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Custom micro-ATX/mini-ITX Storage Servers-Alternatives to OEM systems like Acer or HP

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
*UPDATE* This thread originally started out as a way to beat the OEMs by building a custom system with the same general capabilities. I quickly realized that it is REALLY tough to beat Acer's price while attempting to find custom parts for a similar form factor. The following options are the result of my endless hours of product searches and tips from the great members here.

If you can beat the prices, say so. If you have alternative suggestions, PLEASE say so.

*NOTE* Please try to list NEW parts options, as we all know that eBay can beat most of these. Most people generally use sites like Newegg to provide rough pricing. Each one of the systems below is probably doable for an average of $20-30 less if you powers-shop. If you do decide to go the eBay route when you buy your parts, you can probably save a bit more. For consistency though, please don't post eBay prices.

I will continue to update these options as new ideas come in. If you go all out and decide to piece together an entire system, please post it in the same format as those below, and I'll paste it right into the OP.

Thanks for all the help!

All systems must meet the following requirements:
- Mid-tower = maximum size (Micro-ATX and mini-ITX preferred)
- At least four (4) easily accessible hot-swappable SATA bays
- At least one (1) TB HDD (Adding thumb drives for unRAID or an option smaller drive for WHS is up to each user).
- At least one (1) eSATA port
- Capable of running WHS with no performance issues

Current options

OPTION 1: Acer Easystore H340 (OEM)
SYSTEM: Acer Easystore H340 w/ Atom 230, 2GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 1x eSATA, and 4-hotswappable SATA drive bays = $380.00
CUSTOM CABLE: Custom Cable to add PS2 Mouse, PS2 Keyboard, and VGA connectors = $77.00
TOTAL = $457.00 w/WHS

OPTION 2: HP Mediasmart EX495 (OEM)
SYSTEM: HP MediaSmart Server w/ Intel E5200, 2GB RAM, 1.5TB HDD, eSATA, etc = $692.00
CUSTOM CABLE: Custom Cable to add PS2 Mouse, PS2 Keyboard, and VGA connectors = $77.00
TOTAL = $769.00 w/WHS
*NOTE* The HP MediaSmart lineup actually ranges from roughly $577 (EX485) to $769 for the brand new EX495 model. The Processor for the EX485 is the Intel Celeron 2.0Ghz.

OPTION 3: ZOTAC GF9300 / E5200 C2D Processor
CASE: CHENBRO ES34069-BK-180 Black Server Chassis w/180W PSU = $189.00
MOBO: ZOTAC GF9300-D-E Mini ITX Motherboard w/HDMI and eSATA = $130.00
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail = $42.00
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 Processor (2.50GHz) Socket 775, Retail with Fan = $68.00
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
SATA CONTROLLER CARD: SYBA SD-LP-PEX2IR PCI Express Low Profile SATA II Controller Card - Retail = $12.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $590.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $613.00 with WHS

OPTION 4: Atom 330 / ION Combo -- gain one Atom core, lose one SATA port... Ouch!
CASE: CHENBRO ES34069-BK-180 Black Server Chassis w/180W PSU = $189.00
MOBO/CPU COMBO: ZOTAC IONITX-D-E Intel Atom N330 Dual Core 1.6 GHz 441 NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo - Retail = $170.00
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail = $42.00
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $550.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $573.00 with WHS

OPTION 5: Tranquil BBS2 Advanced
SYSTEM: Tranquil BBS2 Advanced w/ Atom 330 Dual Core CPU, 5x Hot-swappable HDD bays, 2GB RAM = $513.00 + shipping
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $662.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $685.00 with WHS

OPTION 6: Industrial Intel Mobo w/ Atom 230 and 4x SATA onboard
CASE: CHENBRO ES34069-BK-180 Black Server Chassis w/180W PSU = $189.00
MOBO/CPU COMBO: MSI Industrial IM-945GC Atom Mini-ITX Mainboard w/Intel Atom 230 = $99.00
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) Desktop Memory Model F2-5300CL4S-2GBPQ - Retail = $37.00
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
eSATA CONTROLLER CARD: Rosewill RC-210 Silicon Image Internal SATA / External eSATA Low Profile Ready PCI Controller Card - Retail (*only 1.5Gb/s*) = $20.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $494.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $517.00 with WHS

