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 Post subject: Starting my First Build
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:52 pm 
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Hey everyone...after months of asking questions in here I am finaly taking steps toward my first build. Im getting excited..But I was needing suggestions for a good video card (HDMI output is a must) and a 2T Hard drive..I have updated my Signiture to show what I have in my possession so far...Any opinion on my hardware choices would be great...Hopefuly in the next couple months I will start to assemble...Thanx for everyones input on the site..yall are the best

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:43 pm 
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As for the 2tb drives, I can't speak to long-term reliability since my use of them has been fairly new, but I've been buying the Hitachi 5k3000 series now for a few months and they have been worry free from an install and up-time perspective. With the WD EARS, to use them with WHS V1, you have to jumper them, align the heads, adjust the timeouts - just way too much trouble. I have a long-term prejudice against Seagate for some odd reason, so I tried the Hitachi's and really like them. I've got 3 of them in my WHS v1 setup and another 4 of the 2tbs in my WHS2011 server. I'm now putting their 3tb drives in my WHS2011 build.

Edit to clarify: I'm not running any type of RAID setup, so my advice is for consumer grade drives in a standard connection/configuration within WHS. If you plan to go with a RAID card/setup, bear in mind most of these "green" consumer grade drives have their own issues (specifically, dropping out of the array).

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 6:11 pm 
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I have heard bad things about the "green" drives....I dont know if I want to go with a RAID setup or not at this moment.....

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 9:15 pm 
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I have been using Hitachi Drives now for over a year maybe 1.5 yrs. They have proven reliable for me, they run 2c hotter than the WD Green Drives and are just as quiet. I believe I have 2 or 3 different model numbers and have no complaints about them. The drives I have an use are DeskStars AKA DeathStars because of failure rates experienced by others in the past. Those same people often reported the drives to be noisy. Knock on wood I have been fortunate to have no issues with them. Recently I purchased 4 more for my new server Highlander and so far so good.

I personally stopped using Seagate Drives because of failures I was experiencing. Others use them without issue and continue to do so. Last Dec and Jan I decided to give Seagate a try to see how their Momenous XT Hybrid Drives would work. While they were slightly faster then a WD Black they were not all that impressive. While they continue to run well I have no immediate plans for purchasing Seagate Drives.

The drives I use today are WD Black and Hitachi Deskstars. I do have a couple Samsung Drives but I have opted to stick with the other drives I mentioned because thats where my comfort level is. I do own WD Green Drives and will run them till they die but no longer have an interest in Green Drives of any type. Having said that there is a place for them in servers if your concerned about heat and power consumption.

While everyone has an opinion or favors one drive type over another what I often tell people is go with a drive that fits within your comfort level. If you are having good luck with a certain drive and like it then run with it. The exception to this rule would be if you ever think about a RAID Solution then you really need to purchase RAID Class Drives which were designed and built to operate properly in a RAID environment. Some do use consume grade drives and will report good results and I always wish them well but consumer class drives will eventually start dropping out of an array and when that happens its never pleasant depending on the RAID Configuration and how many drives drop out at once. Blow the array and so goes your data.

WHS v1 with its Drive Extender is not perfect but it has served many including myself well over the years. Yes it has its moments but if you understand how to work with it when things go wrong its really not all that bad and its usually due to a failing drive and not the Drive Extender. DE is not as fast as RAID but it works and sometimes bogs certain servers down but it the server is built right DE has little impact but from time to time it can be annoying but I will take DE over RAID because its a very affordable solution.

As for a video card, do not waste tons of money on a video card any simple VGA card will do. WHS is ment to be a backup solution and file server not to be run like a regular computer. For the most part your server will require very little attention from you and while you may work on it from time to time its not like your going to sit there for hours and hours working on it unless you run into an issue so an expensive video card is not necessary unless you have one sitting around not being used and you chose not to buy one should your motherboard not come with a VGA port or if you do happen to require HDMI then you can use DVI with a DVI-HDMI converter or what ever suits your needs. But again any basic video card will work so long it has 32 bit drives you can use in WHS which XP, Vista, 2k or Server 2003 should work fine.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 2:20 pm 
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Thank you so much for your input....After reading the posts I realize how much I DONT know....Since this Server will be primary for storing and retrieval of video/music do I have to worry about drive speed???.....Do I realy need a 7200rpm drive??...Im wanting to use it to watch movies/listen to music on my tv.......And I have been told that I might need 3 x 1Tb drives versus 1 x 3Tb...

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 3:26 pm 
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For WHS people are using 5400 RPM drives without issue which are all Green Drives. Some use these drives for a wide range of reasons like Low Power Consumption, Low Heat Profile, and because they are very affordable.

