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Building new server from scratch!


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#1 hansolo77

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 05:06 PM

Hey all!  I've been working on learning how to setup and install WSE 2012 R2 and I think I'm finally there.  However, I'm feeling very limited in my capacities as my case is overflowing with drives.  So I'm going to be building a new server from the ground up and would like some advice and suggestions as to what I should get.  I'm only a part-time worker and don't really make a lot of money.  So the purchasing time line is going to be really long.  So far, I know for certain that I'm going to but the Norco 4224 case.  I've read reviews and it has been recommended time and time again.  The only issue with this case appears to be the fans, and the potential for the backplanes to be DOA.  But at the price, it's a steal compared to other similar cases.  Plus, I'm going to get it through NewEgg, as they're the cheapest place around, and they offer really quick RMA's for exchanges if there's something wrong with.
 
Now I'm at the point of internals.  The first order of business is the motherboard.  Form factor isn't really an issue as the Norco case fully supports a whole range.  Individual features are where I'm struggling.  I know that I want to have room for expansion.  So I'm kinda staying away from those Mini ITX boards, since they, for the most part, all seem to have only 1 expansion slot.  I already have 1 SAS controller, and plan on getting an expander.  So that would be 2 slots.  As for the processor, I'm not sure what I need.  My usage scenario is a simple home file server for client backups and media streaming.  So I suppose I don't need anything major.  The same goes for RAM. 
 
As it is right now, I'm thinking about getting one of these:

SUPERMICRO MBD-X9SCL-F-O LGA 1155 Intel C202 Micro ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server Motherboard
or
SUPERMICRO MBD-A1SAM-2550F-O uATX Server Motherboard FCBGA 1283 DDR3 1600/1333
 
The first board is nice, in that it has plenty of expansion slots, Support for Xeon processors, and is cheap.  However, it only supports ECC memory of max 32gb, SATA 3.0GB/s, and is cheap.  The second board is nice, in that it has just enough expansion slots for my needs (controller and expander), already comes with a processor, supports (but not require) ECC memory of max 64gb, and has 2xSATA 6.0Gb/s, but is a little more expensive.
 
So which board should I get?  Integrated CPU and more RAM, or more slots, less RAM, and mandatory ECC?  Or should I look at something else?  What are your suggestions?

EDIT ->  I just looked at and am now also adding this contender:
SUPERMICRO MBD-A1SAM-2550F-O uATX Server Motherboard FCBGA 1283 DDR3 1600/1333

 

It's got more everything.  More SATA 6.0Gb/s, TONS more RAM, support for faster CPU, and more expensive.  To put it in perspective, this new board would probably take a month to save up for.


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#2 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 11:02 PM

Was there any specific features that you need or want?

 

As for the SAS Expander cards? They don't' need a slot, actually.  They just have one as an option to pull power. They usually have a Molex power connector, so you can use one or the other (but not both).  So you only need on expansion port. ;)

 

 

Honestly, I'd recommend this:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813182819

Grab a cheap celeron, or Pentium.  Such as:

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819117301

(http://ark.intel.com...-Cache-2_80-GHz)

 

This CPU Supports ECC, so you can grab that right away... or grab some desktop memory.

 

Additionally, you can upgrade this to a high end Xeon E3 CPU later on, if you come into some money (or save up for it).  

 

 

 

As for the Xeon's, they support ECC, but don't require it.  If they did, I wouldn't be using a bunch of G.SKILL with my Xeon E3 1245V3 CPU (SuperMicro X10SAT). :)

 

 

This would get you a decent CPU, better ability to upgrade, the ability to use ECC or non-ECC memory right away, and come out $50+ cheaper. :)


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#3 hansolo77

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 01:46 AM

Thanks Chris.  Somehow I knew you'd be the one to reply first.  :)
 
