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Edward

Upgrade from N36L to TS140

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Edward

Hi

 

Am thinking of getting a cashback offer on the TS140 Xeon E3-1226.  Current thinking is to replace an aged N36L (which continues to run flawlessly with WHS11, SSD etc).  The UK offer is for 4gb RAM and a 1tb HDD.

 

A few quick questions if I may?

 

- The Lenova ECC RAM seems very expensive (£87 for an 8gb stick). Any recommendations for cheaper RAM and will non-ECC be fine?  I'd like to have 16gb to start with (2*8gb).

 

- Is it easy to install more than 4 drives in this machine? Initially I would like to replicate my N36L being 1*SSD (for OS) and 4 HDD drives.  But will need more in due course (I'm under 3TB free on a 9TB DrivePool.)

 

- Seems like the SATA power cables are routed via the TS140 motherboard. Are there any big issues simply splitting a SATA cable (for extra drives etc)?  Better still is there room for an additional power unit?

 

- Currently I use StableBit DrivePool (with replication) and very happy with that.  Is the onboard RAID on the TX140 a better route to go down? Am hesitant in going down a propriety route requiring me to purchase another TS140 if I had problems.  Not clear if the TS140 RAID is hardware or firmware based.

 

- Is the TS140 really as quite as reported?  I spent quite some time on the N36L getting it quite (replacing main fan and PSU fan).  I really don't want to start again with the TS140.

 

On a slightly different question (not directly related to the TS140), will Windows 7 (and later on Win10) be good for server duties? I don't have a licence for WS12R2, only WS12 Essentials.  I'm familiar with Win7 and can easily install Stablebit DrivePool in Win7.  Not sure what extra I would get with WS12R2 in a home environment.  All my machines have their own system, drives/folders etc and I back up each machine to the server via CrashPlan and from there to CrashPlan central.

 

cheers

Edward

 

 

 

 

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mattb75

Hi Edward

 

I'm looking to do the same as you!  I've got an aging N36L which is now making a right racket and is in need of replacement.

 

Ebuyer are doing a good deal on the TS140 E3-1226v3 @ £359.99 before the £125 cashback.  If you buy through Quidco and get the additional 2% cashback from them it will end up costing you just under £230 ($355 USD / 325 EURO) which is a fantastic price for this bit of kit!

 

I've been looking into the Memory options.  If you check out Crucial UK and use their hardware configurator to specify the Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 it will offer a 2 x 8GB unbuffered EEC kit for under £120. (Specs are - CT4962898, DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • Unbuffered • ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • 1024Meg x 72 •).  If you've bought from Crucial before and have an account the price drops down to below £90!!

 

My plan is to install ESXi onto the TS140 and re-install WHS2011 as a VM on that. I've already invested into Cloudberry for my backups to Amazon S3 / Glacier and have client PC backups handled by WHS2011 too. It's been stable for the last 4/5 years running as my sole DHCP, DNS, WSUS, VPN and central file server so not in any rush to move to W2012R2 Essentials or similar.

 

 I can then use the extra horsepower of the TS140 to virtualise a number of other old hardware PC's I have dotted around the house which run various different services (iSPY CCTV, Cacti Network Monitoring, Media Sharing via Plex and iTunes Home Sharing) and reduce my 'PC toys' power consumption by around two-thirds which should pay back the investment in the TS140 in less than 2 years even under the worse case 95W scenario I've seen people quote. It will hopefully also give me some free processor power to experiment with Linux and different versions of Windows within a VM environment as a side hobby.

 

I'm hopeful about the noise reduction I'll see from the N36L to the TS140 will be as good as promised.  My N36L kicks out around 45db when under low load and because of house renovation works its now inside the main house rather than the garage so need something quiet!

 

Let me know if you bought yours in the end, and I'll update from my side when I finally get the accountancy approval at home and push the button on the purchase!  :D

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Edward

Hello Matt, many thanks for your post - much appreciated.

 

I did indeed get the TS140 and have it here. I did a quick install of WS2012R2 which installed just fine. However, for me, WS2012R2 represents quite a steep learning curve and I'm not sure I need all the functionality that it gives.  So my inclination, for now, is simply to to a Win7 install and use that as a 'server'. For the most part I don't use 'server' stuff instead use the existing N36L as a central point for storage and media serving (using Jriver which I find just works in all the ways I want it to).  I backup local machines using Crashplan to this local server and from there to Crashplan Central.

