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File Server / HTPC / Encoding Motherboard

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October 15, 2009 7:35:50 AM

Hello I am new here been reading around thought I'd join and ask a few questions.

Big request, I am after a Motherboard that I can use as a HTPC, File Server and possibly use for encoding video (grueling process on your CPU). If this is a ridiculous expectation tell me now. :) 

I want something reasonable, (not a ridiculously large motherboard with 24 Ram slots) just something with enough PCI/PCI-e slots to have a video card possibly Two raid controllers and a TV Tuner card (for the HTPC aspect) Dual or single CPU socket, 775 or 1366. Encoding would be super fast with Two CPU's, but you can't have everything. This bad boy could be running up to 40 HDD's

Does anybody know of anything that might fit that criteria? I like my Intel CPU's, however I have heard that AMD's are better for File servers, but no one has given a reason why they think this. If you know please let me know :) 

Also if you know anything about SAS cards please fill me in, I haven't really looked into them much but on the weekend I saw a bloke who had one which had 4 cables running from it powering 4 hard drives each. I cant find very much on the net about it and how it is done, if you know anymore please fill me in :) 

Thanks in advance.
Rhys
a c 235 V Motherboard
October 15, 2009 4:03:40 PM

Quote:
I like my Intel CPU's, however I have heard that AMD's are better for File servers, but no one has given a reason why they think this.
Intel now has the fastest processors, but for a file server it doesn't matter. Even an old Xeon or Opteron is fast enough.

I presume that HTPC with a couple Opteron or Xeon CPUs and 40 hard disks will be rack mounted and it won't be in your living room. Proper cooling and a UPS probably are required. Why not buy a real server and SAS enclosures and rack mount everything?
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October 15, 2009 4:27:22 PM

Hey Rhys,

I currently use a Q6600 CPU/Nvidia 9300 integrated GPU for a computer that functions as a multipurpose HTPC/File/VMware server and it works really well for me. If you are planning on running Windows 7 MC, watch out for this issue if you decide to go the AMD route with an integrated GPU:

http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/t/79437.aspx

As ones of the posts in the thread suggests though the newer Phoenom/Athlon II CPUs might resolve this issue, I don't have one so have been unable to test. Or use a dedicated graphics card.

If you go with Linux on this bad boy stick with an Nvidia GPU, I've heard there are fewer issues than with ATI.
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October 15, 2009 5:36:26 PM



I have considered going the whole 9 yards and getting a server rackmount etc but I decided to get one of the huge Mountain Mod extended ascensions and run both motherboards, my file server and my Gaming PC in one, the case is built to allow this, and yes I know it will sound like a jet engine, however I will have it WC'd :p  ) What I am asking is Is it possible and/or viable make it operate as a HTPC on the file server also? I have my TV right next to my PC so its really not an issue, I also do alot of encoding, so if viable I would be looking at putting a powerful processor (or two) onto the board and using it for that too.

flyhir I'd either go windows or media portal from what I have read, but this is just an idea at the moment really looking into possibility :p 

Tell me if I am crazy, and give some constructive criticism. Thanks for your help so far.
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a c 235 V Motherboard
October 15, 2009 6:18:41 PM

I wouldn't install such a system anywhere other than in a computer room, but it sure is possible. What OS will you use? A real server OS like Windows Server 2008? The file server part is a non-issue, as long as you get a motherboard that will handle the required SAS controllers. That's the tricky part because unlike real servers, controllers are not fully tested with them, if tested at all. Installing several controllers definitely doesn't make it easier. Will you use SAS or SATA hard disks?
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October 15, 2009 11:06:01 PM

what would you need 40hdd for? 80TB of data?
what kind of backup system will you use?
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October 16, 2009 12:03:04 AM

I will use SATA Drives, I am in it for pure storage no speed neccessary. I've read about alot of different types of controllers, and I am still pretty clueless, I am running a small 4TB raid 5 at the moment using a small Highpoint ROCKETRAID card but I wouldnt know how to go with the SAS technology. I have seen the EATX TYAN motherboards with dual CPU sockets and 8 onboard SAS ports for a relatively cheap price (entry level server board) These SAS ports are capable of powering 4 HDD's per port if using SATA drives are they not? if so would one of these boards be a good idea?

Yes i would most likely use windows server OS. I am looking for expandability not necessarily just going to throw 80TB in there when it is built, I only have about 20 on hand at the moment that I would start with.

thanks for your help so far
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a c 235 V Motherboard
October 16, 2009 1:41:53 AM

Are you sure the Tyan motherboards are not SSI EEB? At least the newer S7020 and S7025 are SSI EEB, not EATX (though they are the same size). The optional on-board SAS controller for the two motherboards that I checked have 2 SAS ports and they support 8 hard disks. Which motherboard has 8 SAS ports?

Did you look at the P3218 controller (a MegaRAID controller) that supports up to 32 SAS or SATA II hard disks. That should work and at least they provide a list of compatible motherboards.
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October 16, 2009 6:18:50 AM

I was looking at the Tyan S7002, priced under $300, 8 onboard SAS and 6 SATA
http://www.tyan.com/product_board_detail.aspx?pid=632

and yes I was looking at the cards but that requires SATA expanders and they seem very hard to find apart from the external racks.

Yes you are right about the form factor.. I have no idea what that is and how it works, I guess I just presumed it was a EATX board.

Let me confirm I would only be able to use the Xeon proccessors on the board?
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a c 235 V Motherboard
October 16, 2009 1:00:17 PM

Because of the chipset (Intel 5520), Xeon Processor 5500 series are required. Not all S7002 include 8 SAS ports. You require a SSI EEB compatible case to mount it.
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