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Help Jim Build His New WHS - Reconsidering Some Choices


jcollison
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If you have been following my posts on the WHS build I am putting together (search the forums for 'help jim') you know that I picked the CPU to start with and choose the Intel Core i3-540. I might reconsider that...

I was chatting on skype tonight with Chris, John and Tim Daleo and we were talking about home builds. Chris brought up this board

Text HereIntel BOXD510MO Atom Dual-Core D510/ Intel NM10/ DDR2/ A&V&GbE/ Mini-ITX Motherboard ($80)

and it got me thinging....

What if I added it to this case ($50) APEX MI-008 Black Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 250W

And added 3 of these drives ($60 x 3)
HITACHI Travelstar 5K500.B HTS545032B9A300

I would have to throw some memory at it ($60)
WINTEC AMPX 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800

And a SATA Card (I will take suggestions on this one)

In the end, I would have a very compact, quiet, energy saving, 1TB WHS that would do most tasks (file sharing, back up) and maybe even more for about $350?

What do you think

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Jim,
You should never second guess yourself, you had it right the first tiem. Think WHS2 and you might want to back to your original choice of the core I3 and something like the GIGABYTE GA-H55M-USB3. I know it might cost a bit more but you will have more internal drives, and a bit more power now and for the eventual upgrade. Every Atom based I have ever run is a good for single tasking and low I/O but I suspect you may want more than that especially with Vail. I have 6 atoms at work and the D510 is only moderately faster than the predecessors and uses about 4 watss less. I assume you may want to keep this for awhile, I would go for the extra power.

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I'm planning to build a system soon. Unless something new and better comes out before then, I'm planning to use the i3-540 with a "full size" case that can accommodate at least 6 internal drives. I want the system to be able to handle WHS2 and have lots of storage space.

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When I built my frankenbuild, I went more of the entry-level server route. For the i3 processor, ASUS, SuperMicro and Intel all have boards to look at. One common complaint across the board seems to be when trying to use 4GB DIMMs, but that's memory overkill for a Home Server.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131611

I personally went with the extra $$ to get an Intel board (on the LGA775 platform). My logic here is I wanted something stable and reliable since my Home Server keeps all of my data (important and unimportant).

On another note, I went with a hardware RAID solution, but now I feel as if it was overkill. I should really rely more on Home Server's new file system. I am, however, still happy with my decision to go with 2.5" laptop drives. My power draw is way lower and I can physically fit more drives into a small case.

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mrossco,
Your logic is good however here are some thoughts. I just upgraded one server, in the process of the second, and two HTPC's with the core I3 and the main reason was stability and power consumption. Since the H55 boards do not need additional cards or drivers, I have had less issues with this configuration, and there is a huge difference in power consumption. The core I3 is faster and draws less power than the lga775 chips. On a system basis, it amounts to 20-30 watts per system (roughly 20-40%). As for the 4 gig issue, there really is not one in terms of hardware. WHS will not use it all but does work flawlessly. Each of my systems is configured with 4 gigs of DD3 running at 1600mhz an they are all very stable. I could have purchased 2 gigs for the WHS however the pricing was such that it did not make sense and it puts in position for WHS2 which will use it all. I like you idea on the laptop drives but that would depend on your storage and performance needs. The laptop drives are fairly slow and small so this would tend to be a smaller server for primary data. For the multi terrabyte media server that may not work out as well. It certainly would be better on power, heat, and noise as long as you do not need the storage or speed.

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Stick with the core i3 build, I am looking forward to seeing how it performs and the power consumption. For WHS2 it will most likely be my choice for chips, unless something changes drastically. That new Atom may do the job 90% of the time, but that 10% of the time it doesn't you will kick yourself for underpowering your rig. I have done that in the HTPC realm already.

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Jim, I agree with the rest of the crew here. Don't short change yourself on performance. If the system performs sluggishly you're just not going to be happy in the end. And neither will your family if they use it too. The Core i3 build just seemed to make all the right compromises where as the Atom build is just way to conservative and not forward looking at all.

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