Online Backup Server
Today all my parts came for a server I'll be using for a little side business I'm starting up providing online backups to some of my customers. I'll be assembling everything over the extended Thanksgiving Weekend.:rockout: I bet the girlfriend is going to be real happy about that.:rolleyes:
This is just a teaser shot of all the hardware. I'll be posting a build log once I put it together.
Celeron E3300 - Stock speed and Cooling
2GB(2x1GB) Crucial DDR2-800
eVGA 750i FTW
250GB Western Digital 2.5" 5400RPM Hard Drive(OS Drive)
3 x 2TB Seagate 3.5" 5900RPM Hard Drives - RAID5 = 4TB usable(Customer Backup Data)
HighPoint RocketRAID 2300 4-Port SATA 3.0Gb/s RAID card
Lian-Li Lancool PC-K7B
OS will be Windows 7 Professional x64
I now some of the choices seem slighly odd, but I'll explain. I had 2 main goals when picking parts. The first one was to minimize power usage, which is why I went with the laptop hard drive as the OS drive and the 5900RPM data drives. I could have gone with an SSD for the OS drive, but besides not really being necessary, it conflicts with my second main goal. My second main goal was to keep my initial cost as low as possible. That meant on SSD was out of the question. It also meant that reusing some parts that I already had laying around was a must. The 750i FTW and E3300 I already had on hand. The 2GB of RAM was bought, but really is more than what is needed. Of course I would have like to use onboard video, but the 750i doesn't have that, so the 8400GS was the next best option(cheap and power efficient). Of course you probably wondering why I didn't go with an 80+ Gold or even Bronze power supply if energy efficiency was important. Well, going with a quality 80+ Gold power supply would out of the question because of cost, they are expensive as shit. And the VX550 essentially is an 80+ Bronze power supply, it just isn't labeled that way, at most it is maybe 1% short of missing true 80+ Bronze, and that ain't nothing.
And I'll tell you that case makes and excellent server case too.
To tell the truth, this rig is actually overpowered as it is for what I needed. The test server I used to test the backup software was a P4 3.0GHz w/ 512MB of RAM. It easily coped with the load of ~10 users that I had using it, and that was with Win7 Pro loaded on it.
Stripping the case. That is one of the things I like about this case, it is so easy to strip down to the frame, which makes working in the case so easy. Some other notes about the case that I like. The 3.5" hard drive cage comes out with just 6 screws, no rivets or anything holding it in. So it is easily removed to replace the fans, and if you are only using one drive or want to put the HDDs in the 5.25" bays you can easily put a dual 120mm radiator in that space after taking out the 3.5" cage and put a res and pump there as well.
The motherboard tray with all of the stand offs installed. If I was going to be swapping the cooler out on this build more I would have cut out an openning in the motherboard tray to make it easier for swapping out backplates. Being made of steel it is more than rigid enough to do this.
Motherboard put in place. Take note of the two big screws sticking out from two of the heatsink mounthing holes around the CPU socket... I made a little change to my build plan, but more on that later:D
CPU, RAM, and Chipset fan installed.
Motherboard tray mounted back in the case.
Lets get rid of that ugly restrictive fan grill. There, that looks better.
Fan wires twisted and connected to the motherboard. I know a lot of poeple that like to tie their fan wires in knots to take up the extra wire, but I think twisting them like this so they sort of form a spring looks better and makes them easier to manage because I can just stretch them wherever I need them to go like a spring.
Now for one of the few modifications I had to make. This is the 3.5" cover from the front of the case. This is where I'm mounting the 2.5" hard drive. The problem is that the hard drive extends too far forward in the bay and hits this cover.
Nothing a quick trip to the garage with a dremel won't fix. I would have done a better job, but I didn't feel like mounting it properly, so I just held it in one hand and managed the dremel with the other. There were a few nicks, so I sharpied it to cover them up. Plus the side is pretty well covered when the cover is installed.
Here it is installed with the drive in place.
A close up for it installed with the drive in place.
A top down shot of the drive with the cover in place, this give a better idea of where it would have interferred. Also the drive is only mounted on one side, but it is extremely solid with just the two screws holding it in.
2TB Drives installed.
Power supply put in and power cables run.
Power cables managed behind the scenes.
RAID card installed, SATA cables run, and front panel ports connected.
The final piece is installed. A Xigmatek HDT-S1284 that I will be running passive. I also used a 775 bolt thru kit that I had laying around from my Thermalright Ultra Extreme and got rid of the stock push pin BS that came with the Xigmatek.:rockout:
Now on to the software side of things. As I mentioned the software I'm using allows a standard desktop OS to be used, which is great because that cuts down on costs, so I'm not going to cover the install of Win7, because we should all know it. However, I will go over the one real snag I encounted when setting up the software and drivers.
After installing the RAID drivers and control console this is what Task Manager looks like. What really got my attention was that I noticed the CPU was sitting at 50% usage. When I openned task manager I saw that one of the drvInst.exe processes was the reason. I tracked it the Highpoint services. After a reboot there would be two drvInst.exe processes, and after some time one would shoot up to using an entire CPU core. Now I have the same RAID controller in my main rig, and I know that normally there is only one drvInst.exe. I also had this same problem when I was using the 780i motherboard in my main rig, so I was sure it was related to a conflict with the nVidia chipsets.
Openning the RAID console helped confirm that when I saw that nvstor was listed as one of the controllers the console could control. So I fired off an email to Highpoint and their responce was basically "it is nVidia's drivers trying to use our service and causing it to freak out, and there wasn't anything they would do beyond recommending I stop the services". That isn't really an option since that would prevent me from monitoring the array. I contacted nVidia, and they said they knew nothing about it and it probably wasn't their problem. Great, two dead ends.
So I went to the Highpoint Service Manager to stop the service so I could move on for the time being and get some more work done. That is when I saw the check boxes next to the two drivers.
So I stopped the service, uncheck the nvstor driver, and restarted the service. Sure enough, only one drvInst.exe came up and it never started using an entire CPU core.:rockout: Turns out what was happening was Highpoint's service was trying to interface with nVidia's drivers. Thanks a lot Highpoint...
As for the power supply, a good quality lower wattage one would have only been marginally cheaper than the $60 I paid for the Corsair, and the Corsair is one hell of a power supply. As I mentioned it is right at 80+ Bronze efficiency. And most importantly it has 6 sata power connectors while most of the cheaper lower wattage power supplys only have 4, so I won't need to use adapters for some of my drives. I know the adapters don't really matter, but they bother me.:laugh:
Bump for the build.
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