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Buying all new hardware- any advisories? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi everyone,

    To make a long story short, the computer I was planning to put WHS on died (the capacitors burst). Which is probably a good thing, since I was going to trust my data to it.

    So, now I'm in the position of buying all new hardware for WHS (I'm in the beta and determined to get WHS up and running ASAP), and was wondering if anyone could give me hardware recommendations, based on what I already have.

    Here is my list.

    EDIT: Two things NOT on the list that I already own are a brand new ATX case (Review here) and a 2GB (2 X 1GB) Crucial Ballistix DDR2 800 RAM Kit.

    So, the criteria:
    -If MS doesn't release WHS as a retail product, I don't want to be screwed when I invest in all of this hardware; I want to be able to turn it into a capable vista PC. So, while it doesn't have to be cutting edge, I want to be able to throw in a graphics card and run Vista ably.
    -I don't want a server that will be on thin ice (always at the limit). Preferably, I'd like the ability to do a little multitasking. Maybe stream video, backup a computer, and recieve a fax. Anyhow, as long as it's not extremely overkill, I'd rather be overkill than under invest.
    -I'm debating whether or not to reuse two hard drives from the dead PC. One is from 04, one is from 05. A lot of hours and some iffy S.M.A.R.T. values. Should I trash the old drives? My inner tightwad fights to reuse, yet my knowledge that I'm trusting backups & irreplaceable media to it makes me say, "Start fresh".
    -I know that I shouldn't backup just to WHS. It's beta software, so I shouldn't depend on it. However, I wouldn't mind a bit of redundancy. Am I at a cost/GB sweet spot? Paying too much? Etc.
    -The modem is there because it has WHS drivers and there is underlying faxing ability that I'm enabling.
    -I don't mind paying a little more for expansion room.
    -Random crap for the case and server is on the list.

    If you're still reading, thanks for your time and help! I really appreciate it.
    Tuesday, May 8, 2007 8:10 PM

All replies

  • I've read through your post a couple of times and must admit to being just a bit confused as to what you already have on hand vs. what needs to be purchased.

     

    On the assumption that the wish list is a combination of both new and old (on-hand), I would encourage you to buy one new drive to go with the two old ones. Make it a 500GB while you're at it and use this as your "primary" drive. You should be able to get storage these days around $.22/gb in the US. Then, by using your two older "iffy" drives as pool drives, you should be able to "trust" WHS with redundancy at least from a hardware standpoint. This may seem like overkill on the storage side, but my experience is you will find ways to fill it, especially if you store any amount of video or recorded TV.

     

    On the mobo, checking with Gigabyte's website for this model, I don't see any Win2003 drivers, which could spell trouble especially for the on-board NIC. If you are buying new, I would narrow down your selection to either one that has specific Win2003 drivers or at least one that others have used without problems. However, there are several postings here from individuals who had on-board NICs that worked with Beta 2 that no longer worked with the April CTP.

     

    On the strickly opinion side of things, I think you will get more value by stepping up a bit on the processor. IMHO, the sweet spot is around $120 these days. You won't need more than this for out of the box WHS activities but as you say, you will probably want to do more than that. Add in a couple more websites, sharepoint services, and FTP server, etc. You might also switch over to Intel where I think currently you will get more value and overall power efficiency. Also, if you switch to Intel, you can get a mobo with an Intel chipset which may help reduce the possibliity of driver issues in the future.

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007 9:00 PM
  •  HLaRoux wrote:

    I've read through your post a couple of times and must admit to being just a bit confused as to what you already have on hand vs. what needs to be purchased.



    OK, I was unclear in my original post. What I have:
    -A case.
    -2 Hard drives in iffy condition
    -An older DVD-ROM drive, floppy drive.
    -Some New DDR2 RAM, 2 X 1GB sticks.

    All the stuff on the list is stuff that I need/plan on buying for the server.

     HLaRoux wrote:

    On the mobo, checking with Gigabyte's website for this model, I don't see any Win2003 drivers, which could spell trouble especially for the on-board NIC. If you are buying new, I would narrow down your selection to either one that has specific Win2003 drivers or at least one that others have used without problems. However, there are several postings here from individuals who had on-board NICs that worked with Beta 2 that no longer worked with the April CTP.



    Gigabyte is a Taiwanese based mobo maker, so they have Windows Sever 2003 drivers for everything, but some are 64bit drivers only. Guess I should look for another mobo b/c it's very vague.


     HLaRoux wrote:
    On the strictly opinion side of things, I think you will get more value by stepping up a bit on the processor. IMHO, the sweet spot is around $120 these days. You won't need more than this for out of the box WHS activities but as you say, you will probably want to do more than that. Add in a couple more websites, sharepoint services, and FTP server, etc. You might also switch over to Intel where I think currently you will get more value and overall power efficiency. Also, if you switch to Intel, you can get a mobo with an Intel chipset which may help reduce the possibliity of driver issues in the future.



    So the Core 2 Duos are better instead of the X2 overall.. OK, fair enough.

    What about the Asus P5B-PLUS? On Asus' site, I see everything as having 2003 drivers in 32 bit and 64bit versions.

    And is the Core 2 Duo 6300 at that pricing sweet spot?




    Tuesday, May 8, 2007 9:29 PM
  •  JDCMAN wrote:

    So the Core 2 Duos are better instead of the X2 overall.. OK, fair enough.

     

    Just an opinion of the current situation. They tend to play leap frog with each new release although AMD stayed ahead of intel for a couple a years before the Core2 line came out. Now they seem to be having trouble catching up.


     

     JDCMAN wrote:

    What about the Asus P5B-PLUS? On Asus' site, I see everything as having 2003 drivers in 32 bit and 64bit versions.

     

    Having the 32bit drivers is the key since WHS is currently only 32bit. The 64bit drivers for Win2003 do you no good. One concern I would personally have with this particular board is the lack of Vista drivers. It may be a dead end especially since ASUS has a P5B-Plus "Vista Edition" here (http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=307&l4=0&model=1520&modelmenu=1). Don't ask me what the difference is but it sure doesn't bode well in my mind that there will be drivers for the other model at some point in the future.

     

    Admittedly, it's tough to find mobos with both server drivers and Vista drivers so you may need to just pick which is more important and then go forward. If you think you may want to repurpose this motherboard in the future, I would probably lean more to Vista compatibility and then work around the WHS issues.

     

     

     JDCMAN wrote:

    And is the Core 2 Duo 6300 at that pricing sweet spot?

     

    The 6300 has been replaced by the 6320 so I would certainly recommend it instead of a 6300 but I was thinking more along the lines of a 4300 or 4400. What you give up for the $50 savings is 800mhz vs 1066 FSB, 2M vs 4M L2, and no VT for hardware virtualization. On the plus side, the 4300 (and presumably the 4400) are generally more "overclockable" due to the lower FSB if you are into that. Of course overclocking blows the power calculations out of whack.

     

    I picked up a 4300 with an ECS P4M800-Pro at Frys a couple of weeks ago for $130. I would have paid this much for the processor alone and although I would have never chosen this mobo on my own, I've got WHS installed on it and have been generally pleased thus far. Installation was flawless and not even a single BSOD since. 

    Tuesday, May 8, 2007 11:09 PM
  •  HLaRoux wrote:

    JDCMAN wrote:

    So the Core 2 Duos are better instead of the X2 overall.. OK, fair enough.

    Just an opinion of the current situation. They tend to play leap frog with each new release although AMD stayed ahead of intel for a couple a years before the Core2 line came out. Now they seem to be having trouble catching up.


    I heard the Core 2's were more powerful, but if it's more power efficient that seals the deal. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on the subject.
     HLaRoux wrote:

    JDCMAN wrote:

    What about the Asus P5B-PLUS? On Asus' site, I see everything as having 2003 drivers in 32 bit and 64bit versions.

    Admittedly, it's tough to find mobos with both server drivers and Vista drivers so you may need to just pick which is more important and then go forward. If you think you may want to repurpose this motherboard in the future, I would probably lean more to Vista compatibility and then work around the WHS issues.


    The Vista Edition has some weird BIOS extensions; the P5B Plus regular has 32 and 64 bit Vista drivers. The Vista Edition has a builtin flash memory cache for ReadyBoost. I'm willing to sacrifice those for WHS and Vista compatibility


     HLaRoux wrote:


     

    The 6300 has been replaced by the 6320 so I would certainly recommend it instead of a 6300 but I was thinking more along the lines of a 4300 or 4400. What you give up for the $50 savings is 800mhz vs 1066 FSB, 2M vs 4M L2, and no VT for hardware virtualization. On the plus side, the 4300 (and presumably the 4400) are generally more "overclockable" due to the lower FSB if you are into that. Of course overclocking blows the power calculations out of whack.



    I'm going to run it stock for cooling/noise reasons. Debating whether or not I should.

    Hmm...any other concerns or input? I really appreciate all of your help HLaRoux. Big Smile

    Wednesday, May 9, 2007 12:53 AM