Quest for a toaster sized server.

Enclosures, modding, blowholes, and the power needed to run it all.

Moderators: Nemesis, SpotTheCat

Quest for a toaster sized server.

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:43 am

Well, this is going to sound like a hugely odd proposition, but it works in my book.

I'm looking to downsize my server. I've been through the phase of having just enough money to get another hard drive and hook it up to a massive array of JBoDs which currently sits in one of Lian-Lis huge server chasis (the one with the 12 bays in the bottom). They're full. Matter of a fact the 5 1/2s are full too. I have over 17 hard drives in the case and 13 running normally. Before the huge boom of hard drive storage I'd average about one hard drive per year I'd have to pick up in order to keep up with my archiving needs.

However, once they reached about the 200g mark I no longer needed to get one a year. I have HDs in the case ranging from 80gb all the way to 250gb. As of recently HD storage has massively increased edging on 2TB with the latest drives. So, I'm thinking of going small. All I need is something with enough computing power to transfer files without getting bogged down and is able to run things like emule and a Teamspeak server in the background, in other words a Atom board. They're cheap and have everything I'm looking for.

However, the catch is I want to make this small and relatively quiet. I was toying with the idea of four hard drives (preferably 2TB when they become readily available) in raid 1. I'm pretty sure Atom boards don't support raid 5 (plus the huge overhead on the tiny processor if they did) and I don't care enough to buy a extra controller. The problem is I can't find a case that has four spots for hard drives that's small without going up to a Micro-ITX tower which defeats the purpose of having a mini-itx board. I'm trying to fit four hard drives in a toaster without making a custom case myself. Most of the mini-itx cases are extremely ineffecient with the room inside the case as well from what I've seen.

I don't care about a floppy drive and it doesn't need a optical drive except for installing things. It'll sit on the shelf somewhere with a ethernet cable and power cord plugged into it. I remote desktop to my server.
Last edited by Bensam123 on Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 7:30 am

I have been looking for much the same thing for a home server. I did find the Chenbro ES34069 which is a 4 drive mini ITX case designed for NAS. It can be found at http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?serno=100. I found it a little pricey but maybe it will help.
ekul
Gerbil
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:25 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:37 am

The Atom may be the perfect CPU for the purpose that you have stated, but the surrounding platform support is lacking too much for your purpose (understandable as Intel does not want to eat into server territory).

What I can suggest is looking into underclocking+undervolting a low power desktop CPU and you should get similar results. A low power Athlon X2 further underclocked and undervolted should do the trick. I would say stay with µATX as prices and choices are just better.
Image
The Model M is not for the faint of heart. You either like them or hate them.

Gerbils unite! Fold for UnitedGerbilNation, team 2630.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24421
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 2:19 am

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:21 am

If you want something small, quiet and out of the way, mATX might be the way to go from a cost standpoint. With something like this you could tuck away pretty easily.

Add to that better CPU, memory, and storage options when compared to ITX solutions, I think you have a winner. I would second getting a low power/mobile version, they work really well. mATX solutions can have trouble-free integrated graphics too, for setup.
SpotTheCat
Gerbilus Supremus
 
Posts: 12260
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 12:47 am
Location: a regular hole

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:21 pm

Yeah, I was looking at that exact mATX case at one point, but once you start going to mATX cases it defeats the purpose of using a mini-itx board. The same goes with the Chenbro case which is also a mATX case. My demands basically comes down to a toaster size brick of hard drives with a motherboard attached. Micro-atx enclosures are still too big to warrant me changing from my giant case as a micro-atx case is still reminiscent of a mid-atx case.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:16 pm

Is there Mini-ITX that can house 4 hard drives? I am not sure.
Image
The Model M is not for the faint of heart. You either like them or hate them.

Gerbils unite! Fold for UnitedGerbilNation, team 2630.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24421
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 2:19 am

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:22 pm

It would be nice to have an Atom system available with a tiny footprint and lots of drives available, especially if it has a pair of PCI E x1 slots.

edit: by "system" I mean full case, brick PSU, processor, GPU, maybe onboard memory, etc.
SpotTheCat
Gerbilus Supremus
 
Posts: 12260
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 12:47 am
Location: a regular hole

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:13 pm

Flying Fox wrote:Is there Mini-ITX that can house 4 hard drives? I am not sure.


ekul wrote:I have been looking for much the same thing for a home server. I did find the Chenbro ES34069 which is a 4 drive mini ITX case designed for NAS. It can be found at http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?serno=100. I found it a little pricey but maybe it will help.
Krogoth wrote:Care to enlightenment me?
grantmeaname
Gerbil Jedi
 
Posts: 1693
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 7:49 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:20 pm

Bensam123 wrote:Yeah, I was looking at that exact mATX case at one point, but once you start going to mATX cases it defeats the purpose of using a mini-itx board. The same goes with the Chenbro case which is also a mATX case. My demands basically comes down to a toaster size brick of hard drives with a motherboard attached. Micro-atx enclosures are still too big to warrant me changing from my giant case as a micro-atx case is still reminiscent of a mid-atx case.


