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Windows Home Server Motherboard RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm in the process of building a Windows Home Server machine. All I need is the motherboard. I've heard that the board needs to have Windows Server 2003 drivers (since that's what WHS is based on), but others have said that the XP drivers work just fine.

    I have an EVGA 650i board in my current desktop. It's been great, so I'm thinking about buying another one to use in my home server. But I don't see any Windows Server drivers.

    I just installed Windows Home Server on my desktop via Virtual PC. It installed and is running just fine. Is that a pretty good indication that it should run well on the EVGA 650i?
    Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:49 AM

Answers

  • Desktop motherboards are usually tweaked by the manufacturer to improve maximum performance at the expense of average performance and stability. Maximum performance numbers are what attract those who are likely to be buying components to build a single computer. Server components are the opposite.

    As for what I would recommend, I've used several different desktop boards with good results, but ideally you will use hardware listed in the Windows Server Catalog. It's been tested to function correctly. You'll find motherboards listed under "Servers". (And they can be hard to find. Best bet is to check the listings for manufacturers that make motherboards and just figure out which ones are boards versus full servers.)
    Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:47 PM
    Moderator
  • Windows Server Catalog
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 5:43 PM
    Moderator
  • Intel doesn't make Windows Server 2003 drivers available for their desktop boards, so you would have to choose another manufacturer that uses Intel chipsets instead. I'm afraid I don't make specific recommendations (there's too much hardware I don't own for me to say "X is a good choice") other than to consider buying an OEM server from Acer or HP (or whoever makes them in your country). While that's not the right answer for everyone, it is for most, even most enthusiasts.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9:47 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  •  

    XP and Server 2003 are basically the same under the hood, the drivers will work for sure.  But - and I'm sounding like a broken record! - using desktop components isn't the way to go IMHO.
    Thursday, February 21, 2008 8:28 AM
  • Another broken record here:

     

    On the Intel side there may not be 2003 drivers for the board, but there probably will be for the chipset and nic.

    Thursday, February 21, 2008 1:51 PM
  • I'm very interested to hear why you would recommend not using desktop components. What board would you recommend?
    Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:27 PM
  • Desktop motherboards are usually tweaked by the manufacturer to improve maximum performance at the expense of average performance and stability. Maximum performance numbers are what attract those who are likely to be buying components to build a single computer. Server components are the opposite.

    As for what I would recommend, I've used several different desktop boards with good results, but ideally you will use hardware listed in the Windows Server Catalog. It's been tested to function correctly. You'll find motherboards listed under "Servers". (And they can be hard to find. Best bet is to check the listings for manufacturers that make motherboards and just figure out which ones are boards versus full servers.)
    Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:47 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Phil,

     

    I just put something up actually, here:

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

     

    'Server' hardware is continuously rated (100% duty cycle), the motherboards are built without components that aren't required (sound, whizzy graphics etc), better NICs, better monitoring capabilities, chipsets subject to greater testing (and of course Server 2003 approval), RAM with ECC which means a single bit error will be corrected instead of crashing your server, longer-life fans, properly designed cooling air flow and heavy-weight cases that are designed to better supress interference.

     

    Xeon processors in some cases, like the 3xxx series, 'better tested' versions of the desktop chips (6xxx).  This also happens to make them very cool running and incredibly over-clockable  but that's quite a seperate discussion.  Traditionally, server CPU caches would also have been ECC protected, although I'm not sure that is the case now.

     

    There are similar benefits on the hard disks.  Drives like WD's Caviar RE2s have ECC on the transfers, which further protects integrity within the machine, and are again continuously rated.  Those particular disks also have native command queueing, which improves the performance under heavy load by allowing the drive to service requests in a different (and mechanically more efficient) order than that sent by the host.  That's useful in a server, since the drive could be serving different users different files whilst the server itself is busy indexing, creating shadow copies, balancing etc.

     

    Hope that helps!

    Thursday, February 21, 2008 3:50 PM
  • Here's my broken record.

    Regarding whether you need a Server class motherboard is nonsense IMHO.  I have
    Successfully been able to run WHS on every MOBO I have which are listed below.

    1. Abit KA7-100 Raid with 1 Ghz slot A.
    2. Abit KT7 1Ghz Skt A
    3. Abit NF7-S AMD 1.8Ghz Skt. A
    4. Abit  AN7 AMD 3200 Skt. A
    5. Abit KN9
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800
    6. GIGABYTE  GA-MA69GM-S2H
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200

    All the above installs have had everything installed default as in drivers, with exception of my printers and NIC cards.  The above hardware was run with different configurations of RAM from 512MB to 2GB.  And all I can say is I have had NO problems at all (Knock On Wood) so far. 



    JM
    Still running W98SE on my Amiga 2000
    Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:29 PM
  •  66_Chevelle wrote:
    Here's my broken record.

    Regarding whether you need a Server class motherboard is nonsense IMHO.  I have
    Successfully been able to run WHS on every MOBO I have which are listed below.

    1. Abit KA7-100 Raid with 1 Ghz slot A.
    2. Abit KT7 1Ghz Skt A
    3. Abit NF7-S AMD 1.8Ghz Skt. A
    4. Abit  AN7 AMD 3200 Skt. A
    5. Abit KN9
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800
    6. GIGABYTE  GA-MA69GM-S2H
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200

    All the above installs have had everything installed default as in drivers, with exception of my printers and NIC cards.  The above hardware was run with different configurations of RAM from 512MB to 2GB.  And all I can say is I have had NO problems at all (Knock On Wood) so far. 



    JM
    Still running W98SE on my Amiga 2000

     

    I agree that it's not absolutely necessary, my home server is using a desktop board, however what Jimbo et al are getting at is that server class boards are tweaked for stability over performance and in general will stand the test of time longer than a desktop board.

     

    There are other merits to using server boards as listed above by Jimbo, most useful for a Home Server being the better quality NIC's, onboard VGA (you can get on desktop boards its just less common), better error handeling (RAM and HD's)

     

    Nobody has said that a desktop board wouldn't work, they are just pointing out the many merits of using a server board.

    Thursday, February 21, 2008 4:42 PM
  •  

    I agree that a server component setup would be the ideal, but the reice will commonly be much, much, higher.   Furthermore I would dispute all non-server boards are tweaked forperformance  over stability.  Certainly those in the 'enthusiast' category (965P, 975P, P35, X38).  But I harly think a Q965/Q38 board is built for that martket. 

     

    In the corporate desktop sphere it is reliablity>performance again.

    Friday, February 22, 2008 8:34 AM
  • http://windowsservercatalog.net/

    This site appears to be down? any other good sites people could point me at for mainboard recomendations? I need a new board....
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 5:06 PM
  • Windows Server Catalog
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 5:43 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Ken appreciate the pointers. :o)

    First impressions are that is listing kit waaaaaay out of my price range - I know if money was no object a dedicated server board would be the go - but I was looking for something in the ATX, 775, P4, buy from ebuyer market? I know desktop boards probably arent the best but would you have a "if I had to use one I'd go with this one" possably Intel?
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 6:01 PM
  • Intel doesn't make Windows Server 2003 drivers available for their desktop boards, so you would have to choose another manufacturer that uses Intel chipsets instead. I'm afraid I don't make specific recommendations (there's too much hardware I don't own for me to say "X is a good choice") other than to consider buying an OEM server from Acer or HP (or whoever makes them in your country). While that's not the right answer for everyone, it is for most, even most enthusiasts.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Tuesday, May 26, 2009 9:47 PM
    Moderator