Choosing the hardware for my Media-Server

Posted by reto on 15 January, 2005 19:04

First I indended to buy one of these fancy looking Shuttle XPCs, but after hours of browsing and evaluating, I came to the conclusion that I should stick with a standard ATX case. The downsides of a Shuttle XPC are the proprietary mainboards and powersupplies and the very restricted space for PCI cards. Though they look very nice and are small enough to fit almoust everywhere a compact HiFi system would fit, too.
At the end I decided against an XPC because I doubt those little fans in the back of the case could be anything near silent. Plus there is only one XPC supporting AMD64 CPUs and the only PCI slot the board offers would already be used by the TV Card, which means I wouldn't have the option of upgrading the server with a soundcard later (in case I'm not satisfied with the onboard sound). I ended up with another nice looking, but considerably bigger case from Silverstone.

Here is a short overview of what I put inside that Silverstone case:

Power Supply: Enermax 370W
It has two big fans which can be manually controled via a little knob at the back. Hopefully not making too much noice...

Mainboard: MSI K8N Neo2
I intend to replace the chipset fan with a Zalman passive Heatsink. This will hopefully be enough to cool the nvidia nforce2 chip which gets rather hot.

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 3000+
First I intended to buy an Intel Pentium M because of its low power consumption, but there are only few ATX Boards available which makes this architecture way too expensive compared to standard Intel or AMD architectures. I chose AMD because of the Cool'n'Quiet Technology, which enables a software based frequency control (i.e. the CPU is only running at 1Ghz when it's not under load). Additionally I'll replace the standard cooler with a more silent Zalman CNPS7000B-Cu.

RAM: 2x512 MB PC3200 Kingston Value RAM
It's not high performance RAM, but should be enough for my purposes.

Graphics Card: 128 MB Asus V9520 Magic with a Geforce FX5200 chipset
Again, this is a rather low performance Card, but I don't need it for 3D rendering and gaming. It has an S-Video and TV-Out and most important: it's entirely passive cooled.

Harddisk: Maxtor DiamondMax 10 200GB SATA150 7200RPM
I decided to go for the Maxtor because of the good MB/price value. I hope the Maxtor is as silent as Samsung drives are...

TV Card: Hauppauge WinTV 350
This Card has its own hardware MPEG2 codec, TV and FM/Cable Radio support and there is a IR Remote included...

DVD-ROM: Toshiba Samsung TS-H352
Yes, it's only a DVD-Rom. I do not intend to burn anything on the server, I'll transfer data over the LAN to my office PC to burn CDs or DVDs.

Fan Control: Super Flower SF-609
The SF-609 can control up to 4 fans and has a nice display for temperature and RPM monitoring.

Ok, that's it. No floppy for this server. ;)

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