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  #1  
Old 10-11-2010, 08:18 PM
shatter shatter is offline
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Yet another, Is this server overkill and other recommendations thread!

Hey Folks,

Sorry to subject you to yet another "help me build a server" thread but here it is. I have been reading similar threads on here and have a close starting point but don't know if I am overkill here. My current server is running a P4-2.4ghz cpu that I have been running since around 2004 for SageTV.

My planned usage is one HD200, one HD300 and one SageTV Client. Two viewers are HDTV compatible and the third SDTV. Most usage is two viewers working out of three at any time. I only have one tuner so it would be at most, one recording while two playbacks are going, along with comskip.

Proposed server:
Core i5-750 2.66ghz quad core w/ retail HSF
4GB or 6GB DDR3 memory (not sure if it matters to run three sticks or two with DDR3)
60GB SSD (C Drive)
2TB HDD (two of theses)
Intel Gigabit NIC
Windows 7 64-bit
DVD-ROM
HD-PVR

Unknowns:
Motherboard ATX model?
500w power supply?
Mid tower ATX case (three 120mm fans and a 220mm fan or similar)?

Opinions are appreciated and advice is welcome!

Thanks,
Chad
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Hardware: Intel i5-2500, ASUS P8H67-M EVO, 12GB DDR3 RAM, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Intel PCIe NIC, BD-ROM drive, wireless keyboard/mouse combo, HD-200, HD-300
Software: Win 10 Pro 64-bit, SageTV 9.0.9.441
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  #2  
Old 10-11-2010, 10:39 PM
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evilpenguin evilpenguin is offline
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That looks like a solid build to me. About the only advice i'd give is to go with the 4GB of RAM and upgrade to a Bluray drive.
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Server : Shuttle SFF SSH55J2 w/ Win7 Home, SageTV v7, Core i3 540, 2GB RAM, 30GB SSD for OS, 1.5TB+2x1TB WDGP for Recordings, BluRay, 2xHDHR, 1xFirewire
SageTV : PlayOn, SJQ, MediaShrink, Comskip, Jetty, Web Client, BMT


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  #3  
Old 10-12-2010, 05:44 AM
pjpjpjpj pjpjpjpj is offline
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The only reason you'd need more than that would be if you were watching TV on the server, which you're (apparently) not. The client has to be able to handle what it's doing, and the extenders do their own work. Comskip will probably be your biggest drain on the server... if not for comskip, you could have considerably LESS server than what you're planning (as per your previous server, which I suspect did fine except possibly for comskip).
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Drives: Several TB of internal SATA and external USB drives, no NAS or RAID or such...
Software: SageTV v9x64, stock STV with ADM.
Tuners: 4 tuners via (2) HDHomeruns (100% OTA, DIY antennas in the attic).
Clients: Several HD300s, HD200s, even an old HD100, all on wired LAN. Latest firmware for each.
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  #4  
Old 10-12-2010, 06:03 AM
rsteele rsteele is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilpenguin View Post
That looks like a solid build to me. About the only advice i'd give is to go with the 4GB of RAM and upgrade to a Bluray drive.
And I get by with 2GB just fine running WHS, so I too can't see the need for more than 4GB. (You didn't mention owning any but Hauppauge drivers don't like more than 4GB.)

Rich
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2010, 06:23 AM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shatter View Post
Proposed server:
Core i5-750 2.66ghz quad core w/ retail HSF
4GB or 6GB DDR3 memory (not sure if it matters to run three sticks or two with DDR3)
60GB SSD (C Drive)
2TB HDD (two of theses)
Intel Gigabit NIC
Windows 7 64-bit
DVD-ROM
HD-PVR

Unknowns:
Motherboard ATX model?
500w power supply?
Mid tower ATX case (three 120mm fans and a 220mm fan or similar)?

Opinions are appreciated and advice is welcome!

Thanks,
Chad
Couple of items to help:

