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dirtysanchez

Landfill - My SFF unRAID with SAB/SB/PLEX

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So I finally had the money to go ahead and build the unRAID box I've been wanting for over a year now.  It is based largely off of spencers build here.  I'm using it for media storage and backup of other household devices, as well as running sabnzbd, sickbeard, and Plex media server.  I couldn't be more pleased with how the build came together and is operating. 

 

Thanks to the forums and everyone here.  I got through the build and setup without having to ask a single question due to the quality of all the content here.  Thanks especially to spencers for having already built exactly what I was looking for so I didn't have to start from scratch.

 

OS at time of building: unRAID 5.0-rc8a Plus License $69

CPU: Intel Ivy Bridge Core i3-3220T Dual-Core Processor 2.8 Ghz 3MB Cache LGA 1155 35W $128

Motherboard: ASUS P8H77-I Mini ITX Intel Motherboard $100

RAM: Kingston HyperX 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) $40

Case: LIAN LI PC-Q25B Black Aluminum Mini-ITX Tower $120

Drive Cage(s): None, case has built-in 5 bay hot swap cage

Power Supply: CORSAIR Builder Series CX430 430W $17 after $20 rebate

SATA Expansion Card(s): None

Cables: 5x StarTech Model SATA12 12" SATA Serial ATA Cable $3/ea

Fans: Stock case fans Noctua Fans (see edit further down)

UPS APC Back-UPS ES BE550G 550 VA 330 Watts $67

 

Parity Drive: 3TB Seagate ST3000DM001

Data Drives: 1x 3TB Seagate ST3000DM001, 2x Seagate ST2000DM001

Cache Drive: 250GB WD2500KS 320GB WD3200AAKX

Total Drive Capacity: 7TB

 

Total cost w/o drives or UPS = $489

Total cost w/o drives = $556

 

I found a couple great Black Friday deals on the drives.  Got the 3TB drives for $100, and the 2TB drives for $70.  The 250GB WD I already had so that was free.

 

Total cost including drives = $896

 

Primary Use: Media Storage and device backup

Likes: All of it

Dislikes: None so far

Add Ons Used: Simple Features, unMENU, SNAP, Sabnzbd, Sickbeard, Plex

Future Plans: None at the moment

 

Power Consumption: I don't have a Kill-A-Watt, so I can't provide accurate power draw.  That said, UPS Status (from within unMENU) reports 18% load capacity.  As it's a 330W UPS, that converts to approximately 60W draw.  As it doesn't update on the fly I can't tell you what state the server was in at the time.  I suspect it's with all array drives spun down, and cache disk spun up.  I finally got a Kill-A-Watt and so now have accurate numbers to report.  I'm pleased to say the power consumption is MUCH lower than I originally estimated based on UPS readings.

  • 33.2W - All drives spun down (plugins stopped so cache drive can spin down)
  • 38.6W - Plugins running, cache drive spun up, all array drives spun down
  • 61.0W - All drives spun up but otherwise inactive
  • 69.5W - Parity check running

 

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I know the photos are horrible, I'll see if I can get some better quality ones and update.  Last photo has iPad 2 next to server for size comparison.  Blue giraffe dogs toy as a bonus!

 

So far so good.  I currently don't do any 1080 Blu-ray content, so I can only comment on 720p and DVD quality content when it comes to Plex and transcoding.  I can say that the Core i3 is a beast of a processor when it comes to transcoding, considering its 35W TDP.  I have had as many as 5 concurrent streams playing on various devices and do not get any stuttering or playback issues.  Content is streamed from Plex to 2x Smart TV's, 2x iPad, 3x iPhone, 1x Roku 1 HD, 2x laptops.  At some point I'll load everything up and see how many streams it takes before it starts choking.

 


 

For those concerned with heat and SFF builds, as I was, I can tell you that so far heat has not been an issue.  I have yet to see the CPU go above 41C under load (~30C at idle), the array drives have never been above 37C under load (~32C spun up but idle), and the cache drive hits 40C under load on rare occasions (~36C spun up but idle).  The cache drive is 6 years old and just seems to run hotter regardless.  These are all 7200 rpm drives BTW.  This is with the 2 stock fans that come with the case and the stock CPU heatsink.

