~ Update 01/2014 ~
When this computer was built it was used primarily as a VMware Workstation, the OS which VMware Workstation ran on was 2008 R2. Since that time this computer has been modified in its function. The role of this computer is four fold. First role is to run VMware Workstation and virtual computers with minimal latency. Second role is to edit videos using Adobe Premiere Pro. Third role is that of a gaming computer. Fourth role is to be a personal computer.
I have changed the hard drive configuration and have installed Windows 7 on the computer. Windows 7 doesn’t used the motherboards RAID controller as effectively as Server 2008 R2 but the impact isn’t as great as was expected. VMware Workstation runs in Windows 7 just as well as it runs in Server 2008 R2, though the Host OS has a larger memory overhead.
I originally transferred over my 7870 XT video card. After using it for a while I decided to make the jump to the R9 video card and bought the ASUS R9 280X. It’s a larger card and it takes up three slots. The back plate for the card makes it much stronger than the 7870 XT was, there is no sag in the card.
My hard drive configuration is as follows:
OS – Samsung 840 Series 120GB SSD
Adobe Scratch Drive – Crucial M500 480GB SSD
TV Software – Hitachi Ultrastar 7k3000 2TB
Steam Origin UPlay - Hitachi Ultrastar 7k3000 2TB
VMware SAS Array – Seagate Savvio 146GB 10k (x4) RAID 0+1
Movies Music Wallpapers – Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Storage & Shared Folder - Hitachi Ultrastar 7k3000 2TB
~ End of Update ~
This computer is used as my home server, it is used primary to run VMware Workstation. I chose the motherboard because of the chipset that it uses. I transferred my SAS array from the computer I used to use as my home server to the new one. All the memory that is in the computer was purchased at Microcenter, all they had were 4 sticks. I have an additional 4 sticks of matching memory and DVD-RW on order from Amazon.
After building this computer I am impressed with the motherboard, lots of features. The motherboard is well thought out, as stated I am using this board because of the chipset that it uses. The onboard SAS controller doesn't have performance that one would want from a server in a production environment, BUT it is a great controller for a home server. The RAID levels supported by the onboard SAS controller is impressive. The amount of PCIe slots gives lots of room for adding additional cards later down the road. I had to add a PNY 610 GT video card to use this rig, even though the card will never be used for anything beyond setting the computer up.
If I ever chose to, at any time I could install Windows 7, throw my 7870 XT in this rig and have a killer gaming computer with rock solid reliability.
The PSU was picked, should I ever want to convert this to a gaming rig.
My SAS array is RAID 10 and is used to store my virtual environment. Currently I have 17 virtual machines, many are powered down but remain to permit a clone for quick VM deployment. At any given time I a running 2 virtual servers and 3 virtual computers, as well as a virtual domain that consists of: 4 domain controllers, 1 web server, 4 client computers and a database sever.
The three drives visible in the 4th picture are (2 of the drives host shared folders):
WD Caviar Blue 250GB drive used for OS install, may be converted to dual boot later down the road.
WD Caviar Black 1TB drive, this drive is for music, movies and a virtual machine share folder
Hitachi Ultrastar 2TB drive is used for anime, tv shows and ISO's & Software.
I love the computer case. The first thing that is noticed are the handles and the case side clips. The handles on the top of the case are a huge help, as computers used as servers can weigh quite a bit. The drive trays seem cheap, not bad just cheap for what they are.. they do the job they were designed for very well. My biggest issue with the computer is that when using non-modular power supply units the case provides no area to tuck the cables away. I got around this by pulling out the internal hard drive bays and pulling out the black mount that the drive bays attach to. I cut a slot in the front of the black mount and routed my extra cables around and tucked them into the slot that I cut, then put everything back.. minus 1 HDD drive bay. This case has lots of internal space, radiators can be mounter internal with this case.
I am very picky with cable management and interior usage, total build time was about 1.5 hours. OS install was from USB, install time for 2008 R2 was less than 20 minutes. Driver install, VMware Workstation install, VMware machine moves took about 3 hours.