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RAID 5 file server / music player

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February 4, 2008 2:30:02 PM

Trying to work out the details of a new music player / file server to replace my aging headless unit.

I plan to run hardware based raid 5 array with 4 x 500gb SATA.

1) Should I expect trouble by running music player on remote file server?
2) should I run OS, remote applications on separate hdd from raid file storage?
3) other recommendations / experience?

Thanks!
woodduckie
February 5, 2008 1:04:38 AM

sounds almost exact to the machine i built not long ago...

Q6600
Asus P5K-e
Adaptec 3805
5x500gb RAID5
1x320gb sata
Server 2003 64bit

I use this primarily as a file server, TV, movie streams to ~3 different machines around the house (not usually simultaneously). I use RealVNC to remote controll if needed. Just setup a heap of shares for the users and im away. Also use this machine for bittorrents, WSUS3.0 and ftp.
February 5, 2008 7:12:56 AM

Hi woodduckie,

I have set up a similar server which works really well, but if I did it all again I'd put in a NAS (http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=82) with two 1Gb RAID 1 drives. The reason that I would run this NAS is that it has every thing I want out of the "box", is designed for remote management and has lower power consumption than a server. For MY requirements it ticks all the boxes, for you......?

I originally set my drives (4 X 250) in RAID 10, in hindsight putting the drives in RAID 10 didn't buy me anything (other than about 10 minutes to boot). I took them out of RAID 10 and put them in 2 X RAID 1. The reason that I did this was thinking that WHEN my motherboard dies it will be easier to move the drives and/or get the data off drives in RAID 1.

So now that I've said consider a completely different route....

1) What music player - won't you just be sharing your files? Are you planning to stream music via UPnP?
2) I'd run everything off the RAID array - this isn't a high performance server.
3) see above :) 

I hope this helps!

UD.
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February 5, 2008 11:42:38 AM

Thanks for your input guys.

UncleDave - The qnap looks like it would be great as a dedicated file server, and I've been looking at the other NAS products, but the only thing holding me back is the fact that I use my current "server" as my music player itself. I log in via remote desktop & use it to broadcast multi-room audio through my receiver. Perhaps a dedicated HTPC or stand-alone media player is in the future, but not the near term.

chookman - I've seen you reference your new server in other posts & looks like it would work for me, although it is a little pricier than I had planned. Why did you go with the 3805 instead of the 3405 that you've recommended to others?

similar question on the Q6600 - also a little more than I planned to spend. Do you have future plans for this machine that dictate this choice?

I don't have any experience with MS server, as I currently run XP on my remote unit & had planned to do the same with this new machine.
February 5, 2008 1:17:09 PM

Hi woodduckie,

Then you may want to consider getting a turn-key solution like a M$ Home Server http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_i_2?ie=UTF8&rs=&keywords=microsoft%20home%20server&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amicrosoft%20home%20server%2Ci%3Aelectronics which should be simpler to manage.

I'm intrigued by you using the server as a media player - could you please explain a little more? How do you log on to your current server? If you are using terminal client from a PC then you could just be connecting to a share on the file server? I'd also double check what kind of "horse power" you are going to be putting into the server. I've got an Athlon XP 2000+, 1.5 Gb humming along very nicely on Windows 2003 RC2. That's enough to stream movies (with Nero 7) to two PC's at the same time.

UD.
February 6, 2008 12:51:04 AM

My current "server" is really more of a retired (slow) PC tucked away. In addition to being my centralized file server, I also run winamp via remote desktop. My sound card output is piped to my receiver, which I have wired for multi-room audio throughout the house. I have IR receivers on the main level to control source, volume, etc for my receiver, but must log into the remote box from my laptop to control the digital audio.

I know there is dedicated hardware out there for digital media with great wall mounted touch pads with fantastic displays, but I decided to start out small & build from here. If I do the home server route, or any NAS for that matter, I would still need to retain the old (366 MHz Kayak workstation) machine as my media player, which does not conserve power at all or lay out some more $$ for dedicated digital media player. I do not currently stream video, but this is also included in desired future capabilities.

