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Home Theater Computers > Who else has built a ridiculously overpowered HTPC? What's your story?
ilovejedd's Avatar ilovejedd 12:52 PM 05-07-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

Why is this so specifically important for you

Quick guess, to help combat bit rot. While it may not matter much for desktops, it's a concern for servers that are left running 24/7 for months on end. Longest uptime for my unRAID server was actually 2 years (had to shut down due to a failed UPS).

ajhieb's Avatar ajhieb 01:42 PM 05-07-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovejedd View Post

Quick guess, to help combat bit rot. While it may not matter much for desktops, it's a concern for servers that are left running 24/7 for months on end. Longest uptime for my unRAID server was actually 2 years (had to shut down due to a failed UPS).

Yeah, I'm a little curious about that myself...

I'm still a little fuzzy on the exact nature of bit rot, what causes it, and how ECC could help to prevent it.

MY understanding is that you can generally gruop the contents of RAM into 2 groups... code to be executed and data to be manipulated. If a memory error occurs ECC can correct a single bit error, and detect multiple bit errors and halt the system before anything is corrupted. Without ECC if a memory error occurs, the consequences could vary a great deal. If the memory error effects code to be executed then the effects could be pretty broad, ranging from system crash/bsod to "nothing happened when I clicked on the button" All of which I would lump into the broad category of "system instability" but generally shouldn't result in any permanent data corruption.

On the other hand, if the memory error effects data in memory (instead of code) and if that date is eventually destined to be written to disk, then that could/would result in long term data corruption / bit rot. The consequences of this would depend on what data was corrupted, and possibly where in the file it was corrupted. Let's say it effected your movie.xml metadata file. It could do anything from render it inaccessible to making it unreadable by your front end, (if for instance an xml tag was corrupted) or even just change the title of the movie from "Terminator" to "Tfrminator" If it effected an MKV, it could do anything form making the file inaccessible, to corrupting a single pixel, to corrupting a single frame or even a group of frames.

Any of the latter could happen to my MKV when it is read from disk and there is a memory error as well.

Now if you had a database on that drive, that was frequently being written to you might have something more to worry about. (which brings us full circle to traditional datacenter-type servers.)

Applying this to home media servers, I don't see much of a need for it on my 2k3x64 server that is mainly storing movies that I have original copies of. If something gets corrupt I can just rerip it. And in my experience NTFS is generally pretty resilient from getting borked.

If I'm storing more important data on there, I might be more inclined to worry about memory errors. If I'm storing data that is going to have a bigger impact on my life if it gets corrupted, (corrupt tax document could result in an audit, which would annoy me a great deal more than a bad frame while watching "Deadwood") I'd be more inclined to go with ECC.

I'm not really familiar with any of the unix variant file systems that you'd use in conjunction with something like FreeNAS but my understanding is file systems like ZFS are significantly more complicated than NTFS and might be happier if treated more like a database than a traditional file system. So with one f those I might be more inclined to go with ECC.

But I'm a little curious about the uptime comment. Not sure how that would be relevant unless the "data scrubbing" I've heard about would be prone to corrupting data. Otherwise I think that it would be more of a function of disk writes more so than uptime.

That's my understanding of things anyway.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 05:26 PM 05-07-2014
Bit rot in the context of media might be a glitchy frame for a second on every 1 out of 1000 movies.

Not a big deal
Dark_Slayer's Avatar Dark_Slayer 07:24 PM 05-07-2014
I don't just mean in the context of a media server (though as explained it's not very important for media storage)

I mean more in the context of . . . . Will ECC ram eradicate bit rot on an NTFS file server?
ajhieb's Avatar ajhieb 03:45 AM 05-08-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I don't just mean in the context of a media server (though as explained it's not very important for media storage)

I mean more in the context of . . . . Will ECC ram eradicate bit rot on an NTFS file server?

Using ECC memory should decrease bit rot (or if we're being technical "silent data corruption") on any file system, but It can't eliminate it. Data can be corrupted in any number of places between the time it is transferred out of RAM and written to the disk, most of which will go unnoticed by even the most diligent of file systems. What the file system can do is detect and in some cases repair errors caused by drive firmware errors, media defects, and the occasional bit-flip on the disk caused by a stray cosmic ray.

