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  • Question

  • To be honest, before yesterday (1/13/08), I had not given Windows Home Server any thought at all. I am in the market for a new NAS, and although I am used to a fairly spartan yet effective feature set (see Buffalo Terastation Pro) I have to admit I am impressed with WHS.

    After checking out the HP MediaSmart all over the net, I found it is probably the #1 WHS prebuilt box on the market right now. Velocity Micro makes a WHS with more powerful components, although the price is up around $1600 for a box configured with an E2140 (1.6 GHz), 1 GB of RAM, and 2TB worth of hard drives.


    After that I went over to NewEgg and tried building a freakishly overpowered WHS box myself, as much as I could get for $1600. Since you are pros with experience actually using the OS, I was wondering if you all might comment on my hardware choices.

    ----------------------

    Case
    NZXT ROGUE Crafted Series BLACK

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146043

    Drives
    4 X Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3500320NS 500GB 7200 RPM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148294

    Power Supply
    CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX ATX12V V2.2 450W

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

    RAM (Total = 4GB)
    2 X G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098

    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128053

    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115029

    OS
    Microsoft Windows Home Server 32 Bit 1 Pack - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116395

    Total Price is just about $1500 (Final Total). So far, $100 less than the subtotal cost of the high-end Velocity Micro!


    I didn't need a VGA card due to the onboard x3100 on the Gigabyte motherboard. Also, I plan on using a USB DVD drive I have lying around for the initial install, is that possible?

     

    Would the system benefit much from a Q6600 rather than the E6750 I have listed? I'm not sure how effectively WHS leverages multiple cores. I think I must also keep in mind that at most I have 3 laptops utilizing the server at the same time. Also, I wonder if it is possible to run WHS with my USB tuner (the OnAir Creator)... as that would take some work off of my laptop. It certainly isn't a big deal if I can't run the tuner on the server, I'm used to just recording from my laptop and shuttling the media onto a NAS later.

     

    Do you think that it would be a good idea to get a PCI-E Gigabit NIC instead of using the on-board motherboard gigabit? If so, any recommendations? I have been looking at these two intel PCI-E Gigabit NICs:

     

    Server NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106010

    Desktop NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106005 

     

    I am not sure which NIC to get, they seem like they are of similar quality, but they are clearly designed for different purposes. Will the server NIC even function properly with my other components? I do wonder if such a card is even capable of functioning properly on consumer (non-server) hardware. I don't have a problem getting the desktop NIC, it is just that the server NIC claims support for some pretty nifty looking features that are meant for servers. 

    I am hoping that with these components I can remove as many bottlenecks as possible standing in the way of speedy network service.

    Sorry for the information overflow, I'm just excited by the possibilities. The last (semi) fully-featured NAS I had was a self-built linux box that worked well but stopped functioning after a couple years (the drives were 5 years old). After that I settled for a simple Buffalo Terastation Pro, which worked well until a grotesque "shipping accident" bent the chassis and drives into rhombuses (AMAZINGLY, I got most of the data off). That, actually, is the reason I need a new NAS. Right now all of the recovered NAS data is distributed over 2 desktops, 4 laptops, 3 external drives, and an iPod. While I appreciate the fact that I had JUST enough hard drive space to store the recovered data, I'd really like to get it all back onto a server ASAP.

     

    Anywho, thanks!

    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:04 AM

Answers

  •  StormEffect wrote:

    To be honest, before yesterday (1/13/08), I had not given Windows Home Server any thought at all. I am in the market for a new NAS, and although I am used to a fairly spartan yet effective feature set (see Buffalo Terastation Pro) I have to admit I am impressed with WHS.

    After checking out the HP MediaSmart all over the net, I found it is probably the #1 WHS prebuilt box on the market right now. Velocity Micro makes a WHS with more powerful components, although the price is up around $1600 for a box configured with an E2140 (1.6 GHz), 1 GB of RAM, and 2TB worth of hard drives.


    After that I went over to NewEgg and tried building a freakishly overpowered WHS box myself, as much as I could get for $1600. Since you are pros with experience actually using the OS, I was wondering if you all might comment on my hardware choices.

    ----------------------

    Case
    NZXT ROGUE Crafted Series BLACK

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146043

    Drives
    4 X Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3500320NS 500GB 7200 RPM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148294

    Power Supply
    CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX ATX12V V2.2 450W

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

    RAM (Total = 4GB)
    2 X G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098

    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128053

    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115029

    OS
    Microsoft Windows Home Server 32 Bit 1 Pack - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116395

    Total Price is just about $1500 (Final Total). So far, $100 less than the subtotal cost of the high-end Velocity Micro!


