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Building my first WHS and would like your thoughts


litow14
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I have been buidling PCs for about 15 years but this will be my first WHS. I have watched all of pcdoc's videos (not the guild ones) do to the fact that you cant teach me any thing i dont know about building a PC but I would like your thoughts about the parts i have picked out and would like your input. I plan on using it as a home server and a HTPC

 

I dont have a lot of money to start off but i do plan on getting more and more to have a large server.

 

Mother Board

 

I picked out a GIGABYTE GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=344432&sku=G452-0141

My reason for this board is because it has 6 SATA ports and 2 PCI Express X8 Slots (for Raid Controlers in the future). It supports RAID 5 and only costs $120

I think its a good deal for the price and i like GIGABYTE mother boards.

 

CPU (choices)

 

i3 2120 ($130) - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7295299&Sku=I69-0212

i3 2100 ($125) - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=7295297&Sku=I69-0210

i3 540 ($100) - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5581942&Sku=I69-0540

 

Was thinking of the 540 save $30 however i do not plan on buying a video card. I dont feel that it will be a problem when comming to playing dvds and i dont plan on loading up programs on the server but i would like to know your ideas.

 

Ram

 

going 8gb 1333 what ever the cheapest was my thought.

 

Case

 

Been looking and looking and came across the Fractal Design Define XL. XL because it holds more HDDs. I am all about buying a case that i will use for years to come. I like the flat front and it justs looks good to me.

 

HDD's

 

I have a few laying around that i plan on one being the OP HDD but i do plan on making a RAID 5 setup So my quesits are.

Can i do a raid 5 with 3 HDDs starting off? Granted all HDDs are the same. I am guessing that the OPS should be on a HDD by it self not in the raid. Reason being is that i cant go out and just buy a ton of HDDs all at once. (wish i could)

Raid controler? any one got some options for me (down the road)

 

Is there any thing i am missing as for Hard ware? i will worry about soft ware when i get to it.

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The i3 540 is socket 1156. It won't work with that motherboard. Besides that I think you made some good choices.

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only 3 drives are required for raid 5. Yes the OS should be on its own drive. Most here are using highpoint rocketraid cards.

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Guest no-control

The case is really nice for the money. I have the Define R3 (mid tower version) and it's working great as my new server case. For the OS I suggest using 2 hdds in a RAID 1. 1 partition of rhte system and a second partition for Data. Until you can afford more drives.

 

RAID5 - use a controller card like the Highpoint RR 2680. on that mobo only four of those SATA ports can be in the RAID array. The other 2 will have to be in a separate array. There are two different controllers. So the max you're RAID 5 can be is 4 drives. Pretty pointless considering the size of the case implies you'll want more storage than 6 drives total. Also I wouldn't bother setting up a RAID5 until you have sufficient drives, both capacity and quantity. You will have to break the array to add more drives using the onboard controller. Another reason to use a controller card.

 

8GB of RAM is useless on a WHS, but since its dirt cheap, its up to you if you want to spend the extra $15.

 

I wouldn't spend money on a dead platform (1156), but here's a good motherboard. If you really want an 1156 option I'll sell you my i3-530/Gigabyte H55 setup. Honestly I would stick with 1155 and the i3-2120 or i3-2100 either one will work fine you will not notice the difference between them.

 

Actually building a PC is a pretty simple square peg round hole scenario. The stuff physically will only fit one way, planning and designing the build is where some research pays off. ;)

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The Z68’s are nice boards with a lot of “future proofing” and options – I built a couple of HTPC’s described in the HTPC build section with the Z68MX and had good luck with them.

 

Newegg has a Promotion on the GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 that makes it a little cheaper for the next few days so I’d suggest checking that out.

 

I personally wouldn’t consider a new build with a i3-540 – it’s not as powerful as a Sandy Bridge and it doesn’t have built in graphics like the Sandy Bridge (saving you the need for a video card with the 156 and also saving you power). With the Sandy Bridge you have your choice on either HD2000 or HD3000 graphics depending on the processor and your target application. There aren't any sales that I know of on the Sandy Bridge i3's but those things run in cycles so something is coming up soon so I'd keep an eye out! When the Ivy Bridge is release later this year it will be a 1155 socket like the Sandy Bridge offering more CPU power while consuming even less wattage – further future proofing your system.

 

I have not done a build yet with a RAID card but when I do build something that needs a RAID I would go with a card rather than the MB – Your data has better protection if the MB fails you can just move the card with the drives to another machine. The cards that I’ve looked at much are the Highpoint RocketRAID 2720SGL the RocketRAID 2720 (with cables) and the RocketRAID 2680. But you can start off with 2 drives in a Raid1 (and you can set the Raid1 up in software in WHS-2011 and avoid the MB hardware RAID) -- and then build your system from there.

 

One piece of hardware you haven’t mentioned is the power supply. Add up you maximum worst case power demand now and in the future and get a power supply that exceeds that possible worst case. Newegg has a calculator that can help you do those calculations. IMHO, Look for a single 12V rail and modular cables. There’s a very good PSU on sale that’s been noted elsewhere on this board.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Guest no-control

I personally wouldn’t consider a new build with a i3-540 – it’s not as powerful as a Sandy Bridge and it doesn’t have built in graphics like the Sandy Bridge (saving you the need for a video card with the 156 and also saving you power). With the Sandy Bridge you have your choice on either HD2000 or HD3000 graphics depending on the processor and your target application.

 

Just a small correction the i3-5XX clarkdale series do have intel integrated HD graphics. Both of my HTPCs are currently using these CPUs.

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Just a small correction the i3-5XX clarkdale series do have intel integrated HD graphics. Both of my HTPCs are currently using these CPUs.

 

Thanks No-Contol -- apparently my brain hit a speed bump -- probably from the fumes I've been breathing in today working on my home generator and getting it running so that we'll have no major outages this coming bad weather season (we've only had major outages when I've neglected to tune-up the generator :) ) I guess that's as good excuse as any :)

 

Here's a page showing the Clarkdale and Sandy Bridge i3's

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Not much to add as everyone has already one a great job saying it. Given the choice for future proofing, get the 2100 and the RR 2720. Great place for lots of input.

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