ve had access to various kinds of sensitive materials that have either been too hot to handle or have been wiped properly by myself. But the stuff I will talk about openly is that I’ve also had access to a company’s customer database which included names, addresses, phone numbers and credit card information of their customers. But most commonly I’ve had access to people's private and personal files, and in one case I got access to someone’s private porn library. The hard drive was used to store their porn on it… I don’t personally think they had good tastes, but it was rather tame and vanilla by my standards… In one case I got a hard drive from a friend and it had lots of pictures on it that they lost; so I recovered them for her, and sent the pictures back to her on a flash drive so that she could actually have them back. She was extremely thankful and didn’t know how I did it, I tried explaining it to her, but I don’t think she understood. She just understood that I knew what I was doing and she got her pictures back.
So yes… To see someone actually take data protection seriously and to wipe their drives before selling them is a good thing to me. I actually like that they do it properly. But I always format again; just to be sure. That and you don’t know who could tamper with the OS you’re working on. If a computer comes installed with an OS from eBay; I never keep that OS on, I always uninstall, format, and then install before I start actually using it. It does seem more and more every day that people are actually starting to do this. Gone are the days when I always got hard drives that weren’t formatted properly and had private information on them or something left over from the previous owner. The next two subjects of things I’ve bought from eBay were also cleaned properly. But I will get to them in their own topics.
One of the first things I did after I took a look inside, took some photos and checked the hard drives is that I, wanted to test the internal temperatures of the server to see if I could work out as to why it was so loud; thinking that it was loud because it was overheating, which turns out that I was quite correct. Although something popped up that I never seen before; the RAM was doing far worse than the CPUs were.
At idle the CPUs was around: 59-65oC depending on core and CPU
- At idle, the RAM on the other hand was around: 50oC at the coolest and 78oC at the hottest.
Typically when I see RAM that is far beyond a normal temperature that I expect; I expect the RAM to operating under overclocking, or some kind of overvoltage than the spec allows. It is something I will investigate later in this post. I was also kind of concerned about the high CPU temperature under no load other than Windows Server 2016 running, all updates were complete and the hard drives weren’t really doing much so I tested it under synthetic load (Although Prime95 didn’t work at all) I used a different program to simulate a heavy load (Although I don’t remember what it was called). Whilst the CPU usage skyrocketed to 100% across both CPU’s the Temperatures didn’t really move all that much, about 5 degrees centigrade, that’s pretty much it.
Now for all I know this could all indeed be absolutely normal for a Server and its RAM/CPU. But I shut down the server as I happened to have some Arctic Silver 5 compound laying around from when I did my CPU in my computer and some solvents designed to remove old thermal compound. So I removed the cover and heatsink block from the server:
As a side note; I’ve never liked the application or use of Liquid Metal cooling in systems, where you have to take the heat spreader off just to apply the liquid metal. There are a tonne of risks and very few rewards from what I heard. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve heard the kind of results you can get with using a little bit of Liquid Metal on top of your CPU under it’s heatspreader, but in my experience Liquid Metal only comes in two forms for cooling: Mercury and Gallium. Mercury is extremely toxic, and Gallium eats and deteriorates the structural strength of Aluminium and Steel; both mercury and gallium also conduct electricity and if either of the two liquids were to leak onto the electronics, it could cause a short circuit which is bad, and that’s not even going into the whole “Mercury and Gallium” expands under heat; like the heat of a CPU. Now this is fine for some people, as I said I’m not knocking it. But I don’t take that kind of risk, apparently whilst it’s amazing in heat transference, it’s not recommended for absolutely everyone and I certainly wouldn’t use it myself.
So I used Arctic Silver 5; which is a high density micronise Silver and ‘Enhanced Thermally Conductive Ceramic Particles’ (What I call Enhanced TCCP), which is typically around 88% thermally conductive materials (by weight) with ‘Three Unique Shapes and Sizes’ of 99.9% pure silver to maximise the particle contact area and thermal transfer, suspended in Polysynthetic Oils. It is not electrically conductive either. You can find more information here (Non-Affiliate Link). This is not an advert; and I am not sponsored by Arctic Silver, but it is in my experience, the best stuff to use for thermal paste solutions, at the very least it is almost usually much better than stock solutions. It is not cheap though (~£1,800 per KG. You buy it usually in 3.5g syringes that cost around £6-7 and it does lots of applications).
