Computer Lab Setup Advice - Techist - Tech Forum

Go Back   Techist - Tech Forum > Computer Hardware > System Upgrades
Click Here to Login
Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-04-2011, 01:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
Newb Techie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Default Computer Lab Setup Advice

Hey all, have been looking around the net for a place where I can get decent advice on a lab setup and tech-forums appears to be the solution. I hope you can all help a new member with some advice

I'm in the process of moving house and when we're setup there I want to get myself a proper lab setup for help with my future certs and learning new technologies. I've been asked by my employer to tackle the Hyper-V certs and then move on to the System Centre varieties (SCCM, SCOM, etc) and whilst my laptop has sufficed in the past (running vmware) the hyper-v MS Press Book requires a complete setup in order to get the most from it.

Whilst I could probably do this without having to do the exercises I want to get the most from my studies and there are things I could do in my own lab that I couldn't do on the work domain.

My question boils down to this; I want to get a 2 machines with the specs listed below, would I be better off building them myself or just buying them online? If anyone has a similiar lab setup that they use for studying then any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Specs required for both machines;
x64 Virtualization compatible CPU (e.g. Intel-VT or AMD-V)
DEP Capable CPU (for Hyper-V)
4 GB RAM (with the possibility of upgrading in the future)
2 x HDDs (want to RAID 1 them just incase so atleast 500GB)
RAID Controller
DVD Drive
2 x NICs (1 PCI, 1 on board)

If I were to build it myself then are there any suggestion on a MB and CPU? I'm not fussed about the speed of the CPU as I'm hardly going to max them and if I did cause slow-down it's not a production environment so isn't going to matter all that much.

Nor am I fussed whether it be Intel or AMD, am thinking possibly the latter as last time I built myself a PC (about 3 years ago) AMD were cheaper though arguably not as good as their intel counterparts.

The most important part in all of this though is of course; the budget. I'm hoping to get some funding from my employer though I'd expect my budget is going to be in the region of 800 - 1000 for the lot (i.e. Up to 500 per machine).

I'm sure this is do-able but was hoping to get advice from those who may have a similiar setup or words of warning when it comes to this kind of thing.

Any advice is greatly appreciated
__________________

Killian is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 02:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
TF's First Dry Ice User!
 
Peter.Cort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 5,018
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

do you want a dedicated raid card? Those tend to be more expensive, and a lot of boards have build in raid, which if you're not concerned with having a separate raid card would be the way to go.

CPU : 75 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/amd-a...mhz-95w-retail
Mobo : 63 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/gigab...sata-raid-matx
RAM : 52 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/4gb-(...10-27-xmp-150v
HDD : 31 x 2 = 62 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/500-g...wer-32mb-cache
PSU : 35 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/430w-...-rail-atx-ps-2
DVD Drive: 12 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/sony-...sata-black-oem
NIC : 6 http://www.scan.co.uk/products/us-ro...twork-pci-card

That's 305 before a case, will support raid 1 and 0, the chip will support Hyper V, you could upgrade to a Phenom 2 (as opposed to an Athlon 2) for improved Hyper V extension performance. The ram is 4gb of 2x2gb sticks and the mobo has 4 slots so you could upgrade to a 16gb max.

I'm not sure what site you normally use to buy computer parts off of, but scan.co.uk is what I've seen you EU folk use in the past, so I figured I'd start there. That's just a base line for what you might want to look at, make adjustments if you like but it'll be a solid computer for your certs!
__________________

__________________
A notice to EVERYONE who has posted here with a computer problem, I highly encourage you to keep current with the forums, even if it's browsing for 10-15 minutes during lunch, or before you go to bed at night. There are many things that you can learn and apply to future issues. My goal is to help people get to a point where they can use their own knowledge to help themselves, and others.

Also please use the search button. You've got a 50/50 chance that someone's asked your question and we've answered it.
Peter.Cort is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 02:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
Newb Techie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

In all honesty I don't particularly need RAID, I just wanted to get a setup together so that at some point I can yank a HDD and see what happens. It's not something I think is absolutely necessary and if it is going to increase the cost by quite a bit then perhaps I should stick with onboard or even software RAID.

I'll be running Hyper-V on both machines so I suppose if they were to die I could just do a re-install on another HDD as I'll probably back up the VHDs regularly.
Killian is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 02:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
TF's First Dry Ice User!
 
Peter.Cort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 5,018
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

raid would definitely be something that you would want to familiarize yourself with, just as a thing to know, it's a pretty solid skill to have that you can use a lot. And it would definitely be worth it with built in raid capabilities of the board and with the hard drives being pretty cheap, why not
__________________
A notice to EVERYONE who has posted here with a computer problem, I highly encourage you to keep current with the forums, even if it's browsing for 10-15 minutes during lunch, or before you go to bed at night. There are many things that you can learn and apply to future issues. My goal is to help people get to a point where they can use their own knowledge to help themselves, and others.

Also please use the search button. You've got a 50/50 chance that someone's asked your question and we've answered it.
Peter.Cort is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 03:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
Newb Techie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter.Cort View Post
That's 305 before a case, will support raid 1 and 0, the chip will support Hyper V, you could upgrade to a Phenom 2 (as opposed to an Athlon 2) for improved Hyper V extension performance.
Thanks Pete, was alot more than I hoped for!

