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Need Help with NAS rig

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  • New Build
  • NAS / RAID
  • Systems
Last response: in Systems
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February 20, 2013 2:24:38 PM

Hello guys, need a little help here with my new build that I am planning to make in the near future.
I want to make a build that will be good for storage, watching movies[1080p rips] and browsing the internet. I currently have a gaming rig, that takes up too much power, and I just cant keep it running 24/7. Hence I am planning to make a new computer.
There are a few doubts here, which RAID should I go for? so far I have decided for RAID 1, as it gives good performance and better redundancy.
Secondly, should I go for 4 x 2TB HDD or 3 x 3TB HDD?? which one will be better? the second one will give me 500GB more in RAID 1. but please help me here.
Thirdly, is the processor and mobo i have selected good? or is there even a cheaper yet better substitute. I will be using the USB3.0 from CM haf 912, hence need a usb 3.0 header mobo.
Fourthly, the RAM, is 2GB going to be enough?
And Finally, suggestions for an OS? anything from ubuntu that can do the required things will be great.
Since I already have a monitor, so I will connect the new rig to it, through hdmi. I may get myself a wireless keyboard/mouse combo, something from logitech.
Now the most important part, my parts selection, I have used google to convert the prices into USD version, please go through and recommend any changes.

India Version
Cooler Master HAF 912 Combat Rs.4,988.00
WD Caviar Green 2 TB x 4 Rs.23,220.00
Seasonic S12II 430 Watts Rs.3,646.00
Corsair DDR3 4 GB XMS3 Rs.1540.00
MSI Z77MA-G45 Rs.8,044.00
Intel Core i3-2100T Rs.7,062.00
Logitech MK220 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Rs.1,334.00
TOTAL Rs.49,834.00

USA Version
Cooler Master HAF 912 Combat $92.40
WD Caviar Green 2 TB x 4 $430.12
Seasonic S12II 430 Watts $67.54
Corsair DDR3 4 GB XMS3 $28.45
MSI Z77MA-G45 $149.01
Intel Core i3-2100T $130.82
Logitech MK220 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse $24.71
TOTAL $923.05

Regarding the case, I am looking for something that looks solid and has a matte finish, which should also provided sufficient cooling as it will be running 24/7

Its my first NAS project so need as much help as possible

More about : nas rig

February 20, 2013 4:15:37 PM

The HDD's are just going to be used for storage so low power consumption and noise should be more important than speed. For that reason I'd go for 5400RPM hard drives and boot from a SSD. RAID 5 should be best, not quite as safe as RAID 1 but you keep much more storage capacity. With RAID 5 if you have 4 drives, one is used for redundancy and the rest for storage. 4x3TB = 9TB of storage with redundancy.

In terms of processing power, even an atom is fine for a NAS. For web browsing and 1080P video, you will want something a bit more powerful but you don't need an i3.

Intel Pentium G630T
2x2GB G.Skill NS 1333Mhz
ASUS P8H77-I (6 SATA ports)
4 x WD Caviar Green 3TB
SeaSonic SSR-450RM 450W (80 PLUS Gold + Modular)
Fractal Design Node 304

Total - $945.91

If you need to drop the price a bit, you could drop to 2TB hard drives.

Run that in a RAID 5, should be fine for high storage and redundancy at a reasonable cost.
February 20, 2013 5:40:54 PM

thanks for the reply, just to let you know, those HDD is mentioned are indeed wd caviar green, they are just costly here in India. So i will be going for 4x2TB. Nextly I tried looking up the fractal design node 304 and it seems its really costly, around 260usd including shipping and tax. Hence I will have to drop that case there. I did change a little bit in my rig here.
Cooler Master Elite 361
MSI B75MA-P45
Samsung 830 64 GB SSD [boot drive!!!!]

by changing these, it seems I am coming under my budget quite well, even with an SSD!!! that'll be my first one.

i also lookd up the G630T, and since its not available here, i will have to import it, and if I add another $20, i can get the i3 2100T, So i will go for that then.

the itx board is also costly, thanks for the suggestions though, helpd me rethink my rig, and who knows, if i get all those at cheap price, I may even get those.

Last 2 questions, do i need a dedicated RAID card, or will the onboard RAID be good enough?
and what about the OS??
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February 20, 2013 7:18:34 PM

Onboard RAID is fine but not all boards support RAID 5, you will have to check. B75 doesn't support RAID at all. Most H77 boards will do RAID 5 I think.

Wow it seems like it is overpriced over there, unlucky man. The Node should be like $100.

Any OS you are comfortable with will do the job.
February 20, 2013 7:56:53 PM

ohh damn, didnt check that in a B75, then MSI Z77MA-G45 it is, for now :D 

For the OS, I will first test it with some linux OS, if it works great, than wonderful, if not will go for windows one..

anyways... thanks for your help, if any1 else wants to add something, than please do so.

