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Upgrading the server

Pinchy

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#1
Okay so the servers 500GB now only has 4GB left and it is running at less than 2MB/s. It only has IDE so the limit would be a 500GB HDD, and I haven't got the case room to put a SATA adapter in and get a SATA HD.

As you can see, it isn't very powerful but does the job. And with a 60% electricity bill rise floating around in Australia, I would like to be very eco-friendly.

I was looking at another ITX build, simply for the low power and size factors, however I can't for the life of me find a decent ITX case with a good PSU and at least 2x3.5" drives.

I have been looking at chucking my current G33M-S2H into an Antec NSK 1380 or Antec NSK 2480. If I pair that up with an e2180 and 2-3GB of RAM, it shouldn't use that much more power than my current server, esp with the 80% PSU. (Then upgrading the G33M-S2H computer to an i3)

The current problems I am having at the moment are the hard drives. The primary objective of this server is to be a file/backup server. All the computers in the house back up to this computer so a reliable hard drive is vital. I want the hard drive to be fast, but reliability is key. I have been a bit skeptical of hard drive recently as I have had two incidents where the hard drive works, someone backs all their stuff onto it and then when they power it on for the second/third time it is just completely dead.

So I have been looking at a few options. I'm considering getting 3x1TB HD's in RAID 5, a quick 500GB HD (or two in RAID0) and secondary 1.5-2TB HD OR just 1x1TB HD. As I said I need reliablity, but I do transfer lots of large file on and off the server, so I need fast drives. The problem with most of the above options is at the moment I can only really afford 1 HD (Two, depending on the size, however pointless as they won't be in RAID0 or 1)

I have been looking at WD blacks but have never personally used them, so unsure of what they have to offer.

So the HD's are my primary concern.

The other thing is back to the m-ITX vs m-ATX. I was leaning towards the 3x1TB drives in RAID 5 originally which is why I couldn't find a decent mITX case. I might now, however, change that.

Thing is, I do already have the G33 board so it will be cheaper (as I was planning on putting an i3 in that PC...the quad core is doing nothing other than using power, it's better off sold), but I am only going to use 3 hard drives, on board gigabit LAN and onboard VGA....nothing required in expansion PCI slots. Which is why I think getting a mATX computer would be a waste of room (altho I can't find a mITX case that suits).

Can someone shed some light on this situation? haha.
 

Pinchy

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#2
*bump*

What are the best drives out ATM even in terms of just size (price/performance/size/reliability): 500GB/1TB/1.5TB/2TB?
 

newtekie1

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#3
With reliability a primary concern, RAID1 or RAID5 is a must.

Also, it sounds like power is also a concern, so going with something like a Seagate LP or WD Green drive would probably be best, and they are usually a little cheaper also. Performance wise they are still very good.
 
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#4

Pinchy

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#5
With reliability a primary concern, RAID1 or RAID5 is a must.

Also, it sounds like power is also a concern, so going with something like a Seagate LP or WD Green drive would probably be best, and they are usually a little cheaper also. Performance wise they are still very good.
Yeah I really want a RAID 5 array going, however the limits on the cases is what holds me back.

Dont the greens/LPs run at a slower RPM? How much does that affect performance? And what kind of power difference would be in it?

I'm still unsure of the best option to go for. Small, fast drive for OS (500GB) + big drives (1.5-2TB) for storage in RAID 1 or mulitple average sized drives (1TB) in RAID 5 for everything.

Obviously, it is also dependant on what the case I get can offer.

ITX, ATX, and 6 x 3.5": http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/produc...480&cl_index=1&sc_index=25&ss_index=63&g=spec

I'm about to press the 'buy button' on one myself for my own mini-server.
Wow, what an amazing case!!

Wonder how long it will take to start selling in Aus tho..
 

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#6
The LP drives are still plenty fast, a single 1.5TB gets average reads and writes about 10MB/s slower than a 640GB WD Black, and access times about 1ms slower.
 

