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reggie14

New to unRAID, new Server Components

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Sorry to add one more "check out my parts list" thread, but I'm new to unRAID and would appreciate some feedback.  I don't really have any existing hardware that would be good for unRAID.  I have some, but I'd need enough new stuff I figure its easier just to get all new stuff.  So, here's the unRAID server I'm thinking about building.

 

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 590

Power Supply: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W (single +12V rail)

Motherboard: ASUS P5G43T-M Pro

CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 Wolfdale 2.4GHz

RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066

Drive Bays: SYBA SY-MR-35SOF (x3)

Drives: Samsung Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 2TB (x3)

 

First things first, I know the motherboard might be a problem.  I have another thread asking about that motherboard.  The network chipset may or may not be supported.  I'm trying to figure that out from Lime Tech.  I know there's a risk to picking a board off the HCL, but I'm not a big fan of any of the boards on the HCL wiki.  I'm looking for a <$100 LGA 775 board with 6 SATA ports, onboard video, and preferably HDMI.  The reason for HDMI is just in case I ever move away from unRAID and want to hook up this system to my TV.

 

Noise is a concern.  I've been looking carefully at the RB-1200 Server, which is very reasonably priced, but am a bit concerned about noise from the 3 IcyDock cages.  Instead, I was thinking about getting individual hot swap cages for the 5 1/4" drives bays (I know you can't actually hot swap in unRAID).  But, I'm not sure if there would be enough room between drives to go without fans blowing air directly across the drives.  If I need active cooling on the drives then the RB-1200 looks even better.

 

I'm not interested in having 12 drives in this thing ever.  I think 6 will probably be enough for me, with an option for 8 with a SATA add-on card.  So, going with the IcyDock cages for 3 more drive bays isn't very tempting.  But, if I need them for cooling purposes then so be it.

 

Then there's the hard drives.  2TB drives are cheap enough now I'm going to go straight to those, even if 1.5TB is a little cheaper.  I want some sort of low-power drive, mainly to keep temperatures down.  I've been thinking about getting the Caviar Green drives instead, but the Samsungs are a bit cheaper, and part of me is a little skeptical of the IntelliPark feature on the WD drives (since so many people seem to turn it off).  I'm a little concerned about network write speeds to the parity-protected array.  I'd rather not get a cache drive, because I don't think I need anything terribly fast.  But, I would like to get around 20MB/sec.  It's my understanding that that should be possible with either the Samsung or Western Digital low-power 2TB drives.

 

Also, I'd basically like this thing to look and act as much like a NAS appliance as possible.  My primary reasons for going with unRAID instead of a ReadyNAS are 1) RAID5 makes me worried I'll lose everything if something goes wrong, and 2) I'm worried about running into problems with consumer-class drives falling out of a RAID5 array because of error recovery.  So,  I want to do little things like have Data drive #1 correspond to the first (or second, after the parity drive) hot-swap bay, and the first (or second) SATA port.  Basically, I just want to try to make it as simple as possible to identify a drive in case of a failure.  I know from the FAQ I can renumber the drives if it comes to that, but I assume hooking up the hot swap bays to the SATA ports in order will help, as will adding drives starting from the top hot-swap bay.

 

I'm not necessarily opposed to just buying the RB-1200 Server, but I'm not the least bit scared of putting a server together myself.  I kind of like it, actually (at least, when things work on the first try).  But, I know I can't put together a server like the RB-1200, complete with 3 IcyDock cages, for the same price.  So, if I need active cooling on the drives, and there's reason to think the next batch of RB-1200s is coming soon, I might just wait.

 

Just for a little background, I'm a SageTV user.  I'm going to keep my TV recording drives in my Sage server, but I'd like to move most/all of my ripped DVDs and blu-rays over to a NAS.  I'd also like to start regularly saving backup images of my Sage server, my laptop, and my desktop workstation.  I'll probably run TrueImage on my Sage server, since that's WinXP, and I might give the Win7 backup utility a try on my laptop and workstation.

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Sorry to add one more "check out my parts list" thread, but I'm new to unRAID and would appreciate some feedback.  I don't really have any existing hardware that would be good for unRAID.  I have some, but I'd need enough new stuff I figure its easier just to get all new stuff.  So, here's the unRAID server I'm thinking about building.

