New SFF server

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eire1274
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Thanks to the old server blowing the motherboard, I've opted to start the build of a whole new SFF (small form factor) file and DLNA server. We're looking at around three weeks before I begin the actual build, but here's a rundown on parts:

Cooler Master Elite 361 ATX enclosure
Rosewill RV350 v2 350W PFC power supply
Asus AM1M-A Micro-ATX motherboard
AMD 5350 Kabini 25W Quad-Core 2.05GHz APU with integrated Radeon HD 8400
AMD Radeon 8GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 ECC Unbuffered Memory

Plus a couple recent parts from the old server:

HighPoint RocketRAID 622 eSATA PCIe 2.0 1x controller
Kingwin 16GB SATA-3 SSD (currently loaded with customized FreeNAS 64-bit)
MediaSonic HF2-SU3S2 external 4-bay HDD enclosure (USB 3.0 and eSATA with replication)
4x Western Digital 2TB Green HDD (currently loaded with ZFS1 array, total 5.33TB usable protected space)

I did a rundown on the eSATA controller, 4-bay enclosure, and HDDs back in march, but this will be a little more detailed (and with video).

The choice to go with socket AM1 is largely to do with heat. The last upgrade went from two HDDs, a Radeon HD 2600Pro, and a 65W CPU sharing space, which was too hot for the sealed cabinet, to 4 drives external, the same Radeon HD 2600Pro, and a 45W CPU, which was fine. As I wanted to move into an APU to consolidate into a smaller form, the idea of an FM2+ just didn't make sense to me as we were stepping back up in heat output. ReadyMedia, aka miniDLNA, (as a FreeNAS plugin) was only able to use the Radeon card at only a very limited FPS improvement (compared to the Athlon 2.1Ghz X2 solo), but the HD 8400 / R3 series fully support GCN and I've seen major improvements on other systems even with low-end parts, so I figure doubling the processing power AND adding GCN video transcoding (OpenCL) while shrinking the entire system down to a mere 25W of heat output should be ideal.

The decision to move up in size wasn't an easy one, but I think we won't be seeing too much more really in size, as the Cooler Master Elite 361 can be set as a desktop horizontal chassis, making it easy to set the hard disk enclosures on top. We are still looking at the Athlon 5350 Kabini APU as the core of the system, so again moving from 45W+60W (CPU/GPU) to a single 25W SoC while overall increasing both CPU and GPU power, we're moving the right direction. I know, someone is going to gripe that "Nick's and AMD fanboy" again, but the truth of the matter is that in this classification, the only thing Intel offers is a couple 35W Core i3 options (2.8Ghz Ivy Bridge and 2.9Ghz Haswell), and given the fact that most of the processing will be doing ZFS drive management and fetching, FreeBSD actually prefers open multithreading, and this little 2.05Ghz*4 will out-perform the i3's by a margin, plus the integrated GPU is radically more capable than the HD Graphics 4000, AND it's almost a third less hot.

The reduction from 16Gb to one 8Gb memory module was simple. For 8Tb of drive space, the system needs 4Gb of memory to properly handle ZFS1 (or the equivalent RAID5 via ZFS), so with only 1Gb of memory dedicated to the GPU we have enough overhead to handle anything for the time being. As I increase drive size, obviously I will need to increase memory, but that will be quite easy to do going forward.

I am also considering trying the drive enclosure over USB 3.0. I have already backed up the entire array preparing for this, so I intend to see how it behaves before I make my decision. My reasoning is that eSATA is limited to SATA2 speeds at 3Gb/s as a result of the on-module SATA controller, while the USB 3.0 option offers up to 5Gb/s. The newer gen3 MediaSonic ProBox enclosures have SATA3 compliancy now, but I have neither the SATA3 eSATA card, nor the money to update the enclosure. Furthermore, a lot of people have been seeing great USB 3.0 performance on the AM1 platform through FreeBSD's included drivers, with the earlier complaints of disks suddenly disappearing from the array being a thing of the past.

More to come soon.

Nick McDermott - 3dGM Admin

eire1274
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Build video will delayed anywhere from 2-4 weeks due to CHILDREN. Two of my boys are in high-school band and are taking a weekend-long field trip, and of course somebody has to pay for it...

At this point no changes in components. Can't find any better deals without sacrificing functionality.

-Added: Delayed again. Can't seem to hang onto a dime these days.

