Earlier this week I mentioned my saga getting accurate information about memory support for the Dell Inspiron 530. After a BIOS update, I was indeed able to get Windows Server 2008 to recognize all 4 GB of installed RAM. But wait, it gets better.
Newegg has 2GB SDRAM DDR2 800 modules available for $37 each, so I picked up a pair. With shipping, the price tag was under $80. They arrived yesterday, and I swapped them for two of the 1GB modules in the Inspiron 530. According to the manual for this machine, the maximum memory supported is 4GB. But this system had no trouble recognizing the new RAM.
This motherboard will reportedly recognize up to 8GB, when used with a 64-bit OS. With three VMs running (Vista Ultimate and Server 2008 with 1GB each and XP SP3 with 512MB), I’m using a total of 3.61GB. With the new memory, I have room for two or three more VMs.
I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with this machine. It’s very small and ultra-quiet. It has room for two internal drives, and I could easily add an external SATA drive with an inexpensive eSATA adapter. I added a Gigabit Ethernet card in place of the onboard 10/100 Ethernet adapter, but stuck with the integrated audio and video, which are just fine for a server.
Dell is currently selling this machine, with a 2.4 GHz quad-core CPU (Intel Q6600), 3GB of RAM, and a 500GB drive, for $499 (offer ends April 16). That configuration includes XP Home; it can be upgraded to XP Professional for $20. It’s a pretty amazing bargain at that price.