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Scavenging a CPU for Windows Home Server

Twitch22

Member
Sep 14, 2006
137
0
0
Hello everyone!

I'm planning on building a Windows Home Server box and like most of us, I have more than a few parts laying around that I can use. I have two CPU's laying around that I can use for this build:

- AMD Athlon XP 2600
- Intel Petium 4 3.0 GHz (Prescott, Socket 775)

I'm planning on using 2 Gigs of DDR/DDR2 memory as well as about 4 TB's of hard drive storage to start off with. My main use for this box will be network back-ups and media streaming/serving.

So, are these CPU's still up to the task? If so, which would you pick and why? I see that many "vendor-built" Home Server boxes are actually using Intel's Atom platform...I have to believe that the good old Athlon XP and P4 can still run with the Atom, right?

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions!

Twitch

 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
49,533
5,602
126
As long as your not transcoding on the server, then the Athlon XP probably takes less power than the P4 does.

An even better choice would be something like a C2D Celeron dual-core. Very low power and performance-efficient. Especially with SpeedStep enabled.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
1,042
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I'd go with the Presshot, primarily because you can get such a better mobo for it. Socket A Athlon XP, while certainly a competent processor, is pretty much limited to very very old mobos at this point, probably hard to find one with any kind of SATA support, let alone PCI-express anything. A decent S775 mobo with Sata2, PCI-Express slots, etc, can be had for almost nothing from the egg. Given that you say you have 4tb of drives to run off of it, decent SATA support seems a no brainer as a prerequisite, and in my experience nothing is better than an Intel AHCI controller for best HDD transfer rates. I have a Phenom II X4 now, and while there are many great things about it, hard drive performance is definitely not the high point of the GA790X-UD4P mobo I've got. Slapping a PCI Sata controller onto a Socket A board would be a magnitude worse.

Just get a good S775 tower heatpipe cooler for the Presshot, and you should be fine. It's a good processor, just not as good as Athlon 64 and above.

EDIT : I have to note that for $39 from MicroCenter, the C2D-based Dual-Core Celeron E1500 would be a massive upgrade if you go with a S775 mobo. So that's another reason to go with a s775 build.
 

drizek

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2005
1,410
0
71
Athlon. You don't want to run a Prescott 24/7. That Athlon is going to be about twice as fast as an atom, btw.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
1,042
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Originally posted by: drizek
Athlon. You don't want to run a Prescott 24/7. That Athlon is going to be about twice as fast as an atom, btw.
Did you miss the part where we're talking about a Socket A processor to support 4TB of drives (most likely current-gen Sata drives)? A Prescott, while not one of my favorite processors, will be 24/7/365 stable with adequate cooling, meaning pretty much any cheapie Rosewill/CoolerMaster tower cooler from the egg for cheap.
 

alyarb

Platinum Member
Jan 25, 2009
2,446
0
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the prescott will be stable even with just the stock cooler. who cares if it runs hot, it's a piece of crap that you don't want to dump a lot of money into, but VIA socket-A or nForce2 chipsets are not going to give you remotely enough SATA connectivity to have all the storage twitch is going for. It seems like he only has the CPUs laying around with no other parts to accompany them. so the cheapest route is definitely socket 775 because DDR2 is cheaper than DDR1 and socket 775 boards are cheaper than socket A. on top of that, he can sell the athlon on ebay for like $20-30. may as well get something for it because it's really not worth anything just aging on the shelf.

meanwhile there are $40-50 G31/G41 motherboards that offer 4 SATA ports, lots of PCIe 1x slots as well as integrated gigabit ethernet, which saves you $30+ over the cost of discrete SATA controllers and NIC cards. the most readily available athlon motherboard may not have integrated video and you'd be forced to get an expensive or hard to find AGP card. they may not even have an integrated NIC and they certainly won't have gigabit. the fact that the prescott is hot-running chip is the least of his concerns if he's got to build the rest of his server around one of two CPUs that he has.
 

Twitch22

Member
Sep 14, 2006
137
0
0
Hello everyone and thanks for all the great advice!

So, you know that feeling you get when you reach into your pocket and find a $20 bill you didn't know you had? Well, I found this to run the Athlon 2600:

Soyo KT880 DRAGON 2

It's based on a VIA KT880 chipset, runs DDR-400 memory, has Gigabit LAN and supports up to 12 drives (4 IDE and 4 SATA ports!) Not bad for a Windows Home Server box, right?

I forgot I about a rig I built for my parents; thought they had given it away/recycled it, but there it was, in their attic! Booted up right away, even the Athlon XP 2000 in it ran great. Just had 512mb of RAM, though...that'll have to change! Heck, it even had a Abit GeForce-4 Ti-4400 video card! This was a pretty good box for it's time!

Anyway, again, thanks for all the advice. Oh, and I'm very happy to know that my server's CPU can still out-gun the Atom-based solutions out there!

Now, what to do with that Presscott... :beer:

 

Ben90

Platinum Member
Jun 14, 2009
2,866
2
0
the prescott will be stable even with just the stock cooler. who cares if it runs hot, it's a piece of crap that you don't want to dump a lot of money into
I cant believe in 2009 someone would recommend buying a heat sink for a p4 that might see 10% max load
 
Apr 20, 2008
10,153
978
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Bad ass.

Make a keychain out of the prescott. Just trim the pins though. Your pocket would get effed up.
 

