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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 12:28 pm 
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Posts: 82
I use Vista on my main machine and yet I found Server08 to be very fast and responsive. I installed Media Player, but kept Aero off, and it has been very snappy - in person and over RDP.

I set it up to be similar to WHS - 2 partitions, all data stored in D:\shared. I've only had it up for a few weeks, so I am slowly adding roles. I haven't set up backups yet, but I have the standard WHS shared folders (Public, Users, Videos, Music, etc) available to all machines on the network. From that, I can use Synctoy on Vista (I think it's one of the MS powertoys??) to do differential backups to the associated networked folder. That is really no different from the WHS way.

So far I have set up:
- DivX connected server for DSM-330 media extender
- Mycast.orb for streaming media over http
- Speedfan for fan throttling and temperature monitoring
- FreeSSH for SFTP access
- SMB network shares
- uTorrent with web-based gui

The only thing I am missing is the WHS console, and so far I am doing okay without. My *.homeserver.com domain name is still working, even though WHS is inactive.

Mark


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 Post subject: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 6:41 am 
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Location: China/USA
Hello everyone.... great fan of this site and articles here published.
I am a quietness junkie, as far as it has to do with my computers.
I first read about WHS last year and since then I wanted one, it started quite buggie but it has come a long way. I had a couple of servers running a demo but I was never able to run it on the hardware I chose for it. I believe that a extra computer at home is a overkill, so I tried to find a hardware that was as energy efficient as possible and obviously silent.
My choice was a pico-ITX board from Via, with 1GB of RAM in a Serener fanless case and for storage a 320 GB samsung 5400 rpm. Which I came to realize later that it does not support newer generation OS'es like WHS and Vista. I tried for quiet a while to get it installed but nothing worked. Now a days it runs Windows Server 2003 and it's main function is to serve files, run some backups (I'm disciplined enough to keep most of my files on the server) and utorrent. The hardware is great, it seats on the corner of the room next to the router and modem which are both as large as itself. I wish I could one day see this hardware running WHS. I really would love a web UI vs. remote desktoping every time you need to setup something. This setup represents everything that a silent pc is. Why not make you review on a rig like mine?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:48 am 
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WHS is Windows Server 2003. One and the same. It's been tweaked, and has the remote admin console, but it is the same OS.


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 Post subject: There is a catch
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:07 am 
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mark314 wrote:
WHS is Windows Server 2003. One and the same. It's been tweaked, and has the remote admin console, but it is the same OS.


WHS has soem ACPI 2.0 requirements that my hardware is not complaint, therefore it would install. Server 2003 doesn't have it.

Many Via boards have this "problem", a few even went to the extreme of writing a new bios... some were successful. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:54 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
jucabala wrote:

I first read about WHS last year and since then I wanted one, it started quite buggie but it has come a long way. I had a couple of servers running a demo but I was never able to run it on the hardware I chose for it. I believe that a extra computer at home is a overkill, so I tried to find a hardware that was as energy efficient as possible and obviously silent.
My choice was a pico-ITX board from Via, with 1GB of RAM in a Serener fanless case and for storage a 320 GB samsung 5400 rpm.
I am a big stickler for quiet PCs as well but for me that is much less an issue for a WHS box since this box is meant to be hidden away. Unless you have a very small living space the point with WHS is to put it somewhere where it is not seen or heard. If you have a lot of media (music, videos, photos) then you are going to also want lots of drives. IMHO anything less than a full size ATX board with 6 or more SATA ports and a case that can hold 6 drives is a waste for WHS since your storage requirements NEVER go down over time. You should probably always be running WHS with at least 3 drives - one for the OS/ temporary file space and two drives for data. You may also want to have another drive that is not part of the storage pool for other purposes - i.e. recording TV if you want WHS to act as a media server.

But that is just my opinion :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:56 pm 
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I agree with wayner, although efficiency is important with 24/7 operations. When I first built my WHS in June07, I opted for a MoDT board (2 SATA ports) for efficiency & silence and Tyan server-quality. One year later I am adding a PCIe SATA card to accomodate 4 more drives, which I am certain I will need within two years (I'm just now adding a third HDD to bring it up to 2.5TB). Adding a controller card is not a problem, but the expense of MoDT was not worth it. Nowadays with 45nm desktop Core2's, the MoDT does not give the big jump in efficiency. And depending on server location, silence may not be critical.

