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Gaming Rig + Home Server

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November 6, 2011 9:29:51 PM

This thread was first started as an attempt to build a budget home server although due to the performance per price currently available it has changed to a double build. The intent is currently to build a new gaming computer and retrofit my existing rig to become a home server.

NEW RIG:

Purchase Date: 1 month
Budget Range: ~$1500
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Gaming, Transcoding, Programming, Surfing & Misc
Parts Not Required: Monitor, OS, Keyboard & Mouse, Power Supply, Sound Card
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: AMD
Overclocking: Yes, but at or near stock voltage
SLI or Crossfire: Crossfire, Possible upgrade
Monitor Resolution: 1680x1050 at the moment
Additional Comments: My current power supply is a Ultra X4 650-W Modular PSU which I would like to reuse in the new build. I am also staying away from HDD in this build due to their current hike in prices and the fact that I will have a home server for large media storage. My current parts list are as follows:

1) FX-8150 $269.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2) Asus Sabertooth Mobo $189.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3) G.SKILL Sniper (2x4GB) $64.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4) XIGMATEK Gaia $29.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
5) MSI 6970 2GB $389.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
6) OCZ Agility 3 (240GB) $359.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
7) Cool Master HAF X $179.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
8) Asus BD Driver $57.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total New Rig Price: $1542.92

OLD RIG RETROFIT:

Purchase Date: 1 month
Budget Range: ~$200
System Usage from Most to Least Important: Home media storage & backup, Video recording, Minecraft server
Parts Required: Power Supply, TV Tuner, More HDD space (eventually)
Preferred Website(s) for Parts: newegg
Country of Origin: USA
Parts Preferences: N/A
Overclocking: No
SLI or Crossfire: N/A
Monitor Resolution: up to 1080p
Additional Comments: The main working components that are in my current rig (which will become the server) can bee seen in my signature. I have basically zero knowledge of the TV tuners so I am hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I would like to have one with a remote though as I don't want do deal with keyboard & mouse on the couch. Also, I have a 250GB HDD in the computer and planned on updating to a large RAID 1 array although due to HDD prices I will be holding off until they go down and using the 250GB in the mean time. My current parts list for the upgrade is as follows:

1) Kingston Hyper X (2x1GB) $33.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
2) Hauppauge TV Tuner $59.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
3) HEC 585W PSU $25.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
4) APC 550 VA 350W UPS $64.99 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Total Retrofit Price: $184.96
Total Expenses: $1727.88

Keep the comments and recommendations coming please.

More about : gaming rig home server

November 7, 2011 1:33:42 AM

Unless I'm misinterpreting what you want the server to do, you want it to be able to run as a server, trans-code, read, copy and store and use it as an entertainment system to watch dvd's all at the same time? If that's the case you are probably going to need more than $700. A good dual cpu motherboard , ($300/$400), plus, both cpu's, ($250/$300 for a slightly older version), are going to run you more than that by themselves. If the plan is to run it as a gaming server while you're playing, then, when you want to do some trans-coding and using it at a video center that will make a difference. But the way I read it is you want to let the game server run 24/7 including the Minecraft game which will basically require it's own memory storage component.

First needed version


SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DTi-F-O Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5520 Extended ATX Dual Intel Xeon 5500 and 5600 Series Server Motherboard - - - - -$400.00
Intel Xeon E5507 Nehalem-EP 2.26GHz 4.8GT/s Socket 1366 Quad-Core 45nm Processor, Model: BX80602E5507. ds-dh - - - - - - - - 2 @ $573.96
Crucial CT51272BB1339 4GB PC10600 DDR3 Memory - 1333MHz, ECC, Registered, 1x4096MB - - - 4 GB stick @ $55 ea X 6 min. - - - - - - $330.00
I can go on with this build because it doesn't have the hdd or optical drives and I guess you're going to want an video capture card unless you already have one and a good power supply unit and case and things like that. And this is just my interpretation of what you are going to need. One cpu and set of ram running at all times to keep the gaming server running multiple games continuously is going to be resource intensive. While the other set of ram and cpu will be doing the trans-coding and burning, watching, recording and the rest. It doesn't actually run separately like this, system resources will be shared as needed. This is just an simpler breakdown of where/how they will most likely be used. This is also the first option of what I believe will be necessary to do what you want without bogging down and people leaving your game server because of slow up/down load speeds and choppy or lagging server resources. Now if the only games are like poker or blackjack you might not need so much.