I was categorically looking through NewEgg's offers (parts->motherboard->server motherboards) and probably looked at this one at some point too.  I think my decision to NOT use this was based solely on the fact that it didn't have a PS2 connection for my keyboard.  I have a USB mouse, but not keyboard.  I suppose I could pick one up dirt cheap somewhere though.  Also, it sounds like I might not need either anyway with the IPMI (though I don't quite understand how that all works).  The USB3.0 plug built into the middle of the board looks interesting.  Is that meant to hold a USB jump drive to install the OS on?  I bet that can be expensive, to get a +200gb stick.  Or is it just meant to be used when you install the OS, then you remove it?  Also, I wasn't aware you didn't need to plug in an expander.  That would explain why I saw a few that didn't even have a PCI plug on it.  However, I believe the HP expander I found (I believe it's the one you suggested) here is going to require a slot.  Only, I'm not going to jump the gun and order this right away.  I'm not sure it would be compatible since the description says you use it when you have a "Smart Array P410 Controller (SA-P410) or Smart Array  P410i Controller (SAP410i)". As for the processor, I used to use a Celeron before I just upgraded to the Core2Duo in my current setup.  Isn't Celeron like the lowest of the low?  I know I don't need anything majorly beefy, but would an i3 be better?  I'm still not sold on a Xeon.  They just seem ridiculously expensive for no reason.  As for the RAM, I definitely think I'm going to research prices and see how much ECC I can get by with.
 
The only problem I see happening, is not having enough money to buy everything in 1 shipment.  When that happens, I won't be able to test the components until they all arrive.  By the time I get everything and test, the motherboard could be bad, and it might be too late to RMA it with NewEgg.  I could just see that happening.  And with reports of cheap backplanes in the Norco case, I really think I should test that first.  So I think my first buy is going to be the case.  Then I'll use my existing components (and buy the correct SAS cable) and test each row of drive bays before continuing.  I wish places offered an extended trial period so you could buy with confidence knowing you could still replace the parts if they're not working past 30 days.



#4 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 08:31 PM

:)

 

As for the IPMI, it's a chip on the motherboard, actually (it's that ASPEED 2300 chip you can clearly see in the pictures).  This hooks into the VGA output, and into the inputs for the mouse and keyboard.  

https://youtu.be/S1Q1-X4pSOg?t=7m7s

 

As for the HP SAS Expander, yeah, it does look like that one needs the PCI express port to power it. Sorry. 

In this case, something like this may be better for you:
 

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157404

 

As for the celeron, yeah, they're the super low end. But their dirt cheap. You can go higher, if you want, but it was a good comparison.  Something like the Core i3-4130T or the Core i3-4160 are good, relatively cheap CPUs you can put in them.

 

As for memory:

ECC: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16820148669

Non-ECC: http://www.newegg.co...1-489-_-Product

So there is a bit of a price difference. But if the CPU you grab supports it (check Intel Ark before buying it, though!!), then it's worth the money.

 

 

As for the Xeons, the E3's are close to the same specs as the higher end Core i7's. Though, they tend to have more cache, and support more of the security features. 

The big deal is that the xeon's run cooler, at lower voltages and are actually rated to run 24/7 (where as the Core i series CPUs are not). 

Where Xeon's really start blowing desktop CPU's out of the water is when you get into the E5 range. But the price skyrockets.

For instance, here is a 14 core CPU (and it has hyper threading, as well!)

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16819117470

 

 

 

 

And yeah, not being able to test the components all at once is definitely a problem. :(

That's why I recommended the cheap Celeron CPU.  It's enough to get you up and running, and it can be upgraded to something much beefier later on. And you could sell it on ebay later on, to recoup the cost.


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#5 hansolo77

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 01:22 AM

A few things:

 

1 - Yeah that IPMI video really helped explain a bit.  Can I use that dedicated port as a regular LAN port too, or would I have to use the other ports for LAN and only use that IPMI port when I want to use it?  If I can't use it regularly too, I'll probably not bother since I don't have a switch, just a regular 4-port router (and all 4 ports are used).

 

2 - Do you know if that HP SAS Expander is the right thing?  It says it works with those other controllers, but doesn't say if it would work with the LSI.

 

3 - That motherboard is nice too, but I don't think my power supply has that 8 wire CPU plug.  I'd have to double check.  For what it's worth, I think the first board would probably suit my needs.  I don't see any need for the extra PCI slots (not the PCIe). 

 

4 - I do see what you mean now about the prices for CPU/RAM.  I think your idea of cheaper "make it work" components is probably sound advice, and work on upgrading as I go.  This is probably a dumb question, but can you combine ECC and non-ECC RAM?  I would say NO, but if there is a chance, that might be the better way to go and get a board that has 4 slots.  Get 2 non-ECC, then 2 that are ECC and then replace the old 2 with new as I go.



