Server/Home Theatre Build


I really hope someone here can help me with these very varied questions!

I am thinking about building a Server/Home Theatre build with an mITX motherboard, an core i3 or i5, 4 x Western Digital Red 3TB drives, an SSD (probably a 60-120gig intel or samsung drive) for booting and some sort of soundcard.

Right now im thinking that the 4 red drives will be in Raid 5. Im also thinking about getting an H100 for the CPU.

Q1: Do I need a dedicated raid-card for the 4 red drives, bare in mind that I need 6 sata connectors and from what I have seen most (if not all) ITX boards doesnt have more than 4. But also from a performance standpoint.

Q2: I have heard that the H100 pump can be quite loud, is that true? and would I be better of (I am going for a SILENT build) with something like a tower heatsink and fans, something like a Noctua cooler.

Q3: If the raidcard is necesary, which I think it probably is, I am going to need an external soundcard, what is recomendable in that area?

Q4: I dont know yet if Im going to use the BitFenix Prodigy or the Fractal Design Node 304. The Prodigy has the room that I need, but I kinda like the clean look of the Node 304. The problem is that I dont know if I can get a raidcard that is short enough to fit the Node 304, because I will need all 6 harddisk slots. Anyone know excactly how much space from the back of the case to the back of the drive-holder?

Q5: Lastly I would like to know if Windows Server is a good choice for OS, or Windows 7/8 would be better for my needs. I would like as much and as easy connectivity to the server both from my other computers aswell as my phone and maybe at some point a tablet.

I think that was all, hope you can help! Regards,
4 answers Last reply
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  1. I would suggest using Win7. Server won't have Media Centre etc (if you need them). Server is more for enterprise where you need more than just file sharing and DLNA.

    I'd suggest an i3-3225 ( ) and P8H77-1 ( )
    That has all 6 SATA ports on board.

    The stock cooler is fairly quiet at low loads, or you can use an air cooler. You shouldn't need much though as it's only a 55w chip. I wouldn't recommend closed loop cooling.
    You shouldn't need a RAID card with that mobo. Performance wise a good raid card may be better, but not a huge amount. Windoze is probably the biggest bottleneck.
  2. I dont think I will be using the mediacenter function.. I will just use it as an ordinary PC connected to my TV.

    oh, hadnt looked at the any H chipset boards.. can you tell me the difference between the Z and H chipset?

    I will probably get a Noctua tower cooler depending on the case I end up using..
    with a mobo that has 6 connections then I wont need a raidcard no.. :)
  3. Z series chipsets let you split up the PCIe lanes - a non-issue on a mini-ITX board.
    They also let you overclock - cheapest OCable CPU is 3570k.
    H77 is fine for this.
  4. ok, thank you for the replies, I will probably go with that board and an i3. I dont know about windows though..

    anyone know about the Node 304 ?
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