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Server or power PC to run my PC Technician Business

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August 16, 2011 11:41:08 PM

Hello everybody, I'm Paul

This is my first post on tom's hardware after more than 10 years of coming here and ripping the benefits of all the topics discussed on this forum. But alas, I've found myself with a problem that no one has asked about which is the following:

I'm the owner of my very own computer repair workshop. I started my business about a 1.5 years ago and now its booming, I do all sorts of PC and laptop repairs, but my specialty is building gaming rigs and out of the ordinary PC (if you wanna know more about the kind of PCs I've built go to my business's page at www.gobanditech.com or www.facebook.com/gobanditech )

Anyways, since my business is growing, so have the need to have a powerful PC to do those time consuming jobs like: backing up data for clients, video encoding, media file transfer, hard disk checks, backing up data for clients, output to 2 or maybe 3 monitors for viewing "how to's" on difference screen in various rooms, running dropboxes (very very important), defragmenting disks and did I mention backup up data for clients??? lol

as you can see, these are either tasks that require a heavy load on a CPU or a long time to complete. My question is: should I get a server for this or build a good PC? i'm thinking more of a PC... i mean, I just run about 4 computers here. If its a PC, what should it have? I'm more of an AMD guy (though if convinced, I will get intel)

CPU - the best APU that AMD has so far (I believe its AMD A8-3850)
Mobo - a full atx board capable of running a crossfire with the APU, with sata III, RAID 0,1,5 capable, with at least 8 sata ports and IDE (if possible, if not can be added by PCI) - please recommend
case - a cool looking case with window, (since this PC will be viewed by all my clients, I want them to feel inspired and ask me to build them one) , MUST have hot swaps (or please recommend any hot swap hardware that can be added to any case) + water cooling capable
drives: I would like to make a very fast OS, and have the data also stored very fast but at the same time proctected with raid mirriring - 2 raid stripped SSDs for OS, 1 for file swap and 4 RAID 5 for data (2TB each) or recommend a better disks setup.
network: please recommend a great network card and wifi card
PSU: please recommend (I prefer it would have LEDs)
cooling: WATER COOLED! i've already made my research on this... its very good I will post the specs later if you guys wish it so
or if you think it would be best air cooled, then please recommend me some parts
GPU: on board AMD Radeon HD 6550D from the APU, I would like to make crossfire with this... do i need to purchase the same GPU? please recommend
ODD: 2 DL+RW and 1 BD+RW
RAM: 8 GB Kingston Hyperx (they always work great)

If you think i'm missing something that all PC technicians should have, please so say lol... I just wrote this in a very speedy manner since I need to finish other jobs (just can't get this build out of my mind lol and I need it fast)

Thank you - Paul
August 17, 2011 2:20:10 AM

anybody???
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August 17, 2011 9:36:12 PM

I would go with a "Small Server" PC build, because I think that's ideal for you and your business!


A basic case, so you can give more money to more important parts (CPU, Memory). Still a great choice for it's price!

Xigmatek ASGARD II B/O CPC-T45UE-U01 Black / Orange 0.8 mm SECC / Aluminum and Aluminum Mesh Bezel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A reliable PSU from XFX, built by Seasonic. It's 80+ Bronze, quiet and with enough watt for your server.

XFX Core Edition PRO450W (P1-450S-XXB9) 450W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply

A server build needs CORES so the best option is to go with AMD!

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz 6 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor HDT90ZFBGRBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A cooler is optional, but It will keep things cool and quiet!

COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 Plus RR-B10-212P-G1 "Heatpipe Direct Contact" Long Life Sleeve 120mm CPU Cooler Compatible Intel Core i5 & Intel Core i7
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

AM3+ Motherboard with built-in graphics and FULL SUPPORT FOR THE 8-CORE BULLDOZER so anytime you fell your 6-Core doesn't suit your needs you can go for the 8-Core Beast :kaola: 

ASRock 880G PRO3 AM3+ AMD 880G HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Loads of RAM. You will need it!

2 x Kingston HyperX Grey Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3X2K2/8GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

2 HDDs

2 x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And If you can afford it, a small SSD for OS and basic applications

SAMSUNG 470 Series MZ-5PA064/US 2.5" 64GB SATA II Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

753$ without MIR!
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August 18, 2011 5:10:05 PM

wow that's a very nice set I like how you reserved the money for power which is was I would mostly do. Though you forgot a very important part... I need a case with hot swaps or a device that will add hot swapping to any case like this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also, I'm not worried about the money, so when I said "server" i was mostly thinking server hardware like using an opteron or newer technologies (which I don't know much about... a little schooling on this would be nice)

Though if you think that THAT kind of server is overkill for my needs do say so. BTW, i love how you put the AM3+ ... it didn't occurred to me, I was actually thinking about an APU; what's your take on that?
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August 18, 2011 10:43:28 PM

APU isn't for a server use. A server needs physical cores and a lot of RAM. A 6 core CPU along with 16 GB of RAM is ideal for a small bussiness server!

