Question Blade server enquiry


Junior Member
Apr 13, 2019
To assist with my enquiry I'll start by telling you a bit about myself.

I'm a hobby programmer who does idiosyncratic bots (mostly puzzle/problem solving). I code in C/C++ and rarely have a use for graphics that couldn't be shown on a CGA monitor. I'm definitely NOT a systems admin though. I can read a help file, and I've used *nix servers before to run bots from shell prompts, but that is about the extent of my expertise.

For the most part my programs are big on memory usage. Think multiple threads accessing one large look-up table, each working on different parts of the same problem. So what is important to me is LOTS of memory. Like I could seriously put 4TB to good use and then probably bitch that I could do so much more with just a bit more memory... Anyway, number of cores and their speed is the second most important thing to me. Obviously though this is scaled to the size of the memory, because if I had like 512 cores with 4GB of RAM then the program would be effective for about 3.7 seconds. Disk space is not usually an issue.

So with the above in mind I'm looking at the following purchase: HP C7000 SERVER. 8 X BL685C G6 Blades each containing: 4 X Quad-Core AMD Opteron 8387 2.8Ghz Processors (total 128 cores), 128GB PC2-5300 DDR2-667 RAM (total 1TB RAM), 2 X 146GB SAS HDD 10K (total 2336GB). It comes with display card and power supplies and all fans, but no OS installed. They're asking $3800 Australian dollars and can ship it for an extra $200. So 4 grand for what seems like a dream server for me (I would happily pay $1500 for *one* of those blades in a standard server) and something that must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars less than 10 years ago.

The guys selling it seem to be reputable, they have a physical address in my country and are contactable by phone, but they don't seem to know much about it either other than what's written on the box.

My hope would be to buy this thing and then hire someone familiar with blade servers to set it up for me with an Onboard Administrator and OS and drop it in my lap.

So keeping in mind that I know nothing about blade servers, am I insane to be considering buying this thing? My googling so far has revealed that even systems admins find them to be painful and somewhat of a niche, which makes me wonder if I can even find someone in my city of Brisbane who's up to the task. I'm not sure about the power usage either, although if needed I might be willing to connect 3-phase power to my house. I do have an old DEC server rack if required (and if that's enough).

I'm also wondering about the latency between the blades. When googling the info I see a lot of buzzwords about connectivity that mean nothing to me. Basically I don't really care about how many GB/s it can stream, what's more important to me is the latency between one blade asking another for a small piece of data.

Any information you can provide me with regarding practicality and costs would be very much appreciated.



Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
One quad-core Opteron 8387 TDP is 75W. 8 blades of 4 processors = 32x75w = 2400W.

And the noise. Definitely painful to handle. :eek:


Last edited:
Nov 4, 2004
I would be hesitant to purchase something like that. I'd be more likely to purchase 1U / 2U servers, 10Gb ethernet cards, and a 10Gb switch.

Shortfalls of a blade chassis:

1. Power consumption
2. Blade Chassis is a single point of failure
3. Cooling

They're great for some purposes. But if you're not familiar with a blade setup, can be challenging.
May 24, 2003
The downside of blades is they are super proprietary, so it will be hard to get replacement parts etc if anything fails. I would be more tempted to build some 2U individual servers as they are a bit more serviceable. Ex: start with a Supermicro barebones then buy the ram etc.

"Whitebox" is also an option but you can only realisticly do 3U or 4U so it's not exactly space efficient at that point. The PSU and cpu heatsink tends to be what takes a lot of space in a fully custom build.

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