Thanks to a homeservershow forum member keeping track of prices I ordered the HP Gen8 Microserver 1610T … of course, nobody wants to run VMWare on a Celeron so obviously the first thing to try is installing a Xeon processor.
Update April 12, 2020. The 8th Gen HP Microserver is outdated. If you have one it probably still runs great. But if making a new purchase you may want to consider the newer 10th Gen HP Microservers.
Or the shorter tower server for small businesses:
Original post below in case you’re still interested in this mod:
Installing the Xeon E3-1230 V2 in the Microserver
The HP Microserver’s CPU is passively cooled and the heatsink is rated for a max TDP of 35W, and there’s no port on the motherboard that I could find for an extra CPU fan.
The obvious option is the Xeon E3-1220L V2 at 17W, but it’s expensive and hard to find and only has 2 cores.
I already have a Xeon E3-1230 V2 (69W), and for most people this is a better option because it’s readily available and affordable. I figure worse case I could disable two of the four cores to bring it down to 35W.
I’ve never applied thermal paste, so I’m not sure if that’s the right amount, but that’s how much I did.
Hey, it worked!
I thought it wise to at least go into the BIOS and disable 3.7GHz Turbo, so the max we’ll hit is 3.3GHz. (Update: I later learned that disabling Turbo isn’t necessary. The CPU will only go into Turbo when a single core is being utilized so TDP would be low anyway).
VMware ESXi booted just fine (I used the version provided by HP). Now I’ve got hyper-threading and VT-d (Direct Path I/O) on a Gen8 Microserver!
And the temperature is doing just fine…
10 minutes full load using “stress” on a VM. All four cores clocking in at 3.292GHz. You can see the temperatures bumped up but still within specifications. Fan was still running at 51%. Temperature inside my house is currently 84F so if it can survive a full load in this heat I’m not concerned about it running into problems.
(added July 28, 2013)
Here’s a list of processors I think would be good candidates. I’ve excluded the Core i5 series because they don’t support ECC.
The stock processor does not differ from the i3 except for clock speed and hyper-threading, so I don’t think it’s worth the money to upgrade to an i3.
The main reasons to upgrade to a Xeon is the AES instruction set, VT-d, or more cores and a faster clock speed. I think the best value is the Xeon E3-1230 V2.
|Xeon E3-1220 v2||3.1||69W||4||N||Y||Y||Y||Should|
|Xeon E3-1220L v2||2.3||17W||2||Y||Y||Y||Y||Should|
|Xeon E3-1230 v2||3.3||69W||4||Y||Y||Y||Y||Verified|
|Xeon E3-1265 v2||2.5||45W||4||Y||Y||Y||Y||Should*|
*Processors ending in a 5 have integrated HD graphics, I’m not sure if this will cause problems.