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Before I buy hardware, please comment. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Not looking for a gurantee, just some opinions from some people with a little more tech experience than I have. From the specs below, does it look like it will work with out any major headaches? Thanks.

    I have been looking for an affordable to mid priced computer to purchase for WHS. Wanted something that would last and give me lots of room to expand. Found this deal, but I am not a hardware expert. Can I get some comments on whether this is suitable for a WHS server. I was mostly concerned with the Win 2003 driver issue. I looked on the internet, and if I read correctly, it is compatible. Almost seemed like over kill for me, but the price sounded good and it is a server mobo. $329.00
    Here are the specs: Condition: New

    Features/Specifications:
    • Intel SC5300BASE Xeon 3.4 GHz Server Chassis

    • General Features:
    • No Server Operating System
    • Intel Server Chassis SC5300
    • Intel Xeon 3.4 GHz processor
    • 800 MHz CPU FSB
    • 1 MB L2 cache
    • 2 GB DDR2 Registered RAM (16 GB maxium of DDR2-400)
    • 750 GB SATA hard drive
    • ATI RAGE XL SVGA PCI video controller with 8 MB of video memory
    • Dual Intel PRO/1000 Server Network Connections

    • Motherboard Features:
    • Intel Server Board SE7520AF2
    • Intel E7520 Chipset
    • Intel IOP332 processor with Intel XScale technology
    • SSI Entry E-Bay v3.5 form factor
    • Two (2) 604-pin Xeon sockets
    • Supports One or two 64-bit Intel Xeon or Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors (only one CPU installed)
    • 800 MHz system bus speed
    • Dual-channel integrated Ultra320 SCSI controller

    • Expansion Ports:
    • One (1) PCI Express x8 slot
    • One (1) PCI Express x4 slot
    • Two (2) PCI-X 133 MHz PCI-X slots
    • One (1) PCI-X 100 MHz PCI-X slots
    • Eight (8) 240-pin DIMM sockets

    • I/O Ports:
    • Two (2) Front Panel USB 2.0 ports
    • Three (3) USB 2.0 ports
    • Two (2) PS/2 ports
    • One (1) 9-pin Serial port
    • One (1) 15-pin VGA port
    • Two (2) RJ-45 ports

    • Case Features:
    • Up to six fixed SATA, Ultra320 SCSI, or IDE (one-inch height) internal drive bays
    • Up to three 5.25-inch external drive bays
    • Seven (7) Full-length expansion slots
    • SCSI Backplane: LVD with SAF-TE
    • Side-access cover
    • 670-watt power supply (100 - 240V, 50/60Hz)
    • Two high-flow system fans and one power-supply fan
    • Tool-less assembly and installation of fixed and hot-swap drive bays
    • Power, hard-drive activity, network activity (two), system ID, general system status LEDs

    • Unit Dimensions:
    • 16.9 x 8.6 x 27.9-inches (H x W x D, approximate)

    • Regulatory Approvals:
    • FCC 
    • MIC
    • Gost-R
    • CCC
    • CE
    • cULus
    • C-Tick
    • BSMI
    • Nemko/GS

    Thanks in advance,
    Troy
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 1:28 AM

Answers

  • If you configure your SATA ports for legacy mode, you shouldn't need additional storage drivers for your drives. You give up some theoretical performance, but in most cases other bottlenecks will mask this.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by azperkins Friday, May 29, 2009 3:42 AM
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 4:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Power consumption comes into mind, because a server usually is an always on device. So a permanent high power flow can increase the overall costs per year by more than a little bit.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    • Marked as answer by azperkins Friday, May 29, 2009 3:42 AM
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:04 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Any comments/suggestions welcome. I promise not to complain if it doesn't work. Just looking for a push in the right direction.

