Mini-ITX NAS build

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tutu
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Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by tutu » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:05 am

I have decided to build a Intel Atom Mini-ITX NAS build. Although most of the topics are out of date on performance of a D510/Gigabit NAS. I have a few questions regarding the components. Quiet and low power are my aims.

It is initially going to use 2 x 2 TB 3.5" WDEARS HDDs but I would like to expand upto 4. I will also use a 2.5" as boot drive running Linux.

First the case (which needs to be quiet!!)

CFI A7879 (I like this as it's compact and looks like a NAS! but there is a very small fan to cool the PSU (not sure what type) and the HDDs are rack mounted so I guess vibration is an issue)

http://linitx.com/viewproduct.php?prodid=12789

Fractal Design Array Mini-ITX NAS Case, Black, with 300W SFX PSU (a bit too expensive and looks like a non-standard ATX power supply)

http://www.quietpc.com/gb-en-gbp/produc ... rray-black

Lian Li PC-Q08B Black Mini ITX Case (looks nice - bit too tall as I don't need a 5.25 bay but could be quiet!). Would I only need to use the exhaust fan?

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showprodu ... ce=froogle

Chenbro ES34069 (ruled out because of 2 x 80mm fans)

http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=42

Motherboard

Someone suggest a low power D510 Atom with more than 2 SATA ports? Theres a few with JMicron SATA. I will be using the disks in a standard one big disk configuration. ION is out of the question due to increase wattage.

Needs gigabit LAN and Wake on LAN

Alternatively, i3 but not sure on wattage.

Suggestions? Low cost if possible

RAM

Will DDR2 or DDR3 be less wattage? (DDR3 boards are soon to be released?). Also will less RAM (size) be any factor?

PSU

Will a 150W Pico PSU be enough to supply initially D510, 2 x 2TB HDDs and 1x 2.5" (with expand upto 4 2TB disks in the future?)

After this build, I will look to build a HTPC as well!! Using ION

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Post by MikeC » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:06 am

Most really small cases cannot be quiet while housing multiple HDDs. You should think through on what your priorities are: small size or low noise. They are mutually exclusive at this point in time unless you're prepared to do a whole lot of custom modding.

Among the cases you list, the LL PC-Q08B has the best chance of being quiet... but has the obvious limitation of just 2 HDD bays. You could also consider the latest Silverstone breadbox style case -- SG07. But I don't think either of these would be particularly quiet with 4 HDDs. You'd be much better on noise, cooling and PSU options with a small mATX case w/ 120mm fan exhaust, and room for elastic suspension of 4 HDDs in the front.

Any system that will have multiple 3.5" HDDs is not a great candidate for picoPSU -- there's a lot of surge current at turn-on. You're generally better off with a high efficiency ATX or STF psu -- perhaps one of the Dell 250-300W models, modded to fit whatever case...

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Post by tutu » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:14 am

The Lian-Li has 6 internal 3.5" bays (using rubber grommets)

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Post by MikeC » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:19 am

tutu wrote:The Lian-Li has 6 internal 3.5" bays (using rubber grommets)
Ah, my bad, I scanned the specs too quickly. OK, in stock form, this case, then, is your best option... but how quiet it can be depends a lot on the grommets and how they're implemented. Standard ATX PSU option is a plus, imo.

tutu
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Post by tutu » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:07 am

MikeC wrote:Any system that will have multiple 3.5" HDDs is not a great candidate for picoPSU -- there's a lot of surge current at turn-on. You're generally better off with a high efficiency ATX or STF psu -- perhaps one of the Dell 250-300W models, modded to fit whatever case...
How much surge are we talking? A atom board won't use much - neither will the SSD. So must of the Pico "power" will be available for the 4 x 5400 RPM drives?

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Post by MikeC » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:41 am

Not all spec sheets provide this info, but the ones that do suggest ~2A on the 12V line for a <7200rpm 3.5" drive.

