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 Post subject: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:09 pm 
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Posts: 5
Hello,

I want to build a semi-poor man's NAS. I thought of several things and right now I'm thinking along the lines of:

Gigabyte GA-H55N-USB3 or similar
Cheapest used i3 I can find
Cheapest used 2x2 GB RAM I can find
Semi-decent case (I'd like to have space for at least two 3,5 disks there)

The reason for the i3 and not a C2D is that I need USB 3.0 and there are no older boards with USB 3.0 as far as I know. It's still affordable though.

I'm considering AMD too and so far I found Asus E45M1-M to be what I need. It totals about the same as the abovementioned setup, except it's brand new and has lower wattage, but it's not as powerful as the i3 (may be irrelevant).

I also feel quite drawn to the idea of thin mini-ITXes with their external 12/19V PSU, however I have space for a standard mini-ITX, thin ones are more expensive and I'm not quite sure if a standard internal PSU for these is noisy.

So, to sum it up I need:

Linux compatibility
USB 3.0
At least 2 SATA ports
1 GigE
Enough horsepower to saturate or nearly saturate said GigE via Samba
Onboard VGA preferable but not necessary
All as quiet as possible without compromising the abovementioned requirements

Optionally, a mSATA slot, but I can live without that

Any comments or suggestions? Case suggestions would be nice too. :)


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Switzerland
aidenn wrote:
Cheapest used i3 I can find

Way overkill. Get a Celeron instead.

aidenn wrote:
Cheapest used 2x2 GB RAM I can find

Overkill. And would waste power. Use a single 2G or something.

aidenn wrote:
I'm considering AMD too and so far I found Asus E45M1-M to be what I need. It totals about the same as the abovementioned setup, except it's brand new and has lower wattage, but it's not as powerful as the i3 (may be irrelevant).

Not sure the wattage would be all that low. And it might run hot.
Asus used to sell a low-power version of the same thing but I don't know if it's got USB3.

Low-end Intel and MSI boards for Clarksdale onwards used to pretty energy-efficient if you want to look for a used board. Again, I have no idea what's got USB3 since I'd rather use eSATA.

aidenn wrote:
I also feel quite drawn to the idea of thin mini-ITXes with their external 12/19V PSU, however I have space for a standard mini-ITX, thin ones are more expensive and I'm not quite sure if a standard internal PSU for these is noisy.

Boards with DC input should be silent. Powering two 3.5'' drives might be a problem however.

I think your main problem will be finding a silent ATX PSU. Availability and prices suck in many locales but if you're OK with picos you should be able to find them globally on eBay. Try to get it from a reputable seller though. And get a quality AC/DC brick!

Get very quiet drives and the case won't be much of an issue.
If you're handy and the case is big enough, there are ways to dampen drive vibrations. Dumpster-diving could get you a suitable case.

aidenn wrote:
Optionally, a mSATA slot, but I can live without that

Pointless: boot from a small partition at the beginning of your big hard drives. Boot would be somewhat slow but such devices are typically rarely booted so...


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:57 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:58 pm
Posts: 5
HFat wrote:
Way overkill. Get a Celeron instead.

Yeah, but the problem is I can't find a single Celeron for 1156, I would have to import it and postage would make it more expensive than said i3. Same if I wanted to use 1155 boards - more expensive (I can have this 1156 Gigabyte for about $50 and 1155 boards run twice as much). This setup has the best cost among things I could find.

HFat wrote:
aidenn wrote:
Cheapest used 2x2 GB RAM I can find

Overkill. And would waste power. Use a single 2G or something.

I forgot - I'll be running many torrents at once too, with 150 Mbit/s Internet it can make CPU, RAM and disk all a bottleneck, especially the disk, but I want to eliminate the possibility of RAM interfering too and be able to adjust the amount of files opened at once. 4 GB should be enough and I ran into problems with 2 GB before.

HFat wrote:
aidenn wrote:
Asus E45M1-M

Not sure the wattage would be all that low. And it might run hot.
Asus used to sell a low-power version of the same thing but I don't know if it's got USB3.

