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Building a New Server. Looking for Help.

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April 9, 2008 10:15:29 AM

Hello,

I am looking to build a new server for my development uses (Virtual Machines, building installers, running SQL Server, etc) which will be built on Server 2008. (I'm not looking to start an OS discussion as this is for development purposes).

I'm thinking about the following:

Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 @3.0GHz - https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10007603

Asus PK53 Deluxe -
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10005539

8GB DDR2-1066 OCZ -
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10008035

4 x 160GB (RAID5) Hitachi Deskstars (for OS only) -
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10006301

RAID Controller Card -
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=130488

Thermaltake Tower Case -
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=371252

CoolerMaster 750W Power Supply -
https://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10006237

I could care less about video.

Is 750W enough to power 6 HDDs and a DVD/RW?

I will also want another RAID array for my applications and data. Any suggestions on that also?

I want this thing to be rock-solid, fast, and responsive via Remote Desktop.

Please help.

Regards,
Randall Sexton

More about : building server

April 9, 2008 11:04:12 AM

Only thing I can think of is you may benefit from a quad core CPU inside a server, probably the Q9450.
April 9, 2008 11:07:30 AM

I considered that when choosing my CPU. However, I've read some articles that state most applications don't see a boost from quad cores. As a matter of fact, it seems that you can be better off with higher CPU vs more cores.

Take a look at this:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000942.html
Related resources
April 9, 2008 11:09:10 AM

Drop that PSU. It is cr@p. Get a PP&C or a Corsair PSU. I recommend the Corsair 520HX or PP&C 610. Also just get DDR2 800. Many boards (notably the P35-DS3x/DS4x) seems to have problems with RAM natively higher than DDR2 800. As for Quad vs. Dual get a Quad esp. if running a server trust me, although many software are not multi threaded the OS is multi threaded.
April 9, 2008 11:17:23 AM

jrandallsexton said:
I considered that when choosing my CPU. However, I've read some articles that state most applications don't see a boost from quad cores. As a matter of fact, it seems that you can be better off with higher CPU vs more cores.

Take a look at this:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000942.html



I agree with that for most standard desktop PC's but in a server situation where more things are happening at once, the added 2 cores should help, although obviously as you said its running at a lower clock frequency. I don't know if you are interested in overclocking but a Q9450 will easily hit 3.0ghz with something like a thermalright ultra 120 extreme heatsink strapped on top of it, leaving you with a very powerful CPU.
April 9, 2008 11:22:00 AM

Sounds good. I did some searching and it seems as if the Q9450 is somewhat hard to find through the normal outlets. I found it on PriceWatch.com.

Thanks for that suggestion.
April 9, 2008 11:42:28 AM

Hya, Hope ill add some help. If there is any criticism, please take it construcitvly.

Well, first of all, i really think you should go for a Quad. I work with Vmware daily, and i can atribute cores to each VMMachine. I think it is a must. Even if it is a Q6600 or even a Phenom ( but you dont seem to be low on budget) would do much better than a Dual-Core.

One thing i dont get.

Raid 5 For OS only ? Wouldnt be better to save you OS on a Raid 1 ( For example ) on a separate controller/channel and a Raid 5 For Apps, VMW , whatever ? This should work much faster. Even if you dont Raid 1 the OS. This is a server right ? Or find a nice SCSI HDD for the job. The Access times for Random Reading are still very nice.

About the Ram. I dotn iknow much about Windows Server 2008, the way he manages ram. My OS is more Linux (no discussion intended here, just introducting.). How does Windows Server 2008 manages RAM, in linux is quite simple ( he does basicly what i tell him to do :)  ). Would be better to have MORE ram ? 8GB seems nice for home built systems, but depending on the services that are hanged there you probably need more.

About the Mobos. Asus can make nice Mobos (my home computer has a Asus), but i prefer the old reliables Supermicro or Tyan for server work.
They are a bit hard to find, but their reliable.


PS- Sorry about the English, its not my native language.


April 9, 2008 11:50:02 AM

jrandallsexton said:
Would I be better off with this mobo since it has on-board RIAD5 support?

Asus P5B SE
http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=10006722&prodlist=celebros


Its not a bad board but the chipset is quite old now and if you want to overclock your quad core this board isn't as good as the p5k3 which uses the superior p35 chipset. I would stick with the PK53 and raid controller. The board does support Raid 5 though according to its page. Quote: 'The Intel ICH9R chipsets incorporate Six Serial ATA connectors with high performance RAID functions in RAID 0, 1, 5, 10.'


http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=534&l4=...
April 9, 2008 12:01:30 PM

radnor said:
Hya, Hope ill add some help. If there is any criticism, please take it construcitvly.

