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Vel's simple media server


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When i started looking at homes to purchase ~1 year ago on thing on the back of my mind was how i wanted ot have a centeralized media storage server. Perviously i had my desktop and an htpc. The htpc housed 3 2tb drives plus an ssd. Wasnt bad but i knew in the new home i wanted a centeralized server that could stream to the living room, bedroom, and the second bedroom. So my simple htpc wouldnt work. So after moving in and running the cat6 network i began the hunt for a server. Unraid seemed appealing as it offered some protection while not losing mass amount of storage space at the same time. So i pretty much just took the plunge and went in head first. Learned as i went more or less. One thing i really liked was the addons. Features like built in usenet, torrenting, ect. I like to seed torrents but i dislike leaving the main pc on. So having a server which is on 24/7 anyways do it for me would be perfect!



Time from parts to up and running 1-2 hours

time to "final" setup ~2 weeks


OS at time of building: unraid 5 beta 12a

CPU: Sempron 145

Motherboard: BIOSTAR TA785G3HD AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

RAM:  Kingston ValueRAM 2GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM

Case: Norco 470B

Drive Cage(s): N/A

Power Supply: Corsair CX430 which was replaced by a Corsair HX520

SATA Expansion Card(s): N/A

Cables:  N/A

Fans: 2x Nexus BASIC D12SL-12 120mm Case Fan  7x Nexus SP802512L-03 80mm Case Fan

Parity Drive: 1x SAMSUNG HD204UI F4 2tb

Data Drives: 2x SAMSUNG HD204UI F4 2t, with 2 more coming from previous htpc

Cache Drive: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB (came from previous htpc)

Total Drive Capacity: ~8TB+1Tb cache


Primary Use: Backups, Media Streaming, Storage

Likes: it was super simple to setup. if it wasnt for pre_clear on the drives it would have been up and running in its basic form in ~1 hour.

Dislikes: Hmm not really a huge dislike but the fact it is linux based was a bit awkward at times. But theres plenty of guides which made it easy enough!

Add Ons Used: unmenu, Transmission, apcupsd (for my apc S15 ups), Monthly Parity Check, Clean Powerdown, might be one or two more insignificant ones

Future Plans: Probably just adding more storage. I have half of the 8gb full and currently my estimated usage is only ~ 5tb after i rip all my movies. So my current setup should last quite awhile. but i have easy access to 4 more drive slots if i need them. Another plan might be to add another unprotected drive to server as a storage drive for torrent seeding/downloads. Just instead of using the cache (i have a few 100+ GB drive laying around which could fill this position)


Boot (peak): 137W

All drive spun up 75W

All drive spun down 50W


Power seems a bit high honestly. the APC S15 shows system load of all components hooked to it as <45W (shows that even during boot though). Bit odd to me as all 6 drives are "green". That and the conflicting data from the S15 and the kill-a-watt. Though with 2 120mm fans and 7 80mm fans maybe it is correct. Though i doubt it as the fans should be <1W each. O well im not worried about power to much. More about temps which are fine :)




Heres a picture of my "rack" in it's closet. You can see the S15 UPS, router, modem, and a hdhomerun, and my network switch. Also the two boxes of Cat6 cabling for my home network install (still a few more runs to add when i get to it lol). the Norco 470B has the 26" rack rails on it. Thats as far as it pulls out as well. Gives nice access to the drives but the mobo is still sort of hidden (can reach the sata ports though). Least drive changes/work will be easy enough.



Closer pic of the "HDD area". it isnt the best cbale management at the moment but it works. Its basically simple other than the fans that come with the Norco 470B are actually placed on the other side (closest to the HDD) of the fan holder/divider thingy. I had a problem with the fan connectors from the 120mm fans in the front and the sata cables/power cables hitting the fan blades. So when i got my quieter fans i just put them on the other side so they pull "through" the divider/holder thingy. Gives alot more working room for hooking up drives and arranging things. I didnt notice any temp differences really other than slihtly higher temps due to the slower, but MUCH quieter fans (and only 1-2C at that!)



