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Acer Easystore / HP Mediasmart vs Cheap Desktop as WHS appliance RRS feed

  • Question

  • This may not be the best place to ask this question... but what the hey, i'll give it a whirl.

    I am considering purchasing an Acer Easystore / HP Mediasmart type WHS appliance. They are priced between 350-500$ for specs like:

     Intel Atom 1.6Ghz 2GB DDR2 2TB GBLAN 4 Bay Hotswap Windows Home Server and no display port or printing capabilities.

    Assuming you have a WHS license and extra hard drives lying around, why would someone purchase one of these machines when you can purchase a mid-tower, low end desktop for a a similar price? The desktop would have room for 4 drives, printer support, display port (if ever needed), and more powerful processor with greater ability for future upgrades.

    I must be missing something, but I don't know what...

     

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 11:48 AM

All replies

  • Driver issues are probably the #1 point of pain for amateur system builders. Windows Home Server V1 is based on Windows Server 2003, and the setup utility on your installation media is based on WinPE 2.0 (Vista era). So you may need multiple sets of drivers (certainly will, for SATA drives in AHCI mode). And server recovery is harder for a system builder; they don't have the automated remote recovery process that OEMs are required to provide, so they wind up needing to reinstall the OS. This is even more challenging, because of those same driver issues. If you like building computers, and solving the (sometimes very frustrating) problems you may encounter along the way, then there's no reason not to "roll your own". But understand that that's what you're signing up for.

    On the other side, dealing with a manufacturer's tech support can be an exercise in frustration too. :)


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, December 2, 2010 1:56 PM
    Moderator
  • Sounds like i need to research what AHCI is :-)

    Wouldn't something like the athlon computer be a rockstar server compared to the asus quick-appliance?

    Simple athlon computer: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883108361

    Asus: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859321014

    Thursday, December 2, 2010 7:35 PM
  • Thursday, December 2, 2010 10:40 PM
  • It looks like it might do pretty well, yes, though I don't generally recommend specific hardware if I haven't tried it personally.

    If you try it, let us know how it works out.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, December 3, 2010 12:08 AM
    Moderator
  • I missed that newegg combo deal... it was 262 for:

    1. AMD Athlon II X3 450 Rana 3.2GHz AM3 95W Triple-Core Desktop Processor (retail)
    2. Thermaltake V3 Black Edition w/ 430W Power Supply ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
    3. ASUS M4A78LT-M AMD AM3 760G MicroATX Motherboard w/ HDMI
    4. Kingston 2GB (2x1GB) DDR3-1333 PC3-10600 Dual-Channel Memory
    5. Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 7200RPM/32MB 3.5" Internal SATA Hard Drive
    I am very familiar with building machines... but is there anything i should be especially aware or careful of when looking for a barebones computer for running whs?

    Friday, December 3, 2010 8:42 AM
  • what do I need to know about AHCI?
    Friday, December 3, 2010 8:47 AM
  • I am still trying to figure out whether or not to buy an acerr easy store or a newegg shellshocker type custom built computer. I like the custom build idea because of expandability, vga out, etc.

    What do i need to know about AHCI in order to make this decision?

    Right now, the WHS box is running (albeit almost uselessly slowly) on an old p4 2ghz with 512mb ram... I dont understand why i could run into problems with a custom build like the one below.

    Example:

     

    • Intel Pentium E6500 Wolfdale 2.93GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor (Model:BX80571E6500)
    • ASUS LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Motherboard (Model:P5G41C-M LX)
    • Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory (Model:PSD34G1333K)
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model:ST31000528AS)
    • IMC ZB029 2.0 M Effective Pixels USB 2.0 WebCam with Mic
    • COOLER MASTER Elite 310 Black with blue front panel Steel Body / ABS plastic front bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply (Model:RC-310-BKR2-GP)

     

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 7:49 PM
  • All you need to know about AHCI is to set it to IDE mode in your BIOS instead.  AHCI gives little advantage in WHS.  Can cause major issues if or when a server reinstallation is needed.  I would start with a minimum of three hard drives if you plan on using file duplication.  As to the rest of your equipment, ensure there are drivers for WHS - Server 2003.  Usually, Windows XP drivers will also work.

    --
    _________________
     
    BullDawg
    In God We Trust
    _________________

    I am still trying to figure out whether or not to buy an acerr easy store or a newegg shellshocker type custom built computer. I like the custom build idea because of expandability, vga out, etc.

    What do i need to know about AHCI in order to make this decision?

    Right now, the WHS box is running (albeit almost uselessly slowly) on an old p4 2ghz with 512mb ram... I dont understand why i could run into problems with a custom build like the one below.

    Example:

     

    • Intel Pentium E6500 Wolfdale 2.93GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor (Model:BX80571E6500)
    • ASUS LGA 775 Intel G41 Micro ATX Motherboard (Model:P5G41C-M LX)
    • Patriot 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1333 (PC3 10600) Desktop Memory (Model:PSD34G1333K)
    • Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model:ST31000528AS)
    • IMC ZB029 2.0 M Effective Pixels USB 2.0 WebCam with Mic
    • COOLER MASTER Elite 310 Black with blue front panel Steel Body / ABS plastic front bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 420W Power Supply (Model:RC-310-BKR2-GP)

     


    BullDawg
    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 8:52 PM
  • awesome... thanks for the information. 
    Tuesday, January 25, 2011 12:11 PM
  • I have just completed my home build WHS also based on an ASUS (P5G41C) so can add a few pointers.

    Two of the drivers have been an issue. An unknown device on the base build was the ATK0110/ACPI Utility which some threads have indicated does not cause problems if not resolved. The native driver would not load but this is a common device for ASUS and I found the one for my P5LD2 would work.

    The VIA/Realtek (?) Audio was more of a problem. Several drivers I tried would not work and I found on the Intel site a statement that Intel would not be providing Audio drivers for the G41 chipset on server platforms. As I would not be using directly I ended up disabling the audio chip in the BIOS. Hopefully it will not be an issue later.

    I have not installed any of the ASUS utilities trying to keep the system as simple as possible. I only fitted one disk 1st while I did the build, adding the others after all updates had been applied then turning on the required folder duplications.


    25 years of loving (and too often hating) everything Microsoft.
    Friday, January 28, 2011 5:59 PM
  • I am considering purchasing an Acer Easystore / HP Mediasmart type WHS appliance. They are priced between 350-500$ for specs like:

     Intel Atom 1.6Ghz 2GB DDR2 2TB GBLAN 4 Bay Hotswap Windows Home Server and no display port or printing capabilities.

    One aspect to consider is power consumption. The Atom based servers have considerably reduced power consumption to the desktop processor based motherboard designs.

    I'm trialling WHS Vail on it at the moment on a Supermicro X7SPA-HF motherboard. It's an excellent Windows Home Server candidate with 6 SATA channels. The Atom processor keeps the power usage down but still has plenty of power for a Home Server. The board supports 4G of memory.

    http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/ATOM/ICH9/X7SPA.cfm?typ=H&IPMI=Y

    It also has a soft KVM on the 1st ethernet interface that allows remote desktop at the BIOS startup and is OS independent.

    Saturday, January 29, 2011 10:37 PM