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The project starts by having my existing desktop being converted to a WHS system as I upgrade my entire household computer structure.


Here are the specs:


MB: DFI NF4 Ultra-D (socket 939)

CPU: AMD 64 X2 Toledo 4200+

Memory: 1GB (2x 512MB)

Video: XFX 6600GT

PS: Enermax 420W


My current HTPC has 2x750GB drives that are full with my current DVD collection, so I've purchased 2x1.5TB drives to prepare for my expansion of HD/BD disks. The plan is to build a server/client system in the house as the HTPC functions are being spread to not only the family room, but also the master bedroom and kids' playroom. All media will be stored on the WHS and streamed to the appropriate location. My existing HTPC will just become a client for the family room. I'm new to the WHS and HD/BD realm of HTPC's so this will be a fun project/hobby/beating my head into the wall activity....well maybe just the HD/BD part (I'm still researching)


I have a few questions though:


1) Is it best to install WHS on a separate drive than what you would use for the hard drive pool? The motherboard has 4 sata ports but I was thinking I would just connect an unused 30GB IDE hard drive for the OS and use the 4 sata ports for the hard drives mentioned above. Any problems with that?


2) From what I understand, WHS treats all the hard drives just like a pool correct? Add a drive and the amount of storage simply increases? Is it assigned a drive letter? What happens if I want to replace a 750GB drive in the pool with a bigger one?


3) Since I only have 4 sata ports, are there any known issues with just using an internal PCI sata card to increase the amount and attach more drives?
 

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1. No. Whatever drive you choose for the system will automatically be partitioned with 20GB going to windows and the remainder going to storage. There is no benefit from using a smaller drive for the system. In fact, I would suggest not using an older IDE drive, as it is probably more prone to failure than a new drive.


2. Correct. The drive pool is accessed as a network share, even on the WHS server itself. Technically, you can access the contents of each drive directly in the C:\\fs\\ directory, but you really shouldn't. It's best to just access the network shares and let WHS sort it all out. You can add new drives of any size at any time. You can remove drives, provided there is enough free space in the pool for the system to move the contents of that drive to. Removing a full drive can take a while (more than an hour for a full drive), but as long as you don't remove it until the system says it's ok, you'll be fine.


3. No issues, provided it has all the appropriate drivers. For compatibility purposes, make sure the card works with Server 2003. I'm using one of these in my WHS box, and it works great once you flash to the latest firmware.
 
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