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    ta2
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    Ultracompact DIY NAS

    I think I've finally found all the pieces in the puzzle to built myself an extremely compact Linux NAS. I'd just like to put it out here to get some feedback.

    • Chassis - Chenbro ES34169 w/120W power supply (£164.62)
    • Motherboard - Intel DQ45EK (£105.02)
    • Processor - Celeron E3400 LGA775 (£37.61)
    • Memory - 2x2GB DDR2 PC6400 (£57.17)
    • Hard Drives - 4x2TB Samsung Spinpoint F4EG (£268.70)
    • 60mm Fan - Fractal Design 60mm 3000 RPM Silent Series (£5.96)

    TOTAL: £639.08

    Optionally:
    • Quiet CPU Fan - Scythe Shuriken BIG CPU Cooler (£29.10)
    • Quiet 70mm Fan - 2xAkasa AK-179BKT-C Auto Thermal Sensor (£11.96)

    TOTAL: £680.14

    Whilst the price of the chassis and motherboard may seem extortionate, I think it's worth it for one of the most powerful devices you could possibly fit in a backpack; something which I am likely to make use of. I will be taking this home on the train to make offsite backups, as I might not have enough bandwidth to sync over VPN. I want something that's extremely quiet, and whilst hard drives do make some noise, that's acceptable. This is especially true since when I'm sleeping they are unlikely to switch between sleeping and spinning - the thing which makes the most noise. I'm not sure it's wise to go without chassis fans, hopefully they'll be quiet enough. I also have the option of getting a passive CPU cooler.

    At the moment I am using the what you see in my signature (HTPC/File Server: Antec 900, Intel E3200 Dual @ 4Ghz (1.36V), Akasa Nero, ASUS P5Q Pro, 9400GS, 4GB DDR2, 1x750GB Spinpoint F1, 4x750GB Hitachi Deskstar RAID5). Whilst it's nice and also pretty cheap in comparison to this, it's too loud to keep on 24/7, a fair bit more power hungry, and I need a second storage server that I can keep off-site.

    One thing I haven't decided yet is where to install the OS. I think at least for the start, I will put it on a USB stick and plug it in the back. I will use the ICH10DO RAID5 for the hard drives to give 6TB. Later on I might buy a PCI x1 SATA-II card (i'd have to take off the backpanel plate and just stick it in). That would allow me to add a 2.5" SSD and a slim optical drive too (although I think an optical drive is superfluous). Even the SSD might be overkill. Maybe when I get a promotion though! I'm not sure what array size ICH10DO supports, but I am building this system in the hopes that I will be able to buy larger hard drives in a few years time. In a worst case scenario all I'll have to upgrade is the mobo and processor, although it's tricky to find a 4-SATA RAID5 miniITX mobo.

    I have not decided on the OS yet, any suggestions? I'm thinking Xubuntu as it won't be plugged into a monitor most of the time.

    I am also considering the RND4000 and these are my thoughts:

    Advantages
    • No proprietary software. I am planning to run full-drive encryption (thinking TrueCrypt) so this is important.
    • Full Linux box, can use for SSH, VPN, bittorrent etc.
    • I'll probably use it for Linux software development and testing, though I'm not sure it'll be any better than running VirtualBox on a powerful desktop machine.
    • Upgradable with 2.5" drive and slim optical drive
    • Pretty sure the RND4000 is not gonna come close to ICH10DO performance
    • Can upgrade to 10 gigabit ethernet when it becomes cheap


    Disadvantages
    • About £155 more expensive
    • Probably noisier
    • Slightly more power hungry
    • 40mm taller, 8mm wider, 38mm longer
    Workstation: Antec 902, Intel i5-750 Quad @ 4GHz (1.30V), Corsair H50, Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4, 4GB Geil Ultra Series PC3-17000 @ 2000MHz CAS8, 8800GT, 2x2x1TB Spinpoint F3 RAID0 (roll on EFI and cheap SSD!!!)
    HTPC/File Server: Antec 900, Intel E3200 Dual @ 4Ghz (1.36V), Akasa Nero, ASUS P5Q Pro, 9400GS, 4GB DDR2, 1x750GB Spinpoint F1, 4x750GB Hitachi Deskstar RAID5

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    Senior Trouble Maker muddyfox470's Avatar
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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    What about this HP Microserver for £121?

