Advice on Motherboard (and components) for new Server Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-18-2012, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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After more thought, I have decided it was time to build a new media server. I’m looking for advice on a motherboard (as well as various other components) for the build. I want to go with a Norco 4220 case. I would prefer a motherboard that has enough Sata connections so I didn’t have to add cards. I’ve looked at some other threads but their pretty outdated. I was (originally) thinking about doing everything locally, but it’s not a realistic option. It will be mainly just for Blu Ray/HD-DVD/DVD, Music and some game emulation (I’m not a big PC gamer). Any thoughts, opinions and/or advice would be VERY much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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post #2 of 9 Old 09-18-2012, 03:36 PM
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Are u really going to purchase and use 20 hdds in the near future ?
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-18-2012, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darrin View Post

After more thought, I have decided it was time to build a new media server. I’m looking for advice on a motherboard (as well as various other components) for the build. I want to go with a Norco 4220 case. I would prefer a motherboard that has enough Sata connections so I didn’t have to add cards. I’ve looked at some other threads but their pretty outdated. I was (originally) thinking about doing everything locally, but it’s not a realistic option. It will be mainly just for Blu Ray/HD-DVD/DVD, Music and some game emulation (I’m not a big PC gamer). Any thoughts, opinions and/or advice would be VERY much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Darrin

Your post is a bit confusing.
The Norco case I believe holds 20 plus HD's, yet you state you want a mb with enough SATA ports
to not to have to resort to add-on cards.
The most sata ports you are going to find on a motherboard is probably 8. So to utilize the case you mentioned
you would need add-on cards.

So...maybe update this thread with a little more info what you are after, and Im sure the posters would be able
to better help you.

For starters:
What software are you looking at? UnRaid? WHS? Windows 7?
Are you looking for any kind of back up or data loss protection?
How much storage do you think you will need? 6 hard drives? 10? 20?
What will you be streaming to? Will the server need to do transcoding?
Etc etc.....

Revo Ion...XBMC For Windows...Dharma RC2
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-18-2012, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flocko View Post

Are u really going to purchase and use 20 hdds in the near future ?

I already have at least 12 drives.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-18-2012, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post

Your post is a bit confusing.
The Norco case I believe holds 20 plus HD's, yet you state you want a mb with enough SATA ports
to not to have to resort to add-on cards.
The most sata ports you are going to find on a motherboard is probably 8. So to utilize the case you mentioned
you would need add-on cards.
So...maybe update this thread with a little more info what you are after, and Im sure the posters would be able
to better help you.
For starters:
What software are you looking at? UnRaid? WHS? Windows 7?
Are you looking for any kind of back up or data loss protection?
How much storage do you think you will need? 6 hard drives? 10? 20?
What will you be streaming to? Will the server need to do transcoding?
Etc etc.....

Since 8 Sata ports are about the most I would find on a solid mb, how many additional cards would I need? I'm considering WHS with FlexRaid on top. One of my main goals here is redundancy. While I understand just about ANY Raid solution (software or hardware) is not full proof, I am not in a position to do 1:1 backups. I currently have between 12 and 14 drives and will be streaming to my HTPC via power line adapter about 90% of the time. Mainly bluray/hd-DVD movies. On occasion, I will stream wirelessly (via AirPlay on my iPad), so I'm assuming transcoding is necessary. Other then that, I will only stream music and maybe some emulators/roms.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-18-2012, 07:47 PM
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My Gigabyte z77x-ud5 has 8+2 eSATA+mSATA (I'm not positive some don't prevent others to be used). Add-in cards are easy to fine that control 4 drives. I think I've seen both 6 and 8-drive cards. z77 is an enthusiast chip, so there should be a q77 board out there that is SATA heavy.

If WD (old hitachi IP) gets to 7 TB in the next year, we may all need fewer drives.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-19-2012, 06:46 AM
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Here's a link to the hardware compatibility list for unRAID:

http://www.lime-technology.com/wiki/index.php/Hardware_Compatibility

Pretty much any motherboard and CPU setup will work for FlexRAID since it runs in Windows. The link above has a good list of SATA controller cards that should do what you want.

FWIW, my unRAID server currently has 20 drives and I'm still looking to expand it further. I just purchased a FlexRAID license so I will be tinkering with that over the next few weeks to see if I like it any better than unRAID. My unRAID server has been running faithfully for about five years now with no real issues. Assassin seems to like FlexRAID a lot so I thought I'd check it out. He hasn't steered me wrong yet.wink.gif

FYI - before you settle on a motherboard, make sure it doesn't have the HPA issue discussed in the unRAID forums. Some motherboard manufacturers (i.e., Gigabyte was notorious for this) liked to create a backup of the BIOS and place it on a protected area of one of the hard drives. This tended to cause issues with the drive when used in a server configuration such as unRAID. The HPA feature can usually be turned off in the BIOS so make sure you check that before setting up any drives.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-19-2012, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_video View Post

Here's a link to the hardware compatibility list for unRAID:
http://www.lime-technology.com/wiki/index.php/Hardware_Compatibility
Pretty much any motherboard and CPU setup will work for FlexRAID since it runs in Windows. The link above has a good list of SATA controller cards that should do what you want.
FWIW, my unRAID server currently has 20 drives and I'm still looking to expand it further. I just purchased a FlexRAID license so I will be tinkering with that over the next few weeks to see if I like it any better than unRAID. My unRAID server has been running faithfully for about five years now with no real issues. Assassin seems to like FlexRAID a lot so I thought I'd check it out. He hasn't steered me wrong yet.wink.gif
FYI - before you settle on a motherboard, make sure it doesn't have the HPA issue discussed in the unRAID forums. Some motherboard manufacturers (i.e., Gigabyte was notorious for this) liked to create a backup of the BIOS and place it on a protected area of one of the hard drives. This tended to cause issues with the drive when used in a server configuration such as unRAID. The HPA feature can usually be turned off in the BIOS so make sure you check that before setting up any drives.

Wow! 20 drives and still looking to expand? I don't know if that's impressive or nuts:) I'm sure I would be in the same place in the not too distant future. Thanks for the bit about HPA, I'll keep my eyes open for that. If you currently have a 20 drive server, and you want to expand it, wouldn't just doing an additional 20 bay be a viable solution?

I would think with bigger drives coming out every day, a 20 bay should (giggle) hold me over for a while. One of the MAIN reasons I decided it was time for me to do this was for redundancy. The next big reason is because I'm running out of space. I also have 3 disc changers (2 200 disc firewire dvd changers and 1 400 disc Blu Ray changer) and want to get rid of them all. I have a LOT of media sitting in my closet that I would like to have instant access to....on demand.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-19-2012, 12:41 PM
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I've got about 800-900 ripped DVD and Blu-Ray movies and they eat up a lot of real estate, even with the extras expunged. The array had a 2TB parity drive and fourteen 1.5TB data drives. I recently added five 750GB drives that were sitting around not being used and I have an extra SATA 5-in-3 backplane with four working slots so I'm thinking about throwing in another four drives. I tend to have more than a few drives sitting idle after upgrading a PC so why not put them to good use? I don't really want another 20-drive server since it takes up more space and would use twice the electricity. I'll eventually upgrade the existing server with larger drives as prices come down and the budget permits. I've still got about 6TB of available space with the current setup so I'm not in all that much of a hurry to upgrade.
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