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WHS2011 Build critique please


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Hi - I am 90% certain I am going to build a WHS2011 box.  Here is a thread outlining how I ultimately came to that conclusion:  http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5323-new-server-i-am-choosing-whs2011-over-2012e-am-i-crazy/


Here is a quick photo of my "pile-o-server" that I can work from




Parts Listing:

Case:  Lain Li PC-V354

Motheboard:  ASUS E35M1-I (5 sata 6 ports and 1 E-sata port)

Memory:  Gsckill somethings 4 or 8 gb not sure

Power Suppy: 400W Seasonic fan-less  Gold Plus

Main Drive: - ICY DOCK enclosure - drives not purchased

OR Intel 120GM SSD

BD drive:  ASUS 4X drive

Data Drives:  QTY2 - 2 TB WD Greens 

Cards - Esata and USB 3.0 external


Please review this and provide a recommendation.  Here are some specific questions:

  1. Is the ASUS/AMD E350 under powered for WHS2011?  I am not certain if I will be doing transcoding - I  have a big i7 Desktop for that.  But it may be nice to have the option....  
  2. If there is a "no brainier" board and chip (I3 2100T?) I should upgrade to please pas that recommendation along.
  3. ICYDOCK vs an SSD - I did a great deal of research on the previously and the ICYDOCK seemed to be the vogue choice.  What size drive for OS.....?  WD BLACKS?
  4. I will likely a more data drives - assuming 2TB is the approved max, is everybody just going to the WD red drives now?

What else am I missing?  Thanks for everyone's help!





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  • ikon


  • e_merlin


  • Joe_Miner


Looks like a great build to me.  I have used almost every item on your list short the E350 and have been very happy.  You will not need much power for backup and file serving but if you are like anyone else, you will at some point want to exploit hardware that is just sitting.  Cool things like streaming to a portable etc just beckon to be used.  The fact you are putting in a BD says you are thinking.  My suggestion, if you have the hardware already, use it you will be happy with it.  If you are still in the market for a MB/CPU, consider a low end I5 instead and let the ripping/transcoding begin.  As for the IcyDock SSD debate, that becomes a tougher choice.  I started with the icydock and was very pleased with it and for maz up time is a great way to go.  I ended up changing to an SSD for performance reasons. It is really a tough call and you have to decide if you can live with reloading an OS if the SSD fails.  To minimize pain, I use Acronis to backup my server so my recovery will be in the minutes but it is an extra expense,

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Thanks pcdoc - do you have favorite a mobo and specific i5?   I wonder if they make low power versions like the old i3-2100T.  I always thought that would make a great server chip.

Edited by e_merlin
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Re: SSD and server backup: I have used the built in Server Backup to back up the boot partition to an external USB drive and then restore it to a new drive quite successfully. I didn't specifically restore to an SSD, but I don't see where that would make much difference if it was backed up from the same SSD.

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Thanks pcdoc - do you have favorite a mobo and specific i5?   I wonder if they make low power versions like the old i3-2100T.  I always thought that would make a great server chip.



Not really but as most already know I have been a Gigabyte fan.  I also have two Asrock boards that I really like as well.  Either of those or an Asus would be fine.  I would stay away from the other brands.



The reason I used Acronis is that it is SSD aware so it gave me a warmer feeling when I have to do a restore and allows me to clone the drive easilty when I want to change or upgrade.  Got is on sale and it works great on WHS 2011

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pcdoc, I can completely understand that. And, as I mentioned, I was restoring to an HDD rather than an SSD. I also have nothing against Acronis. I own 4 licences for TIH, 2 for the Plus Pack, and 1 for Disk Director :)


I wonder if it really makes a difference if it's an SSD. What I mean is, if the backups are made of an OS that was installed onto an SSD in the first place, does that mean Windows Server Backup can restore it properly to the same SSD? 

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@e_merlin -- I would just piggy back on PCDoc's suggestion that if you don't have the RAM yet I'd go with 8G and Max out what the 2011 can/will use.

