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School File Server - Need Help on Parts

I need help deciding on parts for a generic server for a high school. I already have a basic list of parts. Also, are AMD APU's a good idea for this? The cap is $1000, but I would like this to stay low cost. Note: I already have a case, which is the Raidmax Smilodon Extreme Black.
Here is the preliminary list:
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant / Benchmarks

CPU: AMD A8-5500 3.2GHz Quad-Core Processor ($96.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Motherboard: ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+ ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($104.99 @ Microcenter)
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($84.99 @ Newegg)
Case: Raidmax Smilodon Extreme ATX-612WEB ATX Mid Tower Case (Purchased For $0.00)
Total: $286.97
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
(Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 10:14 EST-0500)
21 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about school file server parts
  1. What exactly will the server be doing? I'm not familiar with school servers?
  2. ccky said:
    What exactly will the server be doing? I'm not familiar with school servers?


    Not sure at the moment. Most likely a basic file server, or a web server.
  3. Many, many questions present themselves before getting into specific parts:

    Location?
    How many users? Roughly divided into 3 groups - admin, teachers, students
    What platform? Linux? Windows?
    What type of connectivity/network?
    What is this server supposed to 'do'?
  4. USAFRet said:
    Many, many questions present themselves before getting into specific parts:

    Location?
    How many users? Roughly divided into 3 groups - admin, teachers, students
    What platform? Linux? Windows?
    What type of connectivity/network?
    What is this server supposed to 'do'?


    It will most likely be put into the green room that we have. Students will not have direct access to it, only administrators. It will be a Windows server. And as for right now it will probably be a file server.
  5. James Godsil said:
    USAFRet said:
    Many, many questions present themselves before getting into specific parts:

    Location?
    How many users? Roughly divided into 3 groups - admin, teachers, students
    What platform? Linux? Windows?
    What type of connectivity/network?
    What is this server supposed to 'do'?


    It will most likely be put into the green room that we have. Students will not have direct access to it, only administrators. It will be a Windows server. And as for right now it will probably be a file server.


    By location, I actually meant country, not which room.

    But still, the design comes long before specific parts.
    By file server, you mean sharing multiple files among several client machines. Which could be as simple as a Windows 7 box with a shared folder and minimal security, or as complex as Windows Server 2012, a domain, user accounts, security, etc, etc.
    Which will NOT fit within $1,000.

    You need to lock down exactly what this is supposed to do before spending the first dime on parts.
  6. well here my 2 cents:

    PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GbaA
    Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GbaA/by_merchant/
    Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2GbaA/benchmarks/

    CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    intel hd 4600 integrated GPU. can handle any task.
    CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler ($34.98 @ SuperBiiz)
    Motherboard: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($134.99 @ Microcenter)
    Memory: G.Skill Ares Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1866 Memory ($72.25 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.67 @ Amazon)
    Case: Raidmax Smilodon Extreme ATX-612WEB ATX Mid Tower Case (Purchased For $0.00)
    Power Supply: XFX 550W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply ($59.99 @ NCIX US)
    Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/BEBE DVD/CD Writer ($16.98 @ OutletPC)
    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8 (OEM) (64-bit) ($97.98 @ OutletPC)
    Total: $800.84
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-01-23 10:34 EST-0500)

    good for basic server.
    for a main server working full time Intel Xeon might do better.
  7. Sayken said:
    well here my 2 cents:


    Too much extra junk in that.
    K CPU and Z motherboard? overclocking not needed
    CPU cooler? No OC, not needed
    1TB drive? Is that enough? Who knows.
    Windows 8? Again...who knows.

    As said...requirements long before specific parts.
  8. even mentioned basic server.
    much junk? don't think so. describe
    indeed I apologize for z thing. i7 4770 and h87 mb would have been a better suggestion.
    though I would use a cooler for safety. intel cooler ain't that great. had many problems with them.
    he didn't mention what he uses it for so just base suggest.
    again sorry for z mb and k cpu. didn't give a thought about the oc
    should have suggested a xeon cpu my mistake
  9. USAFRet said:
    James Godsil said:
    USAFRet said:
    Many, many questions present themselves before getting into specific parts:

    Location?
    How many users? Roughly divided into 3 groups - admin, teachers, students
    What platform? Linux? Windows?
    What type of connectivity/network?
    What is this server supposed to 'do'?


    It will most likely be put into the green room that we have. Students will not have direct access to it, only administrators. It will be a Windows server. And as for right now it will probably be a file server.


    By location, I actually meant country, not which room.

    But still, the design comes long before specific parts.
    By file server, you mean sharing multiple files among several client machines. Which could be as simple as a Windows 7 box with a shared folder and minimal security, or as complex as Windows Server 2012, a domain, user accounts, security, etc, etc.
    Which will NOT fit within $1,000.

    You need to lock down exactly what this is supposed to do before spending the first dime on parts.


    Alright, I just spoke with the head admin and he said that for right now there is no budget, so assume it could cost whatever. Also it will be a file server, so that is decided upon as well. It will be using Windows Server, but as for right now the version is undecided. We also have 2 500GB Caviar black drives and we will be wanting 2 2TB drives to run in a mirror RAID config. This is the U.S. by the way.
  10. Moving this over to the "Business Computing" section. You will most likely find relevant answers there.
  11. Have you remembered to cost in the appropriate number of Client Access Licences as well as the server OS?
  12. USAFRet said:
    Moving this over to the "Business Computing" section. You will most likely find relevant answers there.


