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Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:33 pm
by Ian
I've decided that its time to build a new server for at home. Currently I'm using Windows Home Server 2010 and the plan is to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 Essentials. Unfortunately the ASUS TS mini I'm currently using is 32-bit only so I can't reuse that. Instead, I'm going to build a new server using hardware laying around and/or I can buy off eBay, Amazon, etc. The requirements are that it needs to be small, quiet and fast enough to do file serving, backups and media streaming using Windows Server Essentials.

Here's what I have so far:

Case: Supermicro SC731i-300 ( ... 1i-300.cfm) - Not real flashy but its small, built like a tank and already has a PS.

Motherboard: MSI H67MA-E45 B3 motherboard ( - Has RAID 0/1/5, USB 3.0 and Gigabit ethernet. Only downer is that it doesn't have eSATA but this is easy enough to rectify.

Memory: I have 4GB of G.Skill DDR3-1333 laying around

Boot Drive: 120 or 128GB SATA III SSD. I have a bunch of these laying around. I'd love to run two mirrored but I don't have a matching pair.

Hard Drives: I wish I had two or three matching 3TB drives but I don't at the moment. For now, I'll probably run a mishmash of drives.

Processor: This is the one thing I don't have. It doesn't need to be fast so I'm looking at a Intel G2020 or Intel Celeron G1610. Price difference is about $20.


Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:21 am
by Dartman
Looks like a good start with all the extra parts you have laying around. I should build a media center PC myself and run all the network cabling under the house and all that rather then the just grab a big couple big 5e cables and run them along the edge of the walls just to get my network and media players going.
I doubt you need a ton of horse power or extra slots for what you want to do and all that should help keep the costs down a bit.
My buddy builds PC's and installs and maintains networks all over so I get all kinds of cool left overs for cheap or free that he's done with. I could probably do what I want with a similar setup in a media center or really small case too.
Seems like Amazon and New Egg have quite a few cheap refurb and discoed setups that might work too. New Egg just sent me a add that had a $129 box with a couple of gig in it and a small dual core, I think it was 2.4 ghz, but no budget right now for most toys.
I did sorta splurge on a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus because I was tired of listening to the stock 1090t cooler ramp up to jet noise when it gets hot in here, plus also when hot and fully loaded it couldn't dissipate all the heat. Now I can't hear it over the other 120mm fans in the case, even when it's ramped up due to the heat in here, and it runs a LOT cooler and was only 25 shipped.
Good luck with the latest upgrade and let us know how it turns out.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:34 pm
by Ian
My $21 motherboard is here. Let's hope it works.

I also ordered my CPU the other day. Hopefully it will be here on Monday or Tuesday.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:33 pm
by Dartman
Did you eBay that board or get it used somewhere as it's discoed everywhere. I had a MSI board for quite a while and it was rock solid and stable till something finaly died on it and I upgraded. Been using higher end Asus boards lately with good results though nothing seems to be absolutely stable 24/7 anymore. They have been stable enough that I'm happy with them but they seem to be going away from boards with tons of extra ports and things and maybe I'm pushing them more then I used to.
Sounds like a great low bucks project that should be stable anyways and hope it works too.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:19 am
by Ian
Yep, I got it off eBay. It says it was used but it doesn't look like it. Either way, for what I paid, I don't care.

Only pisser is that to get it to work with the Celeron I bought, I'm going to have to pop in a Sandy Bridge CPU and upgrade the BIOS. Fun times ahead...

