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Turning my gaming PC into a HTPC/Home Server

post #1 of 9
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Seeing as my second 4870x2 is artifacting beyond the point of being useful and my first one is completely dead (Yes, I had two 4870x2s, both of which were outlived by my 10 year old radeon 9700 pro) I want to turn my former gaming pc into a rackmount HTPC. It would also function as a media and general purpose server, storing my music, movies, television shows, anime, and various downloads. I will centralize my data on this machine, using my two laptops and any future computers as terminals to access it. With that said, I'd like some feedback on my ideas.

Parts:
1. Some form of rackmount case - I'll need something capable of holding a full size video card as well as with a front 5.25" bay. This probably leads me to a 4U rackmount case. Any recommendations here? ~$100
2. An actual rack to mount my computer in, as well as all of my stereo equipment. Will need to be about 4 feet tall. Price varies quite a bit but these aren't cheap.
3. A system drive for this computer. I'm thinking a 240 or 256gb ssd. While I don't need this much space and there's nothing wrong with my velociraptor, I'd like to try an ssd for the first time. $150-200
4. Data hard drives. I could either buy another WD caviar green 2gb to match the one I already have for $110, or get a pair of faster 3tb barracudas for $300.
5. Motherboard, RAM, DVD drive, processor, power supply, cpu cooler - already have these thankfully functioning on my current gaming computer. I might need a new PSU and cpu cooler if the ones I have now don't fit. 1200W should be enough thumb.gif
6. A video card. It doesn't have to be good seeing as I pretty much don't play video games at all, but it MUST run quiet and above all COOL. No more heating the room up like those dual gpu beasts I used to have. It needs an HDMI connection for my screen and a Dual link DVI connection for my 30" monitor. A displayport connection wouldn't be bad either. Thinking 7750? recommendations welcome. $100-$150.
7. A 1080p projector. Not really necessary as part of this build, but I've wanted one since about 6th grade and the prices are reasonable now. I'll be using it for a small screen, 40-50 inches. My 19" lcd tv looks funny next to a 30" monitor.
8. I'm sure I'm forgetting something really obvious but working all night and sleeping all day makes my memory crappy biggrin.gif

My main incentive for this system is my music collection. I want to go through everything and weed out and replace all of the low-quality youtube rips and such. I will then create two music collections: A lossless or close to it collection with thousands of songs, and a 320kbps collection of ~1000 songs to listen to on my iphone... well when I buy an iphone 5. This is the audio system I listen to my music on:



At that type of volume level, you can see why low quality MP3s bother me biggrin.gif

Edit: I knew I was forgetting something. How should I back up my data? I want to mirror one hard drive to the other. I'd use raid 1, but that doesn't protect me from software failure. Is there a good way to have my hard drive mirrored to the backup drive once a week?
 
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post #2 of 9
Here are a few ideas, I'll begin with the last question:
0. Use Synkron. It is a soft that syncs folders across multiple drives (as many as 8 afaik - like an 8-way RAID1). You can define each folder you want to sync and its path and schedule the sync schedule. It is quite reliable, it has never crashed on me and it's free. A side advantage is that because it's not a RAID you can mix'n'match drives of different brands/type/capacity/speed... click to download
1. dunno
2. ---"
3. Corsair Force 3 240GB. I just ordered one for an incredible 120€ on sale, I've seen them at 150$ in the States. I would suggest getting a smaller drive for a server, but if you have the budget then why not...
4. Speed is pointless for a data drive, so my take is to go for a new WD; 3TB drives are still very expensive and "fast" ones are hot too. After using an SSD you won't be able to say "fast HDD" ever again.
5. Yes, 1.2kW seems enough:rolleyes: I would argue for a 400W Earthwatts though, it's unlikely your server would ever use more than 300W, probably 100W at idle, which is below 10% of a 1.2kW PSU - at this load any PSU has very very bad efficiency.
6. I've gotten a 5450 for a friend that does exactly what you wanted except the display port, it even had passive cooling. Anything is good enough if you judge it has the right connectors.
7. dunno
8. doesn't look like it (after EDIT)

Hope it helps
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post #3 of 9
1. Hard to recommend cases as it is largely personal preference but I highly recommend this one for excellent build quality.
http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?sku=163

You can get it for ~$100 depending on optional parts. I got two from newegg a while back but it seems they have discontinued it :/

*Edit: note the left bay can hold a 120mm intake fan OR a 3x5.25 inch drive bay depending on the model you get.
Edited by evermooingcow - 9/17/12 at 3:20pm
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evermooingcow View Post

1. Hard to recommend cases as it is largely personal preference but I highly recommend this one for excellent build quality.
http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?sku=163
You can get it for ~$100 depending on optional parts. I got two from newegg a while back but it seems they have discontinued it :/
*Edit: note the left bay can hold a 120mm intake fan OR a 3x5.25 inch drive bay depending on the model you get.