    Space for 4/5 HDDs and seems small and quiet.

    http://forums.hexus.net/current-barg...-cashback.html
    Mac fancier > white macbook base spec .................. CS: muddyfirebang

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    You could go with software raid, which is how I do it. I have also enabled cool and quiet with CPU frequency throttling to cut down on power consumption

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    Should make for a great NAS, but here's a few opinions from me.
    To save a bit of money you could use the CPU from your current build, and if you went with Linux without a GUI (which I strongly recommend but more on this later) you wouldn't need anywhere near that much RAM.
    Cooling - I originally thought no fans on an Atom server would be fine. Wrong - while still within spec, the components got uncomfortably hot IMO. A single, quiet 120mm fan suspended in the case with some zip ties blowing over the motherboard sorted that, everything stays warm or cool to the touch now.
    I was originally planning on putting the OS on a USB stick, but a few members here pointed out the drive might get worn out over time by small writes. I was thinking about doing it by going without swap, changing the logging options, etc but I finally just decided it wouldn't be a problem to put the OS on a small (4GB for me) first partition on the single HDD I'm using. Even about 6 months down the line with log files growing in size and such, usage still hasn't hit 1GB!
    I don't see the point in an SSD in a file server at all TBH, I think it would be a complete waste of money unless you used all SSDs for wanting to make it as silent as possible or something. However, you could stick a 2.5" HDD in there to put the OS on if you RAID all the space on the other drives and have to put the OS somewhere else - performance of the OS HDD really shouldn't matter much with a file server.
    I agree with dirky about software RAID, it's something Linux does very well and the RAID on the motherboard will be little more than software RAID anyway.
    OS - I use Debian CLI-only and can't fault it. I only really needed to attach a monitor to install the OS (from a USB drive - no CD drive needed) and some essential software but now it runs headless, only network and power cables attached. Just install the SSH server so you can log in remotely. I really wouldn't recommend a GUI for a server, IMO it's really no easier than using CLI as there are usually options missing so you have to resort to, and know what you're doing with the CLI anyway. Also it's far more frugal with system resources, as I said before I'm using less than a gig of HDD space for the OS and according to htop, only 29MB of RAM are being used! Of course this goes up slightly under load but never comes close to the 1GB I have installed. And I don't use swap, Linux manages fine without it, especially with that much RAM spare.
    Debian is pretty similar to Ubuntu when it comes to CLI, but with Debian you can log in as root by default which I like, with Ubuntu the root account is locked by default so you have to either use sudo/su all the time or mess about to get the root account working. Also Debian releases are less frequent, which is nice because upgrading a server OS to the next release could be a pain. But saying that, you could just use the Ubuntu LTS releases. Anyway, OS choice is just something that comes down to preference.
    Oh I should mention with my Atom D510 server with a single low-rpm 2TB drive I manage 90MB/s+ transfer speeds, yes that's megaBYTES per second. Probably limited by PCI network card (onboard realtek is rubbish, kept dropping the connection so I bought an Intel card which is rock solid) and HDDs in server/PCs.
    Hope this has been of some help.

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    BTW, I would probably look at AMD Zacate.

    The Asus E35MI-I Deluxe has 5 SATA 3.0 ports:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/mot...ards-preview/3
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 09-01-2011 at 01:27 PM.


    Those despicable Elk,stealing the pond weed!

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    Yeah, +1 for Zacate, especially since you want low power!

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    Additionally, I also use debian. I also use a small 2.5" drive for OS and 3x2TB green for storage (RAID5 atm).

