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  • Question

  • I'm going to be building a WHS in the next few weeks. Below is the hardware I'm planning on using:

    Mobo: Asus P5B-VM - $70
    CPU: Celeron D 360 3.46Ghz - $62
    Ram: Crucial 1GB DIMM - $43
    Case: Antec NSK1300 - $95
    Disks: 4x WD Caviar SE 500GB - $396

    Total : $666 ( + the cost of WHS)

    The mobo has onboard video, gigabit ethernet, and 7 SATA ports. (1 of which is already external, and I could easily route the others as well.)

    The case has room for 4 internal 3.5 disks, and I think I might be able to modify the case to hold 6 if I break out the Dremel. Smile I'll be temporarily hooking up a DVD drive to do the install, which I'll just borrow from another machine.

    My only worry is that the case only has a 300w power supply... especially if I eventually had another 2 disks.

    Any suggestions? I haven't bought anything yet, so everything is modifiable.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007 6:24 PM

All replies

  • After reading some other posts, I've modified the list a bit:

    Mobo: Asus P5B-VM - $70
    CPU: Celeron D 360 3.46Ghz - $62
    Ram: Crucial 1GB DIMM - $43
    Disks: 4x WD Caviar SE 500GB - $396
    AthenaTech MicroATX MiniTower (with 400w PS) - $35
    Athena Power SATA Back Plane - $112

    Total : $718 ( + the cost of WHS)

    The new case/ps will give me room for the SATA back plane. This enables hot swap for 5 SATA disks. This case also has 3 additional internal 3.5" bays. So, theoretically, I could have 8 disks internally.
    Wednesday, November 7, 2007 7:16 PM
  • Ok, another revision. Smile

    From what I understand, the primary disk is where the OS partition is placed (20GB). All the rest of the primary drive is where tombstones are stored.

    It's possible to rebuild an entire WHS by replacing the primary disk and then reinstalling WHS using the "Reinstall" option. This reinstalls the OS, and re-creates the tombstones by looking at the data on the disks.

    To ensure maximum reliability, wouldn't it be a good idea to use a RAID 1 setup for the primary disk? If so, how big should these disks be? Can they be used for data storage as well?

    Assuming all of this, how about this setup?

    Mobo: Asus P5B-VM - $70
    CPU: Celeron D 360 3.46Ghz - $62
    Ram: Crucial 1GB DIMM - $43
    Primary Disks: 2x WD Caviar SE 160GB (RAID 1) - $100
    Storage Disks: 4x WD Caviar SE 500GB - $396
    AthenaTech MicroATX MiniTower (with 400w PS) - $35
    Athena Power SATA Back Plane - $112

    Total : $818 ( + the cost of WHS)

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007 7:55 PM
  • My advice: Spend the money you were planning to use for the two 160 GB drives for a single 500 GB drive. And drop the SATA backplane/RAID cage.

    First, Microsoft has said that RAID is unsupported, which means that they don't test for issues with RAID controllers, and if you have a problem you'll be mostly on your own. Second, the only thing you lose if a standard WHS installation suffers a failure of the system drive is the OS itself; all your data should still be safe. So you replace the drive, reinstall, and recreate your users. Even if you add software to the server, there's not a lot of space on C:, so you won't have added much. Reconfiguring shouldn't be a big deal. WHS doesn't need to be treated as a high availability enterprise server; if the server is unavailable for a day or two, it's no more than inconvenient (unless your son's term paper is on it Smile , in which case you can pull drives to find the file, if you must).

    The small system disk will limit you in terms of the amount of data you can manipulate at a time, too. With a 160 GB drive, you'll have maybe 120 GB left. Drive Extender may not be able to keep that clear enough for very large file copy operations. (No, you probably don't do that very often.)

    As for the RAID cage, are you really expcting that you'll be wanting to swap drives in and out? Remember that WHS takes over control of any drive you add to the storage pool. If you pull a drive, the server will complain bitterly about it. Smile

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007 9:26 PM
  • After reading the white papers from MS about the driver extender technology, I agree with you about the RAID 1 config vs a single 500GB drive. So that's a change I'll definitly make.

    As far as the SATA backplane, I just really like the idea of being able to add drives quickly, and without bringing the machine down. Kind of a silly reason, but it's worth the $112 to me. Smile

    What about the CPU/RAM/Mobo? Those look good?
    Wednesday, November 7, 2007 10:50 PM
  • One thing to bear in mind: In order to hot swap drives, you'll need to install AHCI drivers. If you give up on that, then A) you save $112, and B) you can configure your server to use legacy IDE mode (no drivers required). Legacy IDE mode will cost you a tiny bit of potential performance, though you'll never see the loss with WHS.

