newbie first build, not sure if this would work. can someone check please?


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I'm looking into building my first server (in fact i have never built a PC either so this should be fun). My basic brief is to have a very quiet, power efficient server that can be shut down and turned on to further save power. I am initially going to have 4 drives (3 storage, 1 parity) but i am going to be expanding with one drive per month (as money becomes available) up to a maximum of 14 drives. Here is my spec i have come up with, can someone please check to make sure every thing will work as i hope:-


Case - Fractal Design Define XL Black. Chosen for 2 reasons. Firstly for the 14 bays in a good looking design, I dont like the look of most huge towers. Secondly because of the installed sound proofing.


Mobo/CPU/Ram - I found this in my local computer shop. I figured that with it being pre-built it has taken some of the guess work out of it. Will this work?


HDD's - I have been told by one of the IT staff at work that 2TB Samsung HD204UI Spinpoint F4EG are good but he could give me a reason why. Any way I found them realatively cheap so 4 of these in my initial build.


PSU - I was thinking about a Coolermaster Elite CM-RS500-PSAPJ3-IT 500W but its only 70% efficient, can any one recommend a better one of will this be OK?


Controller Cards -  using 2 Supermicro aoc-saslp-mv8. I was taking to a guy who said that he is running 2 of these and he didn't have a problem with them. He added that he doesn't shut his server down so he couldn't comment on wether they behave well when woken up.


Unraid License -  Pro because of the continuous expansion.


So there it is my proposed spec. Please can you take a look and give me the nod of approval or recommend any spec changes? My budget is pretty tight (baby on the way) so i can't spend thousands on this but I am willing to up the budget for important upgrades.


Thanks in advance, I cant wait to get started.


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Right think I've got it. Would some a Gigabyte GA-H67M-D2 Socket 1155 Motherboard do the trick?


Number of PCI Express Slots 4 slot(s)

PCI Express X16 Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 (x16), 1 x PCI Express x16 (x4)

PCI Express Slot Type 2 x PCI Express x1


(Taken from the manufacturers data sheet.) Coupled with an intel i3 and kingston 2gb ram.


If this board will work would the rest of the spec be compatible? And more importantly will it reliable?

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You run into a new problem with that board. It has a Realtek 8111E network card. Those are not working with unraid rightnow 


They are trying to fix them in the latest beta but new things broke slowing down progress


You could use a pcie 1x intel network card if you wanted to use that board (asumming it is compatible ) until the nic issue is solved.



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Choosing a motherboard is arguably the hardest part of the server design.  Click the link in my sig for my prototype builds thread.  In that thread I've listed a lot of motherboards for various different designs.  I know Supermicro boards can be difficult to find in the UK, but maybe you'll get lucky.  You can also look for the boards listed in 'old components' at the very bottom of the thread.

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Right think I've got it. Would some a Gigabyte GA-H67M-D2 Socket 1155 Motherboard do the trick?


Number of PCI Express Slots 4 slot(s)

PCI Express X16 Slots 1 x PCI Express x16 (x16), 1 x PCI Express x16 (x4)

PCI Express Slot Type 2 x PCI Express x1


(Taken from the manufacturers data sheet.) Coupled with an intel i3 and kingston 2gb ram.


If this board will work would the rest of the spec be compatible? And more importantly will it reliable?


I wouldn't recommend the GA-H67M-D2 as this a B2 stepping motherboard and may suffer from SATA controller degredation, although this mostly affects P67.

Make sure you get the updated model: GA-H67M-D2-B3.


I'm currently running a Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3 and have had no issues using this motherboard with 5x2TB Seagate LP's & 1x1TB WD GP. The LAN on this board is the RTL8111D (not E) but I would still recommend the board above you were looking at. These boards have good features; # SATA ports, pci-e expandibility, 4 dimms, raid support (just incase). Not to mention the fact that Gigabyte make outstanding quality motherboards.


Buy yourself one of the decent Intel NICs that's recommended on the forums and you're set, they're usually better than the onboard LAN anyway and it'll only take up one of those x1 slots.


