Imagery and research

FreeNAS home server

My home server was due to an upgrade - though the ole Compaq had its benefits (quietness), it didn't really work very well with big disks. Also, transfer speed suffered, which is a pain when transferring really big files like raw video.

So it was time for an upgrade. The current system is built from various scrap parts, some new but mostly used stuff. My logic was getting a reasonable system with a very low budget. The fans are new though.

The items currently in use are:
- ASUS TA 551 ATX chassis,
- Nexus Mx-3500 silent psu, 350w,
- Asrock K7vt4ap motherboard,
- AMD Duron 1.8 GHz (running @ 1.7 GHz),
- NetGear GA311 Gigabit card,
- an old passive AGP card, probably an ATI Radeon 32Mb,
- Thermaltake TR2-M3SE heatsink and 21 dB 80 mm fan,
- Two Sunbeam 21 dB 80 mm case fans (one in back and another in front pushing air through the disk stack),
- 768 Mb memory, Hyundai and Kingston,
- Seagate Barracuda 320 Gb ATA 133 disk,
- Maxtor Diamondmax 300 Gb, ATA 133 disk,
- Western Digital 320 Gb, ATA 133 disk,
- a generic CD-ROM drive,
- an old 64 Mb USB 1.0 pen drive,
- The cheapest keyboard I could find (6 euro Labtec).
- And some sound deadening rubber mat from nearby auto parts store, attached to all inner surfaces to reduce vibration.
- There's no monitor attached. For troubleshooting I can hook up the server to my flat screen tv with the DVI connector in the Radeon. Maintenance can be performed with the web interface from another computer.

Hard disks are configured as a software RAID 5 array in FreeNAS. Throughput is pretty good, around 100Mbps. I'm suspecting my iMac that I use for benchmarking is the bottleneck - it seems I could be getting more out of the server. The server is hooked directly to my Apple Airport Extreme 802.11n (w/gigabit) router. The iMac supports n and gigabit as well.

The server is not quiet but it is close enough, especially given the overall quality of the parts. The most noticable source of noise is hard disk hum. This is difficult to fight without attaching the disks with e.g. rubber bands. Didn't want to compromise secure attachment though. Temperature is low, around 37c for motherboard and processor alike.

The box looks like this:
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