I am going to be doing a article for my website on how to build a cheap 1U server. I have allready ordered the parts from www.newegg.com below is a list of parts that i have picked out. This is my first server build, but I have built over 20 personal computers so I don't see any problem with building the server.
I know the old saying "buy cheap and you get cheap". But all the server has to do is live for 1 year and I will be more than happy. I could have bought a new Dell but that defeats the pourpose. I wanted it to be something that the average reader could buy and build.
What kind of performance can I expect from a AMD ATHLON 64 2800+? I only bought 512ram for the build (to keep the price under $500), but before I send it away I am going to buy another 512ram. The website that its going to be serving gets about 10 to 50 hits a day. But I am hoping to attract new readers with this article. Plus I may add a few more sites to it. ( I know 10 to 50 hits a day is nothing. Right now the website is on my Dell Power Edge server and the load is 0.00 99.9% of the day. The only reason I am going to move the website off my Dell server is to test the durability of the new server.)
What about running the 64 bit OS? Is there a big difference between the 32 and the 64 bit OS? I will be running Centos 64bit with no control panel sense its only going to be 1 website.
It would be nice to hear from someone running a AMD ATHLON 64 server. IF your running a AMD ATHLON 64 server how many websites do you have on the server and whats your monthly transfer?
Last but not least do you know of a good Colo place that would give me a deal on co-locating 3 servers? Right now I am with Custom.net but I wouldn't mind paying a little more for someone that could Reload my OS on the server. Custom.net doesn't offer this service, other than that I have no complaints. Their network is awesome and my server's ping is allways at 40 any time of the day or night.
SERVER EVERCASE|R9138B-T30 RT - Retail (Qty=1,Price=$150.00)
MB CHAINTECH|MK8M800 RTL - Retail (Qty=1,Price=$59.00)
CPU AMD 64 |2800+ ATHLON 64 RETAIL - Retail (Qty=1,Price=$121.00)
DDR 512MB|DDR400 CL3 PC3200 RTL - Retail (Qty=1,Price=$38.99)
HD 80GB|WD 7200 WD800JD 8MB % - OEM (Qty=1,Price=$56.00)
CD ROM 24X|MITSUMI SR244W - OEM (Qty=1,Price=$39.00)
I'd say go for it properly. Think what your readers will be interested in, and do exactly that.
So.. 64bit AMD (You mean it's one of those old non socket-939 types? Cancel your order and get a socket 939 chip as that's what nearly everyone will be going for - all that cool n quiet stuff, and dual-core futures).
also, if you get a motherboard without integrated graphics, it would be more in keeping with what an average reader would go for (or have lying around )
Dual HDDs would be a good idea, in a RAID-1 configuration. See how difficult it will be to set them up and install the OS on them. Most motherboards come with RAID capabilities nowadays. Also, you could try a nvidia nforce4 motherboard, with the hardware firewall, let us know how that goes too.
Dual RAM is hardly a issue for the reader.. put one stick in is hardly difficult after all.
Stick a control panel on it, even if its webmin. Better still - try them all. Let us know which one works at all on a 64-bit OS.
Lastly, let us know how the server holds up. Run it for a week and let us know any system stats you get. Avg. response time for pages, for a speed-test file, for pings etc.
If you really wanted more readers, you'd then trash the OS after a month and install windows 64bit and compare the differences in setting it all up.
For reloading the OS.. try getting a copy of ghost and making an image of the server immediately after you've installed and updated it. Perhaps your datacentre staff would be ok with booting from CD and restoring the image.
Well as far as using a socket 939 chip that would have put me way over budget for the project. I didn't want to go over $500, I wanted to build something that would kick the crap out of Dell's budget Celeron server. Not only did I get a faster processor but I got twice the ram and double hard drive space and its 64 bit. Dell's PowerEdge 750 comes with a 2.4GHZ Celeron, 256ram, and a 40 gig hard drive for a price of $549.
Raid 1 is a good idea it would only cost me another $56 for another hard drive, and I can add it after I build the server and do some bench testing. The motherboard I bought supports Raid 1 (how well I don't know) That would make a great article and give them something else to read.
