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    This is a guest post by C. Winter.

     

    In December 2008 my home PC died taking with it my database, all MP3s, home videos, all my pictures and a full 1tb drive of films I had ripped from my collection.  So I got to thinking why not have some sort of server storing everything, backups,  and  on a battery backup.  So my journey starts there.  I spent the better part of 2 months every night looking for something that would suit my needs, but nothing looked like what I wanted for my project.  So I looked at custom builds... I needed something with about 6 drives for everything.

     

    I started to look at motherboards and I decided to use the The Intel® Desktop Board D945GCLF2 with 2 GB of ram.

     

    My very first build worked well for about 1month and then I started having problems with heat on the drives

     

    clip_image002 clip_image004

     

    This build I used

     

    6 X 1TB green Hard drives

     

    1 X 120mm fan for front

     

    2 X 80mm fan for back

     

    5 X caddy’s

     

    1 X LCD temp display

     

    1 X 550watts power supply

     

    1 atom 330 motherboard

     

    1 X 4 port sata card, no raid on the card

     

    Microsoft xp pro installed as os

     

    real vnc for remote desktop

     

    So I went back to the way it is designed, I asked the the company who cut the plastic if the caddy’s could be removed for some sort of removable slots. No problems. So then I got planning again.

     

    clip_image006

     

    I removed everything from the first design and started again.

     

    The company that helped me with this build went through every step with me so we got it right first time round. I removed the caddy’s totally from my design. So I came up with this

     

    clip_image008

     

    clip_image010

     

    Finished build now testing and installing xp

     

    clip_image012

     

    clip_image014

     

    Hardware is the same as in my first build I just redesigned it for better air flow

     

    This systems is running

     

    XP Pro

     

    Xamp - (mysql, apache)

     

    Vnc – remote into the system from my network,

     

    Firewall, antivirus.

     

    This system has been running now for about 11 months with no problems

     

    --

     

    Now I have all my music, pictures, databases, e-books and wallpapers all on one system I needed some sort of backup system. So I got to work again thinking why not use another system for safety

     

    So using the same motherboard as it is low in power, I came up with this.

     

    clip_image016

     

    This system is about the same as the other system with sync software on it so I can make duplicates of everything on my main system.

     

    Instead of using a normal power supply I looked at using something smaller something like what a laptop has.

     

    So I used a PSU universal power unit adaptor 90w AC to DC and a picopsu 150w power supply mini-itx I purchased these of eBay.

     

    clip_image018

     

    clip_image020

     

    clip_image022

     

    This system runs perfect at the moment there is 3 drives in this system. Totally backing up my main server, once a week I turn this server on and leave it on overnight.

     

    Now after doing these 2 servers I decided to hold my total collection of DVDs so I can store my total collection in the loft out of the way as I'm running out of space...

     

    So I looked at many options but went back to my second build with the hard drive slots.

     

    Planned 20 drives into my design and asked the company who helped my with my builds if this could be done. They said the plans needed to be very detailed but it could be done.

     

    I setup the system at first on the Intel® Desktop Board D945GCLF2 with 2 GB just to get me started, the same as my main server.

     

    The picture below has the raid card installed aswell.

     

    clip_image024

     

    So I spent one month designing my server box and looking at what raid card to use.

     

    Is used the 4 Port SATA II Card, Low Profile Option, RAID Function, PCI With 5 Port SATA II Multiplier Bridge Board, RAID Function

     

    The main reason for using this card was the specs and good reviews it had,

     

    clip_image026

     

    Port forwarding on the card had tobe a must to get me the 20 drives system spec of card

     

    Bus Type: 32 Bit PCI

     

    Internal Connector: 4 x SATA Female

     

    Supports RAID levels 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD

     

    Port Multiplier and NCQ (Native Command Queuing) support

     

    Compliant with PCI Spec 2.3, 32-bit slot, 5V or 3.3V slot

     

    Standard and Low Profile back plates included

     

    Software Compatibility: Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/Windows 7/Server 2003, 2008 and Linux

     

    I also used the multiplier card to give me the 20 drive system I needed

     

    clip_image027

     

    Chipset Silicon Image Sil3726

     

    Internal Connectors: 5 x SATA Female

     

    External Connector: 1 x eSATA Female

     

    Metal back plate attaches to standard external enclosure back panel

     

    Supplied with additional Slot Plate for installation into a suitable enclosure

     

    Port Multiplier and NCQ (Native Command Queuing) support

     

    Pin header for drive activity LEDs

     

    RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, Concatenated and JBOD Groups supported

     

    I used 1 raid card and 4 multiplier cards

     

    The raid card can be set to just about any raid system you need, but I went for the JBOD (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) as I have the dvd originals so no need for backing up.