Second, cheaper version -

ASUS P8B WS LGA 1155 Intel C206 ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server/Workstation Motherboard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $230
Intel Xeon E3-1230 Sandy Bridge 3.2GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 80W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80623E31230 - - - - - - - -$240
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL 2 X 4 GB @ $47 X 2 - $94

Sorry, I'm so close to the ~ budget you were looking for and still need all the parts mentioned above. We're close and could get the other parts for roughly $250/$350 of the top of my head. I know they are more than you were thinking about but if you just wanted to set up a small home server to do most of the things you're asking we can probably get closer if not under. But running a full time game server AND throwing all the other stuff at it is going to require lots of memory and cpu cores. The cheapest way to get memory is dual cpu's with all the extra memory slots. Finding 8 GB single sticks is a little difficult unless you're willing to pay close to or over $1,000 for a 32GB kit.

Don't think you'll need that much or you would like to cut it anyway and see how it goes? Just answer back with what you're thinking might do the trick and we can go from there. I'm game and it doesn't hurt or cost anything to play. :pt1cable: 
November 8, 2011 12:10:17 AM

suteck said:
Unless I'm misinterpreting what you want the server to do, you want it to be able to run as a server, trans-code, read, copy and store and use it as an entertainment system to watch dvd's all at the same time? If that's the case you are probably going to need more than $700. A good dual cpu motherboard , ($300/$400), plus, both cpu's, ($250/$300 for a slightly older version), are going to run you more than that by themselves. If the plan is to run it as a gaming server while you're playing, then, when you want to do some trans-coding and using it at a video center that will make a difference. But the way I read it is you want to let the game server run 24/7 including the Minecraft game which will basically require it's own memory storage component.

First needed version


SUPERMICRO MBD-X8DTi-F-O Dual LGA 1366 Intel 5520 Extended ATX Dual Intel Xeon 5500 and 5600 Series Server Motherboard - - - - -$400.00
Intel Xeon E5507 Nehalem-EP 2.26GHz 4.8GT/s Socket 1366 Quad-Core 45nm Processor, Model: BX80602E5507. ds-dh - - - - - - - - 2 @ $573.96
Crucial CT51272BB1339 4GB PC10600 DDR3 Memory - 1333MHz, ECC, Registered, 1x4096MB - - - 4 GB stick @ $55 ea X 6 min. - - - - - - $330.00
I can go on with this build because it doesn't have the hdd or optical drives and I guess you're going to want an video capture card unless you already have one and a good power supply unit and case and things like that. And this is just my interpretation of what you are going to need. One cpu and set of ram running at all times to keep the gaming server running multiple games continuously is going to be resource intensive. While the other set of ram and cpu will be doing the trans-coding and burning, watching, recording and the rest. It doesn't actually run separately like this, system resources will be shared as needed. This is just an simpler breakdown of where/how they will most likely be used. This is also the first option of what I believe will be necessary to do what you want without bogging down and people leaving your game server because of slow up/down load speeds and choppy or lagging server resources. Now if the only games are like poker or blackjack you might not need so much.

Second, cheaper version -

ASUS P8B WS LGA 1155 Intel C206 ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server/Workstation Motherboard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $230
Intel Xeon E3-1230 Sandy Bridge 3.2GHz 4 x 256KB L2 Cache 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1155 80W Quad-Core Server Processor BX80623E31230 - - - - - - - -$240
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) Desktop Memory Model F3-10666CL9D-8GBRL 2 X 4 GB @ $47 X 2 - $94

Sorry, I'm so close to the ~ budget you were looking for and still need all the parts mentioned above. We're close and could get the other parts for roughly $250/$350 of the top of my head. I know they are more than you were thinking about but if you just wanted to set up a small home server to do most of the things you're asking we can probably get closer if not under. But running a full time game server AND throwing all the other stuff at it is going to require lots of memory and cpu cores. The cheapest way to get memory is dual cpu's with all the extra memory slots. Finding 8 GB single sticks is a little difficult unless you're willing to pay close to or over $1,000 for a 32GB kit.

