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Need help building a home server


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#1
kayj

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I want to build a home server at home that will perform backups, stream media and be accessible even when I'm at school.

I am thinking of using a Core 2 Duo tower from craigslist and adding 2-4 2TB hard drives to it. I still need some help on the details though.

1. Will a Core 2 Duo do or will I need something more powerful like a 1st or 2nd generation Intel i3?
2. There is a sale on 2TB WD Green for $60 each so I'm considering using that... or should I go for Black or Red?
3. What additional advice can you give me that will help build this home server?

Thank you in advance for your help!
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#2
iammykyl

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Gday kayj.
Posted Image

We could do with a little more information to help us configure a build. The questions are just cover all the bases.
How many PCs do envisage being connected to the server?
Will you hosting any games? How many players.
Will you be streaming 1080p? Max amount of streams at any one time?
Have you researched which OS you want to use?
Have you a preference for the size of the case?
What is your budget?


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#3
kayj

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Thank you for taking your time to respond.

1. The most would be 4 people connected to the server at once.
2. I won't be hosting any games, mostly just streaming media.
3. I probably won't be streaming 1080p. I won't be streaming more than 4 at a time.
4. I am considering a Linux-based OS such as FreeNas. What do you recommend?
5. I don't have a preference for the size of the case. A standard tower size wouldn't bother me.
6. Not including the hard drives would probably be $200. If I can spend less even better.

What kinds of parts would I need?
1. Tower case
2. RAM
3. Motherboard and CPU
4. PSU (do I need a certain wattage)?
5. Network card?
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#4
iammykyl

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Gday.
Thanks for the info.
Sorry to say that a $200 budget will not cover it, even if you buy second hand desktop and add 2 hard drives, also you would have to choose very carefully as Dell/HP and such builds can be quite hard to upgrade.

You will be OK with a Duel core CPU for the use you have outlined.
You will not need a separate Network card, it is integrated on the MB, but you will need a Wireless card.
Given the budget FreeNas will be the way to go.
I have calculated the PSU size needed, gives you some overhead for adding more HDDs later.
As backup is a important part of the server, it should at the very least have a RAID1 setup, so have included 2 drives in the build. RAID5 is something to think about for the future.

> http://pcpartpicker.com/p/1HssD
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#5
kayj

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Thank you for that link. It will probably be REALLY useful.

I think you misunderstood me. I have money set aside for the drives AND I have up to $200 for the system I am building.

I adjusted the shopping list and the parts you suggested (wireless card, cpu, motherboard, power supply and ram) ended up at $255. If I can find a couple of these parts second hand I might be able to pull it off within my budget.

Are there any guides for setting up RAID? As far as I know there is some hardware raid built into the motherboard? What about software raid?

Again, thank you for all your help and hopefully this thread may be useful to others in the future.

EDIT:

I modified the parts list for what seemed like comparable parts considering my budget. A few of the items on your list were considerably more expensive because the listed prices were US-based, and I'm in Canada. The list includes all the prices (taxes included).

Changes:
- WD Red 1TB x 2
- Kingston 2X4GB
+ WD Black 1TB (Boot Drive)
+ Seagate Green 3TB 64MB
+ Seagate Green 2TB 32MB
+ Seagate Green 2TB 64MB
+ Corsair 2X4GB

http://ca.pcpartpick...kayj/saved/2sw9

If you don't mind could you break down some of the criteria for the PSU, Wifi-card and the motherboard? It would be a great point of reference for when I need to shop for parts, especially if there are promotional prices for superior parts.


Edited by kayj, 26 September 2013 - 12:59 AM.

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#6
iammykyl

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Gday.
Thanks for the update.

My calculations come out different from yours, so we need a little clarification.
Have you already purchased the HDDs? if so, what are the models?
You have listed 2 separate RAM sticks, This is not best practice. When you buy in a kit, 2 x 4GB = 8GB, they are guaranteed to work. when buying separate sticks, there may be subtle differences and some MBs are very picky, then you can get memory errors and problems.

ended up at $255. If I can find a couple of these parts second hand I might be able to pull it off within my budget


Strongly advice against that as you really don't know it's condition until you fire up your build, about the only thing I would consider is a case.

