New Dell 580

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
aclawson
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New Dell 580

Postby aclawson » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:18 pm

In the process of installing a new Dell 580 as a stake clerk admin machine. A couple of notes.

1. I wish the computers were standardized. Out of the four machines I've refreshed so far I've had a Lenovo, an HP, a Dell desktop and a Dell laptop.

2. This Dell came shipped with 4Gb RAM but a 32 bit operating system so some of that RAM is wasted.

3. The installation steps noted on the new clerksupport site do not match up exactly to what appears on the screen.

4. There is absolutely zero point in getting a gigabit ethernet NIC that does not support jumbo frames. What should take only a couple of minutes transferring data across the network (the USB drive is even slower) is taking significantly longer than that. There are Broadcom NICs that support jumbo frames - whoever is buying these machines should insist on those.

There... just finished copying the data to the new machine. Time to install me some software!

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:32 pm

aclawson wrote:Dell laptop.


Laptop???? I know some stake have bought them on their own, but I didn't think that was supported.

As for standardization, I think that choice is left up to FM. You need to let your preferences be known. If the old system broke, you may not have a choice, but if it's a scheduled replacement, then you should be able to have your opinion be known before the machine is ordered.


aclawson wrote:There is absolutely zero point in getting a gigabit ethernet NIC that does not support jumbo frames. What should take only a couple of minutes transferring data across the network (the USB drive is even slower) is taking significantly longer than that. There are Broadcom NICs that support jumbo frames - whoever is buying these machines should insist on those.


It's about price. Chances are that was the cheapest motherboard. Unless you're doing something unusual (read: not supported by LUS), there's no need for a gigabit NIC.
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aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:34 pm

We have a unit in a very challenged area of town. For security purposes the MLS machine is never left in the building unattended but is taken home by unit leadership after Sunday services.

I asked FM about standardization but was told that they just placed orders for computers and whatever was available was what was shipped. All luck of the draw.

Gb ethernet is useful for all kinds of supported reasons.

But it is what it is. Maybe I'll grab a couple of cheap USB ethernet dongles the next time they're on sale. Broadcom is going out of their way to deny jumbo frame support. Yet one more reason why I avoid them if possible.

harddrive
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Postby harddrive » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:42 am

aclawson, I agree that these machines should have a 64-bit OS. Also, it is my understanding from my FM group that these are "canned" machines and all they do is order them. So SLC needs to be told about this so that the machines can be ordered differently.

Now about Jumbo frames and gigabyte ethernet. There are a number of things that can cause slowness. You did not describe how things were connected. I assume that you were going through a gigabyte switch and if that is the case then the switch may not support jumbo frames. Also, the switch may not be a gigabit switch. So you are limited to 1500 MTU because that is the ethernet standard.

If you want to guarantee gigibit speed, then you could have connected the two computers via a crossover cable and transferred data. So there is, in my book, many other things that could have caused slowness in transferring data.

aclawson
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Postby aclawson » Fri Oct 19, 2012 6:16 am

I have no idea who to contact at SLC who can request that the machines be imaged with the 64 bit OS or with better NICs, nor do I believe that they would change their practices - they do it for a reason they deemed best.

The Broadcom 57xx NICs mostly don't support jumbo frames. From the website

NOTE: Please note that not all Broadcom networking devices support Jumbo-frame. Please consult the respective product documentation to confirm that your device supports this feature.

Digging around elsewhere we learn that the only 57xx that supports jumbo frames is the BCM5702 which isn't the one that comes with these machines (either the old or the new Dell) - under device manager the option to configure the frames simply isn't there.

The two machine were connected through a Netgear 100/1000 desktop switch that supports jumbo frames to 9K, switch link LEDs were green and Windows reported 1.0 Gb connections on both ends but it was only transferring at around 10/s - at work when I ran into this problem I had to enable jumbo frames on both sides and could consistently get actual transfer speeds of 200/s between XP and 7 machines.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:11 am

aclawson wrote:I have no idea who to contact at SLC who can request that the machines be imaged with the 64 bit OS or with better NICs, nor do I believe that they would change their practices - they do it for a reason they deemed best.

You might want to review the thread "64-bit Windows 7 OK?". It's my opinion that CHQ is well aware of how the OS is configured (32-bit) on new PC's when delivered. I also believe that in time they will fully support a 64-bit OS, but for today, it is what it is.
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john84601
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Postby john84601 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:08 pm

Every switch I've ever installed has come with Jumbo frames disabled. In the field, we only recommend turning on jumbo frames for use with iSCSI traffic for an iSCSI SAN (usually a dedicated pair of switches for this). Most studies I've seen put network traffic using jumbo frames at about 30-50% faster (under the most ideal circumstances).

You're real problem is that you're probably overrunning the buffers in the low end Cisco equipment you're using. Probably nothing you can do for that :-(


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