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Re-tasking PC for WHS and hard drive questions? RRS feed

  • Question

  •  

    I have a Compaq 6027US currently running XP that I am wanting to set up as a backup server running WHS.

    The specs are:

    P4 - 2.0GHZ

    1 GB memory

    80 GB ultra dma hd

    16x DVD

    40x cd-rom

    AGP Nvidia 6200 graphics (there is also an onboard Intel extreme graphics)

    I'll likely remove the AGP graphics card and cd-rom from the system to keep the power and heat down.

     

    My main goal is to use this system for backing up of a Vista 64 PC, a XP professional PC, and 2  XP professional Laptops.  Adding up the disk usage for the 4 systems it will take ~250GB of space.  So to start out I'm looking at getting a 500 GB drive for the WHS system.

    I've read comments about getting a large hard drive for the system drive and I wanted to get some input on keeping the 80GB drive as the system boot drive and adding the 500 GB drive for backup storage or is it best to go with one drive and use the 500 GB drive for the system drive and backup storage?

     

    My second question is on choosing the 500 GB drive.  I can get the following IDE drive for ~100.00

    Western Digital Caviar SE WD5000AAJB 500GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA100 Hard Drive - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136110

     

    Or am I better off getting a Sata Pci controller ~$20.00 and 500 GB Sata drive ~$90.00.  Going this route is only $10.00 more. So to me it's really a question of which is the better choice?

    SYBA SD-SATA-4P PCI SATA Controller Card

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815124020

     

     

    Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS 500GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136073

     

    Thanks in advance for any assistance!

    .

    Friday, May 2, 2008 9:51 PM

All replies

  • I currently have a similar sytem and I am using ide drives just because I allready had some in good condition. Im using a new 320 for boot and 2 - 250's for data and it works very well.

     

    In considering your question I see 2 alternatives.

     

    1> Using an ide drive connected onboard:  keeps the hardware complexity to a minimum possibly reducing failure, however the older controller might die sooner than a new card, ide has a slower theoretical throughput but I doubt that matters much in our whs machines.

     

    2> New controller card:  will allow use of drives that can run faster and survive the jump to a newer mobo, but adding a card increases complexity with driver installs and such.

     

    I like the idea of SATA drives better, I just dont know if I could trust a cheap controller card

     

    I think you're off to a good start and in the right direction

    Friday, May 2, 2008 10:55 PM
  • I'm not a fan of repurposing an old piece of hardware for Windows Home Server. There are a variety of reasons for this, mostly having to do with how long one can reasonably expect a computer to really last. That said, your proposed system meets the minimum specs and then some, so I would expect it to do a good job.

    Regarding the quesiton of drives, I would scrap the 80 GB drive. It technically meets the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Home Server, but it's at the lower end. A system drive that small will limit you in ways that aren't obvious at first glance. So I would get a pair of 500 GB drives. That would increase the amount of space available in the storage pool, and would allow you to turn duplication on for some of your shares if you want to.

    I would get IDE drives, rather than SATA. You will give up a small amount of theoretical performance, but will avoid spending the extra money for a SATA controller. If/when you decide you need more storage, you'll probably be wanting to move to a chassis that has more room for drives, and that probably means either you'll buy a device like the HP MediaSmart Server or build your own with new hardware, so you can make the move to SATA then.
    Friday, May 2, 2008 11:07 PM
    Moderator
  • I second this opinion on older hardware being re-purposed, your license for WHS is tied into the motherboard you're using and if that goes, WHS must be re-installed and therefore re-activated. MS likely won't give you a hassle to re-activate on the newer motherboard, but that's a hassle you'd like to avoid right?

     

     Ken Warren wrote:
    I'm not a fan of repurposing an old piece of hardware for Windows Home Server. There are a variety of reasons for this, mostly having to do with how long one can reasonably expect a computer to really last. That said, your proposed system meets the minimum specs and then some, so I would expect it to do a good job.

