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Old 11-10-2012, 01:51 PM   #1
truepusk
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Default Mini Linux Server Build

Replacing an ancient PIII. Goals: small, quiet (fanless! - well, one case fan), w/ space for hard drive expansion.

Use:
Linux - no GUI, primarily SSH command line access
Samba File Server for my Windows Network
FTP Server
Remotely accessible repository (perhaps subversion through https/ssl)

Total $259. Any thoughts on the build? 80W should be sufficient? Any issues I'm missing?
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:37 PM   #2
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I'm assuming I want 1.5v and not 1.35v memory, but I'm not certain.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:49 PM   #3
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Either 1.5 or 1.35V is fine. 80W is more than enough for an Atom and a few hard drives. The rest of the parts look fine to me, though the case is a bit expensive.
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Old 11-10-2012, 07:18 PM   #4
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There's a big variety of Pico PSUs bundled with bricks here.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:26 AM   #5
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There's a big variety of Pico PSUs bundled with bricks here.
Oh, that's good to know! Hopefully I haven't missed any other good brick or pico-PSU deals. Looking further, I'm confused as to why they are paring a 102W brick with Pico PSUs that are rated much higher. Am I missing something? I'm spec'ing higher wattage on my brick (120W compared to 80W Pico-PSU). Also, those guys (mini-box) have a fan on their brick, which I worry would be very small and loud. Hopefully it rarely would ever kick in.

Yeah, mfenn, I've been considering this build for a couple years now. The Pico PSUs have reduced in price but the case is still disproportionately expensive. It will save some space and look nice (match the rest of my equipment), but really I just want it .
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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Avoid Atom Cedartr... Cedartrial. They have horrible driver support. Instead look at the ASUS C60M1-I, its a Brazos-based (AMD C60) mini-ITX board with 6 SATA3 ports and it should be VERY cheap. I have one running my NAS using FreeNAS and there is zero problems with it.

You should read Anand's review here. I have recently put up a couple of PoS-terminals based on Cedartrail and they have caused no end of trouble... you could argue they have turned to POS-terminals (sorry, couldn't resist... )
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truepusk View Post
Oh, that's good to know! Hopefully I haven't missed any other good brick or pico-PSU deals. Looking further, I'm confused as to why they are paring a 102W brick with Pico PSUs that are rated much higher. Am I missing something? I'm spec'ing higher wattage on my brick (120W compared to 80W Pico-PSU). Also, those guys (mini-box) have a fan on their brick, which I worry would be very small and loud. Hopefully it rarely would ever kick in.
They also have bundles with higher wattage bricks (see the 160XT bundle). It may have to do with some people not needing as high wattage. For instance you have to go to the 150XT to get the 24 pin because lower wattage units are only 20 pin. What if you want 24 pin but don't need the wattage? Hence, the lower wattage brick.

Regarding fans, they have bricks which don't include fans. As always shop carefully.

FWIW Mini-Box is the "manufacturer" of Pico PSUs, as well as some of the tiny cases such as the M350.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:33 PM   #8
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Avoid Atom Cedartr... Cedartrial. They have horrible driver support. Instead look at the ASUS C60M1-I, its a Brazos-based (AMD C60) mini-ITX board with 6 SATA3 ports and it should be VERY cheap. I have one running my NAS using FreeNAS and there is zero problems with it.

You should read Anand's review here. I have recently put up a couple of PoS-terminals based on Cedartrail and they have caused no end of trouble... you could argue they have turned to POS-terminals (sorry, couldn't resist... )
The graphics are completely irrelevant for the OP's uses. He's going to be running it as a Linux box without an X server. As long as it can display standard text mode (which it can), he is good to go.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:07 PM   #9
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Just as a file server, is there any reason not to use onboard SATAs? You could go AMD and get 4-6 native SATAs, then do a plain old software RAID 1 or 10.

