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I have an HP Proliant ML115 G5 server. I used to use it as a development server (it ran Windows 2008 server, IIS, SQL Server and so on) but its now spare as my stuff is now cloud-hosted. This HP box seems decent enough to use as a workstation and I was thinking of using it to run Visual Studio, SQL Server etc. Nothing especially graphics-heavy.

Are there any obvious reasons why I should not do this? Or caveats?

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Should be fine, no reason that it wouldn't work. –  nerdwaller Mar 23 '13 at 3:19
    
I run VS and SQL Server (Express) on all my sub $600 laptops without any issues. –  TTT Mar 25 '13 at 4:10

3 Answers 3

Given it won't be used for anything graphics-heavy it should work fine, and since there's a RAID controller, its hard drive capabilities would suit SQL Server nicely. Just be sure to download and install all relevant drivers from HP.

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Thanks for your response. Do you think it would be worth installing a second, better spec graphics card or should I save my money and put it towards a newer machine? –  5arx Mar 23 '13 at 20:04
    
Depends on your goals. This HP has a 16x PCI-e slot, so it can handle a nice graphics card. Carefully decide what you want your computers to do, what they can do, and review/create your budget. The answer(s) are very dependent on lots of things, too specific for one question. –  Lizz Mar 23 '13 at 20:18
    
I was curious to see if it could be used as a gaming rig, CAD machine or for a similarly high end purpose. If so i could spec it up and multiboot it for all of these purposes. –  5arx Mar 23 '13 at 22:02
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Yes, it can. It depends on the 16x PCI-e video card you buy. –  Lizz Mar 23 '13 at 22:13

You will have no issues running it as a workstation, because that is truly what it is.

Servers typically have more redundancy and data protection. Dual power supplies, RAID controllers, ECC memory, multiple NICs, ILO, the ability to rack mount, highly expandable, suppport for lots of memory, etc...

That "server" just has a couple of the many features that most would consider a server.

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You can use it just like a 'normal' desktop. The only differences between most servers and regular workstations are:

  1. Better tested and redundant parts on the server. (E.g. dual PSU's)
  2. Very good cooling on most servers (which may make a lot of noise!)
  3. The option to use more buffered/registered and ECC memory on the server. This memory is usually slightly slower since the buffering delays memory access by an extra cycle.
  4. The BIOS on a server might be picky. It should not be, but it sometimes is.
  5. Boot time can be longer. Sometimes it is just as fast as an average desktop. Sometimes the board it will take over a minute to run tests before it even shows the first text during POST.

And ofcourse, servers tend to be pricier ;-)

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