This will be a build log for my Home Server. Named "Penny" after the character on "The Big Bang Theory" (Shes a "server" at the cheesecake factory). It will be primarily used as a storage and media server, but i will likely also setup a VM or 2 on it for testing and experimentation. I had been using an external 4 bay esata enclosure for about 1-2 years but it wasn't ideal as a centralized storage point. I also didn't want to have to fire up my gaming rig to stream movies. Actually within the last week or 2 i have had 2x 3TB Seagate HDD's die on me suddenly and lost all my movies and program installation media, fortunately i have my documents syncd to google drive and skydrive.
I considered many different configurations but finally got it worked out. Below is the parts list. Originally i was going to go with a AMD X4 740 and an A88x board but the 740 disappeared and i was reading reviews that Intel dual core CPU's packed the same punch and lower power usage. So i started checking out Intels dual core CPU's up to the i3-4130. I actually intended to buy that for this as i had ~$180 in best buy gift cards but it turned out they don't directly sell it, and i cant use the gift cards on "marketplace" items. At the time they didnt have any less expensive Haswell CPU's and the i5-4430 was the cheapest. Its a little over powered for my needs but it only ended up costing me like $20. It also allows me better handle VM's and transcoding.
Everything ordered, should have everything by the 12th.Parts List (Click to show)
Software Plans (Click to show)
CPU: ................Intel Core i5-4430 3.0GHz Quad-Core Processor *Received
Motherboard.......ASRock Z87E-ITX Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard *Received
Memory.............Kingston Blu 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory *Received
Storage.............Crucial M500 120GB mSATA Solid State Disk *Received
Storage.............2x Western Digital Red 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive *Received
Case.................Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case *Received
Power Supply.....Rosewill Capstone 450W 80+ Gold Certified ATX Power Supply *Received
- i5-4430 as i couldn't get the i3-4130 using gift cards. While pricier then going AMD, Haswell seemed to offer the best efficiency and performance.
- ASRock Z87E-ITX for a small board with plenty of features. Wanted msata for OS on SSD and at least 4x sata3
- RAM it was the cheapest 8GB of DDR3-1600 at the time from a reputable brand
- SSD using msata on the MB keeps all the sata ports free for pure storage. It should also use less power than HDD's and allow faster boot/load times
- WD Reds i debated over for a while, was considering 4TB Seagates but after 2 Seagates drives recently died on me i reconsidered. Also ordered a second of these, so 11gb to start
- Node 304 seemed the best option for my needs, room for 6 drives, plenty of fans and filters for vents. Seems to be well built.
- PSU wanted low watt high efficiency. Has enough connectors and was well reviewed and cheap.
Also have 2x 3TB Seagate HDD's (replaced via warranty for the 2 that died) but will likely only use 1 in the server for now, will be adding WD Red drives as money permits in the future. 7TB should be enough for me to start.
Tales of Woe (Click to show)
I'm planning on using Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. Ive also considered gong with Ubuntu or Amahi but decided i didn't want my learning curve to be any lower for my only server then it needs to be and i do plan on using some Windows only software. I will likely be going with Storage Spaces over a RAID option to get a combination of redundancy and ease of use and setup. Below is a list of some of the main programs i plan on using.
- Plex Server
- AnyDVD HD
- ffmpeg and/or Handbrake
- uTorrent (or some alternate client)
I will likely make use of Hyper-V and setup a Windows 7 or 8 VM and probably a Ubuntu VM. I will also setup rdp to the server. Not sure what specific software i may go with but i will want something akin to Lights Out to manage when it turns off/sleeps etc. I am sure ill find other cool utilities and applications along the way.
So within the last 2 weeks ive lost 2 hard drives. Working fine one day and the next day dead. Both are Seagate 3TB HDD's. They were under warranty so i sent them in and have one replacement so far. Not sure if i should blame them or if its another issue. In any case the first one was my backup drive. Had all my movies, installation media, etc. The second drive was in my desktop and was the storage drive containing files and installed programs. Fortunately the files (documents, pics, etc) where all sync'd to cloud storage.
The irony is i have been planning this server for months partly to avoid just such issues. I'd have built it sooner, though maybe not soon enough, but i had to convince my wife to let me build it. Even after loosing 2 drives she still isn't really convinced but gave the go ahead (or as i call it the sigh of approval).
For me the worst part is the lost time, and the time it will take to reacquire my media. Testing, converting, etc. So with the new server i decided to go with WD Red with the hope they may be a little more reliable. I will also be using storage spaces to give some redundancy. Ill likely wait for 4TB Reds to drop in price and start adding them one by one until i replace the 3TB Seagate with one.
Once i have it put together i can use it as a central storage and backup solution, serve media from it, run VM's, download stuff and more without needing to power up my gaming rig. After i get the server up ill need to rebuild (software wise) my gaming rig as well. Ill then put into place a backup strategy so i dont face this kind of downtime again.
Update - May have gotten all the parts today (2/11), if not just waiting on the case which should arrive tomorrow. Also got both my Seagate drives working again. Saw something goofy in my BIOS so i reflashed it and suddenly no more issues. So the server will start with 2x 4TB WD Reds and 1x 3TB Seagate.
Update (2/13) - Case is delayed due to the snow but I have everything else. I used my old Redone case as a test bench and hooked everything up to test the hardware. Once I get the case ill move everything over and install WSE2012
Final Build & Thoughts