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 Post subject: Case/PSU for silent Avoton 2550 NAS/Media Streamer
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:53 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:38 pm
Posts: 9
Hi,

I'd like to build a low-power and quiet NAS/Media Server. I'll run Windows Server 2012R2 Essentials to backup a couple of computers at home, serve the Squeezebox and Plex and to have remote access to my files, so nothing that taxing. Essentially, I am replacing a 7-year old WHS v1 box that is too old to deal with Plex properly.

I'm tending toward the Avoton 2550, in particular the Supermicro A1SAi-2550F Mini-ITX mainboard. I would like the enclosure to have space for 4 3.5" drives and for an SSD for the OS. Other than that, the main thing is silence. Is is possible to build this as a fanless setup with 4 WD Red HDDs? If there are secondary considerations, smaller size is better than large (but not at price of noise).

I would appreciate recommendations for cases/PSU to help me get this done!

Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: Case/PSU for silent Avoton 2550 NAS/Media Streamer
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 6:06 am 
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Silence is of course close to impossible with four 3.5" HDDs. Also, HDDs like a lttle bit of airflow. Why not place the server in the other room instead?

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 Post subject: Re: Case/PSU for silent Avoton 2550 NAS/Media Streamer
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:02 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:38 pm
Posts: 9
Small European apartment, alas. I don't have anywhere else to put the server.

My thought was that if the OS is on an SSD, the HDDs will spin down at night when they are not being accessed.

But I am gathering from you that this is a bad idea? :-( Is there some way of having the fans switch off when the temperature is low enough with the HDDs spun down?


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 Post subject: Re: Case/PSU for silent Avoton 2550 NAS/Media Streamer
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:54 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:03 am
Posts: 5
Location: Europe
wigster wrote:
My thought was that if the OS is on an SSD, the HDDs will spin down at night when they are not being accessed.

I tried this some years ago with Windows XP and IBM/Hitachi drives, which have progressive power saving features (first timer unloads the heads, second slows down the platters and the final puts the drive to sleep - or something like this). Unfortunately the results where disappointing. Windows likes to "ping" the drives from time to time. Check the windows shared folders? Spins up the drives. Temperature monitoring software runs? Spins up the drives. Some unknown scheduled task runs? Spins up the drives.

You get the picture. Although some of these things might have changed with the newer windows versions.

What I finally did was move everything to my firewall box, which runs OpenBSD. I had some tweaking to do, exclude the storage drive paths from some daily/weekly/monthly script checks (file security checks, whatis database builder, free space checker, etc ) but in the end it did what I wanted. The drives remained in sleep until I wanted to access a file off one of them. But I'm currently not using this option, my NAS is in another room =)

Quote:
Is there some way of having the fans switch off when the temperature is low enough with the HDDs spun down?

You could setup a custom, M/B temperature based profile with SpeedFan or such but you would have to instruct SpeedFan not to check the HDD temperature and to completely ignore them (no SMART checks, no nothing) as that would most probably cause the drives to spin up. I'm not sure if that's possible with it though.


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 Post subject: Re: Case/PSU for silent Avoton 2550 NAS/Media Streamer
PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 4:29 pm
Posts: 125
A single 120CM fan at 350-400-500 RPM will keep 4 7200 RPM hot drives 100% safe.

You either find a fan that with the "5v trick" starts and runs at that rpm, or use mb bios/windows fan control, or find a mobo supported by speedfan.

300-500 RPM for a 12 CM = "as if fanless", impossible to hear if not a bad sample/product. So you don't need to turn it off or speed it up to improve silence or to improve cooling, as neither will make a difference.

/NOSMARTSCAN for speedfan is a must. Without that it will wake the hard drives to check temps.

If you know how to configure windows, never anything will "ping" the hard drives and wake them for no reason.


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 Post subject: Re: Case/PSU for silent Avoton 2550 NAS/Media Streamer
PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:38 pm
Posts: 9
Tzeb wrote:
300-500 RPM for a 12 CM = "as if fanless", impossible to hear if not a bad sample/product. So you don't need to turn it off or speed it up to improve silence or to improve cooling, as neither will make a difference.


So the Supermicro board lists the following under fan control

Quote:
Total of 3x 4-pin fan headers
3x fans with tachometer status monitoring
Status monitor for speed control
Status monitor for on/off control
Low noise fan speed control
Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) fan connectors

This sounds as if it should be able to support whatever I want to do with a fan?

OK so it seems as if I should be able to use one big fan at slow RPM. Does any fan work or I need to look for something in particular?

I'd still appreciate some recommendations for the case: a standalone NAS case would be perfect.


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