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 Post subject: Building a file server / linux box please critique
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Australia
After trying to silent my existing old P4 Box and failing miserably (I actually made it louder!! ) I've decided to ditch the ol' box and build me something from scratch.

Goals:
- To build the most quiet PC as possible that can be left on for 90-95%% of its life
- Mainly used to store files, also used as a torrent box, and other small tasks (NO gaming / Media) - its a headless machine
- Keep budget as low as possible but high reliability

After two and a bit weeks of research, I've honed in on the following components:

Antec P182 Tower Case $219
Seasonic S12 II 430W PSU $93
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EADS x2 (RAID1) $310
Nexus NXP-301 Fan Controller $39
AMD Sempron LE-1250 CPU 2.2GHz $58
GIGABYTE (AM2) MA770-DS3 Motherboard $95
Scythe Ninja 2 CPU Cooler (heatsink only) $85
Generic PCI-E video card passive (already have this)
2GB Ram (already have this)

Total: $899

I'm open to better suggestions suitable to my needs. Keep in mind that I'm from Australia, parts are hard to source and I don't plan to buy from overseas.

How are the stock Tricool fans in the Antec case? Should I swap these out with some quieter fans? Or can I simply lower the fan speed using the controller to the point where I can't hear them?

Any feedback would be great!

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 2:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 9:20 am
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Location: Missing in Finnish wilderness, howling to moon with wolf brethren and walking with brother bears
Can you get 120mm Sharkoon "Golfball" Silent Eagle 1000 fans? Or Scythe Slipstreams, or perhaps Nexus Real Silent 120mm or similar fans. Tri-Cools are not bad, but there are plenty much better fans too.

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 Post subject: Re: Building a file server / linux box please critique
PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Posts: 822
Location: Melbourne, Australia
wlan-11g wrote:
I'm open to better suggestions suitable to my needs. Keep in mind that I'm from Australia, parts are hard to source and I don't plan to buy from overseas.

How are the stock Tricool fans in the Antec case? Should I swap these out with some quieter fans? Or can I simply lower the fan speed using the controller to the point where I can't hear them?

I agree with you about getting parts locally - it can be a real pain. If you haven't found this site already, Static Ice is great. PC Case Gear is where I do a lot of my shopping.

The Antec TriCools that come with the P182 don't have a 3-pin connector for fan controllers. You can turn them down with the included switch but even on the low setting it is audible, although reasonably quiet.

If you feed the fan 7V through the molex connector rather than a full 12V, apparently the fan can then run fairly quietly, but I haven't tried this myself. Buying some good Nexus or Scythe fans would be an easier better solution.

If you only have one or two fans, a fan controller may not be necessary, just buy a few Zalman fanmates or hard-wire the fans to a set voltage.

If the Ninja 2 comes with a fan included (I think it does), I would just mount the included fan as the rear exhaust but leave it connected to the CPU fan header so that the rear fan varies according to CPU temperature (if the fan will vary speed that way). I would block off the top fan exhaust area and maybe use a front intake fan in the middle of the P182 because your graphics card is passive, but this may not be necessary.

If you seal off the exhaust vents around the PSU, you won't need a lower chamber fan as the PSU fan will keep your hard drives cool. Both HDDs should be mounted in the lower HDD area.

One thought occurred to me though - an Antec Solo might be more suitable to your needs than a P182. It has built in suspension option for the hard drives. It's cheaper too - $50-$80 or so.

Just use the CPU fan from the Ninja 2 to replace the rear exhaust fan in the Solo as suggested above. If the temps on your passive graphics card get too high, include a Nexux 92mm front mounted fan intaking air near this card.

Another alternative that could cut your costs would be going with a NSK3480 mATX case and changing your motherboard to something like a 780G or 740G mATX mobo. Change your CPU cooler to a Ninja Mini and use the included 80mm fan to do a fan swap with the included Earthwatts power supply (if you're comfortable doing this).

You'd probably save at least $100, maybe $150 or so even, going with this last option. If you don't have an optical drive permanently connected, there would be room to suspend both hard drives in the upper area of the 3480.

Parts for all of these suggestions should be available in Australia, although you may have to get some shipped from inter-state shops depending on where you live.

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 Post subject: Re: Building a file server / linux box please critique
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:26 am
Posts: 177
Location: Germany
Well, the goals are a little bit conflicting :)
wlan-11g wrote:
Goals:
- To build the most quiet PC as possible that can be left on for 90-95%% of its life
- Keep budget as low as possible but high reliability

I usually take the more budget-oriented approach. Especially for a server that can be tucked away in some closet. So, consider the following some questions from the accounting department ;)
Do you really need top of the line silence? Does "quiet enough" (silent from 2 metersor so) not cut it?
If it does, I would ask the following questions:
wlan-11g wrote:
Antec P182 Tower Case $219

IMO too big and costly for a server. JamieG has already suggested some alternatives.
wlan-11g wrote:
Seasonic S12 II 430W PSU $93

How do you want to pull 430W? That is far in excess of your system's needs.
wlan-11g wrote:
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EADS x2 (RAID1) $310

