Home server build - Asking for advice on CPU/Mobo

I really want to learn about servers, and I figure the best way to do that is build one from scratch and learn it the trial and error way. As a student, I get a free license for Windows Server 2008, so I was thinking about using that as an OS, but Ubuntu is always a solid option (and would force me to get more familiar with Linux beyond simple user use.)

Since I have never built a box to be used as a server, I am hesitant on what to purchase. I am wanting to use the server for File Sharing/FTP and Web Hosting.

I already have a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 RPM 1.5 TB SATA 32 MB Cache, and I was thinking about picking up a second one.

As for a motherboard and Processor, I was thinking:

Intel E5200 - 2.5GHz and a GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L


AMD Athlon II x2 3.0GHz with either GIGABYTE GA-MA785GM-US2H or GIGABYTE GA-MA770T-UD3P

I want to go with 2GB ram for now, I haven't found anywhere that recommends going to 4GB for a home server.

Even though the CPUs are both low watts, I plan on getting about a 600 or 700 watt to make sure I have enough power for my HDDs and room to grow.

The Antec Three Hundred looks like it has enough bays for growth.

Anyone have an opinion about using Intel or AMD over the other, or any issues that anyone has come across building a home server with any of that hardware? Or any other suggestions that anyone has?

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  1. Best answer
    Memory isn't as important as an independent OS drive. You could have 100 GB RAM, but if you put the OS on the same drive as your shared files, the OS would choke when you do file sharing AND running apps or updating server. It's a mistake I made when I did my home server.

    Get a small HDD for OS. If you can afford it, get a 30GB SSD. It will FLY. Put your data on the TB drives. Disable onboard RAID or you're asking for a major disaster when (not if) there's data corruption. Bad idea on overspending on psu. Get a 400-500W. Mine is 275W. Use to savings to buy an APC UPS. Yup, I coded my server to shut down after blackout and set up my BIOS to post when power comes back.
  2. Thats a great idea. I think I could get a 30GB SSD instead of another 1.5TB for now and then expand when I need to.

    So you think I should pass on raiding anything and just have the drives connected, thats what I was thinking, because I don't want to have one die and lose everything.

    I've decided to go with Ubuntu instead because I want to learn linux more than just as a simple user, but someone else suggested that I try some VMs also, but recommended I go with DDR3 Ram. Does this sound like a good idea, or should I stick with DDR2 and go to an Athlon II X4?
  3. Software RAID has never been as reliable as hardware RAID. There's a REASON why RAID cards are expensive. They're reliable. If you must raid, disable RAID in bios, and use Linux RAID instead. It's pretty popular among budget builders. The software RAID is only good for RAID 5, IMO, cuz if one drive craps out, you unplug it and plug in a new drive.

    VM doesn't warranty DDR3, but if you're buying a quad core, it makes sense to get a mobo with DDR3 support cuz you CAN reuse the ram in future upgrades, as opposite to DDR2. i.e. X4 620 AM3.
  4. Best answer selected by jakwgrav.
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