OPTION 7: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor Dual-core, BIOSTAR Mobo w/ 4xSATA, 4x Hot-swap HDD bays, and a micro-ATX case w/cage
CASE: Athenatech A3603BB.400 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - Retail = $42.00
CAGE: KINGWIN KF-4000-BK 3.5" Internal hot swap rack raid-4 bay - Retail = $80.00
MOBO: BIOSTAR MCP6P M2+ 6.X AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6150 / nForce 430 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail = $40.00
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail = $60.00
RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ - Retail = $42.00
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
eSATA CONTROLLER CARD: Rosewill RC-216 PCI Express eSATA II x 2 / ATA 133 x1 RAID 0/1/0+1/JBOD/ un-RAID mode Controller Card - Retail = $20.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $433.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $456.00 with WHS

OPTION 8: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor Dual-core, Gigabyte Mobo w/ 6xSATA, 5x Hot-swap HDD bays, and micro-ATX case w/cage
CASE: Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail = $30.00
CAGE: iStarUSA BPN-350SAS-Black 3x5.25" to 5x3.5" SATA/SAS Trayless Hot-Swap Backplane RAID Cage - OEM = $95.00
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-400CX 400W ATX12V V2.2 80 PLUS Certified Compatible with Core i7 Power Supply - Retail = $30.00 (*After $20 MIR)
MOBO: GIGABYTE GA-MA74GM-S2 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 740G Micro ATX AMD Motherboard - Retail = $55.00
CPU: AMD Athlon II X2 240 Regor 2.8GHz 2 x 1MB L2 Cache Socket AM3 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail = $60.00
RAM: Crucial 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model CT2KIT12864AA800 - Retail = $32.00
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
eSATA CONTROLLER CARD: Rosewill RC-216 PCI Express eSATA II x 2 / ATA 133 x1 RAID 0/1/0+1/JBOD/ un-RAID mode Controller Card - Retail = $20.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $471.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $494.00 with WHS --- (*After $20 MIR for PSU*)

OPTION 9: E5200, Asus Q35 Mobo w/ 6xSATA, 5x Hot-swap HDD bays, and micro-ATX case w/cage
CASE: Thermaltake VI5000BNS Black SECC Steel MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail = $50.00
CAGE: NORCO SS-500 5 Bay SATA / SAS Hot Swap Rack Module - Retail = $90.00
PSU: mushkin 550250 580W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply - Retail = $40.00 (*After $30 MIR)
MOBO: ASUS P5E-VM DO LGA 775 Intel Q35 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail = $117.00
CPU: Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail = $67.00
RAM: mushkin 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Desktop Memory Model 991557 - Retail = $27.00 (*After $10 MIR)
HDD: Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS) = $80.00
eSATA CONTROLLER CARD: Rosewill RC-216 PCI Express eSATA II x 2 / ATA 133 x1 RAID 0/1/0+1/JBOD/ un-RAID mode Controller Card - Retail = $20.00
OS: Single unRAID Server Plus Registration key (Up to 6 drives) = $69.00 --- OR --- Microsoft Windows Home Server OEM with URP1 = $92.00
TOTAL = $560.00 with unRAID ---OR--- $583.00 with WHS --- (*After $40 MIR for PSU and RAM*)
post #2 of 46
chenbro es34069?



http://www.logicsupply.com/products/es34069
post #3 of 46
I see you found that $70 cable I was referring to...
post #4 of 46
Thread Starter 
OK, that Chenbro is getting close to the mark... are there any others?

And thanks for the tip on the cable. I just can't believe both HP and Acer left out the vga and USB device options. It's ridiculous!

I'm going to spec out a system with that Chenbro and see what price I can come up with...
post #5 of 46
Thread Starter 
moved to OP.
post #6 of 46
The computer you built is also a lot more powerful. The motherboard is super overkill for a WHS.
post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
I guess if I went with something like this, I could save over $100:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811133045

But I'd be giving up the hot-swappable HDDs and it might be tough to fit 4 HDDs in there while keeping them from melting.

The only possible solution would be a case exactly like the Acer or Chenbro for less than $90... sadly, I don't think anything like that exists.
post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mackworth View Post

The computer you built is also a lot more powerful. The motherboard is super overkill for a WHS.