 

EDIT: I later swapped a couple of WD 320GB drives (WD3200AAKX) out of my gaming machine and used one to replace the original cache drive (WD2500KS).  The new cache drive is much faster and also runs a lot cooler.  It never goes above 32C now.

 


 

EDIT: About two months after the build, I decided to upgrade the case fans.  The stock fans weren't horrible by any means and temps were not an issue, but they were a bit loud for my taste (NAS sits in living room).  I replaced them with two Noctua fans.  Great upgrade.  I have both fans running at full RPM and the box is nearly silent now.  Drive temps have also decreased around 3C, although as stated temps were not an issue to begin with.

 

Top Fan: Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120 x 25mm Fan (600/900/1200 RPM) $16.25

Front Fan: Noctua (NF-A14 FLX) - 140x140x25mm Square Frame Fan, 3-pin, 1200/1050/900rpm SSO2 Bearing $22.95

 

I also moved the flash drive inside the case using a spare USB header I had lying around.

 


 

EDIT: Finally got around to some speed testing, so thought I'd add that.  All tests performed with Win7 laptop, Asus RT-N66U router, and LAN Speed Test with 1GB file.

 

Laptop via GbE to cache: 85.6 MB/s write, 100.9 MB/s read (WD3200AAKX cache drive max write speed is 85 MB/s, so was the limiting factor on writes)

Laptop via GbE to parity protected array: 39.9 MB/s write, 100.8 MB/s read

Laptop via dual-stream 802.11n (300Mb/s theoretical): 18.9 MB/s write, 19.0 MB/s read (to both array and cache as wireless is the limiting factor here)

 

So pretty much what I expected.  Real-world GbE, in most instances, tops out around 800Mb/s (100MB/s), and the Seagate 1TB/platter drives in the array are more than capable of saturating GbE, except on parity-protected array writes where parity calculation is the limiting factor.  Running hdparm -tT from console yields read speeds from these Seagate drives at ~180 MB/s.  As for via WiFi, also about what I expected.  Real world WiFi throughput is roughly half of theoretical, so a dual-stream .11n connection (300Mb/s theoretical) should give a real world of about 150 Mb/s (18.75 MB/s) which is exactly what I saw.

 


 

EDIT:  A few more things that have been done since the initial build that I thought I would add to the OP. 

 

The power supply was swapped to a Silverstone SFX unit.  Much much better PSU to use.  More space and better cooling. 

 

I have pulled the two 2TB Seagates and replaced them with 3TB models.  The system is now 5x 3TB ST3000DM001 drives for a total of 12TB protected storage.  A parity check now completes in roughly 5.25 hours, as there is no longer a slowdown for the end of the 2TB drives.  There was nothing wrong with the 2TB units, I simply wanted to expand the storage by moving to all 3TB drives.  The 2TB drives are now serving as off-line backup drives in my safe. 

 

I also replaced the 320GB spinner cache drive with an OCZ ARC 100 240GB SSD.  The cache drive is no longer the limiting factor in write speed and I can now read and write to the cache at ~112MB/s.  Gigabit Ethernet is now the limiting factor.  Writes to the protected array remain unchanged, as expected, at around 40MB/s.  Reads from the array also max GbE at roughly 112MB/s.

 

Finally upgraded from v5.0.6 to 6.0beta14b.  All previous functionality via plugins is either now part of the base OS (email alerts, UPS support, etc) or is running as a Docker (Plex, SAB/SB/CP, etc).

 

I'm also looking to upgrade the CPU at some point.  In all honesty, the CPU is powerful enough and can do 3 simultaneous on-the-fly transcodes (and I rarely on-the-fly transcode, let alone 3 at once), but when I pre-transcode for offline viewing (Plex Sync), it takes longer than I'd like.  The transcoding of 720P source to an iPad mini 2 on medium quality runs at about 6x speed, so an hour show takes about 10 minutes.  It's the one and only reason I'm looking to upgrade the CPU.