1. Only i7 processors that use the 1366pin socket (not the 1156 models) can use triple channel memory. The entire i5 series is only dual channel so there is no need to go tripple (in fact that would lower performance). Then again, Sage really isn't that dependent on RAM speed so really anything will do. I love my i5-750. An amazing little processor; however, see below...
2. Motherboard - Go with something with integrated graphics if you can. Will reduce your power usage and save a slot. You may also want to consider other processors in the i5 series that have the GPU on board. I love quad cores for Sage usage, but if you can't find a board with cheap integrated graphics, you may want to consider going with the dual core (but with hyper threading) i5 6XX series.
3. 500 should be good and plenty. Video cards are actually the biggest culprits for power usage. Just be sure to get one with a decent efficiency rating. This thing will run virtually 24-7 and that is one place you can really save a lot of money over time!
4. SSD in a sage server is really over kill especially if it is a stand alone server. If you aren't using it for anything, then it really won't hit the OS hard drive much (the initial boot up will be slower, but after that you won't be going to it a lot). You are better off saving the cash and just getting a smaller 7200RPM hard drive.
5. Case and cooling doesn't really matter. You aren't housing high end video cards. Obviously you want a case that can breathe and you do want some cooling (I'm not saying it isn't necessary), but it also isn't necessary to go crazy and go water cooling or put in 800 fans. Running quiet (even if tucked into the basement) is more important than trying to create a windtunnel....
6. OS - I recommend Windows 7 now. I used to just say go with XP but its getting long in the tooth and after I just built my new server I went Windows 7. The only comment I will make is that if you ever want firewire channel changing/recording, it will only work in 32bit. You may never need this or care, but it is something to keep in mind.

Hope that helps.
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Sage Server: AMD Athlon II 630, Asrock 785G motherboard, 3GB of RAM, 500GB OS HD in RAID 1 and 2 - 750GB Recording Drives, HDHomerun, Avermedia HD Duet & 2-HDPVRs, and 9.0TB storage in RAID 5 via Dell Perc 5i for DVD storage
Source: Clear QAM and OTA for locals, 2-DishNetwork VIP211's
Clients: 2 Sage HD300's, 2 Sage HD200's, 2 Sage HD100's, 1 MediaMVP, and 1 Placeshifter
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  #6  
Old 10-12-2010, 10:48 AM
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panteragstk panteragstk is offline
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I agree that the ssd is pointless for a server. The added access time wouldn't help as much as if it were a client. Also the new 6 core processors from AMD are pretty cheap and would make great server processors. Something else to think about.
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  #7  
Old 10-12-2010, 11:18 AM
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evilpenguin evilpenguin is offline
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RE: SSD - There's a good post on geektonic where a few people, myself included, make a case for using SSD in a headless server, check it out. It may help you make your choice.

I didn't know the quadcore i5 didn't have gfx built in, I'd definitely sacrifice two cores to get that. And if your dont go quadcore you can definitely consider going i3 rather than i5. I recently built a headless server using the lowest end i3 (see sig) and been excellent, even does encoding almost as well as my old Q9400.
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Server : Shuttle SFF SSH55J2 w/ Win7 Home, SageTV v7, Core i3 540, 2GB RAM, 30GB SSD for OS, 1.5TB+2x1TB WDGP for Recordings, BluRay, 2xHDHR, 1xFirewire
SageTV : PlayOn, SJQ, MediaShrink, Comskip, Jetty, Web Client, BMT


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  #8  
Old 10-12-2010, 12:40 PM
shatter shatter is offline
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Thank you!

First off, thank you to all the folks who replied in this thread. Your posts have been very informative.

I have been making adjustments to my build. I am going to switch to:
Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
4GB DDR3 memory
Intel Dual Core i5 w/ integrated graphics (AMD under consideration)

I am still toying with the idea of SSD vs 7200rpm HDD. I read the posts on geektonic and a good point was brought up about ripping BD and DVD on the server. Since the server would be the most powerful computer in my house it would be nice to do that work on a SSD there but not a deal breaker. Just need to decide if I want to brag I have a SSD or not at the end of the day. How much space does a typical BD movie take?

Of course, I had no idea they were building the GPU on the CPU! Man, more stuff to now kick around. Ok, I have decided to kick the quad core to the door and look at the dual core with integrated GPU. For about the same money as the 73w Core i5-750 2.66ghz quad core I could get either a 73w Core i5-650 Clarkdale 3.2GHz dual code or a Core i5-660 Clarkdale 3.33GHz dual core both with integrated graphics.

I am still leaning towards an Intel CPU even though I have run AMD in the past, I just want to make sure that I don't have any potential compatibility issues. Assuming sticking with the intel i5 dual core w/ gpu then I'd use the Gigabyte GA-H55-USB3 mobo with H55 chipset (HDMI port too). http://www.gigabyte.com/products/pro...px?pid=3365#sp

OK.. I did some sniffing around and I could get a 125w AMD Phenom II X6 1055T Thuban 2.8GHz and GIGABYTE GA-880GA-UD3H mobo with integrated graphics for about the same price as the intel setup mentioned above. http://www.gigabyte.com/products/pro...px?pid=3520#sp

Any real heat production issues between 73w Intel solution with graphics on CPU vs. 125w AMD CPU w/ graphics on mobo? Any issues with running Sage on AMD in a Windows 7 32-bit environment?

