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Converting desktop parts to server

Last response: in Systems
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January 25, 2010 3:29:55 PM

APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: Next 3 months.

BUDGET RANGE: As low as possible. Goal is to reuse existing parts.

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: Serving audio/video/pictures to PS3. Hosting web site. Backup primary PC. Basic home file server duties.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED:
CORSAIR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Desktop Memory Model VS2GBKIT667D2 - Retail
Western Digital Caviar RE WD2500YS 250GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive -Bare Drive
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Conroe 2.4GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80557E6600 - Retail
ASUS P5B-E LGA 775 Intel P965 Express ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-550HT 550W ATX12V V2.3 / EPS12V V2.91 SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Active ... - Retail
SAPPHIRE 100189L Radeon X1900GT 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 CrossFireX Support VIVO Video Card - Retail

PARTS REQUIRED:
case
hard drive(s)

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA

PARTS PREFERENCES: None.

OVERCLOCKING: No.

SLI OR CROSSFIRE: No.

MONITOR RESOLUTION: None.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
Due to an extremely long and boring saga, I'm going to have 1.75 computers. I'd like to take the extra parts I have and build a home file server. I'm concerned about two things. First, what's the best way to configure the system for reliability. (Is RAID worth it?) Second, what can I do to minimize the power consumption of hardware that was intended for desktop use?

Example: video card - that's a waste of power.

Thanks for the input.

-Gak Toid


a b B Homebuilt system
January 25, 2010 11:20:01 PM

Don't overclock and don't disable power saving features in the BIOS. Use a low-power fanless video card instead of a Radeon X1900GT. You don't really need RAID, but you could implement RAID 1. Regardless, if your data is important, it should be backed up on a regular basis.
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January 25, 2010 11:33:21 PM

Video card model suggestions? Too bad Tom's doesn't keep power usage charts like their performance ones.

Any other hardware you'd replace with something more appropriate for the task? My budget is non-zero, but I'd like to reuse as much as realistically possible.

Thanks.

-Gak Toid
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Related resources
a b B Homebuilt system
January 26, 2010 1:28:43 AM

An HD 3450 like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is fine. However, it isn't necessarily a good investment as your power requirements will only drop by 10-15 watts. http://www.legitreviews.com/article/652/13/

The rest is fine, i.e., you could build a system that uses less power, but the savings aren't worth it if you need to spend more than the power savings over several years. Read the HD 3450 review and check the idle power requirements of their test system (your server will be idle most of the time).
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a b B Homebuilt system
January 26, 2010 2:41:48 AM

Quite literally, go on ebay and get the cheapest graphics card you can. Servers don't need much power. I got a Radeon x300 for $7 shipped for my server. You could even sell the one you have.

If it'll be your backup place then getting a RAID 1 is pointless since you already have the stuff in two places. I'd say 1.5 terabyte drives are the best for the money. I'd say either the samsung or the WD for $109 if you need it.

Just get the cheapest case with free shipping on newegg that doesn't have "my hand was cut off" or "it collapsed" reviews. Unless you want to upgrade your actual computer's case and use your old one.

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