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Building new server from scratch!


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#21 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 08:35 PM

Well, enjoy the case. :)

 

And I wouldn't say shady. Some sellers don't like to go to the effort of communicating. (read: lazy). 

As long as it ships and is in good condition, you should be fine. 

From the pictures, it's not missing anything, but looks to be an older generation case (it lacks the mounts for the "system drive cage"). Aside from that, it should be fine.

 

 

As for the cables, 

 

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.

If it sounds too easy, that's because it is.

There are breakout cables (which is what you have) and reverse breakout cables (which is what you'd want).  And they're not interchangable, unfortunately.

Though, I do have a spare set of the reverse breakout cables, if you want (free). 

 

As for the SAS cables, newegg and amazon have them new for $15 each. But yes, they do add up in price. I would recommend only buying what you need for now (one cable per four drives).  If you need all of them, then yeah, find them for as cheap as you can.  But the ones that you linked should be good. 

 

 

 

As for the power supply, I'm very sorry to hear that. :(

If it's still under warranty (check), you may be able to get a replacement for free (or very cheap).  Otherwise, that sucks. :(

And yeah, that definitely could be the cause of the video card not working right.


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Christopher Courtney

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#22 hansolo77

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 08:49 PM

Thanks Chris!  I've been waiting all day for you to reply lol.  :)  Doesn't look like anybody here spends much time helping others, just asking help.  But that's ok as long as somebody eventually answers.

 

That's great that you would be willing to send me your spare set of REVERSE breakout cables.  I wonder what the big difference is (why regular won't work in reverse).  Do you still have my address?  As for the other cables, are you saying the Chinese ones would be good, or the ones on Monoprice?  I don't have enough drives to fill the Norco case yet, but I do have 15 drives so I'll need to get something.  Also, I really don't mind waiting and maybe buying a cable weekly.  I just wanted to make sure I was ordering the right stuff.  For the cost, the Chinese ones would be good, but for the quality I'm more tempted to go with the Monoprice.  Amazon has some of the Monoprice cables (for $2 more) but also has a lot of 5 star reviews, so that really makes me think the Monoprice ones are the way to go.



#23 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 09:01 PM

:)

 

And yes, I should still have your address. And if I don't, UPS should. :P

As for the difference, it's the pin configuration, I believe.  They're not backwards and forwards compatible, basically.

 

 

As for the cables, either look okay, but I'd rather pay a little extra for better quality or a better brand. 

 

And yeah, sounds like you'd need ~4 cables, in that case.


Christopher Courtney

aka "Drashna"

Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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This is my server

 

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#24 hansolo77

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Posted 27 August 2015 - 10:03 PM

Ok thanks for your advice!  I think I will order from Monoprice.  Their prices are better, and I already know their quality is top notch.


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#25 hansolo77

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Posted 01 September 2015 - 10:40 PM

New update!  Received the case from FedEx today.  I was really excited about it, until I got it upstairs in my room and unboxed it.  I specifically asked the guy to pay extra special attention to protecting the front of the case so as to not have it be damaged in shipping.  Opened the box up, and there were broken up bits of styrofoam "wall" padding around the sides (between the box and the side of the case, but not thicker than the rack mounting screw plate).  He also packed a little bit of the styrofoam on the front of the case, but again, it wasn't thicker than the protruding rack mounting handles.  The end result?  The entire right side is bent, the USB housing is busted, and the plastic "rail" that hides the USB cabling was broken off  (screw was still in the case, but the plastic "O" ring that it screws into was broken.  I don't have a rack (yet) so I can't really test to see if the case will mount.  It looks like it might if I have a long screw, but if the mounting screws are short, I don't think it will reach because of the bend.  Also, I've not been able to test if the USB ports will work or not.  To be honest, I'm not very concerned about them since the USB ports built on the back of the motherboard will be what I'd use most of the time anyway.  I'm just kinda bummed it was damaged in shipping.  I double checked the sale's pictures, and it was definitely not bent or anything like it is now.
 
