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 Post subject: Small, silent, green DIY NAS: suggestions?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:58 pm 
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After passings hours reading this and other forums, blogs, and after long pondering I came out with... nothing.
I want to build a NAS able to manage up to 4 2.5" disks which is silent, small and "green". Since I want to be able to use it for some other stuff too I decided for a "generalist" linux distro (ubuntu server looks the right solution).
I fell in love with the Intel D945GSEJT (passive, no need for an external DC-to-DC converter, ...) and I'd like to find a way of building a system around it.

Problem (i): the board only has 2 SATA connectors.
Possible solution (i.1): install a PCI board with 2 additional SATA connectors;
Possible solution (i.2): install an IDE to SATA converter (like this one: http://linitx.com/viewproduct.php?prodid=11623).
I know both solutions are sub-optimal but I'm not looking at things like saturating a Gigabit ethernet. As long as it run as fast as an external USB drive I'm more than happy; but I want to be sure I'm not missing something that I could regret later. Opinions on which is the best solution (and if they make sense)?

Problem (ii): which case? I want it to be as small as possible and I do not want no fans. Drives like the toshiba MK6465GSX run with less than 2W and produce very limited heat so even "crowded" solutions are okay: the space is a priority. Looking around I've not been able to find a mini-ITX case able to host 4 2.5" drives of decent size.
I'm start thinking that I could use a small case with built-in power supply, remove it and use the freed space for the 2 additional drives, but which one?
I'm also wondering if a M300 from mini-box could do the job by using the space that is meant for the picoPSU...
Ideally I want to stay away from anything with a long side reaching the 300mm mark. Longer side <= 240mm would be great!

All comments and suggestions are welcome!

Ciao,
Davide.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:33 am 
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If I were you I'd look into Intel D510/N10 mobos like this one
Intel BOXD510MO

Thje 945 chipset uses a lot of power, more than the CPU. Also the Atom -330 and D510 have better performance than the 270 you are looking at.

You still need a SATA card, or else a ridiculously priced atom mobo.


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 Post subject: Re: Small, silent, green DIY NAS: suggestions?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:49 am
Posts: 20
morci wrote:
After passings hours reading this and other forums, blogs, and after long pondering I came out with... nothing.
I want to build a NAS able to manage up to 4 2.5" disks which is silent, small and "green". Since I want to be able to use it for some other stuff too I decided for a "generalist" linux distro (ubuntu server looks the right solution).
I fell in love with the Intel D945GSEJT (passive, no need for an external DC-to-DC converter, ...) and I'd like to find a way of building a system around it.

Problem (i): the board only has 2 SATA connectors.
Possible solution (i.1): install a PCI board with 2 additional SATA connectors;
Possible solution (i.2): install an IDE to SATA converter (like this one: http://linitx.com/viewproduct.php?prodid=11623).
I know both solutions are sub-optimal but I'm not looking at things like saturating a Gigabit ethernet. As long as it run as fast as an external USB drive I'm more than happy; but I want to be sure I'm not missing something that I could regret later. Opinions on which is the best solution (and if they make sense)?

Problem (ii): which case? I want it to be as small as possible and I do not want no fans. Drives like the toshiba MK6465GSX run with less than 2W and produce very limited heat so even "crowded" solutions are okay: the space is a priority. Looking around I've not been able to find a mini-ITX case able to host 4 2.5" drives of decent size.
I'm start thinking that I could use a small case with built-in power supply, remove it and use the freed space for the 2 additional drives, but which one?
I'm also wondering if a M300 from mini-box could do the job by using the space that is meant for the picoPSU...
Ideally I want to stay away from anything with a long side reaching the 300mm mark. Longer side <= 240mm would be great!

All comments and suggestions are welcome!

Ciao,
Davide.


For the MB, consider (a more expensive) ION-based solution. There is one bundle that includes 90W power adapter (fanless) and PCI-Express. You can find half-height PCI-Express cards with 4 SATA ports. I think there are other ION-based motherboards wtih 4 SATA ports on-board already.

As for a case, Chenbro makes a couple of mini-ITX options with multiple drive bays, where most mini-ITX cases support at most two drives.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:08 am 
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Location: Boston, MA, USA
stevea wrote:
If I were you I'd look into Intel D510/N10 mobos like this one
Intel BOXD510MO

Thje 945 chipset uses a lot of power, more than the CPU. Also the Atom -330 and D510 have better performance than the 270 you are looking at.

