Question DIY Home Server Build (PC not NAS)

Darren Heal

Active Member
I am in the throws of putting what motorcyclists used to call a "Bitsa" ( bits a this, bits a that) PC from left over, salvaged and some new parts.

The server will mainly be used to access ripped movies and CDs etc., but ultimately I would like to use the server as the home automation and security hub as well.

I already have the case, an 850 watt power supply, the motherboard, 8 gigs of DDR3, a 120 gig SSD and a couple of spare 4k capable but low spec audio graphics cards. Only the CPU and OS are missing.

Would appreciate advice on which AM3+ CPU to buy and which OS to use. Currently thinking an AMD FX-8350 Black (US $90 ish here) and Windows Home Server 2011/12 if I can find a copy or Windows 10 Home if I can't. Any flavor of Linux would be okay for me, but I think the Memsahib would struggle.

Here's the background:

We already have all the home PCs and laptops we could need, plus two HTPCs, one in the media room and one sitting behind the TV. Both are either pukka i5 or AMD i5 level CPU'd with 16 gigs of RAM and 120 gig SSDs. Both have good 4K 30 fps Atmos capable graphics cards too.

Our house (5600 sq ft McMansion with 6 beds, 5 baths, 2 receptions, dining room are, dining kitchen, study, media room, games room) was built for us to order based on standard plans that we got to tweak, and one of those tweaks was to have the whole house wired with Cat6 Ethernet and gigabyte router and switches. Bandwidth won't be an issue, I am sure...

I've ripped nearly 500 DVD and standard Blu-Ray movies plus about the same again in CDs onto a 4 x 3 TB RAID10 external unit. Its full (mostly due to ripping the first six seasons of GoT blu-rays) so soon I will be adding a second unit, again 4 x 3 or 4 TB RAID10, which should be enough to see us through until spinning discs go the way of wax cylinders or 8-tracks. 4K BDs take up too much disc space to rip economically and as we don't have a huge collection yet anyway, no big deal.

The main problem I have is that the HTPC and the RAID drive shut themselves down, especially the RAID drive, and going upstairs to reboot everything every time someone wants to watch a movie is a right PITA. Also, having a home server makes life easier for storing then retrieving letters etc. written using laptops in front the TV that much easier. So a home server is the idea. That can go in the study or a broom cupboard downstairs.

Advice anyone?

Darren Heal

Active Member
PS the idea is that the external RAID drives get hooked up to the server, rather than as currently to the upstairs HTPC. The reduced fan noise will help too.


Active Member
You can tell the OS to not shut down by tweaking the power options. You want it to throttle down as needed, but not ever go into standby or power off.

But for the build, a cheap CPU is fine - these days an old, cheap CPU will run all the background networking stuff you could ever need. Its not like you're going to run the latest games or scientific processing on it. The OS, Linuxy ones if you're that way inclined (FreeNAS or openFiler for example are turnkey NAS OSes) or Wwindows Home Server.

Darren Heal

Active Member
I started out using an old Intel quad core - the immediate forerunner to the original i7 - I had in a drawer, but the old motherboard was kaput and a "new "one I bought on a well known auction site was DOA. I tried a new CMOS battery but still no joy. I figured all of this stuff is 10 years old and past its sell by date...

Another thing I don't like about newer Intel chips and MBs is the pins being on the MB not the chip. Far too often I end up mashing them :-(

Anyway, I decided to cut my losses and bought the CPU and MB I listed (pins on chip too ;-) ). I also figured at some point the new unit might be pressed into service as a standby for Office or something, maybe even another HTPC, so going a little overboard wouldn't hurt.

Darren Heal

Active Member
BTW if anyone knows how to hook up a used satellite dish as a radar and some left over WW2 pom-pom guns to keep the MIL on her broomstick at bay...

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