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.
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
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?)
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)
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:
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.
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.
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.