You still need a SATA card, or else a ridiculously priced atom mobo.


The D945GSEJT is on the 945GSE mobile chipset, and uses much less than the 945GC you are thinking of. It still uses a bit of energy, but the D945GSEJT idles just under 10 watts total AC input.

Morci: 4 HDD and no fans? You will need some sweet conductive cooling I would think.
I have a D945GSEJT as a MythTV backend and I love it. It is in a M350 case from mini-box.com, which obviously will not work for your 4 drive setup.

A word of warning though: with a single 2.5" hdd mounted over the PCI slot my "ambient" reading reaches 45C, well outside the 35C maximum operating temperature. The processor temperature maxes out at 80C during an mprime burn in, and idles at 50-60C. The NB heatsink gets very hot, but I don't have temperature readings from it. The NB heatsink is actually almost always hotter than the CPU heatsink, which may mean the chip is even hotter than 80C. But the chipset die is 2-3x the surface area of the cpu (I saw this when I replaced the thermal paste), so it may just be transferring heat better.

I actually broke down and bought a 40mm fan, which is much quieter than the HDD but has a faint clicking sound to it. A high quality 120mm fan should be much much much quieter than any hard drive, so you might consider renege on your fanless requirement and stick with the 945GSE for the power savings alone. (Max 1 amp from D945GSEJT for a fan).

Anyway, you will need a very special case to work with no fans at all. Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:16 am 
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why use all that for a nas? and not a simple sata port multiplier to lan adapter?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:11 pm 
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xan_user wrote:
why use all that for a nas? and not a simple sata port multiplier to lan adapter?

Is there such an item for <= $200 (~ D945GSEJT + case + RAM) with a base TDP <10W? If so that would be a good deal, though I wonder what sort of connectivity they support (WINS, Samba CIFS, etc)?

My box is serving as a MythTV backend, fileshare, DDNS FTP, etc. I wanted a fully functional Linux install :D

Looking back at the OP, you may be on to something.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 8:11 pm 
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edit: Deleted duplicate.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Location: Italy
andymcca wrote:
xan_user wrote:
why use all that for a nas? and not a simple sata port multiplier to lan adapter?

Is there such an item for <= $200 (~ D945GSEJT + case + RAM) with a base TDP <10W? If so that would be a good deal, though I wonder what sort of connectivity they support (WINS, Samba CIFS, etc)?

My box is serving as a MythTV backend, fileshare, DDNS FTP, etc. I wanted a fully functional Linux install :D


Yes, in fact. I don't just need a NAS, I want a full fledged pc so that it can be used for more that just file sharing.
I'm willing to give up my fanless requirement, but only for a very silent solution.
As of now I think I'll go for a NC96-510-LF. It has its own DC to DC adapter on board and it should be able to drive 4 low power 2.5" HDDs.
I wonder which kind of HDD are you using, I have a recent hitachi and a recent toshiba and they really run cool.
Since the power supply is now out of the picture I guess there should be a couple of cases that can be adapted to host a couple more HDDs...

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 5:37 am 
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andymcca wrote:
stevea wrote:
If I were you I'd look into Intel D510/N10 mobos like this one
Intel BOXD510MO

Thje 945 chipset uses a lot of power, more than the CPU. Also the Atom -330 and D510 have better performance than the 270 you are looking at.

You still need a SATA card, or else a ridiculously priced atom mobo.


The D945GSEJT is on the 945GSE mobile chipset, and uses much less than the 945GC you are thinking of. It still uses a bit of energy, but the D945GSEJT idles just under 10 watts total AC input.


Thanks for the correction/clarification. I hadn't realized that Intel put their mobile 945s on any atom board. The 945gse is a much lower power draw, but the memory access rate drops considerably (from 10.7GB/s to 4.2GB/s). Still, if the goal is low power then this is a very nice fit.

Intel's product spec places the idle power at 12.28W and the 42.04W
http://downloadmirror.intel.com/17597/e ... odSpec.pdf
I agree that case fans will be needed.