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Avoid Atom Cedartr... Cedartrial. They have horrible driver support. Instead look at the ASUS C60M1-I, its a Brazos-based (AMD C60) mini-ITX board with 6 SATA3 ports and it should be VERY cheap. I have one running my NAS using FreeNAS and there is zero problems with it.
If the OP wants a GUI, the FOSS AMD drivers work fine, but it's probably a non-issue, as long as it does VESA framebuffer modes.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:09 PM   #10
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I might have an issue with the pico psu I spec'd. It is only 20 pin, not 24. The Asus c-60 looks tempting at only $10 more and 4 sata Ports. I wonder if it draws more power, though it might not matter if i have to upgrade my psu due to pins.

As long as the board has Linux driver support...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131843
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:04 AM   #11
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The graphics are completely irrelevant for the OP's uses. He's going to be running it as a Linux box without an X server. As long as it can display standard text mode (which it can), he is good to go.
I didn't recommend it for the graphics but for the 6 SATA3 ports. You'd be hard pressed to find a low-cost Atom board with more then 4, and then they are only SATA2. There is the Supermicro X7SPA-series but they tend to be expensive...

The only downside to this board is that the A50M does not support RAID, so you are limited to software raid...
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:27 AM   #12
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I didn't recommend it for the graphics but for the 6 SATA3 ports.
Exactly. I noticed and was looking at that same board recently, for that very reason. It seems to be one of the few (only?) ITX boards with 6 SATA ports, and even SATA 6G.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:39 AM   #13
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Exactly. I noticed and was looking at that same board recently, for that very reason. It seems to be one of the few (only?) ITX boards with 6 SATA ports, and even SATA 6G.
Not quite. ASUS makes a H67 and H77 mITX-board with 2 SATA3 and 4 SATA2. But you will need a CPU for it...

http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Int...t_1155/P8H67I/
http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Int...t_1155/P8H77I/

Edit; I should properly mention that in my NAS, the CPU has a little help from a redundant Intel Gigabit CT adaptor/82574L. I do not use the onboard Realtek...

Last edited by Insert_Nickname; 11-12-2012 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:11 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I might have an issue with the pico psu I spec'd. It is only 20 pin, not 24.
The 150XT and 160XT are the models with 24 pin.

Guess what? You can buy those with a lower wattage brick if you don't actually need the 150W or more. Just what I was talking about earlier.

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Edit; I should properly mention that in my NAS, the CPU has a little help from a redundant Intel Gigabit CT adaptor/82574L. I do not use the onboard Realtek...
Can you quantify how you benefit from using an Intel NIC versus a Realtek?

I ask because my current rig uses an Intel (Asus P8P67 Pro) but the new rig that I'm going to start using has a Realtek which cannot be upgraded (mini ITX).
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:02 AM   #15
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The 150XT and 160XT are the models with 24 pin.

Guess what? You can buy those with a lower wattage brick if you don't actually need the 150W or more. Just what I was talking about earlier.



Can you quantify how you benefit from using an Intel NIC versus a Realtek?

I ask because my current rig uses an Intel (Asus P8P67 Pro) but the new rig that I'm going to start using has a Realtek which cannot be upgraded (mini ITX).
Oh, a Realtek is fine. I'm using the Intel because otherwise it would just sit collecting dust on a shelf somewhere. The Intel is slightly better at offloading from the CPU. Not anything you'd notice in normal usage, but given this is a Brazos at 1.0/1.33GHz anything that can be offloaded is welcome...

One piece of advice though, I have had some issues with Realteks on longer (30m+) cables, some models can act... funny... not a problem on professional equipment, but for a home-type setup it can be...
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:51 PM   #16
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The 150XT and 160XT are the models with 24 pin.

Guess what? You can buy those with a lower wattage brick if you don't actually need the 150W or more. Just what I was talking about earlier.
Hmmm... thanks for pointing that out again. I was leaning towards getting this quiet seasonic:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817151117
For $56 after rebate, due to increasing prices of higher wattage/higher pin Pico PSUs.