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Okay, the build has changed a bit, as it turns out that neither Asus nor ASRock are supporting ECC on the mini-ITX form factor (yet). So the parts have changed (listed in first post). Parts are ordered so expect an update next week.

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First part to arrive.

IMG_20141117_162704.jpg

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Another part... and... I ordered the wrong memory. I got the AMD registered memory, not the unbuffered memory. I don't know how that happened, but it's on it's way back. So I created another delay.

ADDED: Had a nice chat with Newegg, and found the correct (unbuffered) module in the wishlist. So, while I did change a couple things, I can't figure out why I would have purchased something MORE EXPENSIVE (because the dollar rules every PC decision around here). But they were nice enough to pick up return shipping and put an alert on the RMA. I may purchase the other before the RMA refunds, but that depends largely on what's left over after the bills. If nothing else, the RMA should credit this week, and we'll have the correct module next. I may go with Crucial, though, because of a price drop. Same speed.

ADDED ADDED: another part arrived!

ADDED ADDED ADDED: This arrived when the case did, but I forgot to take a picture. It may not be an 80-plus rated power supply, but overall on low power systems, this power supply is EXTREMELY efficient, and it does of course support over-current and over-voltage protection. And the Asus motherboard has it's OWN series of protections, so with a UPS in place this should be a pretty much bullet-proof server! I'M SO EXCITED!!!

IMG_20141118_131719.jpg IMG_20141118_175311.jpg IMG_20141118_191459.jpg

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Last two parts!

The proper memory, but 1600Mhz for LESS than the mistaken part! Yay!

The fans, I actually wanted the Rosewill black fans, but I ended up with the Antec clear fans, no LED. Doesn't matter either way, this is just to ensure positive air pressure through the system. And my dislike for Antec PSUs has no relevance on the quality of their fans.

Build will be tonight, or tomorrow, depending on how much energy I have going on tonight. I should have an edited build and FreeNAS walkthrough video by next weekend!

IMG_20141129_200938.jpg IMG_20141129_201041.jpg

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Build went well, today. However, my older Mediasonic HF2-SU2S2 external enclosure works ONLY if I pair the drives via USB 2.0, not 3.0. It seems to be a common issue with this older enclosure, corrected with a firmware update, and... wouldn't you know it, I'm in the batch that can't be updated.

I installed the RocketRAID 622 card, and got nothing out of it. Didn't initiate a connection to the enclosure, nor did it's supplemental BIOS appear at boot. I tested it on another board and it is DOA. No clue how that happened.

Anyway, I have ordered another PCIe eSATA controller on the way, likely here Wednesday (unless Amazon kicks it out early), and I'll be setting up an RMA for the RocketRAID.

Oh, and for those who wanted proof that ECC unbuffered is supported, here you go!

ECC Proof.jpg

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Drive is pairing over USB 3.0 on Linux with no issues. I have to admit I'm a little confused, as FreeBSD has the AMD USB 3.0 driver as well. Perhaps there is an error in hosting multiple drives with a SATA replicator on that driver?

While definitely not as small as it could have been made, the system's size is still as small as many Micro ATX cases are. I may use this case type again in a future build.

In the image, I am using Parted Magic, which includes GPartEd and Disk Eraser. I am wiping the old disks bare so a new ZFS multi-drive partition can be made, and for stability sake I recommend wiping the disks entirely. ZFS is a strange beast, and works very well, if you treat it right.

IMG_20141201_124408.jpg

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Doing some research, it turns out that the AM1 and the ASMedia ASM1042 USB 3.0 drivers are both immature under FreeBSD 9.3, supporting little more than a flash memory drive. So we're going eSATA for sure, until the software catches up to the hardware.

Card will be here tomorrow afternoon.

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eSATA controller came today. This time around I opted to use the Mediasonic Rev3 card, which is what they recommended (I opted to use the RocketRAID over the Mediasonic Rev2 when I built the array the first time, which was an error... I don't need BIOS hardware RAID when I'm running ZFS), and was quite pleased to see that they are now using a ASMedia 1061 SATA controller, which is a tiny but powerful SATA III controller.

The setup of the drives was captured, and I will include that as part of the video, though of course that's more software than hardware. But it teaches you how to use open source software to protect your drives AND your files!

A quick pick of the interior of the server, the card, and my beard. Shut up, I like it. It's a man-scarf.

vlcsnap-2014-12-03-17h16m56s33.jpg

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Sorry about the delay. Had a family emergency and had to hit the road for a bit. But we are back home, and I will start working on the video tomorrow.

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