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tyler_durden
2007-12-18, 20:21
Can anyone recommend a RELIABLE mobo for use as a server for squeezecenter? My old mobo has died after about 3 years of daily use. Does anyone make a reliable motherboard?

I want a mobo that is going to last more than 3 years of continuous use if that is possible. I plan to set up one of the flavors of linux that allows configuration from a remote terminal so I don't need graphics on the new board, just networking.

Thanks,
TD

SuperQ
2007-12-18, 20:51
I upgraded my linux server to an ASUS M2N-E with an AMD 5000+ dual core. Been working great for about 6 months now.

The trick is to get good quality ram sticks and a good PSU. Cheap ram, and unstable power can make a machine very crashy.

tyler_durden
2007-12-18, 23:02
I'm looking for minimal CPU power, 1-2 GB ram, USB ports for HDDs, on board wired networking, and RELIABLE (as in >5 years) operation. No need for dual core, ultra high speed, 5.1 surround audio, dual SLI graphics, etc. This machine will only run squeezecenter and will only be accessed via network.

It seems mobos have a lot of electrolytic capacitor problems. Fans are very unreliable. Minimal fan requirements are a plus.

TD

mherger
2007-12-19, 00:33
> It seems mobos have a lot of electrolytic capacitor problems. Fans are
> very unreliable. Minimal fan requirements are a plus.

I think there's been one year with really bad electrolytic capacitor
production. Complete series of mobos died after a few months. I had one
such board, and the vendor (Via) replaced it without discussion due to
these known issues.

But other than that I haven't had a single board die before I replaced it.
I've been using a Via C3/500 (only 2 years so far) and a Soltek barebone
(don't even know the mobo :-)) for 3-4 years. And at one of my previous
jobs we were using any kind of Asus or MSI boards for the servers.
Whatever was cheapest that day. I didn't see one single board die in 4
years. But I've seen a lot of disks, RAM modules and fans. And these fans
are crucial for the board's live. I'd say don't go high-end. Don't
overclock. Or take server boards (which cost a good amount of money).

SuperQ
2007-12-19, 00:36
Hrm.. maybe a tiny bit under-powered, but very reliable.

http://www.soekris.com/how_to_buy.htm

The net5501-70 has 512M of ram, should be enough to run slimserver on linux without too much trouble. My slimserver is using 60MB of ram (7.0alpha) right now.

Another option would be fanless mini-itx board.

signor_rossi
2007-12-19, 01:27
I plan to set up one of the flavors of linux that allows configuration from a remote terminal so I don't need graphics on the new board, just networking.

Thanks,
TD

But for the setup of a linux distro you do need a graphics card and a monitor, or are there means to do without?

As for the reliability of mobos, I have an Asus P4B533E for 5 years now (not in 24/7 use) where soon the USB interfaces exhibited strange behaviour (added an pci USB card), other than that it runs fine. But I must say that after a year I changed the case because the first one was a bad choice with poor ventilation which led to high mobo, CPU and HDD temperatures. So my advice is to check your case and to substitute it if aprropriate.

Bye, signor_rossi.

Mark Lanctot
2007-12-19, 07:11
I'd go fanless if I could. This is not based on practical experience, just on supposition: fanless components have lower heat dissipation, which means lower temperatures, which means longer life. This also means no rotating parts, which are inherently less reliable. Finally it also means lower power consumption, a consideration if it's running 24/7.

In terms of practical experience, get a UPS. My last mobo died when it was powered on/off several times a second after a power blip caused by an electrical storm as the power grid re-activated. I've found configuring the UPS to be tricky in Linux though, so for now it's a "dumb" UPS, but at least it will prevent that killer on-off-on-off.

riffer
2007-12-19, 08:50
I had a Tyan running 24/7 for about six or seven years. It was eventually replaced only because of technical obsolescence. I also understand the Intel boards are also very reliable, but haven't used any myself.

Mathiou
2007-12-19, 08:55
It is still not running 24/24 because I have to find an enclosure for it but I use this motherboard and I find it is a good solution to run slimserver:

http://www.ieiworld.com/en/product_IPC.asp?model=WAFER-LX

- 500Mhz processor (fast enough to run a debian with slimserver and samba)
- fanless
- same size than an 3,5" HDD
- needs only a +5V power supply
- 4 x USB2
- VGA
- Integrated audio (don't need it but it is included)
- dual LAN 100Mb
- compact flash port
- support 1/2 IDE devices (HDD larger than 137Gb with the last firmware)
- support 2 SATA HDD (with software RAID)
- 1 slot for DDR ram

This motherboard is designed to be integrated in industrial PC.

gerph
2007-12-21, 10:54
Can anyone recommend a RELIABLE mobo for use as a server for squeezecenter? My old mobo has died after about 3 years of daily use. Does anyone make a reliable motherboard?

