Guide To Building A Media Storage Server - Page 31 - AVS Forum
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post #901 of 7891 Old 11-12-2008, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_B View Post

Is this the right thread to ask about configuration setups? If so, i wanted to get some feedback on this setup I proposed. I seem to keep getting lost in the shuffle of actual problems that people are encountering and perhaps I am not posting in the most logical place??
Thanks
-Dan

Dan,

I am a big fan of the Seagate 1 TB ES.2 drives. You will need HDD firmware AN05 for best compatibility with SAS RAID cards. I hear the Areca 1680 cards have the IOP348, which is supposed to be blazing fast. If you only need 8 drives the Highpoint 3520 runs an Intel IOP341 which is also very fast and is only $400, which is what I run.

As far as motherboard and processor, it really depends on how much load you are going to put on the server for non-RAID tasks. The file serving should have little impact.

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post #902 of 7891 Old 11-12-2008, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

Dan,

I am a big fan of the Seagate 1 TB ES.2 drives. You will need HDD firmware AN05 for best compatibility with SAS RAID cards. I hear the Areca 1680 cards have the IOP348, which is supposed to be blazing fast. If you only need 8 drives the Highpoint 3520 runs an Intel IOP341 which is also very fast and is only $400, which is what I run.

As far as motherboard and processor, it really depends on how much load you are going to put on the server for non-RAID tasks. The file serving should have little impact.

Thanks Lifespeed; I am choosing the Areca 1680x controller so I can add more drives in the near future. The system is being built for future expansion. While I could buy an 8 port SAS card for the drives, it is from what I can tell actually cheaper to buy a 16 port SAS card now as opposed to buying 2 8 port SAS controllers (not to mention the wasting of a valuable x8 expansion slot).

I am curious, has anyone actually measured the decibel output of the their Norco case? Also, I would really be happy going with a 16 bay Supermicro case if I can keep it reasonably quiet. It will be in an office upstairs away from the actual viewing areas, but I still would like to keep the noise down as much as possible. That is one thing that attracted me to the SM case I am leaning towards, as it claims to have very low decibels

The system will also be used for VMWare (for work) which is why at first glance it seems overkill for simple file sharing

-Dan
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post #903 of 7891 Old 11-12-2008, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendustweb View Post

I am not sure what you mean in terms of SAS. I am using the standard backplane that came with the Norco 4020. I simply plugged my hard drives into the drive bays. I assume I am using the SATA connectors. On my backplane, there is only one place to connect the drives and it is a bunch of SATA connectors. I know the connectors are hooked to the ports. For instance, I am running 4 drives on the lower row of the backplane. Each of the connectors runs to my motherboard.

Attachment 124305

Attachment 124306

Attachment 124307

Attachment 124308

Ah, you have the new norco backplane. It looks like everything is hooked up right. If you move the WD drive tray to a slot that works with a seagate fine, does the WD still not work? Are there jumpers on the WD drives?
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post #904 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Ah, you have the new norco backplane. It looks like everything is hooked up right. If you move the WD drive tray to a slot that works with a seagate fine, does the WD still not work? Are there jumpers on the WD drives?

There are no jumpers on the WD drives. Also, if I move them to another drive bay, the same result occurs. Norco is sending me some new backplanes, but I wanted to make damn sure this is not a compatibility issue with my motherboard (Intel DG965WH).
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post #905 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 04:54 AM
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Could anyone recomend an Operating System for me for a fileserver? Atm the HW I have is the following.

- Tyan Tomcat n3400+CPU and RAM.
- Highpoint Rocketraid 2320 (8 port SATA card)
- Adaptec 3805 (9 port SATA card)
- 2x Addonics 1-to-5 splitter cards.
- 14 Samsung 1TB disks
- 8 Samsung 0.5 TB disks

What Operating System would I get the most out of with this HW?
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post #906 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 05:28 AM
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Hi Karakas:

That all depends on several factors; some that come to mind are:

1) Do you prefer to tinker or just make things work? If you want things to "just work", it seems that Windows Home Server (based on Windows Server 2003) has been very reliable for many members here. I believe there is a 4 month trial being offered right now from Microsoft;

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/pro...r/default.mspx

2) There is the UNRaid option (it runs a specialized Slackware Linux platform on a USB keyfob) but it has some cost associated with it as well.

http://lime-technology.com/

If you go option 1 or 2, I am not sure you would be able to take advantage of your RAID cards.