From what I understand of the issue, silent data corruption happens at a rate higher than would be indicated by just looking at the unrecoverable read error rates for hard drives, but despite that, they are still a fairly uncommon occurrence when dealing with the typical amount of data that one would put together with consumer grade equipment.

But if one was hoping to eliminate bit rot by using ECC memory, I'd say it would be a fruitless endeavor, but if you're just trying to keep your data safer than it would otherwise be, and you can afford a couple hundred bucks for ECC memory, I say go for it. (and let's face it, most people here that are putting together multi-terabatye servers, can probably afford ECC RAM if they so desire)
Nevcairiel's Avatar Nevcairiel 04:07 AM 05-08-2014
I don't think ECC RAM would play a major role in fighting bitrot. If you really care about your media, you'll run it in an environment where its checked for consistency after being written, which would already detect (but not correct) such problems. I'm sure there are some cases where it may help, but I doubt those are the majority.
IMHO, its far more likely for the data on your HDD to randomly flip a bit, without the RAM being involved, causing rot this way, and that needs either a file system to periodically check itself, or a layer on top (like FlexRAID with Validate/Verify) that does the checking.
ilovejedd's Avatar ilovejedd 07:51 AM 05-08-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevcairiel View Post

I don't think ECC RAM would play a major role in fighting bitrot. If you really care about your media, you'll run it in an environment where its checked for consistency after being written, which would already detect (but not correct) such problems. I'm sure there are some cases where it may help, but I doubt those are the majority.

IMHO, its far more likely for the data on your HDD to randomly flip a bit, without the RAM being involved, causing rot this way, and that needs either a file system to periodically check itself, or a layer on top (like FlexRAID with Validate/Verify) that does the checking.

I think that's most likely the goal here. A resilient file system (e.g. ZFS) or a layer of parity protection with data validation (e.g. SnapRAID), paired with ECC RAM to minimize errors during parity calculation, data validation or rebuild.
EricN's Avatar EricN 08:57 AM 05-08-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post

I mean more in the context of . . . . Will ECC ram eradicate bit rot on an NTFS file server?

No, not in the HTPC context. Almost all HTPC data is write-once, read-many, and extremely tolerant of bit errors. It doesn't get churned enough for ECC to matter. (caveat: with ZFS, use ECC). For an NTFS fileserver, the money is better spend on more drives to protect the data.

Here's decent read on the merits of ECC.
http://www.cs.toronto.edu/%7Ebianca/papers/sigmetrics09.pdf
ajhieb's Avatar ajhieb 10:21 AM 05-08-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN View Post

No, not in the HTPC context. Almost all HTPC data is write-once, read-many, and extremely tolerant of bit errors. It doesn't get churned enough for ECC to matter. (caveat: with ZFS, use ECC). For an NTFS fileserver, the money is better spend on more drives to protect the data.

Here's decent read on the merits of ECC.
http://www.cs.toronto.edu/%7Ebianca/papers/sigmetrics09.pdf

Thanks for the link. Interesting (if not a little bit tedious) read.
OrioniS's Avatar OrioniS 10:25 AM 05-08-2014
Once.. Long time ago, I had a Asus PC-DL with 2x Xeon 2.8GHz and registered ECC memory. You may believe me or not, but it did few times ECC alert/reset, one of reason I found was my memory slot, other was my PSU not filtering anything (another reason for good UPS in between ;-). It was soo annoying that I did switch off ECC features and it went quiet... I was not doing anything particularly important like storing data, just my desktop PC, so I didn't bother: I wanted dual Xeons.. Then we had dual core, quad cores.. and I forgot about whole story. Once I immersed myself into NAS4Free and ZFS and other toys, it came back, but I cannot afford those new Xeons (and old ones are too power hungry for my liking) and motherboard with them. Once you married ;-)... I would have to pay 4x as much for ECC on Intel. For my NAS is not really worth it. I would spend that money on HDDs.

So what that Intel takes 35W at idle and AMD 50W? Intel will cost me much much more, AMD cost much much less and I can get decently featured motherboard for fraction of the price. If you use ZFS and checksumming and something goes wrong in your memory, then you wouldn't really know that there is problem until it's too late. It doesn't matter for normal desktop PC: worst case scenario you just lose a file or have a reset, but with ZFS where nearly everything is based on memory operations... Ask yourself: would you like to have a bulletproof car with plastic windows?? It can take a RPG shot into the side of car, but unfortunately you can break into by hand through plastic windows... Silly?? Maybe, but true.

