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    • Christopher (Drashna)

      Login issues   11/07/17

      If you have issues with logging in, make sure you use your display name and not the "username" or email.  Or head here for more info.   http://community.covecube.com/index.php?/topic/3252-login-issues/  
    • Christopher (Drashna)

      Getting Help   11/07/17

      If you're experiencing problems with the software, the best way to get ahold of us is to head to https://stablebit.com/Contact, especially if this is a licensing issue.    Issues submitted there are checked first, and handled more aggressively. So, especially if the problem is urgent, please head over there first. 
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hansolo77

Building new server from scratch!

Question

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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Yeah I have mixed feelings about it.  I emailed the seller on eBay to thank him for the sale and fast shipping, and mentioned to him about the packaging and damage.  He told me that he paid extra for the FedEx store to package it for him.  So this is really FedEx's fault.  He asked for pictures, so I sent him the links to those images I posted here.  He said he was going to complain to the store about it.  Would be nice if FedEx offered him a refund, and awesome if he forwarded the refund to me since I have to live with it.  All in all though, I'm really not going to be bitter about it.  The case wasn't brand new and I didn't buy it at a retail store, so this sort of thing can happen.  I thought about maybe asking Norco if they think the parts could be replaced, but it's not just the plastic, it's the metal plate that's bent out of shape so I'm not sure if they can do anything with that.  They would have to replace the entire front bezel (it's all one solid piece, and goes all the way over to the power buttons on the other handles) AND the metal plates they're screwed in to.  I'll have to look and see if the plates are removable, but I doubt Norco could do something.  Any thoughts on this?

 

I never even considered slide rails.  I wouldn't think they'd be very safe considering how heavy this case is.  Once I get everything installed, I really don't think I'd need to get inside the case.  That's the benefit of the hot-swap bays.  At the moment, I plan on just having it on the floor (I have hard wood floors).  I am looking at racks though, and something probably 15U, open (not like a cabinet) with caster wheels would be sufficient.  With slide rails though, wouldn't that cause the rack to become forward heavy when you slide the case out?  I suppose those would be more useful for people who have a rack installed in the house, and not be moveable, where it's bolted to studs or something.

 

The fans I'm going to have to research.  From what I've read, the fans installed are guaranteed to work with all 24 slots installed and keep the system cool.  The noise is something else entirely.  So I'm going to have to wait and see how loud these are when I go to install the current server bits in it.  I still have to wait until Friday for the replacement screws from Norco to arrive before I can do anything.  But I do know that if I'm going to replace the fans, I'm going to have to look at something that pulls at least the same amount of air, but be quieter.

 

Thanks for the tips about the power supply.  I never really considered the amperage draw.  I guess I'm just an idiot that way.  I always just figured if there was enough Watts, I could split it however many times I needed to get everything powered.  Because of that, I actually have in my current case like 6 120mm fans (2 on top, one on the back, 2 on the side panel and 1 on the front) all running on one cable, then all the hard drives on another.  I'm probably waiting for a blow up.  Like I've heard all the lingo about +12 "rails", and my current PSU has 4 of them, but never really thought about what that meant, other than it would give more power than the +5 ones.  I guess I probably should have thought it out more.  So in my quest to find a new PSU for the server (since I'm putting the old one in my HTPC), I've found an interesting possibility.  Corsair's HX750i provides the +12@62.5A (you said I just need 48).  The Corsair AX760 though has more Watts (woo 10) and +12@63A (a .05 increase) and is cheaper.  However, the HX750i has something called "Corsair Link" which I guess plugs into a USB port to provide direct access to the PSU for configuring (including an ability to switch to multi-rail mode).  On the other hand, the AX760 is Haswell Certified (while looking at the item specs on NewEgg), while the HX750i is only Haswell Ready (again on the specs, but the HX750i also says this in it's details, while the AX760 does not...).  My new motherboard/cpu combo will be Haswell so I figure this is important yes?  So which should I get?  I'm leaning more towards the HX750i the more I look at it.  The price is a little higher, but still affordable, and the added features could be handy.  The only fear I would have is the single rail, unless I'm just being paranoid.

