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  • Question

  • I know there are other threads discussing what would make an ideal server but I've made a list of requirements and am looking for in motherboards that would qualify for systems I would build. Here are the requirements I have so far.

     

    • All onboard devices must be supported natively by Server 2003.*
    • Mass storage, networking, and video devices must be supported by PE 2.0.*
    • There must be at least 4 SATA connecters.
    • There must be 1 and only 1 Gigabit Ethernet port (and no additional Ethernet ports).
    • There must be at least 4 rear USB ports.
    • There must be at least 2 front USB ports.
    • There must be at least 8 USB ports.
    • The board must be capable of booting from a USB optical drive.*
    • The board must support booting from the network.
    • The board must be µATX or smaller.

     

    What motherboards (or chipsets) should I be looking at?

    What other requirements would you add to my list?

     

    *I might relax some of the requirements once I see what is in the OPK.

    Thursday, June 7, 2007 2:38 AM

All replies

  • It's somewhat surprising to me that I would "recommend" this board simply because I would have never chosen it for myself. I ended up with it as part of a bundle from Fry's with a Core2 4300 for $120 a couple of months ago. It has some nice features that aren't addressed on your list and comes up short on a couple of items as well. Most of all, it's cheap but I have to say, I've had it running WHS now for a couple of months and along with no problems during install, I've had no BSOD's or driver difficulties.

    • All onboard devices must be supported natively by Server 2003.*

    Check, assuming you really mean WHS (I've never tried vanilla 2003). The only thing I'm not sure about here would be audio if that's of any concern.

    • Mass storage, networking, and video devices must be supported by PE 2.0.*

    Check - I think. I'll say I've installed both WHS and Vista (x86 and x64) on this board using both SATA (in IDE mode) and PATA boot devices as well as on-board video with no problems. On-board NIC is recognized.

    • There must be at least 4 SATA connecters.

    Only 2 SATA connectors. On the flip side, there are two IDE channels whereas most modern boards only have one. If you don't have any PATA drives you want to use, then this is probably a problem. Also, SATA is only SATA 150.

    • There must be 1 and only 1 Gigabit Ethernet port (and no additional Ethernet ports).

    One but it's only 10/100.

    • There must be at least 4 rear USB ports.

    Check.

    • There must be at least 2 front USB ports.

    Check.

    • There must be at least 8 USB ports.

    Check, the four rear and two internal headers supporting an additional 4 ports.

    • The board must be capable of booting from a USB optical drive.*

    Not sure. I've booted from a USB floppy so I assume this would work but don't have one to test.

    • The board must support booting from the network.

    Also not sure. I've seen the option in the BIOS but have never tried it.

    • The board must be µATX or smaller.

    Check.  Micro-ATX.

     

    Here's a link to the manufacturers site.

    http://www.ecs.com.tw/ECSWebSite/Products/ProductsDetail.aspx?DetailID=673&CategoryID=1&DetailName=Feature&MenuID=44&LanID=9

     

    Here it is for sale at $45.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135027

     

    A couple of things you didn't ask about that I'd look for on my list would be:

     

    SATA II (300) support

    e-SATA ports

    Firewire

    Max Memory support

    DDR2

    PCI slots

    PCI-e slots

     

    Hope this helps!

    Thursday, June 7, 2007 8:19 PM
  • Not sure when it will hit the streets but this looks interesting, although not sure about USB ports etc. to meet your requirements but as it's WHS certified it should be ok on drivers etc.

    http://www.techshout.com/hardware/2007/06/sis-churchill-worlds-first-home-server-mainboard-in-mini-dtx-unveiled/

     

    Gordon

    Thursday, June 7, 2007 8:42 PM
  •  HLaRoux wrote:

    A couple of things you didn't ask about that I'd look for on my list would be:

     

    SATA II (300) support

    e-SATA ports

    Asking for 4 SATA II connectors or eSATA with native support is probably asking too much so I left it out.

     HLaRoux wrote:

    Firewire

    For the purposes of WHS FireWire doesn't offer much over USB to justify the complexities of FireWire

     HLaRoux wrote:

    Max Memory support

    DDR2

    I Don't see memory support being an issue with any modern motherboard

     HLaRoux wrote:

    PCI slots

    PCI-e slots

    I'm looking for a board that has all needed device onboard so expansion isn't an issue.

     

    My target case is a SilverStone SG03 with a QuadraPack Q14.

    Friday, June 8, 2007 12:54 AM
  • I don't know about driver support but I think I'll be using a board based on one of the following chipset combinations:

    • Intel 945GZ & ICH7
    • AMD 690V & ATI SB600
    • NVidia GeForce 6100 & nForce 430

    I haven't seen the OPK yet but I think I can relax some of the requirements if the RTM has the same installer as RC1.