 


 

EDIT 02/26/2019:

 

Server has been chugging along for over 6 years now.  Here's a list of all changes that I can recall that have not already been mentioned in the OP.

 

Upgraded CPU to Xeon E3-1245v2, much more horsepower.

Ditched the stock Intel CPU cooler and went with the Noctua NH-L9i.

Upgraded RAM to 16GB.

Upgraded the case to the Silverstone DS380B.

Added additional drives, now a total of 7x Seagate 3TB.

Added IOCrest SY-PEX40039 SATA card for the additional drives.

Have one of the old 2TB drives mounted with Unassigned Devices plugin as UniFi Video storage for 9 cameras.

Converted all drives to xfs.

The motherboard died around Oct 2017.  There were no new LGA1155 mobos anymore (not even new old stock) and had to wind up buying a used mobo of the same model off of eBay.  This would be my only gripe about this build.  Being mini-ITX there are not a lot of mobo options to begin with and down the road if it dies, finding a replacement can be a pain in the ***.  There was only a single used mobo to be found on all of eBay at the time.  And if you can't find a replacement, you're now looking at new mobo, CPU, and RAM.  That said, that's an issue with any older computer system, but there are far more options (including used) in standard ATX form factor.  I needed a SFF footprint at the time (and still do currently) and that's just the price you pay.

 

The server will continue to soldier on in this configuration until roughly Summer 2020 when I will be moving to the midwest (yay basements!) and building a much bigger rack mounted replacement and this SFF server will become a backup server.

Edited by dirtysanchez
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I dig your setups nickname. LandFill. LOL

 

Otherwise your setup is rather sweet looking. I kinda wish I went with a smaller slicker build opposed to a big old case.

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I dig your setups nickname. LandFill. LOL

 

Otherwise your setup is rather sweet looking. I kinda wish I went with a smaller slicker build opposed to a big old case.

+1 :-)

 

Sent from my GT-P7500 using Tapatalk 2

 

 

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I dig your setups nickname. LandFill. LOL

 

Otherwise your setup is rather sweet looking. I kinda wish I went with a smaller slicker build opposed to a big old case.

 

LOL.  Thanks.  I figured the name was appropriate considering the amount of "junk" that will wind up on this thing.

 

Yeah, I REALLY wanted a SFF setup and considering I was looking at doing 6 drives or less, it was certainly possible.  I can't say enough about the case I used.  It's certainly not cheap at $120, but well worth the money.  Super high quality, brushed anodized aluminum, completely tool-less (the sides pull right off, no thumb screws even), and the built-in 5 bay hot-swap drive cage is perfect for a NAS.

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You say that you can stream to 5 different devices without stuttering?  I am currently using AirVideo to stream to my family's iPad's via wireless.  If I try to stream 1080p / high bitrate content at the same time to two iPads, I get buffering every 30 seconds or so.

 

I'm wondering if a faster CPU would help?

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You say that you can stream to 5 different devices without stuttering?  I am currently using AirVideo to stream to my family's iPad's via wireless.  If I try to stream 1080p / high bitrate content at the same time to two iPads, I get buffering every 30 seconds or so.

 

I'm wondering if a faster CPU would help?

Could be CPU. it could also be the Wi-Fi.

 

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You say that you can stream to 5 different devices without stuttering?  I am currently using AirVideo to stream to my family's iPad's via wireless.  If I try to stream 1080p / high bitrate content at the same time to two iPads, I get buffering every 30 seconds or so.

 

I'm wondering if a faster CPU would help?

 

Yes, I can stream at least 5 simultaneous devices, but none of them are 1080p streams (they are a mix of 480p and 720p).  Also, most of them are NOT transcoding.  Typically 2 of the 5 devices are being fed transcoded streams, while the other 3 are direct play.  In addition, 1 of the 5 is hard-wired on GigE, while the other 4 are on WiFi, but I have an Asus RT-N66U router which is true simultaneous dual-band as well as triple-stream.

 

I agree with Johnm, it might be CPU, but could also be the wireless.

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You say that you can stream to 5 different devices without stuttering?  I am currently using AirVideo to stream to my family's iPad's via wireless.  If I try to stream 1080p / high bitrate content at the same time to two iPads, I get buffering every 30 seconds or so.