Well, first of all, i really think you should go for a Quad. I work with Vmware daily, and i can atribute cores to each VMMachine. I think it is a must. Even if it is a Q6600 or even a Phenom ( but you dont seem to be low on budget) would do much better than a Dual-Core.

One thing i dont get.

Raid 5 For OS only ? Wouldnt be better to save you OS on a Raid 1 ( For example ) on a separate controller/channel and a Raid 5 For Apps, VMW , whatever ? This should work much faster. Even if you dont Raid 1 the OS. This is a server right ? Or find a nice SCSI HDD for the job. The Access times for Random Reading are still very nice.

About the Ram. I dotn iknow much about Windows Server 2008, the way he manages ram. My OS is more Linux (no discussion intended here, just introducting.). How does Windows Server 2008 manages RAM, in linux is quite simple ( he does basicly what i tell him to do :)  ). Would be better to have MORE ram ? 8GB seems nice for home built systems, but depending on the services that are hanged there you probably need more.

About the Mobos. Asus can make nice Mobos (my home computer has a Asus), but i prefer the old reliables Supermicro or Tyan for server work.
They are a bit hard to find, but their reliable.


PS- Sorry about the English, its not my native language.


Thanks for your input.

Apparently I don't know enough about RAID levels!

I'm wanting striping with fault tolerance for the OS drives. I'd like the same for the applications as well - but not as important. After doing some reading, it turns out that RAID5 suffers on reads because it must check the parity.

Is this correct?

The quad core thing is settled. I will be getting a quad core.

More memory? None of the 775 boards I have seen support more than 8GB. I'm sure they're out there though. Perhaps you have some suggestions?

Thanks again
April 9, 2008 1:17:37 PM

I believe these do but require different RAM and won't support 45nm CPU's as far as I'm aware.

Asus P5N-SLI Motherboard
ABIT Fatal1ty F-I90HD Motherboard

The only other way of doing it is to go with one of these:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

As you can see they are a lot more expensive, they require a socket 771 CPU (Xeon) or the QX9775 (which here in the UK is over $2000!) and they require 2 CPU's! You could end up spending about $4500 just on board and CPU

If you went with that you would require 2 CPU's and overclocking wouldn't really be an option.
April 9, 2008 2:18:56 PM

jrandallsexton said:
Thanks for your input.

Apparently I don't know enough about RAID levels!

I'm wanting striping with fault tolerance for the OS drives. I'd like the same for the applications as well - but not as important. After doing some reading, it turns out that RAID5 suffers on reads because it must check the parity.

Is this correct?

The quad core thing is settled. I will be getting a quad core.

More memory? None of the 775 boards I have seen support more than 8GB. I'm sure they're out there though. Perhaps you have some suggestions?

Thanks again


Sure thing. ill try to help. im not going quite to suggest a 775 Board. I dont think there is Multiple CPU ones out there. I would suggest a Xeon Mobo. I dont know how much you wanna spend, but ill try to keep it low profile.

Mobo
This is a good example:
http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=566

- Up to 32 GB
- PCI, PCI Express 16x , PCIx

Got Sata on Raid 5, and well, you can read the specs. its a decent Mobo.

CPUs.

- Intel Xeon E5310 Clovertown 1.6GHz 2 x 4MB L2 Cache Socket 771 80W Quad-Core Active or 1U Processor - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

if you pick bottom line xeons, they will still be very good cpus, for Server/workstation, and they will be dirty cheap. This CPU is a bad example, but well, when im building a server i dont buy it online. I call the suppliers to see whats in stock. And check for compatibilities. That CPU is just a example, to say, you dont need a a cutting edge cpu, you need cpus that assure ya stability and (some) abundancy of resources. Multi-processing and Multi-Threading is the word of the day.

Ram

You noticed that board Likes 1066 and 1333 CPUs, but just want 533/667 ECC Registered Ram ? More Stability. And More RAM. Although ECC Registered Ram isnt cheap, i got some servers running on non-registered ram ( but of a decent brand) and they are stable. Ofc 533 and 667 RAM is dirty cheap now. You can check for compatabilities. you can also try to go for 16Gb ram without a problem (You got 8 slots to fill).


HDD

System
If SCSi isnt available, or you really dont wanna use it, well mount a RAID1 or do a RAID 0+1 of Cheap HDDs. A nice SATA WD of 160GB is really cheap. And with a 0+1 Raid, its fast and its "relative" safe.

Raid
Well, i like WD HDDs. More for historical reasons than other reason. Always used them, and they gave me little trouble so far. The board has a Raid 5 on the SouthBridge so check WD abotu the Raptor Line. Whats in stock, etc. In case of the raid ofc. But use the brand you prefer, im just telling my personal preference.

Case.
Well, seems nice and all :)  Check for the compatibilities of your board. Cases im not too picky, they are servers :) 

PSU.