I believe it is low power. I crunched some numbers and googled it up a bit, depending on PSU the measured wattage (both idle and load) of the E45M1-M is much lower than the abovementioned i3 setup (about 25-40 W idle and 40-65 W loaded, Clarkdales can't even dream of such figures). Now, obviously, if I were to buy a LGA 1155 board then I'd have access to a low-power i3, which would be comparable (though still a bit more power-hungry) in terms of power consumption, but also more expensive.

Having calculated this I think I just became more swayed towards the AMD solution. The only thing that's keeping me back is the speed because I have doubts that the E-450 is up to the task, especially if I, for example, had xx torrents open, watched a video from my desktop and copied files at the same time. I know my single-core Atom 1.6 would collapse under such load.

HFat wrote:
Low-end Intel and MSI boards for Clarksdale onwards used to pretty energy-efficient if you want to look for a used board. Again, I have no idea what's got USB3 since I'd rather use eSATA.

This Gigabyte is the cheapest Clarkdale with USB 3.0 I could find. And, unfortunately, I have a lot of quality USB 3.0 SATA enclosures and high-speed pendrives, which I'm not willing to exchange.

aidenn wrote:
Boards with DC input should be silent. Powering two 3.5'' drives might be a problem however.

That's a bummer.

HFat wrote:
I think your main problem will be finding a silent ATX PSU. Availability and prices suck in many locales but if you're OK with picos you should be able to find them globally on eBay. Try to get it from a reputable seller though. And get a quality AC/DC brick!

Thanks. Will a 120W PicoPSU be enough for two 3,5 drives?

HFat wrote:
Get very quiet drives and the case won't be much of an issue.
If you're handy and the case is big enough, there are ways to dampen drive vibrations. Dumpster-diving could get you a suitable case.

I'm mostly worried about cooling, because I want to have as few fans as possible and cheap cases tend to have bad airflow, so this would be the one thing I won't be saving much money on.

HFat wrote:
aidenn wrote:
a mSATA slot

Pointless: boot from a small partition at the beginning of your big hard drives. Boot would be somewhat slow but such devices are typically rarely booted so...

Oh, I wouldn't use it for booting, but as a torrent cache drive. Downloading torrents @15MB/s can bring even very good platter drives to their knees. I can live without it though, there are other solutions.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:25 am 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 603
Location: Germany
You want

Quote:
Enough horsepower to saturate or nearly saturate said GigE via Samba


So you are not asking for something cheap and quiet, you ask for a "big bore V8 Hemi"-NAS.

Have you considered how to silence two or more HDDs in any given PC case?

Because that will be the main source of vibrations and thus noise. Have you considered how much throughput your HDDs would have to give to reach GigE via Samba? How much MB/s is needed to saturate?

And finally: I cannot come up with a scenario where one would need full GigE throughput in a Home-NAS, you happen to live with 10 people all consuming different HD-Video streams from your NAS at the same time?


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:07 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:58 pm
Posts: 5
Pappnaas wrote:
You want

Quote:
Enough horsepower to saturate or nearly saturate said GigE via Samba


So you are not asking for something cheap and quiet, you ask for a "big bore V8 Hemi"-NAS.

Have you considered how to silence two or more HDDs in any given PC case?

Because that will be the main source of vibrations and thus noise. Have you considered how much throughput your HDDs would have to give to reach GigE via Samba? How much MB/s is needed to saturate?

And finally: I cannot come up with a scenario where one would need full GigE throughput in a Home-NAS, you happen to live with 10 people all consuming different HD-Video streams from your NAS at the same time?


Nah, I don't really need to saturate it. My disks can push only 80-100 MB/s anyway. I just figured that a machine that could do about 100MB/s through Samba could also do, say, ~50 MB/s and other things at the same time. I think an i3 should be able to do it, I'm not sure about E-450. I guess I can revise my requirements if that's not going to work, because I'd rather have a slower cheap solution which still works fine.