 

Case: COOLER MASTER Centurion 590

Power Supply: Antec NEO ECO 520C 520W (single +12V rail)

Motherboard: ASUS P5G43T-M Pro

CPU: Intel Celeron E3200 Wolfdale 2.4GHz

RAM: G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1066

Drive Bays: SYBA SY-MR-35SOF (x3)

Drives: Samsung Spinpoint F3EG HD203WI 2TB (x3)

 

First things first, I know the motherboard might be a problem.  I have another thread asking about that motherboard.  The network chipset may or may not be supported.  I'm trying to figure that out from Lime Tech.  I know there's a risk to picking a board off the HCL, but I'm not a big fan of any of the boards on the HCL wiki.  I'm looking for a <$100 LGA 775 board with 6 SATA ports, onboard video, and preferably HDMI.  The reason for HDMI is just in case I ever move away from unRAID and want to hook up this system to my TV.

Everything looks good here.  You already know about the possible NIC driver problem but only trying it will tell you for sure.  If worse comes to worse you can buy an PCI Intel GB NIC card and install that in the machine.

 

Noise is a concern.  I've been looking carefully at the RB-1200 Server, which is very reasonably priced, but am a bit concerned about noise from the 3 IcyDock cages.  Instead, I was thinking about getting individual hot swap cages for the 5 1/4" drives bays (I know you can't actually hot swap in unRAID).  But, I'm not sure if there would be enough room between drives to go without fans blowing air directly across the drives.  If I need active cooling on the drives then the RB-1200 looks even better.

You could get something like this and then control the speed of the 120mm fan and set it on low.

 

I'm not interested in having 12 drives in this thing ever.  I think 6 will probably be enough for me, with an option for 8 with a SATA add-on card.  So, going with the IcyDock cages for 3 more drive bays isn't very tempting.  But, if I need them for cooling purposes then so be it.

If that is the case then the above drive holders may be right up your ally.

 

Then there's the hard drives.  2TB drives are cheap enough now I'm going to go straight to those, even if 1.5TB is a little cheaper.  I want some sort of low-power drive, mainly to keep temperatures down.  I've been thinking about getting the Caviar Green drives instead, but the Samsungs are a bit cheaper, and part of me is a little skeptical of the IntelliPark feature on the WD drives (since so many people seem to turn it off).  I'm a little concerned about network write speeds to the parity-protected array.  I'd rather not get a cache drive, because I don't think I need anything terribly fast.  But, I would like to get around 20MB/sec.  It's my understanding that that should be possible with either the Samsung or Western Digital low-power 2TB drives.

The WD Greens will do just fine.  Your write speed is going to largely depend on your network and how well it is "optimized."  A green drive will be fast enough for most uses and the only use you might get out of faster drives would come from a lot of random reads and writes (torrenting). The IntelliPark should not be a problem with unRAID like it is for some of the other RAID options.  Using consumer class drives

 

Also, I'd basically like this thing to look and act as much like a NAS appliance as possible.  My primary reasons for going with unRAID instead of a ReadyNAS are 1) RAID5 makes me worried I'll lose everything if something goes wrong, and 2) I'm worried about running into problems with consumer-class drives falling out of a RAID5 array because of error recovery.  So,  I want to do little things like have Data drive #1 correspond to the first (or second, after the parity drive) hot-swap bay, and the first (or second) SATA port.  Basically, I just want to try to make it as simple as possible to identify a drive in case of a failure.  I know from the FAQ I can renumber the drives if it comes to that, but I assume hooking up the hot swap bays to the SATA ports in order will help, as will adding drives starting from the top hot-swap bay.

That is easy enough to do.  unRAID is a NAS and is easy to run as just a NAS.  The benefit comes in when you want to extend unRAID and can because it is based on Slackware Linux.

 

Hopefully that helps a little bit.  Feel free to ask questions and we will try to answer as best we can.

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You could get something like this and then control the speed of the 120mm fan and set it on low.

[...clip...]

If that is the case then the above drive holders may be right up your ally.

 

I appreciate the help.  unRAID seems to have a very supportive user community, very much like SageTV.

 

When you said the "above drive holders", do you mean the hot swap holders that I picked out, or the Cooler Master drive cage that you linked to?  I don't plan on filling my server with hard drives at first (that's one of the benefits of unRAID, right?), but I'd rather avoid having to mess with SATA and power cables every time I add a drive.  So, in spite of me listening the cheap SYBA hot swap bay 3 times, I'd probably buy six of them right off the bat, one for each motherboard SATA port.

