The uber-server box
The chaps at Intel have just had a nice 30Mbit line plumbed into their HQ, so we thought it would be rather handy to have our uber-server hosted there. We trekked on down to Intel's HQ in Swindon to get the system set up.
Intel has gazillions of machines set up in its labs, used for benchmarking and system testing. The boys here are used to playing with hardware that technically isn't supposed to exist, so getting dirty with our server was not a problem for them. However, it required some work.
Setting up a server is not an easy task - especially not when running non-final hardware. Before we could even think about getting anything installed, we needed to update the hardware. Cue a BIOS update for the mainboard, a BIOS update for the RAID controller and also flashes for the hardware that controls the thermal management. Without proper thermal management this thing is as loud as a jet turbine - it has an awful lot of 40mm fans spinning very fast indeed.
The server is a barebones 1U rack. We installed four SATA hard drives on to the RAID controller and also hooked in a slot-loading optical drive. To start with, we wanted to get the system up and running with just one processor before we starting messing around with SMP.
Thankfully, the RAM was free-flowing, and we had a useful 8GB kicking around.