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 Post subject: Intel D945GSEJT build in M350 ITX case
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 6:16 pm 
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I recently built a FreeNAS server using the Intel D945GSEJT and the M350 ITX case from mini-box.com.

Goal was to have a low power always-on NAS.

There's no fans. Only source of noise is the WD Green HD.

Specs:
Motherboard: Intel D945GSEJT Mini-ITX
Processor: Intel Atom N270
Memory: Mushkin 1gb DDR2 SO-DIMM (laptop style)
Case: M350 from mini-box.com
PSU: Built-in to the motherboard. Used a 60W power adapter from mini-box.com
HDD: Western Digital Green Power 1.5TB
USB: Sandisk Cruzer 512mb (boot drive)

The motherboard has gigabit ethernet. Samba read speed is 33-35MB/sec.

Power draw: (Measured with a Kill-A-Watt)
13W idle with the HD spun down.
16W idle with HD still spinning.
18-19W when actively writing/reading from the NAS.


Here's some pics:
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Front USB connection for wireless card
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Motherboard installed. Sandisk USB boot drive in front.
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HD installed
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Finished
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Intel D945GSEJT build in M350 ITX case
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Posts: 395
Location: London
Lockheed wrote:
... Only source of noise is the WD Green HD.

Nice one & thanks for all the pictures !!
First thing I thought when I read WD Green HD, that's the 3.5", right.
How on earth would he fit that into THAT case, I wondered !
Never thought you could twist it by 90 degrees and just fix it on the HDD frame.

What OS do you use and is the Intel Atom N270 strong enough ?
Can you hear your system at all ? I mean, the HDD is the only noise maker, right.
I could imagine it's not audible anymore.

    How would the performance and power consumption of your system change by replacing the HDD with a SSD I wonder.
    How would the performance and power consumption change by using the Zotac GeForce 9300 iTX (incl 4GB) instead of the Intel (incl 1GB) I wonder.
Quote:
Power draw: ... 18-19W when actively writing/reading from the NAS.

I find it hard to believe, honestly.
That is so cool.

By the way ...what do you think about the all-around material quality of the M350 ?


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 Post subject: Re: Intel D945GSEJT build in M350 ITX case
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 11:50 am 
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Cov wrote:
Nice one & thanks for all the pictures !!
First thing I thought when I read WD Green HD, that's the 3.5", right.
How on earth would he fit that into THAT case, I wondered !
Never thought you could twist it by 90 degrees and just fix it on the HDD frame.


Technically it's only held in there by 1 screw. But it's fairly tight in the case, and the front USB header cable sits right under the drive, supporting all of the weight. I also cut up some small foam squares to put under the drive, where the PCI slot is, for support.

Quote:
What OS do you use and is the Intel Atom N270 strong enough ?


The OS is FreeNAS, which boots off a 512mb Sandisk USB thumb drive. The Atom is more than enough for just NAS duties.

Quote:
Can you hear your system at all ? I mean, the HDD is the only noise maker, right.
I could imagine it's not audible anymore.


If I'm within a foot or two from it and I really try to listen, I can hear a very faint whirring sound from the HD. But I'd pretty much consider it silent at that point.

Quote:
How would the performance and power consumption of your system change by replacing the HDD with a SSD I wonder.


SDD would make it boot faster, but that would be it. FreeNAS runs entirely from ram, so once booted, there would be no performance advantage. The WD Green drive is used for storage only.

Quote:
How would the performance and power consumption change by using the Zotac GeForce 9300 iTX (incl 4GB) instead of the Intel (incl 1GB) I wonder.


I'm not sure, but looking at Mike's review of the Zotac IONITX-A, he's got idle listed as 22W.

Quote:
Quote:
Power draw: ... 18-19W when actively writing/reading from the NAS.

I find it hard to believe, honestly.
That is so cool.


Thanks, I'm pretty happy with how things turned out. As this machine is on 24/7, I wanted to keep the power draw to a minimum while having tons of storage. :)

Quote:
By the way ...what do you think about the all-around material quality of the M350 ?