 

Corsair AX760 - NewEgg - Website

Corsair HX750i - NewEgg - Website

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Well, you should be able to bend the metal back. But that's about the best you could do.

As for the plastic, replacing it may be more trouble than it's worth. It shouldn't affect the USB connector (from the looks of it), so it's a purely cosmetic issue here.

I suspect that Norco would send a replacement part, but .... again, is it worth the hassle here?

 

As for the rails ... if the rack is freestanding (eg, not bolted or weighed down somehow) then the rails would be a bad idea, as it could definitely tip over.  So you're right about that. 

 

As for the fans, Noctua. :)

 

 

 

And the power supplies, if it makes you feel any better, I really only ran into this and researched this recently (due to weird drive issues in my Norco which turned out to not be power related). So, it's not really something that you think about. However, I bought a nice OCZ Fatal1ty 1kW PSU for my server a couple of years ago, when it was on a very good sale. :)

As for haswell ready vs haswell certified, I don't think it makes a difference, other than "age".

They both look very good, and very close in specs, so I think it really comes down to personal choice. 

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Update!

 

I don't have enough money this week with bills to be able to buy a new power supply.  But I spent the day off today putting all my old equipment into the new Norco case.  The first major hurdle I had was the power supply not fitting into the case.  Closer inspection revealed this is also bent out of shape.  I removed the mounting plate and installed it to the power supply then kinda "forcibly" jiggled it into place.  It's not screwed into the case though (I'm going to have to drill some new holes).  I figured that would be a waste of time since the case isn't moving, and I want to wait until I have a new power supply to put in it.  I did manage to do a bit of testing on the backplanes though, and verified that at least 1 drive bay on each plane was working.  I wasn't supposed to get the replacement drive screws from Norco until tomorrow but they arrived today around 4:30 pm.  So I started screwing in drives and now have 8 fully mounted in the case and are all working fine.  Strangely, Windows booted up with these drives in "Offline" mode.  DrivePool was saying all the drives were missing, but they showed up in Scanner.  Windows Disk Manager showed them listed but they were all offline.  Right-click, pick "online" and they all woke up and started chugging away.  Everything looks good.  The fans in the case are actually just as loud as my old server's 6x120mm fans, so that's a plus that they're not louder.  I let the system run for about an hour and the system temp didn't get any higher than 33c and the drives no higher than 37c.  I put the case into the closet (door is open about an inch, which is normal) and the case temp only went up to about 37c and the hottest drive is now only 40c.  I like it!  I don't know what it'll look like later once it's full of 24 drives, but it's good so far!

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The "offline" thing may be normal.  Depending on which SKU (version) you have, the default policy is to add all new disks as "offline".

 

StableBit Scanner has no issues seeing these drives, but StableBit DrivePool looks for the drives in a different way (looks for different info), so won't pick up the disks (when the disks are offline, the volumes/partitions are not mounted and not visible to the system).

 

As for more drives, the system will definitely get a bit warmer. :)

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It's too bad Scanner doesn't keep any logs of drive temps (or does it?).  I started up the system-wide defrag before I left for work, came home and it was done.  So Scanner just showed the current temps (which were down around 27 since the server went into standby after the defag activities).  The defrag did complete though, so I know at least the controller and backplanes (that HAVE drives in them) are all working great.

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Nice!  For the moment, I'm just going to configure alerts for HIGH temps.  I tried doing it before, but the alerts were too long and got split between multiple text messages.  That's all fine and good, but my carrier kinda locks up when it's more than one message at a time.  I would get message 3 of 4 first, then 1 of 4, then 4 of 4, then 2 of 4, etc.  It was all mixed up and hard to understand.  Is there a simple way to configure the text messaging to just say "Rail 1 Bay 3 drive is too hot" or "Rail 2 Bay 4 drive has a new bad sector"?

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Yes, actually, there is a way to edit it.

