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A sub-$100 server. Can it be done?

RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Basically, I'm trying to build what will serve as a file server for my home network. I'd like to do it under $100, not including OS, monitor, keyboard/mouse, hard drives. I know it could be as simple as running to Newegg, but I know the hive mind of Penny-Arcade can do it a lot better than I can.

I'd like a DVD burner in it, but that's not even that important. The ability to take SATA/IDE drives is a must.

So, can it be done under $100?

Raggaholic on

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    wasted pixelswasted pixels Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Probably, but not with new components. Either watch Craigslist for an old P4/Athlon system that someone is selling or parting out, as the case/PSU is going to be the bottleneck here -- you can get a CPU/Mobo combo for $40 or $50 (after rebates) if you go VIA or low-end AMD, and cheap RAM is easy to come by (especially if you can live with 512MB), but you'd be doing pretty good to find a case and PSU for less than $50 before shipping.

    wasted pixels on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Raggaholic wrote: »
    Basically, I'm trying to build what will serve as a file server for my home network. I'd like to do it under $100, not including OS, monitor, keyboard/mouse, hard drives. I know it could be as simple as running to Newegg, but I know the hive mind of Penny-Arcade can do it a lot better than I can.

    I'd like a DVD burner in it, but that's not even that important. The ability to take SATA/IDE drives is a must.

    So, can it be done under $100?

    Not unless you're getting a LOT of second hand parts.

    Have a more usable budget? Have an old PC laying around? Let me try to throw you one together really quick.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Barebones plus processor for $112, but then there's shipping and you'll still need an HSF, RAM and HDD. If you look up mini ITX there you'll find chassis/PSU and mobo/cpu's that combine to be in the $125-$200 range. You'll need to at least double your budget to get SATA.

    You could try this thing, but I'm not sure how easy it is to upgrade the RAM/HDD.

    Djeet on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    $20 - Motherboard
    $40 - CPU
    $15 - RAM
    $10 - RAID Card
    $40 - 2x HDD
    $20 - Power Supply
    $25 - DVD Burner
    $25 - Case
    $35 - Internal HDD Enclosure for HDD hotswap
    ================
    $230 before tax and shipping. These are flimsy products but to get them close to your original plan I had to cut back on brand name a lot. I also went with a desktop board and processor because really, it's not worth going all out for a file server used by 5 people.

    With all the features and I'm throwing in extra in the form of Raid1. For a file server, trust me, you'll want at least that. I also tried not to skimp out on a PSU, because that'll fuck everything up if you do.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Intel's Atom based motherboards are available now. around $70 for a mini ITX mobo+processor, or about $90 for a dual core version. All you need is Case, RAM (DDR2-667), and a powersupply. For expansion they only have 1 IDE, 2 SATA ports, plus one PCI slot. Bunch of USB though.

    Ruckus on
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    amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Intel's Atom based motherboards are available now. around $70 for a mini ITX mobo+processor, or about $90 for a dual core version. All you need is Case, RAM (DDR2-667), and a powersupply. For expansion they only have 1 IDE, 2 SATA ports, plus one PCI slot. Bunch of USB though.

    This.

    Check out mini-itx.com (google it first in case there's no hyphen) or just google mini-itx.

    The atom boards run about $70 to 100, with the gma 950 graphics included, and it will be fine for a home fileserver.

    My reccomendation, albeit pricier, is to get the mobo and a slim case with a laptop dvd drive (maybe even slot load), 2gigs of ram, xp pro, and use the sata to compact flash converter to have your os and server tools on flash for faster boot and load, and then use a networked external drive for storage. That's just me though, and it will set you back closer to $500

    amateurhour on
    are YOU on the beer list?
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    Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Pentium 3 box on Craigslist: $40
    500GB Hard Drive: $60

    Done.

    EDIT: oh wait, not including hard drives? hrm.

    Pentium 3 box on Craigslist: $40
    4 cases of fat tire: $60

    That's better

    Monolithic_Dome on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Ruckus wrote: »
    Intel's Atom based motherboards are available now. around $70 for a mini ITX mobo+processor, or about $90 for a dual core version. All you need is Case, RAM (DDR2-667), and a powersupply. For expansion they only have 1 IDE, 2 SATA ports, plus one PCI slot. Bunch of USB though.

    This.

    Check out mini-itx.com (google it first in case there's no hyphen) or just google mini-itx.

    The atom boards run about $70 to 100, with the gma 950 graphics included, and it will be fine for a home fileserver.

    My reccomendation, albeit pricier, is to get the mobo and a slim case with a laptop dvd drive (maybe even slot load), 2gigs of ram, xp pro, and use the sata to compact flash converter to have your os and server tools on flash for faster boot and load, and then use a networked external drive for storage. That's just me though, and it will set you back closer to $500

    You can buy a 32GB 2.5" solid state SATA HD for around $100 after discount now. Apparently their sustained transfer rates suck, but they work good as System drives.

    Ruckus on
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    KiTAKiTA Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Dell has a Poweredge that's like $200ish.

    You could get a very simple NAS box -- basically a self contained Fileserver -- for cheap. I think you can get barebones ones and just shove your own HDD in.

    KiTA on
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    RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    For clarity, I'm not trying to get a huge server like the ones used in business. I'm just talking about a box that's going to be on the network and store all the files.
    4 cases of fat tire: $60
    I don't live in Texas anymore...