This would only be $4 more, but it's out *NO SMALL FANS*!
http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-150-XT-102-power-kit

This would be a more quiet option:
http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-150-...pter-Power-Kit

A little more power than I need, but more head room. $14 more expensive, but no rebate hassle. I'm torn.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:00 PM   #17
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I might have an issue with the pico psu I spec'd. It is only 20 pin, not 24.
20 vs. 24 pin doesn't matter, the extra 4 pins are just more 3.3V, 5V, 12V, and GND. They're used for additional power delivery capacity, which you don't need. The 24-pin socket is keyed such that the 20-pin connector will plug into one side.

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I didn't recommend it for the graphics but for the 6 SATA3 ports. You'd be hard pressed to find a low-cost Atom board with more then 4, and then they are only SATA2. There is the Supermicro X7SPA-series but they tend to be expensive...
So why did you spend half your post talking about graphics then?

Also, am I the only person in this thread that realizes that SATA 6 Gb/s ports are completely and utterly irrelevant for an HDD-based system? The OP already has the SATA controller covered with existing parts.

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The only downside to this board is that the A50M does not support RAID, so you are limited to software raid...
I wouldn't exactly call that a limitation. Linux software RAID is the best in the business. It's much much better than any mobo fakeRAID, and better than true hardware RAID controllers until you get into the $1000 range.

Last edited by mfenn; 11-13-2012 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:16 PM   #18
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Damn, I could have saved $18, re: pins. Actually I just found a super old 300w seasonic "tornado" in my closet, so I could have saved $55, if I'd reused it, but I probably won't bother canceling the order.

Lol re: sata speeds. Yeah i don't think this system will use 3Gbps in its lifetime, much less 6. I decided $10 to ditch the sata cars +2 more slots (6 total) made the amd Asus board worth it.

That software raid comment want from me, but it's good to know that about Linux raid. Maybe I'll implement it down the road. For now weekly copy scripts will have to do.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:00 PM   #19
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Also, am I the only person in this thread that realizes that SATA 6 Gb/s ports are completely and utterly irrelevant for an HDD-based system? The OP already has the SATA controller covered with existing parts.
No. The important 6 is the one that leaves a PCI-e slot free for future use (like adding a NIC, if the integrated port gets fried, one day), and possibly introduces the OP to mdadm's learning curve .

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That software raid comment want from me, but it's good to know that about Linux raid. Maybe I'll implement it down the road. For now weekly copy scripts will have to do.
As long as you're using 2 drives, and a little downtime if the boot drive dies is no big deal, there's nothing wrong with that. RAID starts becoming the logistically easier solution as you expand past what a single drive can store. But then, that still needs some kind of backup added to it, if you want trustworthy redundancy.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:50 AM   #20
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So why did you spend half your post talking about graphics then?
Sorry, yes that was a bit off topic...

Quote:
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Also, am I the only person in this thread that realizes that SATA 6 Gb/s ports are completely and utterly irrelevant for an HDD-based system? The OP already has the SATA controller covered with existing parts.
I agree with Cerb. They could be SATA1's for all I care. Its the number of them that's the point...

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I wouldn't exactly call that a limitation. Linux software RAID is the best in the business. It's much much better than any mobo fakeRAID, and better than true hardware RAID controllers until you get into the $1000 range.
Got me again... that should have been "limited"...
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:27 PM   #21
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No. The important 6 is the one that leaves a PCI-e slot free for future use (like adding a NIC, if the integrated port gets fried, one day), and possibly introduces the OP to mdadm's learning curve .
OK fair point about the number of drives.

Regarding md RAID's learning curve, it's been my experience that it's far easier to get md working than it is to get dmraid (i.e. mobo fakeRAID support) working. Md RAID works the same no matter what kind of hardware you have, whereas dmraid is subject to the vagaries of the hardware.

Everything you need to know about md RAID for a simple setup can fit on one page. Specifically, this one.
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