For the system drive I would recommend a 7200 RPM Drive and I would not install a large system drive into a WHS v1 server unless you have a limited amount of drive bays available to you. The reason is WHS creates 2 partitions on the system drive. The first is 20GB for the actual OS and the other is the balance of the drive space which becomes part of the storage pool. WHS only uses the system drives DATA Partition to store data only when there is not enough room on the other storage pool drives. So the DATA Partition on the system drive sites there for the most part empty with exception to a few WHS files.

Now if you have a limited amount of space for adding drives and wish to maximise that space and have no plans on expanding outside the box then a large System Drive would make sense. If you have plenty of drive bays and have no objection to expanding outside the box then a smaller system drive makes perfect sense.

The 3 TB drives can be used but will be broken into 2 partitions due to operating system limitations. At this time I would recommend 2 TB Drives and suggest to you to chose a drive your most comfortable with. Please be aware that many of the newer drives manufactured are Advanced Format so if you wind up with those just follow the instructions on how to properly prepair on for an older Operating System which generally means running an Alignment Utility or adding a jump and in some cases nothing at all if used in single partition mode. When in doubt just obtain the Alignment software and run it to Align the drive so it can be used without issue. Its important to note that if you do use an Advanced Format Drive for a System Drive you will need to align the drive for it operate properly because of the multipartition.

As for streaming your media its not a major issue to do this in your home just chose a format that is compatable with your media devices you will be streaming to. This is actually Damians area of expertise and he has written extensivily on this subject matter. One of the things you will need to know is where the transcoding will be done. If your media devices support the file formats you store on your server then those devices will transcode and play the files for you taking some load off your server. If your devices do not support the file format then your server will need to do the transcoding and this is where having a good amount of RAM and a strong processor come in handy. The same is true if your planning on streaming your content online then your server will be doing the transcoding and so it will be important to chose a good procesor for the task.

Continue asking questions to become familiar with what you may or may not need in your build. Also try to figure out in advance how much storage capacity you will need to store all the data you plan on placing on the server and how much you may add in future. If your going to store movies you will require many hard drives depending on the file format you chose to go with. Then if you plan on having your data duplicated then of course you need to double that capacity. This is where selecting the right enclosure for the project is very important and with that a power supply powerful enough to power everything you can throw at it. So on a project like this if your going to use lots of drives do not let an included PSU determine your decision for an enclosure purchase unless you planned on purchasing a PSU with the same or similar rating. Remember chosing the right PSU is important and one should never take short cuts in this area but thats a topic for another time but it does tie in to your hard drive question, after all you will need a PSU big enough to power everything you install in your server.

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Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:59 pm 
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If this is a server build, why do you need a video card with HDMI, unless you bought a MB without that capability. I bought the zotac mini which had an HDMI port but uses the i5 HD video. Works great, and siince with a server, you RD in, video card kind of a waste.

JMHO


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:14 pm 
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Since this is an existing thread for newbies I thought I would ask my random brain farts here.

OK. So I picked up my copy of WHS 2011 OEM yesterday from Newegg for a whopping $57. I figured for that price it would be a great learning experience. I had this 5 year old home built computer that I had always used as a server (Win XP Pro) so why not offically make it a server? I read over the system requirements and it seemed to perfectly fit the bill.

I got it all up and running today! Of course in the process I have some questions for the WHS vetrans here.

First off I built this box out of stuff I had laying around. I figured this would get me off the ground and if it worked out I could put more money into new drives and more RAM if needed.

My first question is the 160GB requirement. I noticed the software partitioned the drive into a 60GB and whatever was left of the 239GB. This seems more annoying than useful. I would like to get a very small drive and have it just handle the OS. Is this possible?

Second, it seems to treat the other drives in the box like... Second Class citizens? I have lots of drives on a handful of computers in the house that I would like to backup. It seems that WHS 2011 wants to only use the leftover partition to store backup data. I have about 3TB of total data to backup and obviously this won't fit on 180GB. Is there a way to change this?

My third question is regarding adding more drive to my box. My idea is to remove all three drives that are currently in there and find a 160GB (or less if there is a way) IDE PATA drive to use a my boot drive and install four 2TB SATA drives for my mass storage. Then buy four external USB 2TB drives to backup the four internal. Does this sound like it will work?

UPDATE: I found the "MOVE FOLDER" to relocate the backup data!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:40 pm 
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Rhinoevans wrote:
If this is a server build, why do you need a video card with HDMI, unless you bought a MB without that capability. I bought the zotac mini which had an HDMI port but uses the i5 HD video. Works great, and siince with a server, you RD in, video card kind of a waste.

JMHO

I want to watch HD video content and if I'm not mistaken it will have to go thru a HDMI.
On that note I found a video card that is in my price range but it seems the HDMI is a "mini". I cant seem to find a video card that has a normal size HDMI port..I guees this is the norm. This is the card Im looking at..if anyone has feedback on this item I would appreciate it...

http://www.amazon.com/Evga-GeForce-PCI- ... 209&sr=8-1

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 4:09 am 
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Hi katpeeler,

Your not suppose to use the server like a regular computer thats not is function. What the server does in terms of movies is send the movie to other computers or devices on your home network for viewing. HDMI comes in downstream on the devices playing the actual movie not the server itself. For the most part WHS can be run without a monitor and that being said all you need for a video connection for a server is VGA so do not waste money on a high end card when its not necessary.

