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MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

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such a shame that's not available here - Canada/US

 

what is the power requirement for it?

 

can we import it and wil it run on 110V?

 

It is available in the U.S. -- but the rebate deal isn't.

 

What he said. Got mine from PC Nation, USD$333 shipped to CA.

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This looks PERFECT for my needs...

 

Now to read up on unRAID, and see how I want this configured.  Never had a RAID system before, but for the time being, can I mix and match drive manufacturers, and sizes with RAID 5 or 6?

 

Not familiar with the concept of a separate cache drive, either.  But this all looks very cool!

 

My purpose will be a media server--nothing else.  Samba, possibly FTP software so I don't need to use my laptop to do the transfers.  Not sure if I will integrate my TimeMachine into this, but may want to have a redundant drive for my 1TB external LaCie which has music, documents, setup files, etc..

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Now to read up on unRAID, and see how I want this configured.  Never had a RAID system before, but for the time being, can I mix and match drive manufacturers, and sizes with RAID 5 or 6?

 

unRAID is different from RAID 5 or RAID 6.  unRAID does allow you to mix and match drives.  unRAID also doesn't require or rely on expensive hardware RAID cards (one potential downfall of RAID 5/6, though there are software RAID 5/6 options also).  Finally, if more than one drive dies in unRAID, you only lose the data on that drive.  If more than one drive dies in a RAID 5 array (or more than two in a RAID 6 array), you lose the entire array's worth of data.  This is the single biggest advantage of unRAID in my opinion.

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OK, so it's its own implementation of RAID.

 

I don't want to derail this thread more than I have, but if a drive fails, and I put a new one in, it will rebuild what was temporarily lost, right?

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Right, and actually there's not even a temporary loss.  unRAID will emulate a failed disk using all the other disks in the array - you can read and write to a missing disk just as if nothing is wrong (though you may notice a slight decrease in performance).  Once you replace the failed disk unRAID will reconstruct the disk's contents onto the new disk - and the entire array will still be available during that time (again, with decreased performance).  The only time an unRAID array has mandatory downtime is when clearing a new drive, which is why Joe L. wrote the preclear script to allow you to clear a drive outside the array.  If you use preclear, unRAID's downtime is decreased to mere minutes.  To my knowledge, no other traditional RAID level can make this same claim.

 

If you have any further questions comparing unRAID to traditional RAID levels, please do start a new thread and I and others will be happy to chime in there.

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OK, so it's its own implementation of RAID.

 

I don't want to derail this thread more than I have, but if a drive fails, and I put a new one in, it will rebuild what was temporarily lost, right?

better than that.  If a drive fails it is re-constructed and simulated for both reading and writing.  If you do not look at the array status, you may not notice that a drive has failed (other than all the drives will be spinning)  I've personally played 4 different ISO DVD images to 4 different media players on my LAN from a "failed" disk. (I simulated a failure to perform the tests)

 

When you install a replacement, the re-constructed contents, with any changes included, are written to the replacement drive. 

 

You do NOT temporarily lose any contents if a single drive fails.

 

Joe L.

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So how many, and what kind of SATA connectors do I need?

 

They say it only supports 4 hard drives, then you mod the firmware to support 5 (internal).  I see a molex to 15 pin SATA power adapter.  How many SATA ports are on the mobo, and how many molex to SATA power connectors will I need? One molex can provide power for 2 drives, correct?

 

Thanks!

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Hi guys, is it fine to use 5 2tb drives WD20EARS 5400RPM all the same or am I better off with a different one for the parity drive?

 

Also what is the best way to up it to 4GB of memory instead of the 1GB it came with?

 

Also as it is going to be used as my media server HD heavy am I better to add a cache drive or is it not really worth it?

 

And lastly if in the future I needed more storage ;D could I link two of these beauty's together or would I be better getting a bigger unit when the time arises?

 

Thanks K

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Hi guys, is it fine to use 5 2tb drives WD20EARS 5400RPM all the same or am I better off with a different one for the parity drive?

Yes. Write speed is related to the speed of the slowest drive. Might as well all be the same type.

 

Also what is the best way to up it to 4GB of memory instead of the 1GB it came with?

Add 1x 4GB ECC DIMM

 

Also as it is going to be used as my media server HD heavy am I better to add a cache drive or is it not really worth it?

