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talz13

New Around Here
I currently have some spare parts from a new pc build last fall and just decided to pick up the rest of what I need to turn it into a nice NAS box / home server. I just want to make sure I'm not making any mistakes with my hardware config.

The parts I already have:
GIGABYTE GA-EG43M-S2H LGA 775 Intel G43 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Chieftec dragon tower

Parts I plan on ordering:
OCZ ModXStream Pro OCZ700MXSP 700W ATX12V V2.2 / EPS12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC
Intel Pentium E6300 Wolfdale 2.8GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80571E6300 - Retail
OCZ SLI-Ready Edition 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model OCZ2N800SR4GK - Retail
4 x Western Digital Caviar Black WD1001FALS 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drives - OEM

As well as a few sata cables and such. Maybe a couple of 5.25" adapter plates if I can't fit all 4 drives down in the bottom without having some room between them.

A couple questions on this config:

1. Does anybody know if the integrated gigE on the motherboard is PCIe or just PCI?
2. If I'm running a VM or two on there for home use, would it be wise to step up to a proc that has VT-x support?
 
A few thoughts:
1. The E6300 Wolfdale has the VM extensions. So you're good there.
2. VMs need ram, so if you're going to do them, think about more than 4 gigs.
3. You don't have a RAID controller, and your motherboard doesn't support RAID.
4. If you do intend to put more ram into the motherboard, there are some chipset limitations that Gigabyte advises on. See the product page for more information.
http://www.gigabyte.us/Products/Motherboard/Products_Overview.aspx?ProductID=2878

5. The NIC on the motherboard does appear to be a PCI-e connected interface. The chip used (Realtek 8111C) is a PCI-e chip.

In summary, if you want to host more than a couple small VMs, you'll need more memory. This will likely neccessitate a different motherboard. You also have no raid controller, so you can either get a basic 4-port one for ~100, or you can just get a new MB that has some basic onboard raid for about the same price.

Hope this helps,
Tamarin
 
Thanks for the info. I think I'm just going to run a linux software raid for now, since I don't have the extra money for a REAL raid controller. Good to know about the gigE. I might check out more ram if need be for the small, not always running, VMs.

What about using a small HD or some kind of flash card for storing the OS on to separate from the raid5? I supose I would want some redundancy on my OS disks just so I can failover without rebuilding the OS, which would lead me to just run the whole machine on the raid array, with the partitions broken out into root, swap, and home. I run this on my raid1 on my desktop right now and feel confident that if one drive died I could continue on with the remaining drive.
 
1. don't overdimension the processor, it will only generate heat and thus cooling noise, keep in mind a NAS often runs 24/7. RAID 5 needs most processor power and intel centrino dual core (with very low power consumption) is more than enough to reach the holy 100MB/sec limit, your drives will become bottleneck before the processor does even with RAID 5.

2. dont use fake raid, but fast and efficient linux software raid.

3. get yourself a mobo with as many sata ports as possible. more disks in an array is better performance.

4. memory is cheap, 4 Gb is exactly OK for an Ubuntu NAS. Not more, not less.

5. make sure the mobo has on board PCI-express gigabit LAN.

6. get yourself a fast gigabit router with CAT6 wiring.

7. forget about freenas it is slow, run ubuntu server instead.

8. choose the right chunk-size for your storage-disks, 100MB/sec read-speed is nice, but fast write-speed is maybe equally important. 70MB/sec read-speed is more than enough for high-definition blu-ray rips @ 1080p. Smaller chunk-size (64K) gives you 70 MB/sec writespeed as well on RAID-5 and that's nice for large write-actions.

9. Ubuntu with Samba can be discovered by all mediaplayers and XP/ Vista machines on your network.

10. Run the OS on a separate small 2.5" disk with little noise and heat issues.
 
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1. don't overdimension the processor, it will only generate heat and thus cooling noise, keep in mind a NAS runs 24/7. Raid-5 needs most processor power and intel centrino dual core (with very low power consumption) is more than enough to reach the holy 100MB/sec limit, your drives will become bottleneck before the processor does even with RAID 5. I will have some other processes running on here, at least azureus, an ubuntu VM batch job in the mornings, and possibly some encoding/transcoding/streaming for 360/ps3, so the 2.8 c2d would be enough but not too much, hopefully.

2. dont use fake raid, but fast and efficient linux software raid. Yeah, I plan on running linux software raid 5 on ubuntu server edition

3. get yourself a mobo with as many sata ports as possible. I have the mobo already, but it should be okay as is. I'm not going to waste space / ports on a dvd drive, I'll just use my usb dvd drive to install and setup

4. memory is cheap, 4 Gb is exactly OK for a NAS. Not more, not less. Good deal!

5. make sure the mobo has on board PCI-express gigabit LAN. Up above it looks like it's a PCIe, so it should be good on there

6. get yourself a fast gigabit router with CAT6 wiring. I have 2x netgear gs105's and a gs108 for my network, and am in the process of swapping in the cat6 I got this past winter

7. forget about freenas it is slow, run ubuntu server instead. My plan exactly!

8. choose the right chunk-size for your storage-disks, 100MB/sec read-speed is nice, but fast write-speed is maybe equally important. 70MB/sec read-speed is more than enough for high-definition blu-ray rips @ 1080p. Smaller chunk-size (64K) gives you 70 MB/sec writespeed as well on RAID-5 and that's nice for large write-actions. I'll keep that in mind. It would be nice to be able to do some video editing across the network without having to copy everything over beforehand.

9. Ubuntu with Samba can be discovered by all mediaplayers and XP/ Vista machines on your network.

10. Run the OS on a separate small 2.5" disk with little noise and heat issues. I just ordered and got a wd 640gb 3.5" drive, I couldn't justify the 2.5" drive price for the size of it:p

I do notice that when I'm doing samba transfers between vista / ubuntu desktop or xp / ubuntu desktop, my transfers seemed to be maxing out around 20-30MB/sec. Upon review, it looks like ubuntu server uses some different kernel scheduling / priorities from the desktop version. Should that make a difference in my network transfers? The test machines involved were a q6600, 2x wd green 1tb raid1 to an e2140@3ghz, wd black 750gb, over 2 hops (I think, ubuntu server -> switch in my room -> central switch in the den -> switch in the basement -> vista pc, how many hops would that be?)



Edit:
I just did an iperf between my pc and the den pc (my PC -> my switch -> den switch -> den PC) and was getting ~930Mbit, so the throughput looks pretty okay to me.
 
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I would recommend possibly considering a lower wattage power supply. The one you picked is way overkill. My guess is at full load your setup will not use more than 200 watts and probably idle at less (way less) than 100 watts. You might consider something like these:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817371006
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139004
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139003
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139008

Here is a link to an article that has a lot of good information about what power supply is needed for a particular application. http://www.anandtech.com/casecoolingpsus/showdoc.aspx?i=3413&p=1

I think the power supply you picked would work just fine but a lower wattage unit could offer better efficiency in the power range you will most likely be.

Now about your performance with Ubuntu Desktop...
You might need to change the buffer sizes that Samba is using. In your smb.conf file you need to add "socket options = SO_RCVBUF=65536 SO_SNDBUF=65536". It might already have some socket options set so just add the others on the end. For some reason many of the Linux versions do not set these very large which hurts performance. FreeNAS .68 sets these to 16384 which on my most recent tests allows for around 30-40 MB/sec. Changing these to 65536 brings transfer speeds up to 70-80 MB/sec on my setup. I have not had to make any changes when using Ubuntu Server so I am not sure if this is what is holding you back but it might be worth a try.

00Roush
 
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