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by muddyfox470 View Post
    What about this HP Microserver for £121?

    Space for 4/5 HDDs and seems small and quiet.

    http://forums.hexus.net/current-barg...-cashback.html
    The cheapest I can find it for is £150 after the cashback. Considering that DDR3 is cheaper, that's about £200 less than the configuration I have above. The processor is much slower than than a Celeron though. Does that matter? Well that depends what I'm gonna do with it. One thing, though, is that this is permanently a HP Microserver and won't be upgradable in the future. Also, there's no hotswap although that's not a massive problem. This is certainly a very interesting option.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirky View Post
    You could go with software raid, which is how I do it. I have also enabled cool and quiet with CPU frequency throttling to cut down on power consumption
    On my Celeron system at the moment I'm actually running it at 4GHz on lower-than-stock voltage. (I even sanded the heatspreader to a shiny copper colour, but I only got it 1 degree cooler).

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Should make for a great NAS, but here's a few opinions from me.
    To save a bit of money you could use the CPU from your current build, and if you went with Linux without a GUI (which I strongly recommend but more on this later) you wouldn't need anywhere near that much RAM.
    Cooling - I originally thought no fans on an Atom server would be fine. Wrong - while still within spec, the components got uncomfortably hot IMO. A single, quiet 120mm fan suspended in the case with some zip ties blowing over the motherboard sorted that, everything stays warm or cool to the touch now.
    I was originally planning on putting the OS on a USB stick, but a few members here pointed out the drive might get worn out over time by small writes. I was thinking about doing it by going without swap, changing the logging options, etc but I finally just decided it wouldn't be a problem to put the OS on a small (4GB for me) first partition on the single HDD I'm using. Even about 6 months down the line with log files growing in size and such, usage still hasn't hit 1GB!
    I don't see the point in an SSD in a file server at all TBH, I think it would be a complete waste of money unless you used all SSDs for wanting to make it as silent as possible or something. However, you could stick a 2.5" HDD in there to put the OS on if you RAID all the space on the other drives and have to put the OS somewhere else - performance of the OS HDD really shouldn't matter much with a file server.
    I agree with dirky about software RAID, it's something Linux does very well and the RAID on the motherboard will be little more than software RAID anyway.
    OS - I use Debian CLI-only and can't fault it. I only really needed to attach a monitor to install the OS (from a USB drive - no CD drive needed) and some essential software but now it runs headless, only network and power cables attached. Just install the SSH server so you can log in remotely. I really wouldn't recommend a GUI for a server, IMO it's really no easier than using CLI as there are usually options missing so you have to resort to, and know what you're doing with the CLI anyway. Also it's far more frugal with system resources, as I said before I'm using less than a gig of HDD space for the OS and according to htop, only 29MB of RAM are being used! Of course this goes up slightly under load but never comes close to the 1GB I have installed. And I don't use swap, Linux manages fine without it, especially with that much RAM spare.
    Debian is pretty similar to Ubuntu when it comes to CLI, but with Debian you can log in as root by default which I like, with Ubuntu the root account is locked by default so you have to either use sudo/su all the time or mess about to get the root account working. Also Debian releases are less frequent, which is nice because upgrading a server OS to the next release could be a pain. But saying that, you could just use the Ubuntu LTS releases. Anyway, OS choice is just something that comes down to preference.
    Oh I should mention with my Atom D510 server with a single low-rpm 2TB drive I manage 90MB/s+ transfer speeds, yes that's megaBYTES per second. Probably limited by PCI network card (onboard realtek is rubbish, kept dropping the connection so I bought an Intel card which is rock solid) and HDDs in server/PCs.
    Hope this has been of some help.
    I think I'll probably use software RAID actually. After both of your recommendations I did some searching and the performance seems to be good. I can't just take the CPU out of my current build, what would I put in that machine? I definitely wouldn't run such an important system without chassis fans. I wouldn't be averse to a heatsink for the CPU though.

