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Thread: Windows Home Server Re-build Help

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Windows Home Server Re-build Help

    Hello, my elderly Windows Home Server I converted from a Win XP PC I bought at Toysíríus many years ago is finally fading away. It did good service as a PC, and has done well for the past few years as a WHS.

    However itís started to lose drives regularly, and throws up disk errors, most of which can be fixed by a reboot, but each reboot seems to take a little longerÖ. Grrr.

    Anyway inspired by Otto-Mateís home build Iíve chosen a new case, this time a rack mount.

    http://www.xcase.co.uk/X-Case-RM413-...e-rm413pro.htm

    Iím going to go for Western Digital Caviar green drives, probably the same power supply as Otto-mate used, and a cheaper version of the icy docks.

    http://www.xcase.co.uk/hotswap-stoar...kit-xx-500.htm

    But the bit Iím stuck on, as itís a bit beyond me is the motherboard and processor. So many choicesÖ so many different suggestions on so many forums arghÖ Plus I don't really understand the differences!

    It needs to be able to cope with running WHS v1, dishing up mp3ís, ripped dvdís and the occasional wav file, without breaking into a sweat. Itíll also need quite a few sata ports too.

    Please can someone suggest a motherboard and processor that fits the bill and will fit in the above case?

    Thanks Chris.

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I am thinking of doing something similar, my current NAS is running out of disck space, and its looking cheaper to buy a cheap motherboard and a couple of SATA drives rather than trying to find a 500GB IDE drive.
    I Don't use WHS ,I use Server Elements NAS Lite. This requires a very modest CPU. My first NAS ran on an old 450Mhz PC. The current version I guess 2.0 runs on an old P4 machine. This delivers films, mp3 and photos to my XBMC and also acts as a file server for the various computers we now have connected at home.
    The NAS Lite is cheap and easy to set up, less than an hour.
    My current plan is to get the cheapest possible motherboard, this may be a fanless mini-itx board these can have anywhere from 2 to 6 SATA connections. So maybe a mini-itx board would also be a good board for you, low power and there will be ones that can run WHS.
    Last edited by toscal; 23rd May 2011 at 11:42 PM.
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  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    I've got an s/h 4U rack mount case with handles etc that I was going to build into a NAS / media centre. However I've changed my mind about the industrial approach and I plan to use a conventional desktop, so this case is clutter and available if you want it. It weighs 12.5kg without PSU, so its a serious piece of kit.
    If interested I can PM dimensions and pics etc
    Inspired by http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...e-pc,2551.html I am looking for an i3 or i5 to underclock. I'll keep some files on the machine but big TV files won't be used that often so they will be on a different drive configured to spin down. For single TV and multiple lower bandwidth streams I don't think a 5400rpm disk will be maxed so large "slow" external drives are adequate (for me). By the time I need more than 1 simultaneous stream we'll be on the next generation of drives etc. I think future (kids) demand will be to stream more off the internet rather than the local net.
    HTH
    JonS
    JonS

  4. #4
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Interesting thread as I'm considering the same thing at the moment. I'm leaning toward an i5 Sandy bridge processor such as the 2400S or 2600S. They have low idle power consumption (using 2.5GHz) but the i5 allows for turboboost which the i3 doesn't (at least not to the same degree), so can peak at 3.3Ghz when the task requires.

    The i5 also have four cores and support virtualisation so I could run Hyper-V and support a number of virtual guests. It is just annoying that WHS2011 doesn't allow Hyper-V.

    Referring to the Tom's Hardware review an important component seems to be the PSU so I'd be interested in your considerations

    Paul

  5. #5
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    On PSUs there are a number of fanless PSUs rated at 400-600W that cost about £100. A colleague has a completely fanless machine with SSD and a fanless PSU... I think that a slow quiet fan has a purpose in ensuring airflow without having to rely on convection which in a cupboard or rack may be an issue. My thoughts (and this is very much a thought experiment at the moment!) are to build with a bog standard PSU, measure consumption and then hope that something like a pico PSU is up to the job http://linitx.com/product/10916

    On virtualisation, I am more tempted to try to build a controller with XP embedded or a cut down XP to add simplicity and hence reliabilty rather than add another layer of complexity in virtualisation. The cost is I will run 2 systems 1 for Cortex (plus slimserver, print server, file server for documents and music) which currently runs on Pentium M 1.7Ghz 1 GB RAM perfectly OK, and another more powerful one for video (PVR, HTPC , streaming from web, film library etc)

    The problem is CCTV cameras (another thought experiment!) as these require more grunt in Cortex, hence thinking about a multiprocessor machine, using speed-step or voltage change to save Watts when it can but offer good service when the load requires.

    I think that time is on my side as PC power consumption is falling while performance increases, and I don't have the cash for the nice CCTV cameras I *need* ;-)

    2p
    JonS

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