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My new WHS 2011 Build


dagamer34
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I recently got fed up with my ex495 running WHS 2011 about a week ago because it didn't have USB 3.0 or any PCIe expansion slots and I decided that I wanted to shove as much power into my next box as possible and really make it shine. So without further ado:

 

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4Ghz 8MB LGA 1155 CPU

Motherboard: ASUS P8P67-M PRO Intel P67 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 MicroATX Motherboard

Case: Lian Li PC-V354B Black MicroATX Mini Tower

GPU: old Radeon HD 4550 which I'll use for install, then yank out

RAM: Corsair XMS3 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 1333Mhz RAM

OS HDD: Seagate 1.5TB 7200RPM drive, but I'm likely to switch that with a SSD at some point

Data HDDs: 2x 1.5TB Seagate 7200RPM drives, 5x 2TB Seagate 5900RPM drives in RAID5 in a TR5UT-BP enclosure

PSU: OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W PSU

 

and of course:

OS: WHS 2011 RTM

 

Newegg Wishlist: WHS 2011

 

I should get all the parts on Tuesday. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

 

Probably the saddest thing of all about this is that besides the drives, it'll probably only run me $800 or so, which is only $150 more than what I paid for my ex495 back when they came out. If only I had self-built then....

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Nice setup....complete overkill, but still nice.

 

Ideally, I'd set it up once and never again. Though as of yet I haven't bought the CPU yet, since I'm still trying to decide between the 2500K and the 2600K and whether saving $100 is worth it to me (but that 2MB cache and hyperthreading make it sooo hard to decide). What I really need is a comparison of Handbrake with a 2500K and a 2600K.

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Ideally, I'd set it up once and never again. Though as of yet I haven't bought the CPU yet, since I'm still trying to decide between the 2500K and the 2600K and whether saving $100 is worth it to me (but that 2MB cache and hyperthreading make it sooo hard to decide). What I really need is a comparison of Handbrake with a 2500K and a 2600K.

 

Obviously it is your choice but you will not use 2% of this CPU in a homeserver. Definitely not the 2600K for this application as even the 2400 will just idle. The "K" versions are unlocked which again is not helpful in a WHS and do not support VT-D in the event you want to explore a VM build. I would go for the 2400S or even the I3-2120 for a server application. If you really want to max it out, go with the straight 2500.

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Obviously it is your choice but you will not use 2% of this CPU in a homeserver. Definitely not the 2600K for this application as even the 2400 will just idle. The "K" versions are unlocked which again is not helpful in a WHS and do not support VT-D in the event you want to explore a VM build. I would go for the 2400S or even the I3-2120 for a server application. If you really want to max it out, go with the straight 2500.

 

Neither the P67 or H67 chipset supports VT-d, so that's a moot point. I also got the 2600K from MicroCenter which has a promotion going on and the price with tax is still cheaper than a locked 2600. And I'll be using the server for transcodes of Bluray rips, which is why I went with higher performance. Granted, I know the server is overkill and i could have gone for the 2500K but i wanted the best box possible so it will last.

 

http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=52807,52810

 

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0354587

Edited by dagamer34
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Neither the P67 or H67 chipset supports VT-d, so that's a moot point. I also got the 2600K from MicroCenter which has a promotion going on and the price with tax is still cheaper than a locked 2600. And I'll be using the server for transcodes of Bluray rips, which is why I went with higher performance. Granted, I know the server is overkill and i could have gone for the 2500K but i wanted the best box possible so it will last.

 

http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=52807,52810

 

http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0354587

 

I assume you are converting BD to a different format? If you can get the 2600k for less than the 2600 than that would certainly do the trick. Since the only difference between the 2500 and 2600 is hyper threading the benchmarks will be roughly the same so go with the best value to you. There should be very little difference in what you are trying to do. I rip BD to a native format as I do not like to compress the movie so for me even my core I3 never gets about 20% on the average. The other issue is the rip speed and drive speed are much greater limiters than CPU when recoding a BD to a different format. If you are going to alter or recode than you are right and will want the biggest CPU. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

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I assume you are converting BD to a different format? If you can get the 2600k for less than the 2600 than that would certainly do the trick. Since the only difference between the 2500 and 2600 is hyper threading the benchmarks will be roughly the same so go with the best value to you. There should be very little difference in what you are trying to do. I rip BD to a native format as I do not like to compress the movie so for me even my core I3 never gets about 20% on the average. The other issue is the rip speed and drive speed are much greater limiters than CPU when recoding a BD to a different format. If you are going to alter or recode than you are right and will want the biggest CPU. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

 

I rip my Blu-rays into MKVs so that I can stream them with AirVideo. I tried just ripping them into a native format but I realize at least but I had these issues that made it less than elegant:

1) Full rips take up a TON of space - if you've got 100 movies at 50GB a piece and you want to maintain a backup of those so you don't have to do again, you're talking at LEAST 20TB total. MKVs require 1/10th the space.

2) It's far easier for Media Center to stream an MKV than it is a Blu-ray rip due to not having to deal with hooking into 3rd party software.

3) Xbox 360 will not play Blu-ray rips directly

4) AirVideo can't stream Blu-ray rips to my iPhone/iPad

5) A transcoded 10GB 1080p movie looks mostly indistinguishable from a Blu-ray rip when watching it if encoded correctly

 

and finally

 

6) If I really care that much about watching a movie in the highest quality, I'll grab my disc from off the shelf!

