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Small Business Server (THIS IS FOR BUSINESS USE)

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March 17, 2011 3:00:26 AM

Approximate Purchase Date: One Week (as soon as i feel confident in the build)

Budget Range: $2500

System Usage from Most to Least Important: Server Storage/Development. (Server will store software company's files as well as be used for testing of their program during development)

Parts Not Required: Budget includes Tower, OS, Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse, & Speakers

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: Newegg or Microcenter

Country of Origin: United States

Parts Preferences: Intel for processor

Overclocking: No

SLI or Crossfire: No

Monitor Resolution: Non widescreen if possible also would like it to be at least 20"

OS: Windows Server 2008

Additional Comments: Must be reliable. User does not want to have to deal with hardware issues on this machine for the next 5 years. I would like to do a ssd configuration for the operating system and include multiple 1 TB hdd in a RAID configuration to back up there data.
March 17, 2011 4:46:40 AM

Case: LIAN LI PC-A71F - $199.99
Power Supply: PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk II 950 watt - $179.99
Motherboard: ASUS P7F X Server Motherboard - $159.99
CPU: Intel Core I5-760 Processor - $209.99
Memory: Crucial 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1333 - $134.99
Hard Drive OS: Samsung SpingPoint F4 320GB drive - $42.99
Hard Drives Storage: Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB drive - $64.99 (x3 - $194.97)
Optical Drive: ASUS Black 18x DVD ROM SATA II Drive - $15.99
OS: Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 w/5 Client Licenses - $899.99
Monitor: NEC Display 19" 4x3 Monitor - $149.99

Total Cost: $2230.18 Shipped

This isn't as much a recommendation as it is a first rough draft. I went with the LIAN LI case due to the case design (specifically cooling and internal hard drive bays). The power supply was chosen for it's manufacturer's reputation as well as the number of SATA connectors. I went with a server motherboard only because of the ease in finding Windows 2008 driver support. I selected this motherboard because of it's on-board RAID controller and it's acceptance of non-server CPUs. Initially, I added a RAID controller for the PCI-Ex8 slot on this board, but that put us over budget. The memory was chosen because the manufacturer was listed on the motherboard's QVL list also if needed, you can add an additional 8GB at a later date. Looking only on Newegg, the list on 20+ inch 4x3 monitors was slim. I went with the 19" inch to keep the project under budget.

Maybe it's just me, but Servers and SSDs just don't seem to be a good match, so I steered clear of them and left your OS Drive as a standard hard drive.

Again, this is just an initial rough draft and hopefully someone else can come in and improve on the list of components.

-Wolf sends
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March 17, 2011 1:04:52 PM

Thanks for the input Wolf, this is the first server build i have done so i am hesitant on a few things. Windows Server 2008 r2 requires a An Intel Itanium 2 processor. Does the i7 line accomplish this? Or, will i need to use a xeon processor. What exactly is the Itanium 2 line? Also i would like to run the os for the server on a ssd probably the 60 gb ocz vertex 2. How critical is it that i go with a true server motherboard? Thanks again for the input.
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March 17, 2011 2:05:53 PM

Quote:
Note: An Intel Itanium 2 processor is required for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems


There is actually a number of different editions of Windows Server 2008 R2. They can all be found here. You notice at the very bottom of the list is, "Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems". With that little extra bit of information the note makes a lot more sense. The Itanium2 line of processors were built on the IA-64 architecture; meaning solely for 64-bit operations. 32-bit operations (most software) would not work under this architecture.

It's not at all critical that you use an actual server motherboard. If you note in my signature, I have a Win2K8 Server running on a home user board. The difficult part is in finding a home-use board that actually supports Win2K8.

-Wolf sends
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March 17, 2011 5:34:46 PM

Thanks again wolf, you have been very helpful. As i understand it now the Itanium2 processor is only required if you wish to run an itanium based system but not a requirement for all windows server machines? I have heard from others that intel is going away from this line. I have a couple more questions.

1.Do you have any recommended motherboards for a 1336 socket set that are compatible with windows server 2008 64 bit?(i can pick up a i7950 at microcenter for $199)
2. if i was to do a raid controller which one would you recommend? The company this is for does a backup at the end of everyday onto an external hard drive that they take home with them. So i was thinking of using one that enables hot swap and coupling that with the HAF X case that has the hot swap bays.
3. What are your thoughts of using a ssd in a server application?
4. Would it be best in this application to use a board with onboard graphics or to use a cheap graphics card?

Thanks for your help, i am a little nervous about this build because i have never dealt with any of the server OS.
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March 17, 2011 6:17:03 PM

Itanium is only for use in mainframe type applications, and it has nothing to do with the x86 and x64 processors that are used in desktops, laptops, and most servers as it is a completely different design.

2. I can't recommend a specific RAID card, but from observations and the comments of others cheap RAID cards just aren't worth it because they offer poor performance, and aren't the best quality. Only with the more expensive RAID cards will you see a significant difference in performance and reliability compared to Intel matrix or software RAID.

3. SSDs are really good for server applications thanks to their staggering IOPS figures and high throughput, but they are relatively new and untested so you take the risk of a bad drive. However, I'm not sure if a SSD will be worth it for you. If you do get an SSD you have to be mindful of the fact that SSDs have a limited number of write cycles. Choosing a drive with low write amplification and enabling TRIM support (TRIM cannot be used with RAID) will minimize the number of write cycles. Also, just like with HDDs, SSDs are sold in both consumer and enterprise versions, with the enterprise versions using flash and controllers that are more reliable and higher performance than their desktop counterpart, but at much greater cost.

4. On board graphics alone should be enough, because the only thing that graphics are needed for is the GUI, and even then you can often administer many server tasks remotely via SSH or other remote methods and not even use the GUI.
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March 17, 2011 6:54:56 PM

Thanks, jprahman.

1. I guess i should have been a little clearer about my intentions for the ssd in this application. I would just use it for the OS and then use multiple HDD for the actual server storage solution. Also i have noticed a similar trend with the raid controllers, but would i be able to accomplish a hot swap feature with purely onboard raid solutions.

2. Do you know of or have a recommendation of a 1336 socket set motherboard that would be compatible with an i7950 and windows server 2008. Or should i stay with the XEON line processors. If i do go to the xeon processor I would still like to stay with the 1336 socket set xeon, so is there a motherboard that you could recommend for this application.

Thanks again for your help.
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Best solution

March 18, 2011 5:22:31 PM

1) Again, that's the hard part about using desktop type components vs. server components. There is no easy way of determining which boards support Win2K8 other than going to each motherboards specifications page and checking to see if it supports that OS. It's hit and miss (mostly miss). There isn't what I would consider a good selection of Socket 1366 server motherboards on Newegg anymore (if there ever was). Most of them will only accept a Xeon processor and the one that would accept a Core I7-950 doesn't appear to support Win2K8.

2) This is the card I had originally thought to add to my rough draft, but went over budget: HighPoint RocketRAID 3530. Note that this card has a PCI-Ex8 interface and will require a motherboard with at least a PCI-Ex8 slot. Not sure if it will work in a PCI-Ex16 (graphics card) slot.

3) Again, I'm not sold on SSDs for a production level server yet. With an unlimited budget, I'd probably go with an enterprise version, but with a strict budget limit, I'd go with a standard hard disk drive for now.

4) As jprahman states, you won't need a discrete graphics card for this build. On-board graphics will more than suffice. Just make sure the motherboard you select actually has on-board graphics.

-Wolf sends
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March 18, 2011 8:45:10 PM

Best answer selected by mpherge.
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