Solved Server supported?


Staff member
Hello world.

I could get my hands on some second-hand server hardware. The hardware in question would be of the
Express 5800 Series
type. This is some Tyan-mainboard carrying two opteron CPUs, half a ton of lead (feels like) and the sound profile of a fighter jet. Does anyone here know if this thing is supported? Some old Redhat install or Win7-64 did not find the hard discs, thus did not install. I would hate to spend money on things which would turn out to be a door stop, but then also would not like not get one when it can be put to some use. And yes, my first how-to here may be about a DIY sound proof cabinet. ;)

With a little googling, I found the manual to that server's motherboard. Based on the Hardware Notes of FreeBSD 10.3, it should be more or less supported. Here is what I found:

IDE and SATA ports: Should be supported by the ata driver. No AHCI support. Note that the NvRAID feature is NOT supported and would need to be disabled in the BIOS.
ATI Rage XL PCI onboard Video: Should get very basic graphics in X with the vesa driver. The text console should be fine.
Broadcom BCM5704 Gigabit Ethernet: Should be supported by the bge driver.
USB and PS/2 ports should work with the drivers in the GENERIC kernel.

No idea on hardware monitoring and IPMI BMC support.

If you'll be using it as a server, it might prove useful. If you'll be using it as a workstation, then you should look into disabling the onboard video and installing a supported video card in that PCI Express x16 slot. Here is a link to decent information on supported video cards for use in X on FreeBSD:

If you still have access to the system before purchase, you could download a FreeBSD 10.3 DVD ISO or memstick image and try it out in "LiveCD" mode. Note that in order for FreeBSD to see the attached disks, the NvRAID would need to be disabled in the BIOS.

Link to the motherboard manual:
If you'll be using it as a server, it might prove useful.

I hope this piece of hardware will not run 24/7.
The amount of energy consumption is so high, newer hardware at the same performance level could pay itself over 3 years by lower energy costs.
windscape, thank you very much for the feedback. The system is running, but it will never do so in my home. The energy cost would certainly be too high, power is expensive here. Also, the thing is really loud. I would try to substitute it with a cluster of odroids, if I had need for the computing power. I think you can get an awful lot of them together untill you hit the same power requirement. It will stay where it is now, maybe find use in a production setup somewhere. But not where I live, and try to sleep ;)