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jwil1
18-07-2009, 12:48 PM
Hi all,

I am considering building a server running Windows Home Server. I'm not sure what specs it would need to run well.

I want to be able to backup full PC images and possibly stream media from it. I'd also like it to function as a file server and use it to remote access into any PC on the LAN using the web interface (this is more of a want than a need though).

If I would want to stream media, would I need to upgrade my network config (currently I have several PCs on two routers, wirelessly connected using DD-WRT - the speeds between these works out to about 1MB/s (according to copying a file across it in Vista). I'm a bit worried about the bandwidth of this wireless link).

I've got a PC built on Ascent at the moment with these specs:
- ASUS P5Q Motherboard
- Intel C2D E7400 (2.8GHz)
- A 80GB host hard disk (I already have a 1.5TB drive I want to reuse in it for data storage)
- Asus 8400GS GPU (the cheapest ASUS one i could find :D)

Thoughts?

CYaBro
18-07-2009, 02:18 PM
A Windows Home Server machine doesn't need to be very high spec'ed at all.
The main thing it needs is lots of storage and preferably at least two hard drives.
My WHS box is an old AMD Athlon64 3400+ with 2GB RAM and approx 2.5TB of storage across 4 HDDs.
I also use it as a my TV recorder using MediaPortal and stream live TV to other machines around the house as well as movies, music, photos etc.

I would save some money on the C2D CPU and just go for a Pentium Dual Core and spend extra money on a bigger HDD rather than the 80GB.
WHS automatically partitions the first HDD into 20GB for the O/S and the rest for data - You can't change this.
A mobo with onboard graphics would also be my choice as you won't have any monitor connected to the WHS anyway so graphics performance doesn't matter.
Look for one with at least 4 SATA ports.
For the remote access to the other PCs on your LAN they need to be running XP Pro or Vista Business/Ultimate. The Home versions don't work.

wainuitech
18-07-2009, 02:35 PM
Totally Agree with what CYaBro wrote.

Both mine ( yeah I have two) have the following Specs .

CPU P4 3.0 with 1Gb RAM

Drives - the one I use the most currently has 2 x 250GB Drives, the other has 3 x 250GB Drives.

As for movies - I dont bother streaming them as such - the PC's that want to play them - when you want to play a movie, go to the video folder on WHS, double click the film and away it goes. had 2 PC's all playing the same film once - didn't even notice any lag at all. They are all hard Wired, not wireless.

If you want remote desktop to the PC's from outside your place, and they are XP home - try using Team Viewer (http://www.teamviewer.com/index.aspx) -- you can connect to it from anywhere as long as its running on the WHS server or any other PC and the PC you are on has the same module . Free for non commercial use. Example (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/Team.jpg) - Team Viewer looking at the desktop of WHS.

jwil1
18-07-2009, 02:48 PM
Thanks for your input guys :thumbs:

The only ATX motherboard with onboard VGA in my budget is an Intel board - are they OK? Also, is an Intel Pentium DC E5300 CPU good?

It would be nice to stream TV... so I'll look into MediaPortal too :D

wainuitech
18-07-2009, 02:59 PM
The boards in Mine are gigabytes GA-945GM, Onboard Graphic - not that its ever really needed apart from setting up.

The E5300 should work fine.

As for actual Intel Boards -- not had much to do with them, I have seen a couple on customers PC's fail after a year.

The last two WHS's I put in I have used the Asus P5KPL-CM - One in a small business that has 4 PC's accessing it most of the day , E5200 CPU and 2 GB RAM, with 2x 500GB drives. Never missed a beat so far and handles the load fine. They access / work on files, play music ( in the background) most of the day.

The Board -- From Ascent (http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=9363968) -- But other places have it, maybe cheaper.

I get them from my supplier.

Edited: the ones I have put in work as servers - run headless - if you were going to use it to display the movies etc, on TV, then better graphics would be required than the onboard.

Blam
18-07-2009, 03:07 PM
Those specs were massive overkill for WHS...

Intel Pentium Dual Core E2180 would be sufficient.

Or, grab an Atom with a mini itx KB for a VERY small server:D

Why does your mobo NEED to be ATX?

