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Intel Atom vs. VIA C7: Which Makes a Faster, Cheaper NAS?

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39W for the VIA, 35W for the MSI.

Thanks. I'm not sure what chipset the VIA uses, but at least for the MSI, the ancient 945GC chipset is probably dragging it down unnecessarily in terms of power consumption. It'd be interesting to see whether one of the mobile chipset-equipped boards can fare significantly better. For now, the higher costs of these boards negate any gain (in terms of costs) in power reduction.

VIA is faster or about equal to the Atom or AMD clone of the two right? VIA should make a good CPU. I had one way back when they first release them to the USA. I never had issue with it. Today it's mix AMD and Intel here.
Thanks for doing the review. I have been wondering what kind of performance can be had from these CPUs. I also liked the general summary of what kind of performance one might expect from using a particular NAS based upon what CPU it uses.

Now all you need to do is get some results for a NAS that uses a Atom dual core CPU.

Next step : Intel Atom vs Via Nano ?

Hi !

First of all, this is my first comment on this website I keep reading for years now. I love it, please keep going !! :)

And How about the last CPU form VIA, the nano, versus the Intel Atom ?

Little suggestion : I think you should really include Power consumption (specifically in IDLE state) in every test you perform. A NAS is expected to run 24x7, so this is not negligeable.
yeahgreat article, thanks. I was hoping the Atom was going to do a little better. I had been thinking about upgrading my couple year old via c7 1ghz machine to an atom machine but looks like there isn't sufficient performance gain to do so.

A great part 2 would be to see what kind of performance you can get with some tuning.

Anyways, Thiggins, great site..good forums, you run a tight ship here.

Ubuntu 8.10 on a USB stick

Hi Tim.

How was your experience setting up ubuntu OS on a USB stick for your NAS tests.
Could you elaborate on how you did this setup, any gotchas and pitfalls?
Maybe even URLs to the on-line doc that helped you set things up.

So far, I've used a partition on one of the drives in my RAID but I'd prefer to run from a USB stick.

Thanks in advance and thanks for the great articles!
- Christian
How was your experience setting up ubuntu OS on a USB stick for your NAS tests.
All I did was:
- Download Ubuntu server and burn the iso to a CD
- Put the CD in a USB CDROM drive attached to the system
- Ran the install, did guided partitioning and set the USB flash drive as the target
- After install, I used the info in Build Your Own Atom-based NAS - Part 2 to set up the drives and shares.
Tim, thanks for the great resource here...

With the newer Ubuntu Server version, did it recognize the onboard network hardware, or did you use the separate card?

I have seen where people have used CF cards as the install target and you used a USB flash drive here. Can an SD card be used, inserted into the front slot on the Wind?

I have several of those around that I could use to save a few bucks.

Ubuntu Server recognized the NIC just fine on both systems.

I didn't try SD since I didn't have a large enough card. But I believe the boot manager will let you boot from it, so it should work.
I tried installing to an SD card tonight.

I first wanted to installed OFF of an USB stick, so I used UNetbootin to installed the Ubuntu Server ISO to the USB stick. Well, the Wind will apparently NOT boot from a USB stick.

Next, I wanted to try UNetbootin to install the ISO to an SD Card and install to the USB stick. Well, the install process was running, but apparently UNetbootin is not compatible with Ubuntu Server... Sheesh.

So, my third attempt was to burn the ISO to a CD-ROM, and install from a USB connected CD-ROM. That seemed to be working just great, and the install process completed. After rebooting, I got an error message that the OS could not be found on the SD card. Strike three!

I guess the only way to do it is to install to a CF card? Or, is there something wrong with my unit? Very frustrating.
I had similar problems when I tried to install to a CF. I ended up burning Ubuntu Server to a CD and installing to a USB flash drive from the CD in a USB CDROM drive.
One "trick" I found by Googling is to not insert the flash drive until the point in the install where you partition the drive. When you get to guided partitioning you hit ESC to go back to the previous screen, insert the USB drive, rescan for drives, then follow guided partioning.

Also use the Ubuntu install partitioner to delete any partitions on the drive that you are going to install on.

Let me know if any of this helps.
So, you are able to boot from a USB flash drive inserted into one of the USB ports?

I couldn't get it to do that. I wonder if some USB flash drives are not capable? I seem to have read something that indicated older drives might not be bootable, but I don't know for sure.
So, you are able to boot from a USB flash drive inserted into one of the USB ports?
Yes. That's how I ended up running it.
The message you are seeing is I think to GRUB creating an improper pointer to where the OS actually sits.
If you go back and follow the pointers above, I think you will get a successful boot. But it's important that you clear all old partions and volumes from the flash drive before you do the guided install.
I ended up sticking a CF card in there, and it installed without a problem.

I have an additional question about setting up the RAID. It appears from your walkthrough in the previous article that when you set up a RAID array, it wants to reformat both drives during the setup.

If I set up a RAID1 array, I will be able to replace a drive later, right? What about increasing the size of the drives, while retaining the data?

Also, can I get the system working with a single drive, then add a second drive and create the RAID1 array without destroying the data?
I know nothing about mdadm (the Linux RAID module used) handles RAID drive replacement. I don't think that you can go from a single drive to either RAID 0 or RAID 1 without reformatting the drive.
Thanks. I have been reading a bit about the RAID management process. I guess I'll have to become an expert before I jump into it!

It appears that you cannot start with a single drive then convert to RAID without reformatting. But the process of replacing a failed drive and having it reconstruct is almost automatic...
OK, I went ahead and splurged and got two 1 TB drives (driving past Fry's on the way home from work has it's benefits!) and installed everything this evening.

I'm using rsync to pull files from my old server now, everything looks really smooth!

Thanks for the great guide!

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