Seagate Barracuda LP (5900rpm) - Startup Current +12V Peak (A±10%): 2A
Typical peak #s for WD Green is 1.75A.
Samsung lists the same 2A for all its 5400rpm drives.

So four 5400rpm drives could pull 8A on the 12V line on startup -- for only a couple of seconds, possibly, as it lasts too short to see/record properly on a kill-a-watt or similar, but that adds up to 96W, which comes straight from the external AD/DC adapter. All your other devices probably don't add up to much more than maybe 20W at startup -- but that's a guess.

tutu
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Post by tutu » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:01 am

So we are talking 116W ish start up power - is that DC or do I need to add extra for AC (UK)?

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Post by MikeC » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:13 am

tutu wrote:So we are talking 116W ish start up power - is that DC or do I need to add extra for AC (UK)?
DC... but that's what power supplies (and adapters) are rated for -- DC output. My opin is that most adapters aren't built for frequent peaks to or constant operation at full rated output.

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Post by fumino » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:30 am

it might add to the costs, but if you find a cheap mini-itx board with a pci-e slot, you can add a raid card to make up for a lack of ports. finding one that supports staggered spin up would also eliminate the need for a bigger psu to cope with the surge.

as for the case, i would probably give the edge to the lian li since you've ruled out the chenbro. you can alway throw a cheap dvd or blu-ray drive in there for ripping movies and cd's :3

ram: you wont need more than 2gb. ever. ddr3 wont make a noticeable improvement on a nas either. 1gb of ddr2 would probably be fine, but with prices you could consider 2gb just to have it.
Last edited by fumino on Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by merlin » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:48 am

I'm most likely going with the pc-q08 myself for my nas system. I already have a quiet unused psu I can put into the case so it's all set to be done later. It is a little big, but size helps when you're trying to keep a machine quiet also. :)

Also the chenbro is 2X70mm, not 80mm, which is even worse.

tutu
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Post by tutu » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:04 am

Yeh the q08 is a little bit big (its 279mm wide!!) considering, I am also considering the CFI as well but I am finding it difficult to get decent pictures of the mounting mechanism

Edit: Just found this http://www.e-itx.com/cfi-a7879-hdd-tray.html
:oops:

I have found the Gigabyte D510 board (with 4 SATA port) but it has a nasty 40mm fan. Shame nobody makes a 40mm->120mm converter!!

I still haven't made my mind up yet!!

tutu
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Post by tutu » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:52 pm

Decided to go with the Lian-Li (maybe :oops:) - although it now appears to be out of stock.. . Anyone suggest a suitable 120mm quiet fan for the exhaust? Last time I looked was a couple of years ago, and slipstream fans were recommended.

I don't know anything about the stock fans.

Also, any suggestions for SSD? Going to install Linux to stream to 360 / PC / XMBC (future project waiting to see what AMD do)

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Post by fumino » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:52 pm

slipstreams are still recommended, that list doesnt seem to change that much. regarding the 140mm intake, i'd say the kaze-maru 2, reviews i've seen have pegged it as quieter, and more powerful than the noctua... though i dont know anything about the lian li fans either really, undervolted they could be sufficiently quiet.

ssd? i love my vertex. check anandtech for proper recommendations though.

btw, at least one review from newegg has complained about the vibrations with the pc-q08, so you might end up wanting a dampening kit... but i suppose that decision will come later.

tutu
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Post by tutu » Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:54 am

Seeing as the PQ08 is quite big - is there a mATX case also I should consider of suitable size (assuming it accepts ITX boards) and has sound dampening qualities?

The drives I am using a 3 platter so hopefully less noise and not planning on fitting 6 drives to start off with

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Post by tutu » Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:56 am

Out of interest - I've noticed that the Core i3 530 uses about the same idle wattage but at peak is not competitive with the atom.

Would it be possible to run the i3 at "idle" wattage all the time? i.e. in a low power state - which would still outperform a atom probably?

