First and foremost, this probably contains Dunglish. I haven’t found any good blogpost about the subject, so here’s the new defacto reference.
XW9400 in short
The xw9400 is a dual socket F workstation based on the nVidia 3600 series chipset. It offers eight memory banks capable of holding a maximum of 64GB. It holds two PCI-E x8, two x16 slots, two PCI-X slots (133Mhz/disabled or 100Mhz/100Mhz) and one PCI slot. It has 6 s-ata ports through the nvidia chipset and the embedded (hence the E) LSI SAS 1068E chip onboard offers 8 SAS ports. The tour concludes with two gigabit ports and digital (coaxial and optical) and analog (spkr/mic/in) audio connectors.
Why I like this
I bought a xw9400 second hand with ESXi in mind. I use it mostly as a NAS (with NexentaStor NAS/SAN). It also runs a uTorrent box, LAMP installation and a few other services. The main reason I chose this machine for the job is that PCI-X adapters (network/storage/…) second hand are pretty cheap in comparison to their PCI-e successors. PCI-X offers more than enough bandwidth required to fill up a gigabit connection. The quantity of s-ata/sas ports is overwhelming on this box, the case by default only holds five 3.5″ disks. Four in the green brackets, and one underneath attached to the floor plate. I have it configured with a Coolermaster 4-in-3 module, effectively holding 9 disks. It’s a relatively small, silent (but very heavy) home server.