I want a mobo that is going to last more than 3 years of continuous use if that is possible. I plan to set up one of the flavors of linux that allows configuration from a remote terminal so I don't need graphics on the new board, just networking.

Thanks,
TD

My server recently died after about 7 years of service, being almost continuously on - when it stopped doing reliable DMA transfers I decided that something was so wrong it probably wasn't worth recovering from. So I did some hunting around. Originally I wanted another 500MHz system - I bought a 500MHz fanless VIA system for my parents and paid quite a bit for it and... it probably wasn't worth the hassle. So I decided this time around to just go for a regular MB - and reuse my old ATA discs where I could. Since the server sits in the eaves of the house, it doesn't really matter what it's like...

So... This is what I settled on... (from Dabs)

Dabs Value Midi Tower 350W Beige
quicklinx:3PQPWS | mfr#:8027A1 20.29

Crucial 1GB 240DIMM PC2-5400
quicklinx:4L43WS | mfr#:CT12864AA667 17.61

MSI S775 VIA P4M900 DDR2 MATX 8CH AUDIO LAN
quicklinx:4L60WS | mfr#:P4M900M2-L 29.37

Intel Celeron D 352 3.2GHz Socket 775 512Kb
quicklinx:451VWS | mfr#:BX80552352 29.08

Strictly I could have skipped the case as my old one would have done, but messing around removing the MB from the old case and fitting the new one just seemed like a whole lot more hassle than I cared for - plus the old machine can remain 'together' as a backup in case things went wrong.

Mostly I went for 'cheap-but-does-the-job'. It's got >6x the processor speed, 2x the RAM and faster memory too, and it did worked pretty much straight off. Basically the old drives came out of the original server and straight in to this one and up it booted (that usually seems to be the case for Linux; I've never been able to just swap drives with Windows - not and have it work like before anyhow).

Specifically you were asking about reliability, which - having just bought the new MB - I can't really answer. But I am expecting/hoping that this machine will last my the same sort of time as the previous server. Realistically, the machine's quite an overkill for what I use it for (SlimServer, some development work, external and internal webserver, mail and news) but a month or so down the line it's going just fine. Using the squeezebox is a bit nippier too.

For comparison, the original server was a 'Today Only' deal from Scan 7 or 8 years ago, and I have no idea what the MB make was - I wasn't even looking at that time for something that would be particularly longstanding or reliable... Just something that would do the job.

Dunno if any of that's any help but... there you go.

MrD
2007-12-21, 14:40
supermicro, used them for 10+ years, never had a problem yet.

tyler_durden
2007-12-22, 12:21
Thanks for all the replies. I'll have to see if there's any money left after Festivus for a present for myself...

TD

scholl_r
2007-12-22, 14:31
I just bought an XPC from myAOpen - it's small (8x8x12hwd) and cute. The main cooling is a 100 mmfan behind a radiator attached to the MOBO by a heat pipe but there is also a 40 mm fan on the PS. You can configure this unit for under $400. I got an Intel E2140 (1.6 Ghz 1 Mb L2m 800Mhz FSB), 512 Mb RAM, and an 80 Gb SATA drive. Gigabit ethernet, graphics chip, USB ports (6), Ieee1394 (2, one mini) and sound all built in on mobo. It seems to work well, although as a newbie with Linux I am still struggling to get Slimserver up and running.

CliveL
2007-12-23, 13:43
I had a bad experience with an Asus P4 m/b using an SiS chipset. Whenever the RAID was trying to rebuild itself, i.e. loads of disk I/O, the kernel would just panic due to hardware interrupt errors. I tried loads of kernel parameters like "noapic", "nolapic" etc. but still kept getting the kernel panics.

I switched it for an almost identical Asus board based on an Intel 845 chipset and had no problems whatsoever, so my advice would be to avoid SiS chipsets...

Hope that helps...

egd
2007-12-23, 14:37
Boards I now avoid as a result of bad experiences:
- MSI (raid chipset failure, poorly implemented SATA/PATA support)
- Abit (seem to release buggy boards that aren't always taken care of through BIOS updates)
- Intel (D975XBX is the worst board I've ever owned, terrible PCI-e support and the BIOS is bug ridden to this day)

My D975XBX has been relegated to a PVR. I generally select ASUS workstation boards these days. My current board is a P5WDG2 WS Professional http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=248&l4=0&model=1289&modelmenu=1 and my next is going to be a P5E3 WS Professional http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=572&l4=0&model=1900&modelmenu=1

The P5WDG2WSPro is the most reliable board I've ever owned. The only other board I've used that was possibly equally reliable was an Intel P2-350 board I purchased about 10 years back - a friend of mine still uses it to this day.