 

I'm wondering if a faster CPU would help?

 

Yes, I can stream at least 5 simultaneous devices, but none of them are 1080p streams (they are a mix of 480p and 720p).  Also, most of them are NOT transcoding.  Typically 2 of the 5 devices are being fed transcoded streams, while the other 3 are direct play.  In addition, 1 of the 5 is hard-wired on GigE, while the other 4 are on WiFi, but I have an Asus RT-N66U router which is true simultaneous dual-band as well as triple-stream.

 

I agree with Johnm, it might be CPU, but could also be the wireless.

 

It might be a combination.  Who knows.  90% of my media is high bitrate BD movies, which probably doesn't really help when transcoding to two devices wireless.  I'm in the process of trying to convince my wife to let me build another server.  This time, I am thinking of going with FlexRaid / WHS.

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It might be a combination.  Who knows.  90% of my media is high bitrate BD movies, which probably doesn't really help when transcoding to two devices wireless.  I'm in the process of trying to convince my wife to let me build another server.  This time, I am thinking of going with FlexRaid / WHS.

 

What are you using to serve movies?  What is doing the Transcoding?  Plex?  If so, I can almost guarantee you the CPU is part of the issue.  Plex calls for a 2.0GHz Core2 Duo minimum to do transcoding (think single 1080p transcode at 100% CPU utilization), and your CPU isn't much more powerful than the minimum recommended processor (about 33% based on cpubenchmark.net).  My CPU on the other hand is 212% more powerful than the minimum recommended processor, and I'm not transcoding 1080p but rather 720p when needed.

 

What type of WiFi do you have?  If you are using single-stream 2.4 GHz b/g WiFi, 2 simultaneous streams is going to crush it, especially if you have other devices communicating at the same time.  If it's "n" it'll be better, but still pushing it.

 

All that said, I can virtually guarantee you that unRAID itself is not part of the problem.  If you were to put FlexRaid or WHS on your existing hardware you'll still have the problem.  If you are considering going to FlexRaid or WHS because of the issues above, I think you're focusing on the wrong element.  Of course if you were to build a new server with more powerful hardware and run FlexRaid or WHS and find the problem has disappeared, it likely disappeared because of the more powerful hardware, not the change in OS.  Or maybe you are looking at other options because of multiple issues with unRAID above and beyond those mentioned here.

 

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck!

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I'm not using Plex.  I am using AirVideo to transcode to IPads / iPhones.  However, you are correct my current 2wire modem/router only supports G wireless connection so that by itself might be the issue.

 

I want to give flexraid a try due to being able to support more parity drives.  I am currently using 6 2tb drives.  One of them parity. The more drives the greater the chance of multiple drive failure, which is something I do not want to go through.

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I'm not using Plex.  I am using AirVideo to transcode to IPads / iPhones.  However, you are correct my current 2wire modem/router only supports G wireless connection so that by itself might be the issue.

 

I want to give flexraid a try due to being able to support more parity drives.  I am currently using 6 2tb drives.  One of them parity. The more drives the greater the chance of multiple drive failure, which is something I do not want to go through.

 

I have no experience with AirVideo so can't comment there.  Since your current WiFi is b/g only, that most certainly is contributing to your issues.  I suspect your CPU is as well, considering it takes quite a bit of horsepower to transcode 1080p on-the-fly.  I would suggest running 2 streams concurrently and watch the server's CPU load to see if it is pegged. 

 

Totally understand regarding FlexRaid and multiple parity drives.  While I personally am comfortable with the level of protection provided by unRAID, not everyone will be.

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Next "upgrade" ... modular PCU so you can get control of those cables  :D  Still, sweet little build you got there.  Ummm that didn't sound right  :o

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Yes, a modular PSU would be definitely be nice.  The cables actually look worse than they really are in that photo.  All the cables on top of the PSU are spare cables and just tucked up there out of the way.  Would definitely be nice to just detach them from the PSU however.  The 24-pin main and 4-pin CPU connectors can't be routed behind the mobo tray as there is no way to do so, and since it's a SFF build the cables are obviously way too long.  A "shorter" PSU would also be a big help.