3) Linux with or without hardware RAID also works well.

I myself prefer Linux because I don't have to pay for an expensive OS license AND I have been working with Linux for some years. WHS (Windows Home Server) and unRAID, negate some of that argument however.

-Dan
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post #907 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 05:48 AM
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I am running WHS on another computer but that computer is working up against my desktop/laptop computers that I want to keep separated from the media network. And I am not really sure if I trust MS computers with my media library.

UNRaid I'm not sure of. My raid cards are not listed in their very small HCL, but I guess if it works under Linux it works under Unraid? And the licence is harddisk based. And I don't like that at all.

Linux is tempting and as with Windows both my cards should work perfectly. But what is the best way to go here? I don't want to loose my data if the controller or the OS disk dies.

I'm running ZFS now, and really like the way that everything is on the disks so that I can just move it over to another computer (export and import) if I want to. But I'm having some other problems that makes me want to try other things.
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post #908 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 06:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karakas View Post

I am running WHS on another computer but that computer is working up against my desktop/laptop computers that I want to keep separated from the media network. And I am not really sure if I trust MS computers with my media library.

UNRaid I'm not sure of. My raid cards are not listed in their very small HCL, but I guess if it works under Linux it works under Unraid? And the licence is harddisk based. And I don't like that at all.

Linux is tempting and as with Windows both my cards should work perfectly. But what is the best way to go here? I don't want to loose my data if the controller or the OS disk dies.

I'm running ZFS now, and really like the way that everything is on the disks so that I can just move it over to another computer (export and import) if I want to. But I'm having some other problems that makes me want to try other things.

Hmm, well I understand your quandry For myself, I plan to use RAID 6 as the primary means of protection for my media and also use eSATA drives as an additional layer of backup. That way should the RAID itself fail, the media data will be backed up on portable drive media; I am also toying around with using an unRAID solution as an additional layer of protection. Experience has taught me that RAID does fail and you cannot depend on it solely for protecting important data (I am sure you know this of course).

I do not know anything about ZFS aside from what I have read here, so I cannot say much about it.

I am right there with you with WHS; I work with Windows 2003 day in and out and I will say it is a pretty robust OS, but for my personal collection, I prefer Linux.

I would recommend you give Linux a go given what you have said above.

-Dan
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post #909 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 06:26 AM
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Thanks, is it Ubuntu, or perhaps Debian that is recomended?
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post #910 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 06:28 AM
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I use Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Long Term Support) which is a deb derivative. However, CENTOS (Open Source version of Red Hat Enterprise) is also very good; I have not used it in a while however. Ubuntu has been the flavor of the house lately

-Dan
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post #911 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karakas View Post

UNRaid I'm not sure of. My raid cards are not listed in their very small HCL, but I guess if it works under Linux it works under Unraid? And the licence is harddisk based. And I don't like that at all.

unRAID works with basic SATA ports and controllers, no need for a raid card.
The license is tied to the USB Key's serial number (like a dongle). So you can move it to any machine you need without issue. If the USB key dies for some reason, you can usually just request a replacement key.
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post #912 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 06:35 AM
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WeeboTech: Yes, but what I meant is that if you want to add more harddrives you need to buy a new licence.

Dan_B: Thanks I'll give that a try once I recieve my new batch of harddrives.
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post #913 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karakas View Post

WeeboTech: Yes, but what I meant is that if you want to add more harddrives you need to buy a new licence.

Lime Technology does have upgrade options.
In addition, A PRO License is reasonable considering you have unlimited upgrades after the purchase. Lime Technology is going to eventually expand the amount of drives to 32 for a PRO license. So A pro license today, will eventually have max capability later on. (for the same initial cost).
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post #914 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alamone View Post

The Seagates never gave me problems in that regard. The only thing about the Seagates is that with the 7200.11 series, the LED is constantly on even without disk access, and gets brighter with disk access. Whereas the older generation Seagates would be off with no disk access, and get normal brightness for disk access.