Pinchy

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#7
LP drives not avaliable around here for less than $250, lol. I'm tossing up between the Samsung eco drives or WD greens atm. The other alternative is a Seagate 7200.11, however they are more expensive than the both of them and are not green drives.

@nt1, (or anyone, really haha) whats RAID5 like? I've posted on a local forum my situation (to get ideas on whats avaliable locally; cases and such) and have had a few replies saying RAID5 is a horrible idea for a small home server.

Their reasoning is that RAID5 kills write speeds, altho read speeds are fine.
Upgradeability is poor as if I want bigger hard drives I will need to re-do everything (which doesn't bother me as 3x1.5TB should last a few yrs)
Apparently some eco drives have problems with raid due to spinning up at random times
For a low power setup RAID5 isn't smart because to access 1 small file all drives need to be powered up.

And they go on to say a better set up would be:

500GB Boot/apps/server HDD
1.5TB+1.5TB RAID1 for the important stuff
1.5TB music and/or video
1.5TB music and/or video


Now really, does a hard drive even use that much power? Would it be "noticeable" if all 3 drives power up instead of 1?

And while I won't be writing that often (other than the start where everything needs to go on...as all other backups will be incremental)...does RAID5 kill write speeds?
 
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#8
Newer drives in RAID-5 on a newish ICH/PCH would be fine, IMO. Some of my backup servers at work have 5 or 6 older drives in RAID-5 on ESB2 (older ICH for Xeons) and they can read/write at near gigabit speeds.
 
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#9
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Pinchy

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#10
I do run a few things off it, to be brief:

Stream media, have a website running off it...PHP, java(tomcat) and mySQL (mainly for web dev and home usage...nothing too intense), run an FTP server which I use frequently, torrent box (seeds 24/7, have webUI set up on it), and of course have the printer and stuff connected.

It also hosts a ventrilo server but it hasn't been used for a while.

The file server is the primary/main usage for the server, however as you can see, I do do a few things with it ;)

Newer drives in RAID-5 on a newish ICH/PCH would be fine, IMO. Some of my backup servers at work have 5 or 6 older drives in RAID-5 on ESB2 (older ICH for Xeons) and they can read/write at near gigabit speeds.
Well yeah, I have never run RAID5, but I don't see how write performance can be hit so hard...
 

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#11
@nt1, (or anyone, really haha) whats RAID5 like? I've posted on a local forum my situation (to get ideas on whats avaliable locally; cases and such) and have had a few replies saying RAID5 is a horrible idea for a small home server.

Their reasoning is that RAID5 kills write speeds, altho read speeds are fine.
It doesn't kill write speeds. I still easily get 90+MB/s write speeds on my RAID5 array, much faster than a single drive.

Upgradeability is poor as if I want bigger hard drives I will need to re-do everything (which doesn't bother me as 3x1.5TB should last a few yrs)
Most RAID controllers support capacity expansion, which means you can just add another drive and gain more space in the array.

Apparently some eco drives have problems with raid due to spinning up at random times
It is a known issue with the WD Green drives. When they park the heads, the delay to unpark them can cause the RAID controller to think the drive has failed. A reboot of the machine brings it back, but usually forces a rebuild of the array, which can take a long time if you have a lot of data and leaves you vulnerable to a real drive failure. Just avoid the WD Green drives and you will be fine.

For a low power setup RAID5 isn't smart because to access 1 small file all drives need to be powered up.

Now really, does a hard drive even use that much power? Would it be "noticeable" if all 3 drives power up instead of 1?
Power usage for a single Seagate LP drive is under 10w, I believe it is actually under 9w. So I wouldn't be worried about it.

And while I won't be writing that often (other than the start where everything needs to go on...as all other backups will be incremental)...does RAID5 kill write speeds?
No, it improves them.
 
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Pinchy

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#12
Well thanks for clearing that up, lol.

These LP drives sound interesting. Ruling out the WD Greens (cheapest, at $115 AUD a drive), what would be a better buy:

3x Seagate LP's @ $90 USD (100 AUD) each (plus say, $30 postage and a fee for someone to send them) from the US (and i will need to find someone who is willing to send them)
or 3x Samsung eco greens @ $125 AUD each?
 