A cache drive doesn't help when serving streams. A cache drive speeds up writes. Any hard drive made in the last 10 years can deliver a HD stream.

Virtually everyone misunderstands what a cache drive is, which suggests it is badly named. It should be called "Write caching drive" or similar.

 

And lastly if in the future I needed more storage ;D could I link two of these beauty's together or would I be better getting a bigger unit when the time arises?

IMO they're a bit limited in space. I use one of these and a much larger server that can hold more drives.

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Sorry if my questions sound daft but I am really new to all this. I was just inspired to play from your thread.

 

Also what is the best way to up it to 4GB of memory instead of the 1GB it came with?

Add 1x 4GB ECC DIMM

 

Doing a search for this it brings up "non-ECC DIMM" am I missing something, could somebody point me in the right direction?

 

 

Also as it is going to be used as my media server HD heavy am I better to add a cache drive or is it not really worth it?

A cache drive doesn't help when serving streams. A cache drive speeds up writes. Any hard drive made in the last 10 years can deliver a HD stream.

Virtually everyone misunderstands what a cache drive is, which suggests it is badly named. It should be called "Write caching drive" or similar.

 

I misunderstand all of it lol, so when you are copying the media to the server would the cache not speed that process up?

 

 

And lastly if in the future I needed more storage ;D could I link two of these beauty's together or would I be better getting a bigger unit when the time arises?

IMO they're a bit limited in space. I use one of these and a much larger server that can hold more drives.

 

And now you have killed me :( so are you saying that I would be better building a different/larger one in the first place rather than a couple of these?

 

How easy is it to link different servers together?

 

And lastly what was the reason for you building this to go with your larger one?

 

Thanks K

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Sorry if my questions sound daft but I am really new to all this. I was just inspired to play from your thread.

This is about the least condescending I'll get  ;D , but other, more helpful people may pitch in. Bear in mind that I built my first unRAID server relatively recently and spent quite a long time reading up on all the documentation, the wiki, and selected threads here, before posting questions -- working it all out for yourself is really part of the whole unRAID experience, as the official documentation is sparse and out of date.

I'll fill you in on stuff specific to this particular setup, but you may need to wait for much nicer and friendlier people than me (and more expert, too) for the general unRAID questions.

 

Doing a search for this it brings up "non-ECC DIMM" am I missing something, could somebody point me in the right direction?

I believe if you add non-ECC, you can't use the ECC RAM it comes with. I'm planning on adding a 4GB ECC DIMM at some point to take me to 5GB. You can use the Crucial or Kingston configurators to tell you what RAM to buy, or part numbers are in this thread: http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/hp-proliant-microserver-221-81-delivered-crescent-electronics/888083

 

I misunderstand all of it lol, so when you are copying the media to the server would the cache not speed that process up?

It would, but writing to the array is much faster than it used to be, so I don't use a cache drive for that reason. When you have so few drives, "wasting" one on a cache drive may not be the best option. I use my cache drive as temporary storage for used with SABnbzd and Transmission, not to speed up writes. If you are using those kind of apps, a cache drive is a must.

 

And now you have killed me :( so are you saying that I would be better building a different/larger one in the first place rather than a couple of these?

 

How easy is it to link different servers together?

 

And lastly what is the reason for you building this to go with your larger one?

 

Thanks K

It depends how much storage you need now and in the future. If you build two servers, you will need two licenses. Linking servers together for unified shares is part of the roadmap, but not yet implemented.

 

I am using this because it has very low power consumption, so I can leave it on 24/7. The other servers I've built use at least 4x the power consumption on idle/spindown.

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And lastly if in the future I needed more storage ;D could I link two of these beauty's together or would I be better getting a bigger unit when the time arises?

 

so are you saying that I would be better building a different/larger one in the first place rather than a couple of these?

 

How easy is it to link different servers together?

 

You can't really link full unRAID servers together so they show up as a unified share unless you use some other software on another PC (e.g. FlexRAID View). If you think 4~6 drive bays (4x hotswap, 1x ODD, 1x internal) isn't enough for you, then I suggest getting a build that can house more drives.

