Need help / build advice

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    • Need help / build advice

      Hi folks.
      I’ve been dabbling with a raspberry (3B) and OpenMediaVault for the past few weeks to get my hands wet and see how I like having my “own” NAS system.
      I know the RPi is not very good in terms of NAS performance (Bad USB 2 and all I/O running over one Bus system really cuts into it)
      but it was only a test to see how I’d set up my own system and how it would compare to a Synology solution (Feature wise).

      Here comes my question: Since I’ve upgraded my system, I have some older spare parts laying around which I was thinking of getting rid of (ebay)
      but then it crossed my mind it would prolly be much better to use it to build a NAS since I would only need to buy a new case (something small so it doesn’t need much space) and the HDD’s ofc.

      Here’s what I have atm:
      Intel Core i7 860 4x 2.80GHz So.1156 BOX (the Intel Spec Sheet says that the CPU doesn't support ECC Memory.)
      Kingston KHX1333C7D3K4/8GX (Kit of 4 x 2048 non ECC DDR3 RAM)
      A Proper PSU that I used when this was my main Rig.
      ASUS Mobo of sorts (don’t really remember but it was the heart of it ofc)

      I have a Mugen 2 rev. B heatsink but I think I am going for the stock Intel cooler.
      It’s not as efficient but I’m not planning to overlock it anyway and due to the mugen’s size,
      I think I’m better off with the stock cooler since it’s compact in size.
      The Ram isn’t ECC but I think in this case I’m willing to risk it and I’m not going to use ZFS (FreeNAS for e.g.),
      mostly due to how overpriced older DDR3 components can be nowadays especially when the range of available products becomes limited.
      Also it seems the CPU doesn't support ECC anyway, so I hope it’s not gonna be that much of a problem.

      It would prolly make sense to run a thorough RAM Test, to verify the RAM Bricks are 100% intact before i use them in a NAS, using MemTest86 (Live Media) ?!

      The whole thing would sit in our basement so I wouldn’t be forced to look at it the whole time
      and it would not bother us no matter how loud it would be (if at all under “normal” load).
      I’d set it up blind since I don’t have a GFX card. Maybe I’d get something cheap to have visuals while setting things up but I think I should be good without.
      I think i have a spare (old) passive cooled MSI Card (Nvidia) somewhere that i could pull out after i got things working to keep Power Consumption even lower.
      Setting up the RPi was no problem and I didn’t have a screen attached to it either.
      The max TDP for given CPU is listed as 95 watts iirc but I would be able to underclock it using the MOBO’s BIOS settings and under “normal” load (no transcoding) it shouldn’t use that much power.

      So much the theory…

      Given how pricey Synology / QNAP / DROBO can get even on low end (not even counting the HDD’s here) I thought I might be able to save a few here.
      All I’d need would be some shabby old case (maybe off of ebay) for 10 to 20€ and see how it goes.
      Maybe I’d use an USB stick to boot so I’d save me a SATA port for later use.

      On a side note: I know there’s a lot of discussion about it and I do wonder too: Are NAS HDD’s worth the extra price tag?
      I recall back then there was a little DOS tool which enabled the user to change some HW HDD Bios Settings so they would match their NAS counterparts (things like spinup/down and sorts).
      I’m not really sure if those tools still exist but comparing a Seagate barracuda to a Ironwolf (4TB) is a difference of like 10€ per HDD.
      I don’t really know where the difference in design lies but I could guess 10€ isn’t even worth the hassle…

      I am totally not sure if I should go for it and am really looking for sound advice from some of you more experienced folks.