The build quality seems good. There's no rattling from the metal, and no sharp edges. The steel seems pretty strong, hardly any flexing at all. The plastic front panel does seem a bit cheap, but it's solid enough. All in all, I'd say it's a great case for only $39.95.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:37 am
Posts: 395
Location: London
Hey, thank you very much for your response.
The M350 cost about $40.- where you live ?

Let me see, $40.- are round about Euro 29.- ... now that's a little shock.
We have two big online retailer who have this case for Euro 49.99 which converts to about $70.- !!!

Life's a bitch sometimes.


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 Post subject: me too, but can't get FreeNAS to publish shares
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:22 am 
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Location: New Jersey
Lockheed,

I too independently came up with the same configuration and loaded FreeNAS on it. The only difference was that I selected a Seagate 1TB 5900RPM green hard drive the basis of some comments regarding the reliability/performance of the WD green hard drives. I also mounted the hard drive somewhat differently: I purchase a second strap and drilled holes in them so that all 4 screws can be used to mount the hard drive. This machine runs cool to the touch without a fan! And, I can't hear anything from it except at boot time when the hard drive initializes.

I had some problems installing FreeNAS. The LiveCD 0.69.1 i386 didn't seem to work because it couldn't properly identify the Realtek NIC. The latest download LiveCD 0.69.2 i386 seems to install ok. I can configure everything from the web interface. However, although Windows can see the NAS, it doesn't seem to be able to find the shares that I created. I keep on getting the message "\\Freenas is not accessible. The network path was not found." Any ideas?

Thanks. This should be a really big leap forward from my Maxtor Shared Storage Device that has served me so well for the last few years.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:43 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Wow, looks good.

Just wondering if you could answer one question for me Lockheed:

if you went with a 2.5 inch hard drive or SSD and mounted it entirely under that cage/rack area, how much space would you have to ghetto-mount a fan over the CPU / northbridge area - both vertically and horizontally?

I'm wondering whether I could fit a normal 92x25x25 fan or a Scythe Slipstream Slim 100x10x10 fan in that area over a passive heatsink...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:44 am 
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Location: noisy place
Did you use any heathsinks other than the ones that came with the mobo ?
What temps are you running ?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:17 am 
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Location: New Jersey
Here is an update on the unit that I built. There were two small things that I did wrong in setting up FreeNAS, but once I discovered them it works just fine. The only thing that I have to gripe about is that shares are limited to just one user, and the name of the share has to be the user name. This can be fixed by manually editing the smb.conf file, but since users and shares are logically separated by essentially all OS's, that same approach should be used by FreeNAS. But, that aside, it works like a champ.

One thing of note is that it works from the 24W (12V, 2A) wall wort that I bought from mini-box. Also, to correct my previous post, it does warm up a bit, although SLOWLY. After about 4 hours, it is warm (I estimate case temperature of about 30C). Hard drive temperature is reported at 44C. Since the biggest issue in making silent PC's is heat management, having one that dissipates well under 24W makes it a lot easier.

I'd post photos, but I don't know how. Perhaps in a later post.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:12 pm 
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Location: Eastern USA
JamieG wrote:
Wow, looks good.

Just wondering if you could answer one question for me Lockheed:

if you went with a 2.5 inch hard drive or SSD and mounted it entirely under that cage/rack area, how much space would you have to ghetto-mount a fan over the CPU / northbridge area - both vertically and horizontally?

I'm wondering whether I could fit a normal 92x25x25 fan or a Scythe Slipstream Slim 100x10x10 fan in that area over a passive heatsink...


Looks like you could probably fit a 92mm fan in there, just barely. Only about 2mm clearance to top and sides of the case, so we're talking barely. I compared by putting a 80mm Panaflo and 120mm Antec fan in it, and a 100mm is probably not going to fit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:32 pm 
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Dr_John wrote:
The only thing that I have to gripe about is that shares are limited to just one user, and the name of the share has to be the user name.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Are you saying that you can only have shares like \\Freenas\Dr_John ? I have various shares on mine, including music, video, etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:53 pm 
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Lockheed,

What I mean is that, if I have a share named \\Freenas\Dr_John, and I am user Dr_Bob, I can't use it. I must be logged in as Dr_John to use the share Dr_John. Likewise, Dr_John can't use the share \\Freenas\Dr_Bob. There is a work-around by manually editing the smb.conf file, but what should happen is that I should be able to create shares \\Freenas\share_1, \\Freenas\share_2, \\Freenas\share_3 and set access permissions independently of the share name, e.g., \\Freenas\share_1 can be accessed both by Dr_John and by Dr_Bob for read and write, \\Freenas\share_2 can be accessed for read and write by Dr_Bob, and \\Freenas\share_3 can be accessed for read only by Dr_John. You get the idea. This is standard on all OS's are far as I know, and pretty standard for NAS's too. It can be done on FreeNAS, but not from the web page configurator.

