would WHS work with an old PC (2003) RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • The motherboard is an A7V8X-X, with I think 512mb RAM, only 100mbps support, IDE only.

    My idea is to install a 1000mbps network card and a PCI-X SATA controller card in a PCI slot: Intel PRO/1000 GT PWLA8391GTBLK and SUPERMICRO AOC-SAT2-MV8. I read that the Intel PRO/1000 GT card has problems with Windows 7. Some comments and advice would be welcome.

    Also since the motherboard only supports IDE, I'd use an older slower HDD for the WHS OS. Would that slow down the speed for data transfers across the LAN?
    • Changed type kariya21Moderator Saturday, January 9, 2010 3:58 PM not a technical question
    Friday, January 8, 2010 7:44 AM

All replies

  • Hi Shawn - I've done much the same as you're proposing: Fujitsu-Siemens Scenic PC (P4, 2.3GHz, or something) with 512MB RAM. I don't think you'll need any more RAM unless you install lots of extra programs on the server and/or do video stuff.

    I don't think data transfer speeds are much of an issue as regards SATA/IDE, though I have read that some internal disc writing is improved with SATA - but that doesn't affect clients at all.

    One word of warning though: I got a PCI SATA card and the server will not boot from that card! I didn't know before hand so I had to get an IDE-SATA adapter to plug into one of the motherboard IDE slots. This means you only get 1 SATA feed where you can run two IDE drives (off the splitter cable) previously. So I will be running a 1.5TB SATA off the IDE-SATA card (which is the boot drive), a 500GB SATA drive off the PCI card, an old 80GB IDE as slave and the DVD drive as master off the remaining IDE slot on the motherboard.

    Another word of warning: the SATA power and SATA data cables would not fit in my PC case! It's never occurred to me before but all IDE cables - power and data - are effectively 'L' connectors. Standard SATA are 'I' shaped and thus too long to fit into my case. (Grrrr!) Fortunately, 'L' shaped power & data connectors are easily and cheaply available: I paid £1.50 each for two 'L' SATA data cables and £2.99 for an extra long IDE-SATA power cable dual splitter. Works fine.

    In fact, the physical disc & card installation proved much less troublesome than the WHS software set-up for me. But I may be particularly dull...


    Friday, January 8, 2010 9:48 AM
  • Thanks Chris for your feedback.

    I'm now concerned that the gigabit card I considered, the Intel PRO/1000 GT, may not work with WHS, as seen in the following thread:

    That is unfortunate because that network card is well-known. So unless I can find another card that works, I'd have to settle with 100mbps, and that's assuming the hard drive controller would work and that WHS would actually install in the PC.


    Murphy's Law in full effect, the SUPERMICRO AOC-SAT2-MV8 has problems with drives larger than 1TB.

    Friday, January 8, 2010 10:42 AM
  • Older PCs would work, as long as you can get the needed drivers for Windows Server 2003 or eventually Windows XP for the core hardware components.
    Since you do not answer the main question, what is the main purpose of your WHS (client backup or file sharing):
    I see two main problems with older components:
    This old hardware is often consuming much electrical power and is noiseful.
    More important - the reliability is not given any more. Older components fail more often than new, so I would not want to rely on such an old box if it is not only for testing.
    So as soon if the data stored on the box is important, ensure to keep backups to external disks running very regulary.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Friday, January 8, 2010 1:49 PM
  • I'm testing whs myself at the moment, and decided that if I don't like whs, I'll most likely set up a small server anyway.
    I got myself a new AM2+ mobo (GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H), so that I can easilly replace the cpu/ram if needed, and will use my old cpu (Athlon 64 3500+, AM2) and 2 GB RAM (Some slow modules I had left).
    However, I decided to spend some money on my case (Fractal Design Define R2) and a psu from corsair (can't hear it and corsair have been working great in many other computers I have), but I'll need those parts anyway nomatter what server OS I decide to use..
    My HDDs are not that old, so I decided to keep them for a while.

    However, the mobo is probably one of the most complicated things to replace later on as it will most likely require a complete reinstall of whs, so if you do have the budget to do so I would suggest checking for a new mobo that will work.
    Friday, January 8, 2010 2:40 PM
  • I would not use a 2003 vintage PC (6-7 years old!) for anything but testing. There are a number of components that may be wearing out or completely worn out, including motherboard capacitors, fans, etc. The power supply is certainly not delivering anything close to what the label claims any more.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Friday, January 8, 2010 3:16 PM
  • Thanks guys. I ended up just ordering an Acer Aspire Easystore H340. Just wouldn't want the headaches :-)
    Sunday, January 10, 2010 7:55 AM