Digital Archaeology: Dell PowerEdge 2550

in #retrocomputing2 years ago (edited)


https://megalextoria.blogspot.com/2020/06/cu-amiga-may-1990.html

While out patrolling my neighborhood...really just taking a walk after dinner, I spotted something interesting by the curb. There were what appeared to be several rack mounted servers (well, they weren't currently mounted...). Either our neighborhood was built on some ancient computer server burial ground and they were rising from the dead, or less likely, someone was throwing them out. Either way, I grabbed them...or at least hauled them off the ground with great force...these things were heavy...or they just didn't want to let go...

All in all there were 5 different machines. Here I'll cover the first...what turned out to be a Dell PowerEdge 2550. This computer was made in the early 2000s. The PowerEdge 2550 was introduced on March 27th 2001 according to this article at a base price of $2499. While the article mentions CPUs ranging from 700 MHz to 1 GHz, I believe the lowest end PowerEdge models came with a 933 MHz CPU and they supported up to 1.4 GHz CPUs. ServerWorks Corp.'s HE-SL chipset also supported up to 4 GB of RAM (most desktops of the era only supported 512 MB to 2 GB if you were lucky), a dual channel raid with battery backup and 3 PCI buses (2 64-bit and 1 32-bit). This one seemed to have 2 CPUs in it. At least I could see two heatsinks and two voltage regulator modules (VRMs). The previous caretaker had wisely removed the hard drives. These would have been SCSI drives with particular hot swap caddies for this dell model (and maybe others) so it wasn't something I just had lying around. Nevertheless, I hooked up a monitor, keyboard and mouse and turned it on to see what would happen...

To my surprise, it posted and even though it had nothing to boot, I could enter the BIOS and see what was here. It reported 1 933 MHz Pentium III CPU and 1.5 GB of RAM. Why it cannot see the other CPU I have not figured out yet. There are no error beeps or messages displayed, it's just as if that 2nd CPU which I can clearly see is not really there. I tried reseating the VRMs with no effect. The processor in the #1 spot must be the one working because otherwise the machine wouldn't boot at all. At some point I'll remove the CPU and heatsink of the 2nd CPU and maybe try reseating it.

Read more: https://www.megalextoria.com/wordpress/index.php/2020/06/23/digital-archaeology-dell-poweredge-2550/