Hard Drives, CPU & RAM

Hard Drives: 6 x Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB (WD20EVDS)

For storage we chose six Caviar Green 2TB drives from Western Digital's AV-GP series which are optimized for video streaming and have head-parking disabled. (Editor's Note: FYI, despite the anxiety of some users, there is absolutely no evidence that high head park counts — seen in SMART data — in WD Green Power drives leads to premature failure.) The drives are from older 2009 stock and have similar acoustics to a WD20EADS we reviewed last year but half of the samples vibrate less, scoring higher on our subjective scale.

2TB DRIVE COMPARISON
HDD
Mfg date
firmware version
Vibration
1-10
(10 = no vibration)
Activity State

Airborne Acoustics
(dBA@1m)

Measured
Power

WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EADS
February 2009
7
Idle
13
6.4 W (4.0W heads unloaded)
Seek
13~14
6.5 W
WD Caviar Green 2TB WD20EVDS
May/November 2009
7 / 8
Idle
13
5.3 W
Seek
14
6.6 W
Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB HD204UI
August 2010
7
Idle
13
4.0 W
Seek
15
5.6 W

The latest three-platter Samsung EcoGreen F4 2TB would be a good alternative as it more or less matches the noise and vibration levels of older four-platter Caviar Greens, but WD's new three-platter revisions of the 2TB GP may be superior. Try the SPCR/Pricegrabber Shopping Engine to help you find the best deal on the right hard drive.

Processor: Intel Core i3-530

Given the low load activity for a typical home server, sharing files, streaming video, and performing backups, not a whole lot of computing power is necessary. In fact, many pre-built WHS boxes run perfectly well with Intel Atom CPUs as long as you only use its basic functions. However, higher-end NAS boxes utilize dual-core higher-clocked Celerons and Pentiums, which are far more powerful than any Atom processors. Our choice, the Core i3-530, is the second slowest model available for the LGA1156 socket and probably higher performance than the processor in any retail NAS box.

System Power Consumption (AC)
Board
Core i5-661
Core i3-530
Voltage
Stock
-0.10V
Stock
-0.10V
Idle
47W
46W
45W
45W
CPU Load
112W
99W
100W
90W
Test system components: 4GB DDR3-1600, WD Scorpio Blue 500GB, Seasonic SS-400ET.

The i3-350 has a TDP of 73W vs. the i5-661's 87W, but both CPUs use about the same amount of energy when idle. There was a 12W power consumption difference on load at stock voltage, and a 9W gap when undervolted by 0.10V. Try the SPCR/Pricegrabber Shopping Engine to help you find the best deal on the right CPU.

Memory: 2 x 2GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333

Most home users can get away with 2GB or even 1GB of system memory, but again, like CPU power, it really depends on what you do. WHS uses very little RAM on its own, but throw in a bunch of add-ins and its memory usage will go up. The various flavors of linux popular in NASes and home servers are also very light in this regard.

Discuss this article in the SPCR Forums.