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Uber file server build -- suggestions

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#1
Uber file server build -- suggestions?

I'm currently in the process of buying stuff for my file server build. Going to try and keep this build all in one thread this time.

Stuff already bought:


  • Motherboard (socket 1155 H61)
    RAM (1600MHz)
    PCI SATA cards
    Operating System (Windows 8 + FreeNAS)
    SSD
    CPU (35w Pentium Ivybridge 2.6GHz)

Looking for suggestions on:


  • GPU -- use the on-die GPU or buy a PCI-E graphics card (was thinking of a 7750)? My only requirement is that it is able to run 1080p mkv files and play Blurays without a problem.
    Case -- needs to hold as many 3.5" drives as humanly possible (more than 10 at least), while not being too expensive
    PSU -- needs to be able to run over 40 SATA HDDs as well as 6xPCI RAID cards and 1xPCI-E 2.0 RAID card. Silver, Gold or Platinum?
    CPU Cooler -- fanless or not?
    Case fans

That's all I can think of for now...unless I'm forgetting something...oh and one more thing -- I will be buying the hard drives two at a time as I run out of space. Also the PCI-E RAID card will be bought a lot later down the line, as I've only just got enough hard drives for 1 out of 6 of my PCI SATA cards.

Any suggestions, feel free to post. Thanks
 
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#2
Get the cheapest ivy bridge i5 and use the IGP.
 
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#3
Id save some moeny and go down the i3 route... the extra power the i5 offers isnt worth it for your application of just a file server (unless this will do some light gaming?).

Something along these lines would be perfect and it also features HD4000 on die so playing 1080p wont be a problem at all and its pretty power efficient for its clock speed and performance.


Cooler wise... have you thought about using the stock cooler that comes with the Intel CPU? (HOW DARE I even suggest that on this forum!?! :roll:)

No extra cost.
Will handle the CPU heat fine (no overclocking involved Ill assume).
Not very noisy at your intended loads.

Maybe you can spend the money on something else... maybe put the money saved towards a case as I expect your budget is pretty tight in this area as your needs (lots of bays) doesnt come cheap, usually.
Of course... you can always spend a little bit of money on an AIO WC unit like this thats very competent AND very quiet.... its also currently on sale for only $40 after MIR... a bargain really.


As for fans.... why go Noctua when for the same price as one NF-F12 you can get 2 of these beauties that will deliver a lot more value for money AND performance than the Noctua while still being whisper quiet.




Edit: It appears youre in the UK (should edit your control panel to show where youre from so its easy to find stuff in your area)

So....

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP-430-IN
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS-006-CS
http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=FG-008-CS


The i3 listed from newegg isnt in stock on Overclockers but the one I just linked is currently on sale.... it does however feature the HD2500 and not the HD4000.. not that it matters :laugh:

:rockout:
 
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#4
Get the cheapest CPU with the HD 4000 iGPU. Drive I/O doesn't use a whole lot of bandwidth if you're doing software or fake RAID. Stock cooler should be fine since you won't be overclocking. Also i3s and low power i5s tend to run pretty cool anyways. You're going to need a lot of +5v and +12v power. Look for something with a higher rating than 125-watts on the +5v and look for 800-watts and higher if you're planning on driving all the drives with one PSU. Good luck fitting all of those drives in a single chassis though. You kind of need a rack-mount server if you want to even get close to 40 drives, and I think you'll still be hard pressed to find one with more than 20. 40 drives is a lot of any machine.

If your machine will be serving up stuff as well, you may want to consider a different platform.
 
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#5
Looking for suggestions on:


  • CPU -- Sandy Bridge? Ivy Bridge? Celeron, Pentium or i3? T-series or standard (going to underclock and undervolt it anyway)?
    GPU -- use the on-die GPU or buy a PCI-E graphics card (was thinking of a 7750)? My only requirement is that it is able to run 1080p mkv files and play Blurays without a problem.
    Case -- needs to hold as many 3.5" drives as humanly possible (more than 10 at least), while not being too expensive
    PSU -- needs to be able to run over 40 SATA HDDs as well as 6xPCI RAID cards and 1xPCI-E 2.0 RAID card. Silver, Gold or Platinum?
    CPU Cooler -- fanless or not?
    Case fans -- was thinking of Noctua NF-F12s purely for the hard drives.
CPU: Ivy
GPU: HD Radeon 7 series, your choice, varies in price. Benchmark them: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/372
PSU: 600W+, preferably 650W to 750W
Case: You can get a good one for $40 on sale if you look. Make sure it has good reviews.
CPU Cooler - I'm just going to use the stock.
Case fans: I'm just going to use the stock for now.
 
