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248 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 14277 25-Jun-2007 13:37
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Having downloaded WHS CTP, I realise that my aging grab-bag of PC goodies won't cut the mustard for an installation of WHS.

I have an ATX tower case with enough drive bays, and some DDR2-400 memory (3x 512 Mb sticks), I've got a DVD drive, but I'm trying to work out what the best Mobo and CPU combo is. Starting at www.Pricespy.co.nz there is a plethora of boards and now I'm just getting a wee bit confused by all the options.

So, the requirements: Ability to run in 64-bit mode (futureproofing). More than 2 (pref 4) SATA or SATA2 connectors for expansion as I add extra disks. Perhaps a single IDE header. Some USB ports but don't need a million. I don't mind if it runs a socket 775 Intel (Celeron 3100??) or an AM2 AMD (Sempron anyone?). Would prefer ATX, but mATX is fine. Onboard video preferred but I can lay my hands on a AGP video card somewhere...

Finally, it has to be cheap, but not nasty. A couple of the bottom-line Asustek boards or a Gigabyte one looks OK. Why do I get the feeling "Foxconn" and "never with a barge pole" can be used in the same sentence??

What does anyone think of AMD's Cool n' Quiet technology? I'd kinda like a CPU that doesn't suck much power when it's not under load, which of course for a home server is 99.9% of the time.

Has anyone got any thoughts or comments about relative merits of said boards or processors? I really don't feel like spending more than $150ish for a Mobo + CPU combo, although I'd go to $200 for the right reasons.

Any ideas appreciated.

Cheers
Jon




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Reply # 75916 25-Jun-2007 19:35
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Bear in mind you don't need a big box for this task - you might be better off with an investment on bigger HDDs (multiple units is better for redundancy) and a gigabit switch for your network.






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Reply # 75921 25-Jun-2007 20:35
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Agree with freitasm - don't wast your money, I have a Intel Pentium 3, 512 MB ram with 4 old 80GB drivers running WHS RC1 and runs sweet as.  Look for a cheap box or build one.

WHS is not system hungry and as freitasm said better to buy 2 - 3 1 TB drives and shove in there.  As you know the thing doesn't even have to have a monitor or keyboard / mouse after you install WHS and you can hide the pc anywhere you can get your lan cable to it.  RC1 is running really well and lots of support on the forums for it.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 76097 27-Jun-2007 11:21
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Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I know that I don't need any high spec hardware, but all that's left in my grab bag is P2 class mobos and cpus, so I'll have to buy something. And because I will get new HDDs, I'll want them to be SATA, so I'd like a mobo with native SATA capability. I don't know of any P3's boards that do this...? I guess I could trawl Trademe, but I never know what kind of life old systems have had and for a server system, reliability is important to me.

I'm definitely staying at the budget end of the boards listed at pricespy, but if anyone has thoughts on the relative merits of Sempron v Celeron, or experience with different manufactuers, I'd love to know.

Cheers
Jon




I reject your reality and substitute my own!
- Adam Savage, Mythbuster



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Master Geek
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Reply # 77029 5-Jul-2007 14:12
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Well, I've done the research and am off to get the hardware. What I've settled on is:

* Austek P5GZ MX, with Intel i945GZ chipset- it has 4x SATA2 and an IDE, as well as onboard video and Gbit LAN. I've only got a 100 Mbit switch, but this gives me wriggle room for the future- what's the bandwidth of high-definition tv?.

* Intel Celeron 420 1.6GHz. Lower power consumption than its predecessors (35W), and seems to have a good bang:buck ratio. I can upgrade to a 64 bit OS if I want to later as well. I could go for a lower spec processor, but the price differences were not significent enough to stay as cheap as I could.

I have a couple of scavanged 512 Mb DDR2 533 memory sticks, a 400W PSU and a no frills DVD+-RW drive along with a suitable case. I realised of course that I needed an IDE connector to be able to use the DVD drive, which is (duh) on an IDE connector. I'm now working on the primary HDD- I'm thinking I should get a cheap 120 Gb SATA, and do a proof-of-concept before beefing up capacity. Especially as I'm running what is essentially beta software- WHS is still a wee way away. (Wha Hae!) (Sorry).

Speaking of HDDs, I tried installing it on a spare PC at work for a giggle and it complained the primary HDD was PATA and refused to go further. Has anyone else had that problem?

All-up cost around the $160 mark excluding HDD, so spousal approval was not a problem. If I'm lucky I'll be taking delivery of the hardware before the end of the week but it will be next week before I put it all together, as a party on Saturday night will be slowing me down.

I'll let everyone know how it goes. The pc build that is, not the party.

Cheers
Jon




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- Adam Savage, Mythbuster

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  Reply # 77072 5-Jul-2007 18:07
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Thats great nice and cheap no wifey approval.

I learnt something from your post PATA I had do go read PATA vs SATA sounds like some exotic dish.  Like a lot of people its cable that connects the drive to the board either fitted or it didn't.  Must be old as all my pc's are PATA.

