The Motherboard: Asus DSAN-DX
I spent hours looking at motherboards asking myself the same question over and over, what should I get?
Originally, I planned to use an Intel D5400XS motherboard for obvious reasons. I am a gamer; the D5400XS is the ultimate gamer's motherboard. The obvious then occurred to me. I am building a server, not an ultimate gaming machine. I immediately looked at server motherboards. What offers the best combination of features and compatibility for the least cost?
I opted for the DSAN-DX for one primary reason. This board offers many of the features found on higher-end motherboards for a fraction of the cost. At a mere $399 / $345 / £215
I have space for dual processors, six memory slots supporting up to 48GB of DDR2 memory, a ton of PCI-E slots including a single x16 graphics card slot and three, count ‘em, three x8 slots, a single PCI slot for legacy cards and on-board graphics from XGI! All these features run through the rock solid Intel 5100 MCH.
The Memory: Crucial 8GB DDR2-667 Dual Channel Kit (CT2KIT51272AB667)
When it comes to server memory, I have plenty of experience with both Crucial and Kingston memory. I deal with the stuff constantly at work and have found Crucial memory to be my preference. With that in mind, I headed over to Crucial.com to pick out my memory.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted a minimum of eight gigabytes of memory in my server. I chose to violate my wallet instead. I was shocked that a pair of 4GB Registered ECC DIMM's would only set me back $365 / $299 / £233 plus shipping. The wallet escapes an almost certain destiny…this time.
The Case: Norco RPC-4020
The case is probably part of the original dream. I found out in the AVS forums that I could grab a 20-bay 4U server chassis for a mere $289 USD from a prominent online store.
The Norco RPC-4020 offers me great functionality for an amazing price. What is great about the case is it offers space for ATX motherboards along with the server standards of EEB and CEB. It comes with seven case fans to provide large volume airflow with moderate amounts of noise. The case can fit any ATX power supply in the back of this thing and that means never needing to worry about finding one that fits.
The Hard Drives (system): Seagate 7200.11 320GB
I will not go on about this hard drive except to say it made sense. While the Velociraptor is probably the better hard drive for the job with its 10,000RPM spindle, even the 150GB version is three times the price of this 320GB Seagate. For now, the Seagate will do the job. In a future upgrade, I will consider replacing it with a 10,000 or 15,000RPM drive for better system drive performance.