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Windows Home Server - 1st Build


jservais
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I'm looking to build a windows home server to house all of my media. I have three htpc's connected to tv's, two laptops, a Chromebook and my main PC. 

 

The parts listen below are parts I have laying around:

  • Fractal Design Arc Midi R2
  • ASUS M5A97 R2.0
  • Corsair CX430 Power supply
  • AMD Sempron
  • Cooler Master GeminII S524 - CPU Cooler

I would like to use as many parts listed above as I can, but I will upgrade parts to meet my goals. I rather build a quality product that will last me years than have to rebuild something in a year or two.

 

I'm looking to build a home server that doesn't need a lot of power, but can stream a movie to at least two htpc's with out a problem. I also would enjoy the option to stream movies to a laptop when I'm traveling. 

 

I will buy a ssd for the operating system, and use hdd's for storage. 

 

I have two main question:

 

Question 1: The software portion of the project is throwing me for a loop. When I google "windows home server software" the search comes back with products that range from $35 to $400. Which version do I need?

 

Question 2: Using as many parts as you can listed above, how would you build a home server that would meet the goals listed above? Changing the motherboard and CPU are options.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

 

 

 

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Personally, I would go for a Gigabyte mobo. I find them more reliable and stable than Asus.

 

You will not find any version of Windows Home Server available any more for $35. WHS2011, if you can find it, will cost you somewhere around $200US. WSE2012 will cost you $400-$500.

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Is the WSE2012 worth the $400 to $500 price tag? I don't mind buying an older version off ebay if it would do the job?

 

I have a Gigabyte motherboard in my main pc, I would have to agree they are awesome boards.

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Boy, that's a hard question to answer. One thing that might affect your choice is that WHS2011 will have its Main Stream End Of Life support this coming January. Extended Support will continue until 2020 (security updates basically). I'm basing these dates on Server 2008r2, which is what WHS2011 is based on.

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https://support2.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=13582

Here's the official link for the support lifecycle.

 

 

https://support2.microsoft.com/gp/lifepolicy

This is the explanation for the policy and different categories.

 

 

As for motherboards, I've found that are can be unstable. I've personally had good experiences with ASUS, ASRock, and MSI (well, and SuperMicro, but those are server boards) It is really worth at looking at reviews for the board (especially the bad ones). 

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Thanks ikon and Drashna jaelre I didn't know Microsoft had a system set up like that. It's always interesting to learn about how these companies work.

 

Okay here's a new idea, I heard that Microsoft TechNet was a great value for someone like me who has a number of PC's they're trying to keep up to date. Also it's beneficial to someone who is always adding new PC's for new applications. I understand that this program has been discontinued, but I just saw last night that Microsoft has something called Action Pack. Does anyone have any experience with action pack? Does it even compare to TechNet?

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Action Pack is designed for Microsoft Partners who actually support small businesses.  At one time there was a rquirement to pass at east certification test in order to be eligible for an Action Pack subscription.

 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mssmallbiz/archive/2012/05/07/to-be-clear-microsoft-action-pack-subscription-maps-is-a-requirement-not-a-benefit-of-microsoft-the-small-business-specialist-community-sbsc.aspx

 

 

So, in short, it's not a way for you to get software cheap for home use.

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Personally, I would go for a Gigabyte mobo. I find them more reliable and stable than Asus.

 

 

But I've never, ever had any luck with Gigabyte and Asus have been brilliant.  I use a lot of Asus stuff, and I've never had an issue.

 

Anecdotes...

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Question 1: The software portion of the project is throwing me for a loop. When I google "windows home server software" the search comes back with products that range from $35 to $400. Which version do I need?

 

Question 2: Using as many parts as you can listed above, how would you build a home server that would meet the goals listed above? Changing the motherboard and CPU are options.

 

 

 

WHS is long gone.  WHS2011 is pretty much unavailable now, as it's been a few years since MS stopped making it.  You can still get it, but it's expensive.

 

If I were you, I'd just buy a Windows 8.1 Pro licence and use that.  8.1 Pro will do everything a home user needs on a server.  I'd be using it if I didn't have Server 2012 licences from my Technet subscription.

 

Install 8.1 on the SSD, and use either Storage Spaces or StableBit Drivepool on the HDDs for your data storage.  You can use a media server like Plex to stream your media to your HTPCs and mobile devices.  You could use Crashplan to backup your PCs if you want. 8.1 Pro actually runs better than Windows 7 on slower machines.  

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