    I didn't need a VGA card due to the onboard x3100 on the Gigabyte motherboard. Also, I plan on using a USB DVD drive I have lying around for the initial install, is that possible?

     

    Would the system benefit much from a Q6600 rather than the E6750 I have listed? I'm not sure how effectively WHS leverages multiple cores. I think I must also keep in mind that at most I have 3 laptops utilizing the server at the same time. Also, I wonder if it is possible to run WHS with my USB tuner (the OnAir Creator)... as that would take some work off of my laptop. It certainly isn't a big deal if I can't run the tuner on the server, I'm used to just recording from my laptop and shuttling the media onto a NAS later.

     

    Do you think that it would be a good idea to get a PCI-E Gigabit NIC instead of using the on-board motherboard gigabit? If so, any recommendations? I have been looking at these two intel PCI-E Gigabit NICs:

     

    Server NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106010

    Desktop NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106005 

     

    I am not sure which NIC to get, they seem like they are of similar quality, but they are clearly designed for different purposes. Will the server NIC even function properly with my other components? I do wonder if such a card is even capable of functioning properly on consumer (non-server) hardware. I don't have a problem getting the desktop NIC, it is just that the server NIC claims support for some pretty nifty looking features that are meant for servers. 

    I am hoping that with these components I can remove as many bottlenecks as possible standing in the way of speedy network service.

    Sorry for the information overflow, I'm just excited by the possibilities. The last (semi) fully-featured NAS I had was a self-built linux box that worked well but stopped functioning after a couple years (the drives were 5 years old). After that I settled for a simple Buffalo Terastation Pro, which worked well until a grotesque "shipping accident" bent the chassis and drives into rhombuses (AMAZINGLY, I got most of the data off). That, actually, is the reason I need a new NAS. Right now all of the recovered NAS data is distributed over 2 desktops, 4 laptops, 3 external drives, and an iPod. While I appreciate the fact that I had JUST enough hard drive space to store the recovered data, I'd really like to get it all back onto a server ASAP.

     

    Anywho, thanks!




    No doubt that this is a monster machine you  are building but if you really want my opinion on this subject matter I would suggest not going with WHS and going with full blown Windows 2003 with full server features.

    The main prupose of the HP EX47x series box are affordable WHS boxes what you have built should be used for the better good on man kind. (heh heh)

    I am sure I won't make any friends with that statement since this is a WHS forum but I am serious, personally I would turn that into a ubutnu box and run apache+mysql+php5 on it and make your self a nice little webserver.

    Run samba for the windows shares and cups for printing.

    Run iptables and let it act as the gateway out to the world + iptables for firewall.

    You can accompish the same with a win2k3 box.

    I think your "bottle neck" is the OS when you have that kind of power. If all you need is a file server buy the EX47x box and upgrade the ram and be done with it.

    If it is backup's your worried about simply purchase a raid card and build it into your monster.

    If you do decide to go new eg with this be a champ and help support why don't ya haha

    NewEgg.com

    Use the link above and help a brother out.

    I would be glad to answer any and all questions you  might have.

    PS if you choose the linux route you can knock off 200 bucks roughly for that OS.

    If you got NIX you won't be sorry.
    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:31 AM
  • "Excessive use of hardware", indeed.  Smile

     

    Suggestions:

    Cut the RAM.  WHS is still a 32-bit OS, and can't address 4GB RAM.  Just not possible.  With 4GB installed, you'll only get use of ~3.2GB (maybe less), due to 32-bit addressing limitations.  Explanation

     

    HDDs:  If you're gonna go big, why not go with 750GB drives?  Can be had for the same price.

     

    CPU:  Again, overkill.  Unless you're also planning on running Folding @ Home on that box (noble cause, BTW), the E6750 (much less a Quad) is far more power than you'll need.  You might want to take a look at the E21xx or E22xx Pentium chips - good speed, lower power cunsumption, and very, very overclockable (if it's not fast enough for you.)

     

    NIC:  onboard should be fine.  It's Gigabit, it has WS2k3 drivers. 

     

    Case:  wow, that's expensive.  While it's a personal-taste kind of thing (when I do builds for people, I have them kinda-choose their case), why not go with a simple midtower?   You can get a good case (like, say, a CoolerMaster Centurion 5) for about $50 from NewEgg.  Lotsa space, lotsa drive bays, and great ventilation (the entire front panel is a filtered air intake.)  I got one (non-windowed version) for my MCE2k5 server last year, and have no regrets on the decision.

