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2 Person Server Build with growth potential; First Time Build

Last response: in Opinions and Experiences
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April 17, 2014 1:10:33 PM

Hey guys, I'm new to the forums, first post. First off, I'm a complete rookie, this is my first attempt at a build and I need help. Any feedback and advice are MUCH appreciated!

So heres what I'm trying to do, I need to build a Windows work server for myself and one other person to serve as a database and to be able to remote in to run a few applications. In the next 5+ years we're looking to possibly have 20-30 more people. Here is what I have so far and my thoughts behind each piece:

CPU:
Intel Intel Xeon E3-1220V3 Haswell 3.1GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1150 80W Quad-Core Server Processor

I want something that will be up to date for a while, I figured Haswell would be the way to go. I'm willing to spend a little more here if something a little beefier would last longer and serve better.

Motherboard:
ASRock H87WS-DL ATX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 Intel H87 DDR3 1600/1333

Same thing here, this looks like it sets a solid framework for some years to come with 2 LAN chipsets, 6 USB ports, 4 DDR3 slots, and 6 SATA 6gb/s connectors. As for the PCI slots, I'm not sure what sort of expansions I might need now or in the future. (any heads up here would be much appreciated.) Also, I would be willing to spend a little more here if I need to. I'm not sure what are good brands and what aren't.

Memory:
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-8GBXL

With only 2 people, and being on a budget, I figured with would suffice for now. I don't think we would need ECC or buffered memory, at least initially. This seemed like a good place to save some money. (but I could be wrong...)

PSU:
Rosewill TACHYON-550 550W Continuous @ 50°C, Intel Haswell Ready, 80 PLUS PLATINUM, ATX12V v2.31 & EPS12V v2.92, SLI/CrossFire Ready, Modular Active PFC Power Supply

This was affordable, had a very high efficiency rating, great reviews, and seems to be more than enough output for what I need. I read somewhere that single rail PSU's could be bad though. I wasn't sure how to calculate exactly how much wattage I need for this build, and it looks like I would be able to plug everything in to this unit but please let me know if I'm missing something obvious here. Also, I thought having more than enough output would be good for upgrades later on.

Storage: (2 of these)
Seagate Barracuda ST2000DM001 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Seems like good affordable mass storage. I wanted to do a RAID 1 setup, for a little more security with the data.

Casing:
Using old computer tower I already own. Looks to be mid size to large, not really concerned with aesthetics, just want to be able to fit everything without it all overheating.

Sorry for such a long thread, I greatly appreciate any help and feedback. Like I said, I have no experience in this so I may be missing something obvious and not know it. Everything I have been looking at is on Newegg, I was going to search around Amazon after I had my build but other than that I really don't know the best place to buy from. I'm definitely open to doing things cheaper as well, If I'm going overkill somewhere please let me know. Thanks!!


- Josh
April 17, 2014 1:46:58 PM

Single rail PSUs are fine, in fact probably better than multi-rails. Someone with more expertise than me can correct me or confirm that.

If you're building a server, with a server motherboard and a server CPU (Xeon), then I would go with ECC RAM. When I built my home server I went with an i7-3770 and normal RAM, but if I were going the real server route with a Xeon then I would get server RAM.

What OS are you planning to run?
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April 17, 2014 1:49:26 PM

Neither your CPU nor your motherboard has any graphics capability. How do you plan to set up BIOS and install an OS without any graphics?

The picture of the motherboard has a VGA output, so although the specs don't list it, it might have graphics on the motherboard, but it's not listed.

Also, there's this note on the motherboard regarding your Xeon CPU:

*Xeon processor E3-1200 v3 series processor support is an extended advantage provided by ASRock Rack. It is out of warranty, user's discretion is required.

Not sure exactly what it means, but it sounds like there is some risk there in using your Xeon E3-1200 v3.
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April 17, 2014 1:58:00 PM

If you're building a server on a budget and you're not running a business on it, then don't bother trying to cut corners with a server motherboard and server CPU. Go with a quad-core i7 and a good-quality motherboard. I've been running Windows Server 2012 R2, Server 2012, and Server 2008 R2 for years on standard desktop components without a problem. Unless your business is bringing in enough money to justify a real server installation, which is more expensive than a desktop, don't bother. It isn't necessary.
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April 21, 2014 6:22:30 AM

@mbreslin1954
Awesome, thanks so much for the feedback. Sorry for the late response, had a busy holiday weekend.

Ok that sounds like what I should do, get the quad-core i7 and do the desktop build. I didn't even think about there not being a graphics card on the board. I plan on running Windows server 2011 OEM to avoid the whole windows 8 type interface. I'm looking at getting the Haswell 4771 i7 and this motherboard:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

What kind of board do you use in your setup? It sounds like I need pretty much what your running @mbreslin1954
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April 21, 2014 7:31:38 AM

I'm running a Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H with an i7-3770 CPU and 16 GB RAM (I run a Windows 7 virtual machine on it which acts as my DVR, as I have a Comcast cable card and a HomeRun box that puts my cable on my Ethernet).

A Haswell or Ivy Bridge CPU like I have will have graphics on the chip, so no need for a video card. If you're going to get a Windows Server OS, get the latest, Server 2012 R2. It boots right to the desktop so you don't need to mess with the Windows 8 interface, except for going to the charms bar to shut it down (but how often do you do that?).
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