OK, I realize that the mobo is a bit much, but can you find me another mini-ITX mobo, with eSATA and 4 SATAII ports, for much less?

The Intel boards are only $10 to $20 cheaper, while I need to squeeze over $100 off the price just to make it worthwhile. Cheaper RAM and mobo won't even get us halfway there.

The case is the real deal killer, but it's also the only one I've seen that even comes close to resembling the HP and Acer products.
post #9 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheSkinsFan View Post

OK, I realize that the mobo is a bit much, but can you find me another mini-ITX mobo, with eSATA and 4 SATAII ports, for much less?

The Intel boards are only $10 to $20 cheaper, while I need to squeeze over $100 off the price just to make it worthwhile. Cheaper RAM and mobo won't even get us halfway there.

The case is the real deal killer, but it's also the only one I've seen that even comes close to resembling the HP and Acer products.

http://www.zotacusa.com/zotac-geforc...therboard.html

That MOBO only has 2 SATA/1eSATA card.
post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
I could save $30 by stepping down to the Atom 330/Zotac ION combo here, but it still comes out $100.00 more than the Acer, and I lose one normal PCIe slot for SATA controller -- therefore losing one SATA drive

ZOTAC IONITX-D-E Intel Atom N330 Dual Core 1.6 GHz 441 NVIDIA ION Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo - Retail
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813500030

EDIT: ouch... mackworth is right. None of the mini-ITX boards I'm looking at have the 4 sata ports, so I'd need to add a SATA controller card in the PCIe slot. I added the cheapest I could find ($12.00) to my master parts list above, and adjusted all pricing accordingly.
post #11 of 46
Skip the ION chipset for a WHS server that runs headless 99% of the time.
It's useless and wasted money.


Intel Atom 330 dual core


Asus Atom 330 dual core

Intel Atom 230 single core

Or industrial Atom mini itx boards like this one with 4 SATA ports to keep the PCI slot open for future use /eSATA PM.

If you want something more powerful than an Atom
This Intel Mini-ITX board and pick your CPU
post #12 of 46
you could always make the cable yourself with spare parts.

I thought I had read that you could remove the battery to default the bios which would enable usb keyboard. then you would only need a vga cable for the install.

I agree that it is difficult to try to build a system like the easyshare yourself at anything close to that price. it is very compelling...
post #13 of 46
I tried to do this and I really don't think that building a WHS is a better value unless you go barebones everything. If you just get a cheap ~50 dollar case with power supply, cheap mobo + CPU, etc, you can probably get to a price you would want. But if you want mini-itx, and that case, just get the acer.

I eventually gave up and just used regular windows and flexraid to add drives. Not as good of a backup solution, but I think being able to use the same machine for backup, MCE, subsonic (music streaming to work), has more upside for me.
post #14 of 46
Why not get a cheap skt 754 board, a sempron, and a PCI card for SATA ports. you can build a WHS server for $200. I just bought a lot of Mobo's of ebay that are socket 754. I will sell you a mobo (SiS chipset based) (Mobo is an ECS Goal 3+) and a Sempron 3000+ for $20.00 add $6.00 to ship in the US... more than enough horsepower for WHS... PM me if interested!

Why do you need 4 SATA? Two 1.5 TB drives for 99.00(WD Green) on Newegg today!

And if you needed more SATA just bu a 15.00 SATA PCI card...
post #15 of 46
or what about a VIA Artigo A2000?
post #16 of 46
This was discussed on the unRAID boards. There really were no other small form factor hot swap drive bay case like that Chenbro.

This one came up but it's rackmount and $309
http://www.logicsupply.com/products/te_1160

They did come up with another small server type box besides the Acer.

http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/aca...RVERS.html#a15

To me, it looks even better and I don't think it's crippled like the Acer. Seems pricier though like around $520US plus shipping.

Edit - here is a review

http://www.wegotserved.com/2009/01/2...s-home-server/

Peter
post #17 of 46
pretty cool. nice find.
post #18 of 46
Why not just buy a nice mini/mid case with three 5.25 bays and put in a hot swap cage?

Case

Cage

Cost around $160...or pick a cheaper case, save more
post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by connectedav View Post

Why not just buy a nice mini/mid case with three 5.25 bays and put in a hot swap cage?