Why RAID 1? Waste of disk space IMO. Backups should be external (read: in another room/building) anyway.
wlan-11g wrote:
Nexus NXP-301 Fan Controller $39

Why do you want to control the fans at all? It is not likely that a file server will experience dramatically varying loads.
wlan-11g wrote:
Scythe Ninja 2 CPU Cooler (heatsink only) $85

Why not the Xigmatek? About $40 cheaper.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:23 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:52 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Australia
Hey guys, thanks for all your suggestions:

Here's a revised list:
Antec P182 Tower Case $219
Seasonic S12 II 430W $93
Nexus Real Silent 120mm Case Fan x2 $36
Zalman Fanmate x2 $11
AMD Sempron LE-1250 CPU 2.2GHz $58
GIGABYTE (AM2) MA770-DS3 Motherboard $95
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 CPU Cooler $60
Western Digital Green 1TB WD10EADS x2 $310

Total: $882

A few answers to some of your questions:

- I chose the P182 because i love the look of the case, it won't be locked away and would sit perfectly under my computer desk. I must admit I have a soft spot for this case!!

- The box is located in my bedroom where my partner and I sleep about <2m away so basically, I'm trying to build something that is inaudible at this distance.
- The seasonic is the lowest rated PSU I can find at the moment

- RAID seems like a novel way to have some data backup recovery- I'll look into something else, I don't run anything too mission critical but it would be comforting to know that if something fails, then I can have it swapped over in a matter of minutes. Nothing enterprise here, although I agree that remote backup would be the best possible solution.

A few extra questions:

- Would I need the Zalman's if I purchase the Nexus' fans?
- Was the Xigmatek above what you were referring to ? Theres another cheaper cooler from PCCG Xigmatek HDT-S963 CPU Cooler $32??
- Are there better HDD's out there in terms of noise ?
- So far, would the components, Case, PSU, System fans, HDD's be suitable for my needs?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 12:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:50 pm
Posts: 680
Location: Sydney, Australia
wlan-11g wrote:
- The seasonic is the lowest rated PSU I can find at the moment

Corsair CX400?

Quote:
A few extra questions:
- Would I need the Zalman's if I purchase the Nexus' fans?

probably not.

Quote:
- Are there better HDD's out there in terms of noise ?

The 5400rpm Samsungs maybe

Quote:
- So far, would the components, Case, PSU, System fans, HDD's be suitable for my needs?

Should be fine - enjoy.

_________________
Main PC: Antec SLK 3000B, Fortron Bluestorm 400w, Gigabyte GA-G31M-S2L, Intel e7300, Kingston 2x2Gb Value DDR2, OCZ Vertex 2 60Gb, 320Gb 7200.10, 750Gb Samsung. Silencing/Cooling mods= Glacialtech 120mm front fan, rear Tri-cool on low, CPU HSF = std @ 850rpm :D
WHS: Antec LS-100, GA-MA74GM-S2H, LE-1250, 2x2Gb XMS DDR2, 7Tb
HTPC: Antec NSK2480B, MA78GPM-DS2H & Athlon 64 X2 4850e


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 1:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:31 pm
Posts: 822
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Firetech wrote:
wlan-11g wrote:
- The seasonic is the lowest rated PSU I can find at the moment

Corsair CX400?

Quote:
A few extra questions:
- Would I need the Zalman's if I purchase the Nexus' fans?

probably not.


The Seasonic will probably be quieter though. There are a few posts around this forum about the CX400 being noisier that the other units in the Corsair range - VX450 / HX520 / HX620.

With those components, you may be able to hear the difference between the Nexus fans at 12V and undervolted (presuming you are using one on the CPU cooler and one on the rear exhaust and no other fans). You may as well get the fanmates while you are buying, just in case you do need them.

Otherwise, all looks good.

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My PCs:
Main PC (E5200, G31, Lian Li Q07) | Gaming PC (E6850, X38, 5870 Vapor-X, P182) | HTPC (4850e, 780G, 3450, NSK2480B)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:56 pm
Posts: 15
i'd throw in some kind of extra storage for the system partitions, maybe a small, quiet 2.5" drive or some kind of cheap/slow solid-state storage (a CF card, for example -- cheap enough to buy a spare one, this way you'd still be able to keep the sole benefit of a raid1-setup to some extent -- higher system/service availability). it would allow/make it easier to spin down the storage disks when not in use for a longer time span. won't make sense in some use cases though (heavily used bottorrent box, for example).
you'd probably also want to get the second revision of GA-MA770-DS3 with its SB700 southbridge, instead of the SB600 on the first revision, which seems to have some issues when used in AHCI mode, as far as I can remember.
for a headless box, you could possibly be able to go without a video card at all -- many modern mainboards have no trouble booting without one, it would be worth trying. if it's not an option, i'd look for some very old PCI video card (s3 trio64, ati mach64 and so on), which would also be cheaper (probably you'd get one for free if you ask around a bit) and still consume less power/dissipate less heat than even the most basic and/or efficient modern video cards.


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