When I took the heatsinks off; I noticed that the told thermal paste solution - most probably stock, was dry and there was way too damn much of it. So I took the chips out of their Sockets and placed them on my anti-static mat before getting to work on cleaning them up, alongside their respective heatsinks, which was absolutely caked in thermal compound.
LGA771 (Socket J) CPU sockets
I then put the CPU’s back into their sockets carefully, and the result? Nice clean CPU’s ready for new thermal compounds:
After this operation took place; at idle the CPUs was around: 31-48oC depending on CPU and core. One CPU was running slightly hotter than the other, but the first and primary CPU was running pretty much cold. Which meant that I was pretty much successful in changing the thermal compound, although I hadn’t quite expected such drastic results. These results carried through to under load; where the temperature of the first CPU didn’t even hit 50oC and the second just went over 66oC but it made absolutely no difference to the noise of the server. It was just as obnoxiously loud as ever.
Pleased with the results; I considered that job done. My next job was to remove the OS that the corporation I purchased this from put on there, and completely format/wipe the hard drives. Which I did; and surprisingly with this RAID5 setup; it took quite a bit of time to fully format the drives.
I benchmarked the system; including the hard drives but before I get into the results there's something I kind of want to talk about that’s been bugging me for a while. It’s a small rant so it’s hidden in the spoiler below. If you want to read it, click on it to read it. Otherwise we can move right on ahead.
Unfortunately the benchmark program CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 defines the following benchmarks as the stupid 1KB = 1000 bytes therefore 1000KB = 1MB, and if you want it to mean 1024KB = 1MB you’re actually talking about MiB… Bullshit.
Whilst the test performed (in numbers) better than my next ‘Shit I’ve bought from eBay’ topic, the creation of test file was ridiculously slow. I was waiting just over an hour for it to create the 32’GiB’ file. But the results of the benchmark were extremely interesting. Now bear in mind I’m running RAID 5 (You can find more information on RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10 here and for more information on RAID 5 and RAID 6 you can click here.) across 8 drives; idealistically that gives me 7 drives and one drive’s worth of parity, which means I can withstand one of the hard drives failing completely, and only have the data capacity of 7 out of 8 of the drives.
So here is the raw data of the test using Crystal Diskmark (Freeware):
I also used SiSoftware (Sandra) to get an overall benchmark of the system as I hold a valid licence for the software (2016 version). Which I have compared to my desktop computer (Because as unfair comparaisons go this was the best baseline I have; other than old Pentium 2 Processor machine I have in my airing cupboard).
I think to understand the benchmarks we should probably see how the benchmark software sees the server because the one thing I noticed when running various things is that the various tools saw things differently. For example CPUID saw there being two E5335 (Clovertown) processors where as HWiNFO64 v5.90 saw one of them as being an L5335 (Clovertown LV); which is not the case - because I’ve had both processors out and I know what both of them said.