By improved Hyper V extension performance what exactly do you mean? I will probably configure some kind of failover cluster with the servers is why I ask.

In the past I've tended to use Cheap Laptops, Computers and Cheap LCD TVs | Ebuyer.com but have use Scan.co.uk: Computer Hardware on the odd occasion. Once I have an idea on parts I'll probably see where I'm best buying from.

With regards to a case I'm assuming something like this; Scan.co.uk: Inwin EM020, Black/Silver, micro-ATX Mini Tower Case, Screwless, w/o PSU would be sufficient and still keeps the budget at a fairly reasonable price.
Killian is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 03:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
Newb Techie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter.Cort View Post
raid would definitely be something that you would want to familiarize yourself with, just as a thing to know, it's a pretty solid skill to have that you can use a lot. And it would definitely be worth it with built in raid capabilities of the board and with the hard drives being pretty cheap, why not
We actually run RAID 5 on our works domain and I've configured a few arrays using the HP StartSmart disk with Hot Spare though I've never actually seen it in action other than taking a HDD out and putting a new one in when the red light flashes Which I suppose is the beauty of RAID though I'd love to have a go at actually configuring it properly and implementing proper reporting so that if it dies, I'm notified and don't have to 'hope' to stumble across it in the server room.
Killian is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 04:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
TF's First Dry Ice User!
 
Peter.Cort's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 5,018
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

What I was saying with the Hyper V is that the Phenom 2 has more efficient algorithms in dealing with the virutalization over the Athlon 2 models. You won't be limited in what Hyper V based tasks you can run with an Athlon 2, it'll just be faster with a Phenom 2. That case will be fine, I tend to leave the case decision to the user because the case is usually an aesthetic decision, not a technical / feature based decision.

And yeah, if you've got raid systems in use, it would definitely behoove you to learn how to set them up. And since you need at least 3 disks for raid 5 you could just steal one of the disks from the second rig and put it in the first one to mess around with a raid 5 setup. It's great that utilities now are so easy to configure something sorta difficult, but yeah if you've gotta set up a raid system, or even if you just have to deal with yours on a more regular basis, it would be good to know what's going on behind the utility.
__________________
A notice to EVERYONE who has posted here with a computer problem, I highly encourage you to keep current with the forums, even if it's browsing for 10-15 minutes during lunch, or before you go to bed at night. There are many things that you can learn and apply to future issues. My goal is to help people get to a point where they can use their own knowledge to help themselves, and others.

Also please use the search button. You've got a 50/50 chance that someone's asked your question and we've answered it.
Peter.Cort is offline  
Old 04-04-2011, 05:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
Newb Techie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

I've just noticed that the speed of the RAM you suggested is 1600 though that's not listed as compatible in the specs for the motherboard, is that just an oversight on their part you reckon?

Also, is there an argument with something like this to opt for an Intel based solution due to their Hyper-Threading Technology giving double the threads i.e. quad core shows up as 8 core?
Killian is offline  
Old 04-05-2011, 04:00 AM   #9 (permalink)
Newb Techie
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
Default Re: Computer Lab Setup Advice

Taking what you've put as a guideline I've put the following together;

Part Model Cost Link
CPU AMD Phenom II x6 3.2Ghz 146.28 Scan.co.uk: AMD CPU Phenom II 1090T Black Edition Six Core Processor - HDT90ZFBGRBOX
Mobo Gigabyte GA-880GM 63.46 Scan.co.uk: Gigabyte GA-880GM-UD2H AMD 880G AM3 Motherboard
RAM Corsair Memory 6GB 53.99 Scan.co.uk: Corsair Memory XMS3 6GB DDR3 1600 Mhz CAS 9 Triple Channel Desktop - TR3X6G1600C9
HDD WD Caviar 500GB x 2 63.02 Scan.co.uk: Western Digital Caviar Green 500GB WD5000AADS Hard Drive - HDD
PSU Corsair Builder Series 430W 35.32 Scan.co.uk: Corsair Builder Series CMPSU-430CX 430W Power Supply (PSU)
DVD Sony Optical DVD-ROM SATA 11.87 Scan.co.uk: Sony Optical DVD-ROM, DDU1681S-0B, SATA, OEM
NIC PCI 5.94 Scan.co.uk: US Robotics 997902A 10/100/1000 32Bit Network PCI Card - USR997902
Case Inwin Mini Tower Case 36.44 Scan.co.uk: Inwin EM020, Black/Silver, micro-ATX Mini Tower Case, Screwless, w/o PSU

Total 416.32

The only thing I'm unsure of is the motherboard, will it support the 6 cores and RAM? Can't seem to find anything relating to the hex core and AMD AM3 socket mobos.
__________________

Killian is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need Advice on this PC Setup. rileeey New Systems | Building and Buying 15 06-08-2009 07:00 PM
Gaming computer setup, need advice TheeFlash System Upgrades 14 08-30-2006 09:11 PM
Advice on my PC component setup ... TylerNZ New Systems | Building and Buying 7 10-11-2005 08:50 PM
Need advice on a tricky setup squ1shy Computer Networking and Internet Hardware 1 06-05-2005 08:00 PM
Advice on raid setup asdco Monitors, Printers and Peripherals 1 03-09-2005 12:47 PM



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.