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Yes, a modular PSU would be definitely be nice.  The cables actually look worse than they really are in that photo.  All the cables on top of the PSU are spare cables and just tucked up there out of the way.  Would definitely be nice to just detach them from the PSU however.  The 24-pin main and 4-pin CPU connectors can't be routed behind the mobo tray as there is no way to do so, and since it's a SFF build the cables are obviously way too long.  A "shorter" PSU would also be a big help.

 

Well if you are REALLY hard core, you could 1) modify the useless cables by cutting and terminating them (for safety) 2) shorten the 24-pin and 4-pin by cutting and recrimping.  Its actually not that hard, and there are lots of guides out there.  Many are focused on "sleaving" but the basics are the same even if you don't intend to sleave our cables.

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Or a longer place to put the PSU: Power Supply Extension Bracket

 

I saw that and was considering it.  Would be nice to have a little more space between the PSU and the HD cage.

 

Yes, a modular PSU would be definitely be nice.  The cables actually look worse than they really are in that photo.  All the cables on top of the PSU are spare cables and just tucked up there out of the way.  Would definitely be nice to just detach them from the PSU however.  The 24-pin main and 4-pin CPU connectors can't be routed behind the mobo tray as there is no way to do so, and since it's a SFF build the cables are obviously way too long.  A "shorter" PSU would also be a big help.

 

Well if you are REALLY hard core, you could 1) modify the useless cables by cutting and terminating them (for safety) 2) shorten the 24-pin and 4-pin by cutting and recrimping.  Its actually not that hard, and there are lots of guides out there.  Many are focused on "sleaving" but the basics are the same even if you don't intend to sleave our cables.

 

Hadn't thought about that, great idea!  I might decide to go that route next time I have a weekend with nothing else to do.

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GFOviedo,

 

Just use Handbrake and rip the videos to m4v using the Appletv 3 preset and nothing will need to transcode.

 

Kryspy

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GFOviedo,

 

Just use Handbrake and rip the videos to m4v using the Appletv 3 preset and nothing will need to transcode.

 

Kryspy

 

No.  That is not an option.  I am very picky for my video and audio.  I want the best picture and audio quality whenever I stream movies to my living room and 7.1 surround sound.  The kids are just going to have to deal with having only one iPad playing at a time.

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I really love this build! Do you think I'd have the same success if I swapped the Motherboard and CPU for AMD parts?

 

[MOBO] ASRock FM2A85X-ITX FM2 AMD A85X (Hudson D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Mini ITX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

[CPU] AMD A4-5300 Trinity 3.4GHz (3.6GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 65W Dual-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU)

 

Also, I have a spare Antec earthwatts EA430 430W. Can I use that? Or no because it's not a single +12V rail?

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I really love this build! Do you think I'd have the same success if I swapped the Motherboard and CPU for AMD parts?

 

[MOBO] ASRock FM2A85X-ITX FM2 AMD A85X (Hudson D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Mini ITX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

[CPU] AMD A4-5300 Trinity 3.4GHz (3.6GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 65W Dual-Core Desktop APU (CPU + GPU)

 

Also, I have a spare Antec earthwatts EA430 430W. Can I use that? Or no because it's not a single +12V rail?

 

I'm sure using that AMD mobo + APU would work just fine.  That said, since it is a 65W TDP processor (versus the 35W TDP proc in mine), you'll want to check that the CPU cooler is short enough to fit.  I don't know the height of the included heatsink with the Intel proc I used, but it's at most 2" tall.  Things are really sandwiched in that case and if the CPU cooler is too tall it will hit the PSU.

 

As for the PSU you have, I think it would work just fine, but I'll let the PSU experts say for sure.

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Looks like a fantastic build, dirtysanchez!

 

And familiar too.  ;D

 

Glad my thread/build could be of help to you!

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dirty,

 

Just so you know, i am probably going to straight up rip you off.  This looks absolutely perfect.

 

No worries, I pretty much straight up ripped off spencers.  It's a great build, go for it! 

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