I would still go for server-quality though. My kids hit the server as hard as any SOHO streaming DVD's, music, messing with photos...and my extended family uses it over the internet for sharing photos etc. and it's only going to increase with WiFi photo frames, home control systems etc. Plus it backs up 2 desktops and 3 laptops nightly.

I am seriously considering the SuperMicro C2SEA (G45) once DDR3 $$ settles down. To quote Anandtech in their review "it is a perfect board for those who want to set up a board once and then forget about it. Super Micro Computer, Inc. heritage is in the server and workstation markets where stability is king and this board shows it."


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 3:49 am 
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wayner wrote:
IMHO anything less than a full size ATX board with 6 or more SATA ports and a case that can hold 6 drives is a waste for WHS since your storage requirements NEVER go down over time. You should probably always be running WHS with at least 3 drives - one for the OS/ temporary file space and two drives for data.

No big need to run the OS on a separate drive. It won't make the data storage more reliable. A USB flash drive might work well if you want separate data drives. It shouldn't impact performance I wouldn't suppose.
A single HDD can give 1TB storage which is a lot for most people. Storage requirements go up over time but then so does density of hard drives. Physical storage space required (number of HDDs of a given size) can stay the same or go down. Obviously the number of HDDs needed depends on usage but 1 or 2 will be good for many people.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:09 am 
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croddie wrote:
No big need to run the OS on a separate drive. It won't make the data storage more reliable. A USB flash drive might work well if you want separate data drives. It shouldn't impact performance I wouldn't suppose.
A single HDD can give 1TB storage which is a lot for most people. Storage requirements go up over time but then so does density of hard drives. Physical storage space required (number of HDDs of a given size) can stay the same or go down. Obviously the number of HDDs needed depends on usage but 1 or 2 will be good for many people.


You can't run WHS on a USB flash drive, minimum size for the data drive is 70 gigs. And even if they got that big eventually, WHS writes to the data drive on a fairly regular basis and I don't think you'd want to deal with the speed issues.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:44 am 
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croddie wrote:
No big need to run the OS on a separate drive. It won't make the data storage more reliable. A USB flash drive might work well if you want separate data drives. It shouldn't impact performance I wouldn't suppose.
A single HDD can give 1TB storage which is a lot for most people. Storage requirements go up over time but then so does density of hard drives. Physical storage space required (number of HDDs of a given size) can stay the same or go down. Obviously the number of HDDs needed depends on usage but 1 or 2 will be good for many people.
Assuming that you want redundancy, then 2 drives is an absolute minimum. The reason that I said 3 is that I believe that would make it much easier to bring the system back up if the system drive fails. You could reinstall the OS on a new system drive and then throw in your 2 data drives, let it rebuild the tombstones and all would be well. I believe that WHS tries to move data off of the system drive, even the "data" portion of the system drive if room is available. That's why I said 3 - one for system + temporary data files prior to migration plus at least two data drives.

If you have video then 1 TB is not very much room. And it removes part of the benefit if you are running WHS without data redundancy.


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 Post subject: Re: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 8:59 am 
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pure456 wrote:
You can't run WHS on a USB flash drive, minimum size for the data drive is 70 gigs. And even if they got that big eventually, WHS writes to the data drive on a fairly regular basis and I don't think you'd want to deal with the speed issues.


I thought it was 20GB for the system drive? Data drive might be a misnomer. To me the data drive is where all my movies/pics/music/docs would go. If the data drive were locked at 70GB that would make the whole system pointless.

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Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
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 Post subject: Re: Silent Server running under 20 Watts
PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:01 pm 
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jhhoffma wrote:
pure456 wrote:
You can't run WHS on a USB flash drive, minimum size for the data drive is 70 gigs. And even if they got that big eventually, WHS writes to the data drive on a fairly regular basis and I don't think you'd want to deal with the speed issues.


I thought it was 20GB for the system drive? Data drive might be a misnomer. To me the data drive is where all my movies/pics/music/docs would go. If the data drive were locked at 70GB that would make the whole system pointless.


I meant system drive, not data drive. WHS formats the system drive with a 20 gig partition for the OS, the remainder **was** used as a "landing zone" for data and was also available for the data pool. Since the Power Pack 1 update it isn't used as a landing zone anymore (still available to the pool) but the minimum size for the system drive is still 70 gigs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:13 am 
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anyone know how much space windows server 2008 takes up (when stripped down with vlite)?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:53 am 
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Will SPCR be doing an article on WHS ?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:40 am 
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Whether they do or not, if you want some info on WHS and it's capabilities, head on over to www.wegotserved.co.uk

It's completely devoted to WHS. Lot's of good stuff from add-ins, instructions, etc.