The thing about torrents I wrote above still stands though, and it's quite a heavy hitter.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Switzerland
aidenn wrote:
Yeah, but the problem is I can't find a single Celeron for 1156

Then get a Pentium. There may not be have been 1156 Celerons. But I remember there were Pentiums.

aidenn wrote:
I believe it is low power. I crunched some numbers and googled it up a bit, depending on PSU the measured wattage (both idle and load) of the E45M1-M is much lower than the abovementioned i3 setup (about 25-40 W idle and 40-65 W loaded, Clarkdales can't even dream of such figures). Now, obviously, if I were to buy a LGA 1155 board then I'd have access to a low-power i3, which would be comparable (though still a bit more power-hungry) in terms of power consumption, but also more expensive.

You are misinformed. People have famously achieved 15W with Clarkdales (but not with 2 3.5'' drives of course).
The "low-power i3"s are nearly pointless and aren't low-power at all, just underclocked (same as the Celerons).

The E450 board you're talking about isn't really low-power either and runs pretty hot. It's a Zacate. The corresponding low-power parts are called Ontario. But they're of course even slower.

aiden wrote:
Thanks. Will a 120W PicoPSU be enough for two 3,5 drives?

Yes. The only issue is reliability. Pick a quality brick. Even then, I'd rather trust a proper PSU but cheap, quiet ones are at best somewhat hard to find.

HFat wrote:
I'm mostly worried about cooling, because I want to have as few fans as possible and cheap cases tend to have bad airflow, so this would be the one thing I won't be saving much money on.

Get cool drives and airflow won't be a problem.
You shouldn't need more than one case fan if your ambient temps are reasonable and you're not paranoid about temperatures.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:58 pm
Posts: 5
HFat wrote:
aidenn wrote:
Yeah, but the problem is I can't find a single Celeron for 1156

Then get a Pentium. There may not be have been 1156 Celerons. But I remember there were Pentiums.

There were, they're just hard to find where I live nowadays. Same goes for Pentiums, I also looked for them. International postage costs nullify any price advantage they may have had over an i3 and their power consumption is the same, so the i3 is still the best priced option for me.

HFat wrote:
You are misinformed. People have famously achieved 15W with Clarkdales (but not with 2 3.5'' drives of course).

Wow, that's nice. I googled a bit, found the guys that achieved 15 W (despite my kinda poor German) and after that I actually found a guy who achieved 7 W at 80% load with H55 + i3-530 with some advanced hardware tinkering, it's pretty impressive.

However, it won't be of much use to me, because I'll be running Linux, which is notorious for its poor power management compared to Windows 7 and 8, so I definitely won't be seeing the 15 W. Still, 20-30 W in idle is a pretty OK target for me and I believe Linux will be able to at least reach that.

HFat wrote:
The E450 board you're talking about isn't really low-power either and runs pretty hot. It's a Zacate. The corresponding low-power parts are called Ontario. But they're of course even slower.

Adding a low-RPM fan on the heatsink wouldn't be that bad considering the price, and Ontario would be too slow. I don't think anyone even made mini-ITX Ontarios.

That said, I am an Intel fan, all my rigs are Intel-based and I don't consider AMD even for a second when I'm upgrading my desktop PC. However, a DIY Linux-based NAS doesn't need the power Intel provides, unless of course E-450 is really too slow, but the benchmarks I've seen look like it should handle what I want it to.

On the other hand, these Clarkdale low power rigs I've googled really piqued my interest. Also, Intel's GPU, even though it's a crapfest of crappiness in 3D, is better suited for Linux due to better drivers. I doubt I'll use it much, but should I desire to hook it up to a screen now and again, the E-450 GPU may work to my detriment, even though it's very powerful in its category.

HFat wrote:
Get cool drives and airflow won't be a problem. You shouldn't need more than one case fan if your ambient temps are reasonable and you're not paranoid about temperatures.

Ambient temps are 25+, but any active cooler on the CPU should take care of that. I know it will work just fine in any case, but proper airflow will allow me to further decrease the RPM.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:04 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 4:27 am
Posts: 1721
Location: Switzerland
aidenn wrote:
I don't think anyone even made mini-ITX Ontarios.

