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Home Media Server + Virtualization

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  • Media Server
  • Virtualization
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October 8, 2009 4:38:52 PM

Hello -

I'm thinking about building a new machine to be used as a Home Media Server and an internal web server for development purposes. See the details below and thanks in advance for your advise.

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: ASAP (1 to 3 days)
BUDGET: $500.00
SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Media Server, Virtual server(s) host to host virtual instances of sql server, windows 2008 server etc...
PARTS NOT REQUIRED: Keyboard, mouse, monitor...no other peripharals, just the box.
PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com, microcenter.com
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
PARTS PREFERENCES: would like a mid-ATX to a full tower case.
OVERCLOCKING: Maybe
SLI OR CROSSFIRE: Don't know what this is?
MONITOR RESOLUTION: N/A

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: (e.g.: Noise is definetely an issue so I'd like to be able to build a quiet PC. We have about 500gigs (and growing) worth of movies, pictures and music that I'd like to back up constantly so HD space is another thing to consider. I haven't decided if I'm going to build NAS or Just back up to another machine on the network. Any suggestions? I already have an old P4 that I can use for this. I don't need software since I have a copy of Windows Home Server all access to all the other software I need.

If I had to build this system without any advise, these are the components I would chosse (based on reading around the web):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - 2 X hardrives + another 160 gig hd for the os I have at home
Not sure about the processor but these are the ones I've looked at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - I'd like to try overclocking and I heard that this is a very easy chip to overclock
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - memory
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - board.

Thanks again in advance

More about : home media server virtualization

October 8, 2009 5:53:50 PM

Overclocking a server isn't always a good idea. Servers should be as stable as possible, therefore you should consider buying a more powerful CPU if need be. The AMD Athlon II X4 620 should meet or exceed your requirements. When running VMs, disk I/O often is the bottleneck, not the CPU.
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October 14, 2009 3:34:29 PM

Thanks for the quick reply. I'll keep that in mind. Anyone else has an opinion? experiences with overclocking servers?

Thanks
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October 14, 2009 4:53:11 PM

If you're going to be running virtual servers, you're going to need more RAM. With my system (listed below), I can only get Server2008, Server2003(SQL), Server2003(IIS) and one XP client (each authorized 2GB). At the very least, double up on the RAM.

-Wolf sends
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October 14, 2009 5:46:16 PM

Crossfire/SLI are dual video cards for gaming systems. You're also missing a video card. PSU and optical drive in your list.

A couple ideas to think about:
Case: Antec Sonata III w/ 500W PSU $110 Designed to be a quiet case and has that efficient Earthwatts 500W PSU.

CPU and MB: Athlon II X4 630 AM3 2.8GHz with GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H AM3 MB NewEgg combo deal for $200 - $12 savings.
The 785G MB has the IGP HD 4200 video chip covering your video card requirements.

DDR3 RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaw 4GB DDR3 1600 $86

SAMSUNG DVD burner $30
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October 14, 2009 5:58:05 PM

If you're interested in getting some overclocking experience the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition is an easy way to start. But you can also use the II X4 630 and GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H MB for some overclocking too.
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H overclocking review (you'll want to read the entire review)
X4 630 Overclocking notes
If you think you might want to keep your system OC'd 24/7 a stronger CPU cooler is probably a good idea.
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm CPU Cooler $34
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October 14, 2009 7:33:58 PM

Wolfshadw said:
If you're going to be running virtual servers, you're going to need more RAM. With my system (listed below), I can only get Server2008, Server2003(SQL), Server2003(IIS) and one XP client (each authorized 2GB). At the very least, double up on the RAM.

-Wolf sends


Hey thanks for the reply man!

So are you doing any overclocking? What's your opinion on overclocking servers?

thanks again
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October 14, 2009 7:38:34 PM

WR2 said:
If you're interested in getting some overclocking experience the Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition is an easy way to start. But you can also use the II X4 630 and GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H MB for some overclocking too.
GIGABYTE GA-MA785GMT-UD2H overclocking review (you'll want to read the entire review)
X4 630 Overclocking notes
If you think you might want to keep your system OC'd 24/7 a stronger CPU cooler is probably a good idea.
ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2 92mm CPU Cooler $34


I think I'd be ok with just the integrated video right? Keep in mind this machine will only be used to serve media and to host some of my server side code. It will not even have a monitor connected to it.

As far as overclocking goes...what are your toughts about overclocking a server?

Thanks for all the great advise!
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October 14, 2009 7:48:27 PM

You're good with just the IGP video - especially in a headless server.

For a personal home server (intra-net. file/media server, print server) and a test & development system like you're considering - you're the boss!
You can do things at home it might not be wise to consider in a business environment.
I think its safe for you to do test overclocking and benchmarking your work. Checking the difference in performance in VMs for example. I feel you'd notice and correct any stability issues that OC'ing might cause if you push the hardware too far.

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October 14, 2009 8:23:56 PM

WR2 said:
You're good with just the IGP video - especially in a headless server.

For a personal home server (intra-net. file/media server, print server) and a test & development system like you're considering - you're the boss!
You can do things at home it might not be wise to consider in a business environment.
I think its safe for you to do test overclocking and benchmarking your work. Checking the difference in performance in VMs for example. I feel you'd notice and correct any stability issues that OC'ing might cause if you push the hardware too far.



Yeah this would solely be for home stuff. I liked the case you recommended, however, I like the one I selected because it has a little more slots (for future expansion). Did you see this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Now... I definitely like that the case you recommend also comes with a PSU for $109 that's a great deal. I'll work on getting all my components into a wish list then I'll post the link to hear your opinion.

I'm still undecided about the processor. what would I be giving up if I went with an athlon vs a phenom?

Thanks for all the help man! You rock!
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Best solution

October 14, 2009 10:00:05 PM

There's no doubt the Antec 900 is an excellent case choice. It is oriented more toward a gaming platform with one or more big video cards in the build.
Here is a side by side comparison of a few Antec cases - you can check the feature list for things like # of drive bays, etc.
300 / Sonota / 900
You can find a review of all three cases at Hardware Secrets:Sonata III 500 Case

Either CPU far exceeds the requirements for a good home server CPU where the demands will actually be fairly light.
So it's down to which CPU would be best for your SQL server and Wn2008 server testing and development. I can think of scenarios where either would have advantages: X2 550 for it's higher stock clocks and X4 620 or 630 having the four cores.
Since you're OK with the idea of doing some overclocking - you could get the higher clocks and four cores together.
A year or two down the road I think the dual vs quad core question would be a lot easier to decide - in favor of the quads.

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October 14, 2009 10:17:50 PM

dannya said:
Hey thanks for the reply man!

So are you doing any overclocking? What's your opinion on overclocking servers?

thanks again


No. I don't overclock any of my systems. I would tend to agree with GhislainG, though in that server stability is more favorable than server speed. Of course, we're not talking about a production server. Besides, most server software isn't that CPU intensive.

-Wolf sends
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