Low power budget home server

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Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 2:29 pm

Hello guys.

I recently bought 4 WD RED disks, and installed them in my HP Proliant Microserver. Add that point, everything collapsed.
The microserver didn't support disks larger than 2 TB, therefore the raid controller wasn't able to raid the disks.

Therefore at swapped to my old HTCP board, a Asus E-450M Pro. But it didn't had a raid controller.

Now im just sick and tired of fiddling with hardware, so i decided to sell out, and buy one new server, witch has it all.

Main priorities are:
*Ultra low power consumption
*Stability
*Low noise
*Cheap
*4 or more sataports, cabeble of raid 10
*ITX or Micro ATX
Im thinking of a i3-4130T CPU, but witch motherboard is suiteble for the build?

I have a micro atx case.

Thanks!
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 3:03 pm

Newegg allows you to narrow your mobo search based on the factors you've listed.

Any reason a $65 Pentium can't get the job done? You were, after all, going to use an E450.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 3:08 pm

275o wrote:I recently bought 4 WD RED disks, and installed them in my HP Proliant Microserver. Add that point, everything collapsed.


Any objection to a 4-bay NAS appliance? Many of them fit all your requirements, and actually add things like tool-less hot-swap bays which are hard to find on your own in a smaller enclosure than a mini-ITX box. Configuration and setup are down to a web GUI.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 8:46 pm

+1 for a NAS box. Some of the fancier ones even run a lamp stack so you can do anything you want, albeit with a very weak CPU.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 9:00 pm

NovusBogus wrote:+1 for a NAS box. Some of the fancier ones even run a lamp stack so you can do anything you want, albeit with a very weak CPU.


True. Even looking at just the official plugins for systems like Synology DSM you'll see apps for for media servers, cloud sync, glacier backup, torrent downloads, video transcoding, blah blah blah. I'm using none of them yet, but it's an impressive list with little effort. Oh, and the basics for I/O, including hybrid raids for mismatched disk sizes and in-place volume expansion.

I should point out the CPUs in these are now fast enough that they are no longer a bottleneck to I/O performance. I've been a bit concerned about performance of these guys in the past, but these days it appears you should have no problem maxing out gig-E. (Or if you have network hardware to support it, they generally have two ports and can get a real performance benefit from link aggregation.) I was getting about 85MB/s with my old hand-built Core 2 server, and was worried a NAS would be slower, but it turned out the NAS is almost 50% faster even just on a single link.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 9:16 pm

The FreeNAS mini is running on an Avoton chip in it. (http://www.ixsystems.com/storage/freenas/) Since FreeNAS was rebased onto regular FreeBSD and it is an x86 box, you can run pretty much anything in ports on it.

Anyway, these are actually pretty neat. (http://www.serversdirect.com/Servers/Pe ... P-1P4D-001)
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Tue May 06, 2014 9:55 pm

That FreeNAS Mini is pretty sweet but :o ...almost $1000. I'd like to know which case it's using. Typical of NASes, it seems overpriced, although some of the lower-end NASes are getting close to reasonable. Any time I've considered building a compact storage server though I've always fallen back to thinking a nice setup would be a Node 304 case along with the system of your choice internally. (Or maybe some other case of your choice.) It would end up running around the same as low-end NASes but with much more flexibility and space, albeit larger (it's a fairly deep case compared to NASes.) Hot swap seems cool, but honestly, how often are people hot-swapping drives in their home server? 10 minutes to shut down and screw in a new HDD doesn't seem like a big deal to me.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 1:54 am

Hello guys.

The reason is i don't go for a nas, is that i have a lot of services running on a server 2012 installation. I really need them, but they don't have to be lightning responsive. The E-450 did a really good job, so the Pentium will surely do as well, but it lacks Hyper-Threading and AES. Witch you get for 50$ ekstra.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 3:15 am

275o wrote:I recently bought 4 WD RED disks, and installed them in my HP Proliant Microserver. Add that point, everything collapsed.
The microserver didn't support disks larger than 2 TB, therefore the raid controller wasn't able to raid the disks.


What model is that? I have 3TB WD dries in my N40L and they seem to work fine. I don't use the onboard soft-raid controller though, I pass them to the OS as JBOD.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 3:46 am

its N54l with modded bios.

But software raid dont seem to support raid 10, and it isnt uefi bios, so it cant use the full disk in one partition
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 7:43 am

Just out of interest, is there any reason why you want RAID10?

