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PCI-X motherboards (not PCI-E).

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January 13, 2008 9:42:38 PM

Hi folks, I'm after a bit of mobo buying advice. I'm about to build a server for use at home, with this in mind I picked up a 3Ware 12 port PCI-X Raid card off a friend when I was in the US recently (I found the onboard RAID very sluggish) Because it will be on 24/7 I'd rather like it to be a low(er) powered rig. I don't want to go down the Xeon/Opertorn route, so I'm looking for a motherboard that will take a Core 2 Duo. I'm thinking at this time I'll wait for the 45nm parts from Intel as these should use juice and should be available shortly however I'm stuck finding a motherboard that supports Core 2 Duo/45nm parts and PCI-X. The one's I've come across so far are :-

Asus P5E WS pro.
Asus P5E3 WS pro.
SuperMicro C2SBX.

All of these boards are rather expensive and seem to be unavailble from my usual suppliers (MicroDirect/Scan/Aria) and although I like the SuperMicro route it only seems to support DDR3, which is going to cost me a fortune.

Any other suggestions?

Regards

CC

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January 13, 2008 10:48:46 PM

You might be best selling your RAID card on eBay and then Buying a PCI-E raid card.

You will only find PCI-X cards on "Server Boards" which generally may not be best for a home system.
a b V Motherboard
January 14, 2008 12:06:38 AM

^Agreed.
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January 14, 2008 8:59:38 PM

Hi,
first many thanks for all the replies and apologies for my late reply, a long, long day at work :( 

OK to take the PCI-X replies, I thought about this, however I was lucky enough to get this card for almost nothing. It currently retails at about £300-£350 the cost of a PCI-E replacement would be significant also. These boards are really expensive! I've tried some of the cheapo one's but found they are as poor as the onboard performance wise.

Joe_the_dragon, many thanks for these links, I didn't manage to find a single AM2 board when I looked. The only thing that worries me is if the Nvidia chipset will work with my card. I've already had issues with a PCI capture card that won't work on Nvidia based Mobo's but will with AMD/Intel chipset based boards. Time to have a surf for these I think :) 

Once again thanks for the advice folks, very much appreciated.

Regards

CC
January 15, 2008 1:30:06 PM

NVIDIA nForce Professional is used in severs / workstations with pci-x slots and pci-e slots so it should work.
a b V Motherboard
January 15, 2008 2:45:05 PM

pilgrim1 said:
Hi folks, I'm after a bit of mobo buying advice. I'm about to build a server for use at home, with this in mind I picked up a 3Ware 12 port PCI-X Raid card off a friend when I was in the US recently (I found the onboard RAID very sluggish) Because it will be on 24/7 I'd rather like it to be a low(er) powered rig. I don't want to go down the Xeon/Opertorn route, so I'm looking for a motherboard that will take a Core 2 Duo. I'm thinking at this time I'll wait for the 45nm parts from Intel as these should use juice and should be available shortly however I'm stuck finding a motherboard that supports Core 2 Duo/45nm parts and PCI-X. The one's I've come across so far are :-

Asus P5E WS pro.
Asus P5E3 WS pro.
SuperMicro C2SBX.

All of these boards are rather expensive and seem to be unavailble from my usual suppliers (MicroDirect/Scan/Aria) and although I like the SuperMicro route it only seems to support DDR3, which is going to cost me a fortune.

Any other suggestions?

Regards

CC


If you want 45nm processor support and an available PCI-X slot, then your options are limited, the mobos you ahve listed are (really) your only choices. If that's the route you want to take, it will be an overall expensive option, you might just have to bite the bullet and spend the cash unless you can get more used parts or good deals. Don't forget, you can always get slower speed or less MB of DDR3 until prices drop a little. Generally speaking, come 2009 DDR3 is the future of memory. If it's just a low powered server, you could also get a Celeron (a 35W Conroe 420 1.6GHz is only $38 @ newegg) to save some cash as a single core proc can very well handle being a file/media server.

If you only need 2 PCI slots, then I recommend the Supermicro C2SBX. I am currently running a Supermicro H8DCE (dual Opteron Skt940) and I can vouch for Supermicro's stability and reliability. I run my machine 24/7/365 with only the occasional reboot/downtime for updates and cleaning. No hiccups, burps, or farts with never a hardware related issue, great linux support too for dual booting!

With this type of build, I CAN NOT stress the importance of a quality power supply. Do not cheap out on the psu!

If you need the additional PCI slots for extra devices, then the P5E WS Pro is also an excellent choice.