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Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:57 pm 
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Comp1962 wrote:
Hi katpeeler,

Your not suppose to use the server like a regular computer thats not is function. What the server does in terms of movies is send the movie to other computers or devices on your home network for viewing. HDMI comes in downstream on the devices playing the actual movie not the server itself. For the most part WHS can be run without a monitor and that being said all you need for a video connection for a server is VGA so do not waste money on a high end card when its not necessary.


Ok...well....maybe what I want is a HTPC and not neccessary a "server". I want my end result to play my video/music on my LCD tv with a HDMI connection. If Im in the wrong forum for this then Im sorry for the confussion.

But I do want to run programs on it like YAMJ so I can have the nice interface with movie info/trailers/pictures. With a HTPC on my home network I will still be able to add media to it thru another computer on my network correct?? Again sorry for the confusion.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 2:58 pm 
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Um yeah, you really are building an HTPC rather than a "server". And yes, if it's on your network, you should be able to copy files from another networked pc to it across the network.

Also, I've never thought of using YAMJ as a pc front-end (I see from a search it's been done), but you'd be using it in a manner for which it's not intended (and when I used it, it never quite looked right on my monitor). I might suggest (unless you have a PCH or the like running YAMJ elsewhere) that you look into using Windows Media Center combined with something like My Movies as your gui. Of course, that's only one option, there are many out there (XBMC, which many like, is another).

You may get a few more responses here, but I would suggest you post your questions in other HTPC forums, as you may get a broader range of responses than from just us Home Server types!!! :)

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Norco 4220, Supermicro board/SAS cards, 4GB ram, WHS 2011, Stablebit DrivePool, 64tb storage (production)


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:12 pm 
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The answer is yes and possibly no.

Generally HTPC's are small but you can build them any size you want. Most place their HTPC's in their home theater area so its important not to have one where you can hear fan noise another reason for keeping them small. If your media library is small and managable then an HTPC is ideal and you can share the files it stores.

If your media library is large or you antisipate it to grow over time then you may want a server to handle the storage of your media. Servers can be basically located anywhere and can deliver in this example your media for streaming to your network devices including an HTPC.

Some have a blend of media devices throughout their home all accessing their media from a single server. These devices include DLNA TV's, Media Extenders, HTPC's and of course other computers.

How you chose to approach this is upto you and there is not right or wrong way to approach it if you can accomplish the desired end result. A Windows Home Server has many advantages but the #1 advantage is being able to backup upto 10 computers so if this is important to you then you will want a server and if not then you should do fine with an HTPC.

Damian has written extensively on media streaming and you may want to take some time to read what he has written. To help you find his write ups please check out the link below:

http://www.mediasmartserver.net/author/dbone1026/

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:32 pm 
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Wow.......the last couple post from you guys realy got me thinking..."What do I want??".....Right now I have about 1.5 T of media that I was wanting to stream to my TV and I do see it growing. Backup for my two computers wasn't the idea when I started this but I can see the advantage of having the Server VS a HTPC. I do not have a PCH type of device to watch my media on the TV (and would need to purchase one). But if what your saying is true then I can save the money on the $100 video card and use it towards a PCH assuming my mother board can process the HD content??...Thank you for the point in a right direction.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:00 pm 
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A device like PCH is a media extender which connects to your TV and can read media files off your network and stream them to your TV. There are many devices all all different prices ranges and features that can also do this. The HTPC offers a much better user experience but also costs more.

To get a more clear picture of this I again encourage you to read Damians write ups. The forums are also packed with posts about media extenders and HTPCs and the software they run on HTPC's and their servers to better enhance the media experience.

The other thing not mentioned yet is that you can also stream your content online so that you can enjoy your movies, music and pics from the internet on other PC's, Tablets and SmartPhones. So read about whats available to you, learn from those who are kind enough to share their experiences then sit back and determine what will work best for you. Once you understand what you really want then you can start working on building a unit that will do what you want and grow with you. Never fall into the trap with say all I will ever need is this or that. The best example is drive capacity if you look at what others are doing it should become very clear that over time many have systems with many drives and still growing. One thing most never antisipate is how addicting media streaming can be. This is only one topic but imagine also placing other types of files on your server especially files you want access to but do not want on all your devices.

Good luck on your quest to figure out what you really want. I am others here on the site are always willing to lend a helping hand explaining things and hopefully point you in the right direction. Please take the time to scan through the forums to read about whats available and what others are doing with their equipement and I am certain you will be able to figure out what will work best for you.

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Exploring the possibilities!

Migrated from WHS2011 to WS2012E: HIGHLANDER

~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
~ 8 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800)
~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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