Thanks for your continued comments and help!
Chad
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Hardware: Intel i5-2500, ASUS P8H67-M EVO, 12GB DDR3 RAM, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Intel PCIe NIC, BD-ROM drive, wireless keyboard/mouse combo, HD-200, HD-300
Software: Win 10 Pro 64-bit, SageTV 9.0.9.441

Last edited by shatter; 10-12-2010 at 01:35 PM. Reason: Info about amd vs intel for the same price
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2010, 01:44 PM
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evilpenguin evilpenguin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shatter View Post
Any real heat production issues between 73w Intel solution with graphics on CPU vs. 125w AMD CPU w/ graphics on mobo?
Oh yeah, quite a bit. A 73w i5 should run fairly cool under normal usage conditions (30-40C) which will probably account for 95% of your headless servers time. And with the intel that also includes the temp/power for the GPU.

As for a 125w CPU + seperate GPU, well, you're basically be building a dual purpuse server/space heater

Quote:
Originally Posted by shatter View Post
Any issues with running Sage on AMD in a Windows 7 32-bit environment?
Nope, not at all.
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Clients: 1xHD200 Connected to 50" TH-50PZ750U Plasma
Server : Shuttle SFF SSH55J2 w/ Win7 Home, SageTV v7, Core i3 540, 2GB RAM, 30GB SSD for OS, 1.5TB+2x1TB WDGP for Recordings, BluRay, 2xHDHR, 1xFirewire
SageTV : PlayOn, SJQ, MediaShrink, Comskip, Jetty, Web Client, BMT


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  #10  
Old 10-12-2010, 05:42 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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I generally find that most people seem to prefer AMD or Intel. Generally when someone asks for suggestions about their planned build, I recommend processors from whatever Manufacturer they have in their build. I actually use AMD processors when I build computers and 3 out of my 4 Sage servers have had AMD processors in them. You can see the specs of my current server below. Really any modern processor is pretty much going to head and shoulders above what you are currently using and generally speaking more cores = better (however, transcoding and comskip are still "mostly" single threaded so you still want fast cores).

The biggest thing when building a server (as I stated previously) is integrated graphics. Whether that's due to integrated graphics on the chipset or on the cpu.....

Edit: Even though I generally build computers with AMD processors, my Quad-Core iMac absolutely screams with it's i5 750....
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Sage Server: AMD Athlon II 630, Asrock 785G motherboard, 3GB of RAM, 500GB OS HD in RAID 1 and 2 - 750GB Recording Drives, HDHomerun, Avermedia HD Duet & 2-HDPVRs, and 9.0TB storage in RAID 5 via Dell Perc 5i for DVD storage
Source: Clear QAM and OTA for locals, 2-DishNetwork VIP211's
Clients: 2 Sage HD300's, 2 Sage HD200's, 2 Sage HD100's, 1 MediaMVP, and 1 Placeshifter
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2010, 09:35 PM
shatter shatter is offline
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I've got what may be a dumb question...

If I run headless, does it matter if I have graphics on the CPU, integrated into the motherboard or an el-cheap fanless video card? I am thinking back to the quad core i5-750 chip here.

Assuming I put in a junk video card for the initial install and then pull the video card and run VNC from that moment on to remote into the computer, is there any detriment to running the quad core in that configuration? I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, there is a BIOS setting in the gigabyte mobo to allow the computer to boot without a graphics card installed.

Or at worst case, keep the el-cheapo fanless video card in. It couldn't use much juice or produce much heat could it compared to the other two solutions? Of course the quad core is 95w vs the i5-650 that is 73w.

Thanks,
Chad
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Hardware: Intel i5-2500, ASUS P8H67-M EVO, 12GB DDR3 RAM, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Intel PCIe NIC, BD-ROM drive, wireless keyboard/mouse combo, HD-200, HD-300
Software: Win 10 Pro 64-bit, SageTV 9.0.9.441
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  #12  
Old 10-13-2010, 06:12 AM
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gplasky gplasky is offline
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I would recommend against using just any old video card you have laying around. The reason being in most cases you are laying down a brand new OS (Win 7 for example) and sometimes there are problem using a card no longer natively supported or loading old, outdated drivers to get it to work. I don't like having these intangible varibles in my system. Especially if I have to start troubleshooting. All my mb, whether for server or clients have integrated video. If the clients can't handle it I usually upgrade it with a newer standalone card. That's not to say there was never an issue with a newer card but I was confident it would be resolved in the next version of the drivers. Just my 2 cents.

