cheapest possible silent pc / nas
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Author:  AEmer [ Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  cheapest possible silent pc / nas

I don't have a lot of money to spend on this project, but I'm in need to a silent pc that can control my network accessed storage and bittorrent client. It may also serve as server of some silly small-scale programs, or do other lightweight work.

My requirement is that it run some version of windows - linux is great, but I don't have the patience for getting things to work if they're not compatible with the platform I'm on, which will likely be the case with some of the useful programs I encounter since I almost exclusively use a windows computer.

It must be an X86 type computer - a PC.

It must be silent - I have an SSD lying around I can use, I don't mind putting it on a piece of plywood or something, since ideally, it'll have no moving parts and I can put it in my closet to protect it.

Obviously, the big problem is the NAS part - everything else is easy to get, but to do the NAS job well, it ideally needs gigabit ethernet and at least 2 SATA disc connectors....and I need to figure out some way in which I can turn off the harddisk drives when I'm not doing backups.

Author:  lm [ Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

Buy something second hand?

Author:  michaelt [ Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

Not sure if it's the cheapest option, but the D945GSEJT motherboard seems like a good option for you. Fanless, fairly low power, gigabit ethernet, 2 SATA ports and a PCI port if you need to expand.

It also has an onboard DC-DC power supply. Not sure if that's sufficient for two hard drives, but if it is all you'd need then would be a 12V power brick.

EDIT: The D945GCLF2 or D945GCLF2D would probably work as well, but aren't fanless. Also, there's an SPCR review: http://www.silentpcreview.com/article987-page1.html

Author:  AEmer [ Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:39 am ]
Post subject:  Thanks MichaelT

I'd forgotten there was a pci expansion port! The that, this is probably the best choice...now, I'll need to design the case.

And yes, buying something second hand would be an option, except where exactly do you find something silent with a 1gigabit ethernet port and sata connectors second hand? =P

Author:  AEmer [ Sat Nov 28, 2009 7:47 am ]
Post subject: 

Ack..I'm now not so sure if it's the right forum I posted in...if someone thinks it belongs somewhere else, feel free to move it.

I have a question about turning off the hard disk drives though. What I want is for my system to automatically empty things like completed torrent downloads off of the ssd drive and onto the hard drives when the hard drives are on. I also want some elegant manner in which to turn off or turn on the hard disk drives...

Is there some kind of software I can use for that? I could easily make an RF remote-controlled switch to simply cut the power to the drives on demand, but I have a feeling that would be a really bad idea =P

Author:  michaelt [ Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:53 pm ]
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What do you mean by designing your own case? While it's possible, it seems unnecessary in a fanless system.

You could always just use any second-hand ATX/microATX case without the power supply, and suspend/sandwich the HD's.

If space is at a premium, there are a few cheap options. If you want space for 2 hard drives, the Apex MI-008 is probably the best value option. $30 at newegg, but it seems to be sold out: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811154091 . It's a bit larger than you need (has a power supply you'll have to remove) but seems good value, just get a flexible PCI riser to use with it if you need to. There's a review of it here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/apex-mi008

There's a few posts here about the Morex M350, for which there's apparently a custom IO shield and PCI riser for the D945GSEJT, but I don't think you'll get more than one 3.5" HD in there.

Not really sure about controlling HD power. In theory, Windows power management can shut them down when they're inactive, but it's not something I'd rely upon. All I can really say is to make sure you turn off Indexing, etc to reduce wear on the SSD.

Finally, there seem to be rumours Intel is introducing a new low-power CPU and mini-ITX board in mid-January, apparently with the X4500 HD (1080p capable). Might be worth waiting for that.

EDIT: Had a closer look at the MI-008, don't think it actually needs a PCI riser. Also, the MI-100 seems to have the same specs, and only a slightly higher price (and is in stock).

Author:  AEmer [ Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:16 pm ]
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Thankyou! Sadly, newegg doesn't offer international shipping, but since I'm in euroland and the dollar / euro exchange rate is heywire, I can get one of these thru ebay and it'll still beat the local prices of the alternatives...

I think I can probably mod the harddisk tray's out with a 4x3.5" internal drive tray, and the ssd can be happily taped to a bit of spare room inthere...

Now I'm wondering if I can be evil towards the included psu and tape the fan stuck...if it only has to drive 25 watts, and I use the included transformer on the board, I think it won't cook....

That would make it a very elegant little solution.

Author:  mark19891989 [ Sat Dec 12, 2009 5:47 pm ]
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will torrenting to the ssd have any negative effects? as it will cause alot of writes, especialy when your going to be downloading to it then moving files off of it?

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