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New Build for Company Server

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November 11, 2009 8:13:18 PM

Hi All :hello: 
First post, but I've been reading and using TH for a while now.

I have been going back and forth on some things, but I think I'm almost set. I just wanted to run some things by you guys first.

I am building a new Server tower for our company (I'm just the IT guy :sol:  )
We have been using a (bad) workstation with SBS 2003 R2
Its been about 18 months, and we're noticing a bit of a slowdown, so they've come to me for an upgrade.
So I want to migrate.

Here's my (basic) NewEgg list:

Intel Xeon E5520 (Nehalem) 2.26GHz (x 2)
LGA 1366 80W Quad-Core Server Processor Model BX80602E5520 – Retail
Item #: N82E16819117185

SUPERMICRO Dual Intel Xeon 5500 series Server Motherboard
MBD-X8DAL-3-O Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX Motherboard – Retail
Item #: N82E16813182191

Antec Twelve Hundred
Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129043

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm (x 2)
Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler (Rev.2)- Retail
Item #: N82E16835186134

CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX
850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139009

Western Digital Caviar Black (x 6)
WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822136319

Kingston 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 (x 2)
SDRAM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) ECC Registered Server Memory Model KVR1066D3S4R7SK3/6GI - Retail
Item #: N82E16820134944

To me it seems like a solid machine. We only have 12 employees, but we're thinking of expanding dramatically (maybe doubling in the next 3 years).
I mentioned that we have SBS 2003 R2, and maybe when SBS 2008 R2 gets released we'll upgrade.

I'm getting other stuff, too (SATA PCI-E Card and a DVD Burner)
We have a BUFFALO TeraStation (1TB - 4 x 500GB) for backup hooked up to an eSATA (which why I'm adding SATA ports... gonna use the on-board 6 for a raid (or two?)).

I wanted to know if I could swap out a better MOBO that would fit in that same case, or a better case and mobo for those CPUs.

We're thinking of putting it in a bottom cabinet of a build-in. The space is 23.8"h x 23"d x 34.9"w
I'm laying it on it's side (so the 8" width of the case becomes the height). I think the depth is okay, and probably shouldn't be any deeper. Any ATX-E compatible case seemed to be too big. We can probably remove the drawers above the cabinet, giving it a few more inches of height. If we do, we'd keep it upright, but turn it so the 8" width become the depth. We plan on ventilating the space plenty (installing fans, grilles, and filters), but if the size is a problem, we'll leave it out in the open somewhere.

Another thing I wasnt sure about is the PSU. It seems like its a good quality PSU, but I'm not sure if the wattage (850W) is enough for all 6 HDDs and both CPUs, and all 8 fans + lights, etc.
I don't plan on using a graphics card (wanted to order one anyway :-P)

ANY help or comments would be GREATLY appreciated.

More about : build company server

November 11, 2009 9:31:21 PM

Actually, I wanted to modify something.
I found a faster DDR3 RAM from Kingston...

Its Registered (w/ Parity) DDR3 1333 w/ Thermal Sensors

and its cheaper.
Its still under the SERVER Memory category, too.

Is this overall better? and will it work alright in the Mobo I have selected?

edit:
sorry. Didn't mean to bump my own thread like that. Didn't realize I could edit that easily. :( 
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November 11, 2009 11:12:39 PM

seems like a solid choices but you can swap out the WD black for a samsung f3
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November 11, 2009 11:41:50 PM

Yes, looks like a solid build, but a number of things:

1) The motherboard does not have an integrated graphics chipset. You will need a graphics card. Any low-end card (like the HD4350 PCI-Ex16) will do.
2) I can't agree with using the motherboard's integrated RAID controller for an actual business. Look to get an actual hardware RAID controller. Newegg has the Highpoint RocketRAID 2320 with 8 SATAII ports and a PCI-Ex4 interface
3) You say you have a Buffalo TeraStation connected via E-SATA, but I'm not seeing any E-SATA connectors on the motherboard. Probably going to need an E-SATA card as well.
4) I'd like to know the specs of your current SBS server workstation. I know for a fact that Exchange and Sharepoint are extreme memory hogs. 12 GB of RAM *should* be enough, but if it's in the budget, why not max it out at 24 GB?
5) Given the design of the case, I'm not too keen on laying it on it's side (air flow considerations). If at all possible, keep it upright. The power supply you've selected should be more than enough to run the rig.