February 20, 2013 8:43:45 PM

summak said:
Last 2 questions, do i need a dedicated RAID card, or will the onboard RAID be good enough?

Neither. A dedicated RAID card is really only useful for heavy duty applications like a big company running a database off a RAID array. It's basically a small computer on a card which handles all the RAID stuff. You don't need that.

Onboard RAID is just a bootstrap in the BIOS which loads up software RAID. Its only advantage is that you can boot off the RAID array. You're getting a separate boot SSD, so you don't need that.

Just go with a vanilla software RAID setup. The free variants of Unix support all types of RAID out the box. The main reason though is reliability. If you get a dedicated RAID card or use onboard RAID and the hardware dies, you're screwed. You need to buy duplicate hardware to access the data on your drives again. With software RAID, you just transfer the drives to a new computer, install the same OS, and you can read your data again.

If you were going for a Windows box, then you'd have problems. You need Pro or Ultimate to get access to RAID 1, and Server for access to RAID 5 - stupid distinction since these are trivial software functions, but Microsoft has to make their money somewhere. In that case RAID built into the motherboard may be justified since the drivers will let you RAID even on Windows Home.

and what about the OS?? said:
and what about the OS??

Linux, FreeNAS, or Windows Home Server are all good choices. FreeNAS runs ZFS which can have a bit of a learning curve. It offers more reliability and flexibility than RAID, but can have steeper hardware requirements.

i also lookd up the G630T, and since its not available here, i will have to import it, and if I add another $20, i can get the i3 2100T, So i will go for that then. said:
i also lookd up the G630T, and since its not available here, i will have to import it, and if I add another $20, i can get the i3 2100T, So i will go for that then.

If you can get the CPU at a decent price, I would heartily recommend the i3 or even i5 over Atom. Starting with Sandy Bridge, Intel has done a really good job with power management. The i3 and i5 will idle at near-Atom power levels. I have a i5 (quad core baby) in my NAS and with 4 drives it idles at 35 watts.

The other reason I'd recommend the i3 or i5 is that you may intend for this to be a NAS file server, but once you get it going you're going to start wanting to do other stuff with it. First you're going to want to offload downloads to it (whether it be direct web downloads or bittorrent) so your main PC doesn't have to be on waiting for a 500 MB download to finish. Then you're gonna start wanting to put any time-consuming task on it, like re-encoding videos from DVD to mp4 for your laptop or tablet. Finally you'll get to where I am - running virtual machines on it, so you can get the full power of a PC on less powerful devices like a tablet by accessing the VM with remote desktop/VNC. My simple NAS idea morphed into a 3.4 GHz quad core i5 with 16 GB of RAM which runs a half dozen virtual machines (a dedicated VM for my business, a Mac VM, a couple Linux VMs for programming, a "test" Windows VM where I can try software I think might have a virus).

VMs are going to be big in the future I think. Companies are increasingly doing stupid things like what Microsoft plans for Office 2013. It will be tied to the first computer you install it on. If you upgrade computers or it gets stolen, you'll have to buy a new copy of Office. But if you install it in a VM, all you have to do is copy the VM over to the new computer and you're set.
February 20, 2013 8:47:16 PM

Wow, I didn't realise you couldn't use RAID 5 in Windows 7 HP/Pro. That seems a bit silly.
February 21, 2013 3:09:33 AM

wow, thank you so much solandri for the inputs. I did read about FreeNas somewhere, its a linux system. I wud definitely do some re-encoding and some small stuff,

all righty then, lemme see what I can come up with. Thank you all
February 21, 2013 7:09:00 PM

FreeNAS is actually based on FreeBSD, not Linux. They're very similar since Linux was made to imitate Unix, but there are subtle differences which can get you into trouble if you're a Linux guru and assume it works the same.

If you're going to do re-encoding, then FreeNAS is probably out. It's NAS software. That's it. You could hack it to turn it into a regular FreeBSD system, but that's probably more work than configuring a Linux system to act as a file server. Linux has more software availability too, like Handbrake for re-encoding videos.

I should mention that I haven't been altogether pleased with Samba (Windows filesharing for Unix). It works, but I've been having a lot of difficulty getting max throughput on a gigabit network. With Linux I was getting about 65 MB/s reading from the NAS, 35 MB/s writing to it. With FreeNAS (which also uses Samba) I'm getting about 85 MB/s writing to it, but 35 MB/s reading from it. With a straight Windows box to Windows box, I get about 85 MB/s both ways. I've played with all sorts of Samba configuration settings which have helped a little, but I can't seem to get close to the Windows-to-Windows speeds. (Unix to Unix is fine - 100-110 MB/s both ways.)

I got to play with a mid-tier Synology NAS (which runs their custom version of Linux and Samba) and it managed 65 MB/s reads, 90 MB/s writes. So it's definitely possible to get decent read/write speeds with Samba. I just haven't found the magic formula for how to do it. So if absolute top speed read/write performance from Windows computers is important, you may want to look at Windows Home Server.
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