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:04 pm
by Dartman
My first Celeron/Pentium build was a eBay package deal for at the time a very good price and everything worked great for a few years till the board refused to fully power on one day. Seemed like it was pretty stable and I got the chip, board, and 512 memory stick for it so it was plug and play when it arrived. I put it in my Antec value line full tower with their way under rated 300watt PSU. I ran that case for years through many builds and I think I finally gave it and my last AMD 2600 to my coworker to try and rebuild for a free box. The have to put a chip it recognizes in first to upgrade to a unknown chip was a issue for a few boards as I recall and a good reason to have some older slow chip around for just in case

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:10 am
by Ian
I have all the parts finally. Now its time to build...

server parts.png
server parts.png (527.83 KiB) Viewed 18915 times

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:34 pm
by Ian
Well, its not pretty, but its all together. That Antec power supply didn't work so I used the 300w one that came with the case. The motherboard was already flashed with the 3.1 firmware so it worked with the Ivy Bridge Celeron out of the box. The only thing I don't like is the plastic trays the hard drives go in. The handles always seem to be in the way and running power cables under them is a PITA. Now I just need to clean up the cables a bit and install Server Essentials. That's a good project for this weekend.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:25 pm
by Dartman
Well if it's one of their higher end units Antec should replace it though you might have to pay shipping if you can't get a new one from the seller now. My geek friend just replaced one for a corporate customer so he's getting a new 1000 watt PSU soon he'll put in his latest super build or mega server for his own use.
My stacker uses the plastic slides and they seem fine once screwed onto the drives and the locks click in place. but the trays they go into are a metal cage and the drive bays are pretty standard for the opticals too. The 300 watt is probably fine with the minor load your running so you can stick with it and wait for the replacement.
I HAD to get a bigger PSU when my 4 rail 750 Nspire Xtreme power could no longer keep up with my newer build thaat included a old ATI 4870x2 video card. Every time I would start up a demanding game it would shut off as it couldn't supply enough current on the rail the video card was using. It would draw 500 watts total and it would go bye bye so got a single rail 850 and now no more problems and it's more efficient.
When I changed out my CPU cooler I had to pull the board and everything so that was fun and maybe a few hours and part of a day getting everything gathered up and moved out here so I had more room. At least Lurch got to watch and it worked when put all back togther except for having to move around my external USB cables and let Windows get happy again. Havent torn my box down that far since the upgrade to the 1090T however long ago that was.
Sounds like it's working and just some fine tuning now so good job and lucky you had that cheap PSU that came with the case to fall back on.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:44 pm
by Ian
I pulled that PS out of an old system and its been sitting on the floor of my office for awhile. I guess I can finally toss it in the garbage now. :)

Yeah, the load is really low. I might need to get something beefier if I load it up with hard drives but for now its fine.

Currently installing Server Essentials. I forgot it used Active Directory. And here I thought I could get away from using AD at home when I went to Home Server. Now I'm back. It's bad enough I deal with it at work.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 1:49 pm
by Dartman
Never run a dedicated server like your doing so have no clue about server essentials but I'm sure my buddy could fill me in if I asked about it.
I have so many old drives and things packed away it's not funny but that's what we all did back in the day, hence the forum name. I have a bunch of old hard drives too, many dead, some old but still working, like my combo SATA drive that still has a 5 1/4 power plug along with the SATA one so it could be installed in early systems without the required power plugs on the PSU.
Used to be my boot drive, a whopping 400gig. My boot drive now is a server class western Digital 500 gig that is super beefy and had the better warranty.
That last 750 psu is now in sisters machine I built her in the living room from my last quad core and my mom uses my old dual core with maybe another 750 but pretty sure I don't have any extra PSU's laying around any more.
If your not going to load up a monster video card and just shove in a bunch of drives a 400 to 550 would probably be more then you need for a safety margin and one of those should be pretty cheap as they are always going on sale somewhere now that everyone wants BIG power. AWE building the latest toy, I'm just happy my box is pretty stable and does everything I want now though I'm going to have to get some more BIG drives as I keep filling up the one in here I use for my HDTV captures and the two externals on the media players are full too but I guess that's better then having all the loose DVD disks around full of my HD shows filling up the house.

Re: Building A New Home Server

PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:37 pm
by Ian
Stupid Microsoft.. you can't upgrade Server Essentials to Server Essentials R2. I've never heard of anything so ridiculous. I really hope its not that way with regular Server 2012 as well.

Only good thing is that I didn't have anything running on the server yet so I just wiped and did a fresh install.