 

Transcodes take a TON of time, as such, the faster the CPU, the better!

 

I'll also be doing transcodes of recorded TV shows using AirVideo so that a 4GB 1hr TV show becomes 500MB. Takes up less space and can be synced with my iPhone (now if only I could remove those pesky commercials automatically).

Edited by dagamer34
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There are, of course, a few programs that "automagically" remove commercials. Either during a transcode or a direct copy using the original codec. Not sure why you say AirVideo can't transcode your BluRay rips. I rip mine without transrating using MKV as a container and my 1st gen i3 can transrate/transcode it via AirPlay to both iPods and iPads (I believe it is transcoding and not just transrating for iDevices since the h.264 for BluRay is a higher level than the i-devices can natively display.)

 

Question: P67/H67 do not support VT-d? I believe the spec does, it's just the mobo manufacturers that have not implemented it yet, correctr? I've read here that supposedly the Intel DP67BG *does* support VT-d, but I've read elsewhere that although the latest BIOS update shows the ability to use VT-d in the BIOS, it doesn't work correctly. On Intel's page it only lists the P67/H67 as VT compatible (presumably VT-x) because further down it lists the mobos that support VT for Directed IO (i.e. VT-d) and that is only the Q67 chipset. Desktop board compatibility with Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)

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I rip my Blu-rays into MKVs so that I can stream them with AirVideo. I tried just ripping them into a native format but I realize at least but I had these issues that made it less than elegant:

1) Full rips take up a TON of space - if you've got 100 movies at 50GB a piece and you want to maintain a backup of those so you don't have to do again, you're talking at LEAST 20TB total. MKVs require 1/10th the space.

2) It's far easier for Media Center to stream an MKV than it is a Blu-ray rip due to not having to deal with hooking into 3rd party software.

3) Xbox 360 will not play Blu-ray rips directly

4) AirVideo can't stream Blu-ray rips to my iPhone/iPad

5) A transcoded 10GB 1080p movie looks mostly indistinguishable from a Blu-ray rip when watching it if encoded correctly

 

and finally

 

6) If I really care that much about watching a movie in the highest quality, I'll grab my disc from off the shelf!

 

Transcodes take a TON of time, as such, the faster the CPU, the better!

 

I'll also be doing transcodes of recorded TV shows using AirVideo so that a 4GB 1hr TV show becomes 500MB. Takes up less space and can be synced with my iPhone (now if only I could remove those pesky commercials automatically).

 

 

Just to not confuse anyone, MKV does not actually compress files natively as it is just a container type not a format, so any conversion has to be performed before or during the process of putting it into a container. MakeMKV (assuming that is what you are using) does do a great job at ripping out all the "junk" such as trailers and extras so that all you have left is the movie which of course is smaller in size than what is on the disk as it only contains the main content. When you remove the stuff there is actually very little difference between a a folder rip and a MKV assuming no compression was used prior to putting it into the container. I do the same exact thing as you with both MakeMKV and Air Video for the content I want to stream. As for media center, codecs are required for either MKV or folder structure playback as neither is native to WMC if you want to play without 3rd party software. The reason I choose to use TMT in lieu of codecs is because of the HD audio tracks. I want the TrueHD or DTS-HD to pass through to my receiver unaltered and that requires support from your player/graphics card/chipset through something like TMT in order to function correctly. Ultimately it boils down to personal preference and choice and what you are trying to accomplish. While I do not necessarily agree with your views on picture quality and grabbing the disk, it does not make either of us right but rather differences in the approach. You have defined your needs and selected the hardware you feel will give you the best value and there is no doubt you have defined a beautiful system with power to spare and it certainly will do what you ask and more. I wish you the best with it and have no doubt it perform to your expectations, and we look forward to hearing you first impressions. Good luck.

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There are, of course, a few programs that "automagically" remove commercials. Either during a transcode or a direct copy using the original codec. Not sure why you say AirVideo can't transcode your BluRay rips. I rip mine without transrating using MKV as a container and my 1st gen i3 can transrate/transcode it via AirPlay to both iPods and iPads (I believe it is transcoding and not just transrating for iDevices since the h.264 for BluRay is a higher level than the i-devices can natively display.)

 

Question: P67/H67 do not support VT-d? I believe the spec does, it's just the mobo manufacturers that have not implemented it yet, correctr? I've read here that supposedly the Intel DP67BG *does* support VT-d, but I've read elsewhere that although the latest BIOS update shows the ability to use VT-d in the BIOS, it doesn't work correctly. On Intel's page it only lists the P67/H67 as VT compatible (presumably VT-x) because further down it lists the mobos that support VT for Directed IO (i.e. VT-d) and that is only the Q67 chipset. Desktop board compatibility with Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT)

 

 

You are absolutely correct. The non "k" versions do support it but it is a chipset implementation issue and even that is undefined. Some Intel posts claim it does and it is not clear to me if there is or is not and issue with chipset support. Also your comment on Air Video are also correct as Air Video transcodes on the fly or you can have it actually convert the file permanently if you wish. I would prefer not to convert as it does take forever to do it.

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