 

If you head to "C:\Program Files (x86)\StableBit\Scanner\Service\Notification Templates", there should be a bunch of "xslt" files. These are XML (xsl  template, specifically) files that control the notifications. 

 

Alternatively, it does support non-SMS notifications, as well.

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Yeah, I think the SMS is the easiest for me to set up though.  I'm not running an email server, and to be honest I don't check my email but like maybe once or twice a day.  I'll look at those config files you pointed at and see what I can do.

 

In other news...

 

UPDATE!  (notice the trend? heh)

 

Just ordered the new PSU from NewEgg.  I looked at various power supplies, comparing wattage to amps, Active PFC, price, reviews, and modular capabilities .  Since I only have to plug in the 6 molex for the backplanes and the 24-pin and 4/8 pin motherboard cables, having all that extra stuff built into the PSU would just really hurt the air flow.  I actually decided to go with the refurbished model since it was a lot cheaper, and comes with the 1 year warranty that the manufacturer is standing behind that it will work as advertised (that, and the NEW model was out of stock).  I realize that if it were NEW it would have 7 years, but the reviews I read on NewEgg and a few other sites all say that Corsair did a bang up job refurbishing this model.  Anyway, some of their higher wattage PSU's have lower reviews, and they mostly point to them dying withing the first few hours.  So I'm going to run this thing for a few days non-stop to make sure it is solid.  So right now, my plan is to swap out the current server's PSU (Antec HGC 750) with the new Corsair, then plug the Antec into my HTPC that has the failing PSU.

 

One thing at a time!

 

Should everything remain stable, I'll start saving up for the mobo/cpu/ram bundle.  Then I'll get the expander card.  THEN I'll work on upgrading to the better cpu/ram. 

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Well, the email server is handled by us (well, Amazon's email service, so there is no config... just set the email address you want it sent to).

But editing those template files may be a nightmare if you're not familiar with the format.

 

 

And glad to hear it, about the power supply!

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UPDATE!!

Got my 2 Reverse Breakout cables from Chris today, so I'm in the process of installing 8 more drives into my case.  Only have 1 left to do as of this update, and my total drive space is now up to 18.2TB.  Thanks Chris!

 

I've also made a decision to future proof my motherboard choice.  The motherboard has to be the most important thing in the case, as without it you don't have anything to connect all your parts to.  As I mentioned before, I'm not all worried about things like Hypervisor or EXSi or any of those lab type requirements.  It's just a simple file server for streaming content on the network, and the nightly computer backups.  HOWEVER, I don't want some piddly-ass cheap piece of junk either.  It needs to be future proof for upgrades down the line.  I still agree with Chris's suggestion of using the ASRock Rack board, and the E3C224 models seem to have what I would need.  USB3 (future!), PCIe AND PCI slots (past!).  The -4L model has 4 lan NICs as compared to the original one that only had 2.  So I think I'm going to go with that one.  I think with the Teaming functionality, it will help improve overall network performance.  I also considered the cost, and the -4L is only about $50 or so more, and the extra benefits justify it I think.  The only nagging thing I have is the future proof for the CPU.  I looked at the qualified CPU list, and based on what's currently available, it looks like the BEST I can do would be the "Intel Xeon E3-1276 v3 Haswell 3.6GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1150 84W Server Processor BX80646E31276V3".  I was kinda bummed about that, since I've been researching processors and like how the E5's are HUGE on their L3 Cache, but they're also HUGE on their prices (like $1.5k for a top of the line).  So I think in the end, I can justify saving up and spending $350 for the E3 down the line.

 

Since I'm still in the "save up" mode for the mobo/cpu/ram combo.. does anybody have any suggestions on something better before I pull the trigger?  Here's the basics of what I think I need:

 

- ATX/mATX/EBB Form Factor (to fit in the Norco 4224 case)

- 1 PCIe 8x slot (RAID Controller [Chris's MegaRaid M105 card])

- 1 PCIe 8x slot (SAS Expander [will buy after everything else (HP 24-36 drive with external SAS for additional addon case later if needed)])

- 1 SATA (for OS SSD Drive)

- 1 SATA (for future proofed OS SSD Mirror?)