Case

Cage

Cost around $160...or pick a cheaper case, save more

clever solution. that cage appears to have two loud fans, though.
post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek K. View Post

clever solution. that cage appears to have two loud fans, though.

ICY DOCK also sells cages, THIS ONE that also might work. You can always replace the fan with something a bit quieter as well.
post #21 of 46
There are a few different solutions, mix and match cage/case to fit your needs.

I have an older 5 bay from supermicro that takes up 3 bays. Its fine, never had an issue with it. At one point I unplugged the fan and removed it, as long as you have good case flow it should not be an issue.
post #22 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiBz View Post

Or industrial Atom mini itx boards like this one with 4 SATA ports to keep the PCI slot open for future use /eSATA PM.

I put together a package using that board, but I can't figure out what type of PCI slot it has. The package I put together assumes that it's a PCI Express slot, but the specs list them as:

-PCI
-PCI Express Mini Card

Question: Does that mean that I need to find a standard PCI card for an eSATA controller? If so, that might be tough, and I don't think there are any that will hit 3Gb/s. Any ideas?

I've updated the OP to reflect the various options at this point... I'm still planning to add more options as I build out more systems. My next project will be a normal mATX case with one of the available cages.

Wish me luck, and thanks for all the tips!
post #23 of 46
Yes, for that specific board you'll need a PCI eSATA card.

Don't be too concerned with 3gb/s, this is just a theoretical bandwidth value.
Unless you're talking about SSD drives, it won't matter. SATA drives generally max out at 120MB/s (960mbps) and if you're using GP/LP it's closer to 75-80MB/s (640mbps). PCI will handle 133MB/s (1064mbps). For WHS the eSATA slot would be intended for an external backup drive on WHS and at 133MB/s (1064mbps) it's going to be considerably faster than USB's 60MB/s(480mbps).
post #24 of 46
LOL, dropping the mini-ITX requirement means I can easily show you a good systems. How about these parts?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128342 - $50
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103698 - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148163 - #32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147112 - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139008 - $50 (-$20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215083 - $100

So, that looks like $302 plus the OS to support 5 drives. If you get the power supply rebate or find it cheap then it's #282 plus the OS.

You could use the Athlon 2 X2 240 process for a whopping $20 more which would be much more suitable for a WHS system.

Peter
post #25 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshDorhyke View Post

LOL, dropping the mini-ITX requirement means I can easily show you a good systems. How about these parts?

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813128342 - $55 <------------- FIXED THIS PRICE
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16819103698 - $40
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820148163 - $32
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811147112 - $30
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817139008 - $50 (-$20 rebate)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816215083 - $100

So, that looks like $307 plus the OS to support 5 drives. If you get the power supply rebate or find it cheap then it's $287 plus the OS.

You could use the Athlon 2 X2 240 process for a whopping $20 more which would be much more suitable for a WHS system.

Peter

that's not a bad system at all... (I adjusted your mobo price by $5) especially with the 6 SATA plugs, larger case fan(s), and more hot-swap HDDs. However, you would still need to add:

1 TB HDD = $80
unRAID = $69 or WHS = $92
eSATA controller = $20

So, your totals:
unRAID = $456.00
WHS = $479.00

But, I think I'll choose the black hot-swap cage instead of red to get it back down $5... lol
post #26 of 46
LOL, I don't know how I missed the black cage, I've looked those things up a number of times. That just means the cage and MB prices balance out so I must have meant to do that

I did try to stick to solid parts that I would not be afraid to run. I could have certainly gone even cheaper but it could come back to bite whoever uses that list. For example, I personally would never use the power supply that comes with a $40 case as a server supply. But that Corsair could easily run 8 hard drives and should be a good supply.

I don't think you can unlock the second core of the processor with that motherboard but I could be wrong. Either the unlock or a $20 more Athlon II would likely be more appropriate for WHS.