    This is what I found in the Windows server catalog.
    Intel Server Board SE7520AF2
    MFG MODEL:
    by Intel Corporation

    Compatible with the following versions of Microsoft Windows

    Windows Server 2003 x64
    Designed for Windows
    Windows Server 2003 x86
    Designed for Windows
    Windows 2000 Server
    Supported
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 4:27 AM
  • While this hardware configuration may work, the more interesting questions remain unanswered - like power consumption, noise level of that configuration etc.
    Would also recommend a second disk to have the capability for duplication - and a DVD drive seems to be missing also.
    Installing on SATA disks without a floppy drive can also be difficult, at least if you cannot change the mode of the SATA controller to IDE//ATA/PATA compatible. Native SATA drivers are not part of the installation media, and using a special vendor CD for startup configuration may also fail, since it does not know the WHS OS.

    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf

    Thursday, May 28, 2009 9:33 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the reply. I should have added, that I plan on adding one more 750 gb drive to start, and I have an extra dvd drive or two laying around. Would I need to add an IDE hard drive as my primary drive? It also supports using the sata drive in legacy mode (P-ATA).  Not too worried about the noise level, and I haven't been able to find anything relating to the power consumption.

    Thanks
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 4:13 PM
  • If you configure your SATA ports for legacy mode, you shouldn't need additional storage drivers for your drives. You give up some theoretical performance, but in most cases other bottlenecks will mask this.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    • Marked as answer by azperkins Friday, May 29, 2009 3:42 AM
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 4:42 PM
    Moderator
  • Power consumption comes into mind, because a server usually is an always on device. So a permanent high power flow can increase the overall costs per year by more than a little bit.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    • Marked as answer by azperkins Friday, May 29, 2009 3:42 AM
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:04 PM
    Moderator
  • I appreciate everyones comments. I have decided to give it a try. If need be, maybe I can replace with a smaller power supply. I'll have to see what the requirements are for the actual hardware installed in the case. I think the power supply was that size to accomodate expansion within the case. I doubt it is fully utilized.

    I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Thanks again.
    Friday, May 29, 2009 3:41 AM
  • I don't know if you are interested in a pre-built box, but Costco currently has an excellent deal on the HP EX485.  Comes with a 750GB drive plus a 500GB drive.  Free shipping.  $498 total cost.  Sale ends 5/31.  I just ordered one.
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 5:07 AM
  • Thanks for the reply. That is a good deal. I went back and forth deciding if I should buy the HP or build. I was kinda of looking for a project, so I decided to build. I ordered the server I mentioned above, and an extra 750GB hard drive. With software, it's going cost around $550. Hopefully I can get it running.

    Here is where I found the server.
    http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=SC5300BASE-750-K1&cpc=SCH
    Saturday, May 30, 2009 9:37 AM
  • I'd like to say thanks for the help and comments. I Just installed WHS on the server I listed above. I have the OS running on a 320GB WD, a segate 750GB (came with server), and a Samsung Spinpoint F1 750GB as storage pool. I am not much of a computer guru, and was a little worried about setting this up. Thought it would be an interesting project, and I deffinitely needed the storage. Overall,  the installation went smooth. The only drivers that didn't install were the nic drivers. Downloaded them from intel, and the WHS is now on the network. Upgraded to SP2, and I have been copying files.  

    The two storage drives are sata, but seem to be in legacy mode. I looked in the bios, and the option to change the drive mode was missing. Looked on intel's site page for the mobo, and it seems that was fixed a few bios upgrades after my version. I downloaded a bios exe file from intel, but I have never updated a bios. I have been doing a little research, but still not sure what to do. Can I run the exe file from the WHS desktop?? Haven't really put much on it yet, and would like to get the bios updated before I start adding a lot of data. The main reason I want to upgrade the bios is to be able to use the storage drives in sata mode.  Will sata make a noticeable difference, or am I better off leaving them all in legacy mode? I plan on streaming media from the WHS.

    Olaf, You were right, It is a little noisy. Luckily it will be in the home office. Will have to see how bad the power consumption will be.

    The case was bigger than I thought. Should have looked at the dimensions. About as tall as my current destop, but it is 28 inches deep. Not gonna fit under the desk.

    Overall, I am happy with it so far. Lots of room for expansion and set-up was straight forward.

    Troy

    Thursday, June 4, 2009 10:05 AM