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My proposed WHS2011 build


Jimbo
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Hi,

 

Following on from my posting about my proposed new HTPC build, here is what I am planning to do for a new WHS2011 box. Once again, any comments or suggestions are welcome.

 

I currently have a WHSv1 box with the following spec -

 

Case - generic & cheap midi-tower case

CPU - Intel Celeron E3200 2.4 GHz

Motherboard - Asus P5QL/EPU

Memory - 2 Gb DDR2 from the spares box

Disks - 1 x 160 Gb, 4 x 1 Tb Samsung Eco Green F1 drives

PSU - Some old PSU from the spares box

 

As you can see, this was put together as cheaply as possible, but it performs perfectly adequately. I use it for local backups and media storage, mainly 3+ Tb of ripped DVDs. As my DVD collection has now spilled over onto my own PC, I need to add a lot more storage, but the current case is out of space for disks. I would also like to run a couple of virtual servers, so the current box is really not up to the task.

 

Therefore, a new box with WHS2011 seems like the best way forward. As I have worked in Enterprise IT support for 20+ years, and have used RAID on servers for over 15 years, the use of RAID in WHS2011 holds little fear for me. My biggest concern is the use of software-based RAID, which is a real no-no on Enterprise servers !!! Nevertheless, I cannot afford several hundred pounds of hardware RAID card, so I will need to compromise there. I would also like to upgrade my own PC and reuse the old processor & motherboard in the new WHS. I am not worried about the 2Tb backup limit on WHS2011 because offsite backups are done by Carbonite on my own PC (DVD rips excluded). Lastly, noise isn't a problem as this server sits in the garage.

 

I am therefore proposing the following -

 

Case - Existing spare full-tower case with 12 disk slots (old but perfectly functional)

CPU - Intel Core Duo E8400 3 Ghz

Motherboard - Asus P5Q-E (Intel P45/ICH10R)

Memory - 8 Gb DDR2-400

RAID card - Highpoint RocketRAID 640

Disks - 2 x 200 Gb (from spares box) RAID-1 on motherboard RAID, for system

- 3 x 1 Gb (from old WHS) RAID-5 on motherboard RAID, for backups, photos etc.

- 4 x 2 Tb WD20EARS RAID-5 on RR640, for ripped DVDs and TV recordings

PSU - new unit TBD

 

As budget is tight, the only new parts in this build are the RAID card and WD20EARS drives, although I will be buying an Intel i5 2500k and a Gigabyte H67 motherboard for my own PC as well.

 

The main question is whether the CPU & motherboard are going to be upto the job of supporting 5 disks in two RAID arrays and running a couple of small VM's. The alternative is to use the new CPU & Motherboard I am going to buy rather than put those in my PC, but it seems a bit of waste in the WHS. Also, what size PSU is going to be needed to run 9 disks (although mostly green drives).

 

Just for completeness, the old WHS is likely to be reused as a very basic HTPC for the garage for when I am on the exercise bike :-)

 

Thanks,

 

Jim.

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I am therefore proposing the following -

 

Case - Existing spare full-tower case with 12 disk slots (old but perfectly functional)

CPU - Intel Core Duo E8400 3 Ghz

Motherboard - Asus P5Q-E (Intel P45/ICH10R)

Memory - 8 Gb DDR2-400

RAID card - Highpoint RocketRAID 640

Disks - 2 x 200 Gb (from spares box) RAID-1 on motherboard RAID, for system

- 3 x 1 Gb (from old WHS) RAID-5 on motherboard RAID, for backups, photos etc.

- 4 x 2 Tb WD20EARS RAID-5 on RR640, for ripped DVDs and TV recordings

PSU - new unit TBD

 

As budget is tight, the only new parts in this build are the RAID card and WD20EARS drives, although I will be buying an Intel i5 2500k and a Gigabyte H67 motherboard for my own PC as well.

 

The main question is whether the CPU & motherboard are going to be upto the job of supporting 5 disks in two RAID arrays and running a couple of small VM's. The alternative is to use the new CPU & Motherboard I am going to buy rather than put those in my PC, but it seems a bit of waste in the WHS. Also, what size PSU is going to be needed to run 9 disks (although mostly green drives).

 

Jim,

The CPU is quite powerful enough for the VMs and there is really no CPU put out in the past ten years that is incapable of supporting a 5-6 disk RAID array. I.E. Your recent single core Atoms are roughly equivalent to a 2.4 Ghz P4, and both are plenty fast enough for RAID use - although I wouldn't prefer them for the VMs. I've done it, however.

 

PSU, probably less than you think. I am running a Core i3 OC'd to 3.4Ghz, 6 x Samsung 2TB FD2040s, 1x WD 1.5TB, 2 x 180GB laptop drives in a RAID 1 enclosure, an 8 port SAS-SATA RAID card, 12GB RAM, and 4 x 120mm + 2 x 140mm fans off of a 650w Corsair. The system pulls 110w at the wall running server 2008r2 + 5 VMs (3 x Win7, 1 x WHS 2011, 1 x Server 2008R2). Overkill on the PSU, but I had it.

 

For reference, two decent power requirements charts:

 

Newegg: http://c1.neweggimages.com/BizIntell/tool/psucalc/index.html?cm_sp=Cat32_PowerSupply_left-_-PowerSupplyFinder030510-_-http%3a%2f%2fpromotions.newegg.com%2fproductfinders%2fpowersupply.jpg

 

Outer Vision Extreme: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

 

 

The NewEgg one is very basic, the Outer Vision is much more thorough. The Outer Vision one includes fans (even whether LED or not), cooling options, overclocking and whether you intend to keep it running it a high levels for long times. For my system it recommended a 373W supply minimum, preferably 423 to keep safe once capacitance drops over time. NewEgg said 475w.

Edited by timekills
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Unless you plan on doing allot of resident application and transcoding, the CPU/MB should be fine. Keep in mind that it will not be quite as power efficient as say a 2100 and you will have to add a discreet card on 2011 as the board you listed does not have onboard video. Personally based on my own trials and tribulations, I would go for an 8 port card for a few bucks more and not use the MB connectors at all except for the OS. Why you ask? Because my raids have been less stable and reliable on two different systems have re-synced several times when I used the MB controller, and I still have issues with the mirrors. Usually when there is a lock up, system hang of some sorts, or loose power where as my RAID cards have never re-synced and have been rock solid. You can have mixed configuration on a single card and your proposed storage setup is fine. For about half the price of the 640 or the same prices as the 644, you will buy you 4 more ports ($99)if you go with a Sata 2 8 port card (2680) vs a 4 port Sata 3 card. The drives you are using will not exploit the Sata 3 spec so you are better off with more ports, less hassle, than with a faster card you can not take advantage of. Lastly, on a server, look for a single rail power supply not the multi-rail versions. They provide more flexibility in adding drives. Good luck and hope this helps.

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