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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:56 pm 
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I've been contemplating building my own server, that rhinoevans helped me spec out, in a different thread.

Though this would be my first time, in laying this out and building one. For most, this would be child's play and it won't take me just 30 minutes but more like 3 days. Either way, it would be a good project.

I'd like you folks to jump in on the components and direct me on corrections or suggestions.

I bet I'm probably over spending on the chip, but I want to use the server to stream media, and the current chip really struggles with this.

Thanks in advance for all suggestions.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 12:05 pm 
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Can you point to the link you were referring to?

One thing about building a server is there are so many diverse options to the puzzle but one key factor to establish is to determine what you will be doing with your server and build around those needs. You mention the processor and that you might be overspending on it this may or may not be true depending on what your going to use the server for. If your server will be doing alot of transcoding then you will need a powerful processor. If your server is just going to deliver content without transcoding then your needs are less. Obviously we all have different needs so whats good for one person may not be enough for another but transcoding can put a heavy hit on a processor. Equally important is the motherboard you chose and its ability to be able to be configured to handle your growing needs for RAM, Cards, and Processors. If your needs are limited then you will not require much. The hard part is figuring out what your doing today and then figuring out if possible what you will be doing down the road and build around that. Of course you could always build another server later to better accomodate your growing needs but its always best to build once and be able to live with that build for several years. Nothing worse then building something then a year later you need something totally different.

So give a great deal of thought to what you want your server to do and then explore what is available then build around what your needs are today and hopefully down the road and you will do fine. Also if possible repurpose any existing components you may have which would be useful as these are already paid for and will help keep costs down.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:21 pm 
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oops no idea why the details didn't paste in the first time. Trying again.

Qty. Product Description Savings Total Price
1
Thermaltake V4 Black Edition VM30001W2Z Black Computer Case With Side Panel Window
Item #:N82E16811133179
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $10.00 Mail-in Rebate Card
$49.99
1
ZOTAC H55ITX-C-E Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
Item #:N82E16813500056
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$10.00 Instant
$30.00 Mail-in Rebate
$139.99
$129.99
1
Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #:N82E16822136514
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$5.00 Instant $84.99
$79.99
1
Microsoft Windows Home Server 2011 64-bit OEM System Builder
Item #:N82E16832416443
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy $59.99
1
Intel Core i5-660 3.33GHz LGA 1156 73W Dual-Core Desktop Processor
Item #:N82E16819115219
Return Policy: CPU Replacement Only Return Policy $219.99
1
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory
Item #:N82E16820231310
Return Policy: Memory Standard Return Policy $29.99
1
RAIDMAX HYBRID 2 RX-530SS 530W Modular LED Power Supply
Item #:N82E16817152028
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$15.00 Instant $54.99
$39.99
1
Western Digital Scorpio Black 250GB 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #:N82E16822136279
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy -$5.00 Instant $54.99
$49.99
Grand Total: $659.92


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:43 pm 
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You might consider a SandyBridge setup, instead of the i5-660, unless there is some reason you want to go that route. As an, I just built a WHS 2011 box with a 35w Core i3-2100T, Intel DH67BL uATX board (you could use the DH67CF if you want mini-ITX). You'll save some $$$ and as far as I can tell (look up the benchmarks on http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php) you'll get better performance from the 2nd gen SandyBridge i3 vs. the 1st gen i5. And then you'll continue to save money after the fact with a lower wattage at idle setup with the SandyBridge setup.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:45 pm 
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I always like to look at the enclosures people chose and one thing I noticed about your choice for an enclosure is that it supports ATX and mATX motherboards. Not certain if you will be able to mount a mITX Board in there or not as I have only played with 2 mITX boards but purchased enclosures specifically for them because of their smaller size. There are some very nice mITX Cases which will provide you with 4 drive trays and a slim drive slot like the Chenbro Cases. CFI makes a 4 bay drive tray enclosure as well as an enclosure with 2 drive trays and an internal try and a full size optical drive and I am certain there are others if you look around.

I do like the mITX board for small builds. My WHS2011 Test Server runs off one and runs quite well with an old AMD BE2300 processor which is not as powerful as the one you have chosen.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:37 pm 
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Great comments, thanks for the input.

Initially it was suggested that I should go with an I3, but since the server will be used alot to store windows media center tv, and serve it up, to desktops, xbox 360 (and attached tv) and to a couple of laptops, with a windows 8 tablet or two in the future. I'm concerned that I have the right chip to do that.