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Guest no-control

I just built another home server for a family member. copy/paste the newegg #'s

G1610 - N82E16819116889

AS Rock H77 - N82E16813157303

8GB G.Skill ARES - N82E16820231542

500gb HDD - N82E16822136769

Corsair 430W  - N82E16817139026


The above was about $300 with tax & s/h.


The icy dock is OK if you're strapped for space, but otherwise its an unnecessary expenditure and point of failure. I'm still convinced the SSD for a WHS box is stupid and a waste. If you do the intel is an even bigger joke. This would be an appropriate SSD for WHS2011 - AData 32GB SSD - N82E16820211717


Unless your doing a LOT of encoding. Like a couple of movies a week, then you don't need an overkill CPU. That E-350 is long in the tooth and pretty much only good for a file serving and client backup. I built one about 6 months ago. The G1610 above is more than enough. Sure it'll take a little longer to rip a movie, if that really bothers you then the i3-3220 is what you want.


The rest of the build is up to you and your pocketbook

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Thanks - truly many thanks to those who have responded.


I will certainly play ripped movies back to the clients using MyMovies and stream music with iTunes and the like.  I do not think I will be transcoding on the fly.  FWIW - my WHSv1 could rip a disk in about 20-30 mins which was fine with me.  Not sure how it would have handled BDs.  



Thanks to no-control on the Celeron recommendation - it looks like it smokes the AMD-E350.  I am trying to decide between these two - either are acceptable in the budget.


i3-3220 @ $120 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116775


Celeron G1610 @ $50 - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116889


I will certainly go 8GB or ram no matter what.  



The motherboard is another matter entirely.  I would appreciate some additional opinions here.  I obviously want as many sata ports as can be had reasonably.  I have found two - very unscientifically....  NOTE:  this my be that area I spend a bit more if it means after say 3 years, so if I can upgrade the CPU on this board it would be worth it to spend extra to get a longer lifespan?


ALSO - I assume the desired connection is to use the 6.0 Gb/s connectors for all connections...?  That becomes a problem

1.  System Drive

2.  BD drive

3 to.... data drives.


So if you have a board with 4 6.0 Gb/s ports you are limited to two data drives?  What do you all do with the 3.0 Gb/s ports - are they used at all?  Sorry for the newbie questions.  Lastly on this - based on some anecdotal searching there are no expansion cards to add  6.0 Gb/s ports?    I was hoping to go 8 TB (4 X 2 data) + BD drive +OS drive.  I guess could go with an outboard BD drive into USB 3.0 and save the port.  Thoughts?


Gigabyte GA-Z77X-D3H @ $139 (really the top of my budget with the i3) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128546


ASRock Z77 Fatal @ $194 (poor name choice..  6 X 6.0 Gb/s ports, big $$) - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157299


So that  I understand this -


1.  Playing a file from the server to a mymoives client has nothing to do with transcoding - just file serving and my network data rates?  I suppose the question I need to research is if MyMoives offers some transcoding in the software - from BD to MP4 or MKV.  Even so I think we are just dealing with conversion times - once that process is done it is simple file serving.  Am I thinking correctly here?  My current plan is to use my main i7 desktop to do any handbrake conversions - I wish handbrake would take advantage of quicksinc...


2.  As stated - I will run MyMovies, Lights out, and...?  A bit torrent client perhaps?  Are there any other plug-ins the would push me to an i5?

>>>>Is there really any app/plug-in the I3 cannot handle short of transcoding on the fly?


3. The drives I have been saving are the only 3 Gb/s drives :  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822136772.  Are they too old an antiquated to use in this build?  Can these drives be segregated for different use?  Meaning these drives could be used for client backup only where speed is not important?  I can set that up within WHS2011.  Then I would purchase a couple of the REDs for file serving, ripped files, etc...  I think this is where I would run stable bit - if that is possible to select volumes.


Again, thanks for all the help, and sorry for all the newbie questions.

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