I've been thinking for a while to upgrade my trustworthy Optiplex FX160 home server for something with more upgrade options. My main concern is that my actual server is running out of space, and I have no option to add more drives (I could use USB drives, but they will be out of the housing and I'll be limited to USB 2.0).
I've made really good experiences with business-class Dell systems, and though about getting a SFF (small form factor) desktop-type system. I know that you can get some nice systems on Ebay, with CPU's ranging from Core 2 Duo's, Core 2 Quad's and second-generation Core-i's.
I am specifically thinking of getting a Optiplex 960 SFF with a Core 2 Duo E8400 (3 GHz). You can grab one of those for ~100€ on Ebay, and they pack some nice goodies:
- Small case: 29x8,5x32 cm
- 3 Sata 2 ports
- Up to 8 GB DDR2 ram
- Intel 82567 Gigabit Lan controller
- e-Sata port
- x1 PCI port
- x1 PCI express X16
- 235 W high efficiency PSU
- Chuck ~10€ more and you get a Windows 7 License (upgradable to W10).
I like the idea of the integrated e-Sata and the free PCI/PCIe ports to add a USB 3.0 controller card. The CPU has a passmark of ~2100, which should be more than enough for basic NAS usage (my current setup has a Atom 330, and it has me covered for all my needs).
- DDR2 memory: for my needs, I do not need fast ram. I don't even need a lot of it (2 Gb are usually enough). However, it is more expensive and difficult to get.
- Proprietary motherboard: Dell still uses BTX form factor, which basically is incompatible with everything.
- Unusual CPU position: I made the experience already with a HP DC7900 usdt with a LGA775 socket. There is an array of capacitors around the CPU which make using an aftermarket cooler almost impossible.
- Power consumption: my current rig idles a 5-8 W. The C2D E8400 idles at 15-18 W at least. Not my bigger concern, but I just got used to the low consumption of the FX160.
So, my questions to you would be:
1. Has somebody experience with one of these PC's as home server?
2. Any thoughts about the age of the components?
3. I find the 100€ price tag quite attractive, given what is inside. What do you think?
For around 100€ more I can get a system with DDR3 memory and a Core i3 (Optiplex 790), but with only 2 Sata ports and without eSata. But for the end price, I can better build a new system. Therefore, I don't think that going for a ~200€ system is such a good deal, given that I have to invest in several other components to achieve the same functionality that I get from the 960.
Any comments are welcome!
I made some extra research on the computer, and found some other facts and figures:
- It has an integrated Raid Controller which allows Raid 0 and 1 modes. The system can, theoretically, accommodate up to 3 2.5'' drives: 2 on the integrated HDD caddy, and one thru a Slimline HDD caddy (which I happened to have one laying around).
- Sata 2 connectors (3 internal + 1 eSata).
- The CPU can be upgraded up to a Intel Core 2 Quad Q9650, which has a respectable 4277 Passmark.
After some negotiation with the seller, I got one for 99.50€ with shipping, 2 years of warranty and 1 month no cost return. Not bad!