I'm planning to use one of two old computers as a low-volume backup server. The machine will be online and files will be backed up over ssh/rsync. I will do a minimal install of Ubuntu or Debian server.

The specifications of the machines are as follows:

  • Pentium3 1GHz Coppermine CPU with two 168-pin SDRAM DIMM slots with 320MB RAM (256MB and 64MB)
  • Pentium3 450MHz Katmai CPU with three 168-pin SDRAM DIMM slots with 384MB RAM (256MB and two 64MB). The motherboard in this machine seems to be a little more reliable.

I only have 384MB of 168-pin SDRAM DIMMs available in total.

For the task of low-volume backup server, does it really matter which one I use? The difference in RAM is small and a previous minimal install of Ubuntu 8.04 server used <20MB RAM anyway. However, the Coppermine CPU is more than double the speed if the Katmai, so I should use that one?

  • 2
    I think ram is much more important than CPU specially when it comes to old computers, but the 64MB won't make much of a difference. So I'd go for the faster CPU. I assume that for some reason you cannot exchange the RAM? Jul 20, 2012 at 9:08
  • @d_inevitable: I've updated my question to clarify the RAM.
    – SabreWolfy
    Jul 20, 2012 at 9:58

3 Answers 3


I'd say that the most important thing for a backup server is reliability, so would tend to go for that machine. You say it's low-volume so the CPU would be idle most of the time anyway.


It won't matter, unless you maybe want to encrypt the backups. I don't know how Ubuntu fares as a server OS, I tend to use Debian. If it turns out you want some more services, RAM is extremely cheap and should be a good investment here.

  • 4
    168-pin SDRAM DIMMs are quite hard to find :)
    – SabreWolfy
    Jul 20, 2012 at 10:51

I think current performance will be enough. But think again about power consumption of such old system and reliability and noise.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.