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Main: Antec 300 (SlipStream @ 800rpm/140mm @ 5v)|Asus M4A88TD-M|Phenom II x4 945 (Mugen2 pass.)|Asus EAH6850|Samsung 830 128GB|Antec TP750
WHS: DF-85|P8H67-M Pro|I5-3450S/Hyper 212+|Corsair AX650|Sandisk Extreme 240GB, 2xWD20EARS, 2x WD15EARS, WD15EADS


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 Post subject: It's almost summer and this Dell is cooking..
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:17 am 
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Any progress with the article Mike?
I suspect I'll need it soon!

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 Post subject: Re: It's almost summer and this Dell is cooking..
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:43 am 
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Firetech wrote:
Any progress with the article Mike?
I suspect I'll need it soon!

We have all the components needed, and we'll start real work on it during the coming week, but I doubt we will be able to cover WHS as comprehensively as sites devoted exclusively to the OS have already done.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:28 am 
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Maybe it's a bit beyond the scope of the article, but it would be really nice to know how well the power saving features work. Since it is supposed to be on 24/7 you would hope they worked very well.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 12:05 pm 
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MoJo wrote:
Maybe it's a bit beyond the scope of the article, but it would be really nice to know how well the power saving features work. Since it is supposed to be on 24/7 you would hope they worked very well.

Especially when you consider that most of the time it's not doing anything. It runs it's backups at night. Other than that, when you're not swapping files in and out of it, what is it doing?

I'll be opening the belly of my WHS machine this week. I'll put my Kill-a-Watt in line when it's off and keep an eye on it.


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 Post subject: Re: It's almost summer and this Dell is cooking..
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 9:26 pm 
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MikeC wrote:
Firetech wrote:
Any progress with the article Mike?
I suspect I'll need it soon!

We have all the components needed, and we'll start real work on it during the coming week, but I doubt we will be able to cover WHS as comprehensively as sites devoted exclusively to the OS have already done.

Thanks Mike.
I'm not too concerned about the OS as such but more the best low power components to use with it.
My current Dell SC430 is way too hot and therefore I'm guessing power hungry too.

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WHS: Antec LS-100, GA-MA74GM-S2H, LE-1250, 2x2Gb XMS DDR2, 7Tb
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 Post subject: Re: It's almost summer and this Dell is cooking..
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:05 am 
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Firetech wrote:
I'm not too concerned about the OS as such but more the best low power components to use with it.


On that note I don't think anyone has ever compiled a list of which hard drive controllers support power saving properly.

On my current NAS and IDE drives never spin down normally, and if I force them to they spin back up after 30 seconds. The USB drive does spin down by itself but spins back up whenever I access the machine in any way. The SATA drives on both the on-board SATA and a SIL SATA card stay spun down until I try to access them.

It seems that certain chipsets work better than others. Native SATA mode seems to work a lot better than compatibility or even the new AHCI modes too.

Unfortunately, there does not seem to be any way to log power events in Windows. I think Vista can log them but I have not examined it in detail. If that is the case, then presumably WHS can too.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:24 am 
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The controller has nothing to do with it. Power management is handled by the drives.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 11:59 am 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
The controller has nothing to do with it. Power management is handled by the drives.


No, it depends more on the controller. I can move a drive from one to another, and it will behave differently.

Some controllers seem to cache info about the drive, while others will spin the drive up every time Windows queries that info.

I'm not sure if the Windows power management profile makes any difference. My NAS is set to "Minimal Power Management", but I am going to see if "Laptop/Portable" makes any difference.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:58 pm 
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MoJo wrote:
Monkeh16 wrote:
The controller has nothing to do with it. Power management is handled by the drives.


No, it depends more on the controller. I can move a drive from one to another, and it will behave differently.

Some controllers seem to cache info about the drive, while others will spin the drive up every time Windows queries that info.

I'm not sure if the Windows power management profile makes any difference. My NAS is set to "Minimal Power Management", but I am going to see if "Laptop/Portable" makes any difference.