 

One thing to consider: Right now, the MicroServer is limited to a maximum of 10TB (5x2TB data, 1x2TB parity) but eventually we'll be getting bigger hard drives. unRAID currently can't utilize bigger than 2TB but it will be able to do so eventually. How much storage do you need now and how quickly do you anticipate needing more space? If you don't need a ton of space right away and have a fairly slow-growing collection, what you could do is just buy drives as you need them. Then, once you've filled up all your drives, replace the older, smaller drives with bigger ones. Caveat, the parity drive needs to be at least as big as the largest drive in the array so if you only have 2TB drives and want to move to 4TB, you need to replace both the parity and the data drive to be able to utilize the bigger space.

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Sorry if my questions sound daft but I am really new to all this. I was just inspired to play from your thread.

This is about the least condescending I'll get  ;D , but other, more helpful people may pitch in. Bear in mind that I built my first unRAID server relatively recently and spent quite a long time reading up on all the documentation, the wiki, and selected threads here, before posting questions -- working it all out for yourself is really part of the whole unRAID experience, as the official documentation is sparse and out of date.

I'll fill you in on stuff specific to this particular setup, but you may need to wait for much nicer and friendlier people than me (and more expert, too) for the general unRAID questions.

 

Doing a search for this it brings up "non-ECC DIMM" am I missing something, could somebody point me in the right direction?

I believe if you add non-ECC, you can't use the ECC RAM it comes with. I'm planning on adding a 4GB ECC DIMM at some point to take me to 5GB. You can use the Crucial or Kingston configurators to tell you what RAM to buy, or part numbers are in this thread: http://www.hotukdeals.com/deals/hp-proliant-microserver-221-81-delivered-crescent-electronics/888083

 

I misunderstand all of it lol, so when you are copying the media to the server would the cache not speed that process up?

It would, but writing to the array is much faster than it used to be, so I don't use a cache drive for that reason. When you have so few drives, "wasting" one on a cache drive may not be the best option. I use my cache drive as temporary storage for used with SABnbzd and Transmission, not to speed up writes. If you are using those kind of apps, a cache drive is a must.

 

And now you have killed me :( so are you saying that I would be better building a different/larger one in the first place rather than a couple of these?

 

How easy is it to link different servers together?

 

And lastly what is the reason for you building this to go with your larger one?

 

Thanks K

It depends how much storage you need now and in the future. If you build two servers, you will need two licenses. Linking servers together for unified shares is part of the roadmap, but not yet implemented.

 

I am using this because it has very low power consumption, so I can leave it on 24/7. The other servers I've built use at least 4x the power consumption on idle/spindown.

 

Thanks Neil, your help is appreciated, the link you gave me sure has given me some reading and will keep me quiet for a while :o The part of the thread I have read so far somebody states that they have mixed ecc and non-ecc ram and it is fine which is interesting but not sure I want to take that chance, I guess if I wanted a cheaper option I could abandon the 1GB ECC Ram that came with it and just put a 4GB non-ECC Ram in instead?

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And lastly if in the future I needed more storage ;D could I link two of these beauty's together or would I be better getting a bigger unit when the time arises?

 

so are you saying that I would be better building a different/larger one in the first place rather than a couple of these?

 

How easy is it to link different servers together?

 

You can't really link full unRAID servers together so they show up as a unified share unless you use some other software on another PC (e.g. FlexRAID View). If you think 4~6 drive bays (4x hotswap, 1x ODD, 1x internal) isn't enough for you, then I suggest getting a build that can house more drives.

 

One thing to consider: Right now, the MicroServer is limited to a maximum of 10TB (5x2TB data, 1x2TB parity) but eventually we'll be getting bigger hard drives. unRAID currently can't utilize bigger than 2TB but it will be able to do so eventually. How much storage do you need now and how quickly do you anticipate needing more space? If you don't need a ton of space right away and have a fairly slow-growing collection, what you could do is just buy drives as you need them. Then, once you've filled up all your drives, replace the older, smaller drives with bigger ones. Caveat, the parity drive needs to be at least as big as the largest drive in the array so if you only have 2TB drives and want to move to 4TB, you need to replace both the parity and the data drive to be able to utilize the bigger space.

 

Thanks for the reply ilovejedd, a very valid point about just changing to bigger drives as they come out to save a new build.

