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Home server on a budget

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Here is my home server on a budget:

Case: Old mid tower case $0
MB: BCM RX67Q, new off ebay, $50
CPU: intel G530T, used off ebay, $50
HSF: std intel $0
RAM: Crucial, 8GB Fry's, $35
RAID cards: Highpoint RR2300, 2x $45
PSU: Seasonic SS-350ET, $35
Cages: 2x Cooler Master 4-in-3 device module, Amazon, 2x $27
Cage: Thermaltake MAX-1562, Amazon, $75
HDD 3.5in: 1x 3TB (Costco), 2x 2TB, 1x 1TB, 1x 500GB, total 8.5TB
HDD 2.5in: 3x 80GB, 1x 100GB (parity), total 240GB
SSD: 1x 64GB Samsung, $65
ODD: old DVDRW, $0
Misc: 2x Molex-4x SATA power, sound absorption rubber sheet, 2x thermal control 120mm fans, 1x Gelid 80mm TC type fan.

1. All the 3.5in HDD are in JBOD mode. The Cool Master cages are pretty cheap. Fan was replaced with thermal controlled fans.
2. There are 5x 3.5in HDDs in the box now with 5 more empty slots, 3 in the Cool Master cages and 2 more in the case.
3. 3x 80GB 2.5in HDD makes a 240GB RAID0 with 1x 100GB parity drive. The 6 slot 2.5in Thermaltake cage is a little expensive.
4. OS is in 64GB SSD.
5. Total possible 3.5in/2.5in slots are 16.
6. It is possible to replace the card reader with another 6 slot Thermaltake MAX-1562 cage.
7. The BCM RX67Q has only 5 SATA ports. It will be replaced with an 8 port intel DZ68BC in the next upgrade.
8. One of the Highpoint RocketRAID2300 4 port cards will be replaced with an 8 port RR2320 to bring total SATA ports to 20.

Here is a look inside the case. Cardboard is a cold/hot air separator. Gelid TC type outlet fan is behind the "Priority" word.


Here is what the temperature monitor looks like. The 0 RPM for AUXFan (on HDD cages) is because I unplugged it while running. CPU fan is PWM and SYSFan/AUXFan are thermal controlled.

Edited by dksc318 - 8/2/12 at 12:15am
post #2 of 18
Which OS are you running?
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Originally it was running WHS2011 but I had a lot of problem in authorizing users. At the moment it is running Win7. I will try WHS2011 again when I get the time.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dksc318 View Post

HDD 3.5in: 1x 3TB (Costco), 2x 2TB, 1x 1TB, 1x 500GB, total 8.5TB
HDD 2.5in: 3x 80GB, 1x 100GB (parity), total 240GB
SSD: 1x 64GB Samsung, $65

That is one heck a lot of data that has no parity.

If your controller allows, can you set up one of the 2 Tb and a 1Tb as a 3 Tb mirror for the 3 Tb drive?
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by dksc318 View Post

Originally it was running WHS2011 but I had a lot of problem in authorizing users. At the moment it is running Win7. I will try WHS2011 again when I get the time.
I've been running my home server with Win7 for a couple years now. Some people said it was a bad idea but it has worked great for me. I also like it being a standard OS as I can use it for whatever I want like encoding etc.

I am using snap raid for some sort of parity.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboy714 View Post

I've been running my home server with Win7 for a couple years now. Some people said it was a bad idea but it has worked great for me. I also like it being a standard OS as I can use it for whatever I want like encoding etc.
I am using snap raid for some sort of parity.

This is the plan I am considering for my upcoming server build. If I may inquire, have you tested SnapRAID for either data recovery (i.e. recovering accidentally deleted file) or disc replacement + rebuild data array (under Win7)? Thanks.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler View Post

This is the plan I am considering for my upcoming server build. If I may inquire, have you tested SnapRAID for either data recovery (i.e. recovering accidentally deleted file) or disc replacement + rebuild data array (under Win7)? Thanks.
No I have not. Thankfully I have not had any failures. I guess I could move some data around and leave like 100gb's on a drive. Sync snapraid then format the drive and see if it works properly. But I haven't been that worried about it. If you want something a little more known with plenty of people that have used it you may want to go with flex raid. I think its like $50 or something. It has some extra features too like drive pooling but I don't need any of that so I didn't buy it.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboy714 View Post

No I have not. Thankfully I have not had any failures. I guess I could move some data around and leave like 100gb's on a drive. Sync snapraid then format the drive and see if it works properly. But I haven't been that worried about it. If you want something a little more known with plenty of people that have used it you may want to go with flex raid. I think its like $50 or something. It has some extra features too like drive pooling but I don't need any of that so I didn't buy it.

Thanks for the reply. I was just wondering if SnapRAID was proven to work to recover lost data, from AVS user experience. Since SnapRAID is free, I'll audition it first before trying other options.. My personal philosophy is to do a dry run recovery test for any backup or data array recovery application or program I use, and to not assume that it is automatically working on the system on which I am running it.

