Agni: Unboxing

Alright, so in my last post I managed to figure out what, exactly, Agni is. Now the next most pressing question is: How the heck do I get inside it? I’ve got the tech specs now, so I’m fairly confident what I expect to see once I do get in, but a cursory inspection reveals no screws of any kind. Stupid hidden screw techniques.

My husband managed to figure it out though:

2013-02-26 08.42.27That little piece with the lock slides to one side, causing the entire side panel to pop off. Voila! And we’re inside!

2013-02-26 08.43.46It’s nice and compact, though I like my cases roomier so I can add to them. Definitely not going to be able to fit multiple drives in there. Of note, there does appear to be an optical drive that I’d missed in my earlier rundown (they don’t come with one by default I guess), and… snicker… there’s a 3.5″ floppy drive… lol.  Nice labeling on the cables though.

My first goal was to simply swap out the hard drive with the one I had on hand, already set up for web serving. Notice the tight space though: clearly you can’t slide the drive out of the bay like you would in a larger tower, not without removing the power supply. So how do you….

2013-02-26 08.45.05Oh! Those blue clips, when pressed together, cause the entire bay to undock, letting you lift the bay out and then swap the drive. Very clever, Dell. Very clever indeed.

(At work we have a system which actually has a bay open to the exterior of the machine, letting you simply flip some clips to disengaged and slide the drive entirely out without opening the case. I love that system. This is nice too though!)

2013-02-26 08.46.17Alright, now to slide the smaller but already configured drive in and…. uh-oh. Problem.

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Old drive on left, new on right

The old drive is… IDE, and the new is SATA. (The specs said something about slimline, but this doesn’t look slimeline, so I’m going to go with normal SATA) I clearly need an adapter  Unless….. I do have other machines in the house… and while transfer via ethernet takes for friggan EVER, it is feasible. Hmm…. I’ll have to ponder this further.

Introducing: Agni

Once upon a time, I mentioned to my father-in-law that I wished I had a sandbox server to play with my web development skills. Once upon a time, my father-in-law mentioned that he had an old desktop tower from a school that had recently upgraded that he didn’t have plans for. Eyes met, sparks flew, and my living room server, Mercury, was born.

Sadly, a few weeks ago, Merc’s motherboard shorted out. We pulled out the ram and HDD and tossed the case, but I’ve been looking for a good replacement ever since. Today, at the Goodwill, we found a likely candidate: a Dell small-form-factor PC, $70, in good condition.

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I’ve named this one Agni, following my trend of naming web servers after messenger gods (kind of). Here’s the sum total of what I know about Agni before beginning:

  • The sticker claims it has 1GB of ram
  • The sticker claims it has an 80GB hdd
  • The store clerk claims it works
  • The connectors look like this:

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That’s it! Exciting, huh? (I can’t stop being dizzy even when I stop taking pain meds. I had to come home early from work and miss setting up the third box in my project-specific mini-network. I can’t go in to work tomorrow either if I’m this sick. So instead of feeling sorry for myself, I’m moving up projects I can work on).

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So first I’ve decided to gather a little more info about the processing power. The sticker was in good shape, and it contains a model number: DCCY. A little googling indicates that that makes it an “OptiPlex 740”, which CNET claims runs the following specs:

  • AMD Athlon 64 3800+ / 2.4 GHz
  • 512.0 MB ram by default
  • 8GB ram max
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition ,SP2, x32, with Media
  • NVIDIA Quadro NVS 210S graphics card

I don’t care about the graphics card whatsoever, given it’s going to be a server, but the ram capabilities are a lot nicer than we had before, and it was made in the XP era, so not that long ago (I’d not be surprised if the previous box was optimized for ME). Whatever it has on the HDD, I plan to blow away, since I have the HDD from the previous machine I can just boot from, so I don’t much care about the OS except to tell me when this was made. We know the ram is higher than the minimum, and hey, look at that, the processor is 64-bit, despite the original OS only being 32 (probably because this was meant to be a media center PC and likely existed before XP 64-bit came out, not that it ever had much adoption).

From what my more hardware-savvy friends tell me, AMD was better than Intel when 64-bit first started coming out (and yes, that processor dates to that period of time), so this is a good solid processor. This is way better than expected, to be honest. I expected something older and more limited. This is going to be great!