Don't think you'll need that much or you would like to cut it anyway and see how it goes? Just answer back with what you're thinking might do the trick and we can go from there. I'm game and it doesn't hurt or cost anything to play. :pt1cable: 


Thanks for the reply and sorry for the slow response as I am currently out of town. To be more specific the most intensive task I see the server doing is running a game server and recording video simultaneously. I would like to have the option of 24/7 or near 24/7 game server although if I were to do a batch of transcoding (or anything that intensive) I would turn the game server off. At the moment I am actually running the Minecraft server and client on my rig which is a nearly 4yr old dual core CPU with 2GB or ram and I have no issues although memory usage is very close to dumping into swap at times. I anticipated that a high-core count single 'desktop' CPU & motherboard with a significant chunk of ram (at least 8GB) would be adequate but I am unsure the loads that recording video has on the CPU or if those cards typically handle most of the processing. The main thing I want to accomplish is make a rig that will do the tasks above with minimal upgrades for atleast 5-6yr and still be useful for recording/data backup for many years after that.

Is there any significant gains using a server based CPU/Mobo verses a desktop variant when comparing single CPU's?
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November 16, 2011 12:15:05 AM

Sorry for the late reply, I'm in the middle of exams for this quarter but I thought by now someone else would have kicked in their 2₵ worth. OK Let's start with this, You can probably get away with a single processor as long as it has multiple cores. The more the better so it can handle multiple tasks simultaneously. I would go with a quad core with hyperthreading. Video recording usually does not require too much processing power as long as it is a straight copy/download and it's not receiving multiple strands and having to encode it and/or compress it from bluray to avi, mkv and the like. I'm pretty sure you can do the transcoding after it's downloaded and still run the server for games but I'm not sure how much else it can handle. I just figured if you were going to run a server, well, run a server lol. You mentioned a new different gaming rig so I tried to make it completely different. If you would like to still look at the server based platform and don't mind used parts how about this???

Intel S5000PAL LGA 771 Motherboard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $50.00 manufacturer refurbished
Intel Xeon 5050 3 GHz SL96C Dual Core Processor #612- - - - - - -$8.95 used with 10 available
1GB DDR2 PC5300 PC2-5300 667MHz ECC REG NANYA 240P RAM MEMORY LIFETIME WARRANTY - - -8GB for $80
or 8GB Memory Kit (4x2GB) DDR2 PC2-5300 HP/PN: 398707-051 used bidding on ebay with 5 days left @ 0.99
Not a bad starting price @ ~ $150. All you need is everything else. Not real big on video with the on board chip and no pcie 16 slot for a video card. But the CPU's are dual core with 4 hyperthreaded cores so multitasking shouldn't be a problem. An you wouldn't have to turn the gaming server off while downloading and transcoding video with the 8 gb's ram and 8 hyperthreading cores. The main difference between the server dual cpu boards and the single cpu boards are the number of lanes available to and from the cpu. The server boards are designed for this purpose. The cpu's are designed to be low power consumption at only 95W max TDC (each) so minimal cooling is required and without the video card sucking juice from the power supply and extra cooling for the card itself and additional fans required to remove the heat from the case it will run quietly as well. A simple 350W or 400W psu will handle it. And those are also the purpose of servers. They will run with minimal power and noise, (most of your noise usually comes from cooling fans) and be able to handle server duties while downloading and transcoding all at the same time! Don't get me wrong, it's by no means a gaming rig. The video along excludes that. But it serves the purpose you asked about - minimum power, quiet, able to handle all tasks and the only upgrade is if you can get the 4 gb sticks to start with you can upgrade them as the time and/or requirements need. Even the 4 X2 GB will only fill 1/2 the slots so you can double that for the 16GB's later down the road. I doubt you'll need the 32GB's the board's capable of.

