18 October 2005

Consistency of modern hardware supply

I recently built two identical servers, Bob and Helen, which use heartbeat and STONITH to provide a “virtual” server named Mirage. I’ll see if I can rename the remaining Windows 2000 server “Syndrome”.

I watched the stocks arrive at Navada’s Greenwood store still in the sealed cartons. I watched David break two (or four) of everything out of the bigger cartons and place it all on the counter, so I can verify that there was no mixing of new with old stock between manufacturers’ cartons and customer. I took it all home to assemble.

  • The first (ATI Radeon X300) video card had a square, black heatsink, the second had a silvery, arched one.
  • Some of the front-panel wires were a different colour on the second 4RU case and the hard-drive brackets fitted slightly differently.
  • The second (ThermalTake TR2) PSU had a six-pin 12V power plug not present on the first.
  • The second (ASUS DRW-1608P) DVD burner wouldn’t read the boot CD much past the splash screen until I cleaned it (the first didn’t even flinch).
  • AFAICT, the (ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe) motherboards and their BIOS settings are identical, but the Mandriva 2005 boot CD couldn’t see the USB devices attached to the second mobo during installation, and that mobo arrived with two more coarse-threaded screws (for dogging down daughter cards) than the first.

The RAM and hard drives do actually seem to be identical. It feels a bit whiney listing this all out, but I was amazed that so mcuh adjacent/consecutive hardware could be markedly different.

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