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 PostPost subject: Planning for a NAS: Build or Buy?        Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:35 pm 
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I'm planning on getting a Network Attached Storage box of some kind, as I need a place to centrally store all my music and stuff. However I'm having difficulty finding a really good one that isn't overly expensive (i'm looking for one where I can buy the drives myself and put them in rather than buying them with the unit) and that has all the features I want (samba, FTP, BitTorrent downloading support, and preferably some kind of web server). So now I'm contemplating building my own, but I'm really not sure if I want to do that since I'll end up with some loud machine chugging away in the cupboard in the hall.

My main concerns are noise, and power usage. I don't want it to use much power, since it will run all the time, and I don't want it to be very loud as it would be in an area where it would keep people awake (me included!).

I've got a machine at my disposal in the event that I wanted to build one ... a Celeron 333MHz with 32mb of RAM (i'd probably pinch RAM out of another dead machine making it 96MB), which runs pretty quietly, but whether or not it will have good performance, I don't know. I don't want it to be screamingly fast, but I don't want it to lag a lot. Also the Celeron has a 250W PSU which most likely will not be enough to drive the four drives I'd probably end up putting in it. (i'm shooting for a storage capacity of 1TB or more, possibly as a RAID5 array)

So, I don't know ... should I buy a NAS off the shelf, or should I resurrect this old Celeron boxen and try and make it useful? Has anyone here bought a NAS, and if so what do you think of it?

Thanks,

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:54 pm 
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I think it would be cheaper to resurrect the old Celeron. Beware though, the BIOS might not support drives over a certain capacity.

4x250gb drives will easily run on 250w PSU. I have a 250w PSU running the webserver and it runs 3 HD's + MOBO etc using just 130w of power.

You might want to be concerned if you're running bittorrent, webserver etc that 333mhz will not be very fast. My old 500MHz PIII struggled to be a webserver and the PIII had more performance by a long way to a celeron.

It might be worth looking on eBay and seeing if you can get a cheapo machine with at least a PIII. The motherboard is almost guaranteed to support the 250gb drives.

Let me know if you need more help :wink:

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:08 am 
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Yeah, my bet would also be for resurrecting the old machine. Regarding the bigger drives, Andy is right, but there are two ways to get rid of that limit if a BIOS update can't fix it: (1) Use a PCI controller for the drives, they are very cheap or (2) use a small drive the BIOS can still recognize to boot the OS and then have the OS itself deal with the bigger drives. The big drives are not to be entered in the BIOS setup then, just set them to "disabled". OSes that are able to handle drives that way are Windows NT and up, Linux, Unix and some others.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:54 am 
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Last edited by IsaacD on Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:32 pm 
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Hmm, yeh I think I will resurrect the Celeron. Though I'm looking around locally for better hardware, if I come across something better I'll use it.

Anyway, two things I'm thinking about:
a) I'm looking at getting my drives, and am considering going SATA. While I doubt I'll get any kind of performance boost over IDE drives (the machine won't get any kind of speed boost right? since it's such an old, erh, "legacy" machine?) in the future if I get a better machine I might see a speed increase there if I'm using SATA. So rather than buy four drives twice, I thought I'd go SATA. Is this likely to be an issue?

b) I'm looking for an OS. I'd like some kind of Linux distro or maybe FreeBSD but I'm having trouble deciding. I need something that will be able to run a Samba server, an FTP server, possibly a media server like daapd, Apache, PHP and MySQL (not under very heavy load, not accessible from the internet or anything), and a remote-controlled BitTorrent client. It'll have to run *comfortably* in 96mb of RAM, preferably a bit less so when later on I decide I want to run something else as well, I'll be able to do it without really bogging down the server. As I'm equally a n00b in Linux and FreeBSD, I'm open to ways to go. :P

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 12:01 am 
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a) I'd go for the SATA route. YOu'll need a controller card for the drives then, but they'll be future-proof if you upgrade your machine or reuse them somewhere else.

b) I'd recommend Ubuntu Server, i.e. Linux. AFAIK, it has no GUI, so administering will have to be done via the command-line, but with all the stuff you want to do, a graphical environment won't be a wise idea, especially with only 96MB of RAM. But it comes with a lot of the stuff preinstalled you're looking for. FreeBSD will be as good as Linux as well, so you could as well use this, but it might require a bit more work to be done by you to get set up, specially with using with X11.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 3:19 am 
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1) IDE vs SATA will make no difference for such a slow machine IMO.