The "guts" you picked out look pretty good, But unless I'm missing something you are going to need a video card to be able to see anything. I didn't see a monitor connection on the asus board, and I don't believe there is any video built into the cpu like the sandybridge does. - I might have overlooked it being an intel guy but... With the video card you will likely need some more cooling fans, (unless you want simple 1080p and you're not using it as a gaming rig). So if you really want to go around the server we'll look at your alternative build. Will it handle mainly the server duties or do you want it to be gaming as well?
Get back when you're able and we'll get closer to what you want and try to stay within budget.
November 16, 2011 6:29:48 PM

suteck said:
Sorry for the late reply, I'm in the middle of exams for this quarter but I thought by now someone else would have kicked in their 2₵ worth. OK Let's start with this, You can probably get away with a single processor as long as it has multiple cores. The more the better so it can handle multiple tasks simultaneously. I would go with a quad core with hyperthreading. Video recording usually does not require too much processing power as long as it is a straight copy/download and it's not receiving multiple strands and having to encode it and/or compress it from bluray to avi, mkv and the like. I'm pretty sure you can do the transcoding after it's downloaded and still run the server for games but I'm not sure how much else it can handle. I just figured if you were going to run a server, well, run a server lol. You mentioned a new different gaming rig so I tried to make it completely different. If you would like to still look at the server based platform and don't mind used parts how about this???

Intel S5000PAL LGA 771 Motherboard - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - $50.00 manufacturer refurbished
Intel Xeon 5050 3 GHz SL96C Dual Core Processor #612- - - - - - -$8.95 used with 10 available
1GB DDR2 PC5300 PC2-5300 667MHz ECC REG NANYA 240P RAM MEMORY LIFETIME WARRANTY - - -8GB for $80
or 8GB Memory Kit (4x2GB) DDR2 PC2-5300 HP/PN: 398707-051 used bidding on ebay with 5 days left @ 0.99
Not a bad starting price @ ~ $150. All you need is everything else. Not real big on video with the on board chip and no pcie 16 slot for a video card. But the CPU's are dual core with 4 hyperthreaded cores so multitasking shouldn't be a problem. An you wouldn't have to turn the gaming server off while downloading and transcoding video with the 8 gb's ram and 8 hyperthreading cores. The main difference between the server dual cpu boards and the single cpu boards are the number of lanes available to and from the cpu. The server boards are designed for this purpose. The cpu's are designed to be low power consumption at only 95W max TDC (each) so minimal cooling is required and without the video card sucking juice from the power supply and extra cooling for the card itself and additional fans required to remove the heat from the case it will run quietly as well. A simple 350W or 400W psu will handle it. And those are also the purpose of servers. They will run with minimal power and noise, (most of your noise usually comes from cooling fans) and be able to handle server duties while downloading and transcoding all at the same time! Don't get me wrong, it's by no means a gaming rig. The video along excludes that. But it serves the purpose you asked about - minimum power, quiet, able to handle all tasks and the only upgrade is if you can get the 4 gb sticks to start with you can upgrade them as the time and/or requirements need. Even the 4 X2 GB will only fill 1/2 the slots so you can double that for the 16GB's later down the road. I doubt you'll need the 32GB's the board's capable of.

The "guts" you picked out look pretty good, But unless I'm missing something you are going to need a video card to be able to see anything. I didn't see a monitor connection on the asus board, and I don't believe there is any video built into the cpu like the sandybridge does. - I might have overlooked it being an intel guy but... With the video card you will likely need some more cooling fans, (unless you want simple 1080p and you're not using it as a gaming rig). So if you really want to go around the server we'll look at your alternative build. Will it handle mainly the server duties or do you want it to be gaming as well?
Get back when you're able and we'll get closer to what you want and try to stay within budget.


Sorry to kind of throw out your research but it seamed that I was going to have to spend over $1000 to get what I was anticipating on only costing $500 or less when it comes to building a server from scratch. Therefor I have decided that the best use of my funds at the moment would be to build a new gaming computer and retrofit my current rig to become a home server. Essentially it come down to spending $1000+ to build a server that I wanted or spend $1600 or so and have a new gaming rig and a server. Anyway thanks for the advise :D 
!