Driver != controller. The controller (unless it's a hardware RAID device) does not control drive start/stop (unless it does staggered spinup) or power saving features. It should be possible to control them from software, depending on the driver. I'd think AHCI would be the most open.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:58 pm 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
Driver != controller. The controller (unless it's a hardware RAID device) does not control drive start/stop (unless it does staggered spinup) or power saving features. It should be possible to control them from software, depending on the driver. I'd think AHCI would be the most open.


No, you misunderstand.

Different controllers behave differently. Some of the really crappy ones don't even pass anything but basic ATA commands. Whether that is down to the controller or the driver makes no odds really.

Anyway, my point is that some controllers (or maybe their drivers) are much better at keeping drives spun down than others. My guess is that the better ones cache some info about the drive which the poorer ones read directly from the drive every time. The result is that the poorer ones spin the drives back up a lot, like when you open My Computer or even just idling on the desktop with a few background tasks, while the better ones don't.

It has nothing to do with the drives themselves. They behave differently depending on what controller they are connected to. For SATA interfaces with multiple operating modes, "native" or "SATA only" seems to be the best, with "compatible" or "legacy" and AHCI modes being more prone to spin up. Again, it's on a guess, but I think it's probably to do with native SATA using custom drivers from the vendor while the other modes use the Microsoft generic drives that are not as good at keeping drives spun down.

In my experience, Intel and ATI chipsets seem to be good. Not sure about SIL, but possibly quite good. Via IDE/SATA and nVidia nForce SATA seem to be completely useless.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:08 pm 
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MoJo wrote:
No, you misunderstand.


I think perhaps you do..

The hardware itself does nothing. Almost all functions are performed by the driver. Dumb chips are cheap chips.

The drives themselves can do power management. Some modern 3.5" HDDs include automatic spindown in the firmware, like laptop drives.

As for drivers.. 'native' and 'SATA only' are specific to non-Intel chipsets, afaik, and require vendor drivers. 'compatible' and 'legacy' use the same old generic PATA drivers which have been used since around NT, which are extremely crippling for modern drives. AHCI should use a vendor driver also (Microsoft are not the best at writing drivers..), Intel ones work well (just don't do a scan for hotplug devices manually unless you like softlocks as it hard resets each port repeatedly).

The big savings here are not to be found in picking the exact right chipset or driver, they're to be found in correct software configuration. Commit time needs to be increased, logging disabled or severely limited, and all un-needed background services killed. Cache and buffer usage needs to be increased. I have no idea how much of this can be done in WHS.. Probably not a lot.

Quote:
Via IDE/SATA and nVidia nForce SATA seem to be completely useless.


You just nicely summed up the state of VIA and nVidia chipsets in general.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:29 am 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
The hardware itself does nothing. Almost all functions are performed by the driver. Dumb chips are cheap chips.


Except that most are not just dumb chips these days. Most modern SATA controllers have a small ROM which the BIOS loads, for setting up things like legacy support or AHCI APIs and doing initial configuration of the controller.

Also, you will notice that I did actually mention the drivers too. The bottom line is that the two are largely interchangeable anyway from the user's point of view, since every controller only has one set of manufacturer supplied drivers for Windows.

Quote:
The drives themselves can do power management. Some modern 3.5" HDDs include automatic spindown in the firmware, like laptop drives.


Yes, and it can even be configured by an ATA command, but it's all pointless if the drive keeps receiving commands that wake it up.

I have verified this different behaviour depending on which chipset the drive is connected to.

Quote:
As for drivers.. 'native' and 'SATA only' are specific to non-Intel chipsets, afaik,


No, most of the nForce chipsets had a native mode too, which again required drivers.

Quote:
AHCI should use a vendor driver also (Microsoft are not the best at writing drivers..), Intel ones work well (just don't do a scan for hotplug devices manually unless you like softlocks as it hard resets each port repeatedly).


My recent experiences with a Skulltrail board suggest that the Intel drivers are not that good either. SMART monitoring did not work at all, for example.

Quote:
The big savings here are not to be found in picking the exact right chipset or driver,


Depends how many HDDs you have. 2 drives at 5W each when idle is 10W continuous, which is a lot when the rest of the system could draw as little as 30W at idle. Start to add even more drives and it becomes a priority.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:17 pm 
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MoJo wrote:
Monkeh16 wrote:
The hardware itself does nothing. Almost all functions are performed by the driver. Dumb chips are cheap chips.


Except that most are not just dumb chips these days. Most modern SATA controllers have a small ROM which the BIOS loads, for setting up things like legacy support or AHCI APIs and doing initial configuration of the controller.