2) For such a slow machine with only 96MB of RAM, forget Apache. Its too memory hogging. Try Abyss Web Server from www.aprelium.com. It has a native GUI etc and my dedicated website helps you set up PHP, MySQL and any other languages you wish. Its available for windows, linux, mac, freebsd etc but I only support windows on my website. However, most are the same for linux. Contact me if you need more help if you choose this route.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:29 pm 
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Update on the server front ... I just got my hands on an IBM eServer xSeries server, 800MHz P3 ^_^ but I need to get it some RAM and disks, which I'm working on now. This might be slightly better than the Celeron boxen :D

I'm playing around with Ubuntu Server in VMWare lately on my test machine, it's not bad. I'm still getting used to everything and finding stuff but I think it will work for me. Otherwise, I'll wait until Windows Home Server betas become available ... even if it lacks the BitTorrent support I want, it might still be pretty nice from what I hear about it. :)

BTW, the IDE vs SATA will still not make much of a difference on this faster-but-still-slow machine right?

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 1:34 pm 
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Nope, it only makes a notable difference if it needs to read offa the disk - something that many server program don't...

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:08 pm 
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Even then, the difference won't mostly be noticable. The only advantage SATA might have to offer then is NCQ.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 3:24 am 
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http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php? ... ight=samba

That link was very helpful when I setup my samba server. I would recommend centOS though. The procedure is the same for setting up samba just follow that tutorial. The only difference is you can use "service smb stop" "service smb start" "and "service smb retstart" in centos to get samba running.

I have a old HP Kayak xm600 with 2 pIII 800mhz and 256mb ram running as a file share, webserver, and it also does dvd encoding.

On a home netowork using 100mb routers and nics sata drives really arnt going to speed anything up. If you had a gigabit network then youd need dualcore xeons and satas with lots of ram to get realtime transfer speeds from server to client machine.

All in all I have one pc runnin xp home, one running xp pro and the server running centos and I get "in netowork" speeds at the most of 70mb/s because there are to many speed bottlenecks and I cant see speeding loads of money on cutting edge equipment just to get super fast home network speeds.

I hope that tutorial help you out and if you have any question just ask as sometimes linux can be scary when your new.


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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:55 am 
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Quote:
If you had a gigabit network then youd need dualcore xeons and satas with lots of ram to get realtime transfer speeds from server to client machine.


Thats rubbish. A mate of mine has a 1Gbps LAN and he has an old 500mhz PIII that can transfer at 700mbps on his network. Its the speed of the hard disk that counts, not the cpu/ram. SATA drives arent necessarily faster than IDE when transfering files on a network either.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:32 pm 
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And also, if you're running XP or 2003 as a server, it would be best not to use the same HDD that has Windows on it for File Storage on a network, it will slow all transfer right down, regardless of speed of machine.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Alexsis wrote:
And also, if you're running XP or 2003 as a server, it would be best not to use the same HDD that has Windows on it for File Storage on a network, it will slow all transfer right down, regardless of speed of machine.


I can't see how this would affect the speed. Once windows is loaded it rarely accesses system files.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:16 pm 
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Hmm .. well I'm still undecided about the SATA or IDE disks ... i'll keep thinking about it.

However, I think I've decided I won't go with Linux and will wait until the beta of Windows Home Server, considering its Server 2003 underneath, and apparently will be able to run custom apps via RDP, meaning I could probably run uTorrent with its web UI on it or something. That would be really nice. Plus nothing like a nice, automated backup that I can restore from very easily with a bootable CD. :D

While my specs won't be quite up to it (apparently it requires 512mb RAM? o.O ) it'll be fun to play with. And if it's crap, I'll go back to Linux, but still. :P

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:54 am 
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10 long years, frig the scene anymore.

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Last edited by IsaacD on Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:00 am 
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The new HDD might have been faster than the one running windows was. If what you said was the case with the CPU, then there is a massive bug in 2k3. It works great on my servers, both XP Pro with no SP's. I can get almost max speed on my 100Mbps. Just earlier I was transfering some movies from my dads mates pc which I was fixing, and it peaked at 92% with an average of 85%. That was the same drive as windows was on.

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 PostPost subject:        Posted: Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:34 am 
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i would build my own just see if any of your mates have any spare parts
p3 are the 2nd best for file servers p4HT are the best for me mine runes on it fast as out

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