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WHS Hardware Suggestions RRS feed

  • Question

  • OK, looking to build from scratch here.  Noise really isn't an issue as this thing will be in a closet most likely, but I certainly don't want it to sound like a jet engine!  Smile

     

    What I plan on doing with this computer is sharing photos, streaming music, and streaming video around my house of about 4 computers.  I seriously doubt that it will ever be streaming more than one video and two songs at a time.  (The more I use www.pandora.com, the less I listen to my own music collection, heh.)

     

    I tried to find a motherboard to maximize the internal SATA ports; I don't know if this is completely necessary or not, but I like the idea of simply dropping another hard drive in the box for additional storage space.  Browsing around Newegg I came up with these.  The mobo has six SATA ports.

     

    Motherboard: Asus P5E-VM DO $114 after rebate

    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4500 2.2GHz Dual-Core Processor - Retail $124.99

     

    I figure this is what you have to start with, the CPU and mobo.  Everything else will build itself around that afterwards.  Regardless, I think I might be spending too much already.  I don't believe that the demands placed on the CPU will be that great at all.  The thing will probably do very little during the day and then backups at night.  Heck, I might even keep it off and just run backups on weekends.   

     

    For now, I just need a big fat secure storage device.  In the future the video and audio streaming will come more and more into play.  I'll probably drop in a 100 GB drive for the OS and tombstones and two 750-GB or two 1-TB drives to start with.  Then add more as time goes by.

     

    So, the questions I have:

     

    1.  Am I too obsessed with SATA ports?

    2.  See question 1.  Because if I'm too obsessed with those that opens up a lot more options for cheaper mobos and CPUs.  But how much money will I really save?  If it's not more then $50 less than what I have spec'd then I'm good to go, I think.

     

    I appreciate whatever feedback and help you can provide.  Thanks!!

     

    -Matt

    Saturday, February 9, 2008 7:15 AM

Answers


  • While you probably won't run into it with this ASUS board, I purchased an INTEL board for my WHS that ended up having no Win2003 support or drivers.  I ended up having to get a 2nd board and was looking at this ASUS board as well.  However, not finding any 2003 drivers listed on the ASUS site and having already been burned by the Intel board, I got scared away from this ASUS and went with a Gigabyte.   Now, the ASUS probably runs just fine, just be aware that you may run into not having 2003 drivers.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:44 PM
  • That lot will consume probably £200 of electric each year .  Still you can always select the environmental projects to work on .

     

    In all seriousness another option for you might be two WHS's or a WHS and some other server - be it Windows or not.

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:25 PM

All replies

  • You might want to check out my thread here:
    http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2782633&SiteID=50

    I ended up going with the amd build I speced out there, and it end up costing about $380 plus shipping and tax. I use it for the same purposes you plan on using your for and it works great. The mobo in my setup has 4 sata ports so I plan on just adding more of those 750Gb hard drives as I run out of space for up to 3TB. If I need any more than that I can just a a SATA card to the pci-express slot.

    Hope this helps.
    Saturday, February 9, 2008 11:53 AM
  • I appreciate the advice.  I'm a bit of an Intel nut (and therefore ignorant of AMD) so I'll be sticking with that technology.


    I've got my media server all set up here on NewEgg.  (I have two RAID cards in there just as a placeholder, keep RAID out of the discussion in this thread please.)

     

    What I'll be doing with the computer is sharing videos, photos, music, backing up all the other computers, and using it as a PVR.

     

    I *might* upgrade the CPU however, depending on what I find out about the horsepower needed for encoding/transcoding video.  I do want to keep the noise down, so that's why I'm not going with quad core.  I understand that the dual core chips run cooler; therefore I assume that the cooling fans on them won't be as loud.  But, considering applications improve all the time should I go ahead and splurge for a quad core?

     

    I appreciate whatever feedback or advice you can give on this rig (but don't mention the RAID cards, other threads for that.)

     

    Thanks,

     

    -Matt

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:39 AM
  • The only thing I would suggest is to look for a motherboard with at least two PCI Express X16 slots.  The reason is that in today's world all decent video cards are PCIExpress and that will use your one slot.  That leaves no slots for later expansion.  Those X1 slots are pretty much useless.
    Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:17 PM
  • Do you believe the onboard video will not suffice?  I'm thinking a headless unit won't need some fancy graphics card.  Smile

     

    -Matt

     

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 1:56 PM
  • Ohhh. I did not notice the on board graphics.  I think that OBG will suffice quite nicely for WHS.
    Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:42 PM

  • While you probably won't run into it with this ASUS board, I purchased an INTEL board for my WHS that ended up having no Win2003 support or drivers.  I ended up having to get a 2nd board and was looking at this ASUS board as well.  However, not finding any 2003 drivers listed on the ASUS site and having already been burned by the Intel board, I got scared away from this ASUS and went with a Gigabyte.   Now, the ASUS probably runs just fine, just be aware that you may run into not having 2003 drivers.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:44 PM
  • +1 to ediguywi

     

    That's a good point.  I'll definitely look in to that.

    Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:05 PM
  • OK, I'm getting closer.  I got one more question.  What are the differences between the Xeon procs and the consumer market processors, technically speaking.  I mean, are they just really good at number crunching, or are they able to handle more apps, or what?

     

    They're not as expensive as I thought they would be (the Xeon procs) so they're garnering my interest at the moment.

     

    Thanks for the help!

     

    -Matt

    Saturday, February 23, 2008 5:27 AM
  •  Matt Greer wrote:

    OK, I'm getting closer.  I got one more question.  What are the differences between the Xeon procs and the consumer market processors, technically speaking.  I mean, are they just really good at number crunching, or are they able to handle more apps, or what?

     

    They're not as expensive as I thought they would be (the Xeon procs) so they're garnering my interest at the moment.

     

    Thanks for the help!

     

    -Matt



    If it isn't going to cost you more (or much more) then go for Xeon, make sure your motherboard supports it though Stick out tongue

    Technically there is little difference, according to the specs Xeon can handle more RAM, faster transfer rates and a few other things that I can't remember at the moment!
    Saturday, February 23, 2008 5:36 PM
  • Hello Matt

     

    Read this: http://forums.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2882563&SiteID=50

     

    Xeon chips are sometimes actually the same as the desktop versions, but tested to a much greater extent.  Well worth gettin Xeon, ECC RAM and decent hard drives.  If you're buying everything anyway, get a proper server form HP, Dell, etc, it won't cost any more and you'll get much better long term reliability.

     

    Also forget RAID, WHS drive extender means it's pointless.  2 or 3 drives leaves one internal port free for a future drive, then you can start chopping and changing the (by then) small disks with new bigger ones.

     

    Network bandwidth will be important for you.  Bear in mind WiFi 54G is only about 20mbps in practice, so you might want to consider (some at least) wired connections as well.

     

    Finally, make sure you understand the current data corruption issues!

     

    Hope that helps.

     

    Saturday, February 23, 2008 7:53 PM
  •  Jimbo! wrote:

    If you're buying everything anyway, get a proper server form HP, Dell, etc, it won't cost any more and you'll get much better long term reliability.

     

    I actually hadn't considered that.  I'll have to investigate.  The rig I spec'd out on Newegg includes dual procs, 4 GB of RAM, and 5 TB of storage.  I'll have to see what's comperable at HP and Dell.  Thanks for the suggestion!

     

     

    -Matt

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 7:36 AM
  • That's a lot of storage their - do you need that much now?  Bear in the the WHS computer backups are extremely space efficient - since any block the same as that on any of the other machines won't be stored again.  I think I read somewhere 3TB worth of desktop PCs could be backed up in 300GB, check that though!

     

    Also the more physical drives that you have, the proportionately lower your mean time between failures will be.  I'd defintely be using enterprise 1TB drives (just seen some WD RE2s on ebay for £120) and would consider adding the storage you need now, and expanding when you need to (it's easy with WHS) using 2TB disks when they're out.

     

    Also dual CPUs probably not needed (or did you mean dual-core?).  A single dual-core chip will give plenty of shove and room for expansion.

     

    Hope that helps!

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 8:55 AM
  • I picked up 5 750 GB Seagates at CompUSA yesterday for a song.  I am planning on attempting to use RAID due to the data corruption issues.  I was referring to dual proc, not dual core, and I'm tentatively planning on a total of 8 cores to run Folding (http://folding.stanford.edu/) and anything else that makes me happy, heh.  Smile  Other than that, there will be quite a bit of DVD ripping and encoding so the extra CPU cycles will be helpful.  BeyondTV will be added eventually as well.

     

    I'm not completely sold on the Xeon chip, however, as this isn't really mission critical so to speak.  But dang if 8 cores doesn't sound yummy.

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 9:38 PM
  • That lot will consume probably £200 of electric each year .  Still you can always select the environmental projects to work on .

     

    In all seriousness another option for you might be two WHS's or a WHS and some other server - be it Windows or not.

    Sunday, February 24, 2008 10:25 PM
  • Thanks Jimbo.  I don't know (whether or not to have multiple servers.)  On the one hand, the ability of WHS to image and "single-source" data from backups is outstanding.  On the other hand, I don't have a HTPC but would like one.  Seems like it wouldn't be a stretch for WHS to do double-duty.  I imagine I could set up S3 on the thing to power down when it's not doing anything.  But it is a server and I suspect it's expected to run all the time.  But it would be nice if I could set up the hard drives to spin down when not in use.

     

    -Matt

    Monday, February 25, 2008 8:09 AM
  • Processor PM - sure, just select "minimal power management" in the usual way, but the disks will never spin down because WHS will access all of them often due to storage balancing, indexing, shadow copies etc etc.

     

    Monday, February 25, 2008 8:25 AM