 

All I need to figure out now is what is the best way to stream my media from the HP which will be my media server, do I build or buy an HTPC or any other ideas appreciated. ???

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I like what Popcorn Hour has to offer. Others prefer WDTV or an AppleTV. Check out the Popcorn Hours. Others may have different opinions.

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Thanks Neil, your help is appreciated, the link you gave me sure has given me some reading and will keep me quiet for a while :o The part of the thread I have read so far somebody states that they have mixed ecc and non-ecc ram and it is fine which is interesting but not sure I want to take that chance, I guess if I wanted a cheaper option I could abandon the 1GB ECC Ram that came with it and just put a 4GB non-ECC Ram in instead?

 

OK, well maybe the ECC RAM works as non-ECC in that case. I quite like the idea of ECC RAM, but I am currently running it with just the 1GB on board.

I'm going to try to install nzbget at some point, which should reduce the RAM used even further (vs. SABnzbd), but eventually will upgrade the RAM, I guess.

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I have had an HTPC for the last 4+ years and it's been great. But now I think there has to be something better. Lower power use, smaller footprint, etc.

 

I'm currently borrowing a WD HDTV Live. Nice little device. Easy to setup and it found all of my network devices in a matter of seconds. The biggest drawback is no optical drive, but I've got that worked out. I'm gonna enable sharing for the optical drive on my workstation. Done and done.

 

There were some rumors that the newest model will not playback DTS audio, and I'm going to try and confirm that before I place my order.

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Hi guys and thanks for the replies, so if you are using a popcorn hour or WDTV, what are you going to use firstly to rip your media to the server and if using the HP Microserver where are you going to have a Freesat card etc?

 

Jeff is it the WDTV that you are not sure if it plays back DTS?

 

Thanks K

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Hi guys and thanks for the replies, so if you are using a popcorn hour or WDTV, what are you going to use firstly to rip your media to the server and if using the HP Microserver where are you going to have a Freesat card etc?

 

Jeff is it the WDTV that you are not sure if it plays back DTS?

 

Thanks K

 

Yeah, the HTPC plays back all content, no matter the audio encoding.

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Many of us also like more freedom in skins, menus, etc. so we build our own HTPCs based on hardware such as the Zotac Zbox and we use software such as XBMC.  It is a more expensive option, but you have more flexibility and control as well.

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Many of us also like more freedom in skins, menus, etc. so we build our own HTPCs based on hardware such as the Zotac Zbox and we use software such as XBMC.  It is a more expensive option, but you have more flexibility and control as well.

 

So am I correct in thinking that an option to overcome the high power usage as mentioned by Jeff could be to use the HP Microserver as your server and the more powerful HTPC as the media player with all the software etc that you want as you could turn that off when not in use compared to being on 24/7 like the server?

 

Thanks K

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Many of us also like more freedom in skins, menus, etc. so we build our own HTPCs based on hardware such as the Zotac Zbox and we use software such as XBMC.  It is a more expensive option, but you have more flexibility and control as well.

 

So am I correct in thinking that an option to overcome the high power usage as mentioned by Jeff could be to use the HP Microserver as your server and the more powerful HTPC as the media player with all the software etc that you want as you could turn that off when not in use compared to being on 24/7 like the server?

 

Thanks K

 

Or run a 15W Popcorn Hour.

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Many of us also like more freedom in skins, menus, etc. so we build our own HTPCs based on hardware such as the Zotac Zbox and we use software such as XBMC.  It is a more expensive option, but you have more flexibility and control as well.

 

So am I correct in thinking that an option to overcome the high power usage as mentioned by Jeff could be to use the HP Microserver as your server and the more powerful HTPC as the media player with all the software etc that you want as you could turn that off when not in use compared to being on 24/7 like the server?

 

Thanks K

 

Or run a 15W Popcorn Hour.

 

Hi Neil

 

I was thinking in terms of if you are using the Microserver as your server then you still need somewhere for your TV/Sat card etc, which  can't be housed in the Popcorn Hour can they?

 

I know you can get a BDD in the Popcorn Hour but where does everything else go?

 

If you used the Microserver as an htpc would you not be very limited on what you could put in it due to the lack of space and if you put a BDD in it you have lost a HDD.

 

Thanks K

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