    Wednesday, June 13, 2007 5:22 PM
  • That SiS board seems a little overspecced for the WHS requirements. I especially like this part:

    'With the integrated Mirage 1 graphics, the image quality of the home server platform will be intensively lifted up. Home users, therefore, can enjoy the ultimate high performance of video playback, games, movies, and all other multimedia devices.'

    So is that games, movies etc that you are playing on your server?
    Thursday, June 14, 2007 9:14 AM
  • I had the oppertunity to play with a PowerSpec V100. This is built on with an ECS 956G-M3 REV:3.1. This board passed all on my requirements except that the ethernet controller is not Gigabit and the audio controller wasn't recognized natively by Server 2003.

     

    This computer is currently on sale for $249.99 at Microcenter. If you are thinking of using this as a starting point take a note of the following:

    • This computer ships with only 512 MB of memory (1 DIMM).
    • This computer shipps with an EIDE drive and it is on a shared channel with the DVD-Drive.
    • The 300 Watt Power Supply has no SATA power connectors.
    • The motherboard has 8 USB ports but the case only has 6.

     

    • The case looks respectable for a (very) small server.

    The ECS website claims that this board comes with an Intel 82573 Gigabit Lan but the computer I am using comes with a Realtek RTL8100C Lan controller.

    Monday, June 25, 2007 3:48 AM
  • Hi:

     

    I'm running my WHS on a Winfast K7S741MG, 1 Gb (pc 3200), Athlon XP 1800+ (1.5 Ghz), 2 hds (300 + 200 gb PATA), 6 USB 2 ports, 10/100 mb onboard nic, onboard audio disabled, no monitor, no keyboard and no mouse, I'm planning to upgrade to an Athlon XP 2000+ (1.8 Ghz) and add another 200/300 gb.

     

    I use my server to backup 4 pc running XP Pro and other running Vista Ultimate with no problems even having an old hardware.

    Monday, June 25, 2007 5:36 AM
  • I'm using an Asus P5B with a Pentium D processor (S775). Probably a little over-spec'ed as it has comprehensive sound etc and needed a basic standalone pcie graphics card but it has the all important 5 internal SATA ports and esata for future use as well as gigabit LAN. Had to install the ASUS drivers on WHS install but worked seamlessly.

     

    Its a bit pricey at £65'ish but is very robust and saves me having to shell out on a SATA controller card for a while.

    Monday, June 25, 2007 3:40 PM
  •  Clevertelly wrote:

    I'm using an Asus P5B with a Pentium D processor (S775). Probably a little over-spec'ed as it has comprehensive sound etc and needed a basic standalone pcie graphics card but it has the all important 5 internal SATA ports and esata for future use as well as gigabit LAN. Had to install the ASUS drivers on WHS install but worked seamlessly.

     

     

    Which devices did you need to install drivers for?

    Monday, June 25, 2007 4:18 PM
  • Chipset, LAN, USB2 and sound, so basically all of them. Asus driver disk worked fine though and does an unattended 'install all' option. Didnt need the sound drivers but don't like to see any uninstalled devices on the device manager.
    Monday, June 25, 2007 4:30 PM
  •  Clevertelly wrote:
    Chipset, LAN, USB2 and sound, so basically all of them. Asus driver disk worked fine though and does an unattended 'install all' option. Didnt need the sound drivers but don't like to see any uninstalled devices on the device manager.

     

    Having to install USB2 drivers to me is a critical issue. In case you ever need to do a repair one of the steps that setup does is recreate the tombstones from the existing data drives. Not having USB2 drivers installed at that point would cause major problems.

    Monday, June 25, 2007 7:55 PM
  • This doesn't necessarily fit the OP specs but for the multi-terabyte junkies out there, have a look at the specs on the new Intel P35 chipset based boards. I'm not sure about the compatability for an uninterrupted installation, but they have incredible storage potential.

     

    Taking this one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121314), and using one PCI for an obsolete video card and the lone IDE channel for optical, you have the following conservative storage potential without using any port multipliers or even over-subscribing the bandwidth:

     

    Onboard SATA II - built-in - 6 drives

    4xSATA II - PCI-e x8 - add-on - 4 drives

    2xSATA II - PCI-e x1 - add-on - 6 drives

    2xSATA II - PCI - add-on - 4 drives

    12xUSB 2.0 - built-in - 12 drives

    2xFirewire - built-in - 6 drives

     

    38 drives hanging off one mobo. 19TB raw for < $5K using 500gb drives.

     

     

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007 11:57 PM