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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am trying to figure out my best build path. Here is what I have...

Current HTPC:

C2D E6750

IP35 PRO

2x1gb DDR2 1066

Nvidia 7900gs

Soundblaster Audigy 2

Corsair HX620

2xAvermedia Duet PCIEx1 dual tuner cards

CM 690

Win 7 RC


Current Main PC:

C2D E6600

Intel Bad Axe 2

2x2gb

Nvidia 8800gt

Soundblaster X-Fi

PCP 750 Silencer

CM 832

XP PRO


What I need...

MOBO

CPU

RAM

Powersupply


In the end my goal is to have one main PC, one HTPC and one WHS for use as a media server/backup which I plan to go with the Norco 4020 or 4220. I can't make up my mind what the best path to take is and the mid to lower end when it comes to cost.


OPTION 1: Buy new everything for the media server.


OPTION 2: Use mobo/CPU/memory from HTPC in new server build and buy something like the Q9550 with Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P + 2x2gb for HTPC. Overkill very likely but then I can also use the HTPC for encoding .tivo files along with streaming to the 360 and recording on quad tuners without hiccups or so I am guessing.


OPTION 3: Use Bad Axe 2/E6600 in server. Keep HTPC as it is and build a new main PC. This seems to be the most expensive option especially since I usually game on my main PC but I am not playing anything right now so I would rather wait until I need to upgrade.
 

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I would move your current HTPC into the server chassis, add a good SATA raid card for your storage array and let it run, similarly to how it has been, but not directly connected to a display and build a new HTPC. I would keep encoding and streaming tasks on the server though and build a relatively low powered HTPC that will be nice and quiet. If you're going to be doing your encoding and streaming from you main HTPC, then there's really no point in getting anything better than a decent NAS or building a super cheap unRaid box for storage and just upgrading your HTPC a little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If I run WHS which is my plan then I won't need a raid card and just a controller card like AOC-SASLP-MV8 for the Norco 4220. My plan was to use the Norco with WHS as the primary storage solution for everything especially with power pack 3.


If I am reading you correctly, you are suggesting run Win 7 in the server case so it can handle streaming and encoding unless WHS can do that also. The EX485 isn't that powerful so I never tried. Then make a small quiet build for a second HTPC also running Win 7. Can you set recordings remotely or are you suggesting using the smaller HTPC to handle the recordings?
 

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I'm not too well versed on exactly how WHS arranges drives, but from everything I've read it sounds like a spanned volume on dynamic disks, which has no fault tolerance at all, and let's face it, hard drives fail, regularly. I'm not saying that everyone should do everything exactly the same, but IMHO, the only reason to run WHS is if you're doing automated back-ups. Software raid5 isn't available till full blown server platforms, but hardware raid5 isn't all that expensive and it allows for a drive to fail, any drive, at any time. I'm personally not going to trust all the hours(read weeks) I spent ripping my DVD collection or my music collection, just to have it all, or even a large chunk of it, pissed away on a dead drive, I've been there and done that before, and it's god awful. I'm not 100% sure about remotely setting recordings strictly with 7MC, but I would tend to think there is, as I know you can from a MCextender, so why not with another system of the same OS. I think it's something worth researching.


I think my option D is a decent one for you as well, go with a cheap motherboard/cpu/memory combo and build an unraid box for storage and just upgrade your current HTPC's memory and cpu. Then it would function essentially the same(just faster) and allow remote storage, which seems to be the whole point here anyways.
 

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I was in the same boat as you a couple of months ago... Here is what I would do -


We are going to mix up your components a ton -


Server (WHS) -


First WHS has fault tolerance just different then most - it does not use raid or anything like that it essentially duplicates what ever "folder" you choose. In other words when you check off duplicate on the folder properties it automatically replicates whats ever in that folder to a different physical drive.. similar to a raid 0 but with non of the other benefits. If the drive fails where the main files are on the OS automatically pics that up and the replicated files become the primary. When a new drive is added the files will automatically be replicated again. Unfortunately, its using the file system for this replication and does drag down the server on those drives during replication.


The key is - WHS is great program IF you dont want raid AND you want an easy platform for sharing your media over shares, UPnP, and the web. I like the drive pooling feature where as you add storage you dont need to worry about managing where your files are kept - it adds the storage to a "drive pool". Im on the fence whether or not its value is there over a good raid system... Download the demo and play with it.



On to your system:

Server does not need a powerful CPU or powerful video card and does not need at all a sound card. It WILL need a decent powersupply depending on how many drives and the CPU.


