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  • Question

  •  

    Hi,

     

    I'm about to start building a WHS box as a video / music server for my home and as a central file store for documents etc.

     

    I want to install 8x SATA 500GB drives with no hardware RAID, I just intend to let WHS do its own cross HDD replication. However I can only find motherboards that have 4 or 6 SATA ports.

     

    My questions are:

     

    1. Does anybody know of reasonably low cost (budget is £100 / $200) AM2 Motherboard with 8 or more SATA ports? It would be ideal if it has built in VGA, but I can always add a cheap graphics controller.

    2. If not can I use a PCI SATA (non RAID) controller, I've seen a 4 port generic card with VIA chipset for like $10, but am worried about support under WHS, has anybody used a low cost SATA PCI card, if so which one?

    3. Can you use WHS to do other tasks other than just acting as a file server? Such as FTP downloads / uploads, DVD buring, CD to MP3 ripping etc and will it run XP software to do these tasks? I plan to run it headless but was thinking about using a PC-Anywhere type solution to access the desktop (rather than the remote console) to do this type of stuff.

     

    For the rest of the rig I intend to use an AM2 4800 CPU, 2GB RAM.

     

    Thanks.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 1:44 PM

Answers

  • A few options for you to consider:

    1.  Promise has some nice quality non-raid controllers.  (You can also use a RAID controller and setup each disk as its own JBOD array)  The TX-4310 is what I used, and it has 4 SATA ports.  It is a 'software' raid card, so to bypass that I configured 4 JBOD arrays (1 drive each).  Works great.

    2.  Look for Motherboards that have one to two eSATA ports on them.  THis will enable you to hook up external storage devices that use SATA.  There are several such devices out already that can hold between 4-8 drives and they will all run at SATA speeds.

    3.  No need for PCAnywhere.  You can remote desktop into the WHS and get the full desktop that way.

    4.  Yes it can be used for many different things.  There are several free plugins that can be found for WHS, and you can install other apps on the server.  I use mine to stream all of my ripped CD's (yes you can rip on the server, but I'd suggest ripping from a client PC to the WHS share), and I just started ripping my DVD's for storage on the server as well.

    Hope that helps!
    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:36 PM
  • Greetings, Grafight!

     

    1. Try Giga-byte (http://www.giga-byte.co.uk/).  I really like their boards.  Their Intel line has several boards with 8 SATA ports, so I imagine their AMD line will have some with 8 ports too.

     

    2. If the controller has drivers for Windows Server 2003, it should work with WHS.

     

    3. I know several people who have done other things with WHS -- check out the "Suggestions" forum for ideas.

     

    Happy Politically-Correct-Seasonal-Greeting!

     

     

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:53 PM

  • 1. No.  I looked for an 8 SATA port unit (not that long though) and opted for an inexpensive 4 port unit, ASUS P5KPL-VM.

    2. Then I threw on 4 controller cards, 2 Promise SATA300 TX4 cards, PCI (the max you can use in one system, according to the Promise folks), 1 Highpoint RocketRAID 2300, PCI Express, 1x (non-raid mode), and a Rosewill RC-213, PCI Express, 1x card for a grand total of up to 26 drives possible, though I've only got 14 on it at the moment.

    It breaks down like this:

    Asus Motherboard x 4 drives = 4 drives
    Promise card(s) x 4 drives each = 8 drives
    Highpoint card x 4 drives = 4 drives
    Rosewill card (2 SATA ports w/ two 5 drive port multipliers) = up to 10 drives

    26 drives total

    3. There are a number of Add-ons that help you to do many things with WHS, just make sure that you're not violating the EULA.  You can't use the system as you would a workstation, but it's a great repository for music, TV, and movies.
    Sunday, December 23, 2007 8:16 PM

All replies

  • A few options for you to consider:

    1.  Promise has some nice quality non-raid controllers.  (You can also use a RAID controller and setup each disk as its own JBOD array)  The TX-4310 is what I used, and it has 4 SATA ports.  It is a 'software' raid card, so to bypass that I configured 4 JBOD arrays (1 drive each).  Works great.

    2.  Look for Motherboards that have one to two eSATA ports on them.  THis will enable you to hook up external storage devices that use SATA.  There are several such devices out already that can hold between 4-8 drives and they will all run at SATA speeds.

    3.  No need for PCAnywhere.  You can remote desktop into the WHS and get the full desktop that way.

    4.  Yes it can be used for many different things.  There are several free plugins that can be found for WHS, and you can install other apps on the server.  I use mine to stream all of my ripped CD's (yes you can rip on the server, but I'd suggest ripping from a client PC to the WHS share), and I just started ripping my DVD's for storage on the server as well.

    Hope that helps!
    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:36 PM
  • Greetings, Grafight!

     

    1. Try Giga-byte (http://www.giga-byte.co.uk/).  I really like their boards.  Their Intel line has several boards with 8 SATA ports, so I imagine their AMD line will have some with 8 ports too.

     

    2. If the controller has drivers for Windows Server 2003, it should work with WHS.

     

    3. I know several people who have done other things with WHS -- check out the "Suggestions" forum for ideas.

     

    Happy Politically-Correct-Seasonal-Greeting!

     

     

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007 3:53 PM

  • 1. No.  I looked for an 8 SATA port unit (not that long though) and opted for an inexpensive 4 port unit, ASUS P5KPL-VM.

    2. Then I threw on 4 controller cards, 2 Promise SATA300 TX4 cards, PCI (the max you can use in one system, according to the Promise folks), 1 Highpoint RocketRAID 2300, PCI Express, 1x (non-raid mode), and a Rosewill RC-213, PCI Express, 1x card for a grand total of up to 26 drives possible, though I've only got 14 on it at the moment.

    It breaks down like this:

    Asus Motherboard x 4 drives = 4 drives
    Promise card(s) x 4 drives each = 8 drives
    Highpoint card x 4 drives = 4 drives
    Rosewill card (2 SATA ports w/ two 5 drive port multipliers) = up to 10 drives

    26 drives total

    3. There are a number of Add-ons that help you to do many things with WHS, just make sure that you're not violating the EULA.  You can't use the system as you would a workstation, but it's a great repository for music, TV, and movies.
    Sunday, December 23, 2007 8:16 PM
  • pdbuzz - many thanks for such a useful answer, the list of the 3 SATA controllers that you have used with WHS is really useful.

     

    I'm going to continue with a standard Gigabyte AM2 board with built in VGA and 4 SATA ports and add a couple of the cards that you list.

     

    How many PSUs are you using for 14 HDD? What's the overall noise of the box like?

    Monday, December 24, 2007 3:21 PM

  • I'm using 2 Antec 900 cases, with 2 Apevia PSU's (1 500W, 1 550W) that have adjustable fan speed.

    The cases have 5 120mm fans (Antec TriCool) plus the 200mm top fan and they are the MOST silent machines I've ever run.  I run all of the fans on their lowest setting and the drives (9 in one case, 5 in the other) never get above 45C.

    I have them both in a closet down the hall and there's no way the wife would have allowed that if they weren't quiet.  It's difficult to make a comparison, but I would have to say it's similar in noise level to an average library.  Very quiet machines.
    Monday, December 24, 2007 7:05 PM