The chenbro case certainly isn't as small as the single drive itx cases but looking at the quoted sizes I can't see fitting 4 drives in a much smaller space without sacrificing a lot of the general purpose power you seem to be looking for. It's only about 20% larger then dedicated 4 drive NAS enclosures but allows you to choose the board, cpu and operating system you run. If you don't care about those thing then maybe a NAS is more what you are looking for. There are lots of 4 bay devices available (http://ncix.com/products/index.php?minorcatid=1191&subminorcatid=338) and since they use ARM SoC have much lower power draw then any atom system ever could
ekul
Gerbil
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Jan 17, 2008 1:25 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Feb 04, 2009 4:45 pm

grantmeaname wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:Is there Mini-ITX that can house 4 hard drives? I am not sure.


ekul wrote:I have been looking for much the same thing for a home server. I did find the Chenbro ES34069 which is a 4 drive mini ITX case designed for NAS. It can be found at http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?serno=100. I found it a little pricey but maybe it will help.

I was just going by the following. Looks like the OP was wrong. The linked specs clearly said mini-ITX.
Bensam123 wrote:The same goes with the Chenbro case which is also a mATX case.
Image
The Model M is not for the faint of heart. You either like them or hate them.

Gerbils unite! Fold for UnitedGerbilNation, team 2630.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24421
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 2:19 am

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:05 am

Here is your mobo!!

Slap in the case ekul referred to and you have everything you're looking for.

There are cases at www.mini-box.com and www.directron.com, but they won't fit the amount of drives you're looking for.
. . . this is the digital projection of your mental self. . . .

Darth Lex-idius vs. Obi Lex kanobi
lex-ington
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2920
Joined: Fri Apr 25, 2003 10:59 pm
Location: Toronto, ON

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:39 am

Man am I glad I'm happy with a software RAID 1 of 500GB laptop drives, for my server build.

(It means I can just use the Mini-Box M200.)

That said, with the cooling needs of four drives, I can't really see anything smaller than Micro-ATX or at the very least Flex-ATX being practical.
bhtooefr
Darth Gerbil
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 7754
Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:20 am
Location: Holy crap, a city! (Newark, OH)

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:26 pm

Flying Fox wrote:
grantmeaname wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:Is there Mini-ITX that can house 4 hard drives? I am not sure.


ekul wrote:I have been looking for much the same thing for a home server. I did find the Chenbro ES34069 which is a 4 drive mini ITX case designed for NAS. It can be found at http://usa.chenbro.com/corporatesite/products_detail.php?serno=100. I found it a little pricey but maybe it will help.

I was just going by the following. Looks like the OP was wrong. The linked specs clearly said mini-ITX.
Bensam123 wrote:The same goes with the Chenbro case which is also a mATX case.


Ah, my bad. The backside of the case is deceiving. It doesn't have a extra expansion slot either.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:07 am

What you really want is one of these, just a shame it's a UK-based company =/

http://www.tranquilpc-shop.co.uk/acatalog/SQA-5H.html
i5-2500k @ 4.5ghz | ASUS P8Z68-V | nVidia GTX780 | 32gb DDR3| 2x SSDs 2x HDD | Antec Solo II | Dell U2713HM
Mentawl
Gerbil XP
Silver subscriber
 
 
Posts: 449
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 5:21 pm
Location: UK

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:29 pm

It's back! Has anything changed in the last few months? I haven't found anything and I've been looking off and on for cases.

My friend was in the same boat and finally settled for a normal-ATX case even though he had his drives and mini-itx board ordered. Needless to say there is a ridiculous amount of space in the case.

When him and me were discussing it one night after a gaming session he said, well why don't you just make it out of legos (jokingly)?