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#13
um RAID 5 DOES KILL WRITE SPEEDS!

a single drive write speed of any new decent hdd is 90-120mbps (large single file)

raid 5 is very cpu intencive, so without the power behind it raid 5 is slow for writes.


i have tested it on my E7300 @ 3.5 - 4.0ghz and it maxed out at 45mbps,


this is running with 2x WD640's AAKS + 2x WD green.


please read up on raid 5 to understand it better and see what causes the slow write speeds.


consider grabbing a NAS with either raid 1, 5 or both with multiple HDD"s and a decent cpu and you will be set.

ICH10R can run both raid 1 and 5 at the same time on the same drives.




EDIT,

do you have a UMART near you? they are very cheap, $89 for this 1TB drive.

http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_listnew.phtml?id=10&id2=129&bid=2&sid=53750
http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_listnew.phtml?id=10&id2=129&bid=7&sid=50590

there is a melbourn store you could get them posted from.
 
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#14
um RAID 5 DOES KILL WRITE SPEEDS!

...

consider grabbing a NAS with either raid 1, 5 or both with multiple HDD"s and a decent cpu and you will be set.


http://www.umart.com.au/pro/products_listnew.phtml?id=10&id2=129&bid=2&sid=53750
I was going to suggest a usb drive. you could pull power from the psu in the mini box, standard 5v and 12 volt. my mini box is driving a dir-825, 1tb hitachi, cable modem, the via mobo, and a fan. the 12v to atx board is rated at 60 w and the wall wart is 80 w, but it has been active for ~53 days around 35 watts
 
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#15
I was going to suggest a usb drive. you could pull power from the psu in the mini box, standard 5v and 12 volt. my mini box is driving a dir-825, 1tb hitachi, cable modem, the via mobo, and a fan. the 12v to atx board is rated at 60 w and the wall wart is 80 w, but it has been active for ~53 days around 35 watts
as good of an idea as that is, he did make it seem reliability was an absolute must, witch is why raid was being offered.. he also said he wanted speed.. and with most drives being usb2 he would be limited to 30mbps tops :(


i have a fair amount of Home raid expiriance, im currently running 2 raid 0 setups and a raid 5.


i think your best option would be a mix of raid 1 and 5, grab a low power board with ICH10R chipset and a low end dual core amd cpu.

grab 4 HDD's and set them up to for Raid 1 .... say 35 % of the total space then raid 5 for the other 65%. that will give u high speed on the raid 1 and OK speed on the raid 5 with not much space lost due to redundency.

Write speeds.
the raid 1 will likely hit 160 - 200mbps (large single file transfer speed)
and 5 might max out at 50mbps

Read speeds will likely cap out around the 160-200mbps.

NOTE!
on a 100mbps lan network you will be limited to 12.5 mbps
on a gigabit network, you will be caped at 125 mbps.


to sum it up. 4 HDD's with mixed raid 1 and 5. low power cpu + motherboard with ICH10R and gigabit network card ect.
 
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Pinchy

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#16
I can go to ITestate, who have the same drive for the same price, or the 1.5TB version for $115. However I am staying away from the WD greens and RAID.

The board I am going to use (as it stands) will be the G33M-DS2R which only has ICH9R :(.

BTW I am on a gigabit network.
 

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#17
um RAID 5 DOES KILL WRITE SPEEDS!

a single drive write speed of any new decent hdd is 90-120mbps (large single file)
Copy a large file 10GB+ to your single drive and show me the speeds at 90-120MB/s at the end of the transfer.

Besides, 90-100+MB/s is what my RAID5 array does writing. It might even go faster, but that is as fast as the Gigabit network connection between the two machines allows(so who really needs faster on a server?).

raid 5 is very cpu intencive, so without the power behind it raid 5 is slow for writes.
Very CPU intensive? Mine isn't, in fact mine uses no CPU power, but that is because I have a dedicated hardware RAID card. Onboard RAID does use CPU power, but even the cheapest Celeron can easily handle the calculations with ease.
 