Regardless of whether you get the Asus or Supermicro, both have the X38 chipset and both companies offer excellent BIOS support. Just keep in mind that you are looking at a workstation mobo as opposed to a gamer's mobo, the BIOS sacrifices tweakability for stability.

Good luck, sounds like a really nice build!
January 15, 2008 5:35:36 PM

Hi folks, first I'll thank you once again for the advice. I'll reply first to joe_the_dragon, it worries a bit that I've had problems with Nvidia chipsets recently, however from the reviews I've seen so far these are good solid Mobo's that come in at a reasonable price. I'm tempted I have to say. Availability is a bit of an issue here in the UK, again none of my usual suppliers stock these boards. I may end up buying the kit in US to cut my expenditure a bit ;-) At the risk of starting a flame war, the only issue I have with AMD/Nvidia is that having recently experimented with a CCTV server, I found that even the lowest powered AMD I had available (Sempron LE) consumes slightly more power than the Intel Core 2 I tried.

Chuckymonster, many thanks for all the advice, excellent to have some detail regarding the SuperMicro performance. On the Intel side I'm leaning towards the SuperMicro, as I'm not after an overclocker, just a solid motherboard who's caps don't pop in 6 months time ;-( Also I'm reading that some people have had problems with PCI-X problems on the Asus boards. Generally my thinking on the Intel front is this :- Although the Mobo's & CPU's are expensive compared to others, very few older mobo's seem to support PCI-X and with the 45nm due for release at the end of this month (which will most likely reduce the TDP) it seems a sensible way to go. I understand the X38 chipset is due to be replaced shortly, which is a bummer, The difference doesn't seem to be massive though. If I had a bit more time I might wait for the price of the X38 to drop when the new chipset is released, however as will all things PC, if I wait for the next "thing" I'll never buy anything ;-)

I would have prefered DDR2 mainly because I've quite a bit spare lying around, my wallet aches at just the thought of DDR3 at the moment ;-) It's a shame SuperMicro don't support both as I think mainstream DDR3 is some way off yet.

As for the PSU, I've got a PC power & cooling Turbo-Cool 510ASL in the case at the moment. I think this will do the job ;-)

It will in the end come down to which gives me the best power consumption/price/performance and longevity, although if anyone out there has used the AMD boards I'd be most interested to hear from you.

One again folks many thanks, I'm moving ever closer to my purchase.

Regards

CC
January 15, 2008 9:34:16 PM

chunkymonster said:
If you want 45nm processor support and an available PCI-X slot, then your options are limited, the mobos you ahve listed are (really) your only choices. If that's the route you want to take, it will be an overall expensive option, you might just have to bite the bullet and spend the cash unless you can get more used parts or good deals. Don't forget, you can always get slower speed or less MB of DDR3 until prices drop a little. Generally speaking, come 2009 DDR3 is the future of memory. If it's just a low powered server, you could also get a Celeron (a 35W Conroe 420 1.6GHz is only $38 @ newegg) to save some cash as a single core proc can very well handle being a file/media server.

for the low end cpu a AMD cpu is a lot better and the chip sets use less power as well.
January 15, 2008 10:35:54 PM

Hi Joe_the_Dragon, I think cost wise the AMD wins hands down, however power wise it's not so simple. I recently re-built my CCTV server which used a P4 I got free from work, which is on 24/7. As electricty prices keep on rising here I started to take notice and decided to take a look what all my devices were eating. A quick test at the wall showed it was pulling 180W idle (i.e. monitoring but not recording) and was on 24/7! Too many KWH for me, so I decided to try several bits of kit, which I also borrowed from my work place. My capture card would not work with various AMD Nvidia chipsets, but did work with AMD's 690 chipsets. I did an unscientific test and just swapped motherboards in the case. It runs

Corsiar 450W (80% efficient) PSU
2 SATA HDD's (Samsung spinpoints)
1xBenq DVD writer
on-board VGA
H264 capure card

I didn't keep the details of each board and there were minor various in the consumtion of each, to my surprise the Intel won, the averages I recorded were :-

Sempron 2400 LE pulls 90W
XP Dual core 2400 BE pulls 110W
Core 2 Duo pulls 65W
Quad Core 6400 pulls 120W

This was a surprise to me as I'd understood the AMD's would use less power, however I found that the CCTV software kept the AMD CPU at between 2-6% all the time as it continually monitors & chase captures from the cameras. The Intel was 0-1% doing the same job. After the CPU the secondary HDD is consumed about 20W as it's kept moving all the time by the chase capture. The other big surprise that if I installed Vista it used 10W less on average doing the same job. Sadly the capture card server software only runs on XP.

Having said all this, having costed the boards this evening the AMD is looking the better option!

Regards

CC

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