Here's a good one IMO:
http://pconlineshop.co.nz/pcshop/product_info.php?products_id=293946

And integrated GFX won't be needed either, you could just throw in a card for installation and then connected remotely with the bundled software or VNC/Teamviewer.

Blam

hueybot3000
18-07-2009, 03:37 PM
Mines in my sig, i use it as media center as well but will be very soon upgradin my desktop cpu and swapping the e6600 into the server cos the celeron doesnt quite cut it with HD stuff.

The celeron was fine for everything else though, backing up etc

wainuitech
18-07-2009, 03:39 PM
One reason I usually put in more power than whats required ( without going to overboard) -- Murphys Law - you can bet your boots, people want to expand things, put on more loads etc.

The ones I put in have not given any problems - as in plenty of power to do the job + semi future proof.

The boards are only basic Boards, nothing fancy.

jwil1
18-07-2009, 04:13 PM
Why does your mobo NEED to be ATX?


I'd like it to be ATX because I will probably be putting more than 2 hard drives in it.

I like MATX because of it's smaller form factor, but ATX has more functionality IMO.

Blam
18-07-2009, 04:19 PM
It does. But most MATX boards have 4 SATA connectors.

Is that not enough?

jwil1
18-07-2009, 04:24 PM
I'm thinking of the case itself :)

Edit: Does a MATX case take a standard size PSU?

Blam
18-07-2009, 04:25 PM
You could just use an MATX mobo in an ATX case..

jwil1
18-07-2009, 04:30 PM
You could just use an MATX mobo in an ATX case..

Haha, I could, but wouldn't that defeat the purpose of a small mobo? ;)

jwil1
18-07-2009, 04:55 PM
OK, now considering a MATX case, seen as they take a standard size PSU (correct me if I'm wrong) and I can put hard drives in the 3.5" bays that face outwards.

Case: http://ascent.co.nz/ProductSpec.aspx?itemID=376719
Mobo: http://ascent.co.nz/ProductSpec.aspx?itemID=375087 (the price seems to be very low to me! But it has the 3 year warranty)

What do you guys think of those parts??

Blam
18-07-2009, 05:24 PM
Haha, I could, but wouldn't that defeat the purpose of a small mobo? ;)

No. The reason I recommend MATX over ATX is because it is cheaper!


OK, now considering a MATX case, seen as they take a standard size PSU (correct me if I'm wrong) and I can put hard drives in the 3.5" bays that face outwards.

Case: http://ascent.co.nz/ProductSpec.aspx?itemID=376719
Mobo: http://ascent.co.nz/ProductSpec.aspx?itemID=375087 (the price seems to be very low to me! But it has the 3 year warranty)

What do you guys think of those parts??

Gigabyte case is good. I have the M3 myself and its pretty good, little noisy, so I replaced the fans.

Mobo is fine, keep in mind it has a limit of 4gb Memory.

Blam

wainuitech
18-07-2009, 06:21 PM
That size case / Motherboard combo is what I put in the last WHS I built.

The Motherboard shown is close to the same ones I used previously - main difference is the audio Outputs.

The cases I normally use are the Cool Master 332 (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/332.jpg) or 340 (http://www.imagef1.net.nz/files/340.jpg) ( micro Case). Mainly because the air flow is good, and they come with standard 120MM rear fan -- you can hardly hear them when running. The case fan is practically silent ( even with the side off the case) - any noise is from the CPU fan

Cant remember how many drives the 340 Takes, but the 332 has slots for 5 but can expand out to more if you want.

I dont use the PSU's that you can get with the cases, I order cases without PSU's from my supplier, and install either Antec or Corsair.

You wont need 4 GB of RAM -- As Blam pointed out before thats an over kill in specs.

Mirddes
19-07-2009, 08:33 AM
my fileserver is an old 1.6ghz sktA sempron
1.25GB running server2003, will be 256MB when i move to FreeNAS
a 4port Sata PCI card
a GbE PCI card
and several harddrives, 1.5, 750, 500, 250, planning on getting another 1.5TB.
400W psu.

4GB of ram would be excessive overkill.

for a simple fileserver it works nicely. i also download my torrents on it using utorrent 1.9