I did miss you request for eSATA so didn't add it. Monocable has this card for $14 if you just happen to be ordering some cables cheap too. Otherwise the common Newegg shipment at $20 would apply.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

Peter
post #27 of 46
This is for 5 hot swap drives, and OS drive in Raid 1 (mirrored)

Case: $41.99
Athenatech A3603BB.400 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - Retail

Motherboard: $52.99
GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

CPU: $67.99
Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

Ram: $35.99
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ

(2) OS HDD: $84.99 each, $169.80
Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS)

2x External Ports (e-SATA)Controller Card $13.65
PCI Express Serial ATA II (SATA II) Card, 2x External Port (e-SATA), SiI3132 Chipset

2x Internal Ports - Raid controller to mirror RAID 1 OS drive $13.79
SATA2 Serial ATA II PCI-Express RAID Controller Card (Silicon Image SIL3132)

Drive Cage 5-Bays $109.99
ICY DOCK MB455SPF-B Multi-Bay Backplane Module
5 x 3.5" Hot Swappable in 3 x 5.25" device bays

Window Home Server (WHS) $ 91.99

(2) SATA2 cables $1.53 each, $3.06
SATA2 Cables w/Locking Latch / Red - 18 Inches

TOTAL with OS drives only $ 601.42

========================
7.5 TB system
Data Drives
(5) HDD: $109.99, $549.95
Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

TOTAL with all drives $ 1,148.31
plus shipping
========================
I checked power here:
eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Lite v2.5

System Type: 1 physical CPU
Motherboard: Regular - Server
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 2500 MHz Wolfdale-3M
CPU Utilization (TDP): 85% TDP

RAM: 2 Sticks DDR2 SDRAM

High rpm SATA: 7 HDDs
PCI-e x1 Card: 2 Cards

USB: 2 Devices

Fans
Regular: 1 Fan 92mm; 1 Fan 120mm;

Keyboard and mouse: Yes

System Load: 90 %

Recommended Wattage: 304 Watts
========================

I personally would up the power supply to 600 watt or 650 watt
Scat
post #28 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scat2002 View Post

This is for 5 hot swap drives, and OS drive in Raid 1 (mirrored)

Case: $41.99
Athenatech A3603BB.400 Black Steel MicroATX Mini Tower Computer Case 400W Power Supply - Retail

Motherboard: $52.99
GIGABYTE GA-G31M-ES2L LGA 775 Intel G31 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail

CPU: $67.99
Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor - Retail

Ram: $35.99
G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) F2-6400CL5D-2GBNQ

(2) OS HDD: $84.99 each, $169.80
Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Green SATA (WD10EADS)

2x External Ports (e-SATA)Controller Card $13.65
PCI Express Serial ATA II (SATA II) Card, 2x External Port (e-SATA), SiI3132 Chipset

2x Internal Ports - Raid controller to mirror RAID 1 OS drive $13.79
SATA2 Serial ATA II PCI-Express RAID Controller Card (Silicon Image SIL3132)

Drive Cage 5-Bays $109.99
ICY DOCK MB455SPF-B Multi-Bay Backplane Module
5 x 3.5" Hot Swappable in 3 x 5.25" device bays

Window Home Server (WHS) $ 91.99

(2) SATA2 cables $1.53 each, $3.06
SATA2 Cables w/Locking Latch / Red - 18 Inches

TOTAL with OS drives only $ 601.42

========================
7.5 TB system
Data Drives
(5) HDD: $109.99, $549.95
Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS 1.5TB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive

TOTAL with all drives $ 1,148.31
plus shipping
========================
I checked power here:
eXtreme Power Supply Calculator Lite v2.5

System Type: 1 physical CPU
Motherboard: Regular - Server
CPU: Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 2500 MHz Wolfdale-3M
CPU Utilization (TDP): 85% TDP

RAM: 2 Sticks DDR2 SDRAM

High rpm SATA: 7 HDDs
PCI-e x1 Card: 2 Cards

USB: 2 Devices

Fans
Regular: 1 Fan 92mm; 1 Fan 120mm;

Keyboard and mouse: Yes

System Load: 90 %

Recommended Wattage: 304 Watts
========================

I personally would up the power supply to 600 watt or 650 watt
Scat

Fixed link for the eSATA card:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

But, it looks like with that card you're still one port shy for the internal SATA HDD's. You have 7 HDDs listed, but the motherboard+cards only support 6 total SATA II drives. That could easily be solved with a more robust eSATA controller (one that adds 1 or 2 internal SATA ports as well). Or, am i missing something? One like this would do the trick:
Rosewill RC-216 PCI Express eSATA II x 2 / SATA II x 2 / ATA 133 x1 : $19.99

You're probably correct regarding the PSU in the Athenatech case. I would definitely consider upgrading to a more dependable PSU with 450 watts or more.