Be really picky here. Check you components in maximum load ( do the math ) and then check for a nice PSU. Or go redundanct. See whats available near ya.


Well, this are just opinions really. Check prices and most important compatabilities. I know the CPU wasnt a great choice but i really dont know how much you wanna spend. But i know every system need a good board :) 

Well, hope i helped. Have fun !



April 9, 2008 3:36:20 PM

if i were you, i'll go with IBM xSeries or any branded server... you'll be surprised if you compare its price against your custom built machine. choose the model w/ quadcore/sas raid5 ...surely you won't regret it in the long run. Building your own server class pc is too risky. Sometimes, you'll end up discovering several issues related to component incompatibilities and other unwanted problems... my opinion only.
April 9, 2008 4:14:03 PM

Integrated RAID tends to be slower than dedicated cards, as the CPU is used for decoding. DDR2-1066 is overkill as benchmarks usually show.

LGA775 is incompatible with multi-chip motherboards. You'll have to go with LGA771 (IIRC) chips and different mobos, which also require different RAM.
April 9, 2008 10:46:37 PM

I think you might be right about buying one instead of doing it myself. However, I'm kind of confused because I see a vast array of Xeon processors. I aboslutely MUST have a 64bit version.

So we seem to have two different camps here:

1. A Q9450 (or similar) and 8GB of 800Mhz RAM

and

2. A Quad-Core/dual-Core Xeon with more memory (albeit slower)

Now I'm more confused than when I started this thread.

April 10, 2008 7:57:57 AM

OK I'm getting a bit confused as well but let me lay it out.

You can either go with, as you said, Q9450 overclocked with 8gb memory,

Dual core Xeon eg E3110 3.0ghz (what is basically the xeon version of the E8400 and yes 64 bit compatible) + more RAM

or

Quad core Xeon eg E5420 2.5ghz and also 64 bit compatible + more RAM


This is how I would look at it. Basically, 2 quad core xeon cpu's and 16gb RAM would supply a very powerful system but seeing as I'll never be in the market for a server, I wouldn't really ever use this option, and this only reason I can see this option coming in useful is if you really did need all this RAM, which again I can't say I ever would.

Really up to you now to decide what the system is primarily going to be used for and whether or not you will benefit changing to a very different system just for the extra RAM.
April 10, 2008 8:23:51 AM

How many VM's do you plan to have running simultaniously? I test Exchange servers on my laptop for crying out loud. Unless you REALLY need to have your VM's running at the performance of a production server and REALLY need to ensure data integrity. Just get a desktop computer with a huge RAID 1 array
April 10, 2008 8:39:14 AM

jrandallsexton said:
4 x 160GB (RAID5) Hitachi Deskstars (for OS only)

Excuse me but how exactly do you justify having 4x160(not a RAID 10) for OS only? And what exactly do you expect from a server which you're about to run as a multipurpose desktop? What reliability do you expect from mainstream desktop components used for critical and demanding operations? You have to know the main purpose of the machine before you start building it, "Development uses" is not a purpose. You can do that on your existing desktop. Thus far it sounds to me like you don't really need a server. Rethink your priorities and make some more research on your own.
April 10, 2008 10:08:51 AM

nzxtlexa said:
OK I'm getting a bit confused as well but let me lay it out.

You can either go with, as you said, Q9450 overclocked with 8gb memory,

Dual core Xeon eg E3110 3.0ghz (what is basically the xeon version of the E8400 and yes 64 bit compatible) + more RAM

or

Quad core Xeon eg E5420 2.5ghz and also 64 bit compatible + more RAM


This is how I would look at it. Basically, 2 quad core xeon cpu's and 16gb RAM would supply a very powerful system but seeing as I'll never be in the market for a server, I wouldn't really ever use this option, and this only reason I can see this option coming in useful is if you really did need all this RAM, which again I can't say I ever would.

Really up to you now to decide what the system is primarily going to be used for and whether or not you will benefit changing to a very different system just for the extra RAM.


Well, working with VMware, depends how many VMmachines youll be running. They all have theie owm memory and HDD space. So HDD and RAM you really need to have. A SQL server inst that memory consuming by it self, depends what database(s) you gonna slap there. All depends on the services. There are several ways to do this, imho i belive more ram is nice (you dont wanna put 700MB per virtual machine, at least 1gb Per VM, Windows XP in this case), plus servers, plus other services that might be hanging in there.

In a server, 8 Gb RAM isnt much trust me. Hes talking about a Multi-Purpose server.