     

    As for the USB DVD drive:  I don't know (haven't tried it.)  Worst case is that you rob (temporarily) a DVD drive from one of your other machines for the installation.  Once done, you should be able to use the USB DVD drive later (as-needed) for upgrades.

    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:35 AM

All replies

  •  StormEffect wrote:

    To be honest, before yesterday (1/13/08), I had not given Windows Home Server any thought at all. I am in the market for a new NAS, and although I am used to a fairly spartan yet effective feature set (see Buffalo Terastation Pro) I have to admit I am impressed with WHS.

    After checking out the HP MediaSmart all over the net, I found it is probably the #1 WHS prebuilt box on the market right now. Velocity Micro makes a WHS with more powerful components, although the price is up around $1600 for a box configured with an E2140 (1.6 GHz), 1 GB of RAM, and 2TB worth of hard drives.


    After that I went over to NewEgg and tried building a freakishly overpowered WHS box myself, as much as I could get for $1600. Since you are pros with experience actually using the OS, I was wondering if you all might comment on my hardware choices.

    ----------------------

    Case
    NZXT ROGUE Crafted Series BLACK

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811146043

    Drives
    4 X Seagate Barracuda ES.2 ST3500320NS 500GB 7200 RPM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148294

    Power Supply
    CORSAIR CMPSU-450VX ATX12V V2.2 450W

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003

    RAM (Total = 4GB)
    2 X G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231098

    Motherboard
    GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128053

    CPU
    Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 Conroe 2.66GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819115029

    OS
    Microsoft Windows Home Server 32 Bit 1 Pack - OEM

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116395

    Total Price is just about $1500 (Final Total). So far, $100 less than the subtotal cost of the high-end Velocity Micro!


    I didn't need a VGA card due to the onboard x3100 on the Gigabyte motherboard. Also, I plan on using a USB DVD drive I have lying around for the initial install, is that possible?

     

    Would the system benefit much from a Q6600 rather than the E6750 I have listed? I'm not sure how effectively WHS leverages multiple cores. I think I must also keep in mind that at most I have 3 laptops utilizing the server at the same time. Also, I wonder if it is possible to run WHS with my USB tuner (the OnAir Creator)... as that would take some work off of my laptop. It certainly isn't a big deal if I can't run the tuner on the server, I'm used to just recording from my laptop and shuttling the media onto a NAS later.

     

    Do you think that it would be a good idea to get a PCI-E Gigabit NIC instead of using the on-board motherboard gigabit? If so, any recommendations? I have been looking at these two intel PCI-E Gigabit NICs:

     

    Server NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106010

    Desktop NIC: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833106005 

     

    I am not sure which NIC to get, they seem like they are of similar quality, but they are clearly designed for different purposes. Will the server NIC even function properly with my other components? I do wonder if such a card is even capable of functioning properly on consumer (non-server) hardware. I don't have a problem getting the desktop NIC, it is just that the server NIC claims support for some pretty nifty looking features that are meant for servers. 

    I am hoping that with these components I can remove as many bottlenecks as possible standing in the way of speedy network service.

    Sorry for the information overflow, I'm just excited by the possibilities. The last (semi) fully-featured NAS I had was a self-built linux box that worked well but stopped functioning after a couple years (the drives were 5 years old). After that I settled for a simple Buffalo Terastation Pro, which worked well until a grotesque "shipping accident" bent the chassis and drives into rhombuses (AMAZINGLY, I got most of the data off). That, actually, is the reason I need a new NAS. Right now all of the recovered NAS data is distributed over 2 desktops, 4 laptops, 3 external drives, and an iPod. While I appreciate the fact that I had JUST enough hard drive space to store the recovered data, I'd really like to get it all back onto a server ASAP.

     

    Anywho, thanks!




    No doubt that this is a monster machine you  are building but if you really want my opinion on this subject matter I would suggest not going with WHS and going with full blown Windows 2003 with full server features.

    The main prupose of the HP EX47x series box are affordable WHS boxes what you have built should be used for the better good on man kind. (heh heh)

    I am sure I won't make any friends with that statement since this is a WHS forum but I am serious, personally I would turn that into a ubutnu box and run apache+mysql+php5 on it and make your self a nice little webserver.

    Run samba for the windows shares and cups for printing.

    Run iptables and let it act as the gateway out to the world + iptables for firewall.

    You can accompish the same with a win2k3 box.

    I think your "bottle neck" is the OS when you have that kind of power. If all you need is a file server buy the EX47x box and upgrade the ram and be done with it.