So to keep this brief; this is how SiSoftware Sandra saw the server:
Computer Model : HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Serial Number : (REDACTED) Chassis : HP Rack Mount Chassis BIOS : HP P56 08/16/2015 Total Memory : 8GB DDR2 FB-DIMM Processors Processor : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Processor : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Socket/Slot : FC-LGA6 Chipset Memory Controller : HP 5000P Chipset Memory Controller Hub 4x 333MHz (1.33GHz), 4x 2GB DDR2 FB-DIMM 666MHz 256-bit Memory Module(s) Memory Module : Elpida EBE11FD8AJFT-6E-E 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-20-5-3) Memory Module : Elpida EBE11FD8AJFT-6E-E 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-20-5-3) Memory Module : Micron 18HF12872FD667D6D4 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-18-5-3) Memory Module : Micron 18HF12872FD667D6D4 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-18-5-3) Memory Module : Hynix (Hyundai) HYMP512F72CP8N3-Y5 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-20-5-3) Memory Module : Hynix (Hyundai) HYMP512F72CP8N3-Y5 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-20-5-3) Memory Module : Samsung M395T2953EZ4-CE65 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-20-5-3) Memory Module : Samsung M395T2953EZ4-CE66 1GB ECC DDR2 FB-DIMM PC2-5300FB DDR2-666 (5-5-5-15 3-20-5-3) Video System Monitor/Panel : (Standard monitor types) Generic Non-PnP Monitor (1600x1200) Video Adapter : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 4GB) Graphics Processor Storage Devices HP LOGICAL VOLUME (513.6GB, RAID, SCSI-5, 15000rpm) : 478GB (C:) HL-DT-STCD-RW/DVD DRIVE GCC-C10N (ATA33, DVD+-R, CD-RW, 2MB Cache) : N/A (D:) Logical Storage Devices System Reserved : 500MB (NTFS, 4kB) @ HP LOGICAL VOLUME (513.6GB, RAID, SCSI-5, 15000rpm) Hard Disk (C:) : 478GB (NTFS, 4kB) @ HP LOGICAL VOLUME (513.6GB, RAID, SCSI-5, 15000rpm) Optical Drive (D:) : N/A @ HL-DT-STCD-RW/DVD DRIVE GCC-C10N (ATA33, DVD+-R, CD-RW, 2MB Cache) Peripherals LPC Hub Controller 1 : Intel 631xESB/6321ESB/3100 LPC Interface Controller LPC Legacy Controller 1 : SMSC SCH4307 Serial Port(s) : 1 Disk Controller : HP ProLiant DL140 G3 Disk Controller : HP Smart Array P400 Controller USB Controller 1 : HP ProLiant DL140 G3 USB Controller 2 : HP ProLiant DL140 G3 USB Controller 3 : HP ProLiant DL140 G3 USB Controller 4 : HP 631xESB/6321ESB/3100 Chipset USB Universal Host Controller #4 USB Controller 5 : HP ProLiant DL140 G3 USB Controller 6 : HP iLO2 SMBus/i2c Controller 1 : Intel 5X00/7X00/8X00 XMB Ch 21-0 SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 2 : Intel 5X00/7X00/8X00 XMB Ch 21-1 SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 3 : Intel 5X00/7X00/8X00 XMB Ch 22-0 SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 4 : Intel 5X00/7X00/8X00 XMB Ch 22-1 SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 5 : Intel ICH SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 6 : IPMI T1 Controller Printers and Faxes Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer v4 (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft Shared Fax Driver (200x200) Printer : Microsoft Print To PDF (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer v4 (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft Print To PDF (600x600, Colour) Network Services Network Adapter : QLogic BCM5708C Gigabit Ethernet (NDIS VBD Client) #42 (Ethernet) Network Adapter : QLogic BCM5708C Gigabit Ethernet (NDIS VBD Client) #41 (Ethernet, 1Gbps) Operating System Windows System : Microsoft Windows 2016 Server 10.00.14393 Platform Compliance : x64 It’s a good idea to understand how exactly the software see’s both machines; and in the next part I will compare this server to the device there too, which is a more realistic comparaison.