 

But, if I should get actively cooled hard drive trays, then that changes things.  Sure, its nice to not have to open the case to add a drive, but I'm not sure it's worth the quadrupled cost of the IcyDock drive bays versus the Cooler Master you linked to above.  It's not like I'm going to be swapping out drives very often.

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You'll want to have at least some airflow over the drives.  I use the same 4-in-3's prostuff1 linked to, running them off of 7v instead of 12v, and things stay nice an cool.  I haven't had issues managing cables when I add drives.

 

The one thing I don't like about the linked 4-in-3's is the blue LEDs on the included 120mm fans -- but I could probably solve that with a wire clipper.

 

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OK.  I'll probably go with the Cooler Master 4-in-3's then.  It's not that big of deal to have to open the case to put in new drives.  Can you control the fan speed with the enclosure itself, or do you need to get something special?  I'm not real thrilled about the LEDs either.  I know I could replace the fan, but I'd rather not replace a perfectly good fan.  Do you know what wires I'd have to clip to turn them off?

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The hot swap bays you listed in your original post are somewhat low quality, at least according to the reviews.  I can personally vouch for these puppies.  Same concept, but better build quality.  They do have LED lights (blue for power, red for activity), but those can be disabled w/ electrical tape or wire cutters if you prefer.  They don't have active cooling, but they force a bit of space between your drives that makes active cooling unnecessary.

 

Another thought: if you only plan on using 6 drives and you don't mind opening the case to add/upgrade a drive, then why get drive cages at all?  There are plenty of great cases that can hold 6 drives internally and cool them efficiently.  The way I see it, either go full manual (just a case) or full auto (hot swap bays).  I don't see the advantage of going semi-auto (drive cages).

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Can you control the fan speed with the enclosure itself, or do you need to get something special?

 

There is nothing included with the 4-in-3 that controls the fan speed.  A separate fan speed controller would probably be best.

 

Do you know what wires I'd have to clip to turn them off?

 

I don't have the fan in front of me, but I remember there were 4 LEDs that appeared to each have their own wires leading to the circuit board in the middle of the fan.  I would think that clipping at least one wire at each of the LEDs should shut them off.

 

Another thought: if you only plan on using 6 drives and you don't mind opening the case to add/upgrade a drive, then why get drive cages at all?

 

I don't know what reggie14's reason is, but I went with a 9 bay case and started with one 4-in-3 (the one included with the case) to have room to grow -- and I'm glad I did.  I'm already up to 9 drives, and only have room for 3 more.

 

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Another thought: if you only plan on using 6 drives and you don't mind opening the case to add/upgrade a drive, then why get drive cages at all?

 

I don't know what reggie14's reason is, but I went with a 9 bay case and started with one 4-in-3 (the one included with the case) to have room to grow -- and I'm glad I did.  I'm already up to 9 drives, and only have room for 3 more.

 

My server is housed in the Antec p180 (paid $100 for it back in the day).  That case holds 6 drives natively, plus an additional 4 drives in the 5.25" bay with the use of 3.5" to 5.25" drive brackets (I use these, though these are more stylish).  That's 10 drives, all adequately cooled (thanks to good case design) without the use of drive cages.  I did add an extra fan to the middle section (w/ 2 drive bays), but I only run it during the middle of the summer when the ambient temperature gets above 100 F (I live in the desert).  The rest of the year I leave it unplugged.  Unfortunately, the p180 does NOT work with hot swap bays (such as the one I linked above).  The 5.25" drive bay uses rails, and the hot swap bays are a bit wobbly and wonky when attached to rails - therefore I would not recommend them.

 

While I love my p180, the newer version, the p183, seems to be a slightly improved design, and cheaper, and more stylish to boot.  However, I suspect it would have the same issue with hot swap bays.

 

And if you want a small-form-factor server, look no further than the mini p180.  That beauty of a case will also hold 6 drives natively (using the included 3.5" to 5.25" drive bracket), and is much, much smaller than the previous two.  I build a desktop/HTPC for a friend based on that case, and I can honestly say that I've never dealt with a more pleasurable case in my life.  The only downside I could find is that it is slightly louder than my p180, probably because of the oversized vent above the CPU area.  Even still, a fantastic design.

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Another thought: if you only plan on using 6 drives and you don't mind opening the case to add/upgrade a drive, then why get drive cages at all?  There are plenty of great cases that can hold 6 drives internally and cool them efficiently.  The way I see it, either go full manual (just a case) or full auto (hot swap bays).  I don't see the advantage of going semi-auto (drive cages).