I've seen folks who feel secure because they run backups regularly, but when I ask them if they have ever tested a recovery scenario, the question usually catches them off guard and then they say "no". I politely suggest that they do so, 'cuz if they wait until disaster hits to find out that their solution doesn't work for recovery... well, *I* certainly would not want to be in that position eek.gif
post #9 of 18
Yah I know I've always thought about that. When the time comes will it actually work. Your making me think I should do a test run. The stuff I'm protecting is all replaceable so it's not a huge deal. But for sure a pain in the butt.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteboy714 View Post

Yah I know I've always thought about that. When the time comes will it actually work. Your making me think I should do a test run. The stuff I'm protecting is all replaceable so it's not a huge deal. But for sure a pain in the butt.

Just out of curiosity, could you briefly give your server system's specs? How many hard drives in your array, including parity? Do you have 1 or 2 parity disks? And finally, approximately how long did it take to complete a "sync" operation on all your data with SnapRAID?

Sorry for all the questions, but as I said, your system is similar to what I want for my future build (Win7 + SnapRAID). Thanks for the discussion smile.gif
post #11 of 18
"RAID cards: Highpoint RR2300, 2x $45"

Where did you find these cards for this price? I have been wanting to find some good cheap RAID cards, but don't want to pay close to $100 for the the privilege of buying something decent.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlad Theimpaler View Post

Just out of curiosity, could you briefly give your server system's specs? How many hard drives in your array, including parity? Do you have 1 or 2 parity disks? And finally, approximately how long did it take to complete a "sync" operation on all your data with SnapRAID?
Sorry for all the questions, but as I said, your system is similar to what I want for my future build (Win7 + SnapRAID). Thanks for the discussion smile.gif
No problem.

I have an Amd x3 Athlon. (unlocked to a quad probably just wastes power but oh well.)
4 gigs of ram
1 x 750gb drive (50gb partition for OS, the other partitions is where all my downloads initially go, this drive is not in the snapraid array)

I have 6 drives in my array.
3 x 1.5TB
2 x 2TB
1 x 2TB (Parity drive)

Sync operation will take a while. I think it depends on if the drives are full or not. Mine are all at least half full. I always just set it at night. The initial sync may take up to a day. Can't remember but I started it before bed and it was done the next day after work.
I don't have any schedules set I just run it when I feel like it. Lately my media collection doesn't change as often as it used to so I may only lose a couple movies if I don't do a sync for a few weeks.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

That is one heck a lot of data that has no parity.
If your controller allows, can you set up one of the 2 Tb and a 1Tb as a 3 Tb mirror for the 3 Tb drive?
That 8.5TB is holding material created by others, so we don't care. The 240GB is holding material created by us, like pictures, so it is in RAID0 with parity drive. We actually have another 1.5TB RAID1 NAS for the same purpose.

The Highpoint RocketRAID cards of course support RAID. That BCM RX67Q MB is an industrial MB and support RAID too.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rmerikle View Post

"RAID cards: Highpoint RR2300, 2x $45"
Where did you find these cards for this price? I have been wanting to find some good cheap RAID cards, but don't want to pay close to $100 for the the privilege of buying something decent.
This happens to be a popular card for large data centers. I pick it up from a local recycling company that parts out server farms.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/130740664011

I just email them and drove down to their place.

Silicon Valley Compucycle in Milpitas is another place recycling data center stuff. They only use ebay.
post #15 of 18
I have a WHS2011 system and I like it for the backup feature. As for sharing files, W7 works every bit as good. We have 4 W7 MC PCs in our home. Neither W7 or WHS can pool the drives (without some hassle anyway) so the only real advantage to WHS is the backup. And some Robycopy scripts tied to a scheduled task could accomplish the same thing. And I never have been able to do a bare metal restore from WHS. Getting the data files back has always worked. We do use the server for storing pics, music, and ripped movies. Not so much for Recorded TV. We just record everything on two 4-tuner MC systems. The other two are minimal and function as poor man's extenders. Basically just access Recorded TV on MC system and server media.
Since M$ is abandoning WHS, I'm reconsidering Linux for the server OS. My WHS does run 24/7 rebooting only occasionally for updates, etc.
Your system is cool BTW!
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks, just my sand box for tinkering. I have 3 HTPCs and a number of general use PCs and notebooks in the house.

WHS is a bit more secure, if not in fundamentals, but in out of the box settings.
Edited by dksc318 - 8/3/12 at 6:46am
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Top card is a 4 port RocketRAID 2300. It is running 3x 2.5in in RAID0 plus a parity drive.
Bottom is an 8 port RocketRAID 2320. It has only 3 devices connected so far. Touching the heatsink felt like 55deg+. I may add a fan and temperature controller to keep it cooler. I was able to get a 2nd 2320 from Silicon Valley Compucycle. This will bring the setup to 5+8+8 SATA ports.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 

Here are the two 8 port Highpoint RocketRAID 2320 cards. Fans are added since they ran pretty hot, around 60deg C. The small green PCB is a temperature sensing fan controller. The thermistor is placed touching the heatsink.


Here are the two RR2320 cards in the server. Unfortunately the BCM RX67Q MB would not boot with both cards installed. Any other RocketRAID (2300, 2310,2640,620) card would boot but not two RR2320. Both card BIOS were updated to the latest but still no joy. Next step is to try the intel DZ68BC MB.
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