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First Server Help

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  • CPUs
  • Servers
Last response: in CPUs
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January 27, 2006 10:18:18 AM

Howdy All.

I'm looking at building my first server, I've started my own business and I need a machine that is reliable, doesn't run hot and will crunch the data I need without falling over midway.

The server will cop a lot of 3D CAD rendering, large file storage, taxation record, general user login (Max of 25 users) and what ever else I can abuse it with. I'll be looking at running a Raid1 and will probably bung water cooling onto it because I can... I'm looking for a pointer in the right direction. Xeon? Opteron? Athlon64? Sempron(Okay, that ones a joke :p  )? Some ideas towards matching motherboards and RAM would be nice too.

I'm looking at budgeting around $1500 on this server before the new financial year (Can you say "Less Tax To Pay" 8))

Thanks in advance!

More about : server

January 27, 2006 12:45:48 PM

Registered RAM. Two disk RAID1 or three+ disk RAID5. Maybe even spring for SCSI. Probably Opteron CPU. Definately have an external backup hard drive and a regular backup proceedure. Definately have a UPS with voltage regulation. Yada yada yada.
January 27, 2006 3:13:26 PM

Definitely Opteron.

If you're going to run 3D CAD rendering, you're definitely need to check out an nVidia Quadro or ATI FireGL. The Quadro FX 3400 is reasonably priced ($887) and the FireGL v7100 is priced even better ($693). However, the nVidia Quadro is going to be the superior of the two. You can't beat nVidia's driver support for quadros.

I agree w/ Slvr on the RAID 5. You'll need 3 drives, but you see a decent performance increase when using RAID 5 over RAID 1.

DEFINITELY get a SDLT tape back up drive. Never leave anything to chance... RAID 1 or 5 won't do you any good if your office burns down or floods.

-mpjesse
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January 27, 2006 3:28:55 PM

Quote:
DEFINITELY get a SDLT tape back up drive. Never leave anything to chance... RAID 1 or 5 won't do you any good if your office burns down or floods.
Yup. Ja needs an external backup of some sort. Redundancy is good in case of a drive failure, but does shite all to protect you from damaged wrought by virii, hackers, bad software, user mistakes, etc. For protection from that only a completely seperate backup of the hard drive's concents will do. Burn to DVD. Use a USB hard drive. Use a tape backup drive. What works best depends on the amount of data being backed up and how much money you have to spend on the backup solution. Personally, I loves me my Norton Ghost and USB hard drive.
January 28, 2006 1:53:09 AM

I'm thinking about backing up to a 300GB Maxtor One Touch.

I'm thinking of these parts

AMD S940 Opteron 244 64-Bit CPU (Pair of them)
MSI S940 K8N Master2-FAR Dual Opteron Motherboard (I'm not an MSI fan, had a few clients MSI products die, mainly motherboards :? )
DDR 512MB Transcend ECC Registered PC3200 RAM (4 sticks)
80GB Seagate 7200rpm 8M Serial ATA HDD (4x for a RAID 0+1, maybe three for a RAID5)

Will work out the rest of the parts soon :p  Budget is gonna have to extend by the looks of it.... Just have to look at bringing more clientele to buy this server 8)
January 29, 2006 3:35:48 AM

Quote:
I'm thinking about backing up to a 300GB Maxtor One Touch.

I'm thinking of these parts

AMD S940 Opteron 244 64-Bit CPU (Pair of them)
MSI S940 K8N Master2-FAR Dual Opteron Motherboard (I'm not an MSI fan, had a few clients MSI products die, mainly motherboards :? )
DDR 512MB Transcend ECC Registered PC3200 RAM (4 sticks)
80GB Seagate 7200rpm 8M Serial ATA HDD (4x for a RAID 0+1, maybe three for a RAID5)

Will work out the rest of the parts soon :p  Budget is gonna have to extend by the looks of it.... Just have to look at bringing more clientele to buy this server 8)


First of all, get 2 X 1 gig ram sticks, giving you more expansion room and slightly less heat output (not that that little matters).

Your budget of 1500 is not even gonna cover the chips, mobo and ram though with case.

SATA RAID 5 via 3ware or Areca controller is nice but can be pricey. How much space ya need? What kind of 3d ya gonna do? Graphics cards alone are high. If this is a serverk, your not rendering ON it are ya? If so, this is a workstation with network backup functions...Id keep them seperate. If it is NOT rendering but just storing the stuff, then a nice dual core 939 opty will be alot cheaper and a bit faster but still work. In fact the smallest 165 would be find. if your gonna render on it then the more ram and CPU you can get the better you are. 170 Opty overclocked with watercooling is a nice start (165 will be fine this way too). Server functions dont require alot of CPU power if it is set up witih good drive controllers and network controllers

Workstations do the work, they need raw power. What do you actually plan on doing with THIS machine?
January 29, 2006 7:22:14 AM

Well I plan on turning this system into a work horse. I want to shift all my hardworking programs off my games computer(System in my signature). The server will become more business oriented throughout the year as I expand my business. Will look at setting up a VPN towards the end of the year and would like this server to run it all.

I run Rhino 3D cad software on my games machine right now and with a decent drawing (around 100-200mb file size depending on my attention to detail) it will take around 5mins to do a 1200x900 render with fine rendering. I want to have my renders in around 2-3 mins, cuts a lot of time when you spend 5 seconds shifting a piece a bit closer and then wait 5 mins for the sucker to render... I'm guessing if I have a more grunty system it will render faster.

Storage wise, it doesn't have to be too big. I just want to store all my business programs, clientele information, etc etc... on it and have a backup system (data and power).
January 29, 2006 6:48:18 PM

Well find out for sure if your rendering program is multithreaded (uses more than one CPU). Most renders of quality are but ya never know. It it is, then a nice Opteron 165 or 170 water cooled and OC'd to about 2.8hz per core is gonna fly. If total capacity for storage isnt so important then maybe on board RAID 1 with SATA will do for ya and save some cash. RAM is gonna be your friend, regardless though. Settle for no less than 2 Gig

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January 29, 2006 10:49:03 PM

Quick question. Will the Opteron 170 S939 work with my Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI motherboard? I've gone through the manual and it only states that it will support Socket 939 AMD Athlon 64 / 64FX / Dual Core processors. I think it should, since it's a 939 processor, but just wanted to double check with someone before I fork out $600 for a Opteron 170...
January 29, 2006 10:50:27 PM

yes, works fine. Ya MIGHT have to do a bios update but thats it. Sometimes when you post it doesnt give the right name of the Proc but it'll work fine. If ya gonna OC it then a 165 will save ya some cash and clock nearly as high.

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January 30, 2006 5:18:50 AM

Yeah, I'm looking at the 165 instead of the 170 because of the $120 price difference and the fact that I can always over clock it 200mhz to match the 170.

I updated my bios a few weeks back to F11 (Latest version), so it should all bolt together very nice :p 

I'm thinking about ditching the server idea and just upgrading my current system with the Opteron 165 and putting in another hard drive just to store all my business stuff on. The VPN will be late in the year, so the server is not really needed till then.

Thanks to all who replied! Your information and input was muchly appreciated 8)
January 31, 2006 7:05:26 PM

keep in mind.. that when you OC stuff your going beyond manufactures design limits and this can do bad things to reliability. not a big deal when your gaming system crashes.. but when the server hiccups while rendering your 100k contract material.. thats a different ballgame.

Also dont forget power & surge protection. A UPS is best (but they have their own set of problems).

Something else to consider is lay out what your ideal system would be. then start buying parts as the income allows.
!