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Best build components for NT?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by dr_mabuse, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    Hi to all
    I want to investigate building a new Server PC for a small Workgroup at the design studio I work at. Previously we've bought direct from our workflow manufacturer and because they tie you into one manufacturer, they can charge what they like - which is a lot! :mad:

    Problem is the workflow software that is the core to our work is designed for Win NT4. I know it will install on a Win 2000 platform, but I don't have confirmation that it will run all day every day without problems, as I don't have Win 2000 Server available to me. I'd love to run in Win2K Server however - should I just expect NT4 software to run OK or is that just naive thinking?! :rolleyes:

    If I wanted to build a new PC with latest hi-speed components but with the intention of running NT4 on it, am I right in thinking there's no point going with the very latest P4 HT processors, as HyperThreading is only on XP?

    What CPU would be best married to software running under NT4? Also, what other considerations should I give to building a Server - do I need specific Mobo, FSB, RAM etc etc? What about spare PSU onboard etc?

    It will need plenty of processing power to process large PDF and Postscript files, and will be connected to a 200GB Raid array via SCSI UW Diff card, so no need for huge internal drives. Sound irrelevant - onboard would be fine. Graphics performance can be v.basic as only for monitoring of print server system. There are only ten connected clients (mix of macs and wintels).

    I should say that I'd like to do this on a tight budget as well :)

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    dr_m
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    First, unless this aplication was written very poorly it should run perfectly on Win2000, and probably also be quite at home with XP although I have seen one or two cosmetic glitches with one or two older apps on XP.

    Essentially Win2000 is NT 5.0, it even calls itself that .. and XP calls itself NT 5.1 BTW :) .. it was an evolution of NT4 and from a general application point of view was no different. I'm not too sure what constitutes a "workflow" application, but the only programs I have ever experienced problems with have been system-level utilities which have a natural tendency to break with each iteration of Windows.

    Win2000 supports HT, NT4 doesn't. Any Pentium is fine for NT, while NT wouldn't 'see' the second virtual processor HT creates, and you may have to disable Hyperthreading in the BIOS, in all other repects NT 4 will run fine on, say, a P4 3.2GHz HT processor.

    Peripheral support shouldn't be too mch of an issue, though some cards these days don't come with NT4 support, you'd just need to specifically ask the question.

    You biggest problem will be BUYING NT, M$ haven't sold it for years.

    Once upon a time M$ offered a 120 day trial, of 2K and now XP, maybe you could try to see if that's still possible, then you could see how your application runs before committing to it.
     
  3. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    Kragorn
    Cheers for that. Sorry, I should have clarified: I do have access to a copy of Win2k Server, I just haven't got it installed anywhere in the office. I've also got XP Pro as well. I've even got a copy of Win2003 Server that's not in use as well!! (a long story).

    When I call it a "workflow" system I meant software that handles File and Print serving and large scale Distilling and PDF rendering. It is from 1999 and is, looking at the guts of our existing platforms, a pure software product, and does not require hardware cards or the like to work. Didn't explain myself - sorry.

    If I may, please could pick your brain a little more:

    The software I need to run is definitely SMP aware, as the 2 installations I have of it in my studio network are both old PIII twin CPU setups, so does that imply that the "virtual" SMP capabilities of HT would actually work? If not it's not worth buying a matched HT CPU and Mobo is it? I could save somewhat on target the 533FSB gear rather than the cutting edge 800FSB HT kit couldn't I?

    I 'd happily run XP Pro, but does it come with File Services for Macintosh (or whatever the equivalent Service is on XP) to enable shared volumes to be accessible through Mac OSX and OS9.2? If it doesn't have an Appleshare service it won't be viable for use. This is critical and was the reason I had previously discounted XP to be honest. I have only had experience of XP Home so dunno.

    The PC I am going to experiment on before trying to build has a 40GB drive in it. If I carefully split into perhaps 3 NTFS partitions, could I install Win2K Server on one and XP Pro on the other, and then load the software onto a 3rd partition and see how it runs under both OS conditions? Or just load OS, install software, test, then wipe and re-load 2nd OS, install and test?

    Sorry to bombard you but I appreciate your input.

    dr_m
     
  4. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Kragorn

    I was under the impression that hyper-threading doesn't work on W2K.
    If it does I'll be well chuffed as I have a hyper threading capable mobo and p4 running W2K at home.
     
  5. cwick

    cwick
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    It does. Must admit I was chuffed when installed my new box - took a look at the performance monitor and there's two CPU stat's being reported. :D

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  6. cwick

    cwick
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    Don't know if it helps, but MS have just announced that the Windows Services for Unix is now free (runs on W2k and XP Pro). No idea if OS9 supports it, but OS X works well against NFS. Not sure if it offers print services tho ...

    linky

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  7. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Fully supported in 2K. :)

    XP Pro has "Print services for Unix" built-in, leaswise I can install it from "Add or Remove Programs". Sadly, no mention of Appletalk anywhere.
     
  8. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    Kargorn + everyone
    Thanks for your input. I think I'll give Win2k Server a try!

    dr_m
     
  9. dr_mabuse

    dr_mabuse
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    :BUMP:

    Update to this thread is that I've had all the components delivered now, and am just reading through some articles about building from scratch. I am confident over the procedure, but I just noticed one bit I'd not heard of before on the Intel site.

    It says that you should without fail run the INF Installation Utility to ensure that your freshly installed OS is optimised to fully exploit the chipset, before installing anything else whatsoever.

    Is this true? I don't mind doing it of course, I'm just curious.

    BTW, the Mobo is an MSI875P-Neo (Intel875 chipset) and the Operating System will be Windows 2000 Server (SP4), CPU is P4 3.0Ghz FSB800, with 2 x 256mb TwinMos PC3200 sticks.

    Kragorn - interestingly, the Intel site also says that Win 2K Server is not HT compatible (or at least it's on the "not recommended" list). I'm only going to go with Win2K Server instead of XP if the HT is fully supported, so here's hoping!

    Cheers

    dr_m
     
  10. VintageMark

    VintageMark
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    Hi... Sorry to jump in late...

    First the easy stuff... if you want to run Mac services you need to be running an MS server product... ie Windows 2000 server or Windows 2003 server...

    Windows XP wont run Mac services...

    As for your apps running on 2k/2k3 instead of NT...

    File and Print will run off 2k/2k3 just as well and usually much better than they ever will off NT....

    As for PDFs and Distilling... are you running Adobe's server distiller product? Or another? Either way a quick check on the products home page should confirm whether the version you are running is fine on 2k/2k3...

    Component wise... I believe SMP aware apps will run better on HT CPU's... but not as well as a true SMP system...

    And just to clarify licensing... most MS products (if running from Open licensed versions) allow 'legacy' rights...

    i.e. You buy a Windows 2003 Server license... but you are enititled to install Windows NT4... (not sure if the volume CD's are still available though)...

    Hope that helps!

    Mark.
     

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