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Introducing Athena - First unRaid Build


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I originally started looking at replacing my D-Link DNS-323 about a year ago, and stumbled upon unRaid at that time.  However, due to our upcoming wedding, the timing wasn't the best to invest the money into a proper solution.  Instead I cobbled together a hack that allowed me to mount 2 external USB devices onto my DNS-323.  This wasn't pretty, and it was awfully slow (12MB/s transfer speeds) but it worked well for what it was.


Fast forward to the spring and my discovery of Sickbeard/Couchpotato/Sabnzbd.  These were the programs that I had been waiting for, and I was all over them like a fat kid on a smartie.  I devoured the space on my DNS-323 and was hungry for more.  I explained to my wife that if wanted to continue to have all her shows downloaded, then I would need to build a new storage solution.  I once again started looking at unRaid, and once I saw that my downloading triple threat could be installed, I was sold.  I started ordering parts, and after a few weeks I was ready to begin building (the joys of cross-border shopping).  Due to a busy schedule, (yeah unexpectedly working 3 24-hour shifts this month) it's finally done.  I'm just in the process of copying over my data.


OS at time of building: unRaid 4.7

CPU: Intel Core i3-2100


RAM: Kingston ValueRAM KVR1333D3E9S/4G

Case: NORCO RPC-4224 4U Rackmount Server Case

Drive Cage(s): N/A

Power Supply: CORSAIR Professional Series Gold AX750

SATA Expansion Card(s):


SATA2 Serial ATA II PCI-Express RAID Controller Card


Mini SAS 36 Pin to Mini SAS 36 Pin SFF-8087 x4

House Brand Molex 79576-3007 Mini SAS / SATA Cable x2


120mm fan wall bracket for RPC-4224

Enermax Magma 120mm Fan 1500rpm x3

Enermax Magma 80mm Fan 2200rpm x2


Parity Drive: HITACHI Deskstar 7K3000 2TB

Data Drives:

HITACHI Deskstar 5K3000 2TB x3

Western Digital Caviar Green WD20EARS 2TB x2 (Soon to be pulled from my DNS-323)

Cache Drive: HITACHI Deskstar 7K3000 2TB

App Drive: Western Digital Caviar Black WD7502AAEX 750GB

Total Drive Capacity:10TB (and counting :))


Primary Use: Storage/Media Streamer/Downloader

Likes: Expandable, implementation, user community

Dislikes: None so far

Add Ons Used:





Monthly Parity Check

Temperature Monitor

Air Video


unRaid Status Alert

NTFS Driver

Clean Powerdown


Future Plans: Keep expanding the array.  Look at configuring Windows to only point at the server for certain folders (Videos/Music/Documents/etc)


Boot (peak):

Idle (avg):

Active (avg):

Light use (avg):
















*EDIT* - Added my ghetto iKea server rack -->





I'm currently streaming all this to my Boxee Box, but I will be building myself a HTPC in the next few months.  Boxee has served its purpose great (I needed a something that would stream anything, and quick), but I want something that I can play with a bit more.  Having said that, if you need something that just works, the Boxee would be a great player (I'm getting one for my parents).


I also want to thank all the volunteers who take the time to answer questions, create packages, etc.  I think we to often forget that these guys do this because they want to, not because they have to.  So thank you.


Any questions or comments, please don't hesitate.

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How loud is that fan configuration?

what temp do the drives and board stay at?


The fan configuration is not intrusive.  You can hear noise, but it really just sounds like air blowing... no fan noise... if that makes any sense?  As far as temps go, my 7200 RPM drives are usually around 30 degrees, while my green drives are around 28.  My system board temp is 27.

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Great choice in hardware. it looks very "familiar" ;)

I am enjoying your build.


I have been thinking of going to a 7200rpm parity drive myself, I just keep missing the sales.

I find that I keep writing (uncached) to more then one drive at a time. especially when my scripts kickoff that back up other servers to my unraid. I then watch my performance speed drop.