My first NAS was born out of curiosity, but quickly it was re-developed as something more than anticipated and it outgrow its own description. Now, with experience of past, I can build myself what I really need and old MB with Celeron G1610 will be repurposed into my Multimedia Player where low idle will be welcomed more than loads of ECC memory.

ajhieb: As far as I can see, ECC Unbuffered are NOT more expensive than non-ECC. I got myself 2x2GB 1333 ECC Unbuffered for £3.99 each plus delivery of £2. No one want it on fleabay, because they think is a server memory. A side story: Guy is selling ECC for Apple computers for less because people don't want to buy them... and I emailed him asking what's the crack? He said to me that is easier to sell it to Apple people because they actually make use of ECC... So.. Money is NOT problem ;-)
EricN's Avatar EricN 10:31 AM 05-08-2014
On a side note, I did just order parts for a gaming server and went with unregistered ECC. It was only a $50 premium for 32GB, since I was already committed to Xeon/C226. My goal is building a Hyper-V/VDI/RemoteFX stack for thin-client gaming, and I want to minimize the number of parts that aren't certified for it.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 12:47 PM 05-16-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by EricN View Post

On a side note, I did just order parts for a gaming server and went with unregistered ECC. It was only a $50 premium for 32GB, since I was already committed to Xeon/C226. My goal is building a Hyper-V/VDI/RemoteFX stack for thin-client gaming, and I want to minimize the number of parts that aren't certified for it.

I would be curious to hear more about that project ^

You doing a build thread ?
EricN's Avatar EricN 02:54 AM 05-18-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I would be curious to hear more about that project

mobo: Supermicro X10SAT
cpu: Xeon E3-1245V3
ram: Kingston KVR16LE11K4/32I
gpu: 2x Radeon R9 290
nic: Intel I340-T4
boot: 2x Crucial M500 120GB
data: 4x Sandisk Extreme II 240GB
psu: SeaSonic SS-860XP2
ups: CyberPower PR1000LCDRT1U
jhughy2010's Avatar jhughy2010 09:44 AM 05-18-2014
Now that is "rediculously overpowered" LOL
Nevcairiel's Avatar Nevcairiel 09:56 AM 05-18-2014
Personally, I would actually be surprised if your idea of a virtualized gaming system actually works out to any decent degree. I would expect games to not like what is happening, and the entire experience to be sub-par.
But good luck to you anyway!
EricN's Avatar EricN 05:23 PM 05-18-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevcairiel View Post

Personally, I would actually be surprised if your idea of a virtualized gaming system actually works out to any decent degree. I would expect games to not like what is happening, and the entire experience to be sub-par.

Initial verdict: very pleased.

I put it to the test this weekend, and it supports 4 thin clients with desktop-quality graphics. From the logs, I expect it to support 6-8 if needed. Friends came over (some with year-old, well-spec'd gaming laptops), and got more fps remoting into the server versus playing natively off their own GPU! We took an old Core2 laptop out of mothballs and ran it alongside modern rigs, and you couldn't see a difference. WAF(albeit a gamer-W) is extremely high, and so far, it has been an big win.

Granted, I've only tested multi-client with ESO (and one game of Civ5), but remote vGPU gaming has impressed the hell out of me. Your assumption that most games won't play nicely has been a concern of mine from the start of this project, but it has been smooth so far...without having to drop $3K on an Nvidia Grid.

The downside is that it's wired only. For a decent experience, it needs a 250Mbps+ link that my wifi simply can't sustain. Making this happen wirelessly is the next WAF hurdle.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 05:48 PM 05-18-2014
What games do you play ?
jhughy2010's Avatar jhughy2010 09:42 PM 05-18-2014

I've always been under the assumption that games require local hardware?  I never thought it to be possible to remote into a server with beefy GPUs and play games utilizing the servers hardware.


EricN's Avatar EricN 10:50 PM 05-18-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhughy2010 View Post

I've always been under the assumption that games require local hardware?  I never thought it to be possible to remote into a server with beefy GPUs and play games utilizing the servers hardware.

With Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft RemoteFX, or VMware Horizon View, the client can use the server's GPUs. It doesn't have to be 1:1 sharing either. I can have three clients evenly sharing the two cards in the server, with each client receiving the equivalent of 2/3s of a Radeon R9
rc05's Avatar rc05 11:24 PM 05-18-2014

I have the same motherboard and CPU in my VM computer. Are you running ESXi or Xen or what to get the Radeon to work as a vGPU to the thin clients?
EricN's Avatar EricN 08:43 AM 05-19-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by rc05 View Post

I have the same motherboard and CPU in my VM computer. Are you running ESXi or Xen or what to get the Radeon to work as a vGPU to the thin clients?

Hyper-V. I prototyped this idea with all three (Xen, ESXi, and Hyper-V) using a 3770S on a DQ77KB.
rc05's Avatar rc05 12:08 PM 05-19-2014
Right, I almost forgot about Hyper-V! Thanks for the info, I might play around with Hyper-V this summer.
EricN's Avatar EricN 12:19 PM 05-19-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by rc05 View Post

Right, I almost forgot about Hyper-V! Thanks for the info, I might play around with Hyper-V this summer.

The biggest gotcha I encountered: VDI+RemoteFX needs a domain environment, but it can't run on a DC. (Hyper-V can, but the VDI role can't) The VDI host also needs to run on bare metal. The DC can be a VM on the VDI host, but you can't join the bare-metal VDI host to the domain using the VM DC: chicken-and-egg problem.

In a nutshell, the whole stack can run on a single machine, but you will need a second Windows Server to bootstrap it.
Dropkick Murphy's Avatar Dropkick Murphy 08:29 PM 05-22-2014
I think this one counts as ridiculously overpowered (or at the very least, over-engineered).

CASE: Fractal Node 605
CPU: i5-4570
MOBO: Asrock Z87m Pro4
RAM: G.Skill 8GB (2 X 4)
GPU: Asus R9 270
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro
HDD: WD 500GB Black 2.5"
PSU: Seasonic 460 watt Fanless
FANS: Corsair AF120 Quiet Edition (X-2), Corsair SP120 PWM Quiet Edition, Enermax T.B. Silence 80mm

Watercooling:
RAD: XSPC 120mm
PUMP: Laing DDC-1T
RES: Bitspower 150mm X 60mm
CPU WATERBLOCK: XSPC Raystorm
GPU WATERBLOCK: XSPC Rasa
HARD TUBING: Monsoon: 3/8" X 1/2"
SOFT TUBING: XSPC 3/8" X 5/8"
MISC FITTINGS: Monsoon, Bitspower, EK








wiley165's Avatar wiley165 06:56 AM 05-23-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dropkick Murphy View Post

I think this one counts as ridiculously overpowered (or at the very least, over-engineered)...

You'd be better off simply stating "HERE !", then drop the microphone, and walk off stage.tongue.gif
royalpython's Avatar royalpython 08:30 AM 05-23-2014

Hey, it looks awesome though, I'm hoping it's efficiency matches it looks!! I'm sure it does :)


Dropkick Murphy's Avatar Dropkick Murphy 07:43 PM 05-23-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiley165 View Post

You'd be better off simply stating "HERE !", then drop the microphone, and walk off stage.tongue.gif

Lol, Awesome!
Quote:
Originally Posted by royalpython View Post

Hey, it looks awesome though, I'm hoping it's efficiency matches it looks!! I'm sure it does smile.gif

I still have to test the water loop for leaks and get a copy of windows 7 before I can go any further. I did put the finishing touch on the physical build today with a window (you gotta show off that jewelry right?).






Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 09:28 AM 05-24-2014
dfkimbro's Avatar dfkimbro 03:56 PM 05-24-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

http://www.maximumpc.com/lian_lis_hybrid_desk_chassis_shipping_july_starting_989

Might make for an interesting project ^

That's interesting, but a little expensive. I wonder if the glass is strong enough that you could put a 50" TV on top.
Mfusick's Avatar Mfusick 08:44 PM 07-16-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkimbro View Post
Quote:Originally Posted by Mfusick 

http://www.maximumpc.com/lian_lis_hy...y_starting_989

Might make for an interesting project ^


That's interesting, but a little expensive. I wonder if the glass is strong enough that you could put a 50" TV on top.
I'd guess yes. Glass is surprisingly strong.
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