Of course as you all know, during most of the time, the chip will be sleeping it off, like a good navy officer, but will need to do some complicated tasks, on demand.

So which chenro enclosures should I also consider?

Being a bit new to building what about drive bays? The first chasis was suggested because it had 6 bays, but I'm looking for something that has easy access to the drive bays. Should I worry about Sata 3 or Sata 6?

Look forward to the input.

My budget would ideally be for about $600, all up.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:21 pm 
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Keep in mind that the i3-2100T outperforms the i5-660 by a slight margin at almost a $100 discount.
Maybe you should consider a SandyBridge i5?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:48 am 
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Here are some Chenro Enclosures for mITX boards. http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... o+mini-itx

The small Pedestal Server Enclosures as you can see provide you with 4 drive trays. I noticed you chose a 2.5" WD Scorpio Black for your system drive. While I am not clear on this I would imagine you might be able to fabricate a small bracket to hold the drive and install it in the enclosure. If this is possible then all 6 of the SATA Ports on your mother board would be used up. Chembro sells a ODD Bracket for mounting a SLIM DVD Drive in the enclosure. Just know that Sata Slim Drives use these mini Sata/power connectors so you would need to get a board to convert them to the regular size or purchase a cable to properly connect the drive. But you do not need to install an Optical Drive in your server because you can use an external optical drive or you can take a regual optical drive and connect it to the motherboard then install the server software and once you server is running then you can remove it and close the unit up.

If you purchase a SATA 6Gb/s drive and connect it to a SATA 3Gb/s slot it will fall back to SATA 3Gb/s. However if you want the faster transfer rates that the newer drives offer then you will want the SATA 6 Gb/s. Even some of the newer Green Drives are running at 6 Gb/s.

Based on what you have for a build your looking to build a server that consumes low power. With that in mind you will also have to take into consideration the power consumption of the drives. Lets say you get a Chembro enclosure then your limited to what you can install for drives because of the small PSU. So later on if you wanted drives that had higher performance and along with it more power requirements then the PSU may not handle the load. So this is an area you will have to give some thought to. The other area is future expansion. Not all eSATA ports on motherboards are Port Multiplier Aware so you need to check that out on the board you selected. I do believe your motherboard has USB 3.0 which does have good transfer rates so you could always expand with those.

One thing you could consider is sticking with your current enclosure selection and chosing another mATX or ATX motherboard which will offer you greater flexibility for future growth. Also you can find many motherboards that size for the same cost or less as the mITX board you chose. As I mentioned before I do like mITX boards for small servers.

There are other enclosures available for mITX all you need to do is look around and explore your options. Chosing an enclosure sometimes is not always easy and if you like drive trays they do sell cages with trays that you install in 5.25" Bays which you do not need to buy to start off your build but can be added later but those will not go in an mITX Case so you will have to look at other enclosures.

Also some enclosures come with PSU's and sometimes that sounds like a good deal but you may want to select a PSU of known good quality and rating. Of course you working with a budget and that plays into everything but if you look around hard enough you can find what you need within your budget to build the best possible server to meet your needs.

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~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
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~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:04 am 
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I need to have room for growth, so having the ability for 6 drives seemed like a great option. But, I also like a smaller form factor.

Rehab, regarding the cpu and motherboard can you make specific suggestions. The first suggestion I had, on the marketplace forum was for an I3, and when I thought about an I5, they kind of priced me out of my budget. Which originally was $500, and I didn't think I could spend $300 on the chip alone. Your assistance with the motherboard and chip suggestions knowing that I need 6 Sata ports, would be greatly appreciated.

Compl, thanks again for the thoughts. Can you recommend specific parts? I've never shopped for a chassis or power supply, so don't know good vendors or how much power I ultimately want.

I do think that transfer speeds are key so will opt for Sata 6 where possible. I know that will add some speed and some cost. I would appreciate assistance in my making the right balanced choice.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:03 pm 
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The very first thing you need to do is outline what you know you need. For example right now you know you want 6Gb/s SATA Ports so that requirement should go on your motherboard requirements. Also if you want all 6 Gb/s then you can start a Hard Drive listing but only list drives from manufacturers your comfortable with.

Basically outline requirements for each component of your build.