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Post by MikeC » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:31 am

tutu wrote:Out of interest - I've noticed that the Core i3 530 uses about the same idle wattage but at peak is not competitive with the atom.

Would it be possible to run the i3 at "idle" wattage all the time? i.e. in a low power state - which would still outperform a atom probably?
The chipset is also part of that super low idle in the latest Atom boards, so no, but you'd get fairly close. Only way to really keep the peaks down would be to underclock severely... don't think undervolting manually would be better than the dynamic power management in place, and yeah it would still outperform Atom.

tutu
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Post by tutu » Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:39 am

MikeC wrote:
tutu wrote:Out of interest - I've noticed that the Core i3 530 uses about the same idle wattage but at peak is not competitive with the atom.

Would it be possible to run the i3 at "idle" wattage all the time? i.e. in a low power state - which would still outperform a atom probably?
The chipset is also part of that super low idle in the latest Atom boards, so no, but you'd get fairly close. Only way to really keep the peaks down would be to underclock severely... don't think undervolting manually would be better than the dynamic power management in place, and yeah it would still outperform Atom.
Interesting - how would I make it stay in low power state? Any benches/previous examples of this? Can I uderclock the CPU using a ITX board?

Which lower power ITX i3 board would you recommend?

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Post by MikeC » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:17 am

Actually if you're rethinking the build for a mATX board, I'd suggest a low TDP AMD X2/3 -- almost any 45W TDP part -- with a 785 chipset. Am using an MSI 785G, AMD 240e, 4gb ram, 500G notebook drive, stock 80+ PSU in Antec nsk1480: It idles typically at 32-35W AC, maybe 10W higher doing light tasks (torrent, web browsing), and around 42-48W watching HD video. It used to be a few watts higher but perhaps some of the components have "broken in" over time. (I have the system permanently connected to a Power Angel for AC power monitoring.) A lower clocked CPU would probably shave a few watts, as would a more efficient psu, this one only reaches low 80s at best. Your whole rig would be cheaper w/ AMD parts.

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Post by tutu » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:43 am

So many choices but I think I am going away from my main idea which was a very lower power NAS!!

I haven't built an AMD system in ages, so not upto scratch with latest cpus/chipsets.

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Post by MikeC » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:54 am

tutu wrote:So many choices but I think I am going away from my main idea which was a very lower power NAS!!
Well, go back to it, by all means, and stay focused on the low power aspect, as I think the performance differences between a current dual-core Atom and more powerful CPUs is not significant for your application.

You might consider for power -- http://www.silentpcreview.com/Winmate_DD-24AX -- plus the highest efficiency ~150W 19VDC adapter you can find -- http://downloads.energystar.gov/bi/qpli ... d_list.xls This will give you better 12V regulation (than picoPSU) for multiple drives, w/ enough headroom.

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Post by tutu » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:02 am

I've narrowed my choices down a bit:

Atom route:

Gigabyte D510 board (4 x SATA, but no space for a TV Tuner + SATA card)

http://www.pointofview-online.com/showr ... uct_id=146

Intel Atom D510 with 2 PCI slots and 1 x PCI-E slot. I am not sure if you can use a PCI-E TV Tuner in a x16 slot. PNY don't exactly have the best website in the world..

Intel route:

Intel DH55TC (or DH57) MATX Board + i3 530 + ddr3 1.25v

AMD route:

Low 45Watt CPU (but I think the Intel will do better at idle)

The system will only be serving files as a NAS and I wish to add a TV tuner in the future (probably PCI-E as it's new - Freeview HD)

Case:

Fractal Design R3
Or Re-use my P182 (and buy a new Mini-P180 for my desktop)

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Post by Sr.Agaporni » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:16 am

I am thinking in a similar project than you. I want a NAS-Home media server computer, mainly for streaming media and storing all data at home, because I have several computers and I sometimes become mad looking for something.

