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Micro-computer platform with 2k or NT4 drivers?


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I'm looking for a low-power micro computer box (or even just a board) along the lines of a Zotac Zbox or Intel NUC that has win-2k or even (a long shot) NT4 drivers.   Would like to take a pair of NT4 servers (based on desktop PC) and replicate them in a low-power format (15 - 25 watts).  I think the installed software can run under 2K without much issue, but this might get problematic if I try running XP.  If such hardware once did exist, it might still be available on ebay.  I just need to know what to look for.  Any ideas?


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I think you are really going going to struggle to find anything modern that supports 2000 let alone NT4.

My suggestion would be to do a P2V of both the NT4 machines so that you can virtualise both of them on a newer machine. 
That way you can run a modern OS which has drivers as the host and then you can leave the NT4 machines intact as virtual machines without making significant changes. 
NT4 typically doesn't require a lot of memory so you shouldn't need significant hardware on the host to do this either. I have experience using NT4 on Hyper-v although this isn't exactly supported so there are no integration components. Alternative options you could try are ESXi or KVM but I haven't tried those. The difficulty of trying to do a p2v would be on what the existing hardware is and how similar it is to any virtual hardware.

Getting the p2v to work can be a bit fiddly.
When I successfully did it I did the following to get it to boot:

  • Created a raw .img file using dd (from linux) of the entire hard disk
  • Converted the raw .img file to a vhd using vboxmanage
  • Mounted the vhd into QEMU and somehow got it to boot (this is a bit vague because I had to play around to make it work)
  • Loaded it into a Hyper-v VM (must be generation 1, and have a legacy NIC)

Once loaded into Hyper-v I did the following:

  • Reconfigured the network interface as the old physical interface was no longer required
  • Installed vbemp (so we can have more than 16 colours)
  • Installed NetTime (http://www.timesynctool.com/) as the integration components are not available for NT4 but you might have your own preferred ntp client.
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You can still find around - I believe - mini ITX and nano ITX boards with 2K (and most even NT4) drivers.

I have a few good ol' Via Epia motherboards (mini ITX) that work nicely without a hitch since 2003 or so 24/7, and performance with NT 4.0 is not that bad, don't expect speed records, of course.


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These servers have been running on BX-440 chipsets with P2 or P3 800-850 mhz CPU since about '99.  Gigabyte motherboards (with on-board SCSI that isin't used any more).  768 and 1 gb installed ram.  Newer dlink pci ethernet cards (circa 2005 or 2006) - running 1000 mbps (yea, the cards had NT drivers out-of-the-box).


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From memory, a Via C3 based board @1 Ghz is loosely comparable to a P3 @800 Mhz, a C7 should be much faster than that.

Via support and documentation usually sucks (and sucks BIG), even if a (EOL) motherboard is now listing only XP support, and "current" ones only list Windows 7, often the drivers for it are also NT 4.00 and 2K, finding this kind of info (which is scattered among two or three sites) is daunting, but it can be done.

I presume that the last/most powerful mini-itx board is the EPIA SN series (which also has 2 Gigabit ethernets onboard):

and at least the "Hyperion" driver does include NT 4.00 support:

Have a look at some tests of it:


But most probably you could do with a slightly older (and less powerful) motherboard.





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A PIII Tualatin is a Cpu candidate for a low-power computer with W2k and Nt4 drivers, but the North bridge limits the Dram size: 512MB for the excellent i815ep, 256MB for the 440bx which rejects the Tualatin. Then, other chipsets address more Ram but are not from Intel. Via does (I hate Via for having lost data with it but other users here report no worry) and permits two 370 sockets.

As a file sever, Nt4 is a good idea. Even from the PIII era, you get hardware and drivers for the wide Pci-X (64b and 133MHz) on which you can put:
- A Sata Raid, especially the excellent SiI3124 chip from Silicon Image. Allows Ssd performance, exceeds 137GB and so on.
- Fast Ethernet

Then, one may wonder if newer hardware is better, because the best Pci-X mobos and extensions boards only achieve standard Pci-E throughput, so you get the performance of a present-day Core i3, which may save power just as the Tualatin did and offers hugely better Dram throughput and computing power. A Core 2 too outperforms a PIII-based server and has excellent ported drivers for W2k; the ones around 2GHz draw little power..

Don't forget neither that a server mobo is catastrophic at video performance. At the Pci-X era they used to offer a 32b-Pci slot for the graphic card.

Edited by pointertovoid
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  • 3 weeks later...

Presently, I have a PIII Tualatin computer on my desk, with no use.
1400MHz/133MHz/512kB Cpu (TDP 32W), oversized cooler, Ga-6oxt with i815ep+ich2, 512MB pc133 2-2-2-5, if needed R9600xt.
Has worked flawlessly for the past 10 years until replacement 2 weeks ago.

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