I figure that at some point in time, I'd like to get into passing the IR signals from my remote to control some basic functionality of the remote box, but that's a whole different experiment.

When it comes down to it, I'd like the project of building my own file server & want to make sure that I am not overlooking anything that might be a significant drawback.

Thanks,
woodduckie

February 7, 2008 2:31:20 AM

woodduckie said:
chookman - I've seen you reference your new server in other posts & looks like it would work for me, although it is a little pricier than I had planned. Why did you go with the 3805 instead of the 3405 that you've recommended to others?

similar question on the Q6600 - also a little more than I planned to spend. Do you have future plans for this machine that dictate this choice?

I don't have any experience with MS server, as I currently run XP on my remote unit & had planned to do the same with this new machine.


Ive posted it a few times because i know it works. Yes it pricier than needed and you can easily cut on a few things to make it less "pricey". Ive usually recommended the 3405 to others as most other are only looking at 3 or 4 drives whereas i wanted something with expanability, now i know i can add more drives later on and expand the current array or create a secondary one off the same card. 3405 is also cheaper and maybe an option for you if you go with 750gb drives however, this will raise your price anyways... if you want something that wont hold you back in the future a few spare ports on the card wont hurt ;) 

Q6600 mainly because i could and had the money. It is the best CPU in the house at the moment (gaming machine has e6600) this can be replaced with on the cheap side by say a e2200 which will still go in that board. Ive also had some experience with the P5K vanilla which is also a great board just less features.

Server2003 is not needed but keep in mind down the track that larger than 2TB paritions will not be supported with XP or i believe Vista also (over 2TB requires GPT formatting)

Sounds like you definetly need a dedicated PC for the task at hand especially if you have future plans.
February 17, 2008 7:51:19 PM

Why not consider Phenom 9100e, also quadcore but a much lower pricetag (125 euro? the 9500 costs 135 euro over here on webshops).

Also, it will likely have a far lower idle power consumption tag. Its TDP was lowered to 65W but that says nothing about idle power consumption. Although the lower clock and voltage will do their work. =)

Pair the Phenom with a nice AMD RD780 + SB700 board with 6 native chipset-connected Serial ATA ports and you have a basis for a multifunctional storage system. =)
February 20, 2008 1:28:03 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have most all of my gear together & am looking for the time to complete my build (first one, by the way). I am going with the adaptec 3405, 3x500gig SATA, an asus board, etc

I've been doing a lot more research as I go and have a few more questions with regard to the install process, etc.

I am planning on installing the 3x500 in a raid 5 array (I'll be honest, I probably don't really need to, but its an interesting challenge & will likely become more useful in the future).

I am planning on running vista from the raid array & establish at least 2 partitions (1 for OS & 1 for data). Any specific recommendations? What kind of trouble am I in when I go and add a 4th drive to the array in the future? Other thoughts?

chookman - anything I should look out for in particular with the adaptec controller?
February 20, 2008 9:43:36 PM

I assume VISTA is the same as XP in the fact that you will have to install the RAID controller driver so that the setup will detect the array.

First you should be using the Adaptec BIOS to setup the RAID-5 array (this is fairly straight forward), this will take some time so be prepared to wait... my RAID-5 with 5disks took overnight to complete.

Once this is done start VISTA setup with drivers for controller available, i think in vista now it allows you to load these off CDROM whereas XP was only floppy.

From there Vista setup should detect the array as it would a normal disk and you can tell VISTA to create the partitions to your liking.

As for the controller as long as you have a SATA fanout cable (comes with retail package) youll be fine now issues

EDIT: Ooooh 4th drive that controller supports OCE (online capacity expansion) i believe this is easily done by adding the drive and either entering adaptec bios or done through Storage Management Util in vista. Although i havent done this yet i will be attempting it soon , hope to take my array size from ~2Tb to 3.5Tb
!