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New Server Build

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Posted · Report post

I will try not to drag this out to long but here is the deal. I am in great need of a new computer I have a P4HT based system I built about 9 years ago for $3500 and just in recent days is getting slooooow. I have also talked to my new lovely wife about building a media server. We have a LG LED/LCD TV and Bluray player. Eventually I also want to get an Onkyo 7.1 system to hook up but that's another topic and forum..lol

So I want to build a media server that would also double as a PC. As of right now we currently do not have Netflix but did at one time and may go back to it, maybe try Hulu. I have right now 200 movies (yes ones I own) on a 1TB drive hooked up to my Netgear router which I can stream from and play onto my TV over the wifi. I did have a server configuration but I am thinking about changing some stuff and would like some help.

I want a server that wont break the bank but will do what ever I throw at it and will be a solid system for years to come. This is the current configuration I have...

Motherboard – Supermicro MBD-X8DAH+-O Dual LGA 1366 $450

Processor – Intel Xeon E5520 Nehalem 2.26GHz $380

Memory – Kingston 4GB DDR3 1333 RAM $140

RAID System – iStar SATA 2 Hot Swap RAID Cage $90

Hard Drive – WD Caviar Green SATA 64MB Cache $120 (x4) $480 Setup as RAID 5 Configuration

Case – Cooler Master Centurion 590 ATX Mid Tower $70

Case Fans – Cooler Master 120mm R4 Series Red LED $6 (x8) $48

CPU Fan – Cooler Master Vortex Plus CPU Cooler $30

Power Supply – OCZ Tech. 550W Fatal1ty Series $55

Radeon HD6950 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 $299.99

Blu-Ray Drive

TOTAL: $2042.99

What I am thinking about doing now...

Motherboard - Asus Crosshair V Formula/Thunderbolt AMD 990FX $330

CPU - AMD FX-8150 $280

Memory - Corsair CML16GX3M4A1600C9B Vengeance LP Memory $145

RAID System – iStar SATA 2 Hot Swap RAID Cage $90

Hard Drive – WD Caviar Green SATA 64MB Cache $120 (x4) $480 Setup as RAID 5 Configuration

Case – Cooler Master Centurion 590 ATX Mid Tower $70

Case Fans – Cooler Master 120mm R4 Series Red LED $6 (x8) $48

Video Card - XFX HD-695X-ZNFC Radeon HD 6950 $250

Power Supply - Cooler Master RS800-80GAD3-US Silent Pro Gold 800W $160

Blu-Ray Drive - Lite-On iHBS212-08 12X Internal Blu-Ray Writer $115

SSD - Corsair CSSD-P3128GB2-BRKT Performance 3 Series Solid State Drive $205

TOTAL: $2173

But now you can see my problem. this ends up being more than the original configuration but in my opinion this is a far better system. Now Im an overkill kind of person and maybe thats what I have done here. So what kinds of cuts can I make to still have an amazing media server/PC without huge sacrifices and yet saving some of the dead presidents?

Thanks in advance for the help and advice.

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Posted · Report post

Depends on the reasons for some of your choices.

Why do you want 16GB memory? If your OS will be WHS it isn't supported anyway.

Do you really need a discrete graphics board? Doesn't that CPU include an integrated GPU?

You shouldn't need an 800W PSU - that's way more than a server needs.

Why do you want an SSD?

I note that you want to use this machine as a server AND a PC. Maybe that answers the questions. But if that's the case be careful which OS you choose as the server OSs tend to have limits on application support.

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Posted · Report post

Well I suppose 8GB Ram would be more than enough really. I will go back to like the 500w range than on the power supply and that should be good. Or do you think even less than that? The reason for SSD is to install the OS on and some of the programs I would want. So basically for fast boot times and then the RAID will be purely for storage of movies and such. So I may not be able to dual purpose this as a server/PC. I kind of figured if I did it would be lacking in one thing or the other. But thought I would double check. So what is the all around best HMS OS?

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Posted · Report post

If you want to use WHS, then you're not going to have a very good desktop OS experience.