     

    So now I have tested and played around with the card on the Intel® Desktop Board D945GCLF2 and Works perfect for what I need – running on xp pro.

     

    After putting my plans together it all came together. the drawing I used

     

    clip_image028 clip_image030 clip_image032

     

    clip_image033 clip_image035

     

    after placing my plastic order, there was some of the details in needed to change. But everything went ok.

     

    Now for the plastic build.

     

    At first I taped everything together to make sure everything fitted in place. Perfect fit first time.

     

    clip_image037

     

    Now to setup the fans, the top 4 fans are set tobe on all the time and the bottom to 4 can be switch off and on, depending on how many drives are installed.

     

    clip_image039

     

    Now for the main build.

     

    clip_image041 clip_image043 clip_image045

     

    clip_image047 clip_image049 clip_image051

     

    Now the basic stuff is in, the wiring needs tobe set out and make sure the drives slot in ok on all the bays

     

    clip_image053clip_image055clip_image056

     

    Before I turned this system on I checked all the wiring 3 times.

     

    clip_image058 clip_image060 clip_image062

     

    Finished

     

    clip_image063 clip_image065 clip_image067

     

    clip_image069

     

    I had a small streaming problem so I changed the motherboard from Intel® Desktop Board D945GCLF2 with 2 GB to the Asus AT3N7A-I Mini-ITX Motherboard Intel Atom 330 Dual Core nVIDIA ION with 4 GB of ram and it runs like lightning now.

     

    clip_image070

     

    Motherboard Installed

     

    clip_image072

     

    The system now has 10 drives in the system and works like a dream

     

    The system runs XP Pro with VNC remote login for maintenance and file sharing on.

     

    Below are the 2 systems finished and running? I also have an ups (1500w) system to prevent what happened to my old computer.

     

    clip_image073 clip_image075 clip_image077

     

    The ups system has a program with it so the power can be monitored, at present with the total setup when everything is on 240w of power.

     

    The ups system has stopped 5 power outs and 9 spikes in power, so for me a good investment

     

    The whole network runs on gigabit network for streaming

     

    Total cost and break down for the 20 bay system

     

    Motherboard                        -                £160

     

    Raid card                               -                 £90

     

    Forwarder card- multiplier (4)     -        £55 each

     

    Cathode lights x 2                -                 £8

     

    Case (total custom)            -                 £157

     

    Leds                                      -                 £40

     

    Fans (1.20watts) -                               £15

     

    Fan covers (£0.99 each)   -                £17.82

     

    Cables – sata - 50

     

    System drive (1TB green drive) £66

     

    20 drive at £66 = £1320 – I only have 10 installed at moment

     

    Notes from HSSDave: Thank you for the post Craig. Wouldn’t Windows Home Server run great on this box??? Hit the forums to discuss.

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    i have had a play with the first whs and licked it but i needed more from the os so decided to use xp as i had a copy. but i will be investing in the new whs 2010. there is some nice features on the new os.
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    This windows server is amazing. The feature thing is great above all. Technology role the world and the world is nothing without technology. :)
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    If you are really serious in procuring quality SEO services in sync with the advanced web promotion services, SEO Company ready to offer best seo services, internet marketing, social media marketing, Online Reputation Management.
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    Performance - based seo company & web design company Kolkata. We provide quality and Reliable web design, web design firm, Best web design, web design services, seo web design at affordable budget.
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    Spent the better part of 2 months every night. Wow! That's long enough. Good thing that you were really determined to finish everything. Patience.
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