And I stared at him for a moment and said... that's a ridiculously good idea. Then I went online and realized legos has a monopoly on the building block market and you can't just order a pail. Even shopping eBay you aren't going to find much there. They want to sell you their 'sets' with custom pieces and only a handful of actual building blocks.

This site was of specific interest: http://tfvlrue.wordpress.com/2008/06/25/lego-computer/

All in all I could special order the legos and design it myself on the computer before hand, but that costs as much as a regular case for the little pieces of plastic.


Ideally it would have a giant 120mm fan in the back of the case, four slots in front (that don't necessarily need to be hot swap) for the bays, a spot for the mini-itx board and one slot, and then a PSU.

Anyone in a similar boat, has been, or has some new insight besides the $200 Chenbro case? It should be also noted that that Chenbro case DOES NOT have a internal power supply and uses a external one. I just saw that.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:01 pm

Bensam123 wrote:Then I went online and realized legos has a monopoly on the building block market and you can't just order a pail. Even shopping eBay you aren't going to find much there. They want to sell you their 'sets' with custom pieces and only a handful of actual building blocks.

Really? Some bulk packs but you get less choice of course.
Image
The Model M is not for the faint of heart. You either like them or hate them.

Gerbils unite! Fold for UnitedGerbilNation, team 2630.
Flying Fox
Gerbil God
 
Posts: 24421
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 2:19 am

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:12 pm

What about fabbing it out of some acrylic? If you're not too worried about the looks then your skill wouldn't matter and you could make it *exactly* how you want.
MadManOriginal
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1424
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: In my head...

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:26 pm

I was going to make it out of multi-colored lego blocks... Looks don't really matter to me. >_>

Anyone know of a place to find the exact dimensions of Lego blocks? I found a tool on the legos site called the Lego Digital Designer, which is pretty sweet to play around with (even gives you prices to order the blocks), but doesn't have scale which is one of the most important features for such a project.


How exactly would you go about making it out of acrylic as well?
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:44 pm

Lol well I thought maybe you'd like the Lego aesthetic or cool factor, what I meant was more fit and finish like if you don't make a cut quite right and edges don't line up exactly or whatever.

I guess you'd just have to know what you want to mount, figure out an arrangement and drill holes, cut the pieces, glue them together. There's tons of info out there you've just got to do some searching.
Last edited by MadManOriginal on Tue Jun 30, 2009 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MadManOriginal
Graphmaster Gerbil
 
Posts: 1424
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 7:00 pm
Location: In my head...

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 3:59 pm

Have you considered that there's only a few boards that have 4 SATA slots built-in? You'd have to pick very carefully.

Atom: http://www.logicsupply.com/products/ms_9832
C7 (fan): http://www.logicsupply.com/products/sn18000g
C7 (fanless): http://www.logicsupply.com/products/sn10000eg

And this is the case that I would recommend:
http://www.logicsupply.com/products/es34069

(I don't work for logicsupply, I just know I can get everything I need from there!)
Your ideas intrigue me; I would like to purchase stock in your company.
eitje
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 11:28 am

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:21 pm

That's the aforementioned Chenbro with the external PSU.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:36 pm

Bensam123 wrote:That's the aforementioned Chenbro with the external PSU.

Oh, I'm aware. However, I didn't see anyone post links to a place you could actually BUY it.
Your ideas intrigue me; I would like to purchase stock in your company.
eitje
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 661
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2003 11:28 am

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:15 pm

DAMN YOU CASE MANUFACTURES!

I ended up going with a Silverstone Sugo. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811163112

I've been spoiled by Lian-Li cases for sometime, so having to switch to something else made me cringe. However, it's the smallest case I could find that has four bays that can be used for hard drives. Everything else has three or less bays that is smaller. I heard good things about Silverstone so I expected a bit more and was a bit disappointed. The case is a lot of different kinds of unpolished rubish (sharp corners, no thumb screws, weird fan setup that sucks), but for the most part it fits what I wanted. Almost all the cases I looked at on Newegg had wasted space in some way or another. When you get down to ridiculously small sizes you just want everything to fit together like a puzzle and I couldn't find anything like that. Even the Silverstone I bought could be cleverly readjusted to fit 6-8 3 1/4 bays in it with one 5 1/2 on the top. Instead it has two 5 1/2 and 2 3 1/4 turned sideways. So I ended up getting a micro-atx motherboard instead of a mini-itx board as well since it doesn't pay to get a mini when the case is made for a micro.