If all you're looking to do is stream some movies to your TV, then you don't need a server OS. You can quite easily share movies from a PC to a TV or other device like the WDTV type units, which I highly recommend.

http://www.wdc.com/e...cts.aspx?id=330 $99.00

Based upon what you've presented, I would go for something like...

Windows 7 Ultimate

Intel Core i3-2120 CPU

8GB RAM

a decent H61/H67/Z68 motherboard w/HDMI & 7.1 Surround

and whatever other items you want from your original list.

You won't need a video card as the Core i3 has integrated graphics that work with all but the most demanding games. Its perfect for Blu-Ray movies.

You won't need anywhere 8x case fans. The Core i3 CPUs run very cool, as do the WD Green HDs.

SSDs are great for fast bootup on a desktop, but only really shine when you're using them as working drive for video editing and such things. There isn't anything wrong with buying SSDs, as long as you understand their strengths and weaknesses.

So Perhaps your list could look more like:

Motherboard - http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813131790 $210.00

CPU (Option 1) - http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115077 $130.00

CPU (Option 2) - http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819115072 $210.00 (Faster the AMD FX-8150)

Memory - http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820145345 $46.00

RAID System – iStar SATA 2 Hot Swap RAID Cage $90

Hard Drive – WD Caviar Green SATA 64MB Cache $120 (x4) $480 Setup as RAID 5 Configuration

Case – Cooler Master Centurion 590 ATX Mid Tower $70

Case Fans – Cooler Master 120mm R4 Series Red LED $6 (x2) $12

Power Supply - http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817151099 $135.00

Blu-Ray Drive - Lite-On iHBS212-08 12X Internal Blu-Ray Writer $115

SSD - Corsair CSSD-P3128GB2-BRKT Performance 3 Series Solid State Drive $205 (Optional)

Core i3 configuration: $1493.00

Core i5 configuration: $1573.00

Prices and availability may vary based on your location

Either of these two configurations would be great media servers and run cool and quiet (almost silent).

Notes:

1. You didn't mention the OS, so I didn't price one.

2. Unless you absolutely must have all four HDDs now, I'd buy only what you need and wait for the prices to drop back to normal...

3. I probably wouldn't go with the RAID cage. Use the onboard RAID and the drives will still be hot swappable, which is really a bit of a misnomer unless you're running the RAID with a hot spare in the configuration.

I hope this helps at least give another perspective.

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Posted · Report post

Thank you very much for your time on this and helping me out. Im thinking what you have put together is a pretty good option to consider, especially money wise. The only thing I can see worth mentioning right now is that t he only reason I wanted the RAID cage is that I was going to do a case mod and install that so that I can have hot swappable drives and be able to pull them right from the front and not have to open the case. :)

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Posted · Report post

I figured you would go with the cage, but thought I should mention the few bucks that could be shaved off the bottom line. :D

Just another thing, for what its worth, you might want to consider the Intel Pentium G620 CPU. Over the weekend, just for fun, I put together a system using that $72.00 processor and compared it with a $135.00 Core i3-2120T (in the same system). It performed all the duties of a server equally to the more expensive CPU, with the single exception of transcoding video. The hyperthreading support of the i3-2120T made alot of difference in that single task. If you don't require transcoding capability, its a good way to shave off another $60.00. Even though its a 65w CPU vs. 35w for the i3-2120T, they both pull the same 31w at idle and 55w under full load. (base system with 2 drives).

I have also reconsidered my PSU recommendation to this 650w 80 Plus Gold series. It turns out its even more efficient than the 40w fanless model listed above, at the same price, or less. It will also give you more headroom for expansion.

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Posted · Report post

Well I just got a huge clue that I may be getting one of these http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=799127&CatId=4929 for Christmas. I know its not anything like what I have mentioned above but it could be something to start from and experiment with. :) If I do get on I think the only thing I will add right off the bat is a Bluray player/burner.

