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Reliability build

Black Panther

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#1
If I had to choose a motherboard, cpu, ram, psu and hard-drive just for reliability - and nothing else - for use as the main pc for my company, what would you suggest?

No overclocking will be done (There's no need.) And no dedicated graphics necessary either.

Would you suggest RAID 1 (I was of the opinion 3 years ago but the seller of the accounting software was against it :rolleyes: and he won that round). Also, he managed to persuade the others that 2GB of DDR2 was OK, as was a 32 bit system. I'm suspecting he hadn't been that knowledgeable on 64 bit systems then. Hopefully he is now.

We've been working with some prebuilt pc since then. It's got an Asus board, some low-end PSU, and a Q9400. It was fine, till it started messing up... Badly.
 

brandonwh64

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#2
A cheap APU or CHEAP 1155 would be my guess. I built a Pentium SB setup for like 75-85$
 

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#3
Definitely the APU Setup. It dont have to be the fastest Either, the GPUs in them are overly capable of tasks
 

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#4
Unless you are willing to spend thousands on proper ware, I think any run of the mill consumer stuff will work ok. Also worth considering is getting a prebuilt (from Dell/HP etc) with a 3 year next day warranty service for peace of mind (but obviously will cost). Something I would watch out for is heat, it kills certain components like HDD pretty efficiently once average ambient temps go up.
 
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#5
Ill have to agree with the APU also, cheap, sturdy, not much to it, but the power is there if you ever need it (that is compared to HD4k graphics and whatnot)
 

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#6
I'd Go Low end i3 or similar, get an expensive level motherboard, like an MSI or a Gigabyte. Some High Quality Ram Corsair or similar, and an expensive PSU like a enermax or Seasonic. I'd recommend WD blacks for reliability and get an overkill Cooler (air NOT water) as you'd expect the PC would not be cleaned often, if ever....
 
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#7
I'd build a nice little AMD APU or Intel core i3, with effective cooling and RAID1. I'd also make sure to have a decent fan installed in whatever case you choose blowing air directly at the HDDs.

I'm honestly picky about some compoants myself. If I were to do it I'd make sure I had a good brand mobo (I like ASrock and MSI.) As well as a good 80+ rated PSU. (I'm happy with Seasonic, Corsair, etc.)
 

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#8
I'd also make sure to have a decent fan installed in whatever case you choose blowing air directly at the HDDs.
No fans on HDD's, in the long term dust will choke it all to death, you've got to understand an office PC doesn't get cleaned for a few years at a time.

Make sure they are well spaced and have free air around them to circulate naturally.
for a cooler get a Big one, like a 212+ or a similar size heatpipe cooler. I've done a few long term builds, Last one is 6 years old and has been running with the same parts 24/7 for that entire time, plus it's been cleaned twice and it's still going today!

Don't Pick an ASrock, those are slightly budget minded, i know they've gotten VERY VERY good in the last year or so but stick to the larger brands, motherboard should have big cooling and a solid interface, you'd tend not to need HD audio and multiple features that they have
 

brandonwh64

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#9
Don't Pick an ASrock, those are slightly budget minded, i know they've gotten VERY VERY good in the last year or so but stick to the larger brands, motherboard should have big cooling and a solid interface, you'd tend not to need HD audio and multiple features that they have
Hmmm some of ASRocks cheapest boards have been the most solid for me. MSI's budget boards are a night mare, I am on my third 785G
 

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#10
Why do we suddenly decide BP can't clean the rig o_0

Also, I am not a big fan of RAID, it only works when HDD is the main weak link. Since you do backups every day even if the HDD fails it should be very easy to replace, but if other parts of the RAID fails (controller, especially) then you are out of luck.
 
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#11
I agree with Fourstaff. You don't really want a custom built if "reliability" for a business (support is part of that) is key.

This is marketed as a server but what about something like this?

HP ProLiant N40L Ultra Micro Tower Server System A...

Yes and as far as RAID please note that it is not a "backup" and should not be treated as such.
 

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#12
Why do we suddenly decide BP can't clean the rig o_0

Also, I am not a big fan of RAID, it only works when HDD is the main weak link. Since you do backups every day even if the HDD fails it should be very easy to replace, but if other parts of the RAID fails (controller, especially) then you are out of luck.
yup since only way to get another would to replace the motherboard- PCI/PCIE controllers are ideal for reliability.
 
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#13
Western Digital RE Enterprise Internal Hard Drive
 
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#14
+1 on the brand-name machine notion. They are simply built to last; much thought (tens to hundreds of engineering team hours) went into component selection, placement, quality control process, thermal design, etc. For the price of a decent workstation or even a slim server, you simply cannot beat the durability nor the build quality of a good brand-name machine.

And I also believe that you'd be better off simply using a second HDD as a backup medium, not as a RAID1 member drive. RAID is meant as an availability tool, a way for your server to ride through the shitstorm of having an HDD die on you, without downtime. If something goes wrong, software-side, with RAID1 you'll simply have two copies of a borked OS.
 
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#15
Also worth considering is getting a prebuilt (from Dell/HP etc) with a 3 year next day warranty service for peace of mind (but obviously will cost).
My thought too based on the constraints.
 