    The motherboard will support a dual core processor. What about the E2140 instead? It's a little more money, but will be (I think) easier on the power meter. Smile
    Thursday, November 8, 2007 4:34 AM
  • That's a board I also looked at. I can't remember if that motherboard had the drivers for Windows Server 2003 (not the easiest thing to find out on some boards). You need to find that out for sure if you haven't already - it's a deal breaker (I don't think I could ever find out on that one). Everybody's situation is different depending on alot of things including what you've already got. Just to give some things I thought about and the reason for my decisions


    NEW:MOBO & Processor

    Combo from Tigerdirect

    Athlon 64 x 2 3800+  processor Retail w/fan

    MachSpeed MSNV-939 Motherboard $142 w/ shipping

    (should have Friday hopefully)



    Case: Antec  NSK 4480B Minitower w 350 watt power supply. $90. Bought but this could  change when I get motherboard.


    Ethernet : bought 10/100  but will return since I've decided to go ahead and get ready to upgrade my network ( want 1000mps) 


    Primary Hard Drive: will be new and 400-500 GB SATA. (Waiting for system to get here our sales are just beginning to pop locally).-$ ?


    Secondary Hard Drive: hopefully great After-Thanksgiving Day Sale


    Third Drive: Santa buy me  another please! (I've got $250 external USB Drive in the meantime once i clear my current backups)



    PC3200 RAM 2 (512 mb)-$0

    External DVD Drive got and should work to install system. -$0


    Decision Makers: (aside from available cash). MOBO/Processor- Processor. Originally was going with a faster/more expensive processor and less expensive/fewer featrued motherboard. This deal felt right though. Processor with dual core well beyond the sempron processors that HP is putting out with there server.


     MOBO I really don't want to have to mess with for a long, long time.Also OEM license of the OS marries to that  motherboard pretty tight and could be next to impossible to reactvate the softare if I goof on that item. The proccesor is retail (so it comes with all the stuff fan, heat sink, supposedly thermal paste). My first build trying to keep things simple.

    MOBO-has windows server 2003 Drivers  


    Wanted three internal hard drive min. I will use file duplication.

    May yet upsize my case to full tower.(three is the max internal on the one I got).


    I have spare PCIE video card for installation if needed ( I can't remember if my MOBO or the one your considering has integrated graphics onboard.


    The posts in this fourm have been real useful for me learning and finding refernces. Wish you luck on your build 


    Thursday, November 8, 2007 5:08 AM
  • Thanks for the advice.

    The P5B is supported by Windows 2003 Server, according to the Hardware Compatibility List from MS:


    As far as the CPU, would that dual core chip run cooler than the Celeron? I was under the impression that the Celeron was a very cool running chip.

    This machine really needs to be quiet/cool running because it will be stuck in a closet if very little air flow.
    Thursday, November 8, 2007 4:19 PM
  •  RMD wrote:

    This machine really needs to be quiet/cool running because it will be stuck in a closet if very little air flow.

    I guess people do it, but I personally wouldn't put a box with 3-400 power supply in a closet with very little air flow.

    Thursday, November 8, 2007 5:57 PM
  • Well, for the CPU, I'd have to spend more time than I have available reading the specs to give a definitive answer. Current steppings of the dual core chips have very low idle power requirements (argues weakly for lower average temps), and as a dual core it should offer better perceived performance than the Celeron. But it's probably not enough to matter hugely; mostly I guess I just have a preference for multiple cores in servers.

    If you're putting your server in a closet, you should look at temperatures for all components, though. Are your drives cool-running? They generate a lot of heat when being accessed. What about your MB? Are you going to install a separate video card?
    Thursday, November 8, 2007 6:55 PM
  • After researching the CPUs, it looks like you're probably right about the duo vs the celeron, plus for the $20 more it costs I get a large perf boost.

    So I guess my last question is, if I'm not going to use that hot swap cage, does anybody know of another way to mount 5 3.5" disks in 3 5.25" bays? Just some kind of fancy mounting bracket, I guess, but I can't find one.

    I really want to stick with the mini-tower I've chosen due to space requirements in the closet. Smile
    Friday, November 9, 2007 6:20 PM
  • This case, while relatively small, allows for the mounting of a huge number of drives.
    Friday, November 9, 2007 6:52 PM

  • I've been playing with WHS for a couple of weeks and I have made several modifications.