-Wolf sends
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November 12, 2009 3:30:02 AM

Wolfshadw said:
Yes, looks like a solid build, but a number of things:

1) The motherboard does not have an integrated graphics chipset. You will need a graphics card. Any low-end card (like the HD4350 PCI-Ex16) will do.
2) I can't agree with using the motherboard's integrated RAID controller for an actual business. Look to get an actual hardware RAID controller. Newegg has the Highpoint RocketRAID 2320 with 8 SATAII ports and a PCI-Ex4 interface
3) You say you have a Buffalo TeraStation connected via E-SATA, but I'm not seeing any E-SATA connectors on the motherboard. Probably going to need an E-SATA card as well.
4) I'd like to know the specs of your current SBS server workstation. I know for a fact that Exchange and Sharepoint are extreme memory hogs. 12 GB of RAM *should* be enough, but if it's in the budget, why not max it out at 24 GB?
5) Given the design of the case, I'm not too keen on laying it on it's side (air flow considerations). If at all possible, keep it upright. The power supply you've selected should be more than enough to run the rig.

-Wolf sends



1.had a card when I was first looking... Took it off when I found a mobo with onboard video... Had since found this one, so yea, I'll throw one back in.

2. Was thinking about a RAID controller. Saw that it had one onboard and thought I wouldn't need one.

3. We currently use a simple adapter that connects a eSATA port to the MOBO using a standard SATA cord. I figured the eSATA port on top if the case would connect similarly.

4. We currently have 4GB of DDR2 RAM in the desktop we use now. 12GB of DDR3 RAM that is faster overall will be signifabtly better. If we decide later that we want more, we can always upgrade to 24GB.

5. I would lay it down on the non-window side. The large fan would probably need the most space. I wanted that to get the 35" width of the cabinet, rather then only giving it the ~1" left when stood up.

Sorry for any typos, I'm using my iPhone.
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November 12, 2009 11:45:37 AM

I should have looked closer at the case. It looks like there's a pass-through for an exterior cable to the interior of the case. Your Buffalo TeraStation could use that to connect to your SATA Controller card. Your DVD Drive could connect to the other port of the SATA Controller card, leaving you with all six SATA ports on the motherboard for your hard drives. I can't tell if the front E-SATA port would connect to a SATA port on the motherboard or a USB header.

I'm still not too keen on using the motherboards RAID controller, but hey, if it works for you, so be it. You can always go back and add a controller card later if you deem it necessary.

-Wolf sends
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November 12, 2009 1:29:59 PM

what kinda business you starting?
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November 12, 2009 1:39:09 PM

Wolfshadw said:
2) I can't agree with using the motherboard's integrated RAID controller for an actual business. Look to get an actual hardware RAID controller. Newegg has the Highpoint RocketRAID 2320 with 8 SATAII ports and a PCI-Ex4 interface


I decided to look up that card. Reviews say its slow. I'm sure, in general, this will work much much much faster than our current system, but do you have any hands-on experience with that card specifically? (because its the cheapest on NewEgg for that many SATA ports, and I would like to get it if you can personally vouch for it)

Another review on PriceGrabber said he's going to get an areca ARC-1220 to replace his RocketRAID... its much more expensive (and a bit out of our price range at the moment).

Just to mention, when I was first asked about the new hardware, I said it would be between $2,400 - $3,000. Adding either RAID controller is pushing that high mark.
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November 12, 2009 1:50:25 PM

obsidian86 said:
what kinda business you starting?


Not starting - the company has been in business for nearly 20yrs - more like "starting to grow"... Until 2005 its really been a 2 person team. Then since 2005 they've added 10 people (myself in 2007).

So the trend is a little scary as an IT guy - constantly adding/changing workstations and user accounts, etc. :p 

We mostly do AutoCAD Drafting, but we manage projects (about to jump into MS Project - potentially Project Server) and we'll be using Peachtree Quantum soon...

So the server is MOSTLY used as a File server. The SBS gives us Exchange, too. The only databases come with the software we install (we had MAXWELL, and we'll be using Peachtree).