My experience is as follows:

7200.10 (320GB) LEDs are only lit during access
ES.2 (1TB) LEDs are only lit during access
7200.11 (1.5TB) LEDs are always lit (flickers during access)

I have 8 of each drive type above in a R6 array. All are connected to the same backplane of a SuperMicro chassis using an Areca 1170 controller.
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post #915 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pclausen View Post

My experience is as follows:

7200.10 (320GB) LEDs are only lit during access
ES.2 (1TB) LEDs are only lit during access
7200.11 (1.5TB) LEDs are always lit (flickers during access)

I have 8 of each drive type above in a R6 array. All are connected to the same backplane of a SuperMicro chassis using an Areca 1170 controller.

My 1 TB 7200.11's power light (green in the norco rpc-4020) is always on, but the activity light flicks on with activity. This is the same for the hitachi 1 TB drives too. I have 7 of each.

This was true when it was connected to a marvell controller via PMP's, and the same when connected to the PCI-E LSI SAS controllers.
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post #916 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendustweb View Post

There are no jumpers on the WD drives. Also, if I move them to another drive bay, the same result occurs. Norco is sending me some new backplanes, but I wanted to make damn sure this is not a compatibility issue with my motherboard (Intel DG965WH).

Well, if the same backplane slot works for the 7200.11 but not for the WD drive, then there is something weird about either the drive or the controller. I don't think it's the controller, as I think that has the ICH6R southbridge which should work. Tell me, is the disk controller operating in AHCI mode or IDE mode? Try it in AHCI mode and see what happens.
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post #917 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Well, if the same backplane slot works for the 7200.11 but not for the WD drive, then there is something weird about either the drive or the controller. I don't think it's the controller, as I think that has the ICH6R southbridge which should work. Tell me, is the disk controller operating in AHCI mode or IDE mode? Try it in AHCI mode and see what happens.

It is running in IDE mode. I will try it in AHCI mode tonight. Even if I remove the WD drives from the backplane, the Seagate drives are still not recognized by the motherboard BIOS. I am going to test using a different motherboard tonight to see if it makes a difference. Norco is sending me 5 replacement backplanes to test.

I would much rather it be a backplane problem than anything else. If it's a motherboard problem, I will have to suck it up and buy something that will work with this case.

Am I missing something here? Do I need to screw the drives into the bay before inserting the bay into the case? I know that sounds elementary, but it seems that screws aren't necessary when installing the drives.
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post #918 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 11:39 AM
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seven, ok wait a minute.
May be I'm confused.
I though the Seagate drives could be seen, but not the WD's ?


1. IDE vs AHCI modes
You're running in IDE mode - ok fine.
You know that in IDE mode you cannot hotswap drives while the system is running, right ? You need to power down, change drives then power up.

AHCI allows live hot-swapping drives - except the system OS drive of course unless that's on a raid 1 mirror (but that's not relevant here), then slide the tray (with the drive screwed onto it) into the bay slowly. The SATA connector should engage into the backplane without much effort.

2. Are you saying you haven't used any screws when placing the drives into the drive bay TRAYS themselves ?

Since I don't have a 4020 here, I had to borrow a pic off the net of the drive tray.




Use at 2 screws (one on each side diagonal prefered) when placing the drive into the tray. The SATA port on the drive itself should be pointing to the open end of the tray (sorry I know this is obvious but..)
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post #919 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiBz View Post

seven, ok wait a minute.
May be I'm confused.
I though the Seagate drives could be seen, but not the WD's ?


1. IDE vs AHCI modes
You're running in IDE mode - ok fine.
You know that in IDE mode you cannot hotswap drives while the system is running, right ? You need to power down, change drives then power up.

AHCI allows live hot-swapping drives - except the system OS drive of course unless that's on a raid 1 mirror (but that's not relevant here), then slide the tray (with the drive screwed onto it) into the bay slowly. The SATA connector should engage into the backplane without much effort.

2. Are you saying you haven't used any screws when placing the drives into the drive bay TRAYS themselves ?

Since I don't have a 4020 here, I had to borrow a pic off the net of the drive tray.




Use at 2 screws (one on each side diagonal prefered) when placing the drive into the tray. The SATA port on the drive itself should be pointing to the open end of the tray (sorry I know this is obvious but..)

