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Windows Home Server over Gigabit - Fast enough?

By NMCStudios
Sep 23, 2008
  1. Situation: Multiple photographers and editors working on photos\design spreads.

    Requirements: Bandwidth\throughput necessary to support 2-3 machines accessing and working with files ranging from 30mb to 1.5gb.

    Question: Would a fairly competent server (2.4ghz P4, 2gb RAM, SATA 7,200rpm drives) running Windows Home Server, networked via Gigabit, be fast enough? If not, would a high-end, Core 2 Duo with 4+gb of RAM and 15,000rpm SAS drives be fast enough? Or am I just going to have to content myself with swapping external Firewire800 and eSATA drives?
     
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Really I'd go with the higher end (4Gb) computer
     
  3. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,714   +397

    I would disagree, but I don't have much to back me up.

    I would think though, that WHS doesn't really require much of a processor, and that the speed of the network and the drives themselves are more important.
     
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    I haven't worked with a 1.5Gb file either, but you would need some extreme power to do this
     
  5. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,210   +424

    Drive speed is going to be more of a bottleneck than your network at 1Gb speeds. If I were you I'd use some sort of a RAID array. If you think about it a really good single drive will have read speeds at around 70-100 MB/sec - that's around 800 Mb. Take into account that write speeds will be considerably slower and having multiple people read/write from different areas of the drive at the same time and you've mostly taken a decent 1 Gb network out of the equation. You could always bind a couple of Gb NICs for 2 GB speeds (it's what I do on my file server) and run a decent sized RAID5 with as many spindles as you can afford to put into it. More spindles = more data throughput to and from the drives... until the network becomes the cap of course.

    I tax my fileserver consistantly - with 4-5 machines constantly accessing it. One machine pushes HDV to it pretty regularly while other machines read HDV and other compressed audio/video files to/from it throughout the house. My bonnie++ benchmarks show read speeds averaging about 330 MB/sec from my RAID array (6 drives) and about 240 MB write. I never have any hiccups from this server and it's only running a C2D 6550 rarely ever passing 60% total CPU utilization. Memory utilization also floats around 600 MB in use with the other 3.4 GB cached of course.

    What I'm trying to get across here is worry about spindles and drive speeds if you're only working with a single drive.
     
  6. NMCStudios

    NMCStudios TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Perfect, just the kind of advice I'm looking for. Basically, I was thinking the 2.4ghz P4, if bumped up to 4gb RAM and kitted out with an SAS RAID5 array, would be plenty fast enough. Otherwise, investing in a new motherboard and CPU would be pocket change next to the drives...
     
  7. NMCStudios

    NMCStudios TS Rookie Topic Starter

    The problem comes when designing print-resolution portrait and wedding album spreads. Files off the 1DS Mark III hit about 140mb 14-bit TIFF files when they're developed from RAW, and from the Hasselblad H3D about 200mb. Start dropping three or four of those into an 11x14 300dpi file as smart objects and you've got just obscene amounts of data pushing around. Reminds me of using Corel Photo-Paint 6 on my 50mhz 486...
     
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