New Fileserver Build/Component Compatibility Question

Hello all,

I think components is the appropriate forum for this build. However, if it belongs somewhere else please feel free to move it to the according section.

I am currently building a "future-proofed" file server using a Norco RPC 4020 case. Yep, that's a case with 20 bays. Aside from the case I was wondering a bit more about the components. Can I go ahead and place "desktop" components in this and call it a day - or am I better off actually buying "server" components.

I am aware the only difference for "server" components is that they are for 24/7 uptime.

As of right now I have the following on hand:
  • CPU: AMD Sempron 145 2.8 GHz
  • Motherboard: ASUS M4A89TD PRO
  • GPU: MSI RS450
  • Memory: (4 X 4 GB) 16 GB 1333 MHz
  • PSU: 800W PSU

These are the following "server" items I was taking a look at. Please let me know if anything could be substituted (I know it's limited) with things I already have.
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about fileserver build component compatibility question
  1. With the server build you would probably see quite a big loss in performance due to the 4GB of DDR2 memort instead of the 16GB DDR3
  2. I see that the board supports 4x240 pin. Would you recommend using the memory that I already have?
  3. Best answer
    There's a lot of options for setting up a file server, and how you do depends on a few variables: What type of data are you storing (secure or confidential files, critical or very important data)? How many users are going to be accessing it? What kind of reliability are you looking for? What's your budget? How old are those parts? Things like PSU's and motherboards and hard drives have somewhat limited lifespans.

    You can pretty much address those with off-the-shelf hardware. Remember a file server runs (or is supposed to) 24/7 if you want to access your data on the fly. I have set up a few of them with miscellaneous PC parts (some were 8 years old) and had great success. Enthusiast motherboard and CPU (P4), stock RAM (DDR2 400 MHz), mainstream hard drive, graphics card (no video on motherboard), and power supply. It was for a small business and ran constantly. The only thing that killed it was when the hard drive got fried from a virus.

    That said, the components you have should be fine for it. Plus, they're free!

    My question is what are you using for storage? A single HDD or a RAID array? A RAID array is mostly for data integrity and if you are storing critical-very important info I highly recommend one. If one HDD goes down, you don't loose your data in the process if you mirror them (you need 2 drives for that) or stripe them with RAID 5 for more data protection (need 3 drives for that). Your motherboard supports RAID 0, 1, and 5 so you don't need a RAID card unless you are running more drives than your board can support.

    The other build is for more of an enterprise/small business setup. It's got a server motherboard, a server CPU, a SATA RAID card, and probably ECC RAM (you didn't say). That setup will be geared for long-term reliability and consistent operation, and meant for 24/7 use. The board (and CPU) supports ECC RAM to correct data errors before they hurt data integrity. That's the main benefit of this configuration. It also has built in security and sips electricity, although your Sempron uses less wattage than the Intel.

    So if you want to do it as cheaply as possible, use the hardware you've got with a RAID setup and a continuous (daily) backup solution like Syncback or some other utility.

    If you want to do it with longevity in mind and absolute data integrity, then the server setup would be better. As for future-proof, your existing components are good for now and probably a while longer. The elder part in your setup is the CPU, as it's a single core and most all modern CPU's are dual core or more. You can get a different CPU for that board pretty cheaply that's a dual or quad core if you wanted, but you CPU is more than adequate for the application. The Ivy Bridge Xenon is going to be able to handle much higher loads than that Sempron though, more than you'd need. The DDR3 RAM is better than DDR2 (dated technology).Your motherboard is a few years old now, but still good. The only thing is that ASUS seems to be hit-and-miss with their quality on some boards. The Supermicro board is very good. I've built a DC with one and it ran flawlessly. It was 6 years old and run 24/7 in a domain environment so you can be guaranteed it will last for a while, ditto the Xenon CPU which is also built for longevity and to protect your data.

    So it's up to you. I recommend going with the best data protection solution- long term reliability. Obviously server/enterprise grade hardware is going to last longer. It also supports technology designed for enhanced security, and error correction to protect your data (ECC RAM) that enthusiast or mainstream boards don't. They are also optimized for energy efficiency. However, that said, you can get 80% of that with the stuff you've got, just add a RAID drive or a continuous external data backup solution and you'll be fine. Make sure to use a good hard drive! An enterprise drive is designed to run 24/7 and be reliable for a long time. Just my 2 cents.
  4. For a file server, you do not need server components cpu wise. Mine started out with a Core 2 E8190 with P35 pro and now has an i5 2400. :lol: That Xeon will not work with DDR2 ram either. You can use the ram in your current setup in a newer one. Xeon 1220 doesn't have IGP, so you would need to reuse your GPU as well. Using hard drives designed for raid configurations isn't a bad idea though. For just a file server, a lowly pentium G with an H87 board that supports raid 5 and has the number of SATA slots you want is sufficient. I would recommend trying to get some kind of raid card though. You can use the onboard raid from Intel, but then you are forever married to Intel hardware for the Raid configuration you go with.
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