Western Digital 4.3 Gig IDE Hard Drive (WDC AC34300L)
Creative / Matshita CR-581 4x CD-ROM
3Com EtherLink III ISA 3C509B (10Base-T)
Generic Floppy / Keyboard / Mouse
Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP2
Internet Explorer 6
MDAC 2.7 RTM
.NET Framework SDK
Pentium 166's? That Has To Be a Typo...
Now I realize that looking over these specs, most of you
are probably thinking... "My desktop is more powerful than
that" ...and you're right, but it was the best machine that
I could find that we weren't currently using for something
else. After some testing and
rebuilding (replacing the old hard drive with a spare 4
Gig and adding 2 more 32MB SIMMS for a total of 6),
I re-tasked (my new word of the day) it as my new ASP.NET v1 test server.
While it's not the fastest thing around, it is up there
in terms of reliability. Since almost all the components
in it have been running well somewhere on our network (in one
capacity or another) for the last few years, I'm
not expecting it to give me any grief! IMHO, the prospect
of no stupid hardware problems more then makes up for the
lack of power.
Another nice point illustrated by my using this machine
is that you really don't need a killer machine to run .NET.
It will obviously run more slowly on this machine then it
would on my P4 desktop, but if you've got a reasonable amount
of memory and you enable the caching features where
applicable, ASP.NET can perform as well as, if not better then,
classic ASP even on older hardware. Heck, according to
Microsoft's specs, it only requires a single P133 with
128MB! So if you want to play with .NET but aren't quite ready
to jump in head first, dust off that three year old computer
you've got sitting in the corner and "re-task"
a server of your own. ;)
Don't get me wrong... if you're launching a new web site
built around .NET, I'm not suggesting you use the oldest
hardware you can find to run it. I'm pretty
sure Microsoft was not expecting people to launch their
shiny new e-commerce sites on three year old hardware!
Like most software,
.NET runs best when it has ample resources,
but it is nice to see that .NET will run (and even run
decently) on an extremely modest computer.
Note: So far the only things I've run into
that are noticably slow on this machine are the .NET Framework
install itself (which isn't really a big deal since you only
do it once) and the first hit to a page after a change.
I'm pretty sure it's the compilation of the
page that's slowing things down there. Once it serves up
the response to the first request, even relatively complex
pages that aren't cached come back really quickly.
An impressive fact when you consider the box they're