The enclosure you chose should accomodate all your storage requirements and accomodate the motherboard you chose. Chosing an mITX motherboard kind of limits you to a range of enclosures. Look at mATX or ATX boards and think about expansion in the future. With mITX you only get 1 expansion slot which will not take you very far so it limits your ability to grow. mATX and ATX boards expand that ability but you have to understand what your expansion needs might be over time. For example today you may not use your server for recording TV Shows but later you may want to add a card to assist you to do that although I think thats best done on a separate unit but its a personal choice. You may one day decide to add external enclosures so you may need slots to accomodate eSATA Ports or other types of Hard Drive Connections depending on the type of enclosure your adding. Only you can determine how many drives you will need and if your willing to expand outside the box.

When looking at enclosures Newegg is a good place to look they have lots of info and reviews to help you out online. Microcenter has a wide range of enclosures available but its best to visit their stores to see the actual enclosures as their online site just doesn't cut it. Frys is good at times but they are like Microcenter only I think in this respect Microcenter has a better selection. I have purchased enclosures on eBay but there you really have to know what your actually looking for.

If you want drive trays then you will need to figure out which cage you want and again Neweggs has them at a wide range of costs. These offer 4-5 3.5" drive bays, with built in fans, alarms, leds, locks and drive configuration dip switches. Thing about these is you can start with one cage and later add them so you do not have to take a hit on the costs up front. This brings you back to the motherboard and your 6 SATA 6Gb/s port requirement and as you can see you will probably use those up quickly so your best best is to look for a SATA Control Card that can support the drive cages and then figure out how many you may need and make certain your motherboard can accomodate them. These can have SATA ports or SFF8087 or SFF8088 multiline connections supporting multiple drives over one cable and this is probably a new area for you to look at and consider for your build but since your already familiar with SATA you may opt to stick with whats familiar but if you go with card cages then you have to figure out how to properly provide enough cables to support them so you will be into Hard Drive Controllers. Keep in mind that this area in of itself can get very expensive but there are some low cost options to accomodate your build. I am using Supermicro MV8 boards which are $109 each and I own 3 but the controllers I really want cost $1200 and up but the reality is I like you had to work within a budget so I started off with what I could afford knowing that later I could change. Change and options are good but to fully understand what you want, what you can afford you do need to make a list of your requirements and establish a plan to satisfy your current and future needs and build around that.

Also you will want to purchase items from companies that have a good track record of support in the even that something goes wrong you will be able to take comfort in knowing the support is there. For example Newegg does an outstanding job to taking care of their customers. One of my MV8 boards was not working properly and it took less than 10 mins to get an RMA# and hopefully by the end of this week I will have the replacement back. In my new Norco RPC-4220 Enclosure one of the backplanes had a bad LED and the good folks at Norco were very responsive and I should have a replacement backplane this week. I had a new WD 2TB drive go nuts on me with bad sectors I got an RMA # sent the drive out and got the new one back quickly even though I did not use their method where they put a hold on your credit card and they send you one out and you then return the drive. You will have bumps in the road so make certain the venders you purchase from have good customer service.

I would like to mention Rebate Insentives this is a sore spot with me and so a rebate never provides me with insentive to actually purchase an items. While I do fill out the rebates and often receive them some venders just never honor their rebate commitments or are hit or miss. So if an item comes with a rebate that your interested in make certain the company has a good track record with their rebates so your not left out in the cold.

I know I took this thing all over the world and back but the point here is to establish what you want to do with your server, how much you need today and down the road. As you create your listing then it will help you figure out what works best for you and as you research each component your knowledge will increase and thats the key to getting it done right. Establish your wants, needs and desires and then go put the puzzle together. Its a process thats both fun and exciting but also one that can be frustrated. Take your time and put some thought into it and you will find yourself with a build you can be proud of.

I do suggest you take a look at the various builds others have done. Some have done a great job explaining their thought processes which can be very helpful. Some have been kind enough to share the little bumps in the road they encountered and what they had to do to correct them. In these reviews you will gather knowledge for which you can apply to your build.

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~ Norco 4220 Enclosure
~ Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5
~ AMD Phenom II X4 995 3.2 GHz
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~ 3 Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:08 pm 
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Thanks again for the notes.

It may not have come through, but I do know what I need, just not all the components for the system.

I know that I need fast drives and will opt for Sata 6, and I already know I prefer Western Digital drives, hence my caviar green drives. I'm not ready to pay for 3 TB drives and I know I want to have up to 6 bays available. I'd prefer a hot swap on some drives, and I realize the edge of a OS drive, that doesn't have to be hot swapable.

I like the ex470 with trays, but hadn't realized these needed cages.

