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Thread: Building a Home Server....

  1. #1
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    Building a Home Server....

    I am looking for a small, quiet, reliable server for my Home Network, max 5 Users.

    I am currently running Windows Server 2003, Small Business Edition (Exchange e-mail plus File&Print) on a Shuttle SK43G with AMD Athlon XP 2800+, 1Gb RAM and a 160GB SATA hard disk which I built specifically for this job last Summer.

    Performance is OK, but reliability has been an issue, I just don't think that maybe an SFF Shuttle is designed to run 24*7*265 as I find that the server hangs or crashes every few weeks (sometimes less than a week), maybe because it overheats, maybe because the PSU is not good enough. It is connected to a small APC UPS, so the mains power-in is good.

    In looking around at the small server options I have narrowed the choice down to build something else more suitable for the role, or buy a 'proper' server designed for the job, either an HP ML110 or a Dell SC420.

    The server has to be as small as possible, as quiet as possible (fan noise and disk drive noise especially) and this has eliminated a number of other ready made options, such as Fujitsu, IBM and Intel low cost servers. In addition as it is a personal Home network, it also has to be as low cost as possible (these requirements initially prompted me to built the Shuttle to host the server in the first place) and have a good long life (looking for good 3-5 years with the emphasis on the 5).

    The HP is far and away the quietest (31db vs. 44db) and most flexible option, but is physically a bit larger than the Dell, and will cost more folding stuff. RAM for these babies rally costs a lot ~ (ECC) is it worth it?

    I figure SATA will be better option for hard disks, and I think it would probably be wise to run RAID 1 mirror.

    Are there any realistic build it myself options - I figure P4 with hyper-threading would be good idea as Win 2003 SBE can actually utilise it.
    SFF looks good but my experience with the Shuttle is it will make a great PC for my daughter when I have completed the install of the replacement server, but I is not reliable enough to be a server.

    I can't get it wrong a second time - my wife will not be too amused (she isn't now!!!)!

    Small as possible; quiet; stable; reliable 24*7*365; P4 3.0 with hyper-threading; 1Gb RAM; 2x160GB SATA RAID 1 drives, possible additional third hard disk for backups, parallel port for my printer (Apple LaserWriter 16/600), plus a reasonable number of USB ports (4 min), will normally run 'headless' and be remotely managed from my own home built PC. What case, PSU & motherboard, RAM? I don't want exotic (I will leave that for my PC), I want small, quiet, reliable, stable ~ as "fit & forget" as possible.

    Any Suggestions??

  2. #2
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    P4 Prescott's (like my 3.0E) run a lot hotter than your AMD and, therefore, need more cooling. This can be done quietly but will be more expensive. SATA disks have small, fragile cables which can be easily damaged and vibrate loose. Go for good quality, high power PSU like Antec or other quality brand.

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