Very interesting. I will definitely try using AHCI tonight. You are somewhat correct about the drives. The Seagate drives light up when inserted into the drive bay indicating that they are receiving power. The WD drives do not light up when inserted, thus indicating that they may not be receiving power. Regardless, none of the hard drives is recognized in BIOS when plugged in via the backplane, and thus, the O/S does not recognize them either. I will screw the drives in tonight and see if that has an effect.
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post #920 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miimura View Post

I think the point is that the hot-swap drive bay can mechanically accept either a SAS disk or a SATA disk. The controller or expander will figure out the signalling when it's plugged in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifespeed View Post

That assumes the backplane is just a 'dumb' circuit board consisting of traces to connect the SFF-8087 4-lane connector to the HDD connectors. I think the Norco backplane, or at least early versions had separate SATA and SAS connectors for the HDDs (same connector, obviously, but different color).

I guess I wasn't clear. I was speaking specifically about the Supermicro SC846E1 that has the SAS expander built into the backplane. I would not expect a SAS disk to work on a vanilla SATA backplane that is essentially passive, or just has activity LED support - but it might.

- Mike
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post #921 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendustweb View Post

Very interesting. I will definitely try using AHCI tonight. You are somewhat correct about the drives. The Seagate drives light up when inserted into the drive bay indicating that they are receiving power. The WD drives do not light up when inserted, thus indicating that they may not be receiving power. Regardless, none of the hard drives is recognized in BIOS when plugged in via the backplane, and thus, the O/S does not recognize them either. I will screw the drives in tonight and see if that has an effect.

I would bet that the drives are not seated fully into the backplane. Hot-swap is designed so that certain pins contact before others as it is inserted. If you don't have the drives screwed into the trays there's no reference for how far the drive will engage the backplane.

- Mike
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post #922 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miimura View Post

I would bet that the drives are not seated fully into the backplane. Hot-swap is designed so that certain pins contact before others as it is inserted. If you don't have the drives screwed into the trays there's no reference for how far the drive will engage the backplane.

- Mike

Yes, if the drives are not solidly screwed in, you can be sure they will not work properly.
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post #923 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Yes, if the drives are not solidly screwed in, you can be sure they will not work properly.

I AM AN IDIOT. You would think I would have put two and two together, but instead, I make things a lot harder than they need to be.

Screwing in the hard drives into the drive bays before inserting them into the case solved the problem.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

------------------------

hERE'S ANOTHER QUESTION:

Unfortunately, my motherboard has (3) PCI Express 1X ports. These ports won't help me in terms of installing a SATA card. However, it does have (1) PCI Express 16x slot and (3) PCI slots. Any way I slice it, unless I drop $1,000 on a 24 port SATA card, I am going to have to split the cards between PCI and PCI Express.

Are there any disadvantages to doing things this way? Will my server performance suffer tremendously by mixing the drive duties across the different bus? At this point, the server is used for music / video streaming.

Thanks!
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post #924 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 04:15 PM
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Okay, So here's my update...

Thanks to this forum and specifically a couple of members here, I have my new File Server up and running!

Here are the details for anyone else that would like to copy my build:
I started with 5TB first with room for future expansion

CASE: I-Star 4U Rackmount with Hot-swap Back Plane - $159
POWER SUPPLY: 610watt PC Power & Cooling - $97
Motherboard: ASUS P5Q-VM Micro-ATX Board - $119
Memory: Kingston Value Ram 4GB (2x2GB) at 1.8v - $45
CPU: Intel Core2Duo 2.53 45n core - $120
DVD-Drive: (transplant from old pc)
Floppy: (transplant from old pc)
OS: Windows Home Server OEM w/Power Pack 1 - $100
HARD DRIVE(S): Western Digital Green 1TB - $119

======================================================
Total cost before the hard drives was $640 plus tax & shipping... For the hard drives, I purchased 3 to add to the previous 2 I already had (total of 5)

In addition, I used a 500gb Seagate drive that I had sitting around to install the OS onto.

When putting this together, I only had the seagate visible at first(all other drives turned off individually via the Back Plane). Loaded WHS OS onto it and downloaded any necessary drivers...

Once setup, I can either run the WHS "headless" (aka no keyboard no monitor) and add additional drives individually, or directly on the server itself.

Adding hard drives is a snap and can happen hot, meaning, you dont have to shut down the server to do so. I just turn on the individual drive (back plane on the case has individual power switches for each slot/drive), wait for WHS to recognize it, and with simple clicks, add the newly discovered drive into the storage pool.

