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Old 2010-09-09, 13:48   #1
Greenbank's Avatar
Jul 2005

2·193 Posts
Default For Sale: Two RLX 300ex Blade Servers (London, UK)

Just wondering if there would be any interest on here for these. If not I may try eBay-ing them with an appropriate reserve price.

I hope an advert is ok in this forum, please let me know if it isn't and I can remove it. This is a rather specialist bit of equipment, not some overclocked Xeon.

I hope I've been as honest as I can be about these things.

For sale: (London, UK) <---- important

I have two RLX 300ex chassis each with 24 blades in them. Each is 3U high and rack mountable (full length).

Each blade is a PIII 800MHz with 2GB RAM and 2 x 40GB 2.5" HDD.

So, just to be clear, that's a total of 48 x PIII 800MHz CPUs, 96GB RAM and 96 x 40GB HDD. Obviously they are 48 separate hosts though.

Each chassis has an integrated network backplane, so you only need one network cable per chassis. There's some other network gubbins but I've never bothered with it. It's certainly not Infiniband, just plain old 100Mbit.

Dual PSU (although each will happily function with just one power cable in).

It's definitely in the 'used' state. I got them from eBay, and the previous Linux installs show they came from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge ( There are no known failures (memory, CPU or HDD), although the HDDs will obviously have had quite a bit of use.

I was network booting them to use them. I had a small PC that provided the network boot image that included an ecmclient, and the small PC also ran an equivalent to an ecmserver (although I wanted more control than the standard one). 38.4GHz makes for some interesting ecming power!

Each blade is headless (there's no video port anywhere on blades or the chassis) but there is a console port on each blade and it was pretty simple to have Linux booting up writing out to the console. I was able to connect in over the serial port in single user mode in order to work around the unknown root passwords). Moving the serial cable is a manual job obviously, there's no serial port server.


They're noisy (certainly incompatible with baby Greenbank in our small flat! partly the reason for looking to sell them.)

They're heavy - 35kg each - so posting them isn't going to be easy) I think I paid £70 to have them shipped to me, and that seemed cheap.

They're not exactly the most modern technology. Each CPU is PIII at 800MHz, but with 2GB of RAM each it's not too bad.

Reasonably ok on power. My power meter had them running at 700W each (that's 1400W for both) whilst chugging away on ECM. At UK electricity prices that's about £1400 to run them per year.

RLX were bought out by Compaq and Compaq killed them. There's no hardware support, no warranties, nothing.


You get 48 x PIII 800MHz with 2GB of RAM each in 6U of (full length) rackspace. A rack isn't needed, they'll happily run sitting on the floor or a (sturdy) shelf.

48 separate machines was very useful in getting some of my distributed networking code working well.

Original retail price was £20,000 (each I think!)

How many other people have a blade server (or two!)?


I'd rather sell both at once, and I'm looking for £1500 for both assuming collection from SW15, London, UK. I could deliver with 50 miles but it'd cost £50 as I'd need to rent a car to do that. I'd be willing to discuss shipping them but I'd really rather not as I don't have any original packaging and I wouldn't want to risk them getting damaged in transit.

Any questions please let me know, I'll get some photos over the weekend.
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