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Need HTPC (primary) / VMWare Server (Secondary)

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February 24, 2012 7:41:08 PM

I'm wanting to build a machine that I can use to run multiple virtual OS's (Server 2k8, a couple of XP/7 instances, etc.) to get better acquainted with virtualization. I'm also interested in doing external RAID with iSCSI (seems like it would cost about the same as a RAID card).

My current PC is an HTPC (which will be donated to my dad's church) with blu-ray, HDMI, etc. hooked up to an HDTV. So, I'd like the ability to still hook up my PC to a TV (HDMI).

I may also look into getting a TV tuner card to record TV shows (I've been wanting to setup a PVR, so I guess this is the time).

From time to time, I do poke around into gaming (nothing hardcore, but in case I ever do want to play, possibly upgradeable to play stuff like shooter games or maybe Fallout, but not needed currently).

I'm really rusty on hardware. I used to know it well, but the new technology makes me feel uncomfortable spending this kind of money without consulting the experts. I have a 750W PSU, a standard case (ton of them laying around) and a Blu-ray combo drive already, if that helps cut cost.


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Approximate Purchase Date: 3-4 weeks

Budget Range: 800 without raid/extra drives. 1100-1200 with RAID/drives

System Usage from Most to Least Important: HTPC (50%), VMWare server (40%), gaming (10%)

Parts Not Required: OS, Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, PSU (OCZ StealthXStream OCZ700SXS 700W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready Active PFC Power Supply)... I also have a lot of extra standard sized cases from work laying around, unless the build won't fit in it (or if it's a cheap case)

Preferred Website(s) for Parts: NewEgg.com

Country: USA

Parts Preferences: I've always used Intel and Nvidia, but have no preference. I know the AMD FX has the new eight-core which looks appealing (though it may be overkill for my needs?)
Overclocking: Maybe

SLI or Crossfire: Maybe (I only game a few times a year, I usually play on console, though, as my computers have always been too slow and too expensive to play on PC)

Monitor Resolution: 1920x1080

Best solution

February 24, 2012 11:01:09 PM
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For HTPC:

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Intel Core i5-2500K - $229.99
Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Cooler Master Gemini S524 - $39.99
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Crucial Ballistix 8GB 1600MHz - $69.99
SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
HD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Samsung Spinpoint F3 1TB - $159.99
Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - LG BD-R Burner - $74.99

Total: $684

I'd have to know what kind of case we're working with before suggesting a motherboard and/or GPU - I'd suggest running the onboard video as most low profile video cards aren't really that good. And then for the server - SCSI is pretty much a thing of the past,

If you want to run a file server I'd suggest something like this:

Case: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Cooler Master HAF 912 - $59.99
PSU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Seasonic S12II 620W - $79.99
Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3 - $121.99
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Intel Core i3-2120 - $129.99
RAM: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Crucial Ballistix Sport 8GB - $44.99
SSD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - 64GB Crucial M4 - $109.99
HD: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - 2 x Western Digital Caviar Black 1.5TB - $179.99 each
Optical: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - LG BD-R Burner - $74.99

Total: $986.91

I'm not including a GPU on this build as the motherboard will allow you to use the i3's onboard video. The SSD will provide a fast boot option and then store everything else on the second and third HDs. The Asrock board should have up to 6 SATA ports and will allow you to add drives as needed. I'm also not including OS on this budget as you said you wanted to run multiple OS's on this machine and you can add or remove as needed.
February 25, 2012 9:57:49 PM

Will this work well? I'm not sure about the memory as the board said 2133 (OC) / 1600, and the memory is 1866. Please let me know.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx... - HTPC / VMWare Wishlist
I have a 750W PSU (only 3 yrs old)
What do you think about these HDD's? The Seagate 5900RPM... It's a lot cheaper for these for a 2TB than other 7200RPM (almost twice the price).
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February 25, 2012 10:15:52 PM

floydtheduck said:
Will this work well? I'm not sure about the memory as the board said 2133 (OC) / 1600, and the memory is 1866. Please let me know.

http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx... - HTPC / VMWare Wishlist
I have a 750W PSU (only 3 yrs old)
What do you think about these HDD's? The Seagate 5900RPM... It's a lot cheaper for these for a 2TB than other 7200RPM (almost twice the price).


That motherboard is fine - it's the same one I use. Most of what you have on there is really good except the OCZ Vertex is not a good choice for SSD - the Crucial M4 that I linked to is way better.

Although I wouldn't get the low voltage RAM - the 1.35V will not mix well with Sandy Bridge - and Intel will void warranties if they find out you've been using RAM above 1600. This would be a better choice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

That HD is fine for a secondary storage solution - you won't really notice the difference between 5900 RPM and 7200 RPM when using an SSD as your primary.
February 25, 2012 10:38:35 PM

Thanks. What's wrong with the OCZ SSD? The reason I picked it is the 500MB/s R/W speeds.

If Sandy Bridge is rated at 1333mhz (for RAM), how would I achieve the 1866 with the RAM mentioned?
February 25, 2012 10:47:54 PM

floydtheduck said:
Thanks. What's wrong with the OCZ SSD? The reason I picked it is the 500MB/s R/W speeds.

If Sandy Bridge is rated at 1333mhz (for RAM), how would I achieve the 1866 with the RAM mentioned?


1. There's a lot of problems associated with the firmware and version of the Sandforce drivers that OCZ uses. They also don't have the best tech support and RMA department out there so if something happens that will not be good. I have the 64GB Crucial M4 and it's been completely problem free since I got it.

2. You wouldn't - the RAM speeds are just kind of there. The motherboard, by default will run the RAM at the lowest speeds and timings it can handle, and overclocking your RAM or setting your memory multiplier higher than it can handle will cause your system to become unstable. If you get an unlocked CPU it's fine but if you overclock your RAM that can lead to bad things down the road.
February 26, 2012 12:49:09 AM

So would it be better to go with 1600 or 1333, if the CPU/MOBO won't handle it?
February 27, 2012 4:30:59 AM

Quote:
So would it be better to go with 1600 or 1333, if the CPU/MOBO won't handle it?


Doesn't really matter. Intel's RMA department actually recommends 1333 and will void your warranty if they find you've been using anything higher. I didn't know that and I will only recommend 1333 or 1600, I won't recommend higher speeds until the new CPUs are out.

Quote:

Also, *edit* will the cooler you suggested work with this board?
Cooler: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6835103100 - Cooler Master Gemini S524 - $39.99


That's actually a top-down fan design and it's meant for cases with tight space constraints. It's fine - it has the mounts for your motherboard.

Try this for another fan suggestion - it's the same one I use: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
Also, the RAM you suggested has higher CAS than most of the other ones with high reviews, is there any benefit to higher timing?


Not really, I don't really know all the real technical details of going with higher or lower timing, I know by default your motherboard will run the lowest speeds and timings it can handle.
February 27, 2012 3:12:32 PM

Best answer selected by FloydTheDuck.
February 27, 2012 3:12:55 PM

Thanks for your help! I just submitted my order.
!