#6 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 07:17 PM

  1. Glad it helped. It's hard to understand stuff without having "hands on it", some times.  But it's really nice.
    And no, I don't think so. IPMI uses a dedicated NIC, so no sharing. However, as you've pointed out, most server boards have 2 normal NICs.
    That said, if the board doesn't have IPMI, there is always "Intel vPro" or Intel AMT, which does share the connection with a normal NIC. 
     
  2. They should work with other LSI cards. I believe there is at least one forum member that is already doing so without issue. Also, I suspect that the HP controllers are using LSI chipsets, but I can't confirm that. 
     
  3. Should be fine without the 8 pin auxilary connector. Should work with just the 4 pin. 
    Or for $4, get one of these: http://www.newegg.co...N82E16812200459
    :)
    And whatever board you think is best. It is your money, after all. :)
     
  4. Exactly.  I've been in the "not much money" boat, and buying one peice at a time ... doesn't work out well usually. Buying something that is upgradable is worth more, as it will last longer and you can upgrade it to your needs, as you get/save up the money. 

    As for ECC, no, you can't mix and match. It has to be all one or the other. :(

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#7 hansolo77

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Posted 09 August 2015 - 09:47 PM

OK thanks for your feedback. 

 

1 - My findings show that some boards are capable of 'bonding' or something, to enable the use of 1 nic for both features.  However, those boards are rare.  I think it's a cool idea, and probably something I'd be interested in making work in the future.  It's not a defining factor of something I'd absolutely need to have though.

 

2 - I actually did a little more research (basically Googling "Can I use an HP SAS expander with any controller") and come up with an interesting forum thread.  Apparently the card doesn't even register that it needs drivers.  As long as the controller uses standard SAS specs.  The first post talks about the 32-port but the 24-port I previously linked is probably going to work too.  The nice thing is that it DOES specifically mention the card you sold me (IBM M1015 (SAS2008)) so that's cool.  :)

 

3 - I actually double checked my existing power supply.  I still have the original box, and it shows an existing 8-pin cable.  So I'm good there.

 

4 - Yeah that's a shame it won't support both.  But I can imagine why, without getting all technical.  I think when the time comes, I'm going to get those non-ECC first since it's cheaper.

 

So thanks again Chris!  You're kinda like my new best friend.  :)  Helping me out here is a great treat.



#8 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 12:20 AM

  1. Yeah, there are multiple different features and terms for this.
    Windows Server has "NIC Teaming" built in, and you can also create a "Network Bridge" in WIndows (any version).  
     
  2. That it doesn't need drivers isn't surprising. It just pulls power from the slot (some have a molex connector, alternatively, that you can use instead).  
    All the connection and identify and device handling is actually done by the Controller (RAID or HBA) card.  Like I said, SAS stuff is really neat! :)
    And I'm not surprised that the M1015 is listed, it's an LSI based card, and LSI cards are VERY good!
     
  3. That's good. If not, well, you now know there is an alternative. ;)
    Though looking at power supplies lately, double check the +12V setting on your Power Supply. It should list an AMP rating for it.  Make sure you have enough for 2A per drive (as this is the peak startup usage for most drives). If not, just keep in mind that this may limit the number of drives you can run off of of the power supply, safely.
     
  4. Nothing wrong with using non-ECC. I'm still doing so in my server. Though I want to upgrade to ECC. :)

And you're very welcome. :)


Christopher Courtney

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#9 hansolo77

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 01:32 AM

Yeah I may end up buying a new PSU.  Perhaps further down the line.  This one is kinda old...(Antec High Current 720 [non-modular]).  Actually according to that website, it DOESN'T have the 8 pin connector, but the box shows that it does.  I'd have to physically look and see.  It does say it has some PCIe cables, I wonder if those would be compatible?  If not, I think I'll buy the PSU after I get the Case because I'm going to need a working PSU for it all to work.  At least with a new PSU, I can use it to power my current setup.

 

Gee, now I have to look at a PSU.  LOL!



#10 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 01:59 AM

Fun. And yeah, not being an expert on specifications can make reading stuff a PITA.