And the raw data:
Processor Multi-Media Analysing... Aggregated Score : 99.76MPix/s Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes Cryptography Analysing... Aggregated Score : 0.693GB/s Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes Processor Financial Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 7.91kOPT/s Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes Processor Scientific Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 7.19GFLOPS Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes .NET Arithmetic Analysing... Aggregated Score : 15.88GOPS Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes Memory Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 5.350GB/s Result ID : Intel 5000P Chipset Memory Controller Hub; 4x 2GB Elpida EBE11FD8AJFT-6E-E DDR2 FB-DIMM (666MHz 256-bit) PC2-5300 (5-5-5-15 0-20-5-9) Speed : 666MHz Capacity : 8192MB Power : 108.08W Finished Successfully : Yes Cache & Memory Latency Analysing... Aggregated Score : 61.9ns Result ID : Intel 5000P Chipset Memory Controller Hub; 4x 2GB Elpida EBE11FD8AJFT-6E-E DDR2 FB-DIMM (666MHz 256-bit) PC2-5300 (5-5-5-15 0-20-5-9) Speed : 666MHz Capacity : 8192MB Power : 108.08W Finished Successfully : Yes File System Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 244.494MB/s Result ID : HP LOGICAL VOLUME (513.6GB, RAID, SCSI-5, 15000rpm) (NTFS, 4kB) Speed : 15000rpm Capacity : 513.62GB Finished Successfully : Yes File System I/O Analysing... Aggregated Score : 1417.0IOPS Result ID : HP LOGICAL VOLUME (513.6GB, RAID, SCSI-5, 15000rpm) (NTFS, 4kB) Speed : 2560Mbps Capacity : 513.62GB Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Processing Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Video Shader Compute Analysing... Aggregated Score : 25.03MPix/s Result ID : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 4GB) (D3D 11) Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Cryptography Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : High Security (AES256 + SHA2-256) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Standard Security (AES128 + SHA1) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Higher Security (AES256 + SHA2-512) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Cryptography Analysing... Aggregated Score : 0.478GB/s Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Financial Analysis Analysing... Finished Successfully : No Processor Financial Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 7.88kOPT/s Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Scientific Analysis Analysing... Finished Successfully : No Processor Scientific Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 7.22GFLOPS Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes Media (Audio/Video) Transcode Analysing... Aggregated Score : 1.587MB/s Result ID : 2x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz (4C 2GHz, 2x 4MB L2) (Microsoft H264 Video Decoder MFT > H264 Encoder MFT; Microsoft AAC Audio Decoder MFT > Microsoft AAC Audio Encoder MFT) Speed : 2000MHz Capacity : 8Unit(s) Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Bandwidth Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Video Memory Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 2.485GB/s Result ID : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 4GB) (D3D 11) Capacity : 4095MB Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Memory Latency Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Cache & Memory Latency Analysing... Aggregated Score : 61.8ns Result ID : Intel 5000P Chipset Memory Controller Hub; 4x 2GB Elpida EBE11FD8AJFT-6E-E DDR2 FB-DIMM (666MHz 256-bit) PC2-5300 (5-5-5-15 0-20-5-9) Speed : 666MHz Capacity : 8192MB Power : 108.08W Finished Successfully : Yes Overall Score Aggregated Score : 2.22kPT Results Interpretation : Higher Scores mean Better Performance. Decimal Numeral System (base 10) : 1GPT = 1000MPT, 1MPT = 1000kPT, 1kPT = 1000PT, etc. Result ID : HP ProLiant DL380 G5 ProLiant (2x Intel Xeon CPU E5335 @ 2.00GHz; Intel 5000P Chipset Memory Controller Hub; 4x 2GB Elpida EBE11; HP LOGICAL VOLUME; Microsoft Basic Render Driver) Finished Successfully : Yes And now I will finish the topic with some comments I have about the machine as well as some neat pictures of the server itself.
First of all; I absolutely love how intermodular and hot swappable all of the parts are, and I think for at the time it may have cost around £3,000 - £4,000 on launch, which I think was actually in 2011. It has several redundant systems to keep the machine as reliable as possible, and it goes to show. Back in 2011 I was just 21 years old, and I seriously doubt I was the target market for the server, but that doesn’t stop me appreciating the build quality, or it’s fantastic engineering even here in 2018. I really can’t fault this machine at all, for what it was in 2011, I think almost everything in the system is modular, in that without screws you can take parts out and easily swap them which in critical deployments this is probably a very good idea. With two 800W PSU’s (Power Supply Units) the system can keep running even if one of them just dies, because it’s redundant. In front of these PSU’s are also two VRMs (Voltage Regulator Modules) that have massive heat sinks on them. I’ve not been inside many servers (Funnily enough) and this could very well be standard with other brand servers.
This is what the VRM’s look like, right next to the PSU’s. The VRM’s are basically a buck converter that regulates the power for the CPUs. For more information on what VRMs are used for, here’s a good starting point.
