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Thread: Building a new simple Server

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    Building a new simple Server

    Hi there,

    I haven't been dealing with hardware for quite a while now (2 years).

    I want to build a basic file server that will provide access to files on a central server, and also it must run some Windows based applications.

    This is what I have specified so far...

    • Processor
    o Intel P4 775 (as P4 478 has been discontinued)
    o 3.0GHz or above
    o Retail package (with warranty and fan)
    • Hard Drive
    o SATA connection NOT IDE
    o 74GB or more
    o Western Digital
    o 10,000rpm
    • Optical Drive
    o Must be a DVD-RW
    • Motherboard
    o Socket 775
    o SATA connections
    o IDE connections
    o Allow 1024MB of ram or more
    o Network card
    o USB ports
    • Memory
    o 1024MB (2 x 512MB Matched Pair)
    o Ideally Corsair
    • Case
    o 330Watt PSU or above
    o Good ventilation

    I'm unsure which CPU to get with which motherboard...

    I was looking at getting an Intel Pentium 4 630 3.0Ghz 800Mhz 2mb (Socket 775), but was unsure which motherboard to go for.

    I am looking for mainly recommendations of motherboard, but if anyone can help me with any other recommendations, that would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Is this going to be storing any amount of files locally, or is it really just a client to a central server elsewhere?

    Do you have any other considerations such as noise, power usage etc?

    Also, what is your budget?

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    get and xbox and put a mod chip in in, then go to tom's hardware and look up the how to turn your xbox into a NAS guide. Kick ass stuff.

  4. #4
    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    how many users are connecting to it , what sort of apps ?
    what OS are you planning on using ?

    is it going to sit in the corner unused or will someone be using it as a workstation as well ?

    these are much more important than the brand of memory you want to use.
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    The server is local, it will be a local file server, on a local network.

    Budget is around £500, probably less.

    There's no further considerations (i have thought of), other than it must not overheat very easily. Noise doesn't matter, neither does power usage (to a certain extent).

    There will be 4 machines connecting to it across the network.

    It will be running a WinNT based platform, probably Windows 2000 Server.

    It will be placed in the corner of a room, and will not be a workstation, but it will need to be remotely accessed using VNC software to do certain tasks/run certain software.

    I like Corsair memory as they have never failed me, and offer a lifetime warranty, but I am open to suggestion.

  6. #6
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    • arthurleung's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Asus P5E (Rampage Formula 0902)
      • CPU:
      • Intel Core2Quad Q9550 3.6Ghz 1.2V
      • Memory:
      • A-Data DDR2-800 2x2GB CL4
      • Storage:
      • 4x1TB WD1000FYPS @ RAID5 3Ware 9500S-8 / 3x 1TB Samsung Ecogreen F2
      • Graphics card(s):
      • GeCube HD4870 512MB
      • PSU:
      • Corsair VX450
      • Case:
      • Antec P180
      • Operating System:
      • Windows Server 2008 Standard
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell Ultrasharp 2709W + 2001FP
      • Internet:
      • Be*Unlimited 20Mbps
    You should get something like Athlon 64 3000+, or even Pentium-M. P4 Prescott is more prone to overheat (although 3Ghz is fine)

    You mean in the corner of a room, you mean closed space or opened space? If you want to fit it in somewhere with poor ventilation you should definitely get a P-M or A64.
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
    Workstation 2: Intel C2Q Q9550 @ 3.6Ghz / X38 / 4GB DDR2-800 / 8400GS 512MB / Open Air
    Workstation 3: Intel Xeon X3350 @ 3.2Ghz / P35 / 4GB DDR2-800 / HD4770 512MB / Shuttle SP35P2
    HTPC: AMD Athlon X4 620 @ 2.6Ghz / 780G / 4GB DDR2-1000 / Antec Mini P180 White
    Mobile Workstation: Intel C2D T8300 @ 2.4Ghz / GM965 / 3GB DDR2-667 / DELL Inspiron 1525 / 6+6+9 Cell Battery

    Display (Monitor): DELL Ultrasharp 2709W + DELL Ultrasharp 2001FP
    Display (Projector): Epson TW-3500 1080p
    Speakers: Creative Megaworks THX550 5.1
    Headphones: Etymotic hf2 / Ultimate Ears Triple.fi 10 Pro

    Storage: 8x2TB Hitachi @ DELL PERC 6/i RAID6 / 13TB Non-RAID Across 12 HDDs
    Consoles: PS3 Slim 120GB / Xbox 360 Arcade 20GB / PS2

  7. #7
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    I thought prescotts heat issue was to do with the fans, I also thought it was originally a mis-read by the motherboard's BIOS, which was fixed.

