First time post - though I've been using the site extensively whilst researching my new machine - great work guys - keep it up!
In short, I have a few PCs in my house with files I wouldn't want to lose on them, and no real strategy to cope with a failure.
At first, I found Buffalo offer a NAS drive with 2x1TB drives which can be mirrored. Looks good. Â£290 is quite expensive and the reviews say performance isn't great.
Then, I spotted WD 1TB disks for around Â£80, so Â£160 for 2. So I thought I could build a cheap system around them, run Linux on it, and achieve the same goals. This system should ideally run 24x7 (and could be used for other tasks) and the lower wattage the better.
1) I discounted the atom. The chip was nice, but the northbridge was awful - needed active cooling and needed about 6x more power than the atom. Terrible choice.
2) I then looked at Via board based on the C7 and Nano. I did like these, 1Ghz passively cooled, but the Nano boards were difficult to get hold of, and the C7 boards were very expensive at >Â£150 for the decent ones.
3) Build an underclocked, undervolted, cool system. So, I'm found myself here
My current list looks like the below and I'm really open to comments. I'm looking less for performance (as long as it serves files up nicely) and more for efficiency and quietness.
Enermax Modu82+ 425W Modular PSU - 82+% Efficiency certified, 1x PCI-E, ATXv2.3.
I loved the idea of the Nesteq but at Â£78 it was quite expensive. I also liked the Xilence but whilst I could find lots of happy people and the price was much lower, I couldn't find anything about efficiency - as they aren't screaming about 80+ or 82+, I suspect they don't reach it. This PSU seemed a good mid-ranger - good on price, very efficient, good reviews, and for Â£5 more I can get the modu version so rid of messy leads I don't need. The fan spins all the time (unlike the Nesteq), but is said to be 20db. I'm also thinking it might give me more options with regards to passive cooling the cpu if there's a constant flow of air... ?
AMD Sempron LE-1250 Socket AM2 L2 512KB 2.2GHz Energy Efficient 45w Retail Boxed Processor
I like AMD, and some forums (even this one) suggested I could get it to 0.8volt and 800mhz. If that can achieve passive cooling I'll be very pleased. The Sempron has less performance, but this doesn't concern me. Some forums suggested that being 45watts to start would mean it would be easier to get it lower, rather than starting high....?
The Tom's hardware article with the AMD 64 2000+ running at 8watts was my inspiration here, but I can't find *that* chip.
Gigabyte GA-MA74GM-S2H 740G Socket AM2 onboard VGA 8 channel audio mATX Motherboard
Cheapish. Gigabit ethernet. Onboard video.
Less impressed that I've lost a lot of the expansion slots (PCI etc.), but many of the fullsize Gigabyte boards pull me away from Gigabit ethernet or onboard video. I also hear Gigabyte boards are great for underclocking/undervolting?
Western Digital 1TB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 32MB Cache - OEM Green Power
Apparently very quiet and good for power saving.
Some issues reported with head parking occuring every 8 seconds and linux apps writing every 10seconds leading to unneccessary wear. Fixed by a firmware update if required.
Â£20. Hopefully keeps disk paging to a minimum.
Case, DVD drive, etc.
Just wondered what people felt here. From what I can see, I have 3 options. Remember that I'd just doing a simple RAID1 (mirror).
1) Hardware RAID. Perhaps the best performing, but can be expensive and sometimes drivers can be tricky to get for cards.
2) Software (OS) RAID. Linux can do this (all distributions). Uses CPU and bus, so performance can be affected, but on mirroring shouldn't be too bad. Favourite option so far.
3) Motherboard RAID option. Uses chip on motherboard + O/S drivers. Linux support can be a pain. Performance still relies on CPU. Drivers can be buggy (although this one should be ok). Can tie you into a vendor.
Some articles I read said about disabling HDD cache? I think that's a little excessive given this system will be a basic NAS, not a business critical server...
Apologies for the novel - any thoughts on this welcome. 2wks ago I didn't know anything about underclocking or building an efficient system, so now I'm just looking for comfirmation before I hit the "order" button.
Thanks in advance,