    I started with an Athlon 64 3000+ that I had laying around. The processor is fine for the server, except when the server starts moving files around. I see it max out the processor and slow everything else down. I am replacing it with an Athlon 64 X2 3600+. I am hoping that the second core will let the server use one core to move files and leave one ready for other tasks.

    You may want to think about using a dual core processor.

    I also went from one old 512MB Dimm to 2 matched. I am getting a little performance boost from Dual Channel memory.

    Again, you may want to think about 2 512MB dimms.

    I also used the Silverstone CFP51 in an existing case. It allows you to put 4 drives into 3 5.25in bays.


    It is keeping 4 Seagate 400GB 7200.10 drives nice and cool. I haven't used the case's hard drive bays yet. I still have 4 3.5 bays free.

    Friday, November 9, 2007 7:33 PM
  • Wow, that looks perfect. Ok, so here is the new plan:

    Mobo ASUS P5B-VM $70.00
    CPU Pentium E2160 $83.00
    RAM Crucial DDR2 PC2-6400 1GB $43.00
    Primary Disk 1x Western Digital Caviar SE 500GB $99.00
    Storage Disks 4x Western Digital Caviar SE 500GB $396.00
    Case Apex LX-800 $55.00
    Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-450VX $65.00
    HSF Scythe Ninja w/Nexus 120 $69.00


    If, later on, I decide to add a rediculous number of disks to this machine, I can snag one of those drive bay converters and put a total of 10 internal disks. Smile

    The only bad part about this setup is that I'm gonna be tossing the power supply that comes with the Apex case. I want the PS to be nearly silent, and the one that comes with this case probably wont' cut it.

    The HSF combo is nearly silent, and has great reviews.

    So, how does this look? Smile

    Friday, November 9, 2007 8:06 PM
  • Can you tell me where you are buying these parts? I am also getting ready to build a new server. The case looks very interesting but not sure where I can get one.


    Sunday, November 11, 2007 7:38 PM
  • Ok, one more time. I think I'm getting close to finally deciding on parts... thanks to everybody here.

    The new revisions are basically using different disk (Samsung Spinpoints versus the WDs... the Sammy's are faster and quieter, produce a lot less heat, and use less power), and updating pricing (most prices when down!):

    Mobo ASUS P5B-VM DO $70.00
    CPU Pentium E2160 $83.00
    RAM Crucial DDR2 PC2-6400 1GB $43.00
    Primary Disks 1x Samsung Spinpoint T-166 500GB $105.00
    Storage Disks 4x Samsung Spinpoint T-166 500GB $420.00
    Case Apex LX-800 $55.00
    Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-450VX $66.00
    HSF Scythe Ninja w/Nexus 120 $36.00


    So unless anybody can think of any other changes, I'm gonna pull the trigger. Wink
    Monday, November 12, 2007 6:01 PM
  • Thank You RMD.


    Tuesday, November 13, 2007 1:40 PM
  • Hi RMD, Did you end up with the Apex LX-800? If so what do you think? Anybody else have it?


    Wednesday, November 21, 2007 3:49 PM
  • Just thought I post an updated hardware list. I haven't purchased the components yet... mostly due to unforseen expenses. Smile

    The changes include the move from the P5B-VM DO to the P5E-VM DO, mostly due to availability. The P5E has the G35 chipset, which is newer and therefore easier to come by.

    I also moved from Spinpoints to two kinds of larger Caviars: the SE16 and the GP. The SE16 is the faster of the two, which is why it's the OS drive. I went wtih the GP for the "storage" disks partly because they're $10 cheaper, but mostly because they're far quieter than the SE16. I may end up going with all SE16's, but for now this is how it stands.

    Going to 750 GB disks also upped the capacity from 2.5 TB to 3 TB while simultanesouly decreasing the number of disks from 5 to 4.

    Lastly, I doubled the RAM. It's hard to pass up double the RAM for only $1 more dollar... although this ram is the slower PC2-5300.

    So while the price of the system increased $82, I added 500 MB of additional storage, increased expandability, and doubled the RAM. Smile

    I was also thinking about dropping one fo the storage disks, which would bring the price down to $820, but of course would cut the capacity from 3TB to 2.25TB. Still, not too shabby.

    Mobo ASUS P5E-VM DO
    CPU Pentium E2160 $70.00
    RAM Crucial DDR2 PC2-5300 2GB $42.00
    Primary Disks 1x WD Caviar SE16 750GB $149.00
    Storage Disks 3x WD Caviar GP 750GB $420.00
    Case Apex LX-800 $55.00
    Power Supply Corsair CMPSU-450VX $66.00
    HSF Scythe Ninja 1100P w/Nexus 120 $36.00


    Monday, March 10, 2008 9:02 PM