On the front of the machine is eight bays of (Apparently) hot-swappable HDD bays that hold some of the fattest 2.5” HDD’s I’ve ever seen (Which means this might actually be upgradable to SSDs if the firmware allows). Each having their own mechanisms to both eject, and keep the hard drives securely into the unit. I believe they use 2.5” HDD’s to allow it to keep the 2U server rack form factor. You don’t get much wiggle room under RAID 5, and I was a little surprised that RAID 6 wasn’t even an option under the RAID Controller setup. Is this a problem persae? Probably not. But RAID 5 only allows 1 Failure, whereas RAID 6 will allow upto 2 Failures. But to be honest I think the hard drives seem to be extremely solidly built and there doesn’t seem to be any problems with any of them, and given the fact that the target audience would most likely have onsite or even offsite backup facilities to cope with catastrophic data loss. And RAID 5 would give the fastest read speeds as well as the most capacity, so maybe it makes sense from the potential target audiences point of view. Another issue I have with the hard drive array is a pill I just wasn’t able to quite swallow, it seems to have inconsistent read/write speeds… At the time I didn’t know if this is the consequence of having a RAID 5 set up, or if it’s an indicator that one of the drives is a little slower than other drives and it’s slowing the rest down or if there is something not quite set up properly. But despite the benchmarks and what they said; when it was writing test files for CrystalDiskMark it was writing at around 8MB/s according to Resource Monitor. Which how the benchmark was able to achieve 16-odd Megabytes per second in the write tests is beyond me. Despite it having better scores than the next item on my Shit I’ve bought from eBay series, the next item wrote this test file much faster than this server did. This bugs me, because by the numbers this HP server should have knocked it out of the park… But it didn’t. To make matters worse, is in the tests that I did by sending something over the ethernet port to my SSD in my desktop and receiving was quite abysmal speeds too that did not remain consistent in the 10GB test file I transferred. Then again this could also be down to the RAID Array Controller itself as well.
Top: Server HDD, Bottom: Normal Laptop HDD. Very THICC.
The RAM is DDR2, which I think was about expected for the time, in addition it’s ECC RAM which you can find out more information about here from Luke Lafreniere over on Techquickie. The total in the system seems to be eight sticks of 1GB totalling 8GB, but it can be taken higher than that with official HP spec saying that the max supported is 32GB although the processors on the Intel page report that they can support upto 64GB. I don’t have eight - eight gigabyte sticks of ECC DDR2 RAM so I can’t check. To compound matters the Memory controller (Intel 5000P Memory Controller) also supports upto 64GB too, so my only guess is that it’s not supported in the BIOS, or perhaps it can support 64GB - If it’s not ECC, I don’t know, I don’t have eight sticks of non-ECC DDR2 RAM either. This won’t come as any surprise to @Aura who has been public in his criticism for HP Laptops for overheating (Something I completely agree with, all HP netbooks and laptops I’ve ever had have all died due to overheating) but even under idle loads the RAM is surprisingly hot, so hot in fact, that when I turned the server off, and discharged it after heavy benchmarking, I actually burnt my hand slightly when it grazed the RAM. Under idle the heat that the RAM can get to is around 70oC to 80oC. My first thought was that maybe it was being overclocked, and my second was, was that maybe it was way over voltage. Neither of these things were the case - apparently. Not that the BIOS allowed me to look into it.
The two CPU’s however is the opposite story, since re-thermal pasting it, even under intensive load generated by the benchmarking software I couldn’t penetrate 60oC on the first processor and I couldn’t penetrate 70oC on the second one, which considering that these are both quad core Xeon’s running at full clock (2.00GHz) and aren’t being cooled by directly mounted fans to the heatsink, this is pretty good. And considering the RAM seems to get hot enough that I think I could fry and egg on it, yeah that’s good.
There are two VGA ports, one on the back, one on the front that will allow the user to connect them up to a VGA compatible monitor which was a problem for me. My monitor has Display Port and HDMI only, but Neptune has a second monitor that has both VGA and HDMI on it, so I had to borrow her monitor - repeatedly. This is somewhat to be expected, I’m not sure if new servers today have HDMI (I’d think that they do) but servers priorities in most cases isn’t on giving you the best graphics for your money, and a VGA port more than sufficed for what I needed it for, because once the OS was set up I was able to control the system via Remote Desktop at full 4K glory. Although don’t count on it running a Minecraft Client, or Crysis.
The graphics through the VGA ports is pretty much powered by this ATI ES1000 Graphics Chip, which is hidden under the PSU Cage. I think these have been used in old laptops, and you can actually buy these chips on eBay which apparently are sold as “Laptop GPUs”
It has three Ethernet Ports - one of them is for HP ILO2 (Integrated Lights-Out 2), a kind of web interface that allows you access the server when it’s offline (But there’s still power connected to it).
