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Help Jim build his new WHS (Frankenbuild) - The Motherboard


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As I mentioned in show 82, I am going to ask for your advice (or convincing) on all the parts needed to build my new WHS. We will start with the motherboard and CPU. After a week or two, I will make a decision and we will start with the next component. We may even discuss your posts on the show. Are you in?

My priorities will be to get the best value that is available. Not always the cheapest, but not the mot expensive either. I want this server to be around for a while as well, but also easy to upgrade when the time comes or the need arises.

With the motherboard, the CPU and chipset matter. Intel or AMD. Do I go with a low power ATOM and save power or a thirsty quad-core and use VM?

So I will get things started. What CPU would you partner with this?

MSI P43-C51 LGA 775 Intel P43 ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail
DDR3, APS & EZ OC Switch

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  • jcollison


  • usacomp2k3


  • fasthair


  • pcdoc


I'd go with a dual-core Atom. Do you plan on doing transcoding or file conversions on the server?

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Are all set on the components you listed above? If not, Here is my input input for consideration. Go with the intel platform as you get more performance for your dollar on less power. I am going to be rebuilding mine soon and plan on using the G9650 or Core I3 CPU as it is fast, power efficient and cost effective. The atom is OK most of the time but is far more limited so I would not go that route. Personally, the $$ savings is just not worth it. I usually like tons of power but a quad core for a server is a bit of an overkill. As for the P43/LGA775 you listed above this is what I am using now in my servers and they work great however they they use about 30 watts more at idle than the Core I3/G9650 which can add up for 24/7 use. For motherboards, I am a Gigabyte fanboy and have built well over a hundred systems with their boards so I am a believer. I have tried others such as Asus, EVGA, and MSI but always go back to Giga-byte for stability, value, and performance. As for the thought on VM, I have tried it and I am just not a fan of WHS used on a VM. I would rather have the set it and forget it appraoch as it avoid many issues depending on what the VM is being used for.

CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116283

MicroATX for a smaller system

Alternate for more expansion:

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AJ - I don't currently do any transcoding on my WHS, but don't want to rule that out. You have any recommendations (links) for atom boards?

pcdoc - your comments are exactly what I am looking for with this post. Nice work. Let me check out the links and respond. I like the idea of low power with performance as an option.

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The other thing to think about is future expansion potentially with WHS2. I probably wouldn't get a microATX board just in case tuner pooling is allowed down the road. You could then through a handful of TV tuners into your WHS and share those over the network.

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@Jim - I wouldn't use that mobo. I'd buy a LGA 1156 mobo with integrated DVI/HDMI vid and stick an i3 in there. No vid card = one less heat-producing and air-flow blocking component.

My reasoning is that I like the speed of my EX495, but it could be faster still. The slowest i3 would blow the doors off it.

*fwiw - I see a couple boards by ASRock and Intel for just below $100.

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I'll keep the Core i3 train rolling here, it's by far the best value proposition for a home server right now. Core i3 530 with a solid Intel mb will get you a great platform going forward, don't discount the Intel nic included in the Intel board for the best network performance. You get over 2x the performance of an atom 330 for not much more $$.

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Well, the i3 is rated @ 73 W vs., for example, an E8400 which rated @ 65 W. I mention the E8400 because it works in Jim's board and would be a great chip because of clock speed and 6MB cache.

What follows is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but I wanted to include it to illustrate a point about power consumption ---

Just for an example and by way of consideration, the thing about comparing power usage of Atom 330 vs. i3 is that real power usage also turns out to be a function of time. That is, the amount of power used to complete a task or benchmark is as much a consideration as head to head comparisons at idle. So where Atom's idle power consumption vs. the i3's looks great, it works a lot longer at transcoding huge video files, and in such a case the i3's total power usage is quite possibly (most probably) less than the Atoms's. Not to mention the added benefit of an incredibly responsive system as compared to the lowly Atom. But of course you knew this already, right? ;-)

*I didn't find the E7200 mentioned in Tom's article on Newegg.com any more, but the comparable E7400 is available.

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For an Intel platform you can probably buy an H55 LGA1156 motherboard for about ~$80 possibly less. Entry level CPU would be the Intel G6950 Clarkdale (dual core no Hyper-Threading) at roughly ~$95. Or you could go a step above that with the Core i3 530 Clarkdale (dual core with Hyper-Threading) for not much more. These H55 board have the potential to support Core i5 and Core i7 making them able to grow with increased demand. Some such boards can support USB 3.0 and SATA 6G.

As for AMD, I have to admit that my interest is peaked with the upcoming Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition 3.20 GHz - ~$295 and Phenom II X6 1055T 2.8GHz ~$199. Naturally part of the interest comes from the fact that these are 6 core parts that are presumably priced in the entry level of the Core i7 family. There is still a lot not known but ASUS has released a supported motherboard list and many of there boards are available now. Again, Some such boards can support USB 3.0 and SATA 6G. Rumor is that AMD will make an announcement on these parts on April 26 th.


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