- 1 SATA (for future proofed DrivePool SSD Optimize [still need to learn what that's all about])

- 2 USB Pin Headers (for front of case keyboard/mouse)

- 1 IPMI Port (sounds cool, would like to utilize it)

- 2+ NICs (for enhanced stability and throughput on the LAN)

 

I think that's it.  Not really a big list.  That's why I think the mobo I'm looking at will be perfect.

 

EDIT ->  Anybody ever dealt with SuperBiiz?  When I go to pcpartpicker.com and look at builds other people have done, and check out the prices of their parts, I'm constantly seeing a major price discount with SuperBiiz as compared to the "Big Two" of NewEgg and TigerDirect.  They're a Google Trusted Store, so that's gotta mean something.  I'm just curious how their company is, and how we they would handle DOA shipments and RMA's should an issue come up.

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Only thing to add is that you'll want to upgrade to ECC RAM sooner or later. Better quality, and error handling. Additionally, most sticks actually report temperature and other info as well.

 

ANd if the CPU stuff is really a concern, look for older motherboards (such as the supermicro X8 series), and get some older Xeon CPUs. The downside is that they'll run hotter and use more electricity.  However, for mos things, I've been very happy with the Xeon E3-1245v3 CPU that I've been using. 

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Now I want to get one of these:

http://www.45drives.com/products/storage/xl60.php

 

HEHE!!  Thanks for the advice there Chris.  I'm actually going to be getting ECC Ram with the new motherboard because it only supports ECC.  The RAM I'm going to buy buying is this:

 

Kingston 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1600 Server Memory w/TS Model KVR16E11/8 (linky)

 

I was concerned initially about it not having a heat spreader or some other form of heat sink, but after looking around a bit it looks like all server memory is like that.  This particular model is 8gb, and listed on the motherboard's memory support list.  So I will buy 1 now, with the motherboard and CPU, and then upgrade the CPU, then buy more memory as needed.  The CPU I will get further down the line is:

 

Intel Xeon E3-1276 v3 Haswell 3.6GHz 8MB L3 Cache LGA 1150 84W Server Processor BX80646E31276V3 (linky)

 

Again, this is the best CPU I could find that the motherboard officially supports.  And I'm going to get an after market cooler too, and this one is really teasing my interest:

 

Noctua NH-U9S 92mm SSO2 U-Type Premium CPU Cooler, NF-A9 PWM Fans (linky)

 

It's out of stock at the moment, but after reading some internet reviews of some of Noctua's other models, this one will actually fit inside the Norco case.  Other models have issues with the heatpipe post tips.  Hopefully I'm linking the correct one here.  But yeah, I'm hoping this upgrade will suit me for the time being.  If money was no object, I'd probably buy that 60-bay case, and have 2 of the latest E5 Xeons that have 15 cores and 30mb L3 Cache that's like $2,800 along with a few TB's of RAM!!

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LOL, yeah, those boxes are nice.

However, if money was no object, why not 90 drives?

http://www.supermicro.com/products/chassis/4U/946/SC946ED-R2KJBOD.cfm:)

 

 

And yeah, most ECC ram doesn't have heat spreaders. They don't really need them, from what I understand (and that include consumer stuff too... it just looks cooler). 

However, from my experience, all ECC RAM does include temperature sensors on the sticks. So there is that. :)

 

 

 

As for the heatsink, just remember that you want to have some clearance. The motherboard is mounted on risers, the screws are raised a bit, and the CPU socket is raised a bit above the rest of the board.

And I specifically used the Noctua NH-C14 in my system (as there were not very many other good options at the time).

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Duh.. duh.. duh.. that case is INSANE!!!  I thought the 60 drive one was ridiculous, but 90?! :)  How in the heck are they able to keep that thing cool?  Also, they only sell that chassis prebuilt with drives included.  I'd hate to know how much that would cost at 90 drives times 8tb...