 

Well, I'd rather go full-auto, I just don't really want to pay for it.  And I'm a little worried about the noise of the IcyDock cages.  I suspect the CoolerMaster cages are quieter, since they use a wider fan.  I was kind of hoping to just use cheap 5 1/4 hot swap bays, but conventional wisdom seems to suggest that I should have active cooling around the drives.

 

While I love my p180, the newer version, the p183, seems to be a slightly improved design, and cheaper, and more stylish to boot.  However, I suspect it would have the same issue with hot swap bays.

 

And if you want a small-form-factor server, look no further than the mini p180.  That beauty of a case will also hold 6 drives natively (using the included 3.5" to 5.25" drive bracket), and is much, much smaller than the previous two.  I build a desktop/HTPC for a friend based on that case, and I can honestly say that I've never dealt with a more pleasurable case in my life.  The only downside I could find is that it is slightly louder than my p180, probably because of the oversized vent above the CPU area.  Even still, a fantastic design.

 

I have a P180 for my Sage server.  It's a nice sort of do-it-all case.  I'm actually not a huge fan of the bottom 4-disk drive cage.  I mean, it's nice to be able to cram 4 drives down there, and its nice how the combination of the power supply and internal case fan draw air over the drives, but I thought it was a big pain to hook drives up.  I wanted to keep the middle fan, and there wasn't a lot of room to squeeze in the 4 SATA and power cables.  But, the P180 did drastically help airflow in my Sage server compared to the previous case, an Antec Sonata II (with 6 SATA drives and a DVD burner crammed in there).

 

In addition, while I'm only like to use 6 drives anytime in the near future, it's nice to have the option for going up to 8.  Sure, there's nothing wrong with being able to go all the way up to 12, but I just don't see that happening.  Sure, you could fit up to 12 drives in the Antec 183, but I don't see a huge advantage.  You can fit just as many in the CoolerMaster 590 case, and the it would be a little cheaper.  In addition, I'd just prefer to have all the drives in the case arranged basically the same way.  If I would ever end up with >6 drives in the case, I'd have some in 5 1/4 inch bays, some in 3.5 horizontal bays, and some in vertical bays.  I know it's not a great reason, but that just doesn't sound very elegant to me.  I figure at least with the CoolerMaster drive cages I can some order in there.   I can list the hard drive serial numbers from the top down, and it should be a little easier to hook the hard drives up compared to the bottom 4-drive cage in the Antec P180/183.

 

Basically, with the cost of the CM 590 (which I can get at a Microcenter nearby for $60 without dealing with shipping), and the drive cages, I don't see a reason to go with a different case.  And, one of the 590's quirks, the lack of a reset button, actually comes in handy with unRAID!  Not that its perfect either.  It sort of looks and feels cheap, and I'm not a big fan of the downward facing power supply vent.  I think it went overboard on the vent holes too.  I actually like the Lian Li LanCool K12 case a bit better, but its hard to find and costs twice as much.

 

By the way, I have one of those Syba hot swap bays in my P180, and I don't have any problems with it.  And it looks like the one you picked out would be a little sturdier.  I'm surprised you had problems with it.  And I would have thought drive rails, like those in the P180, would work better for bays like that than the tool-less design of the CM 590 case.

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Basically, with the cost of the CM 590 (which I can get at a Microcenter nearby for $60 without dealing with shipping), and the drive cages, I don't see a reason to go with a different case.  And, one of the 590's quirks, the lack of a reset button, actually comes in handy with unRAID!  Not that its perfect either.  It sort of looks and feels cheap, and I'm not a big fan of the downward facing power supply vent.  I think it went overboard on the vent holes too.  I actually like the Lian Li LanCool K12 case a bit better, but its hard to find and costs twice as much.

 

I think the CM590 is a great case. as far as the vents. Packing tape works well heh.. And the power supply. I turn inside so it is pulling air from within the case. Otherwise it is pulling air/dust from the floor.

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Someone expressed concern about my motherboard choice because it uses the Atheros AR8121 L1e network chipset.  So, I've been looking at alternative LGA 775 boards.  Another one that looks interesting is the Intel BOXDG43NB.  This uses the Intel 82567v network chipset.  This isn't on the hardware compatibility list, although it looks like driver support was added in the 2.6.27 kernel (meaning it hypothetically should work right unRAID 4.5, right?). 