    Raggaholic on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Raggaholic wrote: »
    For clarity, I'm not trying to get a huge server like the ones used in business. I'm just talking about a box that's going to be on the network and store all the files.
    4 cases of fat tire: $60
    I don't live in Texas anymore...

    Yargh, it's a Colorado brewery.

    Is stability or fault tolerance desired? If so you'll get into the game cheaper with a NAS w/RAID.

    Djeet on
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    AtomBombAtomBomb Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    If you were planning on buying XP Pro as an OS, this is probably a good start. P4, 1gb RAM, 80gb HDD, DVD-RW, and XP Pro for $200. I'm not sure if it can take SATA drives, but you could throw in a PCI card for less than $20. You'll also have to be a bit creative if you want to shove a lot of drives in that case, but I think it's a good base.

    AtomBomb on
    I just got a 3DS XL. Add me! 2879-0925-7162
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    RaggaholicRaggaholic Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    AtomBomb wrote: »
    If you were planning on buying XP Pro as an OS, this is probably a good start. P4, 1gb RAM, 80gb HDD, DVD-RW, and XP Pro for $200. I'm not sure if it can take SATA drives, but you could throw in a PCI card for less than $20. You'll also have to be a bit creative if you want to shove a lot of drives in that case, but I think it's a good base.
    I was thinking of going with Ubuntu, but even if I did get XP Pro, I know I can get it cheaper than anywhere online. Although I hate still being in school, can't beat the $10 deal on XP.

    The reason I don't need HDDs is because I have two 80GBs (IDE) and a 750GB (SATA). I'm figuring I'll do better by putting them in a server than having them as slaves on other machines, which they are now.

    Raggaholic on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    KiTA wrote: »
    You could get a very simple NAS box -- basically a self contained Fileserver -- for cheap. I think you can get barebones ones and just shove your own HDD in.

    Yes, if you all you need is a fileserver, why aren't you buying a NAS box? You can get a Linksys NAS200 from TigerDirect for $125 and just throw your HDs in there.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Raggaholic wrote: »
    AtomBomb wrote: »
    If you were planning on buying XP Pro as an OS, this is probably a good start. P4, 1gb RAM, 80gb HDD, DVD-RW, and XP Pro for $200. I'm not sure if it can take SATA drives, but you could throw in a PCI card for less than $20. You'll also have to be a bit creative if you want to shove a lot of drives in that case, but I think it's a good base.
    I was thinking of going with Ubuntu, but even if I did get XP Pro, I know I can get it cheaper than anywhere online. Although I hate still being in school, can't beat the $10 deal on XP.

    The reason I don't need HDDs is because I have two 80GBs (IDE) and a 750GB (SATA). I'm figuring I'll do better by putting them in a server than having them as slaves on other machines, which they are now.

    I've only worked with FreeNAS briefly, but it looks pretty good.

    Ruckus on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Pentium 3 box on Craigslist: $40
    500GB Hard Drive: $60

    Done.

    EDIT: oh wait, not including hard drives? hrm.

    Pentium 3 box on Craigslist: $40
    4 cases of fat tire: $60

    That's better

    If you can find a P3 that can do SATA, I'd fucking love to see it.

    Old computer on Craigslist (or bought from local public school, give it a look!) : $50-ish
    4-port PCI SATA controller: $25 + S&H

    Daedalus on
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    FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Daedalus wrote: »
    If you can find a P3 that can do SATA, I'd fucking love to see it.

    Old computer on Craigslist (or bought from local public school, give it a look!) : $50-ish
    4-port PCI SATA controller: $25 + S&H

    PCI SATA controllers on old PCs can sometimes be a pain in the ass, but the upside is that Pentium-3s were rocking processors for the time and will run stuff that supposedly won't run at that clock speed. (I used to play City of Heroes on a 800 mhz P3.) That only applies if you're planning on using the box for more than a file server though, of course.

    Edit: I'm still leaning towards the NAS appliance route if all Ragga needs is network storage. Easier setup, smaller footprint, lower power consumption, and just generally less pain all around.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Feral wrote: »
    Daedalus wrote: »
    If you can find a P3 that can do SATA, I'd fucking love to see it.

    Old computer on Craigslist (or bought from local public school, give it a look!) : $50-ish
    4-port PCI SATA controller: $25 + S&H

    PCI SATA controllers on old PCs can sometimes be a pain in the ass, but the upside is that Pentium-3s were rocking processors for the time and will run stuff that supposedly won't run at that clock speed. (I used to play City of Heroes on a 800 mhz P3.) That only applies if you're planning on using the box for more than a file server though, of course.

    The SATA controller should be fine if he gets the drivers installed properly (slipstreaming them into a Windows install disc, for example, or making sure they're included in whatever Linux distro you throw on there). He's working with IDE drives, too, so that's even better: he can get the OS installed before worrying about drivers for the controller card.

    And the Pentium 3 was really efficient. I mean, let's put it this way: Intel threw the entire Pentium 4 design in the garbage and based its modern processors on the Pentium 3 (and its derivative, the Pentium M)'s design, with a few improvements.

    Daedalus on
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    DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Yeah, a decent NAS enclosure is the way to go, even if it will likely run him a little over $100.

    Denada on
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