      Thanks for reading (in advance)

    • Well that's a lot to address in a first post... I'll probably be a lot more brief

      Hardware... I think you've got more than enough there. A lot of us are running CPU's way less powerful than an i7. You seem to understand ECC. I don't use ECC, and never have. I almost certainly wouldn't go buy ECC ram if I had 8gigs of Non-ECC sitting around.. but that's just me. Keep regular backups, and it shouldn't be a concern. Probably would be a good idea to run a Memtest on the memory. Almost any Linux Live CD/USB should have Memtest on it, so this will be easy. Does the motherboard not have Onboard video at all (seems almost every board I've seen in the last 10yrs or so has at least some form of onboard VGA/DVI/HDMI). It doesn't need a display, as you said, so using a cheap video card to complete the install and then removing it should work. You do want to check the motherboard documentation and/or BIOS though, and make sure it's not going to halt booting when no video output device is detected. If that's the case, you might end up leaving the video card in, even if you're not using it.

      NAS HDD's... I think if you plan to run a RAID, then yes they are worth it. I've ran JBOD forever. I ran 2, 2tb WD Greens, and 1 2tb Hitachi for several years.. no problem. My recent rebuild, I upgraded to 4tb Barracuda's. Thus far, been happy with them, but they've only been in use about 3mo.

      Sounds to me that you more or less have a "just add drives" build there. I think any issues you may encounter will probably be fairly minor
      Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.

    • 1st of all thanks for taking the time and reading my wall of text.
      I just wanted to explain in as much detail as possible, so that there wouldn't be many questions left.

      Since the mobo is a little older I don't think it has Gigabit LAN, so I'd need to find a cheap network card to speed things up.

      I also wonder what kind of case to pick. I was looking at some server racks (used stuff on ebay).
      by the looks of it I don't think a 1U rack would be big enough for the stock cooler (not sure though)
      and won't fit more than 2 HDD's. Plus my "Standard" PSU wouldn't fit.

      I've never had a server rack, so I'm wondering, do they use external PSU's?

      i could do away with a "normal" case but i think the user-friendliness of frontally accessible HDD (swap frames) is a boon in my book.
      on the other hand i don't plan to make it a hobby of mine swapping HDD's all day long. :)
    • Can't answer the questions about the server case... I've never used one.

      Network Card. If you're going to buy one, Stick with Intel.. they generally have the best Linux support. I bought this one a few years ago and have been happy with it (Obviously I'm in the US, but it may give you some guidance)...

      The case -- This depends on a lot of things. Is it sitting in living space or is it going to be tucked away in a closet somewhere that noise from fans, power supply, etc.. will be irrelevant? You've not mentioned exactly how many hard drives you intend to have in this build so it's hard to give a specific recommendation.
      Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.

    • good point on the network card. didn't think of linux support yet... absolutely makes sense and it would save me lots of trouble. i remember i couldn't get a bluetooth dongle to work back then and i wasn't the only one...

      the card u mentioned is about 15€ here, i'd say that's totally affordable.

      about the space: i'm planning to set it up in the basement. it's not too cold down there and stays mostly the same even during summer which will help with keeping everything cool.
      and as you mentioned i won't have to worry about the noise. makes it an easy choice when it comes to a case. no need for insulation which makes it cheap.

      i'm planning to run 2 x 4TB HDD's (Raid so one gets mirrored) in the beginning, but that's why i want some extra room so i can put 2 more HDD's in when space runs out. hopefully prices will drop by then and i can go even bigger.

      Haven't thought of backups yet. not sure how viable tape backups are or if i should just use an external USB disk of an appropriate size or maybe even archive HDD's?
      the mobo has only usb 2.0 iirc but i don't think i care how long the backup would take. or should i include an usb 3 controller, too?

      btw i haven't thought of how to do backups yet. do you set and forget or run them manually? prolly both in case you have some sensitive data you want to know safe?!

      you mentioned you're using barracudas. have you changed some of the HDD settings or are you using them with stock settings?


      The post was edited 1 time, last by boxemall ().

    • The Barracuda's... Nope, I just use them stock. I'm a simpleton when it comes to drives. If it's a little slower, I'm fine with that as nothing I do requires blazing speed (mostly just a media server)

      I wouldn't concern yourself with USB 2.0 vs 3.0 unless you plan to be doing a lot of USB stuff... and even then I probably wouldn't worry about it.