    If it is backup's your worried about simply purchase a raid card and build it into your monster.

    If you do decide to go new eg with this be a champ and help support why don't ya haha

    NewEgg.com

    Use the link above and help a brother out.

    I would be glad to answer any and all questions you  might have.

    PS if you choose the linux route you can knock off 200 bucks roughly for that OS.

    If you got NIX you won't be sorry.
    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:31 AM
  • "Excessive use of hardware", indeed.  Smile

     

    Suggestions:

    Cut the RAM.  WHS is still a 32-bit OS, and can't address 4GB RAM.  Just not possible.  With 4GB installed, you'll only get use of ~3.2GB (maybe less), due to 32-bit addressing limitations.  Explanation

     

    HDDs:  If you're gonna go big, why not go with 750GB drives?  Can be had for the same price.

     

    CPU:  Again, overkill.  Unless you're also planning on running Folding @ Home on that box (noble cause, BTW), the E6750 (much less a Quad) is far more power than you'll need.  You might want to take a look at the E21xx or E22xx Pentium chips - good speed, lower power cunsumption, and very, very overclockable (if it's not fast enough for you.)

     

    NIC:  onboard should be fine.  It's Gigabit, it has WS2k3 drivers. 

     

    Case:  wow, that's expensive.  While it's a personal-taste kind of thing (when I do builds for people, I have them kinda-choose their case), why not go with a simple midtower?   You can get a good case (like, say, a CoolerMaster Centurion 5) for about $50 from NewEgg.  Lotsa space, lotsa drive bays, and great ventilation (the entire front panel is a filtered air intake.)  I got one (non-windowed version) for my MCE2k5 server last year, and have no regrets on the decision.

     

    As for the USB DVD drive:  I don't know (haven't tried it.)  Worst case is that you rob (temporarily) a DVD drive from one of your other machines for the installation.  Once done, you should be able to use the USB DVD drive later (as-needed) for upgrades.

    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:35 AM
  • Is it me or from the looks of that build is this a gaming machine and not a server?

    HAHA


    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:39 AM
  • Oh, I agree.  Up the PSU and add an 8800 (or two), and that's a gaming rig. 

    Monday, January 14, 2008 1:51 AM
  • Thanks for all of the replies!

     

    I admit, this build does exhibit a little bit of gamer-excessiveness in form. What I am trying to do is put together a server box that I don't have to replace for at least 2-3 years. I am assuming that the Windows Home Server will be updated to an x64 model within that timeframe, maybe around the same time Server 2008 becomes the backend.

     

    Anyway, I am very familiar with 32-bit RAM limitations...but considering that the 4GB of RAM result in a combined total of less than $100, it is really hard for me to resist.

     

    I have previously looked at the CoolerMaster Centurion 5 case and it certainly fits the bill for a server case, though I was worried about air flow problems. With your recommendation I will be giving it another look. I would prefer a cuboidal case to a tower, due to the shape of the space I will be storing the case in, but the Centurion 5 might just fit.

     

    The processor is there for certain heavy level apps I will be running on the server from time to time. Thanks for the folding@home suggestion! I wonder...does anyone know if you can get a USB webcam working with WHS?

     

    So I suppose I will forego the Gigabit NIC unless someone has something more to say on the subject.

     

    I would honestly have loved to use some older parts scavanged from my old desktops to build this WHS, except within the last few months I wasn't thinking ahead, refreshed them all, and donated them to charity. So I only have a few desktop parts left.

    Monday, January 14, 2008 4:09 AM
  •  cuppie wrote:

    Oh, I agree.  Up the PSU and add an 8800 (or two), and that's a gaming rig. 

     

    I have built a similar machine (see the "What's in your rig" thread)   It's only got 2GB at the moment, but there's room to spare.

     

    I don't think it's too excessive, but I wanted it to last me about 5 years (yeah, I'm serious...)

     

    The brilliant thing about my setup is that all the drives are removable from the front.  So If I wanted to, I could pop all the drives out, and whack a Vista install on there (probably with a decent graphics card too) and I can game!

     

    I was always gonna be buying new hardware, so I concentrated on connectivity (6+2 onboard SATA ports, 2 IDE channels, 12x USB and 3x PCI-E 1x slots, 1x PCI-E 16x slot and 3x PCI slots (1 has a 2-port SATA card for eSATA)

     

    I just need to add a Firewire card, and I still have room for SATA RAID cards.

     

    I went for the DS3R motherboard (full-ATX) because of the extra onboard SATA ports and built-in graphics.

    Monday, January 14, 2008 7:33 AM