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Thread: Nas nas nas

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    Nas nas nas

    I've currently got an original Buffalo Terastation (if you haven't heard of them, they're a really basic 1TB NAS which came out a couple years ago) and its slow performance is beginning to annoy me. At the moment all my data is currently running without backups as well, so I plan to build a new, faster NAS, and move the terastation elsewhere to just run scheduled backups of the new NAS.

    I've been considering this upgrade for a while now and keep putting off actually buying anything, but in the limited research that I've done I think using hardware raid would be wise. It seems hardware raid is more expensive, but faster, relieves stress off the CPU and is more redundant as if the hardware raid card screws up, I just pop another one in and don't have to configure a thing (or at least that's what I've been told??) which apparently isn't the case with buying a new motherboard with software raid.

    So I'm currently looking at an approximate system of the following:
    Motherboard - £35
    1-2GHz CPU - £35
    2-4GB RAM - £35
    400W PSU - £40
    Decent hardware RAID card with support of 8 HDs - £200
    4 500GB HDs - £160
    Case - £40

    That means I'm looking at a NAS at around £550. I'm thinking of using a half decent CPU and a fair amount of RAM so that I can run Windows Server 2008 that I can get for free of Dreamspark allowing me to possibly host the websites I'm running at the moment from home in the future and giving me so many more options over something like FreeNAS. The hardware raid should then allow WS2008 to run flawlessly on an average CPU.

    Is the above overkill - especially the hardware RAID over software RAID (software raid clearly saves me alot of money)? Also will I benefit from getting a decent £50 or so Intel gigabit network card on a motherboard with fast ethernet or just getting a motherboard with gigabit already (the increased options with a decent NIC would be wanted tho')?

    Cheers. Love to hear all comments.

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    So a setup like this then:

    4x 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/500-G...MB-Cache-89-ms
    Coolermaster RC-330 Elite add SilverStone CFP52B for more drives
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Coole...Scan-Exclusive
    LSI MegaRAID SAS 8208ELP KIT supports SATA II
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/LSI-M...er-with-cables
    Intel Pentium Dual-Core, E5200
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...B-Cache-Retail
    400W Corsair only has 6 SATA connectors
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/400W-...-year-warranty
    4GB (2x2GB) Corsair TwinX Value Select
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-C...Unbuffered-CL5
    Asus P5QPL-AM x16 slot compatible with the x4 raid card
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...TA-II-uATX-VGA

    I suggest the Gigabyte GA-EQ45M-S2 if you want to run RAID off that as it has Capacity expansion.
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Gigab...-Micro-ATX-VGA
    Last edited by LegacyOne; 27-07-2009 at 05:24 PM.

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Would it be worth spending that little extra and upgrading to 640GB/750GB hard drives, provided you need/want the extra storage of course

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Quote Originally Posted by LegacyOne View Post
    So a setup like this then:

    4x 500 GB Western Digital WD5000AAKS
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/500-G...MB-Cache-89-ms
    Coolermaster RC-330 Elite add SilverStone CFP52B for more drives
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Coole...Scan-Exclusive
    LSI MegaRAID SAS 8208ELP KIT supports SATA II
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/LSI-M...er-with-cables
    Intel Pentium Dual-Core, E5200
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...B-Cache-Retail
    400W Corsair only has 6 SATA connectors
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/400W-...-year-warranty
    4GB (2x2GB) Corsair TwinX Value Select
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/4GB-C...Unbuffered-CL5
    Asus P5QPL-AM x16 slot compatible with the x4 raid card
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...TA-II-uATX-VGA
    That looks exactly what I was looking for. And on scan comes to £539.58 with the hexus free shipping .
    With an approximate £85 budget for motherboard and CPU, is a Pentium dual core the best option or should I look at AMD considering their range of low cost alternatives?

    And what are people's views on a seperate NIC such as this Intel Pro/1000GT (http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Intel...9-Network-Card)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Terbinator View Post
    Would it be worth spending that little extra and upgrading to 640GB/750GB hard drives, provided you need/want the extra storage of course
    Hmmm...possibly yes, but (being naive in all things backing up) would a 1TB terastation be able to backup a 2TB NAS for example?

    Thanks.