I am going to add another 512 ram after I do some bench testing. It will be intresting to see how much it improves the benchmark if at all.
Webmin is another great idea, its free and its easy to install. I don't know if its supported in 64bit. DirectAdmin isn't supported in 64 bit mode and I could try the 15day trial cPanel on the server. I just don't see the point of running cPanel on a server for 1 website.
As far as the server holding up, I am really intrested in seeing how long it holds up. (I built a budget computer for my grandmother over 5 years ago and its still running today. She uses it every day.) I am willing to pay for co-locating for the server up to 3 years. (Unless the website get busy and the server cant handle the requests anymore. Its just a small website so I don't see any problem) If for some reason the server has a melt down and dies, I allready own a Dell Power Edge server. All I would have to do is move the website to the Dell and change the DNS and I would be good to go.
As far as running Windows on the server, I am going to keep my website to a Linux only website.
Well, you're not rerally doing this project for yourself are you? You're doing it for your readers. I wouldn't care too much if your article is 'I bought a case, installed the motherboard and components and slotted it into the colo rack'.
If you tell me about RAID drivers, The experiences of building a 1U case (after all I've built enough midi tower PCs, I want to know more about the case - and it sounds like you're making it as easy for yourself as possible.... not truly representative to what I'd do if I set out to build a server).
The task you've set is good though, How to get kick-*** webhost server for budget price. That interests me.
As for control panels, no, there's no point in a CP just for 1 website. But there is a point in trying them all so everyone on WHT who asks 'whats the best CP?' can be shown your reviews.
Good luck anyway, post the article link when you're done. I reckon your server will hold up very well.
I am working on a very detailed article that will include the section of server parts down to the last nut and bolt. I will also be running different bench marks 32bit vs. 64bit, 512 ram vs. 1gig, single hard drive vs. Raid 1, setting up the Raid ect.
I do have something to compare it to. I have a Dell Power Edge Server with a P4 2.5ghz 1gig of ram and dual Maxtor 160gig hard drives running Raid 1 and a 250gig back up drive. Its going to be interesting to see if my $500 budget server can smoke my $1,200 Dell. I think it will with out a doubt. (My Dell is not stock it came with a P4 1.8gig, 256 ram and a 40gig hard. I swapped the processor, added the ram and added the hard drives.)
As far as building the server for myself. Right now I have a perfectly good Dell that has been running strong for the last 3 years, I do not need another server. But what good is building a server with out testing and using it in the real world? I will be doing a 6 months review and 1 year, ect. I am also interested in how long a budget server will last in a real working environment.
A few reason's I bought a AMD ATHLON 64 +2800.
#1 I already own a P4 server and so does everyone else.
#2 It was cheap and fit the budget behind the server.
#3 I wanted to test 32bit vs. 64bit and test it in the real world environment.
#4 It leaves room to improve, in a year from now I will drop in a AMD Athlon 64 3400+ and benchmark the server again. It can be a budget server upgrade article.
#5 If it blows up I really didn't loose much and I can swap it out with a P4 motherboard and processor. (Honestly I think it would make a good article if it blows up. But I don't think it will.)
When Its all done I will post a link to the article.
Am I going to sleep good knowing a cheap chaintech mother board is the heart of the server? You bet , this servers whole purpose is to host 1 personal website. I will not be hosting anything for profit. Not only that, but the website will be backed up on my Dell server. So if anything did happen the website wouldn't miss a beat. I could be wrong but I think everything will be fine.
I definitely want to try the server with out the raid and then try it with the motherboard raid. If there is a massive drop performance ill buy a raid card. Heck I will probably end up buying a raid card anyway. That would give me another thing to test.
The base story will be how to build a 1U server for $500. Then I am going to answer the what if questions. Such as "What if I added another 512mb of ram? What if I bought another hard drive and ran the server Raid 1?" ect. Because I know people will be sure to ask them.
But I just ran into a huge problem. There is a back plate on the back of the motherboard that holds the processor fan in place. And its too tall to mount in the 1U server case. Not only that but I have to modify the back plate for the mouse and keyboard ect.