Philippart

Golden Member
Jul 9, 2006
1,290
0
0
I've been running WHS on a athlon xp 3000+ for month. The speed was great, I'didn't notice anything to be slow!
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
1,042
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Hahah awesome, that's got to be one of the most badass socket A mobos ever made. It's gotta be original pre-NCQ Sata1, but it really shouldn't affect performance all that much overall. It's definitely nice to make use of things that you already have, and that's a golden (rare) item to complete a decent WHS build along with that AXP. Only potential problem I might see is that Sata controller is ALi M5281, a very very early Sata controller, it may have issues seeing very large drives, but then again it might have no trouble at all.

As for the poster about the cooler for a Prescott, well, even if it only sees minor loading, the damned things run terribly hot. A $20 cooler for a server that is running constantly isn't a bad investment if it needs to be made. If the OP hadn't found this magic board, the P4 would have indeed made more sense in the case that a current-tech board had to be purchased to complete the build.
 

ViRGE

Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus
Oct 9, 1999
31,517
161
106
Does anyone know how the two CPUs compare when it comes to idling though? They aren't going to be running at full load more than a fraction of the time; the difference is going to be what CPU has better power management abilities.
 

Twitch22

Member
Sep 14, 2006
137
0
0
Hello again all!

Arkaign brought up some good points about this board having a very early SATA controller. In your expert opinions, will my Home Server build be losing anything by sticking with IDE drives for the time being?

I have a 80Gig IDE drive that I plan on putting the WHS install on. Price checking Newegg turns up a couple of 500GB IDE drives in the $60 - $70 range. Since all-out speed isn't of the most importance for this application, would the IDE solution suffice? Also, is sticking the WHS install on it's own separate H/D a good idea, or is it complete unnecessary?

Seriously, thanks for all the ideas and suggestions, guys...these forums are the best source for getting builds planned out and done right! :beer:

Twitch

 

drizek

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2005
1,410
0
71
If the Hard drive is slower than IDE or the network is slower than the hard drive, it won't matter anyway.

Don't get IDE drives though, they are usually more expensive than SATA. You can usually find 1TB drives in the 70$ range. Just an example: http://www.amazon.com/Western-...&qid=1255755616&sr=8-1 (this is a limited time deal it seems, but you can always find something somewhere at around this price)

And if it doesn't work, you can get a $17 SATA I PCI adapter http://www.newegg.com/Product/...x?Item=N82E16815124023
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
1,042
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Hey Twitch. Unless you have needs for really high throughput, I don't see anything wrong with building a first WHS from the AXP + Soyo mobo, and see what comes of it. If you have some larger Sata drives around to work with, after you get the WHS system going, plug them in and see if they show up correctly. At this late point I wouldn't recommend actually buying any PATA IDE drives.

The 80GB old drive you have should work fine as the OS drive, once WHS is up and going it shouldn't be beating on the OS drive that often. The newer 500gb PATA IDE drives are a lot faster, but still don't make a lot of sense in light of even faster NCQ Sata 300 1TB drives w/32mb cache going for a fraction more $.

It would be helpful to know what number/size/type of existing drives you have on hand, and then a description of your needs / purposes for the server.

Originally posted by: ViRGE
Does anyone know how the two CPUs compare when it comes to idling though? They aren't going to be running at full load more than a fraction of the time; the difference is going to be what CPU has better power management abilities.
IIRC, both draw around the same, making only about 20w difference between the two.

 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
67,806
2,921
126
Flip a Coin. AKA, doesn't really matter, power Consumption is probably about the only true deciding factor here. You should probably even Downclock as far as possible to save even more Energy. Hell, since you have both and(I assume) require no Purchases, Build one and if it doesn't perform, replace it with the other, choose which works best.
 

ChaosDivine

Senior member
May 23, 2008
370
0
0
Whichever you can get a better mobo for. CPU doesn't matter - more what the mobo offers (# SATA ports, PCI slots, etc.)
That's the reason I splurged on an ABIT AB9 Pro + C2D back in the day.
 

Zstream

Diamond Member
Oct 24, 2005
3,397
277
136
Originally posted by: Arkaign

IIRC, both draw around the same, making only about 20w difference between the two.
That is almost my HTPC at full load ^^
 

drizek

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2005
1,410
0
71
IIRC, both draw around the same, making only about 20w difference between the two.
20W is a lot of power, which is why I said "you don't want to run a Prescott 24/7." I was referring to power consumption as opposed to stability.

Edit: it seems that the deal on that 1TB drive I posted last page is over. It was $75, which is pretty good considering the specs.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,565
1,042
126
Originally posted by: drizek
IIRC, both draw around the same, making only about 20w difference between the two.
20W is a lot of power, which is why I said "you don't want to run a Prescott 24/7." I was referring to power consumption as opposed to stability.

Edit: it seems that the deal on that 1TB drive I posted last page is over. It was $75, which is pretty good considering the specs.
20W being a lot of power is sort of a matter of perspective. Most systems, particularly those with several hard drives, will pull well over 200w from the wall, and possibly a bit higher depending on what video card you go with on a system with no integrated video.

I think that that Socket A Athlon XP w/DDR1 and AGP Video Card would probably end up pulling as much or more power than a Prescott 3.0 w/DDR2 and G31 integrated video.

So in context, the difference is small .. maybe 10% more, but when you consider the old DDR1 / Discrete AGP video angle, probably the same or less for the Socket T setup.
 

drizek

Golden Member
Jul 7, 2005
1,410
0
71
Video card in a server? I'm assuming that at some point you will just rip that thing out.
 

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