 

Actually, the website does indicate that it does have the 8 Pin auxiliary connector. It's the "EPS" thing, mentioned 

And good, it's an Active PFC (true sinewave) power supply.

 

As for the the drives, it looks like each 12V rail supports 40A, so the molex cable should support ~20 HDDs without an issue. And maybe more, depending on how it's separated. It says 6 molex, but if that's three and three, that's ideally what you want, actually!

 

And no, the PCIe connector is not compatible with the EPS/8Pin connector. 

 

 

But from the looks of it, the PSU looks to be just about perfect for this. (aside from not being a redundant power supply, but those are crazy expensive).


Christopher Courtney

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This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#11 hansolo77

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 02:48 AM

Yeah, I bought this power supply with Server in mind.  I wanted something that was Certified (even though it's Bronze) and had a lot of watts available for all the drives and fans.  750w is probably overkill for my needs, but I planned ahead.  Question.. are you SURE that EPS is 8 pin?  When you click on the Connectors button on the left, it says "1 x 4+4 Pin ATX/EPS".  Does that simply mean it's 1 plug of 4, that can add another 4 next to it?  The picture next to it only looks like 4 wires side by side, but I guess that is 8 wires (4 double stacked) and just the angle looks like 4.  Now that I think about it, I do recall having a strange cable to connect to the 4 pin next to the CPU on the current board, that also had another identical 4 pin on the same run of wires.  I thought that was for 2 processors maybe.  I guess not.  :)



#12 hansolo77

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 09:54 PM

Ok, I'm going to try and link my NewEgg wishlist for the basic parts (Motherboard, CPU, RAM).

 

https://secure.neweg...spx?ID=33422147

 

Not sure if it'll work unless you're logged in.  Anyway, going with your 2nd suggestion (the ASRock board) I did a little more research on their website.  Apparently, this board will ONLY support ECC, so I compared what was on their QVL and NewEgg's prices, and came up with a Kingston 8gb for $60.  Not bad, considering some of the stuff is REALLY expensive.  The CPU is also the cheapest NewEgg offers, and the barest minimal required to use on ASRock's website.  Since this is just a "make it work" build, I do plan on upgrading this more later, with a faster CPU, and maybe buy 3 more of the same memory (unless you can recommend a better option...).

 

It's nice to have a running total wish list, so I know what I need to save up for.  As it is right now though, I'm still saving up for the case.  Once I get that, I'm going to transfer my existing components to the new case and work with that until I get the new motherboard.  After I get the new motherboard and stuff, I'll then get that Expander card.  It'd be silly for me to buy the card now, since I don't have any way to connect it and verify it will work.

 

Once I have everything installed and running smoothly, I'll then work on building up some drive space.  That 4tb Seagate NAS drive I got is nice.  It's not getting hot at all.  That 8tb is teasing me with it's storage capacity, but I think realistically I need to focus on smaller stuff first, and hope the prices continue to drop.  It's pretty much a guarantee that it will, so by the time I'm ready to actually buy one, the prices should be much more reasonable.  Heck, by then, they'll probably have 16tb or 24tb drives!



#13 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 03:31 AM

Yeah, I bought this power supply with Server in mind.  I wanted something that was Certified (even though it's Bronze) and had a lot of watts available for all the drives and fans.  750w is probably overkill for my needs, but I planned ahead.  Question.. are you SURE that EPS is 8 pin?  When you click on the Connectors button on the left, it says "1 x 4+4 Pin ATX/EPS".  Does that simply mean it's 1 plug of 4, that can add another 4 next to it?  The picture next to it only looks like 4 wires side by side, but I guess that is 8 wires (4 double stacked) and just the angle looks like 4.  Now that I think about it, I do recall having a strange cable to connect to the 4 pin next to the CPU on the current board, that also had another identical 4 pin on the same run of wires.  I thought that was for 2 processors maybe.  I guess not.  :)

Yes.

https://en.wikipedia...y_Specification

EPS power supplies have a 24-pin motherboard power connector and an eight-pin +12 V connector

 

Specifically, the EPS spec is an extension of the ATX.