Key word initial. The chips are still relatively dumb. But anyway..

Quote:
Quote:
As for drivers.. 'native' and 'SATA only' are specific to non-Intel chipsets, afaik,


No, most of the nForce chipsets had a native mode too, which again required drivers.


Non-Intel as in.. not made by Intel. And if it's not AMD or Intel, then it's quite frankly not worth bothering with. I've made the nForce mistake twice.

Quote:
Quote:
AHCI should use a vendor driver also (Microsoft are not the best at writing drivers..), Intel ones work well (just don't do a scan for hotplug devices manually unless you like softlocks as it hard resets each port repeatedly).


My recent experiences with a Skulltrail board suggest that the Intel drivers are not that good either. SMART monitoring did not work at all, for example.


I'm going to guess you used hdtune. That's a bug in the program, not the drivers.

Code:
C:\Documents and Settings\alex\My Documents>smartctl -ia /dev/sdb
smartctl version 5.38 [i686-mingw32-xp-sp3] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Seagate Barracuda 7200.11
Device Model:     ST3750330AS
Serial Number:    5QK03Q0G
Firmware Version: SD15
User Capacity:    750,156,374,016 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   8
ATA Standard is:  ATA-8-ACS revision 4
Local Time is:    Tue Dec 02 21:10:19 2008 GMTST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
                  Enabled status cached by OS, trying SMART RETURN STATUS cmd.
SMART support is: Enabled


That's from a Windows XP SP3 machine, on a P35 board, with an ICH9R in AHCI mode, using Intel AHCI drivers.

Quote:
Quote:
The big savings here are not to be found in picking the exact right chipset or driver,


Depends how many HDDs you have. 2 drives at 5W each when idle is 10W continuous, which is a lot when the rest of the system could draw as little as 30W at idle. Start to add even more drives and it becomes a priority.


I still feel that it's a software configuration issue. You should (or at least, in my opinion you should, MS may feel differently..) be able to adjust the above mentioned factors which will, no matter the driver, make a large difference.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:50 pm 
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Monkeh16 wrote:
Non-Intel as in.. not made by Intel. And if it's not AMD or Intel, then it's quite frankly not worth bothering with. I've made the nForce mistake twice.


My mistake, mis-read what you wrote.

Quote:
I'm going to guess you used hdtune. That's a bug in the program, not the drivers.


You know what they say about assumptions. I tried Everest, dtemp and speedfan, none of them could read SMART data from the drives. Same results on that Skulltrail board and an nForce 650 (IIRC) board with AHCI. Worked fine in native SATA mode and with AHCI on a 780g board.

The fact that it worked for you on the ICH9R chipset just goes to prove what I have been saying - the chipset does matter.

Quote:
I still feel that it's a software configuration issue. You should (or at least, in my opinion you should, MS may feel differently..) be able to adjust the above mentioned factors which will, no matter the driver, make a large difference.


I agree, unfortunately it doesn't work like that in practice.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2008 2:57 pm
Posts: 507
Location: England
MoJo wrote:
Quote:
I'm going to guess you used hdtune. That's a bug in the program, not the drivers.


You know what they say about assumptions. I tried Everest, dtemp and speedfan, none of them could read SMART data from the drives. Same results on that Skulltrail board and an nForce 650 (IIRC) board with AHCI. Worked fine in native SATA mode and with AHCI on a 780g board.

The fact that it worked for you on the ICH9R chipset just goes to prove what I have been saying - the chipset does matter.


A bug in the driver is a possibility. The ESB2 shouldn't have any issues with SMART: It's AHCI compliant. Try it with more recent drivers or a different program (try smartctl.. It's probably not broken, whereas closed source software often is. Very often.).


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 Post subject: Re: News on Windows Home Server
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:34 am 
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Posts: 1
Location: Idaho
MikeC wrote:
We have all the components needed, and we'll start real work on it during the coming week, but I doubt we will be able to cover WHS as comprehensively as sites devoted exclusively to the OS have already done.


Mike, I am really looking forward to your WHS article. I am currently using the 120-day free trial WHS software, which is working nicely on an old P4 computer sitting out in my garage. After a month of experience with this setup, I am completely sold on WHS and plan to build my server using all new components. I have tremendous respect for your site and I am waiting to see your selection of motherboard, processor, etc., before I start my build.


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