I also started looking for a good atom mobo, but after a few research, I am thinking in a Via mobo, called NAS7800. There is even a complet system called NSD7800, with mobo, cpu, case and psu. I love it has 8 sata II ports, but I have read that it uses 2 different controllers, and one of it doesn't work properly under linux. Also, it seems to have a poor streaming performance. Did you think about any VIA solution?

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Post by tutu » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:05 pm

I don't think VIA is for me (used to own K6 motherboard back in the day tho)

Would anyone recommend an Enermax 350W (80 plus) or Seasonic 330W 80 plus for the server? Is the Enermax quieter?

I'm still torn between a Atom or Core i3 530 setup. I've been looking into MythTV on linux (to record). So I want the system to not just be a NAS but a shared recorder using a PCI-E tuner. I am not sure if Atom is upto this task or not? I just want it to record (no transcoding)

PNY have said that there mATX Atom board supports PCI-E devices in the 16x (actual PCI-E 1x lane). I don't know if it supports WOL or anything like that tho!!! A cheap SATA PCI card could then go in for 6 SATA ports in total. Aother PCI slot spare for another 4x SATA card if I need be.

But would the Atom + PCI Sata card consume as much wattage as a Intel Core i3 + Intel DH57 mobo in that case?

Maybe I should just buy both and send the one back I don't like!!!!

Also, for the HTPC what Pico + DC would I need - DH57 ITX mobo + Core i3 530 + 2gb ddr? (nothing else)

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Re:

Post by sheltem » Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:15 am

tutu wrote:I've narrowed my choices down a bit:

Atom route:

Gigabyte D510 board (4 x SATA, but no space for a TV Tuner + SATA card)

http://www.pointofview-online.com/showr" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... uct_id=146
Startech has a pretty cool adapter that changes an IDE slot into 2 x SATA slot. From the user reviews I've read, it works pretty well. Just don't expect to boot off it or attach a dvd drive to it. Now you don't have to waste a slot on a SATA card!

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Re: Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by alfonso » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:49 pm

MikeC wrote:Most really small cases cannot be quiet while housing multiple HDDs. You should think through on what your priorities are: small size or low noise. They are mutually exclusive at this point in time unless you're prepared to do a whole lot of custom modding.



Among the cases you list, the LL PC-Q08B has the best chance of being quiet...
Hi!

This comment was written in August 2010 and in September SPCR tested the case and found it noisy ("Unfortunately, the loosely secured drive cages transmit HDD vibrations easily to the side panels, which amplify them audibly.").

tutu did a great job in identifying the available cases for a mini-ITX NAS (4+ disks) and it seems to me the LIAN LI PC-Q08 is the best option (only because Mike convinced me a smaller case would be noisier).

While looking around, I found a "damping set for Lian Li PC-Q08" http://skinflint.co.uk/eu/a575648.html but the description is just in German.

I'm a total newbie when it comes to PC modding (and to be honest last time I assembled a PC was 5 years ago). What do you guys thing about it? Is is useful at all to reduce noise? Do you have any website in English that describe the kit?

In case anyone would like the share his/her opinions, this is the latest configuration I have in mind (changed my mind countless times already):

Zotac H55-ITX-WiFi Socket LGA1156 Mini-ITX Motherboard (it has 6 SATA ports onboard)
Intel Dual Core i3-550 3.2 GHz Socket 1156 CPU & Heatsink
2GB Ultra Low Profile DDR3 1333MHz DIMM
Akasa Low Profile Heatsink
Zalman Adjustable Fan Speed Controller (is this needed / useful to lower noise?)
1 disk for OS + 4 disks in RAID 5 setup

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Re: Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by MikeC » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:36 am

alfonso -- did you check our SFF Silent Home Server Build Guides? PC-Q08B was used there... with excellent results. Minor "modifications" were applied.

start reading here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... uild_Guide
this is the essence of the 6-HDD build:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... Total_Cost
end results:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... st_Results

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Re: Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by nutball » Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:34 am

I can attest to the PC-Q08 making for a nice HTPC/NAS. I've just finished a build similar to the SPCR build, 6 x WD 2TB Green drives, Intel H57JG and Core i3. It's pretty quiet. I didn't do the piece-of-card-on-the-drive-holder trick as recommended in the article, and pressing on the sides/top of the case suggests maybe I should as it does make a bit of a difference. That said though the sound from the whole system doesn't really register as tonal, just as white noise and easily ignored.