    I'm not sure I want to use AMD, I prefer to use Intel for servers, but I'm open to opinion as I say. An AMD Athlon 64 3000+ doesn't run at 3.0Ghz anyway, this CPU is quite old now, I used to recommend this CPU to gamers.

    I haven't seen much about the Pentium-M's, what sockets are they? Are they expensive?

    The machine will be simply placed under a desk, like most computers are, but its quite cluttered under there, so its neither really one or another. I don't think heat is a major issue, as long as it has a case that is well ventilated to cope with it. (IMO)

    I hope this helps you give me some direction on this. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    I think you may be speccing a CPU thats much faster than you need - thus saving you money which can be spent on either more storage or a nice sata raid card to allow some fault tolerance for example.

    how much storage are you after ?

    what apps do you want to run on it ?

    or if you want a proper server buy my old one and spend the other £400 on extra sata storage ( you'll need to wait till you have a few more posts to see the for sale section , but if you want a real file server then I have just the ticket )
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    Hmm, its possible i'm specifying a CPU that is too powerful for what I require, however I don't want to fall into a trap where its not going to be good enough.

    The storage is mainly for a database file used to store customer data. Its important that the access speed is quick, which is why I selected SATA vs IDE. 74GB will be plenty sufficient, but I would like the option to add in mirroring at a later date, should I so wish, therefore the motherboard would need to support RAID.

    I don't think i'll need £400's worth of storage space.

    Apps will be the database software, some other custom windows applications and automated backup software.

    I don't want a rack mounted server if that is what you are offering.

    What are the specs for this £100 server of yours?

    Alternativly can you recommend a CPU and Motherboard that will do the job i'm after.

  10. #10
    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    now we are getting somwhere
    if you are actually wanting to run a DB on a box that changes the goal posts.

    what sort of database ? MSSQL ? Access ?

    Database servers are not the same as file servers - they will take all the power you can throw at it and then some

    Mirroring isn't something to add in as an afterthought unless you want to rebuild the server. Do it right and you'll only have to do it once

    hope many people are going to be connecting to this database ? what sort of data will they be using ? is it going to be pretty transactional , or a more analyicatal application ? if you dont want to post the info , then feel free to pm it to me.

    My old server is a proliant 6500R 7u box , that can be rack mounted but it will sit under a desk. It currently running Quad Xeon 450's 2.5 Gb of Memory and 5 18Gb 10k SCSI drives in RAID 5
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    The system is more like access based, I won't go into specifics.

    Having said that as you are probably aware databases are files.

    It will also act as a file server.

    The server isn't important enough at the moment to justify spending an amount on more than two hard drives so mirroring wouldn't be an option right now, however would perhaps as the company grows. Hence the reason for the DVD-RW backup solution.

    There are 4 machines in total, each connecting to the database, it is mostly transactional, but also does periodic analysys.

  12. #12
    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    well if you are using Access , you'll outgrow the application long before you outgrow the server ( Access will also seem slow for multiple users, its a feature of the application rather than a function of the hardware it sits on )

    Think reliability rather than performance when it comes to the hardware selection. If you work in the trade then I'd imagine you already have a number of suppliers etc. ? Choose the one with the best warranty.

    I woudn't worry about onboard RAID , using a seperate RAID card gives you more flaxability than onboard RAID and costs peanuts.