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#16
Here is one that is thrown together (Might be bad on pricing though)

I mean this is a custom build so the user wanted something different from the rest of the machines in the office
 

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Black Panther

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#17
Here is one that is thrown together (Might be bad on pricing though)

I mean this is a custom build so the user wanted something different from the rest of the machines in the office
I tend to like that (minus blu-ray writer and ssd it's a fantastic price). Here the cheapest we found was a bundle with cheap case & psu, odd, and hdd for 450 Euros. :ohwell:
 

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#18
I tend to like that (minus blu-ray writer and ssd it's a fantastic price). Here the cheapest we found was a bundle with cheap case & psu, odd, and hdd for 450 Euros. :ohwell:
Ya im just used to building machines with atleast the optical drive, but with an HDD even, i just put the SSD in for reliability
 

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#19
Ya im just used to building machines with atleast the optical drive, but with an HDD even, i just put the SSD in for reliability
Doesn't an SSD suffer more due to the high rate of read/writes than a normal HDD? We'd have 3 pc's networked each of them writing on this main pc's drive..
 

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#20
Doesn't an SSD suffer more due to the high rate of read/writes than a normal HDD? We'd have 3 pc's networked each of them writing on this main pc's drive..
might, but ya trying to find an enterprise or SLC SSD would be costlier- So I guess in your case a Enterprise HDD would work
 

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#21
Even with heavy writing SSD is still going to last longer than 5 years, so you can discount the write wear. What I am not sure of is how susceptible SSD is to high temperatures, which should be more of an issue.
 

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#22
Also, I am not a big fan of RAID, it only works when HDD is the main weak link. Since you do backups every day even if the HDD fails it should be very easy to replace, but if other parts of the RAID fails (controller, especially) then you are out of luck.
Sorry, someone needed to stand up to you on this post, and I'm going to since I'm a strong believer in RAID when the situation calls for it.

RAID is about up time and reliability, not backup. RAID shouldn't ever be thought of as a backup. With that said, RAID is nice in the sense that if a drive fails, you don't have to wait to put a new drive into the machine to keep using it. So if you need to get something done now, you will be able to. If the fakeraid controller fails, that's inside your south bridge/pch/chipset so you're going to be having bigger problems than just your raid not working right.

With all of that said, RAID-1 is good if you want it to just work and space isn't a huge issue. I've had drives fail on me in my RAID before as well, and while I went out or waited until I could get a new drive, I could still use my rig with all of my data. Albeit the RAID is degraded, performance isn't great, but when push comes to shove, it's very nice when a drive can fail and it doesn't keep you from being productive, and in business productivity is everything. You don't have time to deal with dropping everything to replace a drive right that second. Hell, if you have a hot swap-able drive bay, you wouldn't even need to restart the machine. You could remove the bad drive, throw a new one in when you have it and it will rebuild without ever skipping a beat. You can't tell me that isn't useful when you're looking for reliability.

Ask yourself this; if the hard drive fails, how much money will the business lose and is it cost effective to ensure that downtime is not attributed to a drive failing?
 
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#23
Sorry, someone needed to stand up to you on this post, and I'm going to since I'm a strong believer in RAID when the situation calls for it.
Did you misread my post? I mentioned that RAID is useless when HDD is not the weak link. Obviously it works wonders if HDD is indeed the weak link, and if you want a RAID setup you better get a RAID card. However, that introduces yet another layer of failure, something which does no good unless HDD failure is the weak point.
 

Aquinus

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#24
However, that introduces yet another layer of failure, something which does no good unless HDD failure is the weak point.
Hard drives are one of the most likely component to fail on a PC, isn't it? Considering it has moving parts and all, it would make sense. RAID exists for a reason. If there was an HDD that never failed, there would be no use for RAID. :confused: RAID attempts to remove drive failure as a reason for the machine to come down, so wouldn't that help reliability and uptime? You make it sound like adding a second drive and using RAID makes it more unstable and unpredictable because you're adding more hardware to the equation and that simply isn't the case. All RAID does is mitigate the cost of losing a drive and for many people and businesses time is precious and time is money.

If RAID was that unreliable, then why do servers use RAID? FakeRAID only fails if your motherboard fails, and if that is the case, you have bigger problems then just your RAID being gone.
 
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Fourstaff

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#25
Hard drives are one of the most likely component to fail on a PC, isn't it? Considering it has moving parts and all, it would make sense. RAID exists for a reason. If there was an HDD that never failed, there would be no use for RAID. :confused: RAID attempts to remove drive failure as a reason for the machine to come down, so wouldn't that help reliability and uptime? You make it sound like adding a second drive and using RAID makes it more unstable and unpredictable because you're adding more hardware to the equation and that simply isn't the case. All RAID does is mitigate the cost of losing a drive and for many people and businesses time is precious and time is money.

If RAID was that unreliable, then why do servers use RAID? FakeRAID only fails if your motherboard fails, and if that is the case, you have bigger problems then just your RAID being gone.
For consumer grade hardware, I think all parts decay (and fail) at more or less the same rate, subject to abuse. However, things change when it comes to enterprise grade stuff, with harddisks becoming the main culprit (Running 10 HDD per cpu is not going to improve the situation).

Fake raids are a royal pain to deal with when the motherboard fails (I have seen a fair share of that experience), RAID cards failing (can't find same model replacement, the replacement didn't recognise the RAID), and whole office getting destroyed by fire (no backup in a separate location, 3 months of downtime). Simply put, I am not a big fan of RAID unless its needed and the implementation is well thought out. Otherwise it just lulls you into a false sense of security which can get pretty costly.