I used a Prolimatech Samuel 17 heatsink, it works very well. Personally I don't really like the look of the Akasa low-profile thing, and it's not necessary in that case anyway there's plenty of room for something better like the Samuel (and I've even used a Thermalright AXP-140 in another PC-Q08 build!!). Likewise, low-profile memory shouldn't necessary either.

As for the damping set - I came across it too during the buying phase. I dunno if it'll help, one thing it will do is block up a lot of the vent holes in the case. If I were to mod what I have further it'd be the piece-of-card trick and also to try to put something between the side panels and the case to make them a snugger fit (though I don't have any inspiration for what that might be).

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Re: Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by MikeC » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:02 am

alfonso wrote:While looking around, I found a "damping set for Lian Li PC-Q08" http://skinflint.co.uk/eu/a575648.html but the description is just in German.

I'm a total newbie when it comes to PC modding (and to be honest last time I assembled a PC was 5 years ago). What do you guys thing about it? Is is useful at all to reduce noise? Do you have any website in English that describe the kit?
Don't do it. Not worthwhile until you've exhausted simpler (and more essential) anti-vibration efforts like tightening up the fit of the HDD cage -- and side panels if necessary.

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Re: Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by alfonso » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:12 am

MikeC wrote:alfonso -- did you check our SFF Silent Home Server Build Guides? PC-Q08B was used there... with excellent results. Minor "modifications" were applied.

start reading here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... uild_Guide
this is the essence of the 6-HDD build:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... Total_Cost
end results:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... st_Results
Mike, you must be kidding me! You're godsend! :D

probably I wouldn't be able to appreciate the guide if I didn't spend endless nights reading SPCR in the last few weeks, but the article is the perfect icing on the cake, and I even found a shop that sells most components and even a great deal on the PC-Q08 and H55ITX-A-E (for this price difference, I don't care about USB 3.0!) here in France.

I had thousands doubts, but thanks to you (I read many posts from you in the last few days) I have a much clearer picture.

I have only one question left:
I see here that you reviewed several heatsinks with always the same Nexus 92 mm fan. Is this because this is the fan that comes standard with all heatsinks? or is there an other reason?

Unfortunately the Scythe Samurai ZZ is the only item they don't sell in that shop, no big deal.

Also, before I buy, do you have any agreement with any virtual shop in France? I feel compelled in paying you back somehow!

thank you so much!!

alfonso

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Re: Mini-ITX NAS build

Post by alfonso » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:51 am

MikeC wrote:alfonso -- did you check our SFF Silent Home Server Build Guides? PC-Q08B was used there... with excellent results. Minor "modifications" were applied.

start reading here: http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... uild_Guide
this is the essence of the 6-HDD build:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... Total_Cost
end results:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/Silent_Ho ... st_Results
Mike, in the article I read "a well-known and simple device that can vary the voltage supplied from 5V to 11V. For safety purposes we will power the Fanmate using a molex connector (via a 3-pin to 4-pin molex adapter) as we have had some experience in the past with motherboard fan headers burning out with more than one fan connected."

can you explain this a little bit more? and which cable is that?
this: http://www.materiel.net/live/33799.jpg
or this: http://www.materiel.net/live/13315.jpg

and since there are two fans in the case, should I buy 2x Zalman Fan Mate and 2x adapter?

thanks!

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