Interesting board - fits a niche.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:11 am 
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stevea wrote:
Intel's product spec places the idle power at 12.28W

Yeah, I'm not sure why I'm getting lower than their netboot. Could be meter error (Kill-A-Watt P3), could be less RAM. I also tested in Linux with the graphical output off (X running, but screensaver + DPMS etc). Not sure if this effects the state of the chipset. I also have several of the peripherals turned off.
My figure is AC, though, and a 20%+AC/DC conversion seems like a huge difference. My bet is on meter error.
Maybe I'll test some light bulbs. If I can find a high PF 13W CFL that might be representative (though god knows what the tolerances are on the integral ballasts).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:06 am 
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andymcca wrote:
xan_user wrote:
why use all that for a nas? and not a simple sata port multiplier to lan adapter?

Is there such an item for <= $200


Sure there is, however now it is clear whats really being discussed here is not a NAS, but more of a small home server. so the mobo route now makes sense.

To me a NAS provides file-based data storage services to other devices on the network. They are headless and placed out of the way so the noise from hard mounted HDD's and fans are not a concern.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:51 pm 
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morci wrote:
As of now I think I'll go for a NC96-510-LF. It has its own DC to DC adapter on board and it should be able to drive 4 low power 2.5" HDDs.
I'm also looking around for something similar. The JetWay page shows a small (noisy?) fan on the CPU heatsink.

How are you going to silence that fan?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:59 pm 
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quietdragon wrote:
How are you going to silence that fan?


Well, that's the idea. The heatsink is so small that I hope that a lager one would do the job. Of course I need more investigations...

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Keenly watching this thread. I am going down the same route and want a low power fileserver with a bit more power to do some other minor additional tasks such as being an SSH server, Apache, Squid proxy etc.

I already have 7 HDDs of the 3.5 inch variety in a big server box (which mostly sits there idle or doing simple processing) but want to off load this to a low power system but with some oomph - and hence considering the dual core Atoms. My current thinking is either

- An Atom fileserver with esata and a seperate esata duplicator housing more drives (typical cases only have room for one 3.5 drive or maybe 2 at most).

- This Jetway listed seems to have enough SATA ports and I have a spare Promise SATA 4 port card which I can use in the PCI slot. In this scenario I will need to look at the new Lian Li PC-Q08 case.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:28 pm 
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I'm also going to build a small home server using the jetway nc96-510 LF and three HDD's (1 for OS, 2 for software Raid). How do you know whether the board can drive the HDD's? I couldn't find any information about how much current one can draw from that 4-pin molex. Consider also that in case you want to use any fan in a case without PSU you would have to power them from the 3 fan speed headers on the board...

Board manual if you're interested (took me some time to find it): http://download.jetway.com.tw/download/manual/NC96.zip

I am going for this case: Spire PowerCube (spm210B) which seems to be the same as the APEX MI-008 reviewed on SPCR some time ago. Taking the PSU out (I'll just need a 12V DC brick to power the board and the HDD's via the board) there is enough space for a better heatsink (or silent fan) and three 3.5" HDD's. Good enough for a start at only 40 euro's.

Another case I've considered and might be a good candidate for you: CFI-A9849.

It can take:

. 5.25â€


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:52 pm 
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gogu123 wrote:
I'm also going to build a small home server using the jetway nc96-510 LF and three HDD's (1 for OS, 2 for software Raid). How do you know whether the board can drive the HDD's?


I do not know if the "you" is me but, as far as I know, there are no figures about the current you can draw from the molex. I'm assuming you can drive 3/4 2.5" HDDs, but 2.5" drives are quite a lot less power hungry than their 3.5" cousins.

As far as cases go I would give a look at the Morex 6600. It's cheap and plasticky but it's quite a lot shorter that anything else I've seen. It also has the mobo on the top (an interesting idea). Looks good if you want to host 3 3.5" drives. As for myself I'm still looking for something smaller that can host 3 2.5" drives.

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:24 am 
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xan_user

Do you know where you can get a low cost simple sata port multiplier to lan adapter? I have been looking everywhere for one of these. If you know of a manufacturer or model, please let me know


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 1:29 am 
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I have asked Jetway for more information about the power consumption of the board, how much current one can draw from that 4-pin molex and the noise of the existing fan. Unfortunately I only got a clear answer on the first question:

Image

They have also mentioned that they do not recommend using the board without a fan because of Intel temperature issues. I wanted to replace the heatsink and/or the fan so that's no news.