Jamie G, I don't think that you need a fan on this system. But, if you wanted to put one in, I'd suggest that you use the fan mount on the internal front panel (not visible in the photos, but present none-the-less). The air from it will go right on the heat sinks for the CPU and northbridge. The biggest thing is to make sure that there is natural convective air flow between the hard drive and the MB. With 2.5" hard drives, there is a huge space available for that. With the 3.5" hard drive, as long as you mount it from the top with at least two diagonal screws, there is still about 1/2" available. This seems to be more than adequate in my case. Besides, the CPU is running at 800MHz most of the time, so it isn't dissipating anything like as much power as it does when running balls out. So, unless you're planning on hitting this file server really hard, I'd not bother. You'll be introducing a failure mechanism and block the convective air flow when you get a failure. My two cents worth.... ;-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:32 pm 
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Dr_John wrote:
What I mean is that, if I have a share named \\Freenas\Dr_John, and I am user Dr_Bob, I can't use it. I must be logged in as Dr_John to use the share Dr_John. Likewise, Dr_John can't use the share \\Freenas\Dr_Bob. There is a work-around by manually editing the smb.conf file, but what should happen is that I should be able to create shares \\Freenas\share_1, \\Freenas\share_2, \\Freenas\share_3 and set access permissions independently of the share name, e.g., \\Freenas\share_1 can be accessed both by Dr_John and by Dr_Bob for read and write, \\Freenas\share_2 can be accessed for read and write by Dr_Bob, and \\Freenas\share_3 can be accessed for read only by Dr_John. You get the idea. This is standard on all OS's are far as I know, and pretty standard for NAS's too. It can be done on FreeNAS, but not from the web page configurator.


Dr_John,

Maybe I'm not understanding you correctly. The users only being able to access the shares named for themselves, sounds like you only have the home directory shared.

For me, I have various shares, like: music, pictures, video, etc. And each one is shared separately and is accessible by multiple users. None of it required manually editing the smb.conf file. (This more or less sounds like what you want, yes? )

Although it doesn't allow for the degree of control you mentioned, like read/write for certain users and read-only for some, etc. Every user seems to have full read/write access.

Did I misunderstand what you were saying? I am still kinda confused here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:51 pm 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Dr_John wrote:
Jamie G, I don't think that you need a fan on this system. But, if you wanted to put one in, I'd suggest that you use the fan mount on the internal front panel (not visible in the photos, but present none-the-less). The air from it will go right on the heat sinks for the CPU and northbridge. The biggest thing is to make sure that there is natural convective air flow between the hard drive and the MB. With 2.5" hard drives, there is a huge space available for that. With the 3.5" hard drive, as long as you mount it from the top with at least two diagonal screws, there is still about 1/2" available. This seems to be more than adequate in my case. Besides, the CPU is running at 800MHz most of the time, so it isn't dissipating anything like as much power as it does when running balls out. So, unless you're planning on hitting this file server really hard, I'd not bother. You'll be introducing a failure mechanism and block the convective air flow when you get a failure. My two cents worth.... ;-)

Ah, but I wasn't thinking of replicating Lockheed's system or using an Atom-based board.

I was thinking of using a Zotac 9300 wifi + e5200 + SSD + picoPSU in this case. Since cooling the CPU quietly with that little clearance room in the M350 might be a problem, I was considering a passive copper 1U CPU heatsink supplemented by airflow from a ghetto mounted system fan above the CPU and GPU heatsink.

Apparently this case can be fitted with mounts to go to the VESA mounting system on the back of a monitor, so I was hoping to mount the entire box that way behind my current screen.

