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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:35 am 
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OK so my level of expertise is slim to none these days. I used to be a a bit computer-savvy (like I could swap HDDs RAM and processors out and do a bit of DOS commands). For instance, I'm staring at the CPU power wire going "what the frack is this for?"...

Anyway, I decided I wanted to jump into the home server arena and since I've been going all DIY lately on my projects, it sounded like fun to try.

So here's my setup, which I plan to run headless in the home network via static IP ethernet:

Processor: AMD A8-3850 APU Quad-Core Processor (AD3850WNGXBOX)
Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 FM1 AMD A55 Micro ATX AMD
RAM: 8GB Team Elite DDR3 PC3-10666 1333MHz (9-9-9) Dual Channel kit
HDD: 2 x WD Green Desktop 2TB SATA 6.0 GB/s
PSU: Logisys Corp. 550W 120mm Ball Bearing Fan with PSU ATX 550
Chassis: iMicro ATX Micro Tower Case CA-IM1207P
OS: Windows Home Server 2011

I'm a PS3 gamer, so this thing primarily is going to be used for downloading BD rips (MKV 1080P), and holding all media, pics, vids, music. Reason being is we have two laptops that are about six years old and it is getting harder and harder to keep them running smoothly and with enough HDD space. I've long wanted a central location that can handle multiple tasks fast and without strain without breaking a very depleted budget.

This APU should run circles around my laptop's old AMD Turion dual core 64 bit CPU/Raedon HD2400 GPU. I'm really sick of seeing a Windows Performance Index of like 2.6 on video all the time.

For media streaming, I was going to just let the server do that too, but then I decided to go with this:

Arctic MC001-XBMC Media Center with XBMC 12. It's on sale for $229 while stock lasts so I couldn't pass it up.

So I built the system last night and guess what? It powers on, lights up, HDDs spin up initially, CPU and PSU fans start, but no video and no power via any USB ports. I can't get to BIOS, I can't get to anything.

My brother in law is an IT guy that has been helping me. He thinks it is because the MOBO needs a BIOS update in order to properly interface with the A8. I hope this is the case.

Any advice on configurations? I want to have the server do continual backups as well, since it's going to be an always on component. Is there a preferred method?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:31 pm 
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Without looking at all the specs on the hardware. You are missing the video part.
I can only assume you have a post error.
Without any video display you really can't get anywhere.
Since you have no idea what is happening.
Could be compatibility with your video card/cable.
Memory
CPU
Or just that you need to access the bios to make some changes.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:10 pm 
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What do you mean I'm missing the video part? This is a quad core APU chip with a discrete-level DirectX 11-capable graphics processor (Radeon 6550 HD). The video is integrated into the chipset, from what I understand.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Like I said I did not research the hardware.
But if you don't have a display how can you diagnose what the problem is?
Maybe your brother in law can figure out what the problem is.
At this point it is a who knows kinda thing.
Without a error message it is impossible to decipher.

I would start with re-seating all the cards/devices in the unit and see if you get a display of any kind.
And what I meant by the video part is you did not detail what type of connection/cable you are using for your display or
display settings.
So it could be simply your display is not compatible. Meaning hardware/cable or software/settings.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:07 am 
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The video is built in the cpu.
I'm a fading AMD person. Before AMD bought ATI I used only AMD builds but post ATI I have had ongoing video/system stability problems, so I just did a DIY whs2011 x710 in the DIY and used Intel.
I hope AMD will get it together and I can go back.
DIY is the way to go now that HP abandoned the little servers. Wish you lots of luck, I am trying to figure out whs 2011 and looking at win server 2012 essentials.
64 bit and able to have harddrives larger then 2tb is the way to go.
How are you doing on getting drivers to work, I found most of mine at the motherboard website, as the ones on the cd that came with the motherboard didn't work.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:53 pm 
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My motherboard handles up to 6 3 TB SATA drives. I am getting two 2 TB drives for now.

I have a standard old Dell 1907fp LCD monitor that this chipset should have no problem interfacing with via standard VGA cable. I checked all my wires, RAM and APU...nothing seems amiss. I really think its outdated BIOS not recognizing the A8. My brother in law is sending me an older dual core FM1 chip to see if that's the case. If so I'll just update the BIOS and re-insert the A8.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:11 am 
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Well, I found the problem. It was bad RAM. Ran memtest86 and got over 2400 errors, LOL. Got two different RAM sticks and everything works fine. Successfully installed WHS 2011 and now I'm trying to figure out the best uses for my new home server!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:48 pm 
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Great to hear you figured out your issue. There are lots of things you can do with a server and if you scan through the forums you will find what others use their servers for. I think one of the things you need to come to terms with first is how you wish to manage your hard drives. While WHS2011 has some options you are not limited to using those options. Some use Drive Bender, Stablebit Drive Pool or RAID rather than the default options provided by WHS2011. I firmly believe you should tackle this first and keep in mind each option available to you has its pro's and con's. The other thing to look at is your expansion needs and how to achieve this over time especially if you desire to store Movies on your server.

