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Use old desktop as NAS?

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July 24, 2012 3:49:50 PM

I have a very old Dell Pentium 4 2.0 that has been collecting dust for years. While I work on my new build I'm going to let my kids use it. My question is at some point can I use this PC as storeage? It would not require audio or video streaming, just storeage on the network for pictures/documents.

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July 24, 2012 3:55:12 PM

Yes, any PC can pretty much be used as a Network Area Storage. You just have to have it online in the same LAN. If you shove enough Hard drives in it.
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July 24, 2012 4:04:37 PM

I was trying to do some reading, but its a bit difficult to find much info on 10 year old devices. I'm thinking the mobo only supports IDE, so I would need a IDE to SATA adapter? Would I benefit much to upgrade the RAM from 256? Would it make a difference as to the OS? Currently the system is running XP.
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July 24, 2012 4:10:20 PM

It is possible to get Sata to IDE connectors, more ram in it will be a plus, as to OS it wouldnt really matter I dont think seeing as LANS pick up anything and shows it in Win 7
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July 24, 2012 4:29:32 PM

You could just get a SATA PCI card and slap it in there. Usually can be found for $25 or less. Which Dell do you have? A lot of those cases can't hold many HDDs.
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July 24, 2012 4:33:33 PM

Hi,

I am currently building a nas box myself, I've decided to upgrade an old p4 (rip everything out the case) Im installing a combo deal from amazon with CPU motherboard ram and heat sink £69 and from ebuyer ex display lsi sas3442e-r £99 (they still have a few I think) I have a load of 1TB WD drives laying around and thought I'd put them to use in a raid 5 config from the motherboard and a raid 10e config from the sas card. I want to install nas4free on it, previously freenas 7.

Maybe a bit over kill for your needs
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July 24, 2012 4:34:48 PM

bwall244 said:
I was trying to do some reading, but its a bit difficult to find much info on 10 year old devices. I'm thinking the mobo only supports IDE, so I would need a IDE to SATA adapter? Would I benefit much to upgrade the RAM from 256? Would it make a difference as to the OS? Currently the system is running XP.

You can get such adapters, and they might work, but even then, your BIOS probably has limited disk size support. On the other hand, this system will eat power like a monster. It might turn out that a off-the-shell NAS box will be cheaper in the long run than investing money in that PC.
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July 24, 2012 4:42:20 PM

With a system that's 10 years old and only IDE ports for HDD's, you MAY have a BIOS that fails to support a feature called "48-bit LBA" which is NECESSARY for use of any HDD over 128 GB. Now, ALL SATA drives and controllers have this feature. So, installing a SATA controller card in a PCI slot would ensure you get around this problem and you could use any size of SATA HDD you want. If you do, check whether the SATA controller car can allow you to BOOT from one of its attached drives. This depends on the card's having a BIOS extension, AND on the mobo's BIOS being prepared to use that extension to boot from a HDD attached to the card. If you can't boot from a SATA drive attached to such a card, you may have to install one IDE HDD on a mobo port and install your OS there along with the driver for the SATA controller card, then use all the SATA drives for storage units.

The other part of 48-bit LBA support you should check is in the OS itself. The first version of Win XP did NOT include this feature, but it was added in Service Pack 1 and maintained thereafter. So as long as you have some Service Pack installed in your XP version (SP3 is best, of course), you are OK. This needs to be done BEFORE trying to install and use any large HDD's.
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July 24, 2012 4:55:21 PM

Well I guess to explain further my wife is obsessive about pictures. Right now they are backed on up a 2TB WD live that also acts as my media server. In the furture I will be building a dedicated media server and would like to store her photos on the WD LIVE and backup on a 2nd location, or vice versa. The second location would not need to be on all time.
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