Gerry
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  #13  
Old 10-13-2010, 07:07 AM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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Gerry's right, I would caution you from using too "old" of a video card. Yes, you can get away with using some 2MB PCI card from 1996 (I think I still have like 3 or 4 of them), but most modern OS's have become some what dependent on the video card for displaying the desktop (I say somewhat, because you can turn of Aero which drastically reduces the reliance on your vid card).

With that said, I have a Windows 7 box that I mainly use for capturing video and ripping DVD's and Blu-rays that uses a fairly old Nvidia Geforce 6200LE and it works fine (Aero off of course). That is as old as I can recommend though. I really can't recommend going older than the Geforce 6 series and the Radeon 1XXX series if you are going with an "old video card".
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Source: Clear QAM and OTA for locals, 2-DishNetwork VIP211's
Clients: 2 Sage HD300's, 2 Sage HD200's, 2 Sage HD100's, 1 MediaMVP, and 1 Placeshifter
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  #14  
Old 10-13-2010, 04:10 PM
shatter shatter is offline
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Thanks again everyone for posting in this thread. My last homebrew was before the i-series processors came out and I feel way behind the curve here.

I am torn between three choices and would like to hear opinions.

Core i5-660 3.33GHz / 3.60GHz turbo / 2 cores / 4 threads / 4MB L3 / 73W TDP $208
Core i5-760 2.80GHz / 3.46GHz turbo / 4 cores / 4 threads / 8MB L3 / 95W TDP $209
Core i3-560 3.33GHz / no turbo / 2 cores / 4 threads / 4MB L3 / 73W TDP $150

I could go with one of the dual core chips with GPU on the CPU with 73w power consumption or the quad core chip and buy a new cheap $30ish fanless pci-e video card with 95w power on the quad and unknown power consumption on the Radeon HD 4350 video card.

I am trying to weigh the pros and cons between the setups. The server will be in a 10'Wx9'Hx2'D closet with louvered doors but I don't want to end up with heat as an issue at the same time I want to get the biggest performance bang for my buck since either of the two routes cost about the same. Is the quad core even necessary or am I ever going to use more than two cores in Sage viewing and comskip use with the HD200, HD300 and Client? I use the server for Skype and a couple other things too, not sure how much that plays in to all of this as well.

Any advice in this arena?

PS - I have another Q, if I end up with dual core. Is there anything the i5-660 gives me over the i3-560 (3.33 ghz clock speed for both processors) that makes it worth the extra $50? Does the "turbo boost" to the higher clock speed happen 1% of the time, 90% of the time, etc? I know it is based on temp but in real life usage terms there must be some general idea.

Thanks,
Chad
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Hardware: Intel i5-2500, ASUS P8H67-M EVO, 12GB DDR3 RAM, Hauppauge HD-PVR, Intel PCIe NIC, BD-ROM drive, wireless keyboard/mouse combo, HD-200, HD-300
Software: Win 10 Pro 64-bit, SageTV 9.0.9.441

Last edited by shatter; 10-13-2010 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Added PS
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  #15  
Old 10-13-2010, 09:20 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shatter View Post
Core i5-760 2.80GHz / 3.46GHz turbo / 4 cores / 4 threads / 8MB L3 / 95W TDP $209
4 threads or 8???

Quote:
Originally Posted by shatter View Post
Core i3-560 3.33GHz / no turbo / 2 cores / 4 threads / 4MB L3 / 73W TDP $150
The only problem I have with the i3's, is they don't have any hardware security module. Now if you aren't going to use that ... I want it if I can.
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  #16  
Old 10-13-2010, 09:33 PM
shatter shatter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattHelm View Post
4 threads or 8???
None of the i5 line of quad core processors support hyperthreading, only the dual core ones do so the i5-760 is 4C/4T where the i5-660 is 2C/4T.

Thanks
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  #17  
Old 10-14-2010, 02:38 PM
paulbeers paulbeers is offline
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I don't think any of us can really tell you how often the turbo boost option will be utilized in the i5 dual cores. However, many plugins (i.e. comskip) and the transcoder are fairly single threaded, so the nice thing is if you have an i5 and, say only 1 show to analyze by comskip, it will complete that process faster. It is really personal preference.

I want the one with the bigger numbers....
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Source: Clear QAM and OTA for locals, 2-DishNetwork VIP211's
Clients: 2 Sage HD300's, 2 Sage HD200's, 2 Sage HD100's, 1 MediaMVP, and 1 Placeshifter
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