It says that the system health is degraded because there wasn’t a power supply connected to the second bay. But you can reboot, turn on and turn off the server from here and use all kinds of interesting tools and insight into the server. Something I actually found to be really fascinating to say the very least. There was one major drawback to this however - no modern browser can use it. You see it uses TLS 1.0 which is obsolete and disabled in most modern browsers nowadays (For damn good reason too!), and there’s no way that I can tell to upgrade it to TLS 1.2. Google Chrome would not let me switch to TLS 1.0, and so I had to download and install Firefox, and manually enable it, whilst disabling the other TLS options. Even then I couldn’t use the Virtual Media, or Remote Consoles, as it needed to be used under Internet Explore with the appropriate Java Runtime Environment enabled…
Yeah it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Asking me to compromise my security wasn’t a bridge too far enough; that I apparently needed to use an old, old JRE… On Internet Explorer. Nothing is worth that trouble. Fuck Internet Explorer.
Unfortunately there is no upgrading iLO2, because it’s on a chip. You can do firmware updates to it but you can’t updated it to iLO3, or iLO4 or anything like that.
The other two Ethernet Ports are both Gigabit Ethernet ports which is good, because that’s the maximum my router supports. Apparently it supports TCP off-loading (Which you can find out more about here) I think it could also make a good in between connection from my Router to my Modem, which could allow me to do various things, if memory serves me correctly. But again we get to the noise and power consumption issue.
There are also five USB Ports, that are most likely USB 2. They’re certainly not USB 3, there are two on the back, two on the front and one inside the unit itself. The reason I say that they’re most likely USB 2.0 is because HWInfo64 says it is; but then again it also says that one of the processors is a L5335… So take it with a pinch of salt, I have not done any USB speed tests due to the aforementioned problems with the hard drives that I’ve mentioned about already, I don’t have a reliable baseline. There are also a couple of PS/2 ports for an old style Keyboard and Mouse. Now luckily, I actually have an old PS/2 connector Keyboard, I do not have a spare USB Keyboard, but I do have a spare USB Mouse so I was able to use this no problems. There is also a serial port on the back of the server although I have no serial devices to test it with, I don’t even know if it’s still in use anymore, or if it was in 2011.
As I said previously; the inside of the machine is amazing, and as you can see from the very first image repeated here:
It is very well designed; the system seems to take air in from the front, and in the case of the four fans towards the front of the machine it seems to direct as much airflow over the CPU and RAM as possible, with the bottom two pulling air through the hard drives and ejecting it through the PSU’s or out to the side vent holes. This is in an effort to keep them all cool, and on the most part - other than the RAM this is pretty successful… Although it’d beg the question of how hot the RAM would get if there wasn’t that kind of airflow. There are very few cables in this machine, and any cables that do exist are kept short and sweet, or are wrapped and kept as tidy and minimal as possible. There are two mesh wrapped cables containing lots of cables going from the PCI slot containing the RAID Controller to the Hard Drives. It’s clear a lot of thought and a lot of engineering went into the design of the system and the layout of components that would no doubt have to keep that in mind, but keep in mind also the distance between CPU, RAM and all the various components to keep it as fast and efficient as possible.
This RAID Controller is probably the reason I was experiencing such inconsistencies between the benchmark and actual performance of the hard drives. Specifically the 256MB module you’re seeing (Which is an attachment to the RAID Controller) is a write cache, now it could be that there isn’t enough RAM to make it as efficient as possible - or… As my research has suggested, it’s possible that because this RAID controller isn’t hooked up to a battery (Which I will explain the purpose of in a moment) that it could be disabled entirely.
What is the purpose of the battery on a RAID Controller, and would not having the write cache enabled make the 256MB Module, redundant superfluous?
Well, the purpose of the battery on a RAID Controller is step for data protection in the event that something happens to the power of the server, you see the write cache gets stored on the RAM which is being written out to the hard drives to try and keep things running smoothly, especially if your server is reading from those drives at the same time. The problem is, is once it’s written to the Cache, the OS usually thinks it’s written to the hard drive.