Good Luck with your server and welcome aboard.........

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:19 pm 
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Well, got everything set up and running smoothly. Have all docs, pics, vids, music on the server, both laptops and server on auto backups, disassembled my trusty ol WD world book II (with the 10/100 ethernet) and took the 1TB green drive out to use as the server backup drive. I have all the folders mapped as network drives as well as shared in the homegroup. DLNA devices like my TV and blu ray player can stream from the server with no issues.

Now I have a total of three 2 TB HDDs and 1 1TB HDD. All backups successful, no alerts. Running headless now on the network. File transfers with gigabit Ethernet is so much faster than 10/100. So far WHS 2011 seems to be a smooth and fast OS.

This is sweet. I really want to harness the full power of this OS too so I'm going to keep learning.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:45 am 
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For the morbidly curious, here's the final specs of my build. I plan to add a SATA 4-port extender card and more HDDs in the future. The board and OS can handle 3TB drives.

Specs:

Processor: AMD Fusion A8 3850 2.9GHz Quad Core APU w Raedon HD6550D GPU
DRAM: PNY 8 GB 1333 MHz 240 pin
Motherboard: MSI A55M-P33 FM1 AMD A55 Micro ATX AMD
Power Supply: Logisys Corp. 550W 120mm Ball Bearing Fan with PSU ATX 550
Hard Drive: 3 x WD Green Desktop 2TB SATA 6.0 GB/s
1 x WD Green Desktop 1TB SATA 6.0 GB/s (dedicated server backup drive)
Optical Drive: Asus SATA Internal Blu-Ray Drive
Case: iMicro ATX Micro Tower Case


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:31 pm 
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This server rocks. I really love having everything centrally stored and backed up every day. I keep her headless and always on and she's whisper quiet I can't even hear those green drives.

Streaming all my media from the server via my Arctic MC001-XBMC HTPC and I have no issues streaming 1080p content all day.

Now that I dumped all my data from my laptop, I can actually think about getting a small SSD just to run the OS and programs...

This was a good idea. I recommend a server for any home network with more than one computer on it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:45 am 
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Comp1962 wrote:
Great to hear you figured out your issue. There are lots of things you can do with a server and if you scan through the forums you will find what others use their servers for. I think one of the things you need to come to terms with first is how you wish to manage your hard drives. While WHS2011 has some options you are not limited to using those options. Some use Drive Bender, Stablebit Drive Pool or RAID rather than the default options provided by WHS2011. I firmly believe you should tackle this first and keep in mind each option available to you has its pro's and con's. The other thing to look at is your expansion needs and how to achieve this over time especially if you desire to store Movies on your server.

Good Luck with your server and welcome aboard.........

Well, my brother in law also recommended Drive Bender, so I installed 1.7.2.0 (3/2013 build) and went through the wizard, adding my existing drives with all my data, into the default drive pool "WHS 2011 Pool", however, now server backup will not complete when adding any folders but OS system and system backup.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:31 pm 
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mfrey0118 wrote:
Well, my brother in law also recommended Drive Bender, so I installed 1.7.2.0 (3/2013 build) and went through the wizard, adding my existing drives with all my data, into the default drive pool "WHS 2011 Pool", however, now server backup will not complete when adding any folders but OS system and system backup.


Sadly it's unsurprising. The Server 2008 integrated backup utility (WHS 2011 is based on Server 2008) can only back up from drives 2TB or less. I'm assuming your drive pool is way over 2TB.

So use the built in backup to backup your system drive - it will do that with no problem. It will also backup your system state which is critical for doing a "bare metal restore" - i.e. your system drive completely craters and has to be completely restored to new hardware entirely from backup.

Then use another backup for the files in your pool. It's not as convenient as using the built in backup, but then again the built in backup is pretty hokey with large numbers of files so in reality MS did you a favor. I use the free version of CrashPlan - backing up to a local network folder or external drive is free - no subscription required (although they make it hard to get out of subscribing, just keep clicking no!). You can also use Robocopy - there are lots of good articles out there about scripting simple but effective backups with robocopy.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 3:21 pm 
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I wonder if you really got Arctic MC001-XBMC Media Center with XBMC 12. It's on sale for $229 while stock lasts so I couldn't pass it up."
This seems very expensive. You can get better android tv for 60 or couple amazon fireboxes for 200.


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