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    VTECmeous Vimeous's Avatar
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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Hardware RAID is a great option if you can stomach the extra cost. LSI, AMMC/3Ware or Adaptec all do great controllers of which the LSI suggested is great value.
    Based on current prices I'd look at 750Gb drives over 500's.

    Also which RAID were you thinking? For a NAS RAID5 or 6 will be fine.

    If you're running compressed backups then you'll certainly fit a big chunk on your Terrastation. However have a think about what kind of backups you want and how recent (or how many versions) you want to store. It may be even 1Tb is too small but if you've not got the NAS full yet you'll have time to think about it.

    I run a mix of Intel 1000GT's and motherboard gigabit NIC's. The data transfer rate has not annoyed me enough to time the difference in transfer. I'd suggest opting for on-board initially. You can always add an alternative later.
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    W2 : Dell Precision T3610 | E5-1650 V2 | 16GB | Quadro K2000 | 256GB SSD | 1TB HDD | 8.1 Pro


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    Re: Nas nas nas

    you could od what i've done

    Used an old pc. stuck 4x 1tb hdds in it, installed freenas and BAM a lovely nas that working great

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Personally I'd just use the onboard RAID on the motherboard rather than a dedicated card. Unless you have some massive database being hit by a lot of users you're not going to see the benefits of a RAID card (particularly a £200 one, £600 is where they start getting tasty ) A single decent SATA drive will give you 70MB/sec over Gigabit, which I'm guessing would be adequate? Chuck a few more disks in for more capacity and you're sorted. 2GB of RAM should be fine as well for simple file sharing, 4GB if you're using 2008. You'll probably want to stick some VM's on it before long though, so I'd look to get a motherboard that supports 8GB at least.
    Don't forget about backups by the way Maybe just an external 1TB drive would do?

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Hmmm...yes I've been pondering that for a while.
    Having a £200 budget for a RAID card just about starts you at the bottom of the pile of all things hardware RAID with only basic features and options. I'm having a hard time trying to find out how big the performance difference would be between hardware RAID and motherboard (or software) RAID. Having said that, even if the performance and features are the same, it would allow Win Server 2008 to access to more CPU power (and memory I presume) which can only be a good thing, but is it worth it for an extra £200?
    Some of the RAID cards at the £300 mark seem to offer quite alot more in the way of features, but in the end I'm likely just to want RAID 5 (or RAID 10 but that's unlikely) which all the basic ones do anyway.

    Your point about having a board that can take at least 8GB is a good one. I'll be having a little browse and probably get one with support of up to 16GB for added flexibility.

    (And I already have an old 1TB NAS for doing the backups )
    Last edited by jamiesalter; 29-07-2009 at 10:56 AM. Reason: Sentence didn't make sense

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    What do people think of a NAS like say this...

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Qnap-...erver-and-UPnP

    I currently have a Thecus N4100...but it's a bit lame. In RAID5 the data transfer rate, I think due to the crummy CPU, is barely enough to stream video over the network. It is primarily this that is making me want to upgrade to something liek the QNap, rather than just putting bigger drives in the 4100 (its full!)

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Hardware RAID cards are great, though they are very expensive.

    I have two Dell PERC5/i cards I bought off eBay. They are just re-branded LSI MEgaRAID cards. They are fussy about motherboards, especially Intel ones, but I have two in a AMD based system and they work perfectly without any alterations. Performance is a lot higher than software based cards. I've also done some silly things with one of my arrays (like unpluggin the wrong cable removing half the array) still managed to recover it using the LSI management app. You can also remote manage the LSI cards, so I can run the console on my Desktop or Laptop and administer my Servers cards.

    The PERCs do all the RAID levels, 0,1,5,6,10 etc. You might actually be able to do RAID 50, but I'm not sure.

    I think I payed a total of about £130 for each of the PERCs with PCI bracket, battery backup and battery cable, and the two SFF 8484 to 4x SATA cables. Complete bargain if you ask me.

    16 hardware RAID ports for not much more than an 8port Highpoint card

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Funkstar you've gone bargaintastic!

    It might seem silly but hardware RAID is also more portable.
    Usually you cannot physically move a RAID array between two different software RAID controllers (ie Silicon Image to Intel). With a card-based solution the RAID array goes where you card does as it will recognise the config of the drives.