This project is turning into a night mare, I have no Idea what to do for that back plate. I am afraid if I try to run it with out it I will snap the motherboard when I tighten the fan down. Maybe I can shave it down? If you look at this picture http://www.galtdigital.com/popup_image.php?pID=141 they have the same motherboard mounted in the case. (same server case). So I know it can be done the question is how.
I wanted to make this a nice article about building a 1u server but its turning out to be the many reasons why you shouldn't attempt to build your own server. Maybe I am just venting and maybe I will feel better after I get it running.
Originally posted by Soulwatcher1974 I am afraid if I try to run it with out it I will snap the motherboard when I tighten the fan down. Maybe I can shave it down?
Our 1U server building experience has included a Dremel tool in the past
Building a 1U server is not easy. If you look around some of the threads on here, people are always warning about the potential problems. I think you see why people are so quick to jump in there and tell people to be careful.
Personally I think this is turning into a good article on showing the con's of building your own budget 1U vs. buying a built to order 1U from Dell with a single vendor warranty for parts replacement.
Sure, you save $100 or so, maybe get some better parts, but how much time are you investing in building it? What about all those warranties from various manufacturers/parts if anything fails?
Still, the PE750 isn't that great of a server for a comparison anyway, you'd be better off grabbing a bare bones PE1425SC with Dual Xeons during a promo for around $750-1000 if you want some bang for your buck.
I was going to buy a new Dell before I got this Idea in my head, But what kind of article would that make? This is far better reading, not only that but I think its going to crush a stock Dell PowerEdge 750. (The standard 2.4GHZ Celeron with 256ram and a 40gig hard drive.) I wouldn't even be shocked if it beats the server I have now.
If I have to get a shoe horn to make everything fit that's what I am going to do. If I sent the case back and bought a 2u case that would be the easy way out. The whole Idea behind the article is building a 1u. It may not be easy but I think its going to be well worth it.
As far a raid goes there is only room for one hard drive. In the description from new egg it says "External 3.5" Drive Bays: 2". But there is only room for 1 hard drive. That's a big downside to building this server. I really wanted to test a raid setup.
All in all I think its a great learning experience. Right now I can't say that I would still build the server if I knew how big of a headache this project was going to be. Maybe when its done I will think differently.
Tonight I am going to order the cables and the Fans and go ahead with the build. How ever I am not going to do any modifications to the case until I figure out the back plate problem with the mother board. If I end up trashing the mother board I will be sending the case back and scraping the project. I will get a new 2u case and a better motherboard if that's the case.
I can almost guarantee you that the back of your 1U case will not have the same I/O plate to work with the layout of your motherboard ports. The best thing to do in this situation is to leave the I/O case off. Going with a chain tech was one of the worst things you could of done. In my opinion it is a garbage board and not meant to operate sufficiently in a server type environment.
Save yourself some trouble and go with another board that has horizontal sound layouts and not vertical. Most of the boards you will find these days will have vertical onboard sound ports which will cause you to either desolder them or "bend" them back a little to fit them into a 1U case. Make sure your board has onboard video or you will enter wonderful world of PCI extension ribbons, they can definitely be a pain to work with in a 1U case. I have personally had problems with certain Evercase models that would cause the GFX card plugged into the extension ribbon short out and not displaying video properly.
Overall if your ordering from newegg make sure to test your parts! I have ordered everything from bad memorey to bad motherboards from newegg. Never order an oem motherboard from newegg. I ordered to oem boards and both had onboard video problems, luckily they were still operable.
Anyhow good luck. If you have any questions feel free to PM me. I have built a number of 1U servers in the past and can definitely help with the little quirks that popup in the road.
Personally I also think the CHAINTECH motherboard is a junk board. It does have some good reviews at newegg so my fingers are crossed. If the server runs good with the motherboard I will be more than happy.
I ran that bench test that's been popping up on WHT on my Dell (P4 2.5ghz 1gig of ram and dual 160gig ATA 133 hard drives Raid 1) and it benched a 109. A guy that I know from another forum benched tested a +2600 ATHLON XP 512ram and a 80gig hard drive and he benched a 148. So I am hoping to get a little more out of the 2800+ ATHLON 64.