I think an external 12V DC 90W adapter will enough for my needs.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:30 pm 
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gogu123 wrote:
I have asked Jetway for more information about the power consumption of the board, how much current one can draw from that 4-pin molex and the noise of the existing fan. Unfortunately I only got a clear answer on the first question


Thanks for sharing anyway.

gogu123 wrote:
I think an external 12V DC 90W adapter will enough for my needs.


Maybe this is a silly question but how do you mix an external DC-DC converter with the onboard one?

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:34 am 
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morci wrote:
Maybe this is a silly question but how do you mix an external DC-DC converter with the onboard one?


No silly question, I had to look up for myself also how to power 3 SATA HDD's from a 4-pin molex...

I meant a AC-DC adapter (like the notebooks ones) that gives 12V DC current for the 12V DC input of the board. From that point onwards it's all up to the voltage regulator(s) (or whatever you want to call it: DC-DC converter, etc) on the board to provide the right voltage to the CPU, memory, peripherals, etc, because all of them want different voltages...

The 4-pin molex that can be used to power the HDD's (via molex to SATA adapters) provides 12V and 5V which is good enough for the HDD's (requiring 5V). The 3 fan connectors on the board provide 12V, again enough for normal fans.

The Jetway is scarcely available here in The Netherlands, the ones that have it on stock ask 25+ euros more than the guide price of around 100 euros. I'll have to wait to get my board a little bit more :x


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:55 am 
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gogu123 wrote:
No silly question, I had to look up for myself also how to power 3 SATA HDD's from a 4-pin molex...

Well, it was silly indeed, you were referring to the AC-DC power brick...

gogu123 wrote:
The Jetway is scarcely available here in The Netherlands, the ones that have it on stock ask 25+ euros more than the guide price of around 100 euros. I'll have to wait to get my board a little bit more :x


The Jetaway is not available at all here in Italy. If I go for it I'll have to have it shipped from some other contry... BTW: I see informatique has it listed for 108 euros but I can't understand if it is available of what...

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 1:51 pm 
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Oh, well, that's the story so far...
Let's start from the requirements: I wanted a NAS to replace a Lacie Ethernet Disk Mini. Something faster, less noisy and more reliable (at least for some critical backup).
It took me a while to decide what to do and this is what I ended up to: a mini-ITX board with an Atom D510, 2GB of RAM, two 640GB 2.5" HDDs, one 2TB 3.5" HDD. The idea was to set up a raid 5 composed by a 400GB partition from all the drives. The raid and the remaining 1.6TB of the 3.5" would be shared using Samba (that's something you can only do with a software raid: using 3 disks to have a raid 5 array and additional "linear" storage too). The raid would be used for critical backups, the bigger share to store non-critical data (mostly rips of CDs, DVDs and BDs I own). One of the 2.5" drives would be used as a system disk, the other disks would be usually put in idle mode to avoid unnecessary power consumption.
The first problem to address was the motherboard: I wanted a D510 but I also needed at least 3 SATA connections. Since I've not been able to find anything else locally I ended up with a D510MO with a SATA PCI card. My thought was: I'll use this instead of waiting forever for a better board to be available, when that happens I'll swap the D510MO for it.
For the disks I decide for two Toshibas (640GB) and a WD GP (2TB).
The enclosure I picked up is a an InWin BM639. I was hoping for something smaller but, again, I have to live with what's available.
I installed Ubuntu 10.4 and hoped for the best.
What should I say? It works better than expected. The BM639 with an ITX MB can easily host 3 3.5" HDDs (or, if you prefer, 6 2.5" HDDs). For my current setup that means that I have still room for another 3.5" or two 2.5" devices. The SATA PCI card (7 euros, including shipping, from ebay) works just fine and the attached WD GP runs at full speed (but I guess you can't attach more than one device and still hope for the same result).
The only complain I have about the hardware is how noisy the BM639 fan is. I tried to slow it down as much as possible from the BIOS but it still runs too fast (I could even run the whole thing fanless but hot disks are doomed to die early), I guess I need a regulator so that I can slow it down to the point of being inaudible.
I do not have a power meter at hand so I do not really know how much power this little beast consumes, I would be curious to know that.
Well, so far so good...