On a final note - I always opt for Intel chipsets, particularly as my platform of choice is Linux and Intel chipsets seem to be better supported.

pfarrell
2007-12-23, 14:45
egd wrote:
> Boards I now avoid as a result of bad experiences:
> - MSI (raid chipset failure, poorly implemented SATA/PATA support)

I've never heard of MB based RAID being a solution if you are serious
about reliability. When I want real RAID, I get a hardware RAID
controller. They are not that expensive.

But my SlimServer/SqueezeCenter doesn't use RAID. Raid is not backup.

Pat

--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com/

tyler_durden
2007-12-24, 09:23
I generally select ASUS workstation boards these days. My current board is a P5WDG2 WS Professional http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=248&l4=0&model=1289&modelmenu=1 and my next is going to be a P5E3 WS Professional http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=11&l3=572&l4=0&model=1900&modelmenu=1


Those look very nice, but they're a bit overkill for running SqueezeCenter and only SqueezeCenter on linux, don't you think? I don't need quad-core CPUs, don't need 1600 MHz FSB, dynamic overclocking, or etc., and I don't want to pay for all that either.

Here are needs:
1 CPU, either intel or AMD, no dual or quad core
1GB ram capacity
on-board networking
2 or 4 USB ports (with bios that supports booting from USB)
PATA is OK, SATA not necessary
On-board graphics would be OK, but not necessary
Audio is not needed
NO cooling fan on "Northbridge" chips or other mobo mounted chips- those little fans are VERY unreliable.
Temperature sensitive CPU cooling fan or no cooling fan.

Maybe I should look at industrial controllers...

Thanks,

TD

egd
2007-12-24, 11:45
I've never heard of MB based RAID being a solution if you are serious about reliability. When I want real RAID, I get a hardware RAID controller. They are not that expensive.
Agreed, I have an external 3.75TB array managed through a dedicated raid controller. I had configured a stripe array on the MSI board to boot the OS from - hardly worth shelling out cash for IMHO.


But my SlimServer/SqueezeCenter doesn't use RAID. Raid is not backup. My collection size means I have no choice in the matter. I don't consider it backup either. I keep three copies of my music collection - one on the NAS, one on an external array that is only powered up to keep current, and finally a backup on LTO2 media. The NAS and external array are independently populated from source.

egd
2007-12-24, 12:00
Those look very nice, but they're a bit overkill for running SqueezeCenter and only SqueezeCenter on linux, don't you think? I don't need quad-core CPUs, don't need 1600 MHz FSB, dynamic overclocking, or etc., and I don't want to pay for all that either.

Sure they are, if you're just looking to build a slimserver. Given the rate of change in PC technology I'm not sure where you'd find something generic to meet your spec. Two possible options:
- Look into a VIA C7 based solution
- look in your local paper for older spec pc's on sale or ask a few pc retailers what clearance stock they're looking to get rid of.

I'd steer clear of a PATA only solution - not sure PATA drives are going to be around that much longer.

Robin Bowes
2007-12-24, 17:32
egd wrote:
> Pat Farrell;251215 Wrote:
>> I've never heard of MB based RAID being a solution if you are serious
>> about reliability. When I want real RAID, I get a hardware RAID
>> controller. They are not that expensive.

No, but software raid is just as good for this application. Forget
MB-based RAID; just configure disks as JBOD and use software raid.

I'm in the process of moving to zfs on OpenSolaris for all my storage.
zfs is totally awesome.


> Agreed, I have an external 3.75gb array managed through a dedicated
> raid controller.

Heh, I suspect you meant to say 3.75TB :)

R.

egd
2007-12-24, 17:41
egdHeh, I suspect you meant to say 3.75TB :) Heh, some array 3.5GB would be :P. I clearly shouldn't post when I'm still half asleep.

tyler_durden
2007-12-25, 10:15
I'd steer clear of a PATA only solution - not sure PATA drives are going to be around that much longer.

MY PATA drives will be around until they die- at least a couple more years, I hope. USB will be fine, too.

TD

egd
2007-12-25, 15:20
MY PATA drives will be around until they die- at least a couple more years, I hope. USB will be fine, too. If you're happy to purchase a new mobo once your PATA drives do give up the ghost then it's no issue I guess. I strongly suspect though that you'll struggle to find any PATA drives for sale in a few years time, and by the same token you're unlikely to have much luck finding PATA/SATA converters at that point. USB would work too, but would likely need to be separately powered.