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#18
no offence newtekie1,

but considering my E7300 @ 3.6 ghz was hitting 40 % usage, i would say raid 5 is quite cpu intensive.

also full hardware raid is a lot more expencive, etleast it is here in australia with a decent 6port card costing $250 or more.

i cannot show you proof of a single drive transfering a large single file at more then 90mbps atm due to my PC being down.



i did extencive raid 5 testing on my system as i would rather use it then raid 0 due to reliability but it was slow with writes and use'd a lot of cpu.





im also not denying your raid 5 does 100mbps now, i did not realise you had a dedicated hardware raid controller.
 
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#19
i think your best option would be a mix of raid 1 and 5, grab a low power board with ICH10R chipset and a low end dual core amd cpu.
How do you plan to combine an AMD CPU into an Intel chipset?
 
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#20
How do you plan to combine an AMD CPU into an Intel chipset?
that is a very good question... one i cannot answer :p

guess u cant have the best of both worlds, he would have to get an intel cpu instead... my bad i was rushed when writing my post.
 

newtekie1

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#21
no offence newtekie1,

but considering my E7300 @ 3.6 ghz was hitting 40 % usage, i would say raid 5 is quite cpu intensive.

also full hardware raid is a lot more expencive, etleast it is here in australia with a decent 6port card costing $250 or more.

i cannot show you proof of a single drive transfering a large single file at more then 90mbps atm due to my PC being down.



i did extencive raid 5 testing on my system as i would rather use it then raid 0 due to reliability but it was slow with writes and use'd a lot of cpu.





im also not denying your raid 5 does 100mbps now, i did not realise you had a dedicated hardware raid controller.
If you were seeing 40% CPU usage from RAID5 on that CPU something was wrong. Ignoring the dedicated RAID card that I use now, before I had that the onboard RAID on the P5N-E handled RAID5 just fine with an E1400@3.0GHz peaking at 10% and never higher. It also gave similar write speeds, actually identical write speeds as it was also limitted by the Gigabit network connection. And before that the Pentium D 830@3.2GHz handled RAID5 just fine in my P5LD2 Delexe(ICH7R) with barely 20% CPU usage.

As for dedicated RAID cards, I'm not sure what they go for in Austrailia, but I understand that pretty much everything costs an arm and a leg there. Mine cost about $120 for a 4 port.
 
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#22
If you were seeing 40% CPU usage from RAID5 on that CPU something was wrong. Ignoring the dedicated RAID card that I use now, before I had that the onboard RAID on the P5N-E handled RAID5 just fine with an E1400@3.0GHz peaking at 10% and never higher. It also gave similar write speeds, actually identical write speeds as it was also limitted by the Gigabit network connection. And before that the Pentium D 830@3.2GHz handled RAID5 just fine in my P5LD2 Delexe(ICH7R) with barely 20% CPU usage.

As for dedicated RAID cards, I'm not sure what they go for in Austrailia, but I understand that pretty much everything costs and arm and a leg there. Mine cost about $120 for a 4 port.
My guess is he had/has a page file on the raid 5 array. Parity checks could kill the performance.
 
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#23
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#24
just a random thought... if the ide drive is limiting your choice in motherboards, you could get one of these guys...



Koutech IO-PESI300 PCI Express x1 SATA / IDE Contr...

it has 2 sata ports and a single ata 133... so you could raid 1 with that and raid 5 with the ones on the mobo (new to raid so i'm guessing here)

If you go with that card, go with the drivers from Jmicron
 
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#25
My guess is he had/has a page file on the raid 5 array. Parity checks could kill the performance.
naa i left page file on my 40gb raptor drive, and the OS was on my SSD. so that wouldnt have caused it.... if i could be botherd i might remake a raid 5 and test it out again, but i had bad results the last time i use'd it.


as for where to buy them in australia,

there is Umart, Computer alliance... heaps of random pc shops but they all cost roughtly the same.

around the $200 for full hardware raid setup.