I am going to take a die grinder with a cut off wheel and cut the I/O plate to fit the motherboard I only have to remove a small section.
I could have put this server in a Tower if I wanted to my data center takes towers. But I wanted to do a article on building a 1u because most data centers don't take towers.
With in the next 12 months I plan on buying a Dual Xeon 1u Dell PowerEdge server. I was going to buy one before I built this server. How ever my target reading audience is not going to go out and buy a $2000 server to host their websites. So I thought it would make for some great reading if I built my own server and shared the building experience. Who knows this server might just surprise me and be a strong runner.
My only concern is heat my data center told me to make sure I have exhaust fans in the front or the back of the server. They said the rack might have a hotspot. That is a big concern to me I don't want to waste $500 on a server because their rack had a hot spot. I may check around for another colo provider.
As far as a guide for buying a Dell server, I think you could help readers by giving info on the various regular and special promotions Dell has, the best way to get a deal with discounts, what various configurations are best, and why.
Would make a good addon to your current article as you should give it as an alternative and example of the other route.
Sounds to me like your having some kind of hardware/software problem with your AMD. If they are both using IDE drives then the AMD should have beat the dual P3's hands down. I ran the same test on my P4 2.5GHZ with 1gig of ram and it benched a 103.
I will have my fans on monday, some time next week I will have some bench marks I will be sure to post them in this thread.
Last edited by Soulwatcher1974; 06-25-2005 at 08:12 PM.
I just tested Centos 3.5 64 bit and now I am really impressed. My grand total cost for the server is $580 with shipping and this budget server is 53% faster than my Dell. All and all it was well worth building the server. I only had to mod the I/O plate and the fan. Everything else droped in place. I would not recommend building this server unless you have a die grinder or plan on buying one.
But if your looking for a Powerfull budget server, I highly recommend building this server. It will blow the doors of Dell''s $549 budget Celeron 1u server.
Final Server specs AMD Athlon 64 +2800
1gig of DDR 400 ram
80gig SATA 150 hard drive
Centos 3.5 64bit bench marks
BYTE UNIX Benchmarks (Version 4.1-wht)
System -- Linux localhost.localdomain 2.4.21-32.0.1.EL #1 Wed May 25 14:05:46 EDT 2005 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
/dev/sda7 2016016 155744 1757860 9% /
Start Benchmark Run: Wed Jun 29 15:05:46 EDT 2005
15:05:46 up 5 min, 2 users, load average: 0.69, 0.26, 0.10
End Benchmark Run: Wed Jun 29 15:17:03 EDT 2005
15:17:03 up 17 min, 2 users, load average: 17.66, 7.49, 3.40
If you have some questions about the server post them in this thread and I will answer them. Unless Centos 4.0 64bit is alot faster than Centos 3.5 I probbaly will not be posting in this thread anymore.
My Dell PowerEdge (2.5GHZ 1gig of ram 2 160gig ata 133 hard drives Raid 1) Benched a 103 This cheap budget $580 server is now almost 70% faster than my $1,200 Dell! If I get any more improvements I will be sure to post.
I had been meaning to ask if anyone has tried CentOS 4 64bit on Xeon for a standard LAMP setup and whether any issues cropped up? Was thinking of moving over to that as I upgrade my RHES3 servers for future builds.
After ALOT of testing I had to find out the hard way! This server will only work right with Centos 3.5 32bit and kernel 2.4. Centos 3.5 64 bit hangs on the boot up with out the keyboard. Kernel 2.6 hangs on the reboot (with out the keyboard) with Centos 3.5 or Centos 4.1.
The server runs fine with Centos 3.5 32bit and kernel 2.4. Even with only running 32 bit the server is 30% faster than the server its going to replace. And it will still blow the doors off Dell's budget 1u $549 server.
Bottom line it is what it is, its a cheap budget server. Anyone thinking about building this server be forwarned that it only runs Centos 3.5 32bit and kernel 2.4.
