A year and a half after purchasing this system, I have a few updates:
- We've recently purchased a replacement model. It uses the same MB, RAM and processor but we decided to forego the fancy server case and hot-swappable drive bays. Instead, we have 4x400GB SATA Seagate drives, a P43.0GHz processor and an Antec Sonata II 430watt PSU. Where the old machine sounded like a jet engine, this system is quiet enough to be in an office. The total price can to about $3000CDN.
- I have upgraded the original machine to Debian Sarge. This included a new kernel and new 3ware modules. It's still 2.4-based, but the new kernel caused odd RAID problems that looked positively frightening. I was afraid that we'd lost the drive. Luckily I came across this post. It turns out that this is a common problem with new 2.4 kernels. The solution seems to be to recompile the 3ware module. For the time being, I've just reverted to the old kernel. It works fine. Interestingly, I've upgraded the new systems kernel. It's an Ubuntu-based server running 5.04, so kernel 2.6.10-*. I haven't seen this problem with the 2.6 kernel.
- I forgot to mention that the 3dmd daemon took some tweaking to get working with Debian. I did this a year and a half ago and can't remember what I did. I'll be going through it again with the new server and will post more information here.