 

It looks like a decent board.  It doesn't have HDMI or digital audio out though, which probably isn't that big of deal.  I don't think I'd be happy with the ASUS P5G43T-M Pro as an HTPC motherboard anyway.  The big downside that I see (besides the potential compatibility problem) is that if I am to believe Newegg reviewers, the PCI-e x16 slot doesn't work with SATA controllers.  Maybe that's not that big of deal, since it seems like 4-port SATA controllers are usually expensive enough that its cheaper just to buy several 2-port cards.  And, as this has 3 PCI-e x1 slots, it seems like I could just add 3 SATA cards to those slots if I ever want to get up to 12 hard drives.

 

Any thoughts?  Which seems better: the ASUS P5G43T-M Pro or the Intel BOXDG43NB?

 

 

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Not sure about a reason for a general aversion to Atheros, but I did find this unconfirmed report of issues with TSO when searching for possible problems with the AR8121 L1e and linux.

 

So, out of curiosity, do you have a preference between the ASUS P5G43T-M Pro or the Intel BOXDG43NB?  Telling me to stay away from both is a possible answer too.

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I would probably go with something more like the GA-EP43T-UD3L.

 

Four PCIE 1x, plus a 16x for the graphics.  If you don't have an extra/old PCIe/PCI graphics card sitting around, you can select something cheap to get you by, grab something from Micro-center's bargain bin, or select something that you may later use in a HTPC.  Four dimm slots can make adding memory later less costly, and its RTL8111C is on the HCL.

 

That said -- I haven't used this board before.

 

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Well, I'd rather go full-auto, I just don't really want to pay for it.  

Understandable, that's my main hesitation too.  I've been considering spreading the purchases out, so that I would buy a new hot sway bay each time I bought a new hard drive (roughly every six months).  This kind of defeats the purpose of the hot swap bays, since I would have to break out the screw driver every time I added a new drive and its bay, but it would defer the cost a bit (and hopefully I would find some on sale eventually).  And of course once you reach your maximum drive count, then you stop buying the hot swap bays and just upgrade drives til eternity.

 

I have a P180 for my Sage server.  It's a nice sort of do-it-all case.  I'm actually not a huge fan of the bottom 4-disk drive cage.  I mean, it's nice to be able to cram 4 drives down there, and its nice how the combination of the power supply and internal case fan draw air over the drives, but I thought it was a big pain to hook drives up.  

I agree with you, the lower 4 drive bay is the p180's biggest flaw.  It is definitely a pain to install and swap drives out of there.  I suggested it as an example of a well-designed case that handles airflow for you, so that you don't have to worry much about having dedicated fans on all of your drives.

 

Sure, you could fit up to 12 drives in the Antec 183, but I don't see a huge advantage.  You can fit just as many in the CoolerMaster 590 case, and the it would be a little cheaper.

The advantage as I see it is cooling.  And cost, actually.  The CM 590 would require extra bays to hold even just 6 drives (and the hot swap models are pricey).  In the long run, I think you'll end up spending more with the CM 590, though I admit that it will end up being a more attractive machine.  Neither the p180 nor the p183 will allow you to fill your server with hot swap bays.

 

 In addition, I'd just prefer to have all the drives in the case arranged basically the same way.  If I would ever end up with >6 drives in the case, I'd have some in 5 1/4 inch bays, some in 3.5 horizontal bays, and some in vertical bays.  I know it's not a great reason, but that just doesn't sound very elegant to me.  I figure at least with the CoolerMaster drive cages I can some order in there.   I can list the hard drive serial numbers from the top down, and it should be a little easier to hook the hard drives up compared to the bottom 4-drive cage in the Antec P180/183.

I see your reasoning here, and I agree.  It's not just aesthetics, it makes the drive organization and identification easier as well.

 

By the way, I have one of those Syba hot swap bays in my P180, and I don't have any problems with it.  And it looks like the one you picked out would be a little sturdier.  I'm surprised you had problems with it.  And I would have thought drive rails, like those in the P180, would work better for bays like that than the tool-less design of the CM 590 case.

Hmm, that surprises me too!  The iStarUSA drive bay did fit with the drive rails, it just wasn't as snug as I would like.  I felt that swapping drives in and out in that situation could result in loosened cables or some other problem.  By comparison, the Antec NSK 4482B that houses my desktop does not use drive rails, and the iStarUSA drive bay fits perfectly and snugly into it.

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