If you don't mind could you break down some of the criteria for the PSU, Wifi-card and the motherboard? It would be a great point of reference for when I need to shop for parts, especially if there are promotional prices for superior parts.


Not at all. MB. Needs to have a min of 4 SATA connections (but limits your HDD capacity) RAID capable, (H77 Chipset) you could look for other brands. Personal pref, I do not like Biostar or ECS.
PSU. Min Bronze certified. There is a very limited choice at this low voltage range. The Antec is about the best but if you find another, please post a link,
Parts list. Please correct if wrong, this is what you still require? If you wish to make alterations use the edit button, top right, and when finished post the new URL generated. This list will still remain > http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/1HLR2


Some info about RAID.
All drives in a RAID set must be identical. RAID is not a backup. You will still need a seperate disk which can be any size/brand.
> http://us.hardware.i...y-actually-work
A couple of videos to watch.
>
>

FreeNAS > http://www.maximumpc...home_server2013
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#7
kayj

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A list of things I haven't bought yet are PSU, WIFI, CPU, MB, and I will look around for RAM kits. I bought the case yesterday. http://ca.pcpartpick...kayj/saved/2t7f

Yes, at this point I already bought all the HDDs.
- WD Caviar Black 1TB (WCAW33702631)
- Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB(ST2000DL003
- Seagate Barracuda LP 2TB (ST32000542AS)
- Seagate Barracuda 3TB (ST3000DM001)

I read that I don't really NEED to have identical drives. It may affect access speeds by 20-30% though. I might not do the RAID setup just yet until I learn more about it and how to set it up. I was thinking either RAID 1 or RAID 10.

RAM: Okay, I understand. I will look out for deals on kits. In the meantime will a single stick of most DDR3-1033/1600 suffice?

My calculations come out different from yours, so we need a little clarification.
Have you already purchased the HDDs? if so, what are the models?
You have listed 2 separate RAM sticks, This is not best practice. When you buy in a kit, 2 x 4GB = 8GB, they are guaranteed to work. when buying separate sticks, there may be subtle differences and some MBs are very picky, then you can get memory errors and problems.


PSU: I was thinking this PSU instead for $39+tax vs $59+tax for the Antec. It is 80PLUS Bronze, Corsair (reputable), and 430W should still work. http://ca.pcpartpick...r-supply-cx430. I know you said not to buy used but this looks like a really good deal... http://vancouver.en....055281759.html. Seasonic 450W 80PLUS GOLD.

CPU: I'm getting this for $68.31+ tax. AWESOME!

MB: I did quite a few searches and this is very good for the price. A couple alternatives I found were...
http://ca.pcpartpick...board-gah77md3h for $79.99 and http://ca.pcpartpick...rd-gaz77md3hmvp for 97.48 but I read a couple negative reviews (both were in the 3* range). Would either of these work?

Not at all. MB. Needs to have a min of 4 SATA connections (but limits your HDD capacity) RAID capable, (H77 Chipset) you could look for other brands. Personal pref, I do not like Biostar or ECS.
PSU. Min Bronze certified. There is a very limited choice at this low voltage range. The Antec is about the best but if you find another, please post a link,
Parts list. Please correct if wrong, this is what you still require? If you wish to make alterations use the edit button, top right, and when finished post the new URL generated. This list will still remain > http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/1HLR2


Edited by kayj, 27 September 2013 - 04:17 PM.

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#8
iammykyl

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Gday,
The CX430 is OK to use. Your link to the one on Greig list link does not work for me. If it is one of these, OK, but depends on price, any warranty?. > http://www.newegg.ca...151-124:$$$$$$$

CPU: I'm getting this for $68.31+ tax. AWESOME!


Pleas supply a link.
GPU, all listed here are OK, > http://www.newegg.ca...128-554:$$$$$$$
RAID HDDs. OK, I should have said, Should, be identical. a quick Google gets me,
2 differentsized drives, larger one has to be partitioned to same size as the smaller. you lose capacity.
Spindle speeds must be the same.
2 drives with different catch size, will operate with the smallest size.
Drive with different seek times will likely keep dropping out of the array.
a drive without TLER will often drop out of the array.
If a fault causes a rebuild and another fault occurs, (not sure on which drive) you would probable lose all DATA..
I have dropped the WiFi card for the moment. Browsing FreeNAS Forums, there seems to be compatibility problems with some, further research is needed
Have I missed anything?


