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HP DC5850 SFF or MT, an inexpensive building block


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I have always liked the HP or Dell or Lenovo 'pizza box' designs, but the HP DC5850 is a unique value:



In the QuickSpecs you will see that it is capable of running a Quad core Phenom and 16GB of memory, but at what cost?

I bought a DC5850 SFF for $60, a 9600B Phenom X4 for $33 and 16GB of memory for $52. So for $145 I have a nice base for a home server.

Why is the memory so cheap? It is four DDR2-800/PC2-6400 high density 4GB modules. If you remember back when this PC originally shipped the Intel CPU's had issues with memory modules that had high chip counts, but they work with AMD. The modules I got are really Samsung UDIMMS.

So far Windows 7 works fine. Next I am going to play with Windows 8.1 as a home server. 

The CPU supports virtualization, but I am not sure if the BIOS will.

These also work well for Sophos-PFSense-Untangle devices.

If you prefer the microtower, they seem to go for around $90 with the 9600B CPU already installed.

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I was concerned about the x16 PCIe slot, on this chipset it is tied to the IGP, but it seem to work fine with a IBM M1015 RAID card. Although I need to do more testing. The system originally had a Sempron CPU and it would not run with the four 4GB DIMMS at 16GB. I got it to 12GB using two 4GB and two 2GB DIMMS. Changing to the Phenom CPU works with all 16GB.

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Yes, these “pizza boxes” are pretty cool. Last month I bought a DC5800 (Microsoft Authorized Recertified) SFF with an Intel Pentium Dual Core 2.0Ghz, 2GB RAM, 160GB HDD, DVD-CDRW, and Windows 7 Home Premium OEM for $75. Swapped in a new Intel Core 2 Duo E8600 3.33GHz that I bought for $40, changed the RAM to 8GB (4x2GB) of G.Skill DDR2 800/PC2 6400 and exchanged the Seagate HDD for an Intel 320 160GB SSD; both of which I already had. Even found a new SFF Tower Stand for $8. Added two Intel I210-T1 NICs and am running Sophos UTM on it and playing around with LAG on the LAN-side. I looked at going with a Core 2 Quad Processor but it would be over-kill for this use and the TDP is 50% higher than that of the Core 2 Duo. Not a bad little box for the money.


I’ll be interested to see how you populate your DC5850 server with storage capacity.

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