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How to evaluate internal hardware components

This tip from's "How to evaluate Hardware Guide," examines what to consider when evaluating internal hardware components for your Windows infrastructure.

Here are some elements you should consider when evaluating internal hardware components.

  • Take stock of space requirements. Over the last few years, workstations and servers have become significantly smaller. Full-sized controller cards and other internal hardware may not fit every server case, and even full-size servers may have space issues because of redundant components such as dual power supplies, extra drives, additional cooling components, multiple processors and multi-homed network cards.
  • Be aware of potential incompatibilities. Plug-and-play capabilities have simplified many of the configuration tasks required in previous versions of Windows Server. However, interrupt request (IRQ) and other resource conflicts are still a concern, as are compatibilities with specific motherboards or combinations of components. Pre-purchase testing isn't always possible, so make sure to ask about resource requirements such as bus speeds, IRQ settings, configuration options or specialized requirements.

Learning Guide: How to evaluate hardware


What do to before evaluating hardware 

How to evaluate internal hardware components 

How to evaluate external hardware

  • Feel the heat. Smaller servers and tightly packed racks trap heat and wreak havoc on internal hardware components. Before placing a new component into your server, take baseline temperature readings from a number of places on your motherboard. Insert the component and check the temperature again at regular intervals when the server is in use and the processors and hard drives are running hot. You'll want to know if the new component is generating heat, and if it would potentially create heat buildup by blocking airflow inside the server. Will additional fans or other modifications be required?
  • Evaluate power requirements. Most enterprise-class servers come with robust power supplies with more than a few watts to spare. If your existing internal hardware components have already maxed the output of your internal power supply, you may need to make a few upgrades before adding additional components. Don't forget that larger power supplies can generate more heat, so you may wish to plan ahead.

About the author:
Bernie Klinder is a technology consultant for a number of Fortune 500 companies. He is also the founder and former editor of, a comprehensive resource index for IT professionals who support Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 and BackOffice products. For his contributions to the IT community, Klinder was selected as an MVP (Most Valuable Professional) by Microsoft. Let us know what you think about this tip; email

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