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System designed to be left on 24/7

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April 20, 2010 8:22:56 PM


APPROXIMATE PURCHASE DATE: next month or two BUDGET RANGE: under $3000 (expecting 1-2k)

SYSTEM USAGE FROM MOST TO LEAST IMPORTANT: It will be on almost all the time, this is really my only concern. This computer will store data sent to it via web server for my small business. It will also monitor various stock charts throughout the day.

PARTS NOT REQUIRED: I have built several computers so I'm really just looking for tips on what parts/brands tend to fail when left on for long periods of time

PREFERRED WEBSITE(S) FOR PARTS: newegg.com

PARTS PREFERENCES: currently planning on doing an i5 build with Crucial RealSSD c300 (I'm assuming SSDs are the best way to go for a system that's left on, but please let me know your thoughts on this model or if I'm wrong)

OVERCLOCKING: No

MONITOR RESOLUTION: 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 (will be hooking up 2 monitors at first and adding an additional 2 at a later date)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: Here is what it boils down to, I need a stable, fast computer that can be left on for weeks at a time. I'm assuming PSU, CPU, and HDD/SDD are the three parts that will have potential issues with being left on for long periods of time. Please provide me with your thoughts and input.

More about : system designed left

April 20, 2010 8:27:13 PM

CPU/Mobo: i7-930 and Asus P6X58D Premium $575
RAM: G.Skill Pi 3x2 GB 1600 mhz CAS Latency 7 $190
GPU: HD 5770 $150 (can go cheaper here, possibly the HD 5670, or another 5xxx series card with mulitple monitor support)
SSD: Corsair Nova 128 GB $369 (or two/three small ones in either RAID 1 or RAID 5)
HDD: 3x Seagate 7200.12 1 TB $255 (RAID 5)
PSU: SeaSonic 650W 80+ Gold $160
Case/Optical: Coolermaster 690 and cheap SATA DVD burner $92

Total: $1,791

The i7-930 is better for multi-tasking and workstation purposes than the i5-750. The LGA1366 socket is also more future proof if you need some CPU power behind the system.

SSDs are good for high end systems, buy you really need something to store actual data on. SSDs don't like to constantly write data, so it's better to use just for the OS and programs. I included a bunch of 1 TB drives so you can do a RAID 5 setup. RAID 5 has increased read/write speeds over a single drive, but also has some data backup. If a drive fails, the setup can still operate until the failure is fixed, so it's perfect for an always on system.

The PSU I put in the build is a highly efficient unit. It's also one of the highest quality brands you can get.
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April 20, 2010 9:07:18 PM

I meant RAID 5. Or at least my description was of RAID 5...

I fixed it.
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April 20, 2010 9:08:00 PM

One quick correction. You'd need 4 drives for RAID 10. 3 drives is fine for RAID 5.

Build looks excellent otherwise. I'd suggest stepping down to the 5670 and possibly look at adding a ~$100ish RAID card.
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April 20, 2010 9:32:54 PM

Thanks I appreciate the input. One thing about the storage is that while I will be storing data I do not expect it to exceed 300gigs. Most of the large data is stored on an external server, this computer will simply connect to it a few times per day to update the most recent set (mostly text files). So it should not be constantly writing new data.

With that in mind do you still think the HDDs are necessary?
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April 20, 2010 9:49:54 PM

To be honest, I have no idea. On one had, I'd say you should still stick in some regular HDDs (maybe the 500 GB models). On the other, I'm thinking you don't need them. However, to get that amount of storage just with SSDs is going to cost a fortune.

So I guess I would lean towards keeping the regular drives in there, mainly to keep costs down.
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April 20, 2010 9:52:02 PM

You're not gaming? You're not processing video? You're not doing CAD? For the use you stated almost anything that Dell sells would work for you. You don't need a fast i7 and expensive motherboard, the cheapest i3 and a $100 motherboard would work for you. An SSD will make the computer faster for booting and starting up lots of apps, but for a machine that runs all the time it won't give as many speed advantages. It does produce less heat and use less power than a mechanical hard drive, but this is a small factor.

My home computer runs a WD 750 black and it seems pretty fast. My work computer and some of our other CAD computers are built with Velociraptors and they seem as fast to me as our one system that was built with an SSD. You could get a small SSD for the boot drive and a conventional hard drive for data files and this combo wouldn't be all that expensive, but I don't think the SSD would benefit you that much.

So a $400 Dell would work for you, but if you want something of higher quality and want to build it yourself it would cost you a little bit more. If you want a little more speed and maybe an SSD for the boot drive, that ups it a little. If you aren't buying expensive video cards for gaming, you can build a very fast machine and stay under $1000. The last 3 machines I've built for CAD with i5-750 processors and 8GB of ram averaged only $1200 each, and those are very fast machines.

Your stated budget is more than enough so that gives you the luxury of selecting premium components for reliability, and some speed advantages.

Any normal, quality computer product will run 24/7 for a long time without problems. We started our little company 9 years ago and ran our original Win98 computers 24/7 for 4 years with no problems except for some failed hard drives. We bought new faster computers then with WinXP and ran them 24/7 for another 4 years, some for 5 years, with no failures of any kind. I got a new workstation for myself about 16 months ago and it has been running 24/7 since with no problem. I did spec a little higher quality components for it though.
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April 20, 2010 10:48:18 PM

I'd agree that for your system's purposes, an SSD is a waste. It's benefits come from fast boots and application loading. For a system that on 24/7, it's going to boot once, load your apps once, and then sit there waiting for it's next instruction.

As far as what components for a 24/7 system, I think cadder is correct in that most any quality, mainstream components will do. My HTPC is on 24/7 as well as this system. The HTPC (aside from maintenance reboots) has been online since Nov 2007 and is comprised of a Gigabyte motherboard, Antec Power supply, Seagate hard drive, and Intel Core2Duo E6600.

-Wolf sends
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Best solution

April 21, 2010 12:37:51 AM

@zhemin: I'm building to the budget. And I believe I know a hell of lot more than you about putting builds together. Just take a look around a little bit. And way not to flame.

SSDs aren't just faster. They use less energy as well (important for always on systems). Not only that but if you're dealing with market data, every microsecond may matter. Keep in mind that the build I posted was also before a real usage was given.

I did consider an i3/H55 build, but frankly, with that budget, I can't justify building a dead end system (LGA1156). Nor can I justify getting anything but the best. Could a Dell suffice? Yes, buy you'd get power quality, no ability to upgrade and poor power efficiency. In short, it would work, but it wouldn't be the best for what it needs to do.
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April 22, 2010 12:22:20 AM

Best answer selected by shazzmoe.
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April 22, 2010 1:48:03 AM

One thing I forgot to ask, does anyone know of a good power back up for when power to the building goes out? And an alarm that could either make a sound or call a phone when that happens.
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April 22, 2010 10:47:13 AM

For your intentions, a server would have suited you much better. Servers are made to stay on 24/7, a desktop is not. Do people run a Desktop 24/7 yes, but things can also go wrong. With a server you can have a back up psu, you can swap out fans or hard drives without having to power down, and it allows things to be backed up without hassle.

I would strongly consider buying a server like a dell 1900 on ebay, a lot of times you can find them with over a year of warranty still.
http://cgi.ebay.com/EXCELLENT-DELL-1900-QUAD-CORE-STILL...

you could swap the drives out for Solid state if you really wanted to.


as far as back up batteries, look into APC, they are about the best in the business.
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