Home Server building on a budget!

I’m looking at building my first home server to be used primarily as storage for large files like music, films, backups etc., it will connect to the PC in my room via my router.

My budget is max. £170 and the components don’t need to be high tech as the server will just sit there and store/receive files.

What I require:

*Motherboard - requires at least 3xPCI slots; inbuilt audio card; >3USB ports; RAID would be nice; SATA connectors (an IDE would be cool too)
*CPU, heatsink + fan
*RAM - min. 512mb DDRx
*Case (Tower) - needs to hold at least 6-8 internal 3.5" hard disks
*PSU - >400w, I think, due to so many hard disks
*Graphics card - might not need this if it’s inbuilt on the mobo
*Network card - at least 100mbps (wireless not at absolute need)
*Fans - I’m not sure which size or how many
*PCI Connector card for IDE drives - I have at least 4 PATA HDs that would need connecting to the mobo

What I DON’T need:

*Hard disks
*CD-ROM/DVD-ROM or any other external drives
*No Operating System (will most probably be using windows home server)

Any help would be great, thanks!

It’s not possible with that budget, grab a larger HDD instead of adding like 4 since IDE cards will cost more than a new larger HDD. You might pull it off with an ITX-board.

Try using ebay for a barebones system.

Try this search Link, computers section, AMD, and lowest prices first.

Choose an AMD system because it will use the least amount of power, older Intel systems were power hogs.

Here is a MB+cpu+3 gigs ram Auction. Wait till the last second to bid lol, seller is good.

And another Link

Why not NAS (Network Storage)?

If you want to keep your data I’d advice you to stay away from nVidia nForce chipsets.
NAS is a great idea but they’re expensive and you can build one (ITX) for the same price.
That’s a good NAS but its still over budget.

Thanks for the super fast feedback guys!

Diizzy, I’m not sure why you don’t think it’s possible>

A dual core CPU costs £40,
a decent atx mobo costs £40,
case + psu about £60,
ram about £20
total: £160
leaving some money left over for the IDE PCI connector/fan.

At the moment I don’t want to purchase a new HDD as I have 7 sitting here that need using. I’ll purchase a TB HDD later on this year. I’m not sure what you mean when you say that IDE cards cost more than a new HDD, aren’t PCI connector cards for PATA HDDs dirt cheap?

Eric, I try to avoid buying used PC components since you never know what you are going to end up with. eBay will be literally my last resort if I can’t find anything else. Thing with buying a PC off there is that it takes ages to read through all the descriptions and most of the time the sellers don’t fully list the features.

Zaina/Diizzy, yeh NAS would be an option if I didn’t have so many HDDs. Moreover I prefer the flexibility a PC tower can give me if I want to use it as a spare PC down the line.

from scan
Doesn’t look like there are many MB’s with 3 PCI’s anymore. There’s no need for a dual core cpu with a server, also a single core will use a lot less power, coupled with a high efficiency PSU. The antec 300 will fit all your HDD’s.

This MB will probably use less power but still has good onboard video Gigabyte GA-M68SM-S2L, has DVI and D-sub video outs.

You still cant fulfill his requirements and at least I wouldnt count on that hardware in the long run (esp PSU).

Your such a pessimist Dizzy :slight_smile:

Eric that Antec three hundred case seems just what I am looking for thanks man. As it has 6 x 3.5" slots I guess I am going to have to convert two of the 5.25" external bays into 3.5" ones for the remaining HDDs, but I don’t think this should be too problematic?

Since a lot of my HDDs are PATA types do you think it would be a good idea just to use a few of these IDE > SATA converters on each PATA HDD instead of purchasing an IDE controller card PCI?:


Also, I notice many PSUs come only with 6 molex plugs or less, I’m going to need a few more for especially my HDDs so is it safe just to chain link a few molex y-splitters on to the end of the ones coming out of the PSU? Is there a safe way of doing this as I’ve never messed with the molexes I’ve had. Oh I just realised the same could be said for the PSU’s SATA connectors, how do you add more SATA power connectors as I’m guessing most PSUs don’t go above 4?

Thanks again for your suggestions guys.

You should be able to stuff another HDD in side that case. I’m curious as to the size of these IDE HDD’s that you have? what are the capacities.

I have no experience with those adapters, but they look fine. there are good IDE controller cards available out there that you should check out too.

If you know how to solder, that would be the best way to add more molex/sata connectors, but y-adapters should also work fine. Most new MB’s also come with 1 or 2 molex-to-sata adapters. If you add a molex to sata splitter cable, it would be best to split the first molex closest to the PSU.

I think that case comes with a bunch of good fans, so no need to buy more.

I have used adapters like that (syba and abit brand ones though). They work just fine plus they will let you use your ide drives on any sata raid the motherboard has (since you said raid would be a plus).

Thanks Eric for your detailed response man, I’ll keep it simple and just use the converters as I definitely can’t solder ;).

Do you think two 120mm fans will be enough to keep all those HDDs cool or should I add more?

Oh great, thanks ripit that’s good to know the adapters/converters work fine. At least now I can use my PATAs for the time being until I get round to purchasing some SATAs. I’ll have a look at the two brands you mentioned, abit should definitely be reliable.

I think it will be good, there’s a 140mm top fan and the 120mm rear fan, the PSU will also be exhausting so I think they’ll be fine.

Ah okay, that’s great to know. Thanks again Eric for your help. I’ll post back how it all goes when I’ve built the beast :).