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New machine for my MCSE

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by DiGRem, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. DiGRem

    DiGRem New Member

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    I have just signed up with the NITLC and I am currently waiting for my CDL to come through, so in the mean time, I am looking at getting another machine. Here's the story.

    I have a 1 year old Dell 8300 with the following:-

    P4 2.4HT
    1Gig PC3200 RAM (Was 512)
    2 * 80 Gig Harddrives (One Seagate and One IBM)
    ATI 9800NP 128MB Video
    Intel 875 Chipset with standard on board NIC and sound.
    A very nice Spectrum 17" 7Glr monitor (Which I have had for 5 years and is still looking great)

    +

    A Belkin 7630 ADSL/Wireless/4 Port Router

    The machine is great. Works every day (On 24/7) and has not failed me yet !

    However, I know that I will need an extra machine. But what ?

    Looking at Dell again, I could get a 8400 3Gig machine with a nice new X800SE card for when I do lapse and just have to play Doom3 ;) but i have been reading major problems with the machines and overheating or I could get get a standard server machine from dell or someother company with 2k3 on it and just use that for my course. or I could use a local company but I still face the same dilemma, A nice new machine (And run 2k3 on my old machine) or a standard server with 2k3 pre installed !

    I could build a machine but i don't really have the time to sit down and research like I did on one of my old machines (took me 2 months in the end)

    Any help on this would be great.

    Many thanks

    DiG

    P.S. I have a budget of £1000 and I would like to get a 17" TFT to work on either way.
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, 70-270, 70-290
    WIP: 70-291
  2. Phil
    Honorary Member

    Phil Gigabyte Poster

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    I would say you have another choice which you may or may not have considered, you could use VMware on your existing machine and save the cash. Unless you really fancy a new machine of course :)

    or you could just pick up a few old machines for peanuts and build a lab environment on them. For my lab environment I use a combination of a few compaq deskpro PII 350's which I loaded with as much ram as I could and vmware. They aren't the fastest servers in the world but they work great for trying different stuff out.

    The cash you save could go towards upgrading your old system if you fancy something a bit perkier.

    Also I wouldn't buy a fully licenced version of 2k3 straight away just to use in a learning environment, chances are you will be blowing away the build on a regular basis so you may find the 180 day trial would suit your purposes.
     
    Certifications: MCSE:M & S MCSA:M CCNA CNA
    WIP: 2003 Upgrade, CCNA Upgrade
  3. Jakamoko
    Honorary Member

    Jakamoko On the move again ...

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    Hi DiG,

    You certainly don't need such a power PC as a 2nd machine for your studies, but if your looking for an excuse for treating yourself to a new machine, then I'd say is this is the perfect opportunity for justifying it to any significant other 8)

    Phil's also right - VMWare is a popular alternative around here for having multiple PCs/servers in a single box. Have a look at the many VMWare-related Threads elsewhere on our Boards.

    Personally, I used various old PCs loaded with as much as I could get my hands on for free (typical Scotsman :dry ). I even have an ancient steam-driven laptop (Win98 - no CD-ROM) as a client. Was also handy for learning how to do network OS installs.

    HTH :D
     
    Certifications: MCP, A+, Network+
    WIP: Clarity
  4. OffSide

    OffSide Nibble Poster

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    Hello DiGRem,

    I would say have a look at ebay.
    My home network didnt cost me much cos of ebay ...80 squids.

    2 servers, 3 clients plus my personal laptop that I plug in from time to time.
    a cheap net netgear dual speed hub 8 ports and the job is done.

    save the cash for a holiday.

    good luck :)
     
    Certifications: N+ MCP 210
    WIP: MCSE
  5. DiGRem

    DiGRem New Member

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    Well, all of that sounds great, and I have come to a few ideas.

    I am not getting a new computer now. I will be getting a 17" TFT some time soon. and *may* upgrade my machine to a 3Gig CPU and 2Gig RAM.

    I have d/l VMware and WOW. Using my trial version of 2k3 standard (from MS - thanks !)I was very surprised to find that I had 2k3 running in less then 1 hour, and the speed of the OS running under XP was mindblowing.

    I think I will run with the ebay idea and get hold of a 1Gig machine with some ram to run 2k3 on it full time. I allready have a Belkin 7630 ADSL / 4 Port router so I have turn of DHCP on the router and allow 2k3 to control that side of it as well.

    Thanks for that. I love this forum !

    BTW. What is a good spec for 2k3 now. I was looking at a 1Gig P4 with 512 RAM. Will that run fast enough for me ?

    Thanks again all.

    DiG
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, 70-270, 70-290
    WIP: 70-291
  6. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Keep in mind that running a lab environment is not the same as a production environment. You don't need the same level of power and performance in a lab since you won't be supporting 1000 end users, 150 networked servers, etc... The only real reason to buy a second souped up machine (other than you want one) is to run a VMWare virtual network on. VMWare rocks (see VMWare thread in the Software forum). I use it for writing since I have to do labs and take screen shots of them. You can also take a "snapshot" of a virtual machine, then configurate the heck out of it...when you're done, restore to the original snapshot and you're back at baseline. Great for lab work.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  7. DiGRem

    DiGRem New Member

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    I see now. So an old P3 550 with 256 RAM would be great then ? I would need more RAM to use VMware however with different OS's, wouldn't I ?

    DiGRem
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, 70-270, 70-290
    WIP: 70-291
  8. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    You'd need enough RAM to run your host machine plus however many guest machines you'd want open at the same time. The simplest example is let's say you'd want to run your host and three guests, each using 128 MB of RAM. 128 * 4 = 512 you you'd have to be running half a gig of RAM. Having said that, my figures are pretty conservative since I run one host and three or four guests using 1.25 GB of ram and experience just a bit of paging when everything's open. Of course I'm also running Snag It, Zone Alarm, and a few other apps at the same time.

    Your guest OSes take up the same amount of HDD space as they would on a "real" machine so you'd need a big enough hard drive to storel them all. If you frequently create and blow away virtual machines, you'll have to stay on top of defraging your HDD to keep your performance up.

    Click here to go to the VMWare discussion thread. It's a good read.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  9. DiGRem

    DiGRem New Member

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    Thanks for that. At the moment I am ruuning one guest (2k3) and XP Pro as host on my main machine, and it's great. I haven't get the network running right quite yet but I have just d/l the PDF and I will have a look. I think I will be buying a copy of this after my 30 days ;)

    DiGRem
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, 70-270, 70-290
    WIP: 70-291

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