locked
Build or Buy? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I'm very interested in WHS and I'm debating to build a machine or buy an HP EX485 at $499 from Newegg (current price as of 7/12/2009).  The costs will be pretty much the same in the end so it is all about features, functions, expandability, etc.  For example, does the HP solution pose any real limitations, did HP customize the software in some ways that make it difficult to use or create some quirky side-effects.  I assume that building my own is fairly straightforward given a new modern computer.  If I take this route I was going to start with a  Dell 531 or a new Dell 546 and add a couple of 1TB drives.

    Any input, suggestions, warnings, recommendations are appreciated. 

    Thanks JerryB


    Small Home Network
    • Changed type kariya21Moderator Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:26 PM not a technical question
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:48 PM

All replies

  • I'm very interested in WHS and I'm debating to build a machine or buy an HP EX485 at $499 from Newegg (current price as of 7/12/2009).  The costs will be pretty much the same in the end so it is all about features, functions, expandability, etc.  For example, does the HP solution pose any real limitations, did HP customize the software in some ways that make it difficult to use or create some quirky side-effects.  I assume that building my own is fairly straightforward given a new modern computer.  If I take this route I was going to start with a  Dell 531 or a new Dell 546 and add a couple of 1TB drives.

    Any input, suggestions, warnings, recommendations are appreciated. 

    Thanks JerryB


    Small Home Network

    Actually, it's not so much about features and functions.  It's about warranty, customer service, and your ability and/or desire to build it yourself.  For me, it was DIY because I know exactly what is in my server and I built it to hold many internal drives for expansion (should I ever need it).  IMO, if you have the "threshold for pain" to DIY, I would go that route.  However, if you aren't really familiar with computers in general, I would suggest purchasing a pre-built one instead.
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:26 PM
    Moderator
  • You might want to do some searches on the forums. You'll find answers to all your questions, I believe. My take is that you want to buy in almost every case. You get a hardware solution that's well-thought out, and you get technical support.

    Building your own is fairly straightforward, but there are areas where it can be difficult, and since the only software package you can get is a system builder package (there is no software only retail version of Windows Home Server) any problems you encounter you'll solve without help from Microsoft. If you decide to build your own, you will be better served buying components specifically for Windows Home Server and building from the ground up, instead of buying a preconfigured desktop computer and trying to convert it. The latter approach almost guarantees driver issues; Windows Home Server is based on Windows Server 2003, and most PC manufacturers don't supply drivers for operating systems that a particular PC doesn't ship with. So with those Dell desktops you might have problems getting drivers that work...
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 3:35 PM
    Moderator
  • If your main goal is features, functions and expandability on top of reliability, support and waranty I would certainly go for the new HP. I think it is a great machine!

    If on the other hand

    • You think you need some special hardware configuration and/or extreme expandability options.
    • You love assembling your own (server) hardware and have a fair amount of knowledge/experience in it.
    • Have lots of time both for finding the right configuration and drivers for a server as wel as for testing the thing (it is gonna keep all your valuable data so it better be good and stable!)
    • Are in for some surprices...

    Then I would say: go DIY. It can certainly be fun!

    I personally own both a home build server and a MediaSmart EX475. The home build system is my main production/live server that I build when WHS had just gone RC - so there was no such thing as a MediaSmart or alike :-) And I am still quite happy with it. I also own - lucky me - the HP MediaSmart EX475. The HP I use as my main test server.  Apart from the fact that the EX47X is somewhat underpowered (so I did a memory upgrade) I really like it.
    If I had to replace my main server today I would certainly try to get my hands on the new HP MediaSmart 48X. As this might be a problem - it is still not readily available over here in Europe - my second option would be to do another home build.

    -Theo.


    No home server like Home Server
    Monday, July 13, 2009 8:54 PM
    Moderator
  • Build. Purchase and install the WHS OEM. Installing OEM, gives access to keyboard, mouse and monitor. Like insurance & backups, hopefully you NEVER need it. ...imagine troubleshooting an ethernet driver, remotely... Get a Motherboard that has AMD64 (Intel still has not figured out 64). The next version of WHS will require 64bit hardware. Don't get left behind (or have to build a new machine). Get as many IDE and SATA internal ports as possible. As many built-in USB as possible. As many PCI, PCI-X, slots as possible. Windows Home Server is very powerful. It is all about the CPU and Storage. The more expansion options, the more flexible your server will be. I love having direct access to the OS. **WARNING** Some changes in the OS can break WHS. Whenever possible, always try to find a way to make changes through the console.
    Tuesday, July 21, 2009 2:21 PM
  • I normally build al my own machines, I have several 2003 test servers, several NT servers,  even an old Novell one. But for WHS I decided an HP EX470 was too good a buy to bother,  nice little case that sits on a bookshelf and does  its work.  If you have fancier needs  maybe it makes sense to build.

    I like building cause I can fix things easy if they fail,  but if  my WHS died, I could  live  without it for a few days.
    Friday, July 24, 2009 5:24 AM