December 11th, 2012



Just ask Scotty, there's never enough power when you need it. Because I only have 8GB of RAM in my primary box (Windows 7), I am often taxing the system. Sure my swap file is on a discrete volume 10k Raptor, but because it primarily runs my Lotus Notes, Photoshop, iTunes, LibreOffice apps & Pirate101 - simultaneously - keeping on average 30-tabs open (each tab allocating itself memory) in whichever browser I happen to be using at the time (I float between Chrome & Safari, and occasionally Firefox & Opera) it was really affecting performance when all available memory was being consumed.

I decided to offload all browsing to the PowerMac G5. OSX is such a gorgeous operating system and I love the Monaco font. Sadly, the 2GB of RAM which was overkill in its day is woefully inadequate for power-browsing. I was experiencing slow downs and pauses. One option is, of course, filling it with more memory - fairly inexpensive memory these days at that (PC3200). But I have an impressive stockpile of other inventory at my disposal.

Enter the Dell PowerEdge 2950 with dual quad-core Xeon processors and 32GB of RAM. I replaced SLES 11 SP2 with openSUSE 12.2 (for obvious desktop reasons - there is no "Chrome" for SLES nor as many perl modules) and its extremely noisy compared to the ultra-quiet PowerMac - but the performance is OUTSTANDING. So for now, all my power needs have finally been met.

As an aside, I couldn't put a nice PCI-E x16 card in it because the riser expansion slots are all PCI-E x8. This guide explains how to either remove the extra pins from the card - or - cut a notch in the slot. As luck would have it, I also have a previous-gen 2950 which came with standard PCI riser expansion slots! My dual-head ATI card would display both monitors without all the pretty of GNOME 3 (and even the 16MB integrated video can do that), and the 128MB Nvidia card could fully power one *with* the pretty. But I could not get both video cards to transmit simultaneously no matter the configuration - which would ideally provide both pretty, and dual-head.

Still in all, pretty freaking awesome!