Hence my question to Lockheed about fitting a system fan that way.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:52 am 
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Lockheed,

Well, you understand my goals correctly. And somehow you've been able to achieve them. I, unfortunately, have not been able to do that. No, I'm not sharing the /home directory. I've created directories for specific functions, but found that I can't access unless them I create a user name that is identical to the directory name. Users can only access directories with their user names.

I didn't spend a lot of time on this -- I didn't have it. But, I know that I'm not alone because a brief web search found others who have it. Also, there is no clear mechanism from the FreeNAS web pages that enable the type of sharing that you have described (BTW, I don't want these directories to be public, they must require a login).

Suggestions about how to overcome this are very welcome!

Thanks.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 7:30 pm 
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Dr_John,

I'm not sure if this is going to work exactly the way you want, but I'll try to describe how I setup my shares. Hopefully it will be of some help.

When I first formatted my HD with Freenas, I selected the standard stuff like UFS, etc. For the name of the mount point, I put "nas" (without the quotes). I left everything else on default, including the Access Restrictions. (This pretty much gives every user full read/write/execute access.)

Next, I created users that I wanted to give access to, under Access|Users. Gave each a username and password.

Then I created a CIFS/SMB share for nas, and it was simply \\Freenas\nas\. I used another PC and connected to the share. Then I created the directories for the shares I was going to create. So I created Pictures, Music, Video. Then I created more shares under CIFS/SMB and pointed each share to the directory, so pictures share would point to /mnt/nas/pictures, video would be /mnt/nas/video, etc.

(Alternatively you could probably use the File Manager built-in to Freenas to create the directories. )

Once all the shares were created, I deleted the first share I created for nas, since I wanted each share to be accessed separately.

So now I have: Pictures, Music, Video shares, and when I try to connect to them from a Windows machine, I am prompted for a username/password. I provide the username/password I created earlier under the Access|Users section, and I am able to access the shares. (I have 2 different users and both are able to access the files using their own identity. )

You could probably tweak the Access Restrictions and lock it down a bit more.

Anyway, hopefully this is clear enough to get you started. Let me know if you have any further questions.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 8:08 am 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Hi!
I have purchased the same board and I'm trying to boot it from USB flash drive like you did. But do not manage to get it working.
I always end up with the error message: "Reboot and select proper boot device".

The USB works fine to boot from on another PC.
I'm using a PNY 4Gb USB flash.

If I hit F2 during boot I can see the USB as device to boot from, so it is detected at least.

Did you have any problems to setup bios in order to boot from the Sandisk Cruzer you are using? Any suggestions?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:48 am 
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Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Finally I found it!
In BIOS USB Configuration, USB Legacy must be enabled.
Otherwise USB boot will fail.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:26 pm 
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Thanks !!! I think you're one of the good guys .. :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:59 pm 
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nice looking build. I hope to build a new NAS to replace a couple Buffalo TeraSations that I currently use. I am looking at the M350 case, and an Atom motherboard. Since you added the 3.5 HDD in sideways, do you think there is an oppertunity to have 3 or 4 2.5" drives in there?

I can start fine with 2 2.5 drives, but would like the space for a 3rd or 4th if necessary in the future.

I realize there are currently just a few Atom motherboards with 4 SATA headers, but I am hoping that changes with the pinetrail platform.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:52 am 
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Lockheed, Dr_John, Goodguy, and anyone else who owns this motherboard -

I'm curious about the network performance of this motherboard/CPU combo. I plan to purchase this in the coming months, and while I don't need to saturate my gigabit LAN I'm curious if it can. My understanding is that fast NAS performance requires 1) PCIe gigabit NICs, 2) fast HDDs on both ends, and 3) a capable OS on both ends.

In his/her original post, Lockheed wrote:
Quote:
Samba read speed is 33-35MB/sec.

The WD green drives are capable of much more that 33-35MB/s based on the drives I own (WD10EADS) and from what I've read online. If you don't mind me asking, what OS is your client running?