Server Config:


reuse E6600 -

reuse - Intel Bad Ax 2 MB

reuse - 7900..

reuse - 2 GB of ram

reuse - case that holds most amount of HD

reuse - PS 620


Thats it... nothing else needed for the server.


Now you have a ton of parts for 2 more machines (HTPC + gaming/encoding machine)


HTPC -

reuse E6750 - Great CPU for a HTPC.

PURCHASE - CHEAP 2 GB of ram

PURCHASE ---GIGABYTE GA-E7AUM-DS2H (ONBOARD GEFORCE 9400) This MB has onboard video that plays HD video and supports 7.1 LPCM audio. I have this and love it. Couple it with that CPU and anything will play.

PURCHASE --- NEW HTPC CASE - Ideally mATX OR ATX that has at least built in 300 watt PS. Dont waste those good PS on this system. Not needed.

reuse-- Tuner


Main PC - Gaming and Encoding

reuse - Case you love most

reuse - PS 750

reuse - XFI

reuse - IP35 PRO

reuse 2x2 GB Mem

reuse 8800 GT

PURCHASE - Q9400 OR Q9550 - best bang for the buck



thats it nothing else is needed. HD is up to you..


Ditch Soundblaster Audigy 2


So you need:

CPU for main machine - gaming/encoding - quad core will be nice for this

MB and Memory for your HTPC

CASE for your HTPC


You will now have 3 machines all kick ass for under 500 - I did the EXACT thing as you... rearranged a ton of parts and end match them to the job.. I love the setup now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm this might work. I was trying to avoid breaking down my main PC. I was reading though on another forum that the Bad Axe 2 doesn't offer WHS drivers which concerns me a little and since it is EOL it won't be getting them.


As far as drives on the server I will be starting off with 6 or so but definitely will be adding more overtime as I upgrade my desktop drives.
 

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Im not sure about the Intel Bad Ax 2 MB BUT I am running the same Intel 975x chipset in my WHS - no issues so far.. WHS is built on top of Windows Server 2003. Any drivers that run on Windows 2000/XP/2003 will work... The onboard video was a challenge but got that working also.. Its also an ASUS MB just dont remember the model - I purchased many many years ago with my E6600 - now its my WHS.


6 drives then the 620 PS you have will be good and will have room to expand..

Quote:
Originally Posted by innocentfreak /forum/post/16971522


Hmm this might work. I was trying to avoid breaking down my main PC. I was reading though on another forum that the Bad Axe 2 doesn't offer WHS drivers which concerns me a little and since it is EOL it won't be getting them.


As far as drives on the server I will be starting off with 6 or so but definitely will be adding more overtime as I upgrade my desktop drives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanglx /forum/post/16972646


Im not sure about the Intel Bad Ax 2 MB BUT I am running the same Intel 975x chipset in my WHS - no issues so far.. WHS is built on top of Windows Server 2003. Any drivers that run on Windows 2000/XP/2003 will work... The onboard video was a challenge but got that working also.. Its also an ASUS MB just dont remember the model - I purchased many many years ago with my E6600 - now its my WHS.


6 drives then the 620 PS you have will be good and will have room to expand..

I also saw it mentioned on Intel's own compatibility info here
Quote:
Microsoft Windows Server* 2003 or 2008: Intel® Desktop Boards do not currently support Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or 2008. There are no plans for making drivers available for this operating system.

Hmm tempting to chance it but I would hate to hook everything up and not have it work especially since it is my main system right now.
 

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OK I was mistaken.. I went back to look at my WHS and I DID NOT use the 975x MB... I remember now that I did have issues with the driver and ended up buying this MB

GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail 52.99 at newegg


Sorry about that... I remember now that I was upset that I eventually got the 975 working but it was not stable AND it did not have Gigabit network.. I wanted Gibabit simply for the fact that I was encoding all my movies on my main machine (quad core) AND streaming the re-encoding (final rendition) to the server. I need the network to match the speed (or come close) to my SATA drives. Gigabit gives me this.. (its faster to read from one machine and write to another)... AND this MB above had onboard video - since its not used for gaming, I wanted to keep the power down to a minimum. The MB above is a GREAT MB for a home server.


Anyway.. the 975x MB is relatively old and for the main machine I would change it anyway with a new CPU... Not sure what your budget is though..

Quote:
Originally Posted by innocentfreak /forum/post/16973070


I also saw it mentioned on Intel's own compatibility info here



Hmm tempting to chance it but I would hate to hook everything up and not have it work especially since it is my main system right now.
 
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