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Last Updated: 27 July 2008


In this category of servers the main priority is low cost, with reliability as a close second consideration. Price has always been the number one concern of most Malaysian buyers.


While performance is important, we do not consider it a vital part of building a budget server; it is merely something that is considered when price and reliability have been established. This is not to say that performance is ignored because an efficient server will mean better productivity for the users depending on the server. Platform stability is also a priority and in this respect, many of our clients have always settled for servers based on the Intel® IA-32 architecture. Although AMD's OpteronTM is a strong contender, the lack of a 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 is somewhat hampering its acceptance in small business environments.


The server we recommend below would be suitable for up to 20-25 users as a general rule of thumb. However, every company have their own requirements and depending on needs, the number of users connected to the server may be more or less than the above specified numbers.


Hard Disc & Optical Storage


Hard Disc Drive: 2 X 74 GB Western Digital WD740GD 10,000 rpm c/w 8 MB buffer (RAID 1 configuration)

DVD Writer: LiteOn SOHW - 1653S Internal 16x dual layer DVD+/-RW Drive
Approximate Retail Price: RM 2,025


WD Raptor 74 GB Enterprise Serial ATA Hard Drive Kit

Designed for servers and NAS/SAN systems, the drive of choice for high- performance workstation and gaming systems, the WD Raptor hard drive is a new class of drive that matches SCSI performance and reliability while providing simplified connectivity.

Killer Speed: World’s fastest Serial ATA drive: 10,000 RPM, 4.5 ms seek; Unsurpassed Reliability: 5-year warranty and 1.2 million hours MTBF; Optimum Value: All the speed and reliability of SCSI without the wicked price tag.


We recommend a pair of these so that a RAID 1 configuration can be achieved for more secure data storage.

LiteOn has done a good job with their DVD writers, which is why we decided to recommend them. LiteOn also manufactures optical drives for many famous brands, like Sony. DVD is a cheaper medium to perform regular backups and, with a 4 GB backup capacity per DVD, it is easy to complete a data backup using just one DVD. DVD drives are also useful for software installation as the need to use multiple CDs is eliminated. Of course, when your organisation grows, it would be prudent to have a complete backup and data protection strategy which may include the use of a more serious backup device like a DDS-3 tape backup as detailed below.


Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), Keyboard & Mouse


UPS: APC SmartUPS SU-1500I

Keyboard and Mouse: Logitech Touch II keyboard and Logitech optical mouse
Approximate Retail Price: RM 1,750


You cannot really afford to have a server breakdown during a business day. When a server breaks down, it impacts on all users on the network. Therefore, reliability must be top notch. APC has established a reputation over the years for solid products that virtually pay for themselves upon installation. Who has time to spend worrying about system downtime? APC makes it easy for you to focus on business growth instead of business downtime.


A secondary effect of having a UPS is its power regulating features. We all know that TNB power supply can fluctuate wildly in different areas. The UPS will ensure that the power supplied to the server is as smooth and as stable as possible for reliable operations.


The keyboard and mouse are not really important components here because they are not put to use on a daily basis. We recommend the relatively cheap Logitech Touch II keyboard and Logitech optical mouse. Both are OEM kit items and should be enough for a server and does not add much to the cost.



Tape Backup (option)


Tape Backup Drive: Sony SDT-D9000 with Adaptec 2930U SCSI adaptor
Approximate Retail Price:
RM 2,090


Capacity and performance for entry level requirements, the Sony DDS-3 tape drive will ensure proper backups are done on your server. With 24 GB capacity and 2.4 MB/s sustained data transfer rate, with 2:1 data compression, Sony 9000 series DDS-3 drives offer increased capacity along with the fastest DDS-3 tape drives in the market. The 9000 series capacity and speed are a great match for higher end requirements such as small to mid-size networks.


Adaptec SCSI Cards are tested with hundreds of computer systems and peripherals to ensure the widest possible support now, and in the future. Since peripheral manufacturers design to Adaptec products, you can count on broad compatibility. This will make an excellent companion to the Sony tape drive.

PCI card for desktop PCs




The final price of our basic low end server is RM 7,424 - it is already a comprehensive and high performace server for its price, with enough high performance storage as well as sufficient battery backup time. The price stated is for the bare components and does not include assembly costs (Micronet Solutions charges for assembly, testing, configuration and optimisation charges vary, depending on your requirements) and any money that you'll spend on software. We will discuss the software options that you can consider in the next page.


This system also has room for upgrades. There are spare 64-bit PCI-X to enable you to install more SCSI or Gigabit ethernet controllers as your business needs demand more bandwidth. With a 4U casing, there is ample room to slot in more SCSI hard discs as and when they are required. These are hot swappable too!


Here is a summary of the system:



Intel® Pentium® 4 3.2E GHz processor


Intel® Entry Server Board SE7210TP1-E


Onboard ATI RAGE™ XL SVGA PCI video controller with 8 MB RAM


2 X 256 MB (total 512 MB) Kingston 400MHz DDR PC3200 ECC DIMM 3-3-3


Samsung SyncMaster™ 591S 15" monitor


HEC Compucase S411 4U chassis

Power Supply Unit:


Sound Card:



One Intel® PRO/1000 82547EI Controller (CSA port) and one Intel® PRO/100+ 82551QM Controller

Hard Disc Drive:

2 X 74 GB Western Digital WD740GD 10,000 rpm c/w 8 MB buffer (RAID 1 configuration)

DVD Writer:

LiteOn SOHW - 1653S Internal 16x dual layer DVD+/-RW Drive


APC SmartUPS SU-1500I

Keyboard & Mouse:

Logitech Touch II keyboard and mouse (PS/2) OEM kit


RM 7,424 without tape backup; RM 9,514 with tape backup

This isn't going to come close to breaking any speed records, but entry level system




Our low end server isn't going to be breaking any performance records when compared to dual or quad processor Xeon or Opteron based servers. Neither will it break your bank account. If anyone thought that they needed to spend more than RM 10,000 on a well equipped, good performance and reliable server they are mistaken. Even with a tape backup drive and UPS installed, our server here still costs a very reasonable RM 9,514. Gone are the days when servers are out of reach of most small businesses. Our basic server here costs less than a year's salary for an office boy!


Next we are going to discuss the software options that will turn this server into a powerhouse, serving your organisation in its day to day data and information processing requirements.


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