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supercaffeinated

Shuttle XPC NAS

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Hi, back in 2001 or so I was on the bleeding edge and built 4 machines using Shuttle XPCs (SB51g) in order to experiment with load balancing and session failover of web database applications. These things were quite fast at the time, but ran sorta hot. The work I do now requires 64bits and way more RAM than these boxes can take (they have 2GB), so now I use one as a workstation, one as an HTPC, and I have 2 just sitting there.

Looking at the NAS reviews on http://www.smallnetbuilder.com , it looks like the HP x510 is the fastest consumer NAS out there. This is significant to me because it says that a PC setup with RAID can be faster than a dedicated NAS device, and a Shuttle XPC could be as small, and close to as power efficient.

My thought is to turn one or both of the remaining boxes into a NAS. I'm looking to cram 4 x 1TB WD10TEVT 2.5" drives into this nice mount from SuperMicro and use this RAID controller.

These boxes only have 100Mb ethernet, so I'll be using up all their PCI slots with the RAID controller and a GigE card.

The Controller:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...mp;Tpk=PCI40010

The Drive Cage:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16816101189

The Drives:

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=685

One concern is that these drives will not fit since they are 12.5mm as opposed to the normal 9mm of 2.5" laptop drives. I'm hopeful they will fit. I will probably just buy one drive first and try, rather than buy all 4 before I know they'll fit.

One other concern is that the PCI bus only has bandwidth of about 127MB/s, however this is also the maximum bandwidth of GigE, so I should be alright there, until 10GigE comes out :)

Any thoughts, or suggestions?

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Hello, one thing of concern is that the PIV was well known for it's relatively high power consumption. If you plan on building a NAS box with this processor type, you might want to see if you can under clock and under volt the CPU to to drop power usage. That should also help with the heat output you mentioned earlier. It might not be a consideration for you, but it would also drop the noise level of the fan in your Shuttle case, as well. However, looking at the drive cage, the 40mm fan that comes with that will probably become a concern (if not immediately, then with time) do to noise and eventual failure (which could kill the drives).

One other thing: I just looked up the SB51G and noticed that it only comes with a single PCI slot and an AGP slot. You will not be able to upgrade that motherboard to gigabit ethernet, because you will already have populated the only PCI slot with the SATA controller!

You will be restricted to the ~10 MB/s of the on board 100 Mbit/s ethernet.

Just FYI.

Good Luck with your build.

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Yeah you are right. I just cracked the case to replace the power supply and I noticed it's got only 1 AGP and 1 PCI. I dunno why I was thinking the AGP slot doubled as a PCI slot. There goes my plan !

Kinda sucks but maybe i can try a USB to Gig-E adapter. If I bound two of them together, it should have the same bandwidth....

Here's one I found on NewEgg

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...4-002-_-Product

Edited by supercaffeinated

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Yeah, that was it. Not sure if I'm gonna get that exact one, but something similar. It's doubtful actually that I'd be able to get the full bandwidth, since I think I'd need 2 USB controllers to do that. 480Mb should be pretty good performance though. It's a little disappointing.

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You can buy a dual purpose PCI controller that has both SATA and GigE ports.

It will be killed on the PCI bus though, like you said.

Intel with their later PIV chipsets released a proprietary bus for the integrated GigE LAN that bypassed the PCI Bus completely. This is now obscure and completely forgotten, and I have forgotten what it was called.

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I did find one previously that had one SATA and Gig-E, but it only had one SATA port. The card that would do the job would probably required more bandwidth than one PCI slot could muster anyway. Now an AGP 8X Card with Gig E and 4 SATA ports, that would do the job, but nobody makes one.

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Supercaff,

I remember your old work cluster - I used to be jealous. Anyway, the problem with using the Shuttles as a NAS is simply the high power consumption - the reason that the HP and other NAS boxes exist is because they use so much less power at idle, which is what NAS boxes tend to be mostly. Sometimes VERY mostly.

You could possibly underclock the P IV if you wanted, depending upon your BIOS.

Anyway, I have a similar system that I just put together with an Athlon mini-ITX shoebox case (an Aopen I think), and three 1.5T drives. I had it configured to be a media storage box and run MythTV under Ubuntu - but then I got Sky HD+, and the idea of bothering with the MythTV isn't worth it. So I will probably reconfigure it to be a dumb NAS now. I have it configured to boot off a 4G IDE SSD which was £30, pretty cool and it let's me use the IDE port for something...

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Supertalent...tical-connector

Very cool, as you can boot seperate from your RAID drives, useful for recovery...

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