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Quiet build for Windows Home Server

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February 4, 2008 3:18:32 PM

I am looking for advice on a new build for Windows Home Server. I need advice specifically on MB, CPU, case, and cooling. I have the other components already. My requirements are for the build to be as quiet as possible, 4 or more SATA-300 ports on the board, Gigabit LAN, and space in the case for 6 hard drives.

I was looking at the AMD CPUs and was thinking of using this - X2 3600+ Brisbane http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
but would be open to using Intel though.

I have did searches on Newegg and have found items that meet my specs but was hoping to get input from the community.

I would like to keep the budget to between $200-250 but would spend more if it made sense.

Thanks,
Navek

a b B Homebuilt system
February 4, 2008 4:19:46 PM

Well, I just looked at the CPU charts. Even an Intel e2140 will beat the X2 3600 Brisbane, if only by a small amount, on everything I checked.
Take a look at the Gigabyte GA-G33M-DS2R, although Newegg no longer seems to have it listed. It has everything a home server might need, including firewire, and at least 6 SATA-300 ports, plus an eSATA bracket that also has a PSU connector so it can provide power to a standard hard drive.
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February 7, 2008 4:39:34 AM

Alright my friend, listen closely. For a silent build a few things are important!
Vibration, Heat, Airflow and consequently noise from fans.

First, your planning on using what many would consider to be a lot of harddrives. This is going to be the major source of heat in your system. You will need active cooling, so a completely silent system is out of the question.

For the case, your going to want something fairly large, with a lot of room on the inside(Either a full ATX, or a large mid ATX). My picks would include:
Antec P180/P180b/P182
CoolerMaster Stacker series
Lian Li
Thermaltake Armor series

Now, the tricky part: Silencing your system!
Your going to want to pick a case that has good airflow, and cable management options. Also your going to want as few fans as possible, because the more fans you have... the more noise there is.
For case fans, there is only one good choice imo: Yate Loon. Yate Loon is one of the best fans you can buy on the market... and it is by far the best for the money (since retailers can only buy them in bulk, they resell for super cheap). Unfortunatally Yate Loon fans are not sold at newegg, so you fill have to find them in other places. A 120mm Yate Loon retails for under $4. If you have to buy from a more popular etailer such as newegg, look at the Scythe S-FLEX SFF21D. Its just as quiet as the Yate Loon, but it costs over 3x as much (as will most fans). You will want fans bringing cool air over all of the harddrives, so buy as many fans as this takes. You will Also want one fan in the back of the case pulling warm air out of the system. And again, you want to use as few fans as possible at a low RPM to have little noise.

For the CPU, You will want a fairly large cooler, that has the option to use your own fan. I personally like my Scythe Ninja. Other good options include the Ultra-120 and the tuniq tower. Also the sempron that the above poster suggested is a good idea, if your server isnt doing anything cpu intensive. It is also worth mentioning that if your using a low power CPU like the sempron that you can use passive cooling on the CPU Heatsink (meaning there doesnt have to be a fan), as long as you have a fan in the back of your case. The Case fan will provide adequte airflow to bring heat away from the heatsink.

Another Source of noise will be your harddrives, and really there is no way to completely silence the seek noise. But you can eliminate a few sources of noise that originate from the Harddrives: Case Vibration. The best option is to suspend your HDDs with special rubber bands so the HDDs dont transfer vibration into the case. Some Cases, like the p180/182 have silicon gromets that suspend the HDDs from the case.

To further silence your system, look into noise absorbing foam and essentially cover the inside of your case with it paying special attention to places where noise can escape... like extra fan slots.

And before I forget, make sure you pick out a good quality quiet PSU ... and if your up for the task... mod the fan with a quieter one like the yate loon. (this will void your warrenty).
February 7, 2008 4:44:11 AM

If you're planning on installing multiple HDDs, you should reconsider the "Silent" feature of your system. (4) or more 7200RPM HDDs (If that's what you're planning) will generate a lot of heat and without proper cooling on them your HDDs will be easy targets for failure. If you look at rack mount cases, they almost always have a heavily cooled HDD bay with large, loud fans blowing or pulling air directly past the drives.

Food for thought.

-MikeM
February 7, 2008 4:58:23 AM

A home server...as in hosting files for the other computers in the house?
All you need is a $40-70 MB (the new ones come lots of SATA connections and onboard GFX) and a $40 AMD CPU.
Use any cheap case you can find at the Boy's and Girls Club for $10 with a bunch of parts already in it!
May 9, 2008 2:40:41 PM

WHS doesnt really require much cpu power for file storage, streaming and backup. Nosie shouldnt matter so much for your server unless unless you cant stash it away somewhere hidden. Its easier to run new network drops to a place where noise doesnt matter than make a computer silent. An average case with loud high cfm fans can make a great server case with backplane adapters mounted in the 5.25 bays and tucked away somewhere. Go for the e2140 and 2g of ram, 2 or 3 500g hdds, mobo with onboard video, stock cpu cooler and stash it out of sight. Mine keeps my waterheater company on a shelf under the stairs.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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