The points on the processor were well taken and I am looking for a lower energy processor and saw a few I5's that have around 65 Watts, and appear to be quad core, but no hyper threading. But also really like the I3-2100T for its relatively high rating and its lower costs.

I am confused on a good powersuppply, or the right case.

I also know I want WHS2011.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:50 pm 
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You might want to rethink your SATA6G requirement. My i3-2100T/DH67BL setup (which I use in both my HTPC and WHS2011 machine) has both SATA6G drives and SATA3G drives (some were newly purchased, some came from my previous server), and to tell you the truth hard drives don't begin to saturate the SATAT3G bus let alone the SATA6G bus. In fact, I ran some benchmarks on my drives, all WD Caviar Black 2GB drives, one a newer 6G capable and another older only 3GB. The older drive beat the newer 6G drive by a slight margin. I think the only place 6G matters is in RAID0 configurations involving some of the newer SSD drives. I might try that in my development machine when prices come down, but really it is almost a complete waste of time at this point. And if you're just talking hard drives and streaming from your home server, unless you have some very specific requirements, I say don't sweat it.

As far as specific processor/motherboard recommendations... I really like my setup. Intel Core i3-2100T w/ Intel DH67BL. If having a power efficient 35w processor is not a concern you could go with a SNB 65w i3-2100 or 2150. If you want to go cheaper, you could even go for the SNB Pentium G620 or G620T. Not as much performance as the i3, but still plenty to serve files. It really depends on how much (if any) trans-coding you expect your server to do. The passmark site I mentioned previously in this can give you a ballpark bang for the buck. The i3-2100 can be had for about $120 (going from memory). The motherboard DH67BL goes for the same. If you want mITX, then you'll pay $10 more. Your initial Core i3-660 seemed a little expensive for the performance it offers and you should realize you're buying the last generation -- I don't thin it makes sense. As is true a lot of times, the next generation offers a better bang for the buck than the previous gen, in this case, a lowly 35w i3 chip outperforming a mid-range i5 chip. At this point I wouldn't consider building anything but SNB systems, in fact I've updated all my "desktop" machines to SNB (3 HTPCs and 1 WHS2011). The only box I have that is previous gen is my 1366-based Core i7-980x development machine.

My server case, which I think can handle 7 x 3.5" hard drives, is a Lian Li PC-A04. That case is a little expensive ($100 - $120), but I like Lian Li cases (I have 4 of them) -- they are nice to work with and they are light (my server is high on a shelf in my garage and I often have to lift it or lower it down to work on it). Right now I only have 3 drives in my system but if I later reach the limit of motherboard SATA ports (if I remember right, there are 6 in SandyBridge PCH), I'll need to add an additional PCIe card for that, but I'll deal with that when the time comes. With this case you actually have to take the side off and remote the hard-drive cage to install/replace a hard drive... so if hot-swap is important to you, that case is not for you. I don't tend to add/replace hard drives that often (once a year), so doing without hot-swap is not a big deal.

Hope that helps..


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:11 pm 
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That was a great deal of help.

I've locked in on the same board and CPU that you used. though the Newegg board is slightly different.

I'm still struggling about the case. I went t a local MicroCenter, very nice store in Paterson NJ, and the ones I've shopped online are just too big.

I wouldn't mine just slightly larger than the ex470, but the mid towers are quite big. I know I know, it gives more room for expansion, but its not going to work, and mini towers can't seem to hold 6 drives.

So, I've got a lot more to consider.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:45 am 
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Cases are somewhat of a personal prefrence. With the foot print your looking for your limited to an mITX. You can look at these two cases which I wrote about last year after a review Alex wrote. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9393

These enclosures only hold 3 hard drives and an optical drive abit short of your requirement. There is also the ProLiant Microserver which brings you closer to the 6 drives, provides additional flexibility to expand outside the box but limits you to the processor. If you search the message threads you will find others using the ProLiant Microserver so you can get an idea from those users on how that unit works.

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~ 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: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:23 am 
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hi, I saw the cube box as well at MicroCenter, but its not going to work. Not enough Drives. Seems odd that HP could make one that is smaller than the cubebox, and still hold 4 drives.

I'm going to keep looking for a case, as I'm set on the mATX board and the I3 chip. I am just not happy with a mid tower, that is larger than my Dell XPS420 desktop.

I also find it easier to shop by each maker's homepage, instead of NewEgg or MicroCenter, as the process of weeding them out, by search parameters, may exclude devices that are good.

I'd also like ideas on hard drive cages that make the drives hot swapable and LED's, just to have food for thought.


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