We have a defined drafting department, Project Managers, Estimators, Accounting/HR, etc, but overall its not a large small business company. Thats sort of where this server comes in. For the moment, and maybe over the next year or two, I don't think we're going to need anything outrageously Top-Of-The-Line, but I didn't want to get anything close to EOL. I figured the 1366 CPUs are basically brand new, and will hopefully last at least 3 years (with any expansions we make in the future)

ubernoobie said:
seems like a solid choices but you can swap out the WD black for a samsung f3


ubernoobie... I never even knew Samsung made hdds... :sweat: 
Are they really good? Because I've been feeling WD Blacks for some time now, and I prefer them over the rest, but apparently MY "rest" and actual "rest" aren't the same...
There aren't many reviews on newegg, and there's only 500GB or 1TB (nothing in the middle?).


edit:
merged my posts
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November 12, 2009 5:07:13 PM

I don't have personal hands on experience with any HighPoint RocketRAID cards. My experience comes from when I was building my server and was playing around with the idea of adding a RAID 5 controller for storage. I did some research here on Tom's and elsewhere. It was pretty much unanimous in that a dedicated controller card (with it's own memory and controller) would perform better than an motherboard integrated RAID controller. I didn't move forward with the idea because of cost ($300 for the controller card at the time + $100 each for three hard drives).

-Wolf sends

btw. My server components are listed below.
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November 12, 2009 5:43:29 PM

Wolfshadw said:
I don't have personal hands on experience with any HighPoint RocketRAID cards. My experience comes from when I was building my server and was playing around with the idea of adding a RAID 5 controller for storage. I did some research here on Tom's and elsewhere. It was pretty much unanimous in that a dedicated controller card (with it's own memory and controller) would perform better than an motherboard integrated RAID controller. I didn't move forward with the idea because of cost ($300 for the controller card at the time + $100 each for three hard drives).

-Wolf sends

btw. My server components are listed below.


Thanks Wolfshadw

I'm going to try out the on-board RAID controller first. Then, if we need it, we'll look into getting either the HighPoint or the Antec RAID controllers.

I'm switching out the 6 WD Caviar Blacks (640GB) for 6 Samsung Spinpoint F3s (1TB) (I might drop it to 5 F3s though)

Probably gonna go with RAID5 using the MOBO for now

my DVD Burner and eSata will use the 2 SATA ports on the card (the eSATA port on the case's exterior does plug directly into a SATA port)
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November 12, 2009 5:54:43 PM

Here's my final* NewEgg list:

Intel Xeon E5520 (Nehalem) 2.26GHz (x 2)
LGA 1366 80W Quad-Core Server Processor Model BX80602E5520 – Retail
Item #: N82E16819117185

SUPERMICRO Dual Intel Xeon 5500 series Server Motherboard
MBD-X8DAL-3-O Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5500 ATX Motherboard – Retail
Item #: N82E16813182191

Antec Twelve Hundred
Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case - Retail
Item #: N82E16811129043

ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 7 Pro 92mm (x 2)
Fluid Dynamic CPU Cooler (Rev.2)- Retail
Item #: N82E16835186134

CORSAIR CMPSU-850TX
850W ATX12V 2.2 / EPS12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply - Retail
Item #: N82E16817139009

SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 (x 6)
HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Item #: N82E16822152185

Kingston 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 (x 2)
SDRAM ECC Registered w/Parity DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Server Memory Model KVR1333D3S4R9SK3/6G - Retail
Item #: N82E16820139055

SYBA SD-LP-PEX2I PCI Express Low Profile SATA II Controller Card
Item #: N82E16816124017

GIGABYTE GV-R435OC-512I Radeon HD 4350
512MB 64-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Low Profile Ready Video Card - Retail
Item #: N82E16814125251

PLEXTOR Black
2MB Cache SATA 24X DVD/CD Writer LightScribe Support - OEM
Item #: N82E16827249054

Total Price (with other small accessories) = $2,668.15


*=final list to submit for approval. I'll let you guys know if anything changes
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November 16, 2009 5:18:21 PM

Wanted to thank everyone again.
I ordered most of everything.
Still need to get the HDD, but the Samsung were out of stock.
The Plextor DVD Burner was out too.

Everyone was pretty impressed, and I'm excited. I'll post pics when I'm done.
:-)

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November 19, 2009 9:45:35 PM

Wanted to update my status... I'm doing the install and ran into my first snag..
One of the heatsinks overlaps one of the RAM slots on the Mobo... If you turn both heatsink 90 degrees, I'm pretty sure the other one will cover a slot... What I did was install the RAM first... Now, this way everything gets installed, but the bottom fin is REALLY close to the RAM... I can't install the fan in it's normal location on the fins, I need to stick the bottom of the fan enclosure in the 3rd or 4th, whic isn't really a problem, and only slightly bends the fins it's between... My question is:
how close is too close to the RAM? I mean, I can fit a piece of paper, so it's not touching... And there is TONs of circulation... As long as it's not touching, is it okay?
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