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Posted · Report post

Lucky you - I hope Santa is as kind to me, but I expect not :-(

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Posted · Report post

Yeah Santa has never given me sweet toys like that...well accept for our original Nintendo system from way back in the day. That was pretty sweet then. ;) Im already thinking I may have to hook this up to my new LG 47" LED/LCD TV and do a wireless VGA to a monitor on the couch so that the PC can be installed in our entertainment center and I can do a dual screen setup. That would allow me to work on my computer using one screen and play movies on another. :D

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Posted · Report post

I have an LG 47" LED. I power it with a homebuilt PC running an i3. Just upgraded the graphics to an ATI card. If I want to work as well I use the laptop :-)

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Posted · Report post

So out of curiosity what kinds of things would you guys add to this (other than a bluray player/burner) to start turning this into a decent media server and not spend a lot of money? What OS?

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Posted · Report post

Personally, I don't use my server as a media center. Just as a server. I use WD TV Live boxes to actually play the media from my server to my TVs. I do all my ripping/converting on my desktop (which is much more powerful) and copy/move the finished movies to my server. This allows me to run a much lower powered server that only has to do backups and stream movies. OS=WHS 2011 on my new server with 16TB available for movies, so far (and WHS v1 on my old server w/45TB of movies that I'm about to start transferring to the new server)

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Posted · Report post

Personally, I don't use my server as a media center. Just as a server. I use WD TV Live boxes to actually play the media from my server to my TVs. I do all my ripping/converting on my desktop (which is much more powerful) and copy/move the finished movies to my server. This allows me to run a much lower powered server that only has to do backups and stream movies. OS=WHS 2011 on my new server with 16TB available for movies, so far (and WHS v1 on my old server w/45TB of movies that I'm about to start transferring to the new server)

Have you pooled your 16TB, or do you spread your movies across the individual partitions?

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Posted · Report post

Of course, on WHS v1, its all pooled. On WHS 2011, I've run into several problems with Drivebender when trying to copy large amounts of data into the pool. It has crashed so bad, that I've had to unistall and reinstall it, so I don't think its quite ready for for big file transfers. Since I use an Adaptec 5445 RAID card, I could easily go the RAQID route, but I don't want the hassles associated with expanding a RAID Array down the road. I WILL NOT use a product that forces me to maintain 20+ HDDs separately in order to keep some some semblance of organization for an every growing movie collection.

In order to answer your question more directly, I have tested the server with some movies on individual drives, with movies residing in a Drivebender pool, and on a RAID 6 Array. They all perform well in streaming, with 4-7% CPU utilization, depending on the specifications of the movie being streamed. Performance from the little i3 processor isn't going to be an issue going forward, but I am concerned about the ability to migrate 45TB of data from the old server to the new server with Drivebender.

Frankly, right now I'm more than a little disappointed with the fundamental design of WHS 2011. As hard as I try, I can't see any advantage that it offers for those of use who basically use it to back up our PCs and and store our movies for the purpose of streaming them within our home. As far as transcoding goes, the built-in DLNA completely sucks. I haven't bothered to try a third party solution to see if they work any better. I used to use PS3Media Server on WHS v1 when I used my PS3 as my main video appliance, but the WDTV changed all that for the better.

I apologize if I got too far off track. Streaming movies successfully seems to have become a passion... :)

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Posted · Report post

I would also be disappointed if I had a large library of video to stream. For me, WHS 2011 is working well enough and has been a good upgrade. With v1 I was getting the "system drive is failing" message at least once a week, even after I replaced the system drive. It was an annoyance that I don't have to deal with in WHS 2011. But I am more happy with my new I3 server than with WHS 2011 - I migrated from a very long-in-the-tooth Pentium 4 and the new server really hums.

The WDTV sounds like an excellent product. I instead bought an LG BD390 Bluray DLNA player that supports online streaming and plays my WHS videos. If I were buying today I too would get the WDTV.

I am a videographer so most of my WHS videos are ones I've created so I don't have to transcode. I rarely have videos that go over 10 minutes so a 2TB video storage drive is going to hold me for quite a while. I see many here on the forum that, like you, have large libraries of ripped BD's. My wife and I get our BD's from Netflix and never have a desire to watch them a 2nd time. In fact, several years ago we brainstormed a list of our top ten DVDs and bought them to have on hand for those rare winter days when we are snowed in here in Raleigh. But you know what - we've yet to watch the first one because we've already seen them.