    Regarding the quesiton of drives, I would scrap the 80 GB drive. It technically meets the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Home Server, but it's at the lower end. A system drive that small will limit you in ways that aren't obvious at first glance. So I would get a pair of 500 GB drives. That would increase the amount of space available in the storage pool, and would allow you to turn duplication on for some of your shares if you want to.

    I would get IDE drives, rather than SATA. You will give up a small amount of theoretical performance, but will avoid spending the extra money for a SATA controller. If/when you decide you need more storage, you'll probably be wanting to move to a chassis that has more room for drives, and that probably means either you'll buy a device like the HP MediaSmart Server or build your own with new hardware, so you can make the move to SATA then.

    Friday, May 2, 2008 11:37 PM
  • I appreciate the input. If I do go ahead with using this PC for WHS backup server I'd still like to hear from anyone that has gone with a PCI Sata controller and Sata disk drives, any troubles with installs? is it running reliably, etc...

     

    Thanks again.

     

    Monday, May 5, 2008 4:24 AM
  • I would probably go with something made by a reputable OEM, Adaptec, Promise, Highpoint are all good.

     

     niteskies wrote:

    I appreciate the input. If I do go ahead with using this PC for WHS backup server I'd still like to hear from anyone that has gone with a PCI Sata controller and Sata disk drives, any troubles with installs? is it running reliably, etc...

     

    Thanks again.

     

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008 6:37 PM
  • I have a Dell Optiplex that I have repurposed as a WHS box.  I have added two SATA PCI cards - a Silicon Image and a Promise.  I would recommend the Promise as the Silicon Image was not recognized by the WHS install although I was able to install the drivers later after the install had completed.  This prevented me from being able to do a server upgrade where you reused the data disks, at least until I got the other SATA PIC card.

     

    The downside is that the Promise card was about $60 vs. $25 for the Silicon Image card.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008 1:23 AM
  • I recently rebuilt my oldest computer to use as a WHS server. System has a Pentium 4 2.26 GHz CPU on an Intel Mobo with 768 Mb of rambus memory in a PC Power & Cooling full tower with 10 drive bays. I removed two IDE 120 Gb HDs & replaced them with 4 500 Gb SATA drives connected to a SuperMicro controller card purchased from newegg. This card has 8 SATA ports on it, so I have room for 4 more drives if I need them. When I installed WHS I put the drivers (for Windows Server 2003) on a floppy & hit F6 when Windows asked if I needed to install drivers. I connected only one drive for the install & the other 3 when the install was done. The installation went well; the only hitch was the boot order in the bios was wrong so the system wouldn't boot. Once I changed the boot order so the system drive was first, WHS started normally. It has been running well for a little over a week now with the 4 SATA drives & 2 eternal drives, one USB, one Firewire. The main problem I am having is installing drivers for add-in cards; namely a gigabit ethernet adapter and a card with 4 USB ports. The mobo has a 100 mbs connector, but mostly everything on my network is gigabit. I am going to try installing the card and see if WHS can find a driver for it. Usually the instructions say to install drivers first then the card. I am also trying to get Tivo Desktop software to use the server for storage; no go so far. I realize this has been a lengthy post, (my first) but there are a lot of questions trying to get WHS to do what you want. If you can work out the kinks, I think it has a lot of potential.
    Friday, May 9, 2008 7:02 AM
  •  Whizard72 wrote:

    I second this opinion on older hardware being re-purposed, your license for WHS is tied into the motherboard you're using and if that goes, WHS must be re-installed and therefore re-activated. MS likely won't give you a hassle to re-activate on the newer motherboard, but that's a hassle you'd like to avoid right?

    I added a 10/100/1000 Nic and did not make me re-register, but when I changed the IDE controller I got:

     

    You have changed your hardware too much recently, you must re-register.

     

    It was quick and painless, but it surprised me. 

    Saturday, May 17, 2008 7:03 PM