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General rules for choosing a mainboard?


sugarfree

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Hi everyone!

 

I want to build an Unraid server. I've read a lot of threads here and elsewhere (xbmc forums) about how to do it. I have some experience with building PCs and Linux. However, after all the reading I feel a little bit overwhelmed and that's why I wanted to ask what I have to look for when choosing a mainboard.

 

- SATA controllers. How much does it matter? Which controllers are recommended for Unraid / from which ones should I stay away? What about boards with two different controllers?

 

- Gbit Ethernet controllers. Same as above. Can I assume any Gbit Ethernet controller that is generally supported on Linux will be fine?

 

- What do I look for in a board that should run 24/7? Any known brands/chipsets that should not run all the time?

 

- I understand I don't need much RAM or computing power for pure Unraid functionality. But if I wanted to add, let's say, a torrent client and AirVideo (with transcoding). How can I determine what CPU and how much RAM I'd need? (Would I benefit much from DDR3 vs DDR2?)

 

- Anything else I'd need to know for choosing a suitable mainboard?  ::) I just want to avoid buying a mainboard and later learn that it was a bad choice.

 

Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer my noobish questions.

 

Best regards.

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- SATA controllers. How much does it matter? Which controllers are recommended for Unraid / from which ones should I stay away? What about boards with two different controllers?

Most all onboard SATA ports will work just fine.  I don't think anyone has reported problems with onboard SATA ports since the kernel was updated in the last couple of betas.  The AMD Fusion boards seem a little flakey right now, but most desktop board are fine.

 

- Gbit Ethernet controllers. Same as above. Can I assume any Gbit Ethernet controller that is generally supported on Linux will be fine?

Intel is the best supported, Realtek works OK, though the latest Realtek 8111E seems to be having issues (an intel PCI NIC will fix the problem).  And Atheros is an always avoid unless you plan to install a NIC card.

 

- What do I look for in a board that should run 24/7? Any known brands/chipsets that should not run all the time?

if you really want something that is "truely" reliable most will say go with a server board, something from Supermicro.

 

- I understand I don't need much RAM or computing power for pure Unraid functionality. But if I wanted to add, let's say, a torrent client and AirVideo (with transcoding). How can I determine what CPU and how much RAM I'd need? (Would I benefit much from DDR3 vs DDR2?)

What are the system requirments for something like Airvideo... start there. And as always... the more RAM the better.

 

- Anything else I'd need to know for choosing a suitable mainboard?  ::) I just want to avoid buying a mainboard and later learn that it was a bad choice.

Read through the Hardware Compatibility Page and Rajahals prototype thread.

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Hi and thanks so much for your answer.

 

As I said I already read a lot of threads and wiki pages and I guess my brain got hazy after a while ;)

After a good night's sleep I see more cleary now.

And I actually found a good deal on eBay for the ASUS M4A78LT-M which is obviously well supported.

RAM is so cheap currently, so 2 x 2GB it is.

Unfortunately I didn't really find any requirements on the Air Video website or in the thread here (or maybe I just didn't see it), but I guess a Athlon II x2 250e will suffice.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to provide advice!

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