That's a nice case but it's really lacking on 3.5" internal bays for a huge 4U case. It can fit my motherboard and probably PSU and CPU cooler as well. I'll need 3 hard drive bays now and at least 2 more for future expandability.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post

Here are a few ideas, I'll begin with the last question:
0. Use Synkron. It is a soft that syncs folders across multiple drives (as many as 8 afaik - like an 8-way RAID1). You can define each folder you want to sync and its path and schedule the sync schedule. It is quite reliable, it has never crashed on me and it's free. A side advantage is that because it's not a RAID you can mix'n'match drives of different brands/type/capacity/speed... click to download
1. dunno
2. ---"
3. Corsair Force 3 240GB. I just ordered one for an incredible 120€ on sale, I've seen them at 150$ in the States. I would suggest getting a smaller drive for a server, but if you have the budget then why not...
4. Speed is pointless for a data drive, so my take is to go for a new WD; 3TB drives are still very expensive and "fast" ones are hot too. After using an SSD you won't be able to say "fast HDD" ever again.
5. Yes, 1.2kW seems enough:rolleyes: I would argue for a 400W Earthwatts though, it's unlikely your server would ever use more than 300W, probably 100W at idle, which is below 10% of a 1.2kW PSU - at this load any PSU has very very bad efficiency.
6. I've gotten a 5450 for a friend that does exactly what you wanted except the display port, it even had passive cooling. Anything is good enough if you judge it has the right connectors.
7. dunno
8. doesn't look like it (after EDIT)
Hope it helps

0. That's actually a really good recommendation, I'll have to check it out and make sure that it can do what I want it to do, thanks.
3. I think 128GB would be plenty for a system+applications drive, but if I ever put a few games on there the space will be used up fast. I may go with 128GB instead since I won't have a lot of applications. The only game on there would be the Sims 2 so I could play it on my 30" monitor (I can't connect the monitor to either of my laptops without a $110 adaptor)
4. I agree, the WD Caviar Green is more than fast enough for a data drive so I'll save $190 and get a matching one. I've run virtual machines off of it and they were surprisingly fast. The last time I did the math the 3TB drives offered more gb/$. If I run out of space I can always buy a pair of those later.
5. I already have the 1200W so I might as well use it, my main concern is making it fit. It wouldn't be very out of place in a rack of multi-thousand watt amplifiers utilized far below their potential biggrin.gif can you tell I like overkill? I have a bad tendency to always go for the most expensive or biggest thing. That's why this build is a challenge for me--to set a budget and stay within it. I have to learn how to say "no, this is enough for me"
6. The main thing is making sure it has a DUAL link DVI port.

Thanks for your advice!
 
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
My second 4870x2 is artifacting beyond the point where I can get into Windows so it looks like it's time for a new video card. I'll order the card, the server case, the SSD and the other hard drive today hopefully.

How do these parts look?


The SSD is only $140 with the rebate. Much better bang for buck than the 128 GB ones, the cheapest of which I'd consider was $99. I had to get the more expensive WD Green in the box because the cheaper one has a 64MB cache instead of mine's 32MB. Could cause problems if I went RAID 1. Another rebate on the HIS card so it comes out to $435.

Some progress so far:

Disconnected all the wires for the stereo system, I'll pull the speakers out in a bit.

Still have some progress to go as far as organizing the rest of the room.

Trying my other 4870x2 to see if it magically started working after a year.

After about 10 minutes of monitor standby of death...

It somehow works again! Now I can get my data off of here and sort through everything.
Edited by Hydroplane - 9/19/12 at 5:34am
 
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post #6 of 9
This looks interesting. thumb.gif About the case, have you been looking at any of the Norco cases? The NORCO RPC-4220 is still a very popular media server rack case although it is out of your budget. However, a NORCO RPC-470 is within your budget if you don't need/want hot swappable drives. Anyways, good luck to you.
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelter View Post

This looks interesting. thumb.gif About the case, have you been looking at any of the Norco cases? The NORCO RPC-4220 is still a very popular media server rack case although it is out of your budget. However, a NORCO RPC-470 is within your budget if you don't need/want hot swappable drives. Anyways, good luck to you.

I definitely don't need hot swapping bays so the second case is a nice idea. It's very deep though (over two feet). Any other advantages to it over the Rosewill?
 
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydroplane View Post

I definitely don't need hot swapping bays so the second case is a nice idea. It's very deep though (over two feet). Any other advantages to it over the Rosewill?

Hmm not sure which Rosewill you are talking about but just a heads up Newegg has a Shell Shocker today for the RSV-L4000 for $79.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?nm_mc=EMC-SD092012&cm_mmc=EMC-SD092012-_-SD092112-_-item-_-singleitem
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelter View Post

Hmm not sure which Rosewill you are talking about but just a heads up Newegg has a Shell Shocker today for the RSV-L4000 for $79.99.
http://www.newegg.com/Special/ShellShocker.aspx?nm_mc=EMC-SD092012&cm_mmc=EMC-SD092012-_-SD092112-_-item-_-singleitem

That link takes me to a router? lol maybe the shell shocker changes everytime. I was going to order the parts last friday (09/21) but Verizon gave me a 19% discount off the monthly service price so i bought the iPhone 5 64GB instead biggrin.gif I was waiting for the unlocked one but with the discount it's pretty much the same price. That and I need time to organize all of my media files on my hard drive. Since my second video card works again this build is no longer critical but it's still artifacting occasionally so I may still order the parts soon.
Edited by Hydroplane - 9/25/12 at 1:56pm
 
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NEC MultiSync PA271W 2560x1440 Logitech MK320 Silverstone ZM1200M Lian-Li PC-V2110 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Core i7 2720QM @ 2.2 GHz Quadro 1000M 8GB DDR3-1333 500GB 7200RPM 
Optical DriveOSMonitorPower
DVD-RW Windows 7 Professional 64 bit 1920x1080 Matte 15.6" 170W Brick 
CPURAMHard DriveHard Drive
Dual Intel Xeon L5520 2.26 GHz 48 GB Samsung DDR3-1066 120 GB Samsung 750 Evo SSD 2 TB Western Digital Green 
Hard DriveOSPowerCase
2 TB Hitachi 7200 RPM Ubuntu Server 16.04 650W Delta PSU 1U Rackmount 
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