Server to something like a Workstation conversion

Soyellalo asked:

So the thing is:

  • Im currently working with live visuals in concerts and stuff. (Yeah, serious work, not gaming or playing around), now im using a Macbook Pro 13″ and its running at something between 12-30fps with the integrated gpu and I wanted to changed the setup for something more powerfull.
  • I was thinking to buy a workstation, but the only downside its that I need something more portable, since servers came in a handy rack format, its easier to build a little transport rack with enough space for the server, screen, mouse, keyboard, midi controllers and other stuff to carry around and are necessary in a handy way.

The only thing that im a little worry about, its the GPU, since live visual are heavy GPU process(and HDD intense, thats why a server with a raid controller should work just fine), and required more than just one screen output, i need to put a GPU on the server, not a powerfull one(since servers PSU wont give me that extra juice for a powerfull one), just one that makes the job(Since now im using the integrated GPU on my macbook, the 80% of the gpu market will work).

  • Since maybe, servers have OS limitations like no support for windows 7, despite the fact that i will try to install it anyways or the fact that, because they are just servers, the pci ports wont work with full desktops or professionals gpu or maybe, just the universe will tear apart from doing this.

Im really open to new ideas, setups, examples and things, but my only concern right now its that… the server should be at least 2U high, to have enough space for the card and get a decent airflow, despite the fact that im thinking about put some more fans in the rack for extra cooling.

So the question is:

  1. It can be done? theres no problem with the pci on the servers(bios or uefi limitations, OS limitations, firmware limitations, universe limitation on gravity fields and stuff that prevent this from be executed?)?

My answer:


Here are some things you haven’t thought of or were not aware of:

Windows Server has a feature known as Desktop Experience which can be installed to make it work almost exactly like its corresponding client OS, even accepting the same GPU drivers.

A typical rackmount server will not fit into your existing audio racks. While the width is the same and they use the same rack units for height, they are much longer in depth. Your typical 19″ audio rack has 16 to 18 inches of depth, while a typical server may need 32 to 48 inches of depth.

On the other hand, you can buy tower-style workstations which can be flipped on their side and mounted in a rack. The height on these is usually 4U, but they often are shallow enough to fit in an audio rack.


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