Closing comments


First off wow the initial startup and setup is super easy. i dont consider myself an idiot and computers but by no means an expert. The guides got me setup and running faster than i'd imaged. For once things seem and felt to "just work". After figuring out how to run the firmware updates on my drives (im an idiot at dos lol)  the longest part was running preclears. once that was done i had unraid and unmenu setup and running in under half an hour. And by set up i mean user shares and setting. I was surprised at how simple it was. it was pretty much install the stuff of flashdrive, run on server hardware, select drives for what (ie which is parity) and BAM its setup. I was able to get the pairty plus 2 2tb drives setup with no problem. So i began my transfer off all my other hard drvies (2 more 2tb drives plus 1 1tb drive). once that was done i took those drives and precleared and added to the array. Again the wiki was super easy and made it a seemless process. After that...well it was more playing around with unmenu. I've got it more or less setup how i want at this point. I tried SNZNZb but disliked it. Will stick to altbinz on my main pc for usenet. Transmission works perfectly though and met my requirement of being able to seed off the server directly!


I did have one issue really. The Corsair CX420 just didnt want to work with the rest of the hardware. it worked powering on my htpc when hooked up to it. But for some reason wouldnt turn on the server. So i had a Corsair HX520 in my "bedroom" htpc that i pulled out and used. it has worked flawlessly so far. And the Corsair CX430 has worked flawlessly in the  HTPC. guess it was my only real issue with the server.


Also for simplicity i installed the apcupsd  addon via unmenu with Clean Powerdown. I hadnt tested it at all. Well when trying to cook i set off the fire alarms (seriously im banned from cooking i think lol) and couldnt turn off the smoke alarms. So i turned off the power at the main breakers to the house. Well after all that i was surprised to turn on my main pc, check my email, and find emails from the server saying 1) it had lost power and switched to the UPS, 2) it had gone under the predetermined power setting and 3) it had shutdown the server. i mean wow all that from simply installing an addon in 30 seconds.


of course with all the good praises so far there cant have been one bad thing. Well it was my fault. I was working on the fans in the htpc (replacing the stock fan with a silent) while the server was on. While i accidentally hit on of the sata cables and disconnected a drive. Well unraid then showed the drive as "red" event though i shutdown and restarted. it was still red. I could even access the drive and play files just fine off it. Well i did the "unsafe" reload of the drive found (again) in the wiki. Worked just fine other than needing to rebuild the parity. but let me tell ya as i researched the issue i was scared crapless!


I know nothing specavular buildwise but im pretty proud i managed to do it and have it up and running for almost a month now with what has turned out to be only minor issues

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WOW...  Looks like you plan to set-up your new pad with a super network..  Wish I had the skills to run Cat6 as well.  Up until now I've had to rely on MoCA with a 10/100 cap, so only Gigabit between HTPC and unRAID but Cat6 networking is wayy optimal!! 


I'm curious about your drawer like set-up and what temp caps you expect to reach?  Also,  I see you have the Norco 470B, is your stand custom built for it or is it standard?

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I've come to hate wireless for just transferring files around. And since i didnt want wireless for daily transferring i knew i'd go with cat6. its actually fairly simple. only cost ~400-450 total for all the parts. most of it being the twos pools of 1000' cable too (100 bucks each) Thats all the stuff for like 15 drop locations. Also includes ~50 of it towards a flexible drill bit. other than that its pretty straight forward really. Just line up the wires and punch them into there spots.


The rack is a MiddleAtlantic Slim-5 "deep" (26" deep vs 20"). I had to purchase the rackrails for the 470B separately. I got the sliding ones which work nice but i wish they had 5-6" more of travel outwards to be able to get at the back of the case better. but the rack will fit any "rack" designed products just fine (with the 470B is a rack case)


Temperature wise (in a 65 degree (18C) room for reference....probably warmer since its a closed closet as well) the HDD's spundown and "relaxing" sit right around 20-21C. Upon spinup and light use they go to mid 20's....right now disk3 after spinning up for 15 minutes or so is sitting at 25C. If i keep using the disks (ie watching movies) they will usually hit 29-30-31C during use. Havent seen them go up much over that. My cache drive (1tb WD "green") seems to like 30-31C at all times though. CPU/mobo wise i havent been able to check but not honestly worried on them.



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