Okay, I will try and explain... I need NAS storage, just like what the Qnap 4x9 provide. But at the same time I own a Areca 1260 PCI Express raid controller.
Before I throw away my raid controller and spend $$ on a turn-key Qnap NAS, I would like to get some advice on how to proceed.
This is basically what I need:
* A device that will run 24/7,
* Clever power management like hdd spin-down, Wake on activity and so on
* Keeping power consumption to a minimum,
* No need for connecting a monitor,
* Gigabit LAN for best network performance,
* 4+ disk raid
* scalability, raid-expansion and such would be nice
* noise, and psychical size doesn't matter in my setup.
I have found a few Atom based mainboard that offer a PCI Express port, but many of these board, like the Zotac IONITX-F or ZOTAC NM10, have a "too powerfull" gfx, wifi, and onboard raid, that I don't require and don't want to power (can these extras be disabled in bios, thus saving energy/watts?)
What mainboard would be the best option in a DIY solution using my existing raid controller? A much cheaper solution that could match a Qnap-NAS when taken into account the needs I have listed?
Will a Atom 330 perform adequate, or will the D510/Pinetrail be a better choice for optimum network performance, per watt?
Computer geeks has an asus k8n board for $12.99 including shipping (limited time offer) that uses amd opteron 940 cpus (not am2). These are new full size server boards that will run with one or two cpus. Starmicro has the opteron 246 2.0 (uses 55 watts) for only $16 plus shipping. Heatsinks are about $10, and these boards use pc2700 ddr ram. I found my htpc black case for $30 used on craigslist recently, and it works with most full sized atx boards. It was originally $75 new. Another low power cpu is the amd 2650e which uses only 15 watts, and works with many am2 or am2+ boards. Still another possibility is a new dell zino hd system that uses a low power 2850e amd cpu for only $306 plus shipping listed at slickdeals.net. This price even includes an 18.5 inch monitor. The zino is a cube size system available in many colors for only $15 extra. It even comes with 4 gigs of ddr2, which is worth almost $100 by itself. I'm sure it will expire quickly.
I'm just looking at the initial cost of the system versus the energy savings, giving you some alternative ideas on a low cost setup. The pinetrail looks good for a dual core, if you can find one with a motherboard for a decent price. If you want to run this setup for years, you might even get 2 mainboards in case the first one fails. By the time you may need another one, you'll pay more on ebay when it's no longer available. But some of the mini itx boards aren't cheap; that's why I suggested the older tech stuff.