Enthusiast Market - Left Out? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Still working on the hardware!  I can find motherboards with Win2003 (chipset) support, but they lack support on the integrated LAN and VGA.  Some mobos have Win2K drivers for the VGA, but there's still the LAN portion that I'm lacking.  Any mainstream motherboard you buy today has PCI-E slots but when you go to the Windows Server Catalog their list only includes AGP cards, or very expensive server hardware.


    Microsoft has left the hobbyist out on this one, it seems.  You might get lucky with some old hardware that you've got lying around but there is zero cost to the hobbyist to try that out.  If you're looking to build a new computer WHS is not in the equation.  While I think it wasn't necessairly a bad decision to base the OS off of Win2k3, they have essentially forced home builders out, as we aren't the types to start writing device drivers.


    I'm just really frustrated trying to find a motherboard to base this thing off of that has more than one PCIE slot.  This article does provide a path towards something current that might work, but it bothers me that I can't choose the hardware I'd like to have.


    On the VGA side of things, I called Nvidia (800/797-6530) pre-sales support and they only have drivers for Windows Server 2003 x64, and I have to get either a Geforce 8800 Ultra or 8800 GT.  Too expensive and too much horsepower for a VGA that will get used rarely.  I called ATI (877/284-1564) pre-sales and they were little help also, telling me to call Sales (888/974-6728), who then told me to call pre-sales.  Finally, they informed me that they, flat out, do not develop drivers for Servers.  To paraphrase, drivers are developed by the OEM distributors only.  So no ATI cards.  I haven't called Matrox yet.  Smile  Lemme find that number...


    I have some old Matrox cards that work with W2K Server, but they are of the AGP variety.  Most current expansion cards (such as RAID cards) are of the PCIE variety.  Any dual AGP/PCIE motherboards out there that have Win2k3 chipset drivers and LAN drivers?  TV Tuner cards are PCI, so that shouldn't be a problem.  UNLESS THEY DON'T HAVE DRIVES FOR WINDOWS 2003 SERVER.  I do hear that people have been successful installing them on the Snapstream Forums.


    Ugh.  I say UGH again.  I keep thinking I'll eventually click a link that will have everything I'm looking for.  I'm the eternal optimist I guess.


    I guess another place to look would be to look at some OEM distributor and see what sort of hardware they stuff in their Win2k3 servers.




    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:21 AM

All replies

  • I wouldn't take the label of "Windows Server 2003" to extremes. Anything that has driver support for Windows XP will almost certainly work in Server 2003. The x32 versions are very similar.

    I used a cheap Nvidia 8400 and it works perfectly fine.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:58 AM
  • I appreciate the reply.  All I can be is hopeful, and make sure that I order hardware that can be returned (as always for a fee, but it's better than being stuck with something where the OS simply won't let you load the driver.)


    I'll look for that card.  Thanks.  Smile





    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:01 AM
  • I wouldn't worry to much about the video, afterall the HP version doesn't even have a video port.  I have an Intel G31 chipset and it works fine, besides I think the server is designed to be hands off so you can remote desktop into it.  I prefer it that way, I just want to push this thing off in the corner.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:06 AM
  • I have loaded mine on three different (AMD) motherboards.  One had a built-in video, the others used ATI cards.  All ran without a hitch.  I just installed WHS on VMWare Virtual server which is a virtual machine.  I just told VMWare that it was Windows 2003, then put the WHS disk in and installed.

    I agree with Roger, I don't think you will have any problems with drivers for the chipsets.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 3:16 AM
  • Matt, I don't have any trouble finding motherboards with Windows Server 2003 drivers. Best is if they're in the Windows Server Catalog, of course, because that means everything's been tested specifically for use with Windows Server operating systems, but the truth of the matter is that almost every manufacturer these days is using reference drivers for most everything, tweaked slightly if at all. Probably half the boards in this search on Newegg are going to have Windows Server 203 drivers for the critical systems (chipset, storage, network).

    As far as video drivers go, you shouldn't worry about them. As long as your video hardware will work with the standard VGA driver, you're fine.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 4:57 AM
  • I really appreciate the feedback guys.  I'm particular to Asus motherboards, and when I check for drivers on various units I sometimes see chipset drivers for Windows 2003, but no LAN and no VGA, if they are included.  I'll keep researching, and I'll try to reduce the whining.  Smile




    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 5:31 AM
  • I'm not sure where you're looking for your drivers, Matt. On the Asus support web site, I can find Windows Server 2003 drivers for most of the Intel-based boards (I didn't look at the AMD boards). You don't need the video driver, BTW; the onboard video should work fine with the VGA driver that's built in to Windows.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 12:40 PM
  • Under normal circumstances the LAN is part of the chipset, thus if there are 2003 drivers for the chipset, that includes drivers for the LAN.  As for the video, that is up to the video card manufacturer.  However as stated elsewhere, if all else fails the "standard VGA" drivers work just fine with 2003. 

    Most video is done by three or four chip manufacturers, ATI, NVidia and so forth.  When they design the drivers they design for a chipset line, not a specific board or even a specific chip.  the chipset manufacturers then provide the drivers to the board manufacturers who pretty much just use them "as is".  2003 has been around a loooong time and they all have drivers for 2003.  Now if you were going to try and use an old board from back in 2002/2003 era then you might have problems.  However if you use something designed in the last 3 years or so they will have 2003 drivers.
    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:04 PM
  • Just buy yourself a low-end HP Proliant and have a 'proper' server platform to run it on.  ML110's can be had for as little as GBP 175 at the moment with a dual-core Xeon CPU under the hood .


    As you have found there are different design criteria when building an always-on machine - lowest power consumption and maximum reliability, which means minimising hardware that's not required, having the best possible EMI supression, and a properly designed cooling system.  All Proliant's tick all of those boxes straight out-the-box.

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:09 PM
  • oh and they have a server chipset, onboard LAN and onboard VGA too, to answer your original question!

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 2:10 PM