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#9
kayj

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CPU: I price matched bestbuy ($85) with memoryexpress (69.99) to get that price. NCIX is not loading for me so I can't link but a quick search will find it.

PSU: Not sure on the Seasonic for $40 but the Corsair will for sure have 3 years. Not sure if the Seasonic is sold or what's going on but meh if I can't have that I will just get the Corsair.

MB: Ok great! All the ones I found will work. YAY!

WIFI: I could get Windows Home Server 2003 if needed. What are my other choices for this? Are there any comparable card that I could get at any of these retailers?... (see below) I do want to say that the Rosewill did look pretty good though and at a pretty good price too.

- BestBuy.ca
- Futureshop.ca
- CanadaComputers.com
- NCIX.com (Canada)
- MemoryExpress
- TheSource.ca
- Staples.ca
- any other retailer chain in Canada


HDD: I will try and figure something out in terms of the drives. Thank you for explaining it though.

You are amazing and super helpful. I can't wait to post the results when I finish building this!

Edited by kayj, 28 September 2013 - 04:02 AM.

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#10
iammykyl

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Gday.

WIFI: I could get Windows Home Server 2003 if needed.


This is beginning to look more and more the option. FreeNAS appears to be quite complicated to set up and much of the interface is via Command Prompts, the more I read, the less I like. Here is a instance, > http://doc.freenas.o...grading_FreeNAS
Have you been doing any reading/research yourself?

How are you connecting to the internet at the moment, Fibre, cable, DSL, Dial up.?
What kind of router do you have, brand/model number please.

Your welcome Kayj.
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#11
iammykyl

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Gday.
Missed one of your questions.

RAM: Okay, I understand. I will look out for deals on kits. In the meantime will a single stick of most DDR3-1033/1600 suffice?


Most, but not all well known brands will work but I would not try something like Quasimodo Super. safest would be 1.5 volts. If you install 1600 it will probable run at the default speed of 1333 (depends on the MB)
The safest/correct way is to decide on the MB, go to the manufacturers website, your board, look up the QVL, this will list all the RAM that has been tested on the board.


What computer do you have?
What is the brand/model of your router?
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#12
kayj

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Well for now I'm going to try out the Corsair 4GB DDR3-1333. It cost me $22 after tax which isn't bad. I will take a look at compatibility if I have time though.

Right now I am using an ASUS laptop with an i7-3630QM processor with 8GB DDR3 RAM and a Crucial M4 SSD.


Most, but not all well known brands will work but I would not try something like Quasimodo Super. safest would be 1.5 volts. If you install 1600 it will probable run at the default speed of 1333 (depends on the MB)
The safest/correct way is to decide on the MB, go to the manufacturers website, your board, look up the QVL, this will list all the RAM that has been tested on the board.


What computer do you have?
What is the brand/model of your router?


What are the top 3 NAS applications you would use if money weren't an issue? This might give me an idea of what my options are and if I can acquire these programs. I have done some quick research but nothing in depth because I was trying to figure out the hardware compatibility while balancing school and work. I did, however, try out Windows Home Server 2003 and didn't quite get it right away so I looked up some tips on how to use it... still looking.

I am connected to the internet via Shaw's cable internet. I have the High Speed 25 plan which you can see here... http://www.shaw.ca/internet/plans/

The Shaw modem/wireless router is a Cisco DPC3825. Do I need a different router for what I want to do?

This is beginning to look more and more the option. FreeNAS appears to be quite complicated to set up and much of the interface is via Command Prompts, the more I read, the less I like. Here is a instance, > http://doc.freenas.o...grading_FreeNAS
Have you been doing any reading/research yourself?

How are you connecting to the internet at the moment, Fibre, cable, DSL, Dial up.?
What kind of router do you have, brand/model number please.

Your welcome Kayj.


What should I look for in a wireless network card in case I don't want to wait 2 weeks for Amazon.ca? I would prefer if it was from a store like MemoryExpress, Bestbuy.ca, Futureshop.ca, NCIX.ca, Staples.ca etc. because they have better return/exchange policies in case things don't work out. Savings from price matches/coupons also help

What about just connecting my home server to the router? Wouldn't that be faster?

Edited by kayj, 01 October 2013 - 01:52 AM.