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#6
CPU: Ivy
GPU: HD Radeon 7 series, your choice, varies in price. Benchmark them: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/372
PSU: 600W+, preferably 650W to 750W
Case: You can get a good one for $40 on sale if you look. Make sure it has good reviews.
CPU Cooler - I'm just going to use the stock.
Case fans: I'm just going to use the stock for now.
No need to a dedicated Gpu,he only needs to play 1080 and the IGP on an ivy bridge is more than capable of doing that,also no need for a 600+ watt power supply,400 watt modular,450 tops.
 

Frick

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#7
CPU: Ivy
GPU: HD Radeon 7 series, your choice, varies in price. Benchmark them: http://www.anandtech.com/bench/GPU12/372
PSU: 600W+, preferably 650W to 750W
Case: You can get a good one for $40 on sale if you look. Make sure it has good reviews.
CPU Cooler - I'm just going to use the stock.
Case fans: I'm just going to use the stock for now.
No need to a dedicated Gpu,he only needs to play 1080 and the IGP on an ivy bridge is more than capable of doing that,also no need for a 600+ watt power supply,400 watt modular,450 tops.
How do you figure a 400-600W PSU will power 40 HDD's? And what $40 case will take 10+ HDDs?

What you need is a custom case if you're serious about having all that in one place. Or a rack or something. A user here built a wooden rack what looked quite awesome, I cannot remember who made it though... But the specs were similiar to this iirc.
 

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#8
How do you figure a 400-600W PSU will power 40 HDD's?
It really depends on how powerful the 5v is, consider for a moment that you're going to be drawing about 5v@.5a on every hard drive from that PSU. That's 40x2.5w which is 100 watts on your 5v rail before you consider any other device that uses 5v and a lot of PSUs only give you 125w and 140w on 5v and 3.3v combined. You have to be very careful about what kind of PSU you're going to use if you're not going to use more than one.
 
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#10
Wow. I definitely didn't expect so many replies (I thought this thread was doomed to become another dead one). I really appreciate your help, folks. Thanks.

Thought I would give you all an update on the progress of this build. I decided to go with a cheap little Ivybridge Pentium with a 35w TDP since it has the very same GPU as all of the i3s and most of the i5s (HD 2500) and since I simply don't need anything more powerful than a little dual core processor. I'll try to update this thread with some photos, hopefully sometime soon (can't get my crappy camera to focus).

A few things I haven't quite decided on just yet -- the PSU and the case.

It really depends on how powerful the 5v is, consider for a moment that you're going to be drawing about 5v@.5a on every hard drive from that PSU. That's 40x2.5w which is 100 watts on your 5v rail before you consider any other device that uses 5v and a lot of PSUs only give you 125w and 140w on 5v and 3.3v combined. You have to be very careful about what kind of PSU you're going to use if you're not going to use more than one.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, SATA drives should only take power from the 12v rail (I thought 5v rail was only used for powering mobo components, like RAM?). Why or how would a hard drive take power from the 5v rail?
 
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#11
Something cheap and power efficient would be good.
 
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#12
Am*,

Please answer these questions:

1. Do you want to be able to "hotswap" a drive into the fileserver (using a hotswap drivebay)?
2. What is the realistic maximum # of HDDs you will install. 40 is huge. If you have a lot of older smaller capacity HDDs you are trying to keep... it is often CHEAPER to build a system that can hold 6x HDDs and buy a few new 2TB drives to consolidate the old drives, than it is to buy a system that can hold 40x drives and keep those old 160GB capacity drives.
3. I would definitely go the rack based route. Look on ebay for cheap second hand rack multi HDD cases.
4. You talk about RAID, but you didnt talk about BACKUP. Do you want to BACKUP your data or not. In the same case, or a physically separate machine. (The second option is always better, but of course the first is cheaper)
5. Are you SURE you don't want to run any server services on your "fileserver" such as OCR folder watch, or DVD/Bluray encoding... all done in the background without disturbing your main PC
 

Frick

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#13
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, SATA drives should only take power from the 12v rail (I thought 5v rail was only used for powering mobo components, like RAM?). Why or how would a hard drive take power from the 5v rail?
They have always had both 12V and 5V components.



12V is for the motor, 5V for the other stuff I think.
 
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#14
Wow. I definitely didn't expect so many replies (I thought this thread was doomed to become another dead one). I really appreciate your help, folks. Thanks.

Thought I would give you all an update on the progress of this build. I decided to go with a cheap little Ivybridge Pentium with a 35w TDP since it has the very same GPU as all of the i3s and most of the i5s (HD 2500) and since I simply don't need anything more powerful than a little dual core processor. I'll try to update this thread with some photos, hopefully sometime soon (can't get my crappy camera to focus).

A few things I haven't quite decided on just yet -- the PSU and the case.
As suggested earlier, building it would be cheapest as well as a fun project IMO. However, if that's not your thing there's a number of ways this can be handled. Can link a few solutions later (about to go back to work).


