I might get a good deal on a new xSeries 206 server but it only has 512mb RAM and I want atleast 1gb. Then I'll get a bit scared with the official IBM memory prices. Will these servers accept regular Corsair/Kingston etc branded DDR RAM modules without any hassle? Or do I have to buy officially supported memory?
I use an x206 as a desktop. I can answer your questions.
x206 uses a P4 Prescott processor, and it will accept DDR PC3200 RAM with or without ECC, your choice. Also you can run any drives in it, if you want SATA make sure you have a SATA controller. IBM makes a great one called the 7t, I don't have it in mine as I run a 4H with 3 x 73GB IBM's in RAID 1E, it's mighty fast.
I recommend just running a couple of 73's to get started rather than dealing with SATA on such a nice machine, are you planning on using this as a desktop or as a webserver? I initially bought it to replace a Proliant ML370 dual P3 but ended up liking it so much (it's VERY quiet) that it's now my desktop.
About standard PCI cards, of course you can run whatever you want. I have a pinnacle TV Studio card in mine as well to watch TV with, as well as a nice CL sound card, works great!
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