My home network is a mixture of Windows XP, Vista SP1, and Ubuntu clients connecting to an unRAID server. Write speeds to the server are terrible, but that's a "feature" of unRAID. :? My read speeds depend on the client OS. None of my XP clients can break 40-45MB/s. My Vista client is a notebook, who's internal drive can't keep up with my gigabit LAN. My HTPC dual-boots XP and the Windows 7 RC. In XP, I can't break 45MB/s. Booting into Win7 on the same machine, network reads hit ~80MB/s. I believe this is about the limit of my WD10EADS drives.

If your clients are running XP, you might consider trying Windows 7 (if you can still find a RC/beta copy). Windows 7, like Vista SP1, brings a much-improved file copy engine and SMB. You can read more about this here.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:15 pm 
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Coastie - You can probably fit 3 2.5" drives in there. You can get mounts for 2 for the case normally. 4, I am not sure, but you might be able to squeeze it in physically. But they won't be mounted at all, and I'm not sure you'd want it packed that tightly considering the components do give off some heat.

Jay_S - I installed Linux instead of FreeNAS and did see it break 40MB/sec, but that was to an older laptop drive, so the drive might have been the bottleneck. My client OS was Windows 7.

I tried moving the WD Green drive to another PC running Ubuntu (AMD 4050e on Gigabyte MA74GM-S2) and reads top out around 76MB/sec now. Writes top out at 47-50MB/Sec.

Smallnetbuilder had an article about Atom based NAS and they used a similar board. They topped out short of the PCI limit even with raid 0.
http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas/nas- ... nas-part-2

The speeds aren't bad for how little power it uses. But if you wanna saturate gigabit, I don't think this is the right board.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:56 am 
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that cool, i didnt know you could fit 3.5" drives in there ,i was gona use that case for my mediapc/file server, but i wanted more storage then a laptop drive could provide.

so insted i went matx , if i could find a mini-itx case that could hold 2 standard hard drive i would rebuild my server in no time.

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 Post subject: Throughput speeds...
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:27 am 
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The speeds aren't bad for how little power it uses. But if you wanna saturate gigabit, I don't think this is the right board.

I suspect the board can transfer data much quicker (I have the same hardwre but can't prove it yet):

I was chatting to a friend about this today (he is a systems administrator and also has the various Cisco quals) and he reckons that the botleneck is Samba. Even with the non-Intel Gigabit nics he is now getting about 330 mb/sec..using ssh..and he thinks the limit is now the processor in that it can't code stuff quickly enough for ssh. This was despite the processor being 4 core...but he seems to think that ssh can only use one core and it is that which is being maxed out.

I asked him why nobody does anything about the limitation of Samba..but he reckoned that people just accept it for what it is.

Food for thought maybe..hope this helps. :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:41 pm 
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I read an article (can't find the darn link again) about trying to saturate a gigabit network. They tried all combos of software and hardware, RAID, SSD, etc. The only way they were able to get close to the therotical limit was to trasnfer large files from memory to memory (ram disk to ram disk if I remember correctly) The bottleneck was always the HDD/SSD or the bus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:23 pm 
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Found that link... but I need >3 posts to be able to post it lol


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2009 3:23 pm 
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http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gig ... ,2321.html


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 Post subject: Re: Throughput speeds...
PostPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:32 pm 
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dawnpatrol wrote:
I suspect the board can transfer data much quicker (I have the same hardwre but can't prove it yet):

I was chatting to a friend about this today (he is a systems administrator and also has the various Cisco quals) and he reckons that the botleneck is Samba. Even with the non-Intel Gigabit nics he is now getting about 330 mb/sec..using ssh..and he thinks the limit is now the processor in that it can't code stuff quickly enough for ssh. This was despite the processor being 4 core...but he seems to think that ssh can only use one core and it is that which is being maxed out.


I think you are reading the speeds wrong. The figures I posted are MegaBytes per second, not megabits.

The hard drive would become the bottleneck if it was any faster anyway, and you'd need some sort of RAID to boost the read/write speeds. And then you approach the theoretical maximum transfer speed of Gigabit.

While samba may still be the bottleneck, it's not SO far off the mark that I don't see the relevance of your ssh 330 mb/sec figure. I mean 330 MegaBytes per second EXCEEDS the theoretical maximum throughput on Gigabit, so that can't be it. And I've already posted figured beating those numbers if you meant 330 Megabits per second.


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