 

If the PSU has the 4+4 ATX/EPS connector, that means it designed to work with ATX or EPS boards (4 pin or 8 pin auxiliary power).  A lot of motherboards with the EPS (8 Pin) connector will still work with just the 4 Pin power supply, but it's better to use the 8 pin.

 

 

Ok, I'm going to try and link my NewEgg wishlist for the basic parts (Motherboard, CPU, RAM).

 

https://secure.neweg...spx?ID=33422147

 

Not sure if it'll work unless you're logged in.  Anyway, going with your 2nd suggestion (the ASRock board) I did a little more research on their website.  Apparently, this board will ONLY support ECC, so I compared what was on their QVL and NewEgg's prices, and came up with a Kingston 8gb for $60.  Not bad, considering some of the stuff is REALLY expensive.  The CPU is also the cheapest NewEgg offers, and the barest minimal required to use on ASRock's website.  Since this is just a "make it work" build, I do plan on upgrading this more later, with a faster CPU, and maybe buy 3 more of the same memory (unless you can recommend a better option...).

 

It's nice to have a running total wish list, so I know what I need to save up for.  As it is right now though, I'm still saving up for the case.  Once I get that, I'm going to transfer my existing components to the new case and work with that until I get the new motherboard.  After I get the new motherboard and stuff, I'll then get that Expander card.  It'd be silly for me to buy the card now, since I don't have any way to connect it and verify it will work.

 

Once I have everything installed and running smoothly, I'll then work on building up some drive space.  That 4tb Seagate NAS drive I got is nice.  It's not getting hot at all.  That 8tb is teasing me with it's storage capacity, but I think realistically I need to focus on smaller stuff first, and hope the prices continue to drop.  It's pretty much a guarantee that it will, so by the time I'm ready to actually buy one, the prices should be much more reasonable.  Heck, by then, they'll probably have 16tb or 24tb drives!

I'm always logged into newegg.

 

 

But yeah, it sounds like that board requires ECC memory.  But that's not a bad thing. :)

But kingston is a good brand, so it's definitely worth it.

 

As for the 8TB drive, if you have the money, they're worth it, IMO. Otherwise, the 4TB drives are a great buy (and roughly half the price, so roughly the same price per TB :) )


Christopher Courtney

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Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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Moderator for Home Server Show

 

This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#14 hansolo77

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 03:04 PM

Yeah when I was looking for RAM, I was kinda surprised that the ECC doesn't have heat spreaders, even though they're supposed to be the cream of the crop so to speak.  Does ECC just not get as hot?  Granted, I'm not using the server for Gaming or high power video re-encoding, so I think for a media host it'll work just fine.

 

Did you happen to see my question about the built in USB plug next to the SATA plugs?  I've read it's typically used for OS.  Does that mean it's for installing the OS, or should I get something like a 128gb jump drive and install the OS onto it and leave it plugged in?  I'm just not sure what the point of that plug is.  Especially if it's meant for having the OS installed to, when I already have a SSD drive for that.



#15 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 06:54 PM

In most cases, I think that heat spreaders aren't necessary. And I'd say that ensuring the system has good airflow is more important in general. 

 

However, a lot of ECC RAM actually reports it temperature to the OS. 

 

As for the USB plug, no, I totally missed than.

As for it's use... it's varied. ESX guys like to use this as the system disk, as it frees up SATA ports for VM usage. And Microsoft has guides for doing the same with HyperV, actually. 

However, I use it for installation medium. Make a bootable flash drive, and plug it in. The install goes MUCH faster, and if something happens, I have the installer right there (eg, if you need to restore).


Christopher Courtney

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Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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Moderator for Home Server Show

 

This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#16 hansolo77

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 12:37 AM

Ah, that's a good idea about the USB for installer.  Would really help in my case, where I actually don't have an optical drive installed (all the bays are used up for HDDs).  Got any tutorials on how to build a bootable USB with the install DVD on it?  Is it simply a matter of make the USB bootable, then extracting the files from the ISO to the root of the USB?  Obviously you'd have to configure the BIOS to use it as a 1st boot device.

 

Man I'm practically set on what I need.  I just need money now lol.  :)



#17 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 02:11 AM

Ah, that's a good idea about the USB for installer.  Would really help in my case, where I actually don't have an optical drive installed (all the bays are used up for HDDs).  Got any tutorials on how to build a bootable USB with the install DVD on it?  Is it simply a matter of make the USB bootable, then extracting the files from the ISO to the root of the USB?  Obviously you'd have to configure the BIOS to use it as a 1st boot device.