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, SATA drives should only take power from the 12v rail (I thought 5v rail was only used for powering mobo components, like RAM?). Why or how would a hard drive take power from the 5v rail?
The rare one for SATA hard drives is 3.3v. I've seen 1.8" SSD's use it and not much else.



I believe it's 12v for the motor and 5v for the electronics. Regardless, the point is that both are used. Luckily wiring up a slave PSU to start up/shut down with the system isn't hard to do in case you don't find a suitable power supply.
 
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#15

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#16
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, SATA drives should only take power from the 12v rail (I thought 5v rail was only used for powering mobo components, like RAM?). Why or how would a hard drive take power from the 5v rail?
You are wrong. :)

A drive will indicate what it uses, but SATA drives use both 5v and 12v as both SATA power and MOLEX connectors provide +5v and +12v where SATA power actually even provides 3.3v. The power is available on the connector and on a lot of drives if you read the label it will say something like 12v: 0.65a, 5v: 0.55a. Laptop hard drives tend to use only 5v but I'm not aware of any modern desktop drive that only uses +12v.

2013-01-22_1347.jpg
 

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#17
I would definitely go with a 80+ Platinum PSU (efficiency adds up on systems that run 24/7).

The Enermax Platimax 850w is very good (EPM850EWT). It has 120w combined 3.3v/5v at 24 amps and 840w 12v at 70 amps. If you buy 2 extra 4xSATA cables, it can power up to 16 drives. The 1200w model can power up to 24 drives.

You might have to look at 1200w+ PSUs (or more than one PSU) if you're planning on having 40 drives running at once.
 
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#18
Damn. That's my crazy plan of using 6x 3-way molex splitters out of the window (good thing I don't have all of my drives yet, I probably would have ended up nuking my current 600W PSU). Once again, I really appreciate the advice, folks -- thanks a million. I have thought over everything in this build so many times that it looks like I completely overlooked one of the most obvious things.

This has now really confused me in choosing a PSU, though. When I initially checked power supply calculators, none of them stated anything about a limit on the 5v rail. At the same time, hard drive manufacturers do not seem to state anything regarding how much power it uses from each rail. Seeing as how bad my memory of electronics is, can anybody please work out or point me to somewhere which would give me a breakdown of how much power (in watts) each hard drive would use from each rail? The only thing the manufacturer seems to state is the total peak draw of about 6W...(I'm currently looking at the Seagate 3TB 7200rpm drive).


Am*,

Please answer these questions:

1. Do you want to be able to "hotswap" a drive into the fileserver (using a hotswap drivebay)?
2. What is the realistic maximum # of HDDs you will install. 40 is huge. If you have a lot of older smaller capacity HDDs you are trying to keep... it is often CHEAPER to build a system that can hold 6x HDDs and buy a few new 2TB drives to consolidate the old drives, than it is to buy a system that can hold 40x drives and keep those old 160GB capacity drives.
3. I would definitely go the rack based route. Look on ebay for cheap second hand rack multi HDD cases.
4. You talk about RAID, but you didnt talk about BACKUP. Do you want to BACKUP your data or not. In the same case, or a physically separate machine. (The second option is always better, but of course the first is cheaper)
5. Are you SURE you don't want to run any server services on your "fileserver" such as OCR folder watch, or DVD/Bluray encoding... all done in the background without disturbing your main PC
1. Nope (don't need hotswap bays for anything). The vast majority of my ancient drives are sitting in my ancient Pentium III.
2. I have 3 new-ish drives ready to hook up to this server. The plan is to connect as many more as I can as I fill them up. 40 is a realistic amount because it already has 28 SATA ports ready and that's not including the PCI-E x16 2.0 slot that's still not in use, which will most likely hold a 16-port SATA card; also the rig would back itself up (half of the drives will be the originals, the other half of the drives will be clones).
3. I will give it another look, but when I checked a few months ago, it was a no-go. The rackmount cases were around 500 GBP. I can't justify that for a case, no matter how good it is (and it wasn't even any good, using tiny, noisy and high-rpm jet engine Delta fans).
4. The rig would use scheduled backups -- so no need for RAID as far as I know.
5. I'm still debating on what the main use will be. My current plan is to use Windows 8 and an RDP client until I figure out how to do it better on FreeNAS or another open-source server OS.
 
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Aquinus

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#19
That's my crazy plan of using 6x 3-way molex splitters out of the window
:banghead:

By doing this you draw more on each molex connector. Too much draw can make the molex wires heat up during operation. I highly recommend not doing this. Honestly your best bet would be to use a slave PSU for the additional hard drives if you decide to do 40 drives but that doesn't sound feasible to me. One reasonable PSU should be fine but don't go splitting the connection too many times.

You probably will draw about ~3 watts on +5v per drive if we're talking 7200RPM drives +12v might be something like ~6 watts. +12v isn't what you need to really worry about. It's the +5v draw amongst all of your devices.