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SBS Server Mainboard choice ?

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August 15, 2007 8:16:04 PM

Hello,
I've got to build a small server for data storage and knowledge tools. This server will run Windows 2003 SBS Standart edition.

I got stuck when I tried to choose a motherboard, as I would like to create 2 raid arrays:
1x2 drives Raid 1 (mirroring) for the system
1x3 drives Raid 5 for the data

The system should stay below 2000 USD (2500CHF), which it does with the below configuration (2400CHF)

I had a look at SATA2 enabled mainboards, and found a feature-filled Intel DG33TL , which offers 6 SATA2 ports and on-board video, which allows me to bypass buying a graphic card.

What I did not like was the fact that the compatibility sheet indicated that the Intel Matrix Raid was not supported under Windows 2003.

So here's the questions
- Do I need a hardware raid or can I rely on Windows2003 for that?
- If I go hardware raid, can I use une controller to create both arrays?
- What would be a good motherboard to supplement the system?
- Should I go for a Core2 4400 instread of the 6420?

Here is the rest of the shopping list:

MS Windows SB Server 2003 Standard R2

CoolerMaster STC-T01 CM Stacker
Seasonic S12-430HT

5 x Western Digital Caviar RE2
Western Digital Elements, 500GB USB 2.0
NEC AD-7170S, 18x DVD±RW Writer

Kingston KVR533D2E4K2/2G, 2x1GB, DDR2, 533MHz, CL4, ECC
Intel Core 2 Duo E6420

cheap usb mouse and keyboard from logitech, cabling

The external drive is used for an additional backup of the data. I chose USB 2.0 over e-SATA (big speed loss I expect) to make the reading/recovery of the data possible on any PC.

Software that is going to run on this: Sharepoint Services, Apache/Perl/PHP/MySQL with T-Wiki, SugarCRM, SVN

Thanks for your insight, it's been a while since I had to look into server hardware...
August 15, 2007 9:09:22 PM

Get a external drive with firewire, usb and e-sata or firewire and usb.
and a pci-e raid card as well ddr2 800.

You may want to get amd based system as well and use some money you save to help pay for a pci-e raid card.
August 15, 2007 10:25:03 PM

You left out an important detail- how many users will be in the domain?
Related resources
August 16, 2007 12:18:23 AM

To me this sounds like it is for personal use rather than a buisness am i correct?

If so,
I would suggest AGAINST using 2003 for RAID implementations especially RAID5 which is buggy at best. I would go with either onboard controller or dedicated hardware (pciex nowadays) cheaper options but still goodies for controllers are Adaptec and Promise. I own an Adaptec3805 which is pciex SAS/SATA support for 8 drives and multiple arrays which would handle your 2 arrays nicely. Asus, Intel, Tyan are the big players in server boards, although if its personal use you might be better sticking with a desktop mainboard something like a P5K from asus that has the sata ports and decent RAID. This would save money over the server board, however, you would have to look at cheap GPU.

If not,
Id be more inclined to go with a server board with onboard GPU, id still go with an additional RAID card.

More info on how many users would be good
August 16, 2007 5:47:07 AM

Indeed, the number of users. We are but 20 in the company yet, mostly off-site. Thinking of 4 or 5 concurrent users, not much more. This will probably swell to 10-15 over the next 3 years. Small Business :-)

I had a look at the Asus Board before, but dismissed it because I had only 4 SATA ports... It has onboard graphics, which is a plus. Adding the (cheapest) additional controller I can find:

ASUS P5M2
Exsys EX-3506 (provides e-SATA as well as 2xSATA Raid)
Western Digital MyBook Premium ES Edition, 500GB

Totals CHF 2820

Or Drop e-SATA
ASUS P5M2
Exsys EX-3501 (2xSATA Raid)

Totals CHF 2700

Going Opteron:
Asus KFN5-D SLI (2 SATA Raid controllers, no on-board graphics)
AMD Opteron 2210, Socket F
MSI GeForce FX5200-TD128LF, 128MB DDR

Totals CHF 2645

Thanks for the feedback!


August 16, 2007 5:56:40 AM

Throwing into the discussion:
Asus M2N32 WS Professional, nForce 590 SLI, Sockel AM2
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+

For CHF 2381, to which I cas use the e-SATA HDD again (+60CHF)
August 16, 2007 3:55:21 PM

the Asus M2N32 WS Professional has a pci-x slots so you can use a pci-x or a pci-e raid card.

good sever boards have onboard graphics with there own ram.

for the dual Opteron boards
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http: //www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1681312803...

http://www.newegg. com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151058

boards with a on board hardware sas / sata raid chip
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://ww w.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813151088
http://www.newegg.com/Pr oduct/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131141
!