Ciao,
Davide.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 1:06 am 
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Hehe, forgot about this thread.

I went on with the Jetway NC96-510-LF and the CFI-A9849 case. Installed it together with 2 Samsung green 1.5TB drives and everything works fine with Windows Home Server.

I have already replaced the CPU fan with a more silent one, I am now busy to replace the other case fans with silent ones. Because the Jetway works with a 12V adapter, I have removed the case PS and only kept the metal part where the fan was attached.
I'll post some pictures and the whole story later on, with power measurements also.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:19 am 
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I went with a Fractal Design "Array" Case after i read the review on spcr.

Here is the other specs

Motherboard: Intel D510MO
Memory: 2x2Gb of Corsair (1.8v - VERY IMPORTANT)
Promise raidcontroller: TX4310
Disks: 4x 750GB Seagate + 120GB 7200 rpm 2.5" (OS) + 640GB Seagate for nonimportant stuff

Future plans

80GB intel SSD for os and virtual machines
NanoPSU

Power consumption: 65W-70W depending on load. It would be lower with a PicoPSU. And the idle-consumption with the disks spun down should be even lower.

I would like to post some pictures, but i cant since this is my first post.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 7:35 am 
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Supermicro has some Atom mini-itx motherboards paired with the ICH9R southbridge, which means 4-6 sata native ports:
http://www.supermicro.com/products/moth ... p=H&IPMI=Y

Those would make a sweet NAS, imho.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:06 pm 
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donald wrote:
I went with a Fractal Design "Array" Case after i read the review on spcr.

Here is the other specs

Motherboard: Intel D510MO
Memory: 2x2Gb of Corsair (1.8v - VERY IMPORTANT)

Why?

donald wrote:
Promise raidcontroller: TX4310

That costs something like twice the mobo. Are you using RAID 5? 10? Which are the performaces of the disk array? I guess this thing should be sensibly faster than a software array.

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 3:07 pm 
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Belmonte wrote:
Supermicro has some Atom mini-itx motherboards paired with the ICH9R southbridge, which means 4-6 sata native ports:
http://www.supermicro.com/products/moth ... p=H&IPMI=Y

Those would make a sweet NAS, imho.


The last time I checked they were also quite expensive.
That said, I've not been able to find a reseller here (Italy)...

Ciao,
Davide.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 11:30 pm 
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morci wrote:
donald wrote:
I went with a Fractal Design "Array" Case after i read the review on spcr.

Here is the other specs

Motherboard: Intel D510MO
Memory: 2x2Gb of Corsair (1.8v - VERY IMPORTANT)

Why?

donald wrote:
Promise raidcontroller: TX4310

That costs something like twice the mobo. Are you using RAID 5? 10? Which are the performaces of the disk array? I guess this thing should be sensibly faster than a software array.

Ciao,
Davide.


Because according to http://blog.revald.dk/post/Intel-D510MO-as-a-server.aspx the board will not post with memory above 1.8v


Well, i had the controller from another server. I havent testet performance yet. I am running raid5 over 4 disks.


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2010 7:46 am 
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Belmonte wrote:
Supermicro has some Atom mini-itx motherboards paired with the ICH9R southbridge, which means 4-6 sata native ports:
http://www.supermicro.com/products/moth ... p=H&IPMI=Y

Those would make a sweet NAS, imho.


there's a zotac intel board at newegg (new chipset, like h55.. i dont know much about intel chipsets.) anyways, it has 6 native SATA Ports.

though by my perspective, i'd like to see 6 native SATA Ports and still have an ide port. i wanted to use freenas, stick freenas onto a CF card and use a CF-IDE adapter to just plug it directly into the mobo. then have all 6 sata ports available for disks.


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 4:24 am 
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Fayd wrote:
though by my perspective, i'd like to see 6 native SATA Ports and still have an ide port. i wanted to use freenas, stick freenas onto a CF card and use a CF-IDE adapter to just plug it directly into the mobo. then have all 6 sata ports available for disks


You could also an internal USB header to attach a memory stick as well. There are good sticks with decent performances today.

Ciao,
Davide.


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