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Converting over old server hardware to gaming PCs

l2avism2l2avism2 Member UncommonPosts: 38
Occasionally I browse ebay and look for random things.
In fact, I bought my current car on ebay from my cell phone.

(thats an example car that looks identical to mine)

Anyways, I ran accross these old Apple servers (back in the day, apple sold xservers) which have 8 core xenon at ghz and 32gb of ddr3 for like $200. I'm thinking that I could slap some Linux on that thang and install a PCI-E graphics card and have a swell gaming rig for cheap.
What do you think? If nothing else, I could always just use them as general purpose desktops.


  • QuizzicalQuizzical Member LegendaryPosts: 23,408
    Servers tend to have a lot of CPU cores clocked low, which makes sense for some very parallel server workloads, but tends not to work so well for gaming.  That said, a lot of games don't need very much CPU performance, so you might be fine there.

    Adding a respectable video card could be difficult to do.  The problem isn't having a PCI Express connector.  The problem is having space and airflow.  Some small expansion cards may fit, but a lot of servers simply don't have room for a two-slot cooler that is 10" long.  They also commonly don't have room for a cooler that sticks up an inch past the top of the PCI Express bracket, as many GPUs do.  It might be that a $50 card with performance inferior to modern integrated graphics will fit, but a more robust gaming card won't.

    Even if they do have room for a two-slot cooler, servers generally have a very different airflow plan from desktops.  Video cards generally want to pull air in the side of the card and then spray it off in all directions.  In servers, that sometimes means the fan is flush against the metal case of the server.  Servers commonly want to blast air through the cards, going in one end and out the other.  Many GPUs have a solid piece of plastic on the end of the card that completely blocks this, so you'd get no airflow at all.

    You could also run into driver problems if you try to load a non-Apple OS.  Apple is known for doing weird, proprietary stuff, and other operating systems don't have to support it.

    Maybe you'll be able to make it work and have a nifty gaming rig on the cheap.  But don't count on it.
  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 6,356
    You are going to have issues with Bios and drivers.
  • l2avism2l2avism2 Member UncommonPosts: 38
    edited May 2018
    DMKano said:
    Servers are designed for compute power not GPU power (yes there are GPU based servers but that's a different story)

    Like Quizz said - 1U server as pictured above - has no room for a modern GPU card.  Heck even 2U servers are usually too tight.

    Also its going to be loud as shit, weighs a lot and takes up a crapton of space.

    Linux for a gaming rig? 


    The graphics card does not have to be physically inside the case as you can use a PCIE ribbon cable and a daughter card, and you can always extract the mobo out and then use some random atx case.
    Some nerds (like Mr Linus on youtubes) have added desktop cards to their laptops by using ribbon cables and daughter cards (some laptops will even have PCIE ports, also any thunderbolt port contains pins that directly tie into the PCIE buss- which makes hacking a mac easy when you have access to the port).
  • l2avism2l2avism2 Member UncommonPosts: 38
    Cleffy said:
    You are going to have issues with Bios and drivers.
    Intel MACS are typically using intel chipsets and realtek ethernet. You have to disrupt the efi boot though.
    However, with the bootcamp software you have been able to dualboot windows on Intel MACS and people have been putting Linux on macs since forever.
  • RidelynnRidelynn Member EpicPosts: 7,258
    They were nifty rack servers, not so nifty for gaming though

  • Asm0deusAsm0deus Member EpicPosts: 3,648

    Brenics ~ Just to point out I do believe Chris Roberts is going down as the man who cheated backers and took down crowdfunding for gaming.

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