Convert a Dell 4550 or 8250 to a Win home Server

alwayslrnin used Ask the Experts™
I am admittedly somewhat of a novice but wish to convert one of my older Dell computers to a WHS machine. I have a choice of using a Dell 4550 or a Dell 8250. I have purchased two Seagate Barracuda SATA XT 2 TB hard Drives (model 9GV168-301). I have purchased a SATA II NCQ Host controller card that supports 3.0 GBPS and NCQ, 32 bit @33MHZ, PCI rev 2.2 compliant with buss metering modes. I have all the cables etc.needed. My first question is; am I  on the right track so far?  If yes great, if not what to fix. Next what primary hard drive would you recommend, size speed. brand etc.,  as I will replace the original hard drive to something bigger? I also have purchased Microsoft Win home Server pwr pk 3 win 32, OEM System Builder Pack. I can install any amount of memory as needed as I have spare 512 and 1 GB spare mem. modules for each machine. Any and all suggestions are appreciated for choosing either dell machine(4550 or 8250) or a primary hard drive recommendation, software install or watch outs, partitioning etc. , hardware install sequence, Bios settings etc. Thanks alwayslrnin
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Distinguished Expert 2017
You are better off with using the 8250 if you must for the WHS since it has a larger capacity for RAM memory. (2GB versus the 1GB for the 4550)

Depending on what services you want from these systems, using non Microsoft OS to setup might be better.

You needed to check whether the SATA conrtoller you got has bootable features that Dell recognizes or whether the dell bios supports booting from an addon card's drives.

what sata controller did you get most of them are rubbish


The SATA Controller is by SYBA, The specs are as follows;
Syba SD-SATA2-4IR PCI SATA II 4x Internal Ports RAID Controller with SIL3124 Chipset.
PCI Serial ATA (SATA2) 4 Channel Controller Card with RAID function, SIL3124 Chipset  
Features 4x Internal SATA2 Ports
PCI-X 32-Bit 66MHz Interface
Specification General
Silicon Image SIL3124 Serial ATA (SATA2) host controller chipset
Backward compatible to PCI specification
Support PCI bus-master access
Compliant with Serial ATA II specification, the extension of SATA 1.0a Revision 1.1
Compliant with Gen2i, Gen2m SATA II Electrical specification Revision 1.0
Backward compatible to SATA 1.0 specification
Support 4 independent SATA ports with data transfer rate at 3.0Gb/s
256 Byte FIFO Per Port for Fast Read/Write Operation
Support Native Command Queue (NCQ), Port Multiplier, First Party DMA
Support Plug & Play and Hot Plug
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 JBOD function supported
System Requirement  Support Windows 98SE/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Server 2003/XP 64-bit/Vista Linux & Netware  
 SATA2 Controller Card, CD Driver, Manual.  
Model  Part number Chip set  
i reviewed the Amazon website for comments, this was one of the better ones. If it's a wrong choice, what do you suggest?
Most Valuable Expert 2013
Top Expert 2009
The SYBA card is fine.    I'm not a fan of PCI SATA cards -- PCIe are far faster -- but you don't have a choice, since the systems you want to use only have PCI slots.     ... and if you're only using 2 drives you'll be fine.

I agree the 8250 is a better choice with a BIG caveat:   it uses RDRAM modules, which are pricey if you need to buy memory.    If you already have 2GB of RAM for the system, that's excellent;   if it's got 1GB that's okay (at least it's as much as the 4550).    You indicated you have spare modules -- I presume you know you must install RDRAM in maching pairs of modules (if the system doesn't already have 4 modules, it will have 2 "continuity RIMMs" in the empty slots ... to install additional modules you just remove those).

It's unlikely you need to replace the original drive (assuming it's still working okay), as the OS doesn't require a large amount of space (20GB is plenty for the OS).     Your 2TB drives are what you'll want to assign as the main storage drives -- if you want to buy another drive just get another one of those and increase your storage capability.


Thanks to each of you for your suggestions. alwaylrnin

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