This will be the first of many intallments describing my adventures with Windows Home Server. I think it is one of the most exciting products to come out of Microsoft in a long time, and since Vista's out and nobody's saying nything about SP1, it fulfills my need to fixate on something.
Ever since I saw the HP MediaSmart Home Server, I've been jonesing to build myself a Window Home Server. I've been testing it for about 3 weeks inside a virtual machine, and that's just no fun. I really wanted a dedicated machine to be able to test it with. Well, the other day a friend of mine gave me a spare processor and motherboard, so I decided to undertake my first homebuilt machine in 8 years.
Now that I've been seduced by the diminuitive size of the HP machine, I wasn't satisfied to get just any case, I wanted a really small one. The problem is, the motherboard I was given was a MiniATX board, so I had relatively few options case-wise. So I decided to take a trek over to my local Fry's Electronics. I hardly ever buy anything there, because I've had more than a half-dozen bad experienced there, but it's a good place to check out the stuff you're gonna buy on NewEgg.com.
After being unhappy with what I saw, I came across a Shuttle PC just kind of haphazardly laying on a layaway shelf. I had to have one. So after doing some research, I found out that Shuttle doesn't make a Socket 939 kit at the moment, but NewEgg had a smokin deal on a VERY similar form factor from Aopen. It was one of the only ones that only had one 5 1/4" drive bay, all the others had two. I was shocked to find that they also had a 500 GB SATA hard drive for $150. If I had the money, I would have bought another, and put it in the floppy drive bay, but I can always do that later.
NewEgg had such great deals, I bought all my parts there. (As an aside, is it just me, or do they need to upgrade thir site to ASP.NET? I mean, it's still petty fast, but they could stand to add some Ajax goodness.) Last Friday, my parts came. I was so excited, and after an hour, I had the (almost) perfect Windows Home Server. Here's what I picked up (all prices current as of
18 March 2007 - Updated 28 March 2007):
A Windows Home Server for under $500? W00t! That's not including shipping, of course.... but it's still a steal. Below are some pictures of my rig under construction. Click any image for a larger version.
Since it had been so long since I had built a PC, it took a couple tries for me to get the processor and fan seated properly, but I finally got everything together. In the bottom pictures, you can see my new WHS machine near my two Digital Cable Tuners on top of my desk, as well as the Aopen case in relation to the driver CD it comes with. You can see more pictures of my new Home Server here.
All and all, I'm very happy with everything. It performs great, and it's nice and quiet (well, the drive is kinda loud when it's writing data, but that's ok). And, it's (almost) the perfect size. Plus, it'll make a great Virtual Server machine when I end up getting the HP MediaSmart Home Server later this year.
Well, that's it for this time. Next time, I'll share some observations of my first week with WHS. It's been a good week :).