I still don't understand, after the intro of mini-itx boards, why case manufactuers (like Lian-Li) haven't picked up on the idea that people want small and compact file servers. Hard drives are getting ridiculously big so you don't need nearly as many and you don't need a ultra powerful computer to power gigabit ethernet and some hard drives. I mean the motherboard and everything on it takes up less space then the hard drives.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:52 pm

**REMOVED**
Last edited by Kevin on Thu Nov 19, 2009 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: EDIT BY MOD: Removed spam, banned user, left post to explain necro.
leeandrew55
Gerbil In Training
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:44 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:08 pm

Bensam123 wrote:The case is a lot of different kinds of unpolished rubish (sharp corners, no thumb screws, weird fan setup that sucks), but for the most part it fits what I wanted.


That's a shame. My last 2 cases have been Silverstones (TJ-08 and KL-01), and I've not found a sharp edge in them (I still cut my fingers on heatsink fins, though). I had the same problem of the KL-01 not coming with thumbscrews, but a quick trip to the local shop and a few pennies fixed that. I had 5 HDDs and an optical drive in my TJ-08 (uATX), and I could probably have added an extra HDD by drilling some mounting holes on the floor of the case, but since I only had 6 SATA ports, that was pointless.

The stock Silverstone fans have always been too noisy for me - I replaced them with Scythe Slipstream 1200rpm fans (undervolted) in the TJ-08, but the KL-01 has a custom front fan system that can't be replaced. Pity.
Wind, Sand and Stars.
Voldenuit
Minister of Gerbil Affairs
 
Posts: 2454
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:10 pm

Re: A Certain Kind of Mini-ITX Case

Postposted on Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:18 am

Follow up:

So nine months later after ending up going through a Antec Mini P180, which isn't mini at all I might add, I ended up with a micro-atx motherboard and four hard drives in my original server chasis. I ended up wasting over 200 dollars on restocking fees and shipping costs and I have a Antec Mini-P180 on my floor collecting dust. I decided to see if any case makers filled the void. I left a glaring review on Newegg about the Antec Mini P180. It's a nice case and all, except it's made for micro-atx motherboards and it's the size of a mid-atx case. It's also about twice as heavy as a normal case. Apparently my voice was heard. This is a bit late, but for anyone that is looking BEHOLD!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811112266

If anyone is looking to build a toaster sized server (capacity wise) this is the ultimate solution. Six 3.5 bays, a normal ATX psu, full sized expansion slot (mmm raid card), and ample airflow. If I didn't already waste so much money just to be let down I might actually buy it.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: Quest for a toaster sized server.

Postposted on Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:38 pm

No 'ooohs or aaahs'? :(
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm

Re: Quest for a toaster sized server.

Postposted on Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:47 pm

For the atom server I built a couple months ago now, I would not have dropped that kind of coin on the case it goes in. That would have killed by "very low cost" requirement.

If it suites your needs that's great though.
tfp
Grand Gerbil Poohbah
 
Posts: 3070
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2003 11:09 am

Re: Quest for a toaster sized server.

Postposted on Mon Jun 07, 2010 10:58 pm

That's nice that it is half the volume of a mini-p180, but still holds 6+1 drives.

Do you really think it's worth an extra $70 over the Silverstone you got (and being restricted to only a mini-ITX motherboard)? It's not much smaller.
wibeasley
Gerbil Elite
Gold subscriber
 
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:19 pm
Location: Norman OK

Re: Quest for a toaster sized server.

Postposted on Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:49 am

The Silverstone I purchased I ended up sending back. While it was a nice case, besides the giant bracket over the middle area, the hard drives were stacked in such a way that you get absolutely zero (and I mean zero) airflow. They got hot to the point of touching them would burn you. With the crappy side fan going they were uncomfortably warm when you touched them, but acceptable. The two drives in top two bays were still the same temperature though.

The dimensions for the Sugo were bad too. It seemed unwielding because it was long and skinny instead of being more of a box shape. The length of the case is almost the same as a normal ATX desktop.

As far as processing power of a mini-itx compared to a micro-atx. On Newegg look up boards made by Zotac. While Mini-itx usually has a embeded cpu on board like a Atom, Zotac makes mini-itx boards made with sockets for normal desktop chips. Of course you only get one pci-e slot and two memory slots, but that's usually enough, which is what I was planning in the first place.
Bensam123
Gerbil Elite
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Wed May 29, 2002 12:19 pm


Return to Cases and Power Supplies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests