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Where can I find information about how to build a purpose built home server? RRS feed

  • Question

  • My computers are mostly on Windows 7 64bit, one computer is Win XP Pro. I want to build a first class purpose built home server to run Windows Server 2011. What is suggested for processor, graphics card and power supply? I would like two large hard drives 1.5TB or 2 TB, how do I set them up? Thank you. hayhurst2@live.com. Thank you
    Friday, October 21, 2011 10:30 PM

Answers

  • Well as they say it depends what you want to do with it.  If all you want is backup of your client computers, the minimum specs quoted by Phil should do just fine (with a little more disk space).  If you want the server to be the main repository for all of your clients working files, and/or do any media storage/streaming at best quality you will need more. 

    The graphics card is irrelivant, a minimal card will do since your not likely to be doing much directly on the server.  Around a 600 watt power supply should handle a full load of drives, a fast processor and 8gb memory. (without a high level graphics card).  You should max out the processor and the memory (up to 8gb) to whatever fits your budget.  Required storage space depends on your projected usage, but I would make sure the motherboard and case can support a large number of drives to provide for expansion if needed....and its always needed.

    For my WHS2011 build, I used a retired gaming machine (current gaming machine is I7-980X,12gb memory, 1200w power supply, and GTX480s in SLI) which has a 3.46ghz pentium D extreme edition and 8gb memory.  The case has 6 drive bays, and another 8 drives are attached via esata.  All drives are currently 1TB.  It does a nice job for me.

     


    ...JJC...
    • Marked as answer by hayhurst2 Friday, October 28, 2011 3:25 PM
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:02 AM
  • Little need for more than 4GB of RAM - my systems have never come close to using it. Others put in more because they do "Unsupported" things like running VMs etc.

    As for streaming, are you really streaming or just accessing SMB shares? Anyway, here is the advice from Microsoft which confirms your question regarding transcoding:

    Common processors and the video profiles that they support

    Published: April 26, 2010

    Updated: March 30, 2011

    Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

    To stream media from your home server you can use a computer that is running the Windows 7 operating system, or other home-networked devices such as digital media players, and Media Center Extenders such as XBOX 360. When you are away from home, use Remote Web Access Media Player to play files that are stored on the home server.

    You also need relatively fast up-link speeds that vary from 200Kbps to 10 Mbps or more and media formats that your computer and devices can recognize and play. Not all devices, however, support the same video formats so there must be a way for your computer and devices to play whatever media files you happen to have. Windows Home Server 2011 contains a new transcoding support (inherited from Windows 7) that determines the capability of the computer or device you are using and then dynamically converts an unsupported video file into a supported one. In general, if Windows Media Player 12 can play the content on a computer that is running Windows 7, then the content on the home server will usually play on the network-connected device.

     

    The format and bit rate chosen for transcoding is highly dependent on the performance of the home server processor. The processor performance is identified as part of the Windows Experience Index. To determine the performance score of your home server, do one of the following:

    • On a computer running Windows 7 that has the same processor as your home server, go to the Control Panel, click Performance Information and Tools, and review the information given on the Rate and improve your computer’s performance page.
    • Contact the manufacturer of the processor.

    For the best user experience, choose a video streaming resolution quality that is appropriate for your home server processor. The server will automatically adjust the bit rate to one of these settings:

    • Low  if the processor score is less than 3.6.
    • Medium  if the processor score is greater than 3.6 and less than 4.2.
    • High  if the processor score is greater than 4.2 and less than 6.0.
    • Best  if the processor score is greater than 6.0.

    If you choose a video streaming resolution that requires more processing power than your server has, you may experience buffers and stops while streaming media from the home server.

    noteNote
    To stream high definition video through Remote Access, you need a processor with a score of at least 6.0.

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    • Proposed as answer by Phil Harrison Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:23 AM
    • Edited by Phil Harrison Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:35 AM
    • Marked as answer by hayhurst2 Monday, October 24, 2011 1:44 PM
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:22 AM

All replies

  • If you only have two drives I would suggest using on for the OS (C:) and Data Storage (D:) and use the second for Server / Data backup purposes. As for hardware specifications, here is the minimum requirement but if you want high quality media streaming you will need a CPU with a W7 WEI of 6.0 or more:

    System Requirements

    Published: April 26, 2010

    Updated: March 30, 2011

    Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

    • Windows Home Server 2011 server software is a 64-bit only operating system.
    • You can install the server software either manually or unattended.
    • System Requirements:
      • 1.4 GHz x64 processor.
      • 2 GB RAM
      • At least one 160 GB hard drive.
    • NTFS is the only supported file system.
    • Supported Networking Configuration:
      1. Your server computer must be connected via a network cable to a router.
      2. The router should be a UPnP-certified device, but it is not required.
      3. The router should be in the 192.168.x.x subnet, but it is not required.

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    Friday, October 21, 2011 10:37 PM
  • If you only have two drives I would suggest using on for the OS (C:) and Data Storage (D:) and use the second for Server / Data backup purposes. As for hardware specifications, here is the minimum requirement but if you want high quality media streaming you will need a CPU with a W7 WEI of 6.0 or more:

    System Requirements

    Published: April 26, 2010

    Updated: March 30, 2011

    Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

    • Windows Home Server 2011 server software is a 64-bit only operating system.
    • You can install the server software either manually or unattended.
    • System Requirements:
      • 1.4 GHz x64 processor.
      • 2 GB RAM
      • At least one 160 GB hard drive.
    • NTFS is the only supported file system.
    • Supported Networking Configuration:
      1. Your server computer must be connected via a network cable to a router.
      2. The router should be a UPnP-certified device, but it is not required.
      3. The router should be in the 192.168.x.x subnet, but it is not required.

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.

    Phil, your comment about needing a W7 WEI of 6.0 or more for streaming got my attention. I'm currently running WHSv1 on a Pentium 4 3Ghz which would certainly have a WEI well below 6.0, yet I stream 20 Mbps HD to my LG Blu-ray player over Cat 6. I would think the WEI 6.0 requirement might be what is needed for transcoding and streaming. Or am I missing something here? The reason I ask is I am detailing out my build for my move to WHS 2011 and am planning to use an I3 2100 which I believe has a WEI of about 5.9.
    /jerry
    Friday, October 21, 2011 11:39 PM
  • Well as they say it depends what you want to do with it.  If all you want is backup of your client computers, the minimum specs quoted by Phil should do just fine (with a little more disk space).  If you want the server to be the main repository for all of your clients working files, and/or do any media storage/streaming at best quality you will need more. 

    The graphics card is irrelivant, a minimal card will do since your not likely to be doing much directly on the server.  Around a 600 watt power supply should handle a full load of drives, a fast processor and 8gb memory. (without a high level graphics card).  You should max out the processor and the memory (up to 8gb) to whatever fits your budget.  Required storage space depends on your projected usage, but I would make sure the motherboard and case can support a large number of drives to provide for expansion if needed....and its always needed.

    For my WHS2011 build, I used a retired gaming machine (current gaming machine is I7-980X,12gb memory, 1200w power supply, and GTX480s in SLI) which has a 3.46ghz pentium D extreme edition and 8gb memory.  The case has 6 drive bays, and another 8 drives are attached via esata.  All drives are currently 1TB.  It does a nice job for me.

     


    ...JJC...
    • Marked as answer by hayhurst2 Friday, October 28, 2011 3:25 PM
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:02 AM
  • Little need for more than 4GB of RAM - my systems have never come close to using it. Others put in more because they do "Unsupported" things like running VMs etc.

    As for streaming, are you really streaming or just accessing SMB shares? Anyway, here is the advice from Microsoft which confirms your question regarding transcoding:

    Common processors and the video profiles that they support

    Published: April 26, 2010

    Updated: March 30, 2011

    Applies To: Windows Home Server 2011

    To stream media from your home server you can use a computer that is running the Windows 7 operating system, or other home-networked devices such as digital media players, and Media Center Extenders such as XBOX 360. When you are away from home, use Remote Web Access Media Player to play files that are stored on the home server.

    You also need relatively fast up-link speeds that vary from 200Kbps to 10 Mbps or more and media formats that your computer and devices can recognize and play. Not all devices, however, support the same video formats so there must be a way for your computer and devices to play whatever media files you happen to have. Windows Home Server 2011 contains a new transcoding support (inherited from Windows 7) that determines the capability of the computer or device you are using and then dynamically converts an unsupported video file into a supported one. In general, if Windows Media Player 12 can play the content on a computer that is running Windows 7, then the content on the home server will usually play on the network-connected device.

     

    The format and bit rate chosen for transcoding is highly dependent on the performance of the home server processor. The processor performance is identified as part of the Windows Experience Index. To determine the performance score of your home server, do one of the following:

    • On a computer running Windows 7 that has the same processor as your home server, go to the Control Panel, click Performance Information and Tools, and review the information given on the Rate and improve your computer’s performance page.
    • Contact the manufacturer of the processor.

    For the best user experience, choose a video streaming resolution quality that is appropriate for your home server processor. The server will automatically adjust the bit rate to one of these settings:

    • Low  if the processor score is less than 3.6.
    • Medium  if the processor score is greater than 3.6 and less than 4.2.
    • High  if the processor score is greater than 4.2 and less than 6.0.
    • Best  if the processor score is greater than 6.0.

    If you choose a video streaming resolution that requires more processing power than your server has, you may experience buffers and stops while streaming media from the home server.

    noteNote
    To stream high definition video through Remote Access, you need a processor with a score of at least 6.0.

    Phil P.S. If you find my comment helpful or if it answers your question, please mark it as such.
    • Proposed as answer by Phil Harrison Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:23 AM
    • Edited by Phil Harrison Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:35 AM
    • Marked as answer by hayhurst2 Monday, October 24, 2011 1:44 PM
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 12:22 AM
  • I have a 3.2 ghz I5 with 6 x 2 Terabyte discs and one ssd using a cool master 550 watt power supply 4 gigs of ram, built in graphics. Nothing fancy just not more then 2 years old. Processor go fast as budget will allow, graphics dont bother the server is not ment for watching movies but rather streaming. Graphics is ment for simple admin duties. Streaming is almost flawless except to android devices which I suggest subsonic. And vlc media player. Look for extra silent parts, you dont want to hear you server sounding like a 747 ready for take off, I choos a HAF case great cooling and really quiet. I would suggest a Intl quad core prosser (only since microsoft and inte have a partnership) (and since i was a die hard amd guy for years and tried intel ...I will never go back to amd, Ill pay a bit more but get QUALITY)
    Saturday, October 22, 2011 3:26 AM