Building a server, what do I need to know?

By THERAP1ST ยท 10 replies
May 4, 2007
  1. I'm interesed in building a small server for a college house(4 of us atm), main uses would be music and video storage, and possibly hooking up an audio system in the living room and having the server in my room with a possible node in the living room for immediate control. My question is what is different about building a server of this size and building a desktop computer(I've built 2), or do I even need a server for this, could I just get two big hard drives and build a regular desktop with extra Lan connections.

  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Do you even need those extra LAN connections? Virtually any kind of machine with sufficient storage would be enough for this job (anything above a Pentium at least).

    You can set up software RAID if you don't happen to have a RAID controller.
  3. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Given the price of hard drives right now, I'd be tempted to get yourself at least 4 x 400GB drive and make them into RAID 0+1. This will give you 50% of that as useable space - 800GB or so - but will leave you with a complete mirror of everything. Decent onboard RAID can do this no problem, so just select a motherboard that has that - Gigabyte will have some good selections with good onboard RAID chips. If you have more money, then use a dedicated RAID 5 card (so you can get 3/4 of the space - 1200MB) or even get bigger disks. Quite a few Gigabyte boards with RAID on them also have dual network cards, giving you the ability to use this machine as a NAT router too if you want, although a dedicated router is probably more secure.

    I just built a machine like this, it has RAID 5 PCI-X controller card (a good one from promise) and 4 500GB SATA drives, but I'll leave it up to you if you want to be as adventurous.
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    You can do anything you like.

    THERAP1ST TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 57

    Thanks, sorry I just started working at my summer job and I forgot about my server project, still going to do it though.

    THERAP1ST TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 57

    Which of the two would be easier/cheaper to build a RAID 0+1 or a RAID 5? I'd much perfer to build the easier one, even if its not the cheapest. And here is the HD I was looking at using(4x500gb)
    possible Mobo
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,128   +982

    A file server with just FOUR concurrent accessors? Sure don't need anything
    special here. Just get a big HD (for the data) and one GIG of ram.

    Your real bottleneck will be the network itself. Use wired connections throughout
    and you should do fine -- as long as your mates don't start running some Torrent application.

    THERAP1ST TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 57

    Ok, how do this sound so far then. I threw this together before I though about building an actual server(if it will work that would be great but if a raid set will be better let me know), I think I had 2 gigs of ram in it.

    500gb $120 X 2 = 1Tb $240



    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Windsor 2.6GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM2 Processor

  9. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Would you mind losing a terabyte worth of video and audio? :p Some sort of RAID would be a good idea.

    Don't even think about RAID5 - the fakeraid onboard controller or software RAID5 will be slow as hell for that.
    I would get a small cheap hard drive for the OS and put the two 500GB drives to RAID1 for data only.

    The "hardware" RAID on the motherboard will be easy to set up, but you have to keep in mind that when the RAID controller (or the mobo) dies, you are screwed. As a rule, fakeraid controllers do not have interhangeable RAID sets - you would need the exact same controller to be able to use your drives (or some advanced data recovery software).

    Software RAID would be a bit more difficult to set up, but at least you would be able to use the RAID set in another computer with a similar OS when needed (and no RAID controller is required).
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    If its RAID5 when go for a dedicated controller card as Nodsu says. I have a Promise PCI-X card for RAID5, its a SATA controller and works just great. You get regular PCI models as well, so you wouldn't beed a PCI-X mobo.

    Onboard RAID is, in generally, kind of crappy, so I would think about a dedicated card, probably from Promise. You can get a RAID0+1 capable card for cheaper than the RAID5 one.
  11. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...