 

Man I'm practically set on what I need.  I just need money now lol.  :)

Windows 7 USB DVD Tool. :)

http://www.microsoft...d-download-tool

Select the ISO in question, and it will prep and copy the contents over for you. 

 

But yeah, once you've made it bootable, it's just a matter of copying the files over. 

 

 

And honestly, I'd recommend disabling the option in the boot order in BIOS/UEFI, if possible, and only using the boot menu to select it when needed. That way, it doesn't try booting from it when you don't want it to.


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Christopher Courtney

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#18 RobbieH

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 01:21 PM

As Chris said, I use the USB port in the middle of my motherboard for the boot drive for ESXi. I use a 16gb drive, which is kind of overkill, but it was on the HCL. 


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#19 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 06:24 PM

As Chris said, I use the USB port in the middle of my motherboard for the boot drive for ESXi. I use a 16gb drive, which is kind of overkill, but it was on the HCL. 

If you're using ESXi, then the HCL is pretty much mandatory. Straying from it is .... problematic at best. :)


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#20 hansolo77

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 03:08 PM

Just to update...  Pulled the trigger and ordered my Norco 4224 case.  I got it off eBay for a good price.  I've been in communications with the seller for about a week while I continued to save up for it.  He was real nice at first, then kinda stopped replying.  Don't now how to take that, but eBay's buyers guarantee is protecting me in case he cheats me.  The story goes, his coworker GAVE him this case for him to use, but he ended up going a different route and not using it.  I asked him if he knew if everything worked (backplanes, etc) and he told me he never actually used it and that it in fact has never BEEN used.  So that's a plus I guess.  However, he did tell me that it also doesn't come with any extra parts, so that means I have to find a way to get replacement drive caddie screws and motherboard mounting parts.  I emailed Norco and was told that I can order them from there for a small fee.  The seller said he was having his coworker look for the parts, but that was the last I heard from him, 3 days ago.  I told him I would just buy them from Norco if they can't find them.  Norco also said that they can replace the backplanes if it turns out they don't work.  So I figured everything sounded good and just went ahead and ordered it.  Should arrive no later than Wednesday according to eBay (the seller marked the shipping as free and expedited!).

 

Now I need a bit of help.  When got the IBM/LSI controller card, I bought 2 cables from Monoprice that split the SAS to 4xSata.  I need to now buy some SAS to SAS cables for the backplanes, but I'm not sure which I need.  I looked on Monoprice for "ssf-8087" and was presented with a lot of options.  Looking over them, I think what I need is this, but I'm not sure.  I'm going to need 6 of these eventually, and +$10 each seems a bit steep (but maybe that's just because I'm not used to buying these).  Also, since I have these SAS to 4xSata, will they work on the backplanes too?  Just plug 1 cable into a backplane and then the 4xSata into the motherboard or Sata controller?  Sounds too easy, but the connections all look the same.

 

In other news, my other "main" media center computer is dying on me.  It has been for awhile but I never figured out what was causing it.  I thought it was video card drivers or some new program I installed.  Turns out, my power supply is flaking out.  I'd come home from work some times and the computer would appear to be on, but there would be no video.  I'd try to reboot and sometimes it would take 2-3 tries before it would load.  Then the other night I was watching tv and I heard what sounded like rain.  I hit the mute button and discovered the sound was coming from the power supply.  It's doing this strange hissing, sizzling, electric static sounding noise.  Starts out small and quite, then gets loud and continuous for about 10 seconds then shuts the whole system down.  I've looked at it, and I don't see anything like sparks though.  Trying to reboot after that takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes of constant power cycling because the motherboard isn't getting a good clean signal from the power supply.  If the PSU isn't providing enough current, that would explain why my video card would suddenly drop it's signal too.  So yeah, I'm going to have to replace that next before I do anything else.

 

EDIT -> Would these cables be safe to get?  I guess they're coming from Hong Kong, and I've heard that quality from China can be hit or miss.  Would I be risking it if I were to go this route trying to cut costs?  Like, "You get what you pay for".  Just looking for some advice.






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