Budget Personal Home Server upgrade/build

Hello all,

Looking to upgrade/build a linux home server. I used my old desktop to see if I could do it, and now that it's running, I'd like to make it better/make a better one. I'd like it to have the functionality of what's described in this guide. Mostly it would be used for media storage, but also as a web server, as well as being able to run R and R studio server (statistical computing software). Ideally it would be running 24/7 (unless there's a way to power on/off remotely that I don't know about), so power consumption is important. The server is mostly for personal use, so I don't think raw power is that important; two or three people max with streaming capabilities, and never simultaneously. A small handful of people might be given access to use the statistical computing stuff, but I don't that would happen frequently. Hosting a personal website is something I want to explore in the future, but I know very little about that.

Approximate purchase date: In the next few weeks, possibly as early as next weekend.

Budget Range: $400 after rebates/shipping. Could go as high as $450, but lower is better.

This is what I'm currently using (I pulled this using dmidecode, so I hope it's enough information):

RAIDMAX SMILODON ATX-612WB Black/Silver 1.0mm SECC Steel ATX Mid Tower Foldout MB Computer Case

Motherboard: MSI K9VGM-V AM2 VIA K8M890 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 3600+

hard drive: WDC WD5000AAKS-0

Memory: I don't remember brand or model, but I think I currently have 2 gigs.

This is what I'm looking at to buy:

Motherboard and processor: I don't know anymore. The biggest reason I'm looking to upgrade the motherboard is because my current one only has 2 SATA slots (and apparently only supports 2 gigs of RAM?) I was thinking about another AMD board and processor, but I was reading some stuff yesterday and now am unsure. I don't know if Intel really fits into my budget, but if they're that much better than AMD then...

Hard drives: 2x of either
Seagate NAS HDD ST2000VN000 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive


Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive WD20EFRX 2TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

Power Supply: I don't know if I need to upgrade it, but it's on the table, especially for power consumption reasons.

Preferred website/parts preference: Whatever gives me the best deal

Thanks in advance for the help. If there are other questions I need to answer, please let me know.
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More about budget personal home server upgrade build
  1. Best answer
    Alright so I have a home linux server (Ubuntu Server 12.04 if I recall correctly) running on an FX-4300 with 12TB of drives (10TB usable via RAID 5), I assume this is more then you are looking for but gives you an idea of where I am coming from

    So first question would be how much storage and redundancy you want, i.e. you have drives listed this would mean you can either use them as is and have no backup providing 4TB of usable, or RAID 1 providing 2TB of usable but if a drive fails you can replace and not lose data
    RAID Modes explained

    Since your current stuff mobo uses ddr2 ram going to assume a full rebuild of internals (CPU, mobo, RAM, GPU, PSU)
    PCPartPicker part list:
    Price breakdown by merchant:

    CPU: AMD A6-5400K 3.6GHz Dual-Core Processor ($54.29 @ Amazon)
    Motherboard: MSI A78M-E35 Micro ATX FM2+ Motherboard ($58.99 @ Mwave)
    Memory: G.Skill Sniper Series 4GB (1 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($36.99 @ Newegg)
    Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Storage: Western Digital Red 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($89.99 @ NCIX US)
    Power Supply: EVGA 430W 80+ Certified ATX Power Supply ($19.99 @ Newegg)
    Total: $350.24
    (Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)
    (Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-06-07 14:47 EDT-0400)
    I would say re-use your current drive as the boot drive so you have the full volume of the HDD's for storage, this assumes that the stastiscal computations are not that intensive and that you are not planning on using this to play media directly (the APU can play some but won't be great for most applications)
  2. Thanks for the help! I have a couple of questions, though.

    Yeah, I was going to have either 4TB useable or RAID 1 (2 Terabytes seems plenty; I have a 2 terabyte drive in my HTPC and it's still half empty). However, a question: will I be able to switch RAID modes down the road if I start storing data that's really important by simply buying more drives and changing the mode?

    And what do you mean by playing media directy? Like having a monitor hooked up to the server machine and using it to play media? No, I won't be doing that (though if something changed, I could just pop a video card in there and be fine, right?)
  3. For playing directly, yep thats exactly what I meant, some ppl like to use their servers as HTPC as well, and yeah should be easy to put in an inexpensive GPU if you want to play video

    For RAID down the road it is generally pretty hard to modify one as a RAID likes to start from a clean slate, not saying it is impossible but can't provide a good answer. I think for linux servers you can expand RAID volumes by adding more disks but you can't change the type. However since you are only talking about 1-2TB you should be able to use an external HDD to back it up temporarily if you want to make the change later, either grab one for yourself or borrow one from somebody since they are becoming fairly common
  4. One other thing you could do off the start as add a third HDD with the 100 that is still left in the budget, then you can build a RAID5 and later on expand if you need more space. I chose raid5 because it is the one I use and it provides good space to redundancy (you lose one drive to backing up but the rest are available, 3 disk system gives 2xY storage, 6 disk system gives 5xY storage, Y being the size of your drives)
    There is a guide on how to do it here (little out of date but im sure there are more recent ones)
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