      Regarding your drives... I think you'll find most here, do not use Raid 1 (mirror), and generally just set up simple rsync jobs to data between "Drive 1" and "Drive 2". I honestly had significant problems with Raid 1 years ago (before OMV)... and haven't used it since. It's much easier using rsync.

      The case. Since you're not going to be concerned with noise, size, etc.. I would get whatever is in your budget that meets your needs. If that is an actual server case, that's fine. If you can find a regular PC case cheap, then that's fine. The nice thing about this option.. you can use your current Power Supply, stock CPU cooler, etc.... If you really want hot swap, and can find a case with 3x5.25 bays.. you could throw something like this in it, and that would give you the 4 hot swap bays you want...…ge-_-16-132-037-_-Product

      Also, regarding a backup. Don't overlook the possibility of using your Pi as a backup server (rsync or syncthing)... but that's another discussion. I just bought an odroid HC2 and plan to use it as an off site backup server. I'll probably just use rsync, but I may set up syncthing in docker, as I've used it also... just haven't decided which to use yet.
      Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by KM0201 ().

    • Regarding the drives i just wonder if it's worth (it's only a home server and it won't run perma) it to just pick up a few blue's or a couple barracuda's. Wouldn't save me that much, but bits here n there, you know the game...

      The USB thing prolly won't matter that much. If I'm gonna do my backups using a external USB disk (would leave em attached to the server since a flood is highly unlikely) time is not the issue. It would be slow but hey!
      We gots a whole night i guess. :)

      You said you use JBOD. Never heard of it so I took some time and found out about "Just a bunch of disks". Sounds the most efficient when it comes to HDD Space usage but on the other hand it sounds less secure, which would require running backups more often.

      Personally I think a software raid 1 (board has an Intel chipset so that should work) for the beginning would be good. I'd have a 2nd Disk Mirroring my 1st so I'd have an extra bit of security in case that one disk dies.
      The only thing I'm not sure about is how compatible software raid is... let's assume my server dies in a fire and I manage to rescue the disks b4 the rest turns into dust...
      would I be able to rebuild it on another board? I take it I would have to get at least another Intel board (due to software raid I assume it wouldn't be compatible with other manufacturers solutions)?

      How compatible is raid? Is it standardized?

      Also, I took a look at those hot swap cages... I thought they are cheaper... I guess I can afford to take a few minutes to use a screwdriver. lol
      When I see a used one sold cheap somewhere, I'll pick one up... it's a home server after all. I'm not gonna die if switching doesn't go super fast.

      The only thing bugging me is the placing part... 1st I was gonna put it in the basement and connect via a powerline adapter... sadly I found out those powerline things are highly inefficient...
      getting an Ethernet cable down there is impossible since we live in a condo,...

      Gonna bugger u more laters. I've just had a busy week and it feels I haven't accomplished anything... time is a bitch...

      Once I start building, I'll surely have more questions.


    • The drives.. that's really a personal opinion. I'm comfortable with Barracudas, Blue's, etc. That said.. if you are planning to run any form of raid.. I would not use them and would probably opt for a drive build more for a server/NAS. Which leads to my second point

      Personally, I think Raid 1 is terrible (probably the worst of the bunch). Set the two drives up independently, then set some rsync jobs to run once or twice a day to back every thing up. It guards against accidental deletion and is a true independent copy. If you leave the delete option off.. in the event of an accidental deletion it's a simple matter of logging in (either ssh or however you choose) and copying the file back to the main drive. Personally, I use 1 drive for all services, etc. The other drive is used for nothing but rsync. In the event a drive fails.. it's just a simple matter of syncing the data from the good drive.

      Can't really help with the placement part.. but I'm having trouble picturing it being "impossible" to get cat 6 from a living area into a basement... I've done it many times. Look where things drop though the floor (plumbing, electrical, HVAC) and you will likely find there is space to drop a cat 6 cable down there.
      Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.