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This is the starting point for the build of a new server that's designed to run FreeNAS, an open-source network attached storage OS, built on top of FreeBSD.
We specified a rack-mounted case (since we planned to install it into a rack in due course), a quad-core 3.2GHz Intel Xeon E3-1230 (Sandy Bridge) processor plus a suitable server motherboard, 8GB of RAM in a pair of 4GB DIMMs from Crucial Technology UK, and four 3TB Seagate Barracuda XT SATA disks. The case is Antec's 4U22EPS650 4U server box, which includes the power supply.
Photos: Manek Dubash
Intel's Xeon E3-1230 looks pretty much like every other mainstream chip it makes these days: it slots into the same LGA 1155 socket as Intel's other Sandy Bridge processors, while cooling systems work across both LGA 1155 and 1156 sockets, as they use the same 75mm distance between screw holes.
The 32nm E3-1230 offers four cores, eight threads, a maximum clock speed of 3.6GHz in Turbo Boost mode, consumes up to 80W and can address up to 32GB RAM. Other Xeons in this family offer on-chip graphics, although this variant doesn't.