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 Post subject: MB for linux NAS
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:38 am
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
After a few days of research here, am starting to feel information overload. I am looking to build a quit and efficient NAS box and run a linux distro. It will run 4 x 1TB SATA drives as a minimum. Maybe run a db server, myth server and/or media streaming solution, possibly a portal server. The box will be in the study streaming audio/video content to DNLA devices as it's primary role.

Here are some requirements:

Passive cooling, fan control and maybe undervolting (basics)
Newer chipset, but don't think I require the latest here
Not sure which cpu type required, core 2/quad/zeon - core 2 the most efficient?
ATX form factor
It will be running 24/7, assume ECC support is better, but need to be able to manage heat in the case
No 3D requirements, so presume onboard vga would be better or a basic passive coold video card
Looking at 3ware PCI-x SATA-II card - hardware raid on linux - most MBs software RAID controllers don't have particularly good support under linux.

Appreciate any feedback and suggestions
Vance


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 7:21 am
Posts: 28
Location: Borås Sweden
There is good support for software raid using mdadm under linux, and then no raid controller at all is needed, just use the onboard SATA channels. There are some good options with a low power AMD CPU like 4850e and an AM2 motherboard with integrated graphics.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 8:44 am
Posts: 217
Location: Kingston, ON, Canada
Depending on how many hard drives you want to add, I would either get a cheap 8 SATA port P45 (a Gigabyte GA-EP-45-UD3R is ~$120 USD) or the cheapest 6 SATA port AM2 motherboard you can find (the Gigabyte GA-MA74GM is ~$60 USD), couple that with either a 4850e (~$50 USD) or an undervolted E7200 (~$120 USD).

The AMD setup will likely draw less power, but the idle draw on E7200 is pretty low to start with.

You should then be able to run that fanless, as long as your hard drives get enough air.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:46 am
Posts: 144
I am satisfied with my Intel S3210SH motherboard. Running Linux with software RAID.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 2:12 am
Posts: 2831
Location: USA
I am very satisfied with my ASUS M2A-VM mb, with AMD 4850e dual core CPU. This is a very low power 45 watt CPU. Runs Fedora 9 with no problems, and AMD Cool 'N' Quiet was automatically intalled and configured in Fedora 9 (even in command line bootup, run level 3).

I have a Xigmatech S1283 Heatsink that is passively cooled (included fan is not installed), but the HS is not far from the 200mm top case Tri-Cool fan on the Antec Mini P180 (running at low speed).

According to the ASUS bios, my CPU temp at idle (with Cool N Quiet) is about 2-3 C over ambient room temperature. The mb temp is about 9 degrees over ambient room temp.

Also using Corsair 450VX PSU, 4 GB of Corsair memory, and 500 GB WD Green Drive (retail version).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:11 am
Posts: 292
Location: Perth, Western Australia
vaka, I wouldn't bother with ECC RAM, Xeon processors etc. For what you want to do, I second the suggestion of an AM2 processor. I'd also go for a 780G based motherboard with six or more SATA ports. For under AU$500 I built a box like this with 8GB of RAM.

I notice you are in Australia. If you really want hardware RAID or other server hardware, check out these guys:

http://www.systemaxit.com.au/

They sell as-new but out of warranty hardware. I bought a couple of dual port Gigabit NICs off them for less than half price, and they were literally like new. I'm guessing they were sitting on a shelf as spares for a couple of years.

One final point: just remember that if you use a hardware RAID solution, and your RAID card dies, you are boned. Some people buy two of the same board just in case, which can get expensive.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:37 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 3:58 am
Posts: 757
Location: Formosa
1. Linux has software raid of its own that is stable, free but slow at building/rebuilding raid5. It doesn't depend on particular chipset or motherboard.

2. CPU doesn't matter anyway. Core is very energy efficient, yet Intel G35/G45 is opposite. As for ECC, I wouldn't bother it as cost is too high and stability improvment is next to none under your circumstance.

3. Gigabyte 740G with AMD 4850e seems to be a good pair for you. Integrated graphics, 6 SATAs, and cheap.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:46 am
Posts: 144
loimlo wrote:
As for ECC, I wouldn't bother it as cost is too high and stability improvment is next to none under your circumstance.


When I bought the ECC RAM for my server it cost almost exactly the same as non-ECC.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:33 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:38 am
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
Some great advice. I was surprised no one suggested using the on-board raid controller for raid rather than the linux software raid. Some of the gigabyte/asus mbs have raid controllers supporting raid5 - seems as if more common among the P45 range rather than the 780G. However, the 780G boards do have integrated vga with plenty of sata ports for linux software raid.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 6:55 am 
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Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:11 am
Posts: 292
Location: Perth, Western Australia
vaka, if you are running Linux, you would probably be better off running Linux software raid than a "fakeraid" controller. With the cheap onboard RAID devices, you don't get any hardware acceleration, but require proprietry drivers which are not always available for Linux. Linux software RAID is more flexible and portable. See here:

http://linux-ata.org/faq-sata-raid.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:39 am
Posts: 11
Location: Texas
Seriously, it doesn't get any better than linux software raid with mdadm

Most distros allow you to create the array at install time with a simple interface.

Tis would be the steps to replace a failed raid1 drive:
/dev/md0= array with failed drive
/dev/hdc1=failed drive

Tell mdadm that the drive is failing:
Code:
mdadm --fail /dev/md0 /dev/hdc1

Tell mdadm to remove the drive from the array:
Code:
mdadm --remove /dev/md0 /dev/hdc1

Insert new drive that is properly formated and has the currect partition layout and add rebuild array:
Code:
mdadm --add /dev/md0 /dev/hdc1


Or if you want to manually make an array on any already running system:

(after creating the partitions with fdisk)
Code:
mdadm --create /dev/md0 --level=5 --raid-devices=4 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdc1 /dev/sdd1
mkfs.ext3 /dev/md0



To monitor arrays:
cat /proc/mdstat
or
mdadm -D /dev/md0

Also configure the email address in /etc/mdadm.conf so that all warnings for the array will get emailed to you

To send a test failing email:
mdadm --monitor --scan --test

Also a good read:
http://linux.die.net/man/8/mdadm

It might look confusing but just search for some of the commands that I have used from above to get an understanding of what is going on (--create, --add, --fail, etc)


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