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Advice on 1st Home Server Build


Marshall_W
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Hi All,

 

I have been doing research on putting together a home server running WHS and I would appreciate some input on my build. Here are the few criteria I have been working around..

 

1. Efficient (low power) system

2. Provide room for future expansion (add additional HDs or RAID controller if needed)

3. CPU power to handle at least 5 machines + video transcoding (not sure that I will do my transcoding on the server, but I would like that flexibility)

4. Of course... minimize $$ spent to achieve above goals

 

My primary purpose of this server will be to store video/music/files, run automated backup on my other pcs, and to stream to blu ray quality movies to various machines (PS3, HTPC, ect..)

 

I assume some of the parts are overkill, but I tend to err on the side of caution being my first home server build.

 

Processor : Intel Core i3-2120T

Mobo: ASRock Z77 Extreme4

RAM:G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB)

SSD:Crucial 64GB (will use as OS boot drive)

PSU: Rosewill HIVE Series HIVE-550 550W

Case: Fractal Design Define R4

1x DVD-ROM Drive

 

Total cost : ~$600

 

I already have 4x 1TB HDs that I plan to use for the server. I plan to run a software RAID 5 array if my drives are compatible. At least 1-2 of the drives are WD Green types. I have read that can cause issues in RAID 5... Still need some additional research here.

 

Thanks again!

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Have you looked at the HP Microservers N40L that I keep seeing on sale in the US?

 

The could possibly satisfy all of your needs, however I'm not sure about the video transcoding though. But its a popular device on the forums.

 

Could also get it for under 300$ on Newegg.com.

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If you were doing hardware RAID 5 having all of the same drives would be best and I would recommend WD Red drives. Software RAID may be more forgiving of drive differences.

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I did look into the HP Microservers, but the limited drive slots and reduced CPU power was a bit of a turnoff. From my experience, home built always gets the best bang for the buck.

 

Thanks for the input on the raid 5. I'll keep that in mind.

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We covered this live on HSS 209. Have a listen when it comes out in the next couple days.

 

Thanks! I'll keep my eye out for it.

 

What do you plan on doing with the VMs?

 

Are you referring to virtual machines (sorry if I'm missing the obvious)? I don't plan on running any VMs on the server. My main use for the home server is to store files and stream videos to various platforms.

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Just a point of clarification: are you planning on actually streaming the videos, or are you going to be using client computers to pull the videos from the server? What I mean is, are you planning on running a special application on the server that is going to stream the videos, or are you just going to share the files on the network, browse the files from a client computer/xbox/ps3/DLNA device/etc, select one, and then play it?

 

An example of a streaming application would be Adobe Flash Media Server.

 

The point here is that it takes way more CPU to stream video using Flash Media Server than it does to just send file packets down the line.

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Are you referring to virtual machines (sorry if I'm missing the obvious)? I don't plan on running any VMs on the server. My main use for the home server is to store files and stream videos to various platforms.

Yes Virtual Machines

Ah, I took "5 Machines" to mean running 5 VMs but I'm guessing you meant to have 5 machines on the network connected to the server? If so then the CPU isn't so much the bottle neck (unless doing streaming as Ikon above mentioned) but the Network Interface and the Drives are more. The NIC on the motherboard is 1000Mbps so that should be fine for 5 machines. Can't say anything about the drives but RAID 5 will at least help with serving files out to machines.

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Just a point of clarification: are you planning on actually streaming the videos, or are you going to be using client computers to pull the videos from the server?

 

Thanks for the insight... I read that WHS 2011 provides some nice "Media Streaming" capabilities. I'll be honest though and admit I don't know exactly how that works... Is this a actual streaming function, or simply allowing devices to pull the data off the server as you mention?

 

One thing I would like to achieve is to allow some of my friends to play movies off my server as well. They are not on the LAN, so file size and internet connection will obviously play a big part here. If there are any tricks to make this possible (or improve their chances) that would be good to know.

 

 

The NIC on the motherboard is 1000Mbps so that should be fine for 5 machines.

 

Thanks. I do have some reservations about the MOBO. I don't have any experience with ASRock, but have read that it is reliable. Any insight here? Besides being compatible with the CPU, I was looking for a good mobo that had up to 8 SATA connections.

 

This brings up another question I had. Can I mix 6gb/s and 3gb/s SATA connections in a RAID 5 array? Or do they all have to be on the same type of connection?

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