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Old 08-29-2011, 09:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Low power Gigabit NAS build

I've been researching my upcoming build for several weeks now. I'm looking to build my NAS for home use and to share as with my offsite family as an FTP server. I'm hoping to complete the build by mid October. These are my hopes:

Saturate Gigabit Network
under 50W at idle (less is even better)
Price of $500 or less without HDDs
quiet doesn't matter
case looks don't matter
Server will be headless
Will be running on FreeNas open source
Support at least 6 HDDs

I'm running into problems narrowing down hardware choices. It seems that there is just too much out there for me to sift through. Also, finding power usage along with data transfer rates is hard to come by.

I haven't decided what type of RAID to use yet so I'm interested in opinions. Is there a difference in performance of software vs hardware RAID? The cost may be too high for hardware RAID.

Thanks for the help in advance.
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

You can get PCI RAID cards for ~$20. Maybe set up two RAID5.

I'll ponder about this and get back to you. That much I do know
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Is there a difference in performance between Hardware RAID and Software RAID? I've only done software in the past. I assume that hardware RAID is not difficult to configure.

I'm also thinking about running a RAID 0 since I will be running backups regularly and this is not a critical system. It is only going to be housing my personal Media files. Do you see any problems with this?
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

There are three types of RAID: software, hardware and software assisted. Levels that are viable options for your budget and purposes are 5, 6 and 10. Performance will vary depending on both of these choices. In general:

Hardware > Software Assisted > Software
10 > 5 > 6

In terms of ease to set up Hardware and Software Assisted are both easier than Software but with a $500 budget, I would be surprised if you could afford a decent hardware RAID. Software Assisted is a good option, that is the type of RAID that might be built into your motherboard or on the inexpensive RAID cards that MoM is talking about. RAID 5 is a good solid middle ground and MoM's suggestion of two of them is a pretty sound plan for you.

EDIT: ninja'd. Also, please don't double post; if you have something to add inside the 24 hour edit window, please use the edit button (looks like a pencil)
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

wont FreeNas help with the software RAID?

What type of processor should I be looking for to saturate the Gigabit network and yet keep with the low power requirement?

I thought something like an Atom would keep the power down but I'm not sure if that has enough power to saturate. Would an i3 be the better option?
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

Get like a i3 2100T. It is meant to be low powered. It's an 1155, btw.

An Atom ITX wouldn't get you 6 SATA ports. Unless you go with a controller card. But the onboard ports are not RAID. Plus processing power isn't there. Also, cooling is the key. Mine died 6 months ago due to heat exhaustion.
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Old 08-30-2011, 12:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

So far I'm looking at:

Intel Core i3-2100T
ASRock H67M (B3) LGA 1155 Intel H67

Do you think this will be close to maxing out the network? I assume I'll be able to use the built in RAID on the Motherboard

I'm having a tough time finding a PS that has a lower wattage. Any suggestions. I'm guessing I wont need anything more than about 150W. I would assume that the lower the Max wattage, the more efficient it will be.

Do you know if Motherboards make a difference at how power efficient they are?

Any suggestions on case?
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

That should work out.

A lower wattage does not mean it is more efficient. I have an Antec Earthwatts 380W on my server, see sig for details. Although it is 380W, I only use 100W out of it with my system.

All boards are pretty much the same these days. It depends on more how much you put into it.

I can recommend you the HAF 912. Not for it's look, but it is cheap as any other case you'd find. Plus the airflow is superb. I have the 922, and my system is cooled very well.

Newegg.com - COOLER MASTER HAF 912 RC-912-KKN1 Black SECC/ ABS Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Low power Gigabit NAS build

Thanks. That looks like a great case. If I can't find a cheaper one, I will go with your recommendation.
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