You could also save $15 by going with the iStarUSA BPN-350SAS HDD cage instead of the ICY DOCK.

Not a bad system though, especially with the E5200 and Gigabyte mobo. I'll add it to the list!
post #29 of 46
Looking at selection above I'm starting to wonder why you're not going for a better motherboard since it will enhance performance and most likely stability. If you go for lets say "ASUS P5E-VM DO" (which works very good with *BSD btw) you get 2 more SATA (onboard) and Intel Gbit LAN which will perform much better than Realtek and you'll get AHCI support which the G31 board probably lacks. How are you going to use 2 PCIe controllers when there's only one slot except the video one which I don't think you can use for anything else without disabling video output (if it even works). Is there any reason why you have very large OS drive(s)? I also don't see a reason why you haven't looking at FreeNAS. A quick and easy solution would to use a USB stick to boot it that way you don't need two OS drives. You should also be a bit careful regarding choice of ram, most motherboards with integrated video only support 1.8V (stock DDR2 voltage) which makes many sticks unusable. I wouldn't go for 1Gb sticks either, go with at least 2Gb (only one if you find that it's enough) such as http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145180 . Going with FreeNAS also gives you ZFS support which can be very nice for a file server but I haven't tried it myself (ZFS on FreeNAS that is) only on FreeBSD. For the record I use a Seasonic 430W PSU to power 9 HDDs, 1 ODD and an Opteron 185 (125W TDP) so you'll be fine with a quality PSU around 400W.
//Danne
post #30 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by diizzy View Post

Looking at selection above I'm starting to wonder why you're not going for a better motherboard since it will enhance performance and most likely stability. If you go for lets say "ASUS P5E-VM DO" (which works very good with *BSD btw) you get 2 more SATA (onboard) and Intel Gbit LAN which will perform much better than Realtek and you'll get AHCI support which the G31 board probably lacks. How are you going to use 2 PCIe controllers when there's only one slot except the video one which I don't think you can use for anything else without disabling video output (if it even works). Is there any reason why you have very large OS drive(s)? I also don't see a reason why you haven't looking at FreeNAS. A quick and easy solution would to use a USB stick to boot it that way you don't need two OS drives. You should also be a bit careful regarding choice of ram, most motherboards with integrated video only support 1.8V (stock DDR2 voltage) which makes many sticks unusable. I wouldn't go for 1Gb sticks either, go with at least 2Gb (only one if you find that it's enough) such as http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820145180 . Going with FreeNAS also gives you ZFS support which can be very nice for a file server but I haven't tried it myself (ZFS on FreeNAS that is) only on FreeBSD. For the record I use a Seasonic 430W PSU to power 9 HDDs, 1 ODD and an Opteron 185 (125W TDP) so you'll be fine with a quality PSU around 400W.
//Danne

I was wondering the same about his OS drives myself... 2TB is Raid 1 for just the OS seems a bit silly. There also isn't much reason to mirror the OS drive in WHS. It's easy to rebuild the WHS install -- with image of OS drive stored offline, of course -- so any old 7200 RPM SATA drive will do. At this point, who doesn't have at least one or two SATA drives lying around that have plenty of space for WHS and every add-on you can think of? Hell, 64GB would probably work forever.

That said, there are some eSATA/SATA controllers out there that would work in the x16 slot without turning off anything, but they're a bit more expensive.

As for BSD, I used to swear by it, and I do still use it for my VM firewalls... but these days I'm a huge fan of WHS or unRAID more media storage, or a combo of WHS w/FlexRAID.

My personal goal is to build a box with a very small OS drive, or I'll boot from USB to run unRAID. For me, it will all come down to read speeds across the LAN. My goal is to tranfer 2 to 3 HD streams simultaneously. For that, I'll probably end up with something like Option 8 above, just with a dual-core Athlon X2 instead of the Sempron.

I also won't need 7 HDDs anytime soon, personally, but 6 would be great (5x 1.5TB + 1x 320GB for OS).

This thread is more about listing and discussing all the options, with a ton of parts you can mix and match; so thank you for the input, it's much appreciated!

Now, if scat refines his system a little bit, I'll add his final selection of parts to the options in the OP. The more options everyone has, the better!
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