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Home Media Server Help


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My home media server that was based on an old Pentium Quad Core processor finally gave up and died.  I have been using it to stream content over wired ethernet in my home using Plex.  I need to either purchase or build a need box and saw where many people are using and like the Dell PowerEdge T30.  Dell is having a President's Day sale and I thought if this was a good option I would take the plunge.  I am by no means a knowledgeable person regarding servers so I may have some very silly questions to follow , so please have mercy on me.  I have read so much over the last few days that I am more confused as to whether using this server would be a good choice; so here goes.

1)  Since I was running Windows 10 Pro 64bit on my other machine can I use it on the T30?

2)  Can WD Red drives be used in the T30 or do they have to be 7200rpm drives?

3)  What is the largest drive that can be used in the T30 that will be recognized in bios?

4)  The PSU being only 290w with proprietary connectors can an aftermarket video card be used and if so what type?

I know these questions probably aren't appropriate for this forum, but I hope you can give me some guidance or should I just go another route?


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computers in general don't care the rpm of the drives. in general I have found servers to be somewhat finicky about video cards.  ymmv

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Just curious as to how much you are seeing them at Dell. This one is 379. 2017 Newest Dell PowerEdge T30 Tower Server System| Intel Xeon E3-1225 v5 3.3GHz Quad Core| 8GB RAM | 1TB HDD| DVD RW | No Opera https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0722J7NNX/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_y2GACb7M9X3BV

I would find the spec sheet at Dell. I'm traveling so not much help.

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The Dell website has the T30 posted to go on President's Day Sale this morning at 11am for $299 with a coupon that per the Dell Rep will be activated at that time of placing the order.  I just don't know if I should go that route due to my questions above or just stay with a regular desktop type setup.  Any Thoughts?

Oh, he also said there was a limited quantity.

Edited by HDRKC07
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Good questions … here are my experiences … which I hope are still relevant.


In general don't worry about the difference between a server, workstation and a PC as regards Windows.

The DELL refurbished Outlet regularly throws up bargains, if you missed the President's offer.


It is unlikely you can reparent your Windows 10 license to a new machine unless you bought/built a bare machine and purchased a retail W10 license later (you will have a separate 25-digit code). One advantage of buying a complete machine from an OEM is that the Windows license, though locked to that machine, is comparatively cheap. Upgrading later is expensive, so if you want W10 Pro then get it with the box, don't accept Home and then pay 120 to upgrade to Pro.


A new machine will have a UEFI BIOS so disks larger than 2TB are bootable. You can use any SATA disk therein regardless of size or RPM … though best use all the same type for RAID arrays. It used to be the case that an OEM RAID controller would object to 3rd party disks but many machines now use the motherboard SATA connector and INTEL software, so no worries.


Bespoke power connectors … and your plans for future upgrades are issues.

Make sure you are getting all the connectors you need, even disk caddies could be missing if the purchase spec. says only 1 disk.


One point you might miss: a low-end server may not have a x16 PCI slot for graphics. The T30 is OK there. (x8 would probably be OK for a server anyways … but you might want something more later).

An nVidia 1050 or thereabouts should be fine and is one card which does not require an additional power connection. Maybe lower according to PLEX requirements. A fanless design would be even better (quieter).



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