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Buy server or build server?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
So my brother and I recentley planned to implement a server into our house. I am not server savvy and never built one but I have built a PC and fluent in some basic computer applications, Linux, Windows server. I know a server isnt much different from a PC but still I like some answers to lighten my blurred memory.

The purpouse of this server.

1. Media (music, movies and pictures. Nothing crazy with pics)
2. Game software (question here below)*
3. Simple software (OpenOffice, Media Burning)*
4. Simple data
5. Will hopefully stream Movies to another PC connected to a TV.
6. Programing data (VB.net)

* I am not server savvy and wonder would it be wise to put gaming/software on the server. Sounds like a stupid question but I would rather like a yes or no to ease my mind.

My server spec wishes.

1. 6T total on the server. Should be enough to play with.
2. A good raid system that has back up for all data.
3. Hopefully $300 total but willing to go $500 if needed.
4. User friendly, I don't mind digging for guides but if I can avoid it...
5. Don't mind buying raid card if it will improve the system.

The server will have 2 regularly active PCs to it and one dormant PC for the TV media. Down the road plan to add a third PC. I know 3 PCs isnt much for a server but I like to tinker and right now a server sounds like a good project so would like some guidance.

In other posts I have found similair questions like mine and a purchaseable server I liked is:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboB...679894-_-Combo

Think this meets what I need to start?

Is it better to build from bare bone or buy the one above?

Does GPU matter for a server?

Should CPU be average or is dual core fine?

I plan to put 32GB or 16GB of RAM since I've heard it helps. Any comments on this?

I thank all help in advance, this site and its community helped me build my first custom PC and I am very pleased with everyone.
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsdg View Post
Your gonna blow your budget WAYYYY out of the water with just the storage alone.

Specked as you want it you are looking at a $700-$900 build depending on your ram and OS.

The combo you looked up will be a fine file storage (assuming your network behind it is up to the task of 6Tb o.O) as for the TV streaming, you may need to grab a cheap 250 or something so you can cover all your basis depending on 1080 etc.

For what you want, I'd get a cheap quad core (like the one in the combo) around 8 gigs of ram. Scale the storage back to 3Tb in raid 1 (6Tb physical). OS is up to you depending on how server-ish you are wanting. Can you say what more you'd like from your server (DHCP, nameserver, domain? if you don't know what they are then its better off you don't get them ^_^).

--David--
Ya I know HDD wise ill be around that, I was just speaking for the set up if I can make something for $300. I don't mind scaling back to 3T I just figured with costs of 1T 6 drives would be good. I got a little PC right now I might upgrade to 1080 but 720 is fine for me.

So 3T server, the combo looks like the best idea right now then. Don't plan on DHCP, domain or anything of the like. So last question is should I run programs off the server or better off leaving that to the Client side?
post #3 of 16
Response in Bold :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallorian View Post
1. Media (music, movies and pictures. Nothing crazy with pics)
This is fine
2. Game software (question here below)*
If you're talking about streaming the game from the server to another PC, No
3. Simple software (OpenOffice, Media Burning)*
Same as games
4. Simple data
Fine
5. Will hopefully stream Movies to another PC connected to a TV.
Easy
6. Programing data (VB.net)
Yes it can run VB.net on it

My server spec wishes.

1. 6T total on the server. Should be enough to play with.
This is $200 alone
2. A good raid system that has back up for all data.
a real RAID card is $300+ RAID is just redundancy, does NOT replace backup plan
3. Hopefully $300 total but willing to go $500 if needed.
You're out of your budget already
4. User friendly, I don't mind digging for guides but if I can avoid it...
If you want a real server, you have to learn. You want simple storage, go with WHS or FreeNAS.
5. Don't mind buying raid card if it will improve the system.
See Above about cost.

Is it better to build from bare bone or buy the one above?
Depends on what you want

Does GPU matter for a server?
Not really

Should CPU be average or is dual core fine?
With how cheap quad cores are, no reason to go with super low end chips unless you really really need to save $ or don't need any processing power

I plan to put 32GB or 16GB of RAM since I've heard it helps. Any comments on this?
Unless you're running a ton of VMs, even 4GB is good enough
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post #4 of 16
Depends on the program. Bear in mind that to play media from the server you will have to locally log into a windows box, Linux will afford you VLC. If you have a PS3,Xbox or media device this will remove this little snaffu.

Windows Server will require you to install the desktop environment in order to play media, linux can play video and output it via DVI or the like, and I'm sure there are some tuts on the net that will walk you through remote management of a linux media server. As for other programs you will simply have to set up shared storage like windows share or samba. Map the network drive and your golden. As long as the network you have there is fast enough, you should be able to do anything you want within reason.


--David--
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post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Alright so down to 4GB RAM, 3T total, no gaming/office software and quad core is good. Good info. With mention to the RAID card it was more of the lines if I built the PC, but it looks like most mobo support plenty of RAID systems.

So in terms of back up setting up a say RAID -5 wouldnt suffice? I would still need some sort of system to back up the whole server?
post #6 of 16
Like Jonowxeno posted earlier, RAID offers redundancy. This avoids having to shut the system down in high usage scenarios. For you, I'd keep the disks separate and set up a small event on the system that runs a simple backup batch file (move chosen directories, even compress them to another drive that is set to stay spun down to increase drive life)

--David--
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsdg View Post
Like Jonowxeno posted earlier, RAID offers redundancy. This avoids having to shut the system down in high usage scenarios. For you, I'd keep the disks separate and set up a small event on the system that runs a simple backup batch file (move chosen directories, even compress them to another drive that is set to stay spun down to increase drive life)

--David--
Wouldn't RAID speed up my R/W times? or for what I plan to use it for useless?(Media, simple data files, VB.Net)
post #8 of 16
If you run RAID 0 you will get faster sequential R/W, but In my personal experience, keep the RAID0 space limited to only what benefits from it. Especially with 1Tb drives, if you have a RAID 0 with 2 drives and one fails... 2Tb gone...

As for usefulness, unless you run gigabit, you will cap your network for transfers before you drive speed matters in file transfers.
100mbit ~ 12Megs a sec
1000mbit ~ 128 Megs a sec

Server RAID woes...
Assuming 50% failure rate. (Actual much lower)
1 Drive - 50% Fail
2 Drive - 75% Fail
3 Drive - 87.5% Fail

100*(1-(.5^(n))) where n is the number of drives. = Failure % over standard 50% Fail
etc.
I don't mean to freak you out, but beware RAID's in servers...

--David--
Edited by Helmsdg - 8/5/11 at 4:44pm
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post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
I know they fail and I want to be careful, I heard RAID 5 allows 1 drive to fail and still function and recover data. RAID 6 allows two to fail. I'll probably do as stated above and keep them seperate and use some other drives in RAID and see what I like.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallorian View Post
I know they fail and I want to be careful, I heard RAID 5 allows 1 drive to fail and still function and recover data. RAID 6 allows two to fail. I'll probably do as stated above and keep them seperate and use some other drives in RAID and see what I like.
If your looking for ease, I'd stay away from RAIDs... But RAID 5 does use parity and can recover one drive (out of 3) but rebuild time on a failed 3Tb RAID...... just got shivers...

I'd get two 500 gig drives in RAID 0, And two 1Tb drives. Do a nightly backup of the important files on the RAID to 1Tb drive 0 and use 1Tb drive 1 for general data with security back up to 1Tb drive 0.

--David--
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