Also, not sure what CPU you were looking at to match this board but I would suggest an i3-2100.

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It's the mobo that I am really struggling with. The rest of it, if I have my sources are correct, is pretty generic.


From what I can gather if I choose the correct board with enough sata ports I can do away with one of the controller cards, thus only needing 1 pcie x4 (or higher).


I got one of the boffins at work to help me out and he said that he would use a Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 with an I3 processor but that would be using a raid controller so to check with you guys to see if there are any compatibility issues. I would be running it with a intel LAN card not the on board one.


Is this one any better than the ones I previously chose? I said I am a newbie and I ain't lying. Thanks for your help.



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That board looks a bit odd to me, but that doesn't mean that it won't work.


The Good

i3 compatibility with the H55 North Bridge - this means you'll be able to take advantage of the i3's power saving features and onboard video

Lots of flexibility with the RAM speed (unRAID doesn't need fast RAM)

7 onboard SATAII ports (8 if you count the rear eSATA port)

Realtek 8111D NIC - compatible with unRAID, no problems here (and no need for the Intel PCI NIC)

PCIe 2.0 x16 slot which should be compatible with the Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 and other SATA controller cards


The Bad

Two chipsets used to control the various SATAII ports.  The first 5 onboard ports plus the rear eSATA port are controlled by the Intel H55 chipset - these should work just fine in unRAID.  The last two onboard ports are controlled by the GIGABYTE SATA2 chip - I don't know if these will work with unRAID or not.  A quick search of the chipset doesn't return any reports of success using it with unRAID.  It is possible that no one has tried it.  According to the Gigabyte product page the chipset is capable of a JBOD mode, so that is at least one reason to believe that it will work with unRAID.  I would suggest either doing more research to see if you can find a positive report of this chipset working with unRAID, or just discounting the chipset altogether and only plan on using the 5 onboard SATA ports and possibly the rear eSATA port (there are adapter cables that will let you convert eSATA to regular SATA).


The Ugly

Second PCIe x16 slot running at PCIe x1 speed?  WTF is that?  A PCIe x16 slot running at PCIe x8 or x4 speed is pretty common, but I've never seen one running at PCIe x1 speed before.  I would just consider it to be a PCIe x1 slot and forget about the physical size of it (you can plug a PCIe x1 card into a PCIe x16 slot and it will work just fine).

The other potential problem with this and any Gigabyte board is HPA.  See this thread for more info.  Gigabyte lists an 'Xpress BIOS Rescue' feature of this board, so it is quite possible that it does have the HPA issue.  If it does (and the feature is enabled by default), then the board should be considered incompatible with unRAID.


What I would do...

I know you are getting tired of searching for a board, and that your options are fairly limited in the UK.  If you are able to purchase this board (and i3 CPU and RAM) from a vendor with a good return policy, then I say go for it.  When you receive it, the first thing you should check for is the potential HPA issue.  Boot into BIOS, restore factory defaults, and reboot.  If the 'Xpress BIOS Rescue' option is enabled, then return the board as it is no good for unRAID.  If the option is disabled, then the board is likely fine (just don't ever manually enable that feature).


The second thing to test would be the two white SATA ports controlled by the GIGABYTE SATA2 chip.  Hook up a drive or two to them and see if unRAID recognizes them.  Set that chip to JBOD mode if it isn't set by default.  If they work, great.  If not, oh well.  Since you only need 14 drives, this board will still work for you even if those two ports don't work with unRAID.  Here's how:

5 onboard ports + 8 ports on a Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 card (via the PCIe 2.0 x16 slot) + 2 ports on a PCIe x1 card (via the PCIe x16 slot running at x1 speed) = 15 ports, one more than you need.  Alternatively, you could use an eSATA to SATA converter cable and use the rear eSATA port instead of a PCIe x1 card.  Your choice, either option should work.  I would choose the former as a cable running to the back of the computer could be easily dislodged and cause problems.

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