Thursday, August 27, 2009

Building a High-end Windows 2008 Database Server - Page 4

Hardware Setup

This will not be a tutorial on how to assemble a computer.  I would expect that someone building a server this expensive already has some build experience.  Instead, I will just list some important steps specific to this system.  Most readers may want to skip this section.


The heavy heat sinks that attach to the Xeon processors require that the processor is physically connected to the case and not just the motherboard.  This is quite different from your typical workstation build and is why you can’t put a Xeon motherboard into just any case.  The case will have standardized screw holes and the processors will have mounting clips that go on top of the screw supports but under the motherboard.

Because I will not be using the SAS controller on the motherboard, I put a short on pins 2-3 of jumper “SAS_EN1”.

Since the CPUs are passively cooled (no directly attached fan), I put a short on pins 2-3 of jumper “FAN_SEL1”.


The backplane on my case can control up to four fans.  Since I chose to use the motherboard as the controller, I had to change some jumpers on the backplane.  I connected pins 2-3 on jumpers 97, 98, 99, and 100.

RAID Controller

Before modifying the RAID controller’s BIOS, you should have the OS volume defined.  All the other RAID volumes are easier to set up from within Windows.

Always install the latest controller BIOS as the first step. 

To go into the RAID setup for this specific controller, hit {Ctrl}+{A} during bootup.  For the OS, I created a RAID 1 partition that uses the entire drive with a stripe size of 256K.  I will discuss the stripe size and other important settings when I get to the Windows portion of the RAID setup.  I chose to enable the write and read caches because I know that I can rebuild the OS volume at anytime without meaningful data loss.

Motherboard BIOS

After installing the latest motherboard BIOS, the following settings should be changed.  These changes are primarily to improve performance.

 Floppy A = Disabled
 Chipset Configuration
  North Bridge Configuration
   Demand Scrubbing = Enabled
 PCI/PnP Configuration
  Plug and Play O/S = Yes
  Onboard LANx Configuration
   Option ROM Scan = Disabled
 Peripheral Configuration
  Onboard Floppy Controller = Disabled
 Remote Access Configuration
  Remote Access = Disabled
 Boot Device Priority
  Volume 1
  {Disable network boot}
 Boot Settings Configuration
  Full Logo Display = Disabled

Next Page: Software Setup

Please go to the first page to read or post comments.