From looking at the numbers on the chip (HYB18T512800AFL37) I can deduce that it’s DDR2 Volatile Memory rather than Flash so it can be rewritten to a number of times without degradation… As you know if you lose power, pretty much everything in the RAM is cleared out, where as with flash memory (USB Flash Drives, SSD’s, most BIOS’s, etc) don’t clear out on power down. There are tradeoffs for this, but generally speaking Volatile RAM is much faster, and can be overwritten to more times than Flash Memory.
So, now that I’ve explained that, if something happened to the power of the server: Such as you’re only running it straight from the wall and not from a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) when the power is cut or with a UPS or not, the power supply (or both of them) fail. Now if you have mission critical information stored on the write cache, and such a power outage happened, then it’s not written to the hard drive, and you’ll lose it all. So with all these redundancies and backups in place it’d make sense for it to be disabled if there is no battery attached to it. Does it make it superfluous, then? Well… Yes, kind of. In the research I looked up whilst writing this, I found that you can forcibly enable it, although where, I don’t know. I haven’t to my recollection seen that option in the BIOS or the RAID controller setup.
Another thing that I thought was strange is when I was writing this and going through the pictures that I wanted to include, I noticed that there are five, 512 Megabit chips (64MB), which would equal 320MB of RAM on the cache module. The cache module is attached to the RAID Controller as a separate unit, so you can replace/upgrade the cache module without actually having to replace/upgrade the entire controller whilst you're at it. Take a look at the cache module on it’s own:
Although I hadn’t taken it off of the RAID card at this point, I could see 5 chips like I could before and three blanks, so it really got me thinking about the possibility that maybe the 256MB and 512MB cache modules are actually the same it’s just that one has more of the same chips on it. On a side note I also noticed the chip (PI74SSTUA32864NBE) at the bottom; which apparently is a registered buffer. Neat! So it looks like that even the Cache Module of the RAID controller is also ECC RAM. So why did mine have five and only show as 256MB?
I figured that maybe it was simple; perhaps the extra chip is like… Well… RAID actually. One of the chips was a parity chip; or a redundant chip incase one of them fails, or a spillover in case there are bad cells in one of the chips (Like bad sectors on a hard drive) it’d spill over onto the spare chip. Great! I theorised that it was another redundancy thing. I knew that if all eight were filled then that would equal 512MB, but then where was the ninth chip?
I theorised again that it was on the underside of the module. So I opened up the server, took a look at the RAID Controller, disconnected it, took it out of the PCI slot and then took out the cache module. Turned it on it’s side, low and behold...
...There’s another blank spot for another RAM chip! That’s amazing. But it would seem you’d get less redundancy per chip if you had the 512MB cache module.
Despite the problems with the hard drive being, quite frankly all over the place that might look into, but it can run Windows Server 2016 with absolutely no problems, the drivers aren’t hard to find and load, although you do have to go around the bush about it, not install it via the EXE but extract it and install the .ini file which installed absolutely fine.
So to close I’m going to show some more pictures of the server and title them up and close the topic.
I’m guessing from what’s printed on the board that this is some kind of test switches?
A shot without the PCI Cage installed.
Inside one of the PSU’s overhead shot.
Inside the PSU from the front.
The RAM. Yeah… I matched the colours… Probably not a good idea given that there is a set way that they’re laid out and two of them have slightly different timings.
Directly under the PCI Cage.
Under the PCI Cage and PSU Cage - Overhead Motherboard shot.
PSU Cage Removal and Installation Instructions.
PCI Riser Cage Removal and Installation Instructions
Inside of the top of the case.
Also inside of the top of the case; and yes. It seems I did install the RAM incorrectly. I will have to fix that; because they really should (in my eyes) be type/brand matched in banks. I know one of the twin sticks of RAM actually has different timings than the rest too.
So I couldn’t end up using this server, it’s too loud for what I wanted and it’s going to be too much of a drain on our electric. Ultimately I’m going to be giving the server over to someone who needs it and is happy to have it. My brother in law, who I consider to be a brother. I guess he’s getting a heavy christmas present this year.
Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - IBM X3200 M3 Server