I just purchased yet another 4224 and MBD-X9SCM-F-O. The difference in this build is a XEON E3-1240 and 16 gigs of ram. I am interested in your temp reading also. although I am pretty sure I am going to go with the same config I already have been using. I am just concerned now with the extra heat from the Xeon and 3 HBA cards in this build.



Very neat Wiring...

Unfortunately, I would be very weary of it.

More then once in my world of troubleshooting problematic whitebox builds for clients. I have found that stem of the problem was the wires routed under motherboards. 2 resulting in very catastrophic hardware failure due to a short.


The solder legs on the bottom of the motherboards are very sharp and pointy. in some cases, the leg speared the wire right away. in others, it took a while to puncture. my guess would be vibrations from fans and drives on the delay punctures. The Norco standoffs are a bit taller though. Just something to keep in mind.

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Thanks John.  It's funny I had actually decided on most of these parts prior to you posting about your build, though once I saw your parts list I followed your progress very closely :)


My temp reading is posted in my last post, though oddly enough the IPMI (god I love it) doesn't display the CPU temp (it just says 'low').


As far as the wiring goes, I've had the opposite experience of you.  With all the systems I've built for people, not to mention the systems I've built at work, I've never had a problem with running the wires underneath the motherboard.  Having said that though, I always verify that the wires will be lower than the lowest point on the motherboard.  I also zip tie them closely together and run them against (and sometimes zip tie too) the standoffs.  I've yet to have this method cause issue's.


Thanks for the feedback!  :D

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I got a PM from someone asking how I'm using a cache and app drive, as well as how I have them wired to the motherboard.  So I figured it was easier to answer here than answer in PM.


The cache drive is connected to the motherboard on one of the two SATA3 ports, while the Apps drive is connected to the 2-Port Sata card.  Both drives are connected using a SAS-Sata cable (which also connects the parity drive and the extra drive bay).  Power is provided to all drives in the array through the back plane.  You can actually see all the power cables hooked up in the top portion of the pictures.


As far as how I'm using the cache drive, this is a feature built into unRaid.  I've simply chosen what user folders will take advantage of the cache drive, and what folders won't.  For my app drive, I simply had the various pieces of software (Sab/CP/SB/Transmission/Airvideo) installed to the drive.  This is a simple thing to do with the included unmenu installers.


The only 'gotcha' with the app drive setup is that you must have it mount the drive every time the system boots.  To do that, I added the following lines to my 'go' script, right after it starts up unmenu.


mkdir /mnt/Apps
mount -t reiserfs -o noatime,nodiratime -L Apps /mnt/Apps/


I hope this helps!

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  • 8 months later...

This looks like a great build! Nice work, hope it is still running strong.


I am just waiting on my final parts for a very similar build to upgrade my DNS-323.

I'm just wondering how you moved your content across? Any tips?

Did you try and mount the drives and/or DNS-323 on the unraid which looks possible and could be a lot faster or just used the LAN?


Cheers Gareth

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  • 3 months later...

No to hijack but I am also curious about your lackrack.  I need to mount my RPC-4220 and a Smart-UPS 1500VA.  Do server slide rails fit on a lack rack.  Does the Norco case have to sit on the bottom because of weight, would it be possible to mount with either Ikea rails or server slide rails higher under the table?

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No to hijack but I am also curious about your lackrack.  I need to mount my RPC-4220 and a Smart-UPS 1500VA.  Do server slide rails fit on a lack rack.  Does the Norco case have to sit on the bottom because of weight, would it be possible to mount with either Ikea rails or server slide rails higher under the table?


The legs in the rack are hollow, so I suspect that you couldn't use rails to hold the case up... hence why I used the 2 pieces to give it some height, and to have a place to put my UPS.



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the real downside with the ikea rack is that it is made from paper and cardboard, it gets scuffed and damaged so easily.


i did make a ghetto rail system by using the ikea towel racks from the kitchen area. they were like $2 and get 2. they are the same size as the lack so you can slide the bottom server out.



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