If I would have known in advance about the reboot problem. I would have still built the server. Now that I can finaly quit fooling around with the reboot problem. I can secure the server and ship it to the data center. As for the article it will be done soon. I will link it when I relaunch the website.
This is my last post in this thread. (mods please close this thread)
The 2.6 kernel reboot problem has been traced down to the VIA chipset on the motherboard. I compiled several 2.6 kernels using different options. Each time the server would hang on the reboot.
This server ONLY works right with Centos 3.5 32bit and kernel 2.4. I tryed Centos 3.5 64 bit and kernel 2.4 and the server hangs on the boot up with out the keyboard.
The final OS that the server is running is Centos 3.5 32bit and kernel 2.4. I spent about 8hrs testing and tweaking the server. And I was able to pull off a amazing benchmark with the 32bit OS. Its 11 points higher than the first 32 bit benchmark. This rock bottom budget server in its final form is 40% faster than the Dell PowerEdge server its going to replace. And is over 50% cheaper to buy.
If your in the market for a cheap budget server, I recomend buying a Dell. There is just too many problems with this server. If your going to build this server anyway I WARNED you it ONLY works with Centos 3.4.
BYTE UNIX Benchmarks (Version 4.1-wht)
System -- Linux **************.com 2.4.31-grsec #1 Sat Jul 16 03:04:26 EDT 2005 i686 athlon i386 GNU/Linux
/dev/sda7 2016016 176432 1737172 10% /
Start Benchmark Run: Sat Jul 16 03:42:21 EDT 2005
03:42:21 up 4 min, 1 user, load average: 1.03, 0.50, 0.20
End Benchmark Run: Sat Jul 16 03:54:06 EDT 2005
03:54:06 up 16 min, 1 user, load average: 16.07, 7.32, 3.54
Soulwatcher1974 (And anyone else trying this themselves) - A few things you should note:
1 - We have sucessfully run CentOS 4.x on these boxes with the 2.6 kernel in 32 and 64 bit mode. It does take a bit of work and some BIOS tweaking, but it is doable.
2 - The case you chose, the Evercase 9138-T30 does not come stock with the proper I/O shield to work with the Chaintech boards - we order the proper shield direct from Evercase and swap them out as needed. When the proper I/O shield is installed, there is little if any case modification needed to build this particular server - it pretty much just screws together.
The 200w version of that same case will include the proper I/O shield by default, although that PSU is a bit skimpy. It would have probably run your 2800+ just fine though.
3 - Mounting the second drive is pretty simple once you figure it out. It's a tight fit, but the drive mounts to the bottom of the case using flush mount screws exactly opposite of the first drive. PM me if you would like a pic of the mounting position. It makes it easier to get all of the connectors in if you mount the drive in the bracket upside-down. The newer rev's of that case include holes in the bracket to allow mounting both ways.
4 - Although they are a budget board, we have built and deployed hundreds of servers using Chaintech AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon 64, and P4 mainboards. For a budget board, they are built very well, and we've had a very low failure rate, probably between 1-2% after 1 year, which is extremely good considering the price of those boards. They are one of the only makers I'm aware of still using horizontal audio ports on most of their boards that will allow a lower-end desktop board to fit in a 1U case.
5 - If you use the proper fan for this board, there is no modification needed to get it to mount properly. The Dynatron A73 you chose wasn't quite the right one, although that same company does make a fan that will work with the Chaintech boards.
6 - There isn't a budget S939 board that I'm aware of that will fit in a 1U server chassis, and i've done a LOT of looking. Tyan makes some nice higher end s939 stuff that works great, but nothing in the price range of the Chaintech board mentioned here.
Finally, I'm flattered that you chose our design to copy We put many hours of research and testing into getting that configuration up and working properly (as I'm sure you experienced). A budget 1U AMD64 box was probably one of the tougher nuts for us to crack when doing server design and configuration. I know you did this as a learning experience, but you should have dropped me a PM or email - I could have provided you with a bit of free help and advice that would have saved you TONS of time and headaches.
Last edited by Rob T; 07-17-2005 at 02:08 AM.
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