 

However your post does prompt me to think of using ESXi and then creating VMs (Win7, WS2012R2, Linux etc).  Maybe I will do that.

 

Thanks for the tips on Crucial.  Yes I have purchased from them recently so £90 for 16gb RAM is very tempting.

 

Yes the N36l (as well as an N40L I have in another room) was a bit noisy (but apparently not as much as you seem to have experienced).  I replaced the PSU fan and main fan with some silent fans and now you have to be up close to hear anything.  The TS140 is certainly quite, but not as quite as my Microservers.  Anyway I will run it for some months and maybe later replace the fans.

 

One thing I found on the TS140 which was a bit annoying is their Easy Start up software.  Basically as it is run from a DVD it assumes that the OS software will also be from the same DVD drive.  I was installed the OS via a USB drive.  I just ended up installing the OS via the USB and then running the Easy startup later for the necessary drivers etc. Oh, and another thing I could not run the Driver install process directly from Lenovo's website.  It requires .NET 3.5 and no later. Not an easy process of installing .NET 3.5 in WS2012R2. I'll see what happens in Win7.

 

cheers

Edward

 

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vwsplitty1980

Hi to you both. I'm in the process of doing the same thing. I have a n45l running server 2012 essentials and just bought the Lenovo ts140 via ebuyer cash back. Not sure what way to go with it as I'm thinking of just transplanting over drives and keep server 2012e or starting a fresh and installing the r2 version of 2012. I'll update a little more later on but I'd like to hear how you get on. One thing I would say is if you don't like standard 2012 r2 just install the essentials role and it will be a lot more user friendly.

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mattb75

Hi Edward

 

Thanks for replying - I've thrown caution to the wind and pushed the button on the purchase now!

 

Went for it via ebuyer, always had good experiences with them in the past and even when you choose their free 5 day delivery, it often arrives quicker - so fingers crossed it will be here mid-next week. Only annoyance was the price had lifted up a few pounds since I last looked (yesterday!).

 

I also ordered the memory (2 x 8GB) from Crucial - came in at £87.60 with free delivery - I did go through Quidco which was advertising 6% off pre-VAT so could end up costing just over £80 but suspect Crucial will decline the cashback because of the heavy discount from list I've got anyway.  It's happened before with them....

 

Must remember to do the cashback from Lenovo too - otherwise my cost saving pitch will be a bit optimistic!

 

Although I'd intended to decommission the HP N36L and flog it on ebay, your hardware hack with the fans has given me the idea of doing something similar and tucking it away in another room but using it as a backup destination for the TS140 files..... What fan replacements did you use?

 

Cheers

Matt


Hi Edward

 

Thanks for replying - I've thrown caution to the wind and pushed the button on the purchase now!

 

Went for it via ebuyer, always had good experiences with them in the past and even when you choose their free 5 day delivery, it often arrives quicker - so fingers crossed it will be here mid-next week. Only annoyance was the price had lifted up a few pounds since I last looked (yesterday!).

 

I also ordered the memory (2 x 8GB) from Crucial - came in at £87.60 with free delivery - I did go through Quidco which was advertising 6% off pre-VAT so could end up costing just over £80 but suspect Crucial will decline the cashback because of the heavy discount from list I've got anyway.  It's happened before with them....

 

Must remember to do the cashback from Lenovo too - otherwise my cost saving pitch will be a bit optimistic!

 

Although I'd intended to decommission the HP N36L and flog it on ebay, your hardware hack with the fans has given me the idea of doing something similar and tucking it away in another room but using it as a backup destination for the TS140 files..... What fan replacements did you use?

 

Cheers

Matt

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Edward

Hi Matt

 

For fans I got the Noiseblocker BlackSilent fans (120mm and 40mm). I had to do a bit of hacking around but it was easy.  First hack was to remove the NoiseBlocker shield and use the Mircoserver ones so as to fit them.  The Noiseblocker one were thicker.  Second hack was to overcome the screws on the Noiseblockers as they did not fit.  I used some rubber ones from an old project I had. All quite simple. On the PSU fan I used power from a molex/fan connector rather than the internal power cable (which I simply just snipped and shielded).