@Sepuko
I should say i agree a bit with you. But hey, he want sa stable server, sure, lets help him. I have a stable Linux "Server" back Home. Its a silly Palomino Athlon XP 1500+ with 768MB ( And a **** load of disks in JOBD). Its basicly doing file sharing (Hard disk loading, Backups, Pron Colection, and loads of more files.), Print Server , and has some nifty COD, CS and other servers running. Hey its good for what i do with it.

He wants to run it high, with nifty processes and loads of firepower. Sure thing. Lets help him get the best bang for his buck. I just needed to know more what hes gonna really do, to help him a bit more.
April 11, 2008 6:52:05 AM

sepuko said:
Excuse me but how exactly do you justify having 4x160(not a RAID 10) for OS only? And what exactly do you expect from a server which you're about to run as a multipurpose desktop? What reliability do you expect from mainstream desktop components used for critical and demanding operations? You have to know the main purpose of the machine before you start building it, "Development uses" is not a purpose. You can do that on your existing desktop. Thus far it sounds to me like you don't really need a server. Rethink your priorities and make some more research on your own.


You're being an *******.

Yes, after reading, I can have determined that RAID1+0 is a better option. And no, I don't think that I need that kind of horsepower consider I'm currently doing a bunch of testing on a P4 with 3GB of RAM.

If you don't have anything useful to add to the conversation ... take a hike. Save your angry posts for someone who deserves it.
April 11, 2008 6:55:04 AM

nzxtlexa said:
OK I'm getting a bit confused as well but let me lay it out.

You can either go with, as you said, Q9450 overclocked with 8gb memory,

Dual core Xeon eg E3110 3.0ghz (what is basically the xeon version of the E8400 and yes 64 bit compatible) + more RAM

or

Quad core Xeon eg E5420 2.5ghz and also 64 bit compatible + more RAM


This is how I would look at it. Basically, 2 quad core xeon cpu's and 16gb RAM would supply a very powerful system but seeing as I'll never be in the market for a server, I wouldn't really ever use this option, and this only reason I can see this option coming in useful is if you really did need all this RAM, which again I can't say I ever would.

Really up to you now to decide what the system is primarily going to be used for and whether or not you will benefit changing to a very different system just for the extra RAM.

Yeah, I'm not sure why I really even listened so much to the whole server thing. I don't see that I will need more than 8GB of RAM - I'm currently running VMs on 3GB of RAM on an old P4. I rarely have more than 2 open at the same time.

Even if I do some other things (host Team Foundation Server, etc), I still can't imaging that a nice QC desktop version with a nice amount of RAM can't handle it.

I think I allowed myself to get swayed by someone thinking that I need more than I really do.

Still no reason for sepuko to flame me the way he did.

I'm going to close this thread now if possible. This is ridiculous.

thanks for your help and time.
April 11, 2008 7:03:45 AM

boonality said:
How many VM's do you plan to have running simultaniously? I test Exchange servers on my laptop for crying out loud. Unless you REALLY need to have your VM's running at the performance of a production server and REALLY need to ensure data integrity. Just get a desktop computer with a huge RAID 1 array


That's a great idea.

I currently run VMs on my laptop as well. It handles everything fine - as long as I don't have too many other things open.

I want a good powerful machine that I can remote into, run VMs on, build my installs (takes a while) so I DON'T have to do it on my laptop.

Just because it can handle it, doesn't mean I want it running on my laptop sucking up reasources that Visual Studio can't have.
April 11, 2008 7:30:28 AM

radnor said:
Well, working with VMware, depends how many VMmachines youll be running. They all have theie owm memory and HDD space. So HDD and RAM you really need to have. A SQL server inst that memory consuming by it self, depends what database(s) you gonna slap there. All depends on the services. There are several ways to do this, imho i belive more ram is nice (you dont wanna put 700MB per virtual machine, at least 1gb Per VM, Windows XP in this case), plus servers, plus other services that might be hanging in there.

In a server, 8 Gb RAM isnt much trust me. Hes talking about a Multi-Purpose server.

@Sepuko
I should say i agree a bit with you. But hey, he want sa stable server, sure, lets help him. I have a stable Linux "Server" back Home. Its a silly Palomino Athlon XP 1500+ with 768MB ( And a **** load of disks in JOBD). Its basicly doing file sharing (Hard disk loading, Backups, Pron Colection, and loads of more files.), Print Server , and has some nifty COD, CS and other servers running. Hey its good for what i do with it.

He wants to run it high, with nifty processes and loads of firepower. Sure thing. Lets help him get the best bang for his buck. I just needed to know more what hes gonna really do, to help him a bit more.

THIS is an example of a good reply.

1. I have seen SQL server hit around the 4GB limit, so yes, it can consume lots of resources.
2. The more it can handle the better.

After discussions though, I think I'm just going to go with a standard desktop machine and max it out. I don't feel like shelling out $400 just for a mobo.

Thanks for your kind reply though.
!