My WHS uses Standard PATA cable connection.  What size was the harddrive?  I had no hassells in getting WHS installed.

I am using a headless PC for my WHS and using a KVM switch box to save more money.





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Master Geek
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Reply # 77725 11-Jul-2007 12:10
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Well, so far so good.

I didn't buy a new HDD- I realised I could move everything off my main pc's second drive and onto the recording partition of my HTPC which I still can't get working with my DVB-S card (sigh).

So I spent a hungover Sunday putting together the bits and installing the OS. A pleasant job with George FM helping me along. The HDD was 120 Gb PATA. Worked fine. I did notice however that the ATX PSU had a 20-pin primary connector and the mobo had a 24-pin one. I checked the wiring and put it in the right way around but can anyone comment on what the advantage of the 24-pin jobbie is?

All done, threw it on the LAN and copied my music onto the music share. Installed the WHS connector on my main PC and mapped a few drives. Scheduled an overnight backup and let her rip. And whaddya know, it worked. Now my WHS HDD is 75% full and I can start looking at what extras I need. Depending on budget, I think a pair of 250 Gb WD SATA drives might be the go for data storage and protection. Just need to think now about getting an offsite backup- burn a few DVD's of data and give it to someone to hang on to for me.

Can't wait to play further. Some of the add-ons on WeGotServed.com may be the trick and can't wait to see what Code2Fame comes up with...

Cheers
Jon


PS When I said I scavanged for stuff, this includes dumpster diving at work for the case and PSU!





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  Reply # 77727 11-Jul-2007 12:38
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That's the beauty of a home server... scavenging.

I wish I could use my WHS box to playback music direct from device, rather than having to stream it to another device. The sound drivers installed ok but then refuse to play from WMP. Most annoying.





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  Reply # 77774 11-Jul-2007 17:54
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Also it wont play some ripped movies due to DRM.  TVersity works on WHS and will stream divx content.

Like you all my old 4 80 GB drives are nearly full and that's only backing up one machine.  I need 1 - 2 TB on WHS to backup 3 machines and one laptop and to move all my content to WHS.

Bits and pieces I'm using now for RC1 work great but as a future state this thing will be running 24/7 and will have all my media on and I don't wont to risk any failures with older gear.  So once WHS goes retail and fingers crossed (they have hinted yes) we can just purchase the software I'm going to be getting a couple maybe 3 750 GB Serial ATA drives, a cheap motherboard etc.   So will prob look at a newer motherboard with Serial ATA support and a large power supply to drive 3 - 4 drives.

I thing I like about WHS is the great support forum WHS forums




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Reply # 77777 11-Jul-2007 18:05
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Folks, this is a server, not a client. It is support to be a headless computer - once you install the software you unplug the keyboard, mouse and monitor and tuck this somewhere safe, connected to the mains and your network.

This is based on server software, and is not intended to be used as a desktop machine...




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Master Geek


  Reply # 78295 16-Jul-2007 15:36
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Jonski:

 I did notice however that the ATX PSU had a 20-pin primary connector and the mobo had a 24-pin one. I checked the wiring and put it in the right way around but can anyone comment on what the advantage of the 24-pin jobbie is?



The extra 4 pins are for PCI-e graphics cards from my understanding, this may or may not be correct.


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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 78317 16-Jul-2007 16:05
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were getting a new server specs a below. its relatively high spec a my dad wants it furture proofed major and also has a reasonable amount of storage capacity to back-up all of our computers..

gigabyte motherboard with 8 sata2 connections

amd dual core 4000 64bit am2 processor

246mb nvidea graphics card

dvd rw driver

560watt power supply or something likes that.

hdds are

1 X 400gb
3 X 320GB
3X 160GB

and 1gb of RAM maybe 2


and an extra gigabit ethernet conection

think thats all

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Master Geek


  Reply # 78319 16-Jul-2007 16:12
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AllNightNerding: were getting a new server specs a below. its relatively high spec a my dad wants it furture proofed major and also has a reasonable amount of storage capacity to back-up all of our computers..

gigabyte motherboard with 8 sata2 connections

amd dual core 4000 64bit am2 processor

246mb nvidea graphics card

dvd rw driver

560watt power supply or something likes that.

hdds are

1 X 400gb
3 X 320GB
3X 160GB

and 1gb of RAM maybe 2


and an extra gigabit ethernet conection

think thats all


Two things.

One, having a graphics card is absolutely unneccessary. Most servers are headless and remote desktop doesn't use your gpu, even if you do have a monitor onboard graphics is all you need, and can save you $$, so get a mobo with onboard. If you actually buy a proper server from an OEM supplier, they usually only have between 2 and 8MB of ram.

Second, are you going to get a DVD RW drive with your DVD RW driver? I've got heaps of DVD RW drivers!!!

Laughing

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