After searching a little bit more I found the next case, which is from server category! You will love it! Only problem is that's out of stock :(  I guess you can send an e-mail and learn more!

ARK SR6850BK Black Pedestal Server Case 4 External 5.25" Drive Bays
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Got another question, are you interested in a silent server build (as silent it can be)?
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August 19, 2011 4:14:15 PM

APU can't be used as a server? But the APU is 4 cores? what makes it not ideal for server use? it can still hold 16gb... and it does perform better than the 1100 x6 Thunban... doesn't it? please correct me if i'm wrong.

I do like the ideas that you are giving me... though I will they were flashier (i know making a server is not about making it pretty, but I want my clients to also wow on my server)

So, yeah i'm interested in see this "silent server" your talking about.

btw, you haven't addressed my hotswap issue, or is it that you're not familiar with that, which is completely fine

thank you for u're continued help
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August 19, 2011 7:46:47 PM

Silent server, after a search I've done, isn't a good idea. You need good airflow in your case so everything can run nice and cool! That doesn't mean that will be noisy, but It will not be extremly silent! So after all, that seems the final build!


That case gives you everything you asked for such a great price! 2 x 120mm fans for proper airflow, 2 hot swap drive bays at the bottom, excellent cable management for more airflow and a tight build plus it carries the name of one of the most known hardware companies, Enermax!

ENERMAX HOPLITE ECA3220 Black 0.6 & 0.8mm SECC ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

For PSU, you can get the 550W version of XFX Core Series as 450W one is out of stock! It's only 10$ more expensive but it's reliable and powerful!

XFX Core Edition PRO550W (P1-550S-XXB9) 550W ATX12V 2.2 & ESP12V 2.91 SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

No way, an APU with 4 slower cores perfoms better than X6 1090T. APUs use is for HTPCs and low resolution gaming PCs, not for server! 1090T is the obvious choice here!

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition Thuban 3.2GHz 6 x 512KB L2 Cache 6MB L3 Cache Socket AM3 125W Six-Core Desktop Processor HDT90ZFBGRBOX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

A better cooler from Scythe. It's the one I use on my 4.0GHz Phenom II X4 955 and though it's not a good idea to overclock a server's CPU, It's great for keeping temperatures and noise to low levels!

Scythe SCMG-3000 120mm Heat Pipe CPU Cooler
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can also get a better motherboard with the newest AMD SB950/AM3+ Socket. Again, you have full support for AMD new CPUs plus better perfomance for SSDs (an improvement over the old SB850 chip). But the best of this motherboard, is the 10 Phase Power Design which means you will have a more stable server!

GIGABYTE GA-990XA-UD3 AM3+ AMD 990X SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I found a cheaper memory kit with the same perfomance, so you can save some money here.

2 x Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3X1K2/8GX
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The only bad thing about the motherboard is that it doesn't have build - in graphics, so you have to get one! The 5670 is the winner here. Better perfomance than the previous motherboard's build - in graphics (not that you 'll need it) plus low power consumption at both load and idle. The XFX model comes with lifetime warranty!

XFX HD-567X-ZNF3 Radeon HD 5670 1GB 128-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Definitely, as budget allows it you will get a larger and faster SSD. Crucial along with Samsung are the most reliable brands in SSD market without losing anything in terms of perfomance!

Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

And 2 Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB. Hope 2TB are enough for storage!

2 x SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 HD103SJ 1TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Total 1029$ or 969$ with MIR

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August 20, 2011 12:39:11 AM

I'm beggining to love this server already... you've finally nailed it with the case. there's something i didn't understand, what's this 10 phase power design you mentioned on the motherboard??? i've never heard of such a thing, is this a mobo specs, what does it do, and how can I tell which other products have it... and whta's it for?

I'm also glad that you found me some hot swaps, though I'm actually looking for hot swaps that accept 2.5 and 3.5, don't worry, i think i'll just buy the add in bays from Kinwing. But just to pick your brain, do you know it there is such a thing as IDE hot swap?
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August 20, 2011 11:04:30 AM

In a few words, it gives your CPU better and cleaner voltages! That leads to a more stable machine. And yes it's a motherboard spec. It's basically 8 + 2 meaning 8 phases for cpu and 2 for northbridge and ram!

Why you need IDE hot swap? Your motherboard doesn't support ide.
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August 21, 2011 10:53:41 PM

well, I can add as many IDE channels I want through PCI, the reason I want hot swaps with IDE and Sata 2.5 and 3.5 , is cause I will be using this PC/server as my servicing machine too... so everything a client needs data recovering I will be needing to put it into the PC to extract the data (since converting to USB doesn't always work), so my question still stands, is there such thing as IDE hotswap?
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August 24, 2011 12:27:48 AM

please reply - thank u
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August 24, 2011 9:01:17 AM

I really can't understand why you need IDE. You can restore files to a client by adding it to your LAN. Way better method.
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August 26, 2011 9:40:23 PM

... well, if a PC cannot turn on, then I guess I would have to connect it to my PC. Is that I want to run my programs on an IDE drive... I need it to retrieve client files, so do you know if it exists?
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!