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New Home Server, need thoughts

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May 14, 2012 3:57:26 PM

Hi,

I have wanted to get a dedicated box to use for a server for quite a while now and I'm finally in the $$ situation to build one...and I also wanted to take all the apps I've been hosting off my gaming pc. Note this is a home server, not corporate related or anything. I just wanted some general thoughts if any of the hardware I picked out would be incompatible with each other.

Approximate Purchase Date: 2 weeks.

Budget Range: Ideally wanted the budget to stay below the $2k range.

System Usage from Most to Least Important: The purpose of this server will mainly emphasize virtualization/web/database/file hosting; I plan to run a few VMs constantly with some on demand users that would load up there own VM on demand (i.e. for a lab training environment). Will be running Windows Server 2008 on Hyper-V. I would also like to be able to have enough gfx capability to serve up some light graphical applications; nothing extreme for the server, but I just don't think an onboard chip with 8 MB vram will cut it.

Parts Not Required: Building server tower only.

Part List: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Motherboard: I've had overall really good experience with ASUS so I tend to stick with them for now. I had originally looked at a cheaper one but it only had 6 DIMM slots/bad reviews for ram compatibility/and tight spacing for cpu heatsinks. I'd rather shell out $100 more for a better piece of mind.

Processor: Wanted dual socket for extra compute space. Intel has never let me down. Westmere @2.4 GHz seems like the best bang for the buck. I haven't checked the ASUS documentation yet, but I'm not 100% sure if this processor will be compatible with the board.

RAM: Wanted 8 GB sticks to have the option to expand to 96 GB in the future. Mobo takes DDR3 1333...I see PC3 10660 and PC3 10666. Will that make or break it? Need to do more research on the board still I guess.

PSU: Love the Antec TruPower series. I'm assuming 750w will be plenty.

Graphics Card: Threw a GTX 550 in there. Does anyone know if this card is supported for RemoteFX to access the card's resources with Hyper-V? Really hard to find any kind of official documentation.

CPU Heatsink/Fans: Haven't looked yet, open to suggestions.

Okay, so the one issue I am having is deciding what I want to do for a hard disk. At first I was looking at SOHO NAS devices, but even the decent 'diskless' ones seemed to start at $500...more than I want to spend as I probably don't actually need a NAS honestly. Also, I have not owned a SSD yet, but everyone I talks to loves them. Should I just grab a 120 GB one for the OS to run on and use a 2 TB SATA drive for actual storage? Since this is a server, I do value uptime and don't want to risk RAID 0. Torn between doing this or grabbing 3 SATA disks and using RAID 5 instead. What do you think?

More about : home server thoughts

Best solution

May 14, 2012 6:32:28 PM

the CPU's are a good choice. use this cooler:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

the Thor case will not work with a SSI EEB mother board you selected. I like these MB's better and they are E-ATX so the case selection is much better: (your Thor case works too)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you stick with the ASUS MB, I suggest one of these: (my choice would be one of the silverstone ravens, great cooling in them).
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=E...

you need server memory ECC not the gaming memory you picked out. and 1366 MB's support triple channel mem so you want 3x8GB sets or 3x4GB sets
Ram registered DDR 1333 if you are going to 96 GB un-reg only gets you 48GB. you should look a the ASUS website for tested memory.
these should work:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

GTX 550 these run loud and hot. it might not be the best choice. not sure about remoteFX??

use a small SSD to boot your OS (64GB Crucial M4 - fast and stable) put everything else on Raid 5 or a just a mirror (raid1)
use ghost or acronis to backup your SSD to the raid just incase.

here is a link to my standard workstation/server build (no GPU):
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

just my $0.02

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May 16, 2012 1:55:16 PM

jerred thanks for the catch on the mobo form factor, I completely missed that.

I decided to go with an ATX mobo instead and changed the RAM.

Updated List: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

Just a few more questions:

- Do I actually need a 'server power supply' or just a normal one that fits an ATX form factor case? I wasn't sure if the connector power pins have a different configuration for a dual socket LGA 1366 motherboard.
- Any alternative recommendations for the gfx card (looking in the $100-$150 range)? Apparently the card just needs to be DX9/10 compatible for RemoteFX to work. Found a good article on it: http://www.nitandgritofit.com/?p=213
- If I buy some SATA III 6.0 Gbps hard disks, will they work with a mobo that only has SATA II, just at the lower 3.0 Gbps speed? There's not much price difference, just thinking for the future.

Lastly, I am already at my 2k budget (not that I can't go higher) with just an SSD but still need the SATA hard disks for a raid array. What excuse do you guys try to use to justify going over your budget? :D 
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May 16, 2012 4:01:18 PM

booyaah said:
jerred thanks for the catch on the mobo form factor, I completely missed that.

I decided to go with an ATX mobo instead and changed the RAM.

Updated List: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx...

no problem
Quote:
Just a few more questions:

- Do I actually need a 'server power supply' or just a normal one that fits an ATX form factor case? I wasn't sure if the connector power pins have a different configuration for a dual socket LGA 1366 motherboard.

Just an ATX PSU, but it must have 2 x 8 pin (4+4 works too) EPS/ATX/CPU cable/connectors. these usually come on PSU's around 850w's in size. Any of these would be a good choice:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Quote:
- Any alternative recommendations for the gfx card (looking in the $100-$150 range)? Apparently the card just needs to be DX9/10 compatible for RemoteFX to work. Found a good article on it: http://www.nitandgritofit.com/?p=213

in nVidia a GTX 560 can be had for ~$150 after rebate for AMD HD 7770/6790/6850 are all good choices. the 550 Ti

Quote:
- If I buy some SATA III 6.0 Gbps hard disks, will they work with a mobo that only has SATA II, just at the lower 3.0 Gbps speed? There's not much price difference, just thinking for the future.

Mechanical drives don't use all the bandwidth SATA II supplies, so SATA III is pointless. SATA III is backwards compatible, so yes they work.

Quote:
Lastly, I am already at my 2k budget (not that I can't go higher) with just an SSD but still need the SATA hard disks for a raid array. What excuse do you guys try to use to justify going over your budget? :D 

LOL, yes the over budget excuse... this one maybe easy. the floods in Thailand wiped out the Hard Drive factories and doubled the price of Hard Drives. Make sure your honey do list is up to date before bringing up the topic. Act like you are frustrated at the pricing and how compromising on quality by using no-name parts is risky.... Begging a pleading works too. preceded ;)  by sucking up.
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May 27, 2012 6:55:53 AM

Best answer selected by Booyaah.
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