    If you are just holding an access mdb file (and other files ) , then you might not even need to run it under windows ? would a samba share with some cron jobs for the backups to DVD be sufficient ? There are a number of NAS type implementations for linux with backup functionality built in that may be of use ?
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    • kalniel's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A UD3R rev 2
      • CPU:
      • Intel Xeon X5680
      • Memory:
      • 12gb DDR3 2000
      • Graphics card(s):
      • nVidia GTX 1060 6GB
      • PSU:
      • Seasonic 600W
      • Case:
      • Cooler Master HAF 912
      • Operating System:
      • Win 10 Pro x64
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell U2311H
      • Internet:
      • O2 8mbps
    Thanks for the further comment - they're helping us get a better picture

    Primary components will be the network card, hard drives, power supply and the disk controller. Get these at a high spec and the rest of the computer doesn't have to do much other than drive them reliably.

    I'm afraid it's a myth that SATA is faster than IDE (PATA). The fastest of hard drives barely reach the limit of IDE, let alone SATA, or heaven forbid SATA300, and even then it's in highly theoretical tests that don't reflect real world usage. Some form of command queuing however *is* worth it for a server, and SATA holds other advantages in terms of system building, airflow, hotswapping etc. Not to mention it's no more expensive than IDE anyway.

    While full mirroring may not be worth it, I do recommend looking at some of the raid solutions that provide both increased performance *and* redundancy. The very cheapest of these would be to use a motherboard capable of supporting Intels Matrix Storage Technology, which is effectively raid 0+1 across just two disks, another is to recommend something like the XFX revo products which provide hardware controlled Raid 3 for example. Hard drives are not that expensive.

    The Intel Pentium 630 would be fine for your uses. As far as motherboards go, I would recommend the Intel i955 chipset, for example the Asus P5WD2 or the Gigabyte 8I955X. If you are really fussy about stability then the Gigabyte royal motherboard comes with an add-in card to deliver 8 phase power to the CPU vs 4 otherwise.

    I noticed you spec'd the western digital Raptors for your hard drives. These are PATA/IDE technology simply bridged to SATA anyway, but in any case I think you would get better performance/storage for the money by going with 7200rpm drives - you could buy 3 IBM 80gb hard drives with NCQ for under 100 pounds ex vat - perfect for a RAID 3 array with the revo, giving you 160gb space with complete data protection if one drive fails.

    Afriad I have 0 knowledge about network cards to be able to help in that area.

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    Administrator Moby-Dick's Avatar
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    ah I knew someone would be there to fill in some model numbers for me

    if you want drive performance then use SCSI as kalniel said , drives are so cheap some basic redundancy isn't going to dent that £500 budget.
    my Virtualisation Blog http://jfvi.co.uk Virtualisation Podcast http://vsoup.net

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    get and opteron 144/146 and an asustek sataII which has pci-e and agp for £40 and sata 2. then just get two 250-320gb sata drives and anyone old cheap gfx card and value ram.

    cpu-£100 opteron 146 oem from scan
    cooler-£32 scythe ninja fanless
    fan120mm-£3.60 17db
    mboard-£40 asustek sata II pci-e/agp
    2xsataII 320gb HD - 2x£100
    ram-£95 2x1gb corsair value select pc3200 ram.

    that's £460 .60 and then you can get a case,mouse,keyboard,psu,speakers all in one kits that cost about £35.
    so that £495, then you pick a gfx card,floppy drive and dvd writer

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    Moby-Dick you mis-understood my request.

    I may work in the trade, but this is not that type of server.

    Usually when I buy servers for myself I go for rack mounted dell dual xeons or similar. This will simply not do for this situation.

    I'm looking for advise on a decent CPU and motherboard that will cope with my requirements for a system I can build from scratch.

    I'm fairly certain I would stick with Intel for the CPU and Asus or A-bit for the motherboard, but as ever, am open to suggestion.

    kalniel,
    SATA offers so much more than IDE by standard, in terms of speed, and RAID by default, these are things I'd prefer to have than using IDE. I'm fairly sure I want to stick with SATA.

    As I said before mirroring is not something I would like for this machine at the moment, but would like the option to be there should I decide it requires it.

    Interesting about the chipset. I think i'd stick with Asus, I've had nothing but bad news with regards to Gigabyte, but your saying its more stable...

    SATA hard drives just appear to be so much quicker, and the SATA controllers offer RAID as standard, IDE generally do not. I'm not looking for large size, 3x 80gb would be an over kill. I like WD, never had problems with them, vs other manufactures. Data is important.

    My line of work forces me to know about network cards, however in this situation the standard built on one will do the job just fine.

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