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#13
iammykyl

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Gday.
Sorry for the delay kayj. Thanks for the information.
WiFi first. The Rosewill, Limited suppliers, shows out of stock, > http://www.newegg.co...ID=3938566&SID=
Asus has almost identical, from this site, may be others, > http://www.memoryexp...roducts/MX36594

What about just connecting my home server to the router? Wouldn't that be faster?


Don't know, Networking is a specialist subject so I can only give general help. You could try your ISP or the networking Forum on G2G, Register at this site, > http://www.wegotserv...rs/nas-reviews/ The Card suggested does enable you to use AP mode, which I think is faster than through the router, overview, > https://wiki.archlin...re_Access_Point

The Shaw modem/wireless router is a Cisco DPC3825. Do I need a different router for what I want to do?


No, it has the features required.

Software.

What are the top 3 NAS applications you would use if money weren't an issue?


Not really a matter of cost, more about what each application is designed for.
WHS, OEM 64 bit. You can use RAID1 for the installation HDDs but the software does not support RAID instead when you add any HDD for storage it tacks it on to the existing drives and treats them all as one HDD. It think it runns into the HDD laarge volume limit. Supported in ver, 2003 but, at some time up the versions this was removed, been unable to determine at which ver support stopped.\> Versions from 2008 and up are designed for business, very expensive and not suitable for home use,
WHS Setup, > http://www.howtogeek...ws-home-server/
> http://www.maximumpc...main?page=0%2C0

Looked again at FreeNAS and I think this is what you should start with, since learned that once installed it is managed through a desktop interface, looks like any other Microsoft window.
Tutorials, FreeNAS.
1. complete, > http://www.trainsign...nas-setup-guide
2. In two parts.
> http://www.trainsign...-freenas-part-1
> http://www.trainsign...-freenas-part-2
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#14
kayj

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I finally bought all the parts I need for this! http://ca.pcpartpick...kayj/saved/2sw9 Now its only a matter of waiting (for the Asrock)...

I will look through your posts more thoroughly once I have it all assembled. I haven't had a chance to read much of the articles but I skimmed over a few.

I think you are talking about the DriveExtender. Support seems to have stopped after WHS 2003. Luckily, I think I can get my hands on all versions of it so that works out.

Not really a matter of cost, more about what each application is designed for.
WHS, OEM 64 bit. You can use RAID1 for the installation HDDs but the software does not support RAID instead when you add any HDD for storage it tacks it on to the existing drives and treats them all as one HDD. It think it runns into the HDD laarge volume limit. Supported in ver, 2003 but, at some time up the versions this was removed, been unable to determine at which ver support stopped.\> Versions from 2008 and up are designed for business, very expensive and not suitable for home use,
WHS Setup, > http://www.howtogeek...ws-home-server/
> http://www.maximumpc...main?page=0%2C0

Looked again at FreeNAS and I think this is what you should start with, since learned that once installed it is managed through a desktop interface, looks like any other Microsoft window.
Tutorials, FreeNAS.
1. complete, > http://www.trainsign...nas-setup-guide
2. In two parts.
> http://www.trainsign...-freenas-part-1
> http://www.trainsign...-freenas-part-2


I ended up going for the ASUS WIFI card you recommended and in terms of the MB I found the Asrock H77 Pro-4 (its in the part list) which has 4 SATA 3Gb/s and 4 SATA 6Gb/s for $86 after tax. Again, I will check out your post about the AP connection once I have it all assembled.

Gday.
Sorry for the delay kayj. Thanks for the information.
WiFi first. The Rosewill, Limited suppliers, shows out of stock, > http://www.newegg.co...ID=3938566&SID=
Asus has almost identical, from this site, may be others, > http://www.memoryexp...roducts/MX36594


I'm pretty happy with the results.
- mostly new parts
- seems pretty powerful
- bought all parts locally (no newegg shipping)

That AND I was able to get almost all the parts (or equivalent besides the ram kit) for $491.73 after tax. MUCH better than the projected $645.38 I might have had to pay.

iammykyl, thank you for walking me through all this.
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#15
iammykyl

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Gday kayj, Your welcome, Posted Image.
Great you were able to get your parts local and get the cost very low.

seems pretty powerful


Does that mean you have it up and running?
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