Transforming an elder file server into a modern workstation, part 1

loocas | hardware,miscellaneous,opinions,technical | Monday, January 4th, 2010

ProLiant ML350 G-5

I bought an aging file server, HP ProLiant ML350 G-5, and I want to transform it into a modern workstation that’ll be used for compositing tasks (Nuke, Photoshop and maybe After Effects). However, I’ve ran into some issues. Mainly, the server doesn’t have a dedicated PCI-Express 16x slot used for modern graphics cards, it only sports 3 PCI-e 4x slots, which sucks (how much it suck I’ll know after some benchmarks). The server also has only one CPU, a quite old and slow one. And, only 2GB of DDR2 RAM. The RAM is the least of an issue, the CPUs are quite expensive to upgrade, so I’ll keep the one already in there for the time being. But the GPU is the bummer! I’ve documented an approx. 15 minutes long video of “hacking” a regular graphics card in the PCI-e 4x (actually of the 8x size) slot, for those curious ones out there (I sure was!) ;)

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ProLiant ML350 G-5

ProLiant ML350 G-5

ProLiant ML350 G-5

ProLiant ML350 G-5

ProLiant ML350 G-5


  1. fuckin syco! :D
    that jet engine sound was nice ;)

    Comment by goran — January 5, 2010 @ 04:43

  2. Hi, I ve go the same system and also thinking about what to with it.
    A render slave may be with an second Cpu or just a working station.
    Whats your experience with this Jumbo Jet. It´s worth the time or is it better to
    put it in the kitchen and render with it.
    Is the Xeon CPU good, do you can compare it with an modern cpu.

    Regards from Austria

    Comment by android — July 13, 2010 @ 11:26

  3. Hi, android,

    unfortunately I gave up. Modifying the server to a fully fledged vfx workstation would be extremely expensive and just for the parts needed in order to upgrade the server, I could buy a brand new workstation from HP, DELL or anyone really. So I gave up and used the system as a file-server buffer instead. No modifications what so ever.

    Comment by loocas — July 13, 2010 @ 17:45

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