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  • Question

  • What would be the most desirable hardware requirements or features for a WHS?
    My Home network is 3 desktops 400 gb total disk space. 1 Lap w/ 120 GB  
    I expect much storage demands via new digital cameras (Canon 40D, 2 Canon SD1000's, one Casio xxx)  mine, wifes and 2 kids.
    Also expect music files to grow faster just because of presence of  WHS- ease of use, access, backup etc.

    Here is my starting reference config.  Please modify where applicable. Thanks
      
    MB: 4 sata's, HDMI?? , HDCP??,  Vista Certified??,  CPU min. (I have an AMD 4600+ X2 I would like use) , 2 Gig mem,  onboard video,  Gb Lan, anything else?? 
     
    Disks: 1- 60gb for OS; 3 500gb 

    PS: Have 520W available
     
    Case:  Will reside in Living room so am considering the Lian-Li 7F

    DVD writer-  any recommendation?

    Anything else?

    I believe after install can operate w/o monitor.  
     
    Thanks
    Ron

    btw - I have the trial disk- After using that I can pay and register it w/o re-installing right?   There is no difference with retail version?

    btw again -  forgot to ask-  I would to like to or expect to use WHS as media server as well,  does this mean at least one pc has to have Vista media center installed ?  All pc's are XP sp3.   Thanks
    • Edited by goldwing Wednesday, October 22, 2008 4:42 AM
    Wednesday, October 22, 2008 4:37 AM

Answers

  • You should take a look at the documentation on the Windows Home Server support page. Many of your questions are answered there.

    To hit a couple of points where you're mistaken.

    Disks: Windows Home Server requires at least one drive, which must be at least 80 GB, for the system disk. That disk is split into a 20 GB system (OS) partition, and the remainder is used as the starting point for the storage pool. Other hardware requirements are in the documentation on the support page. So you should just use the 3 500 GB disks.

    Other hardware: Windows Home Server isn't a desktop operating system, and doesn't require all the connectors and features that a desktop computer does (skip HDMI and the DVD writer; you need a reader for installation however). It's also not a media center operating system, so it doesn't require the sophisticated video handling (HDCP isn't required).

    Upgrading from the eval software to the full version will require a re-installation of the product. There is a time bomb built into the OS which disables it starting 120 days after initial installation. There is no way to inject a valid permanent key into the eval software to disable the time bomb.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:21 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • You should take a look at the documentation on the Windows Home Server support page. Many of your questions are answered there.

    To hit a couple of points where you're mistaken.

    Disks: Windows Home Server requires at least one drive, which must be at least 80 GB, for the system disk. That disk is split into a 20 GB system (OS) partition, and the remainder is used as the starting point for the storage pool. Other hardware requirements are in the documentation on the support page. So you should just use the 3 500 GB disks.

    Other hardware: Windows Home Server isn't a desktop operating system, and doesn't require all the connectors and features that a desktop computer does (skip HDMI and the DVD writer; you need a reader for installation however). It's also not a media center operating system, so it doesn't require the sophisticated video handling (HDCP isn't required).

    Upgrading from the eval software to the full version will require a re-installation of the product. There is a time bomb built into the OS which disables it starting 120 days after initial installation. There is no way to inject a valid permanent key into the eval software to disable the time bomb.

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Wednesday, October 22, 2008 12:21 PM
    Moderator
  • To what Ken posted, let me add:

    Vista Capable is not really important at all. But compatibility of drivers/etc with WinServer2003R2 is. Many of the cost-suitable mobos for WHS do not care about WinServer compatability/driver support.

    CPU performance is not a big issue for WHS as a server running aganist the number of clients you can stand up at home is pretty hard to get CPU bound. More memory (I'm running 2GB) seems more important to most users--even HP is sucking wind on their standard 512MB--than more CPU. I believe hte requirements doc that Ken memtioned suggests a 64-bit capable CPU for future-proofing as the WHS code will likely follow its base in that direction.

    A DVD burner vs. a DVD-ROM drive is about a $10 upper. I figured I just might have need to burn from WHS some day.

    You will probably run your WHS 24x7. Many of us made power efficiency a prime goal. There are many threads on this topic here. I used a 35W AMD CPU and the WD GreenPower drives. I wish I could have found an economical way to get an 80+ supply to go with the case I bought.

    WHS runs fine headless. Some maintenance and admin operations are painful that way but if you are just using WHS the way MS wants you to--i.e., just do what is allowed from the WHS Console--this is managable. (Mine, for instance, took hand installation, post WHS install, of network drivers--back to the issue above about WinServer2003R2--before I could get it on the network. No way to do that headless.) Getting WHS installed headless is probably impossible with most BIOSes out there. Someday maybe all BIOSes will support this kinda thng…
    Wednesday, October 22, 2008 2:54 PM
  • Thanks Ken and Dick

    I haven't committed to any hdw yet.  My local Library just purchased the WHS book and when they catalog it I intend to be first to use it.

    However,  I am not pleased to here a reinstall of trial OS is required even if u purchase it before expiration.  What good reason for that?  I guess it makes sense to just buy the retail version from the get go.?  Is there any reason to consider 2003 server instead (excluding $ difference)?

    Installation will require a dvd so no sense not installing one ($25 ) always possibility of another one time use...
    The amd X2 4600+ is 64 -bit based and energy efficient windsor 65w, not too bad.  ck.   Thats good to know.  My PS is 80+.  Ck.

    I expect to use a monitor for install.  After os running stable and familiar with administration would remove terminal.  (never far away or too difficult to hookup). 