Asus had one with a bunch of SATA ports, obviously made for home NAS builders.
Then you had the ones made by vendors which are considerably less widely-distributed. The Asus at least, you could get pretty much anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:58 pm
Posts: 5
HFat wrote:
aidenn wrote:
I don't think anyone even made mini-ITX Ontarios.

Asus had one with a bunch of SATA ports, obviously made for home NAS builders.
Then you had the ones made by vendors which are considerably less widely-distributed. The Asus at least, you could get pretty much anywhere.

Oh, OK, my bad. I was looking for C-50 ones (since it's apparently more popular and they did announce a desktop C-50 solution, but as far as I see it wasn't released in the end), and there are only C-60 mini-ITXs. Still, I wouldn't want such a weak processor.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:47 am
Posts: 429
Location: Bratislava, Slovak Republic
I still don't understand why do you keep requesting i3... Get a Celeron 1610 (35-40 euros) + B75/H77 Socket 1155 board (50-100 euros) according to your requirements, and call it a day. Performance is more than enough for those tasks you mentoined. 20-25W idle power.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:12 am 
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Posts: 603
Location: Germany
faugusztin wrote:
I still don't understand why do you keep requesting i3... Get a Celeron 1610 (35-40 euros) + B75/H77 Socket 1155 board (50-100 euros) according to your requirements, and call it a day. Performance is more than enough for those tasks you mentoined. 20-25W idle power.


He will use heavy torrent loads, as many as his connection will bear. As soon as leeching/seeding comes into play, low power won't have enough performance, threadtitle is misleading a bit, though.

Summing up something like "performance per watt used", i can sense the sweet spot in an i3 or Pentium2020. Wouldn't bother with the low power ones, but would see that my mobo could undervolt, so i can have low power consuption or raw performance, just to my liking.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:13 am 
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faugusztin wrote:
I still don't understand why do you keep requesting i3... Get a Celeron 1610 (35-40 euros) + B75/H77 Socket 1155 board (50-100 euros) according to your requirements, and call it a day. Performance is more than enough for those tasks you mentoined. 20-25W idle power.


¿What about a Intel Celeron G470?


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:41 am 
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Location: Switzerland
The OP's actual reason for getting an old i3 is to match a cheap board. Hopefully the OP is not paying full price for such an old CPU!

Pappnaas wrote:
As soon as leeching/seeding comes into play, low power won't have enough performance

You can torrent fine with the weakest CPUs. Let's not be silly.

Pappnaas wrote:
but would see that my mobo could undervolt, so i can have low power consuption or raw performance, just to my liking.

The CPU undervolts automatically and the OS can underclock. Such mobo features aren't very useful at low loads, and are sometimes counter-productive since the undervolting boards often consume more power.
The CPU only causes a small fraction of idle power consumption. Undervolting is mostly useful at high load, not to lower minimum power consumption.


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 Post subject: Re: A relatively cheap, silent NAS for home usage
PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:39 am 
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Location: Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Pappnaas wrote:
He will use heavy torrent loads, as many as his connection will bear. As soon as leeching/seeding comes into play, low power won't have enough performance, threadtitle is misleading a bit, though.


There is really not that much difference between a dual core Ivy Bridge Celeron G1610 and Core i3. If a 2.6GHz dual core is not enough, then what is ?
http://ark.intel.com/products/71072/

Pappnaas wrote:
Summing up something like "performance per watt used", i can sense the sweet spot in an i3 or Pentium2020. Wouldn't bother with the low power ones, but would see that my mobo could undervolt, so i can have low power consuption or raw performance, just to my liking.


Please, take a look at differences between Pentium G2020 and Celeron G1610 :
http://ark.intel.com/compare/71070,71072

2.9 vs 2.6GHz, 1MB cache difference; G1610 is 2/3rd price of the G2020 - that is all. Is 300MHz really worth $20/€20 extra ?

@OP: buy G1610 + board of your liking, call it a day. It will have more power than you ask for. It will have a similar or higher performance than a Clarkdale i3 at lower power consumption.


Mamaun wrote:
¿What about a Intel Celeron G470?


Idle power consumption stays the same (~20-25W), but you are getting down to 1 core for the saving of 5-7€, which is pointless saving.


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