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Posted · Report post

I know this isn't on topic with what you guys are talking about but I think I have decided on my happy medium for a server/pc. It seems that a lot of people do Windows 7 based media servers. So I know this will take some tweeking and playing with to get it right but I am thinking of doing this...

Windows 7

Windows Media Center

Plex

-or My Movies

-or Media Browser

Hulu Desktop

Hauppauge WinTV-HVR2250

I will install the new computer into the entertainment center and have the TV hooked up to it via DVI. Then I will have my monitor at my desk hooked up to the computer via wireless VGA and do a dual screen type configuration. In addition I will be getting an Eclipse LiteTouch wireless keyboard at the desk and on the couch. I dont have cable nor do I want it so I will be recording OTA TV shows. In addition the server will hold all of my DVD/Blurays.

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I see many here on the forum that, like you, have large libraries of ripped BD's. My wife and I get our BD's from Netflix and never have a desire to watch them a 2nd time. In fact, several years ago we brainstormed a list of our top ten DVDs and bought them to have on hand for those rare winter days when we are snowed in here in Raleigh. But you know what - we've yet to watch the first one because we've already seen them.

I wish I would had had your philosophy starting way back when I first started buying DVDs. Having a massive movie collection is similar to being either a crack addict or a hoarder... probably the worst of both. Let's just say I'm not only prepared for a rare winter day, but the oncoming ice age. :):blink:

I'm just thankful that when I bought everything for the new WHS 2011 build, I bought server class class components that have drivers for Server 2003, so they will work for a Sandy Bridge i3 WHS v1 setup, which will draw about 100w less than my current LGA 775 based machine.

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I wish I would had had your philosophy starting way back when I first started buying DVDs. Having a massive movie collection is similar to being either a crack addict or a hoarder... probably the worst of both. Let's just say I'm not only prepared for a rare winter day, but the oncoming ice age. :):blink:

I'm just thankful that when I bought everything for the new WHS 2011 build, I bought server class class components that have drivers for Server 2003, so they will work for a Sandy Bridge i3 WHS v1 setup, which will draw about 100w less than my current LGA 775 based machine.

Well, you may get the last laugh if global climate change continues to give us unusually severe winters here in the south (USA).

Actually, your comments about i3 and WHS v1 are very close to my original intention. There is a thread here where I was looking for advise for a new server class box to run WHS v1. You gave me some good insights on component selection in that thread. Somewhere along the way I decided to take a leap of faith on WHS 2011. I'll keep my v1 disc handy just in case. :wacko:

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So out of curiosity, the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR2250 card can record two channels at once or you can watch one and record another. If I were to install two of those cards, 1) is it possible, and 2) if so how and would it mean that I can record up to 4 channels simultaneously?

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The WHS v1 section has a subsection for TV, which has a sticky thread for tuner farms. I would think, though I don't know, if you can make it work on WHS v1, you could use the same methodology for WHS 2011. IIRC, there were some issues early on with getting a tuner card that would work with WHS 2011. Once you cross that hurdle, you should be good.

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Posted · Report post

13 more days until I find out if Santa is real and if hes going to bring me what I think he might bring me. Hope you all have a great and merry Christmas. :) If Santa does bring me a new computer I will be sure to post some pics for you all. Especially after I have turned it into a media server.

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Posted · Report post

I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but if you're waiting for Santa,,,,,,,,,,,,, Oh what the heck! Go ahead and keep believing. :D

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LOL...But my dad is Santa, I just know it. Sure he may not look like him at all, I mean if anything he looks like a little action figure, I actually do tell him that. But I get gifts that say "From Santa" and it in his handwriting, so wouldn't that make him Santa? Im 32 years old an I know my parents wouldn't lie to me...I wonder how long I could keep this up before I start laughing hysterically? lol

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Posted · Report post

Now I know how you got the name... :D

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Santa did not deliver this year. :( Of course he is now wishing that he did since my 10+ year old P4 HT based system is starting to get REAL slow and the video card just went. I got a video card from one of the guys at church and its working great. Still need a new box though. Im think of talking to my dad and seeing if he will buy parts if I can do it all for the same price he bought those HPs for. I think that was $500 or $600 so its going to be tight.

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