Photos (click to enlarge offsite)
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So anyway... I won't really be able to test anything with the case until I receive some cables.  I ordered 2 direct cables from Monoprice since I only have 2 ports on the controller.  Later down the road I'll buy 4 more once I get the SAS Expander.  The cables haven't arrived yet, so I don't have any way to test the backplanes.  I already know both ports on the controller work (tested them out with the forward breakout cables I am currently using).  My plan is to run a cable to the first backplane, and connect 4 drives.  If all 4 drives shows up, that's like 90% confirmation they work.  Then I'll move the SAS cable down to the 2nd row, move all the drives down (or I might just go ahead and install all the drives) and test that one.  Eventually I'll go through all 6 backplanes and verify they all work.  Unfortunately, only time will tell if they're solid or not.  I did take 2 of them out when I got the case though, and they look fine to me.  I'm a little confused how the LED's work, since there's no plastic "tube" to connect the front of the drive bay to the LED's in the back.  It looks like they just light up the whole bay.  Guess I'll see how that works later.  Another thing to note was the drive caddy's do NOT have the moveable vent blocker on the front.  In fact, it looks like the area is closed up a bit more than what I've seen from other pictures.  There's only a few holes.  As for other areas... I really like the way they did the fan wall.  I've seen some pictures where it looks like they have a PCB board, and the fans are connected one at a time to it, and then has a molex plug built into it that you would connect your power supply to.  Mine is much more current looking.  The fans sit inside a small box, with a little housing on the side to slide the power plug into.  Each fan box has this on the same side.  Each fan's box has a snap release to allow for easy removing.  When you remove the fan, the power cable slides out of a pre-existing 3-pin "socket" that receives the fan's power plug.  Each "socket" is wired internally inside a plastic housing (and I would assume is simply spliced together inside) then runs to the end of the row where 2 wires come out and feed into a male molex plug waiting for power.  This design looks like it will cut down on space and allow better air flow.  I like it!  The only problem now is, finding replacement fans that are the same depth so as to still fit in those boxes!
 
My next purchase on the list is a new power supply.  I'm going to get something that is at least 80 plus Gold.  I don't think I need redundant PSU's yet.  This isn't a business server anyway.  But I need the new power supply so I can swap it out with the current one in my server, so I can use the old server PSU for my HTPC since that one's crapping out on me.
 
Once the new power supply arrives, I'll start saving up to get the basic entry level components for the main system.  I'll have the old parts (mobo, cpu, ram) installed in the Norco case so I'm not down a server during the upgrades.  Once I get the new mobo, low version cpu, and a little ram, I'll get all that working.  The nice thing about upgrading means I can now use the new processor I just bought (Core2Duo E8400) in my HTPC to replace the Core2Duo E6400 that it's using!
 
This train keeps rolling on!



#26 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 06:55 PM

Well, I'm sorry to hear that the packing and handling was less than ideal. :(

 

It should mount fine. Though, if you mess with it a lot, the slide rails are a good idea.

 

As for the fans, most any should work, I think. But I'm not entirely sure.  

 

As for the power supply, here is the big thing:  Check the amp rating on the +12V line for the molex/sata power connectors.  If it's split up between multiple cables, that's fine. But you'll want to make sure that you have 2AMPs per drive (as that's the usual startup pull for most drives).  That means, you want 48A or higher for the molex power.  Not all power supplies do. 

As for redundant power supplies .... they're expensive. As in $500+ expensive. 


Christopher Courtney

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Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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#27 hansolo77

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 02:55 AM

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



#28 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 04:09 AM

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. 


Christopher Courtney

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#29 hansolo77

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 04:12 AM

Thanks Chris!  Will update when more news happens!


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#30 hansolo77

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 03:44 AM

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!



#31 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 04 September 2015 - 06:26 PM

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. :)


Christopher Courtney

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#32 hansolo77

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Posted 05 September 2015 - 12:24 AM

I ran the system all day today, and it never went above 37, hottest drive stayed around 39.  I plan on doing a load test tomorrow by doing a defrag on each drive.  But it looks like everything is going smoothly.  I really like this case!


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#33 hansolo77

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 01:17 AM

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.



#34 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 08:23 PM

It depends on the drives.  Some drives actually keep historic data for the temperature (which I wish all drives did).

 

And we do plan on including historical data in the future (and ideally, web accessible info as well, so you can see it from anywhere).


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This is my server

 

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#35 hansolo77

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Posted 06 September 2015 - 08:40 PM

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"?



#36 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 09 September 2015 - 01:32 AM

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.


Christopher Courtney

aka "Drashna"

Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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This is my server

 

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#37 hansolo77

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 03:42 PM

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. 



#38 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 10 September 2015 - 09:38 PM

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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This is my server

 

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#39 hansolo77

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Posted 17 September 2015 - 11:32 PM

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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#40 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 19 September 2015 - 04:54 PM

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. 


Christopher Courtney

aka "Drashna"

Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

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This is my server

 

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





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