With only four disks you'd not be getting much performance benefit using RAID10 unless you were really trying to avoid the write penalty with a RAID5.
The other way to do the resiliency of RAID10 without hardware support it is to create two RAID1 mirrors on the controller and just merge them in the OS as either a JBOD, or RAID0 or dynamic disk extended volume. GPT support from your OS is all you need to beat the 2TB limit.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 11:10 am

275o wrote:The reason is i don't go for a nas, is that i have a lot of services running on a server 2012 installation. I really need them, but they don't have to be lightning responsive. The E-450 did a really good job, so the Pentium will surely do as well, but it lacks Hyper-Threading and AES. Witch you get for 50$ ekstra.

You have a micro server, how many services are you jamming on the thing? HT and AES may not even help, so why spend the extra if the return is not tangible? You did say "budget" in the subject.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Wed May 07, 2014 12:10 pm

275o wrote:its N54l with modded bios.

But software raid dont seem to support raid 10, and it isnt uefi bios, so it cant use the full disk in one partition


You don't need UEFI to support larger disks, you only need to use GPT partitions under Windows and you can skip the onboard soft raid and setup RAID10 in the OS. Of course I'm guessing your problem is that you only have those 4 HDDs in there and you want to boot from them as well. In that case it would be simpler and faster to add an SSD to the 5th/6th SATA port and put it inside the case somewhere. Can be anywhere you have some space, maybe under the CD/DVD drive or if you are not using a CD/DVD drive then get a caddy that holds a 3.5"/2.5" HDD, install that into the bay to hold an OS/boot HDD and use the 4TB HDDs as pure storage.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Sat May 10, 2014 1:51 am

Chrispy_ wrote:Just out of interest, is there any reason why you want RAID10?

With only four disks you'd not be getting much performance benefit using RAID10 unless you were really trying to avoid the write penalty with a RAID5.
The other way to do the resiliency of RAID10 without hardware support it is to create two RAID1 mirrors on the controller and just merge them in the OS as either a JBOD, or RAID0 or dynamic disk extended volume. GPT support from your OS is all you need to beat the 2TB limit.


I´ve tried that. But nothing happens. when i go into diskpart, and type "list disk" i get four disk. So the raid controller just can't handle them.
I guess the firmware on the raid controller is updated with the bios update, and therefore is so up to date as posible.



TravelMug wrote:
275o wrote:its N54l with modded bios.

But software raid dont seem to support raid 10, and it isnt uefi bios, so it cant use the full disk in one partition


You don't need UEFI to support larger disks, you only need to use GPT partitions under Windows and you can skip the onboard soft raid and setup RAID10 in the OS. Of course I'm guessing your problem is that you only have those 4 HDDs in there and you want to boot from them as well. In that case it would be simpler and faster to add an SSD to the 5th/6th SATA port and put it inside the case somewhere. Can be anywhere you have some space, maybe under the CD/DVD drive or if you are not using a CD/DVD drive then get a caddy that holds a 3.5"/2.5" HDD, install that into the bay to hold an OS/boot HDD and use the 4TB HDDs as pure storage.


What i ment with uefi, is that you need uefi to boot from that size disk, and install on them. I remember having a herdle with it at work.
That would be an option - but it don't seems, that with windows will allow to stripe 2 mirrored disk?
i will look into it.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Sat May 10, 2014 11:52 am

I'm assuming you're talking about the microserver since the E-450M doesn't do onboard RAID.

I'm pretty sure that HP's microservers have embedded RAID controllers that handle large disks, but HP may be artificially crippling the BIOS to prevent their Microservers from cannibalising their entry level business storage servers.

There's a thread here that suggests something similar and fully-functional BIOSes are easy to apply, apparently. I have no idea what model of Microserver you have, but use your Google-Fu and see if there's an 'unlocked' BIOS mod you can do.
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Re: Low power budget home server

Postposted on Sat May 10, 2014 12:44 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:I'm assuming you're talking about the microserver since the E-450M doesn't do onboard RAID.

I'm pretty sure that HP's microservers have embedded RAID controllers that handle large disks, but HP may be artificially crippling the BIOS to prevent their Microservers from cannibalising their entry level business storage servers.

There's a thread here that suggests something similar and fully-functional BIOSes are easy to apply, apparently. I have no idea what model of Microserver you have, but use your Google-Fu and see if there's an 'unlocked' BIOS mod you can do.


I have a microserver. a N54L. But the as said before, the embedded raid controller can't handle the disk.

I had the E450M from a previous HTCP build.
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