    Should I be looking for some indication of Winserver 2003 r2 compatibility ?

     I would to like to or expect to use WHS as media server as well, does this mean at least one pc has to have Vista media center (or XP media center edition)  installed ?   I realize WHS doesn't include Win Media Center.  The HDMI and HDCP features would be better had on one of the desktop pc's right?  It would be of no benefit on the WHS I think? 


    Thanks again


    PS. how stable or relaible is WHS?  or WHS  SP1?  Thanks   
    • Edited by goldwing Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:58 AM
    Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:56 AM
  • Unless it's already paid for, I'd say the 4600+ is overkill you will pay for 24x7. I'm running a BE2350 (not available now?) and it never breaks a sweat.

    WinServer2003R2 compatability/drivers make life easier. Lots of stuff that doesn't say it works fine and sometimes just XP drivers work fine. But sometimes it is an issue.

    I think the answer to the MediaCenter/MediaServer question depends on what you are expecting to do. If you are expecting WHS to be a MediaCenter (i.e., record TV shows, etc) then you will be disappointed. It serves up recorded stuff over the net fine. Yes, features like HDMI on the WHS machine are lipstick on a pig. I did spend $15 or so extra for an HDMI capable mobo, but that was back when it was much less clear how useful WHS would prove to me and I was hedging the bet on conerting the machine to a MediaCenter or some such from its WHS role if WHS didn't pan out. There are lots of threads and experts (I'm not one at all) on this in the Software forum.

    How stable or reliable is it? Depends. The core OS stuff is ROCK SOLID (WS2003R2 after five years of use). (Once I sorted out, with MS Connect help, all of the driver issues--XP vs. WinServe2003R2 issues…--I haven't seen a single blue screen or much of anything else notable.) The WHS bolt on stuff seems pretty good after PP1. But I still have occasional things like client backups failing out of the blue and I've never gotten the client->server autodiscovery to work right.
    Thursday, October 23, 2008 4:33 PM
  • Reinstallation: I believe the logic is that if there is any way at all to turn an evaluation version into a full version, the appropriate crack will be available on the Internet about 24 hours after the eval software hits the street. Microsoft is not in the business of giving their software away, and Windows Home Server is no exception. So there is a hard time bomb built in (to the operating system, but it shuts down WHS as well).

    As for the rest, I don't have a DVD writer in my home-built home server. I did leave the reader in. I think your processor is overkill, just as Dick does. My home-built server uses an Intel E2160 (Allandale) which is a very efficient chip for the time.

    If you want the very best chance of everything working flawlessly, you should seek out components which are listed for Windows Server 2003 on the Windows Server Catalog. That said, my home-built server doesn't use a single component on that list, and it's rock-solid. 

    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 23, 2008 5:23 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks guys for advice.  

    Ok,  i also want a low power consuming server ( kw r expensive in LI,NY near highest in nation).  I just upgraded from the 4600+ so it is available... will research what alternatives/cost (keeping in mind the 64 bit support ).

    Those green harddrives are more expensive and slower performers.  How significant a hit is it?  Backups will be slower, playing music,  watching movies and concurrency an issue?   Backups r scheduled off hrs, but full backups are performed on some basis (weekly, worst monthly ? ) how long for 3 computers full bkups 100 gb each.?  ( I will have to re cable 3 computers from cat 5 to cat6e ) .

    Speaking of cabling, 3 locations are cat5 and 4 are cat 5e.  I know the 5e is 1 gb rated.  Has anyone had to re cable?  
    Thanks

              
    • Edited by goldwing Friday, October 24, 2008 3:59 AM
    Friday, October 24, 2008 3:58 AM
  • Only your first nights backups take a long time.  WHS uses incremental backups and only backup anything that has changed from the previous day.  So future backups take longer to find out what has changed then to do the actual backup (in my experience).  

    I did not have to re cable as speeds were pretty good.  Once I got a switch and cat 6 I get 50-80 meg a second.  this is fast but not really necessary.  My laptop that still has a 10/100 lan card does transfer things very slowly in comparison.  Things that take minutes on the gigabit computers take 20+ min on the laptop.   With the frequency I actually copy stuff that large to the server I don't mind.

    Your drives, even using the greenies probably won't be the bottleneck.  THe network will still be.

    I had my PS3 wireless g and I had a bunch of stuttering while streeming high def and sometime low def content.  After setting up the switch and wired network I haven't had a single bit of stuttering.  

    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Friday, October 24, 2008 9:23 AM
  • I wouldn't use the WD GP drives in a workstation. But the new SLC Intel SSD or the Velociraptor is looking pretty attractive for that mission.

    But the performance of the server is so tied to things that the disks don't effect (the TCP stack on both sides to name just one) that I don't think in a lightly loaded environment (we are not talking enterprise server loads here) I suspect you'd be hard pressed to create benchmarks that showed differences that are significant.

    As to cabling, if you have a working net now, you'll have a working net then. The first backup is the worst and will likely take the better part of a day. I set the backup window for my first backup at 18 hours and it took all but an hour of it. (That was for two WinXP clients and two Vista clients.) After that, all the future backups are changes only so go pretty quickly.
    Friday, October 24, 2008 2:13 PM
  • hey goldwing  i have the eval version of whs and i have since reinstalled it a few times for various reasons and this does not affect your data in the storage pool, only the system is restored to defaults meaning you lose your add ins and custom service applications. i dont know for sure but id say installing a full version would do this also leaving all your personal data intact
    Friday, October 24, 2008 3:53 PM