    I run a mix (see siggie).
    We bought the 3Ware card new because there were very few 8-port SATA/SAS RAID cards available at the time and certainly not s/hand. As you can see we run a pair of RAID10's for redundancy and speed. It was set to a RAID1 pair, RAID0 pair and RAID10 set but we simplified it after my dearest got confused moving data around so much. It's an edit machine so RAID5 would be too slow for project work.

    The other two RAIDed PC's use onboard controllers.
    Frankly they can be a pain to configure as on older boards some won't run optical drives or even run JBOD if you've a random drive to use alongside a RAID array.
    However once up they run fine.
    My main rig uses a RAID1 because I hate harddrive failures and a RAID recovery is much easier than a full restoration. The fact you can keep working is a huge benefit!
    The third machine is RAID10 because it was a gaming PC with data storage. Now it will be a Win7 storage box to store music for my Squeezebox and 360. I don't need more space so I don't need to switch to RAID5 TBH.
    (The adaptec card is only used for the LTO3 drive)


    Back to the core of the topic though.
    If you are going to have a dedicated separate backup then portability won't matter - you can just build again and restore the data.
    If it just media data that is being streamed via gigabit then I'd agree and say a RAID5-capable onboard controller is likely fine. But only if you're not using the machine for much else.

    I'd be tempted to build the NAS with a gigabit/RAID5 capable mboard. Add some decent fast drives to make up a little for the lack of RAID10 and try it.
    Remember you'll need 2 PCI-E slots with the second at least 4-lanes if you want to run an additional RAID controller later. Unless of course you happen to be using on-board gfx (admittedly I've not tried a RAID card in a primary PCI-E slot).
    Then if it doesn't work to your liking back-up to your Terrastation and rebuild the machine.
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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Considering I might well be using the machine for web development later on down the line, I'm becoming more and more set on purchasing hardware RAID. I'm thinking I'll get a reasonable motherboard with two PCIe x4's (for a possible 2 RAID cards) and a PCIe x1 (for if I decide to purchase a gigabit ethernet card). Looks like I may have to up the budget a little tho'.

    Are RAID card's pretty rock solid? It seems that as I won't be blasting the machine 247, getting a 2nd-hand card off ebay sounds like a decent investment. I'll keep a look out for bargains

    Just to clarify - the following are good brands for RAID cards (aren't they?):
    Adaptec
    LSI
    Areca
    Highpoint
    ...?

    On a slightly different note, is using a pentium dual core the best option or should I look at AMD with something like: http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/AMD-A...MHz-65W-Retail?

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    I wouldn't put Highpoint in a list with Areca and LSI personally

    Although they are the best of the middleware cards (not quite fully software but not fully hardware either).

    If it was me building one again, I'd still go for the AMD setup I have at the moment, especially if it is mainly being used as a home server. You don't need every last bit of performance, any Triple or Quad core will be fast enough, and the AMD 780G chipset boards will happily take two PCIe 8x cards in their 16x slots leaving you to use the (more than decent) onboard graphics.

    The PERC cards need to be modified to work with Intel chipset boards because there is a conflict with the I2C bus that is sorted in the BIOS Dell use on their Poweredge systems. Doesn't cause a problem with AMD or Nvidia based boards though. I did look at a DFI Nvidia based Intel system, but the board alone was more than the AMD processor board and memory

    I do plan to write all this up in a project log thread at some point, I just need to get round to it

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    Re: Nas nas nas

    Okay, I will look into motherboard/processor combinations when I have more time.

    Doing a quick search on ebay, I've come up with results like this:
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/PROMISE-RAID-E...lenotsupported
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3WARE-AMCC-965...lenotsupported
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Caldigit-RAID-...lenotsupported

    I'm not ready to purchase anything now, but these do seem to be decent bargains

  17. #15
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    Re: Nas nas nas

    This is effectively what I bought two of:
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/DELL-PERC-5i-S...3A1%7C294%3A50

    and a couple of these per card:
    http://www.bestofferbuy.com/sas-cont...e-p-16540.html

    although those ones you listed above do look interesting, especially the 3Ware and Caldigital.

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