 

Same as you I used ebuyer for the Lenova server. Ordered late Sunday afternoon and it was here mid Monday morning via Yodel. I hope I don't have any problems with the cashback of £125, but judging from some posts I saw elsewhere there does seem to be hiccups on this at times.

 

Hi vwsplitty (!).  Like you I also intend simply to transfer over drives. Only difference is that I will do a fresh install of W7 and then move over data drives. 

 

Incidentally, just for fun, I booted up an existing W7 install (from one of the original Microserver installs before I went to SSD) and that booted up just fine in the Lenovo TS140.  The OS saw the differences and changed things around to suit, including downloading from the web some Lenovo drivers.

 

I'll let you guys know how I get on with the W7 fresh install and what I find on the way.   One thing I will want to do is to dig up a Sata port card I have somewhere and use that given that the TS140 only has 5 sata ports (one of which is used for the DVD).

 

E

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Edward

One thing I would say is if you don't like standard 2012 r2 just install the essentials role and it will be a lot more user friendly.

 

Hi

 

This probably belongs in a different part of this forum but I will go ahead anyway.

 

Could you possibly summarise some key reasons please what benefits I would get using server software as opposed to (say) W7?  On one of my microserver I did install WHS11 but quickly stopped using things like the Connector as I found it clunky and slow.  I have been using WHS7 since then as a client side setup (albeit with shared drives etc).

 

thanks

E

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Edward

Matt,

 

I installed W7 on the TS140 and it is currently updating and all that stuff. (I always forget to remove the flash drive after the first step and when I come back I always have to think again why the initial install process has started again! :)

 

Interestingly the Win7 (sp1) ISO I used did not have any ethernet drivers for the Lenovo so I had to drag them from the supplied Lenovo DVD.

 

I ran the Crucial Memory detection and these are the results.

 

As you correctly pointed out the 16gb mem (2*8gb) is just under £120.  However when I logged into my account at Crucial there was no discount.  I spoke with Crucial (nice lady in Egypt as it happens) she informed me that Crucial do not offer discounts. Please could you let me know what the process was that you used to obtain a discount.  Saving ~£25 is worth knowing about <grin>.

 

ta

E

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mattb75

Hi Edward

 

Hopefully this screen grab posts... as trying this from my mobile!!

 

I'm not sure about the crucial discount then. I'd just assumed that because I'd ordered once from them I was now getting some loyalty discount. As you can see from the screen grab it is just auto-applying it!

 

My order has been processed and dispatched so fingers crossed they don't chase me back up for the difference!!

 

Ref your question on Server vs Desktop software , I used WHS2011 as I wanted something to do backups of my desktop/laptops and have a centralised file storage area which could also backup to another location (Amazon s3 in my case). At the time WHS2011 seemed a good choice for this, although I'd agree most if not all of it could also be done via a desktop client.

 

As I got further into its capablilities I started to use the VPN functionality (handy for playing the lottery and watching iPlayer when abroad!) , then looked into WSUS to make it quicker to install updates for any PC rebuilds.

 

I've never used the launchpad software which gets deployed to each client machine though - I just used library pointers to the file shares and I RDP onto the server if I need to do anything to the box itself.

 

Matt

image.jpg

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Edward

Hi Matt,

 

Thanks for the screenshots.

 

There is no way that Crucial can chase you for the difference.  You have an irrevocable contract with them and they have dispatched as you say.

 

For the life of me I can't work out how you get this discount and I don't. The discount you got is not the end of the world for me if I don't get it as well but I'm now highly intrigued (indeed partly cynical) as to what is what.  This particularly as the lady from Crucial was adamant that Crucial never give discounts. So far as you know do you have a special type of crucial account such as a business account?

 

Thanks for your comments re server vs desktop software. I RDP to my Microserver from outside home via a portforward rule I set on my router and use of a dynamic DNS client.  I could go with a static IP address but it suits me to have changing IP addresses.  I use same port forwarding to stream music and vids.

 

May I ask what VPN you used and how you implemented it please?

 

cheers

E

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