 

I'm not worried about the ECC ram.  The one I linked to (w/TS) means with temp sensor.  So it can decrease the speed as needed.  I was going to use the word throttle there instead of decrease, but to me; Throttle means "step on the gas" and go faster... so I feel like this is a term that needs changed.

 

The heat sink is still a questionable thing, since it's going to be bought last (like literally after I've used the new CPU and verify it works).  So I have plenty of time to choose what's best.  I do know that I will be buying something though because I've read a lot of reviews that say the supplied Intel cooler just isn't up to typical usage requirements.  The thing about the Noctua I listed though, it's been used in other people's builds that have this exact same case.  The only thing that would be different is the cpu/motherboard.  I think I would prefer a standing tower type cooler as opposed to the classic fan on top style to help with moving more hot air from the drives towards the back vent fans.  This particular model comes with 1 fan and can add an additional one in the future (which I probably would do just for ease of mind).

 

I'm still trying to decide what would be best for me as far as the fan wall is concerned.  It seems like the biggest noise I have is from the back fans.  With the cover on the case, I don't really notice the fan wall noise.  I've been looking around, and although the Noctua fans are a lot quieter, they also don't move as much air, so cooling may be problem.  There's also the option to get 120mm fans with the replacement fan wall, but even those seem to suffer from less air flow compared to the current set.  So I'm not sure if it's really worth it to buy the 3-120mm fan wall and fans, or get quieter 80mm's.  I just don't know.  I do know I'm definitely going to replace the back exhaust fans because they're really loud, and honestly don't even move as much air as the ones in the fan wall do.  So they can definitely be swapped out for something different.

 

Week #1 of saving for the mobo combo is done.  I'm sitting at $100.  Not a lot, but it's the best I can do.  I worked a lot of hours last week though (32 to me is a lot heh) so the paycheck should be nice this week.  Fingers crossed I can get the stuff ordered this week.  If not, I'm definitely going to be ok come next week!

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I'm kinda bummed today.  Got paid at midnight, and was hoping to order my parts today.  Then I found out I had to make a copay at my Dr's appointment today, which usually they BILL me for.  So I ended up not having enough money to order stuff this week.  Now I gotta wait ANOTHER week.  Such is the life of living paycheck to paycheck.  I don't hate people, but I'm feeling very bitter towards these jerks who drive around in brand new cars, can buy whatever/whenever, and still have money just laying around the house that their cats can pee on.  Yeah, I'm actually feeling a bit depressed now that I think about it.  Haven't been LOW in a long time.  I mean, it's not like I was expecting it anyway, even my last post I said I was going to order next week for sure anyway.  Maybe its the news that my doctor thinks I might have Sleep Apnea.  Maybe it's that he wanted me to lose 20 pounds before he saw me again, and I thought I did, just to find out it was only 7.  Maybe it's just because I have a really bad headache because I had to fast before I could see him, and my appointment wasn't until 2:30pm and I didn't get to eat anything until like 4:00pm.  Whatever it is, I feel like I just wanna crawl into a hole and wither. 

 

Don't worry about me though!  I'm not the suicidal type.  I'm afraid of death, and the life long agony and pain I'd suffer with if I didn't do it right in the first place.  I just need to chill and relax and realize there's always next week.

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Ok, so I was checking my paystubs yesterday to try and figure out why my check this week was so small. Turned out I actually got 2 checks, but only 1 was deposited through direct deposit. The other was a $500 "Lump Sum" check that taxes got a hold of. Apparently where I work they have a new union contract going into affect, where we're only going to be getting like $1.50 raise over the next 5 years. Pretty shitty. But they sent everybody who is topped out at their position (like me apparently) a bonus check. Sucks it wasn't tax free, but I got one anyway, that's what the $500 was for. After taxes, it was like $307. But that's plenty for me to buy my new server parts with the other money I had saved!

 

So, Chris (or somebody else...), should I still go forward with my plans to buy the Celeron first, or should I go bigger? I don't have enough money to get the Xeon AND the other parts right now, so I wouldn't really benefit with getting something better, especially if I'm going to turn back around and upgrade it in a few weeks after I've verified it all works anyway.

