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Low cost NAS

dathai

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#1
Hi,

I've been considering building some kind of NAS for a while to cut down on the power draw caused by leaving my work machine on to stream movies to several laptops around the house which are using XBMC.

I had been considering re-purposing a 5 year old Dell Inspiron 6400 or some even older laptops I have lying around and some 1TB HDDs I already own.
However, this is intended as a "build and forget about" kind of rig so it would be plugged in 24/7 and power consumption is a big concern.

I have been looking at the Raspberry Pi and that seems like a good option but there is no way of knowing when it will be available again.

Does anyone have any advice or similarly priced alternatives?
Thanks in advance
 

brandonwh64

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#2
I dont think R_PI would be a good choice for a NAS since it does not support RAID. Your best bet is to setup a 150W PSU P4/AMD machine with raid 0/1/5 and nothing else (Video card/DVD drive/EXC)
 

dathai

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#3
Cheers brandonwh64 but I would really like to avoid having to purchase a new system. I have a number of old systems around which I would like to re-purpose first. I haven't decided if I'll go the RAID route on this one just now, but you're right that it would be good to have the option. I was thinking I might just the Pi as a HTPC in the future.

If it's of any relevance, the most modern of the "old" systems I have has the following specs:
Dell Inspiron 6400
- Intel® Core™ Duo Processor T2050 (2M Cache, 1.60 GHz, 533 MHz FSB)
- WIDE SREEN 15.4" WXGA (1280X800) TFT DIS
- MEMORY DUAL-CHANNEL 1024MB (2X512) 533MH
- AC ADAPTER 65W
- GENUINE WINDOWS XP HOME SP2
- HARD DRIVE 60GB SERIAL ATA (5400 RPM)
- DVD+/-RW (READ/WRITE) 8X FIXED INTERNAL

How would the power draw be on this with a couple of external HDDs plugged in as the storage and maybe Windows Home Server or FreeNAS loaded?
 

brandonwh64

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#4
Well If you plan on not using raid then as long as you can create a share drive on whatever PC you have that is the lower wattage would be the key.

when I think NAS, I think of multiple storage drives in raid 5/10 to protect data
 

Kreij

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#5
Small NAS devices are nice for their small footprint, but the inexpensive ones are notoriously slow.
I would do as you plan and repurpose the old computer, put a large drive in it and tell it to go to sleep when there is no LAN activity (Wake on LAN).
 

dathai

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#6
Thanks for the advice. We're there any minimum hardware figures I should bare in mind?

could I go with something similar to the Pi? If possible,I would like to use the lowest end machine I have lying around (an old Compaq that is in the attic somewhere).

This won't be a game server or anything but I don't want jumpy payback on movies or excessively low read write speeds
 
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#7
Personally i wouldn't even consider using a laptop and external drives for network storage.

The main reason would be the slow access speeds of USB.
The cost of external drives V/s internal ones.
And the fact even running with limited load a laptop will always run hot.

Any old desktop machine will be able to serve as a NAS. Your considerations are connectivity, noise, size, and stability.

Also a big concern is you already have some external hard drives. Strip them out of the enclosures. And make a note of the actual drive connectivity. Some may be IDE, others may be SATA. this is important as it factors everything you do.

Once you know what drives you have and what connectivity is available you can start to look into something to run those drives.

AMD and Intel both have low power consumption models designed very much for this purpose.

AMD and Intel barebone systems can be purchased new for under £160. In some cases Under £120.

Intel do not support IDE with there current generation of mainboard design. If your drives are IDE you will have to factor for this By either going AMD from new, Or getting second hand intel parts.

raspberry pi, whilst small and unobtrusive lacks any real connectivity for NAS style storage. It is more a super mobile computer than a server. The O/S not been windows may also cause problems. As your drives may need formatting to be read/writeable if there currently in NTFS format.

If i were to be doing this for myself i would grab a deal like this,

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/barebones/bb-a4344g.html

The bundle has everything apart from hard drives. Granted there are no IDE connectors on the motherboard. But it does have 6x sata connectors and supports simple raid for a mirrored backup.

If that's too much then look into something like this.

http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/...dam3plusallchipsetmotherboards/n68-vs3fx.html

that motherboard when paired with an ebayed CPU (am3) Some cheap ram and a Budget chassis with PSU Gives you everything you need.

budget cpu
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AMD-Sempr...6?pt=UK_Motherboards_CPUs&hash=item4163d6df96

budget ram
http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/memory-pc/ddr3-pc3-10666/1333mhz/ct25664ba1339.html

case with psu (you would need a few sata power converters as well there about £3
http://www.novatech.co.uk/products/components/cases/cases/corona-black.html

Everything you need for under £100.
 
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#8
Double post sorry!
 
Last edited:

dathai

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#9
Thanks for the detailed response Iceni. At this stage I'm pretty much convinced about a tower being the way to go.

I'll start researching how cheap a build I can do what I need.

Out of curiosity, has anyone any experience with things like these
http://www.tonidoplug.com/

I've used their web service for a while but the plug seems interesting, if a bit expensive.
 
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#10
Connect your TonidoPlug to your router, then connect any external USB hard drive to your plug to access your files, music and media stored in that hard drive from anywhere via any browser. Applications and data are always local with TonidoPlug.
It's going to have the same slow USB connection as running a laptop as a NAS. It would be fine for serving 1 machine perhaps 2 at a push. But as soon as you start to request data from a few files at once it will slow to a crawl. Stick to pure hard drive connections. SATA or IDE. Your also stuck with USB speeds when you want to add something to the cloud.... And while your writing you can almost guarantee no one else will be getting served.
 

dathai

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#11
Thanks a lot for the advice. I hadn't been properly considering the bottle-necking of the USB2.0.

I'll have to think about what I can afford for a while.