    I will change the title as well to help.
  13. Ijack said:
    Have you remembered to cost in the appropriate number of Client Access Licences as well as the server OS?


    Right. Which is why my earlier comment said "which will NOT fit within $1,000"
  14. Ijack said:
    Have you remembered to cost in the appropriate number of Client Access Licences as well as the server OS?


    Windows Server 2008 R2 has a few CALs included. However, not many people will be using the server, it will be mostly for dumping files into, as we need more space.
  15. Not too familiar with a school server. But this is about what a game server I had a while back looked like

    http://pcpartpicker.com/p/2Gd5o

    Just add in your case.
  16. James Godsil said:
    Ijack said:
    Have you remembered to cost in the appropriate number of Client Access Licences as well as the server OS?


    Windows Server 2008 R2 has a few CALs included. However, not many people will be using the server, it will be mostly for dumping files into, as we need more space.
    It normally comes with 5 CALs. If you have that few users, or even less than 20, then you are contemplating wasting a great deal of money buying a server OS. If you have more than 20 users then you will need additional CALs.
  17. Ijack said:
    James Godsil said:
    Ijack said:
    Have you remembered to cost in the appropriate number of Client Access Licences as well as the server OS?


    Windows Server 2008 R2 has a few CALs included. However, not many people will be using the server, it will be mostly for dumping files into, as we need more space.
    It normally comes with 5 CALs. If you have that few users, or even less than 20, then you are contemplating wasting a great deal of money buying a server OS. If you have more than 20 users then you will need additional CALs.



    Which is why conditions and requirements come first.
  18. There should be more details about this project before we can make recommendations on what you should be looking at as well as beginning to plan your budget.

    EXACTLY what is this server going to be hosting? You say it is going to be a file server, but are you hosting out just a few word documents and pictures to teachers, or is this going to be storing video files, databases, spreadsheets, etc. for staff, students, and the rest of faculty? How many users will be connected to this server and utilizing it regularly? Do you have any additional application needs that you have to look out for with compatibility? What OS do you have access to for licensing (Server 2008, Server 2012, or just desktop OS?)

    What is an acceptable level of protection or fault tolerance for your needs? If you're storing critical data on a basic desktop using software RAID that's a big no-no, especially if you are trying to use this storage server simultaneously for a large network. A storage server generally doesn't need a lot of processing power, but we just don't know what scale you are working on and the type of demands you are facing to make any sort of recommendation really.
  19. If it is just a "File Server" a dedicated NAS unit might be a reasonable solution. For $1K you could get a Synology or QNAP 4 drive unit and a couple 4TB disks. You would have room to expand.

    DS412+ ($550 at Newegg) -- I don't like to recommend a 2 year old design but they don't list the DS414+ on the web yet...
    WD RED 4TB disk ($188 at Newegg) x 3 for RAID 5
    Total $1100 ...
  20. Best answer
    kanewolf said:
    If it is just a "File Server" a dedicated NAS unit might be a reasonable solution. For $1K you could get a Synology or QNAP 4 drive unit and a couple 4TB disks. You would have room to expand.

    DS412+ ($550 at Newegg) -- I don't like to recommend a 2 year old design but they don't list the DS414+ on the web yet...
    WD RED 4TB disk ($188 at Newegg) x 3 for RAID 5
    Total $1100 ...


    I'd have to agree with the above statement. if you were to go down the regular x86 workstation parts you'd have to factor in a better RAID solution and dual NICs and preferably dual PSUs, which are normally only found on tower servers. a higher end NAS should have those features at a lower cost. they can also talk to an active directory server for authentication. for a school file server you'd want at least 4 or 5 of the same disks in either RAID 10 or 5. you will also need to remember that your physically separate backup device will have to be at least 150% as big as the file server.

    also, if you have a pre-exisiting server rack then look at rackmount cases rather than desktop stuff!

    This is the kind of stuff I'd look at on a low budget.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822107123
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822107109&ignorebbr=1

    EDIT: Just as an anecdote; we had a 2 bay netgear SMB style NAS which we tried to use as an offsite backup (still on school lan but in separate building). we had to upgrade to a couple of these because the little NAS couldn't cope. http://www.netgear.co.uk/business/products/storage/ReadyDATA-family/RD521210.aspx
  21. When you start looking into the cost of a NAS with the additional features such as redundant power supplies, you are looking at the same cost or more than a similar server system. The difference is with the server system you have to provide the licensing or cost of the OS if you choose a licensed OS, but there are also free alternatives if you choose such as FreeNAS. The benefit of a server system over the NAS though at this pricepoint is you start with more powerful base hardware resources and have the flexibility to upgrade or replace that hardware where as the NAS generally only can be upgraded with some additional memory. The server system, configured with the same RAID array and hard drive types, can get the same throughput as the NAS device, perhaps even better if you are using a hardware RAID controller, which most NAS systems (even the expensive Synology and QNAP enterprise models) only use software controllers.
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