 

Also, I'm still trying to decide on if I should get that 120mm 3-fan wall or not. Can anybody comment on how well it performs with air flow and keeping drives cool? Obviously I'd want to get some Noctua fans for it, but does the temp suffer because of the quieter fans?

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I'm sorry to hear about the finances, as that sucks. :(

And I definitely understand the rest of it. Sometimes it feels like the world just tries to kick you when you're already down. :(

 

 

As for what parts to get, yeah the celeron (or maybe a pentium) may be the best choice for now.

As for the fan wall .... not really. the 80mm fans should be fine. THey're not too loud to start off with (IIRC), but you can switch a few of them out with noctua or other fans.  And depending on how many drives you have to start off with (sorry, I don't remember), it should be more than fine (even if you only have a couple of the fans connected).

 

 

Though, ebay may still be a good idea. You should be able to find stuff in the US section as well.

The only downside is that a lot of it is older hardware.

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Dang it, got the $307 deposited but because it was the weekend it never showed up in my bank as available.  So I couldn't buy the parts yet.  Then later today I had to pay a few bills (namely, my subscriptions to my seedbox and my usenet provider lol).  Now I'm back down to around $100, and that $300 sure is taking its sweet time lol.  I'm going to play it safe though and wait until next payday.

 

I'm definitely going to get the Celeron then since it's the cheapest and sure-fire way to make sure all my components work.  Hopefully, fingers crossed, it'll boot up OK and I'll just have to get a better CPU later.  If not, I don't know what I'll do, besides pull my hair out lol!  I mean, I wouldn't be able to test another CPU, or RAM stick, and it might be the mobo that's bad.  No real way to tell.  No sense worrying about something that might not even happen anyway.

 

As I have it right now, using all stock fans, it is about as loud as it was with my old case, with 7 120mm fans all at full power.  They weren't engineered for silence though.  I am noticing temps hovering around the 40c mark right now, and I have 16 drives installed currently.  That's the most I can do with my current motherboard and expansion cards.  The heat is looking OK, but borderline I think.  A lot of my drives are older (3-5 years) and I don't want to push their heats.  The 4tb SAS drive though is sitting nice and cool at 33c, and my hottest drives around 41-42c.

 

Also, I'm in the USA too buddy.  Not sure why you'd mention finding US eBay stuff.  :P

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UPDATE!!

 

"Pulled the Trigger" and ordered my new server upgrade base components from NewEgg!

 

$198.99 - ASRock E3C224-4L Motherboard (link)

$044.99 - Intel Celeron G1820 CPU (link)

$057.99 - Kingston 8gb Memory (link)

-----------

$301.97 - Total

 

I've done a bunch of research and gotten help from various forums including this one.  This build seems to be the best option for my current budget.  After spending 3-4 weeks of saving up, what with bills and the unexpected expenses, I've finally got these bad boys on the way!  The next "phase" of my server build will be to get a SAS expander card, to increase the 2 port (8 drive) controller Chris sold me to a full 24 drive capacity.  I've got 2 in mind.  One is is a little more expensive than the other, but is also more well supported and frequently used in home server builds, while the other has (visually) more future proof with an added external port and (again visually) 32 drive capacity.  Would like to hear from other users as to their recommendations.

 

HP Board (link) - Advertised as 24-port 6G.  Actually has physically 9 plugs.  So that would be 28 drives internal (7x4) and ?? external, and the 1 Input.  ~$160 (price has been steadily dropping...)

 

Intel Board (link) (link) (link) (etc) - Advertised as 24-Port 6G.  Actually has physically 6 plugs.  So in reality, that's only 20 drives internal (5x4) and the 1 input.  ~$200 (price varies)

 

I'm really leaning towards the HP, because I (correct me if I'm wrong) can plug both connections from the Controller card into the HP, and still get 24 drives, PLUS the added benefit of double bandwith because of using both plugs.  If not, I can still have it be useful for future proofing to an extra JBOD enclosure should I need one in the future.  What do you guys think?

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