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Learning Windows Server 2003 by Jonathan Hassell

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Hardware Requirements

Table 1-1 lists Microsoft’s minimum and recommended system requirements for running Windows Server 2003 Standard and Enterprise, the most commonly purchased editions.

Table 1-1. Minimum and recommended system requirements

Requirements

Standard Edition

Enterprise Edition

Minimum CPU speed

133MHz

133MHz for x86-based computers; 733MHz for Itanium-based computers

Recommended minimum CPU speed

550MHz

733MHz

Minimum RAM

128MB

128MB

Recommended minimum RAM

256MB

256MB

Maximum RAM

4GB

32GB for x86-based computers; 64GB for Itanium-based computers

Multiprocessor support (MPS)

Up to 4

Up to 8

Disk space for setup

1.5GB

1.5GB for x86-based computers; 2GB for Itanium-based computers

However, anyone with prior experience with Windows operating systems likely is familiar with the simple fact that Microsoft’s minimum system requirements (and often, the recommended requirements as well) are woefully inadequate for all but the most casual serving duties. Based on price and performance considerations as of this writing, I recommend the following specifications for any Windows Server 2003 version available through traditional channels. I’ll refer to these as the “realistic minimums” from this point on in the book.

  • A Pentium III 1GHz processor

  • A server machine capable of using dual processors

  • At least 512MB of RAM

  • At least 9GB of visible disk space

In this day and age, PC hardware changes in value, speed, and availability on what seems like a daily basis. Unless your sole job is to continually specify the hardware platforms and configurations on which your client and server computers will run, it only takes missing a week’s worth of developments to miss out on new processor speeds, chipset replacements or introductions, and hard-drive enhancements.

The good news is that Windows Server 2003 runs faster than Windows 2000 on the same hardware. This marks the first time a follow-up release performs as well on the same hardware as the old release and doesn’t require a hardware upgrade to switch platforms. Of course, the methodology for selecting hardware for your servers remains true regardless of the operating system—disk speed is the single most prominent bottleneck in a fileserver, whereas an application server has performance obstacles in the processor and memory.

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