Setting up remote access was also a snap. Using a Windows "LIVE" login, I set up remote access so I can access my server from any browser anywhere... Setting this part took only about 5 minutes to do...

Currently all 6 drives are occupying the on-board SATA ports (all six) on the Asus board I chose. I have 1 PCI-E 16x slot on the board for future expansion using an add-on card (if i need to down the road)

For redundacy, I used WHS to create duplicatation on specific folders you choose, so in my case, I turned it on for my photos, and important files... the rest, i have it set at default.

For BACKUP, I am able to attach an outside drive via USB and have WHS back everything up externally.

All in all, I have to say that WHS has met and exceeded my needs for a simple home file server that I can access from anywhere, including my home network.

PS. I also added an APC 1300va Backup Battery. I was curious how much power my server would draw since it will be on 24/7, and surprisingly, it only draws 60~65watts under streaming and load.... Needless to say, Ill probably return the 1300va and get something waay smaller since the 1300va is rated at 700-ish watts and based on its diagnostics, it was only utilizing 5% of its intended load with tons of overheard...
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post #925 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevendustweb View Post

I AM AN IDIOT. You would think I would have put two and two together, but instead, I make things a lot harder than they need to be.

Screwing in the hard drives into the drive bays before inserting them into the case solved the problem.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

------------------------

hERE'S ANOTHER QUESTION:

Unfortunately, my motherboard has (3) PCI Express 1X ports. These ports won't help me in terms of installing a SATA card. However, it does have (1) PCI Express 16x slot and (3) PCI slots. Any way I slice it, unless I drop $1,000 on a 24 port SATA card, I am going to have to split the cards between PCI and PCI Express.

Are there any disadvantages to doing things this way? Will my server performance suffer tremendously by mixing the drive duties across the different bus? At this point, the server is used for music / video streaming.

Thanks!

The PCI bus is limited to about a 100 MB/s in terms of practical speed. 1 fast SATA drive will just about saturate it, so if one of those drives is mixed with drives off the PCIE bus, it will slow everything else down, esp if you are running RAID. That may not be a big deal depending on how much speed you need, but it's very suboptimal.

If I were you, I'd pick up a used supermicro motherbopard with a lot of PCIE slots or PCIX slots, and go from there. Or, you could get something like a marvel 4 port SATA controller and use port multipliers. They have some performance hit, but not like cramming a ton of drives on a PCI bus.
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post #926 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 05:32 PM
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I like your case antics22. Seems like a higher build quality than the norco 4020 that I was considering. Can you fit one of these hot swap bays in the additional 5.25 spaces?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215047
Where does your dvd drive go?
Can you remotely turn your server on and off?
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post #927 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by sevendustweb View Post

I AM AN IDIOT. You would think I would have put two and two together, but instead, I make things a lot harder than they need to be.

Screwing in the hard drives into the drive bays before inserting them into the case solved the problem.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Cool, glad you got it sorted out.
Don't worry about it, you're not an idiot. It happens to all of us
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post #928 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by aaomember View Post

I like your case antics22. Seems like a higher build quality than the norco 4020 that I was considering. Can you fit one of these hot swap bays in the additional 5.25 spaces?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215047
Where does your dvd drive go?
Can you remotely turn your server on and off?

Of course he can. He's running WHS.
Unlike a NAS/Unraid he can do many things with it, including remotely shut down the WHS server itself either via remote desktop (RDP) or by using a neat free add-in called AutoExit.

AutoExit also lets you shutdown, reboot, hibernate, sleep, wake on lan any one of the connected PCs you have on your home network using this nice interface.



http://forum.wegotserved.co.uk/index...ads&showfile=6
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post #929 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by antics22 View Post

Okay, So here's my update...



Nice build. Congrats.

Think about keeping your 1300VA. It won't harm anything and will give you a longer runtime during a power outage. Besides as you add more drives the wattage will go up, and ups battery capacity goes down over time.
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post #930 of 7891 Old 11-13-2008, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sevendustweb View Post

Am I missing something here? Do I need to screw the drives into the bay before inserting the bay into the case? I know that sounds elementary, but it seems that screws aren't necessary when installing the drives.

Definitely screw the drives into the trays. I bet the drives aren't making full contact with the power connector. At first when I get the Norco case I didn't screw my drives in and wondered why some powered up and others didn't. Then I screwed them in and it's been smooth sailing since.
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