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    BTW, I would probably look at AMD Zacate.

    The Asus E35MI-I Deluxe has 5 SATA 3.0 ports:

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/mot...ards-preview/3
    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Yeah, +1 for Zacate, especially since you want low power!
    Low power is the least important of my requirements. However, the Zacate could be an option depending on the price. Unfortunately it doesn't appear like there are any available at the moment, and when things are new they're always expensive due to stock availability.

    Quote Originally Posted by dirky View Post
    Additionally, I also use debian. I also use a small 2.5" drive for OS and 3x2TB green for storage (RAID5 atm).
    I'll probably give Debian a go without a GUI. I know there are some Linux enthusiasts who will strongly disagree, but to me all of the GUI-less distros are the same. Because of Ubuntu Debian seems to have a lot of binaries already available, so that's a big plus.
    Workstation: Antec 902, Intel i5-750 Quad @ 4GHz (1.30V), Corsair H50, Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4, 4GB Geil Ultra Series PC3-17000 @ 2000MHz CAS8, 8800GT, 2x2x1TB Spinpoint F3 RAID0 (roll on EFI and cheap SSD!!!)
    HTPC/File Server: Antec 900, Intel E3200 Dual @ 4Ghz (1.36V), Akasa Nero, ASUS P5Q Pro, 9400GS, 4GB DDR2, 1x750GB Spinpoint F1, 4x750GB Hitachi Deskstar RAID5

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    Senior Member watercooled's Avatar
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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    Linux Distros can be very different, especially at the CLI level - Debian, RHEL, SUSE, for example do things very differently. Ubuntu is based on Debian, not the other way around and most of the common packages originated from Debian, Ubuntu is still pretty new. Because Ubuntu is based on Debian it is indeed very similar at the CLI although it's not exactly the same, this maybe where you get that opinion from but if you're used to Debian then try using Fedora you'll find things are very different.

    I thought you were replacing your current system, hence the recommendation to use that CPU.

    Zacate should be just around the corner, it might be worth waiting but it depends how soon you want it obviously.

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    Re: Ultracompact DIY NAS

    Quote Originally Posted by watercooled View Post
    Linux Distros can be very different, especially at the CLI level - Debian, RHEL, SUSE, for example do things very differently. Ubuntu is based on Debian, not the other way around and most of the common packages originated from Debian, Ubuntu is still pretty new. Because Ubuntu is based on Debian it is indeed very similar at the CLI although it's not exactly the same, this maybe where you get that opinion from but if you're used to Debian then try using Fedora you'll find things are very different.

    I thought you were replacing your current system, hence the recommendation to use that CPU.

    Zacate should be just around the corner, it might be worth waiting but it depends how soon you want it obviously.
    I know Ubuntu is based on Debian... but Debian has a tiny proportion of Ubuntu's userbase, so it's Ubuntu that's the major influence on there being Debian binaries for everything.

    Actually at work we use Centos5, which is based on RHEL, and tcsh.

    In some ways I wish I hadn't posted here... I now have too many options!
    • The HP server without changing too much
    • Zacate based machine and put it in the lounge to use on the projector, save me using my laptop. Probably the most expensive option (though perhaps just the same the Intel spec I listed and will have to wait until it comes out)
    • The original spec I listed but with the CFI-A7879 case.
    Workstation: Antec 902, Intel i5-750 Quad @ 4GHz (1.30V), Corsair H50, Gigabyte GA-P55-UD4, 4GB Geil Ultra Series PC3-17000 @ 2000MHz CAS8, 8800GT, 2x2x1TB Spinpoint F3 RAID0 (roll on EFI and cheap SSD!!!)
    HTPC/File Server: Antec 900, Intel E3200 Dual @ 4Ghz (1.36V), Akasa Nero, ASUS P5Q Pro, 9400GS, 4GB DDR2, 1x750GB Spinpoint F1, 4x750GB Hitachi Deskstar RAID5

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