Author Topic: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus  (Read 7163 times)

Offline phillipppp

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My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« on: August 09, 2013, 08:13:40 AM »
First things first: I know this is not an original setup. I want to give credit where credit is due and hopefully help anyone else new to unRAID.
Here are a few posts/links I've used as reference to be sure this is the setup I want:
SFF Unraid - Separating XBMC from server
Landfill - My SFF unRAID with SAB/SB/PLEX
These two guys have done so much work to provide a comprehensive guide to this type of build. I'm hoping to consolidate some of their information and provide a clear setup guide for newbies like me.

My main motivation for building a SFF unRAID box was to get rid of all the external hard drives I have laying around and put them in one place. I also wanted to set up a nice little media server. I'm in college so, keeping these two goals in mind, I also wanted to save on cash. I think this setup is the best solution I've found that fills all those criteria perfectly. So, let's get to it.

PARTS LIST:
OS at time of building:  unRAID Server 5.0-rc16c AiO ($69.00)
CPU: Intel Core i3-2120T Sandy Bridge 2.6GHz LGA 1155 35W ($134.99)
Motherboard: ASUS P8H77-I LGA 1155 Intel H77 ($109.99)
RAM: Kingston HyperX LoVo 4GB 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 ($49.99)
Case: LIAN LI PC-Q25B Mini-ITX ($119.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX430 V2 Series 430W ($19.99 after $20 rebate)
Cables: Rosewill 10" Serial ATA III Red Flat Cable w/ Locking Latch (x6) ($0.99 x6 = $5.94)
             Link Depot Model POW-ADT-3PY 3 Pin Fan Power Y Cable ($3.99)
TOTAL: $513.88

This is where I stray. I found some great deals on external storage that I will just take the drives out of. This is generally frowned upon, but I gotta work with what I can.
DRIVES:
   WD Elements 3.0TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive ($149.99-$90.00 in rebates= $49.99)x2
   Seagate Expansion Desktop 3TB External Hard Drive ($109.00)x1
   Seagate Expansion Desktop 3TB External Hard Drive ($153.99-$90.00 in rebates= $93.99)x1
   (Plus two drives I had laying around)
TOTAL: $302.97

Plan for setup:
BAYS      CAPACITY
1 HS      3TB (parity)
2 HS      3TB (data)
3 HS      3TB (data)
4 HS      3TB (data)
5 HS      2TB (data)
6           1TB (data)
7
_______________
Total:   11TB (data)


Primary Use:
   - Centralize storage
   - Media Server
   - SABnzbd+, CouchPotato, SickBeard, Plex
   - Time Machine Backups

Likes:
   - Drive capacity: Holy cow! 5 hot swap bays plus two more for SEVEN 3.5" drives!?! In this tiny case?! It doesn't seem real.
   - Hot swapping: While I don't plan to use this feature very often, it will make replace/upgrading drives painless.
   - Energy consumption: Like I said, I'm on a budget. And for something that will run 24x7, I'd like to save, save, save.
   -

Dislikes:
   - NONE SO FAR

Add Ons Used:
   - NONE SO FAR

Future Plans:
   - From dirtysanchez's build, I saw he swapped the stock fans to some quieter ones which I may do later if noise proves to be an issue.
       Noctua NF-S12B FLX 120mm ($24.99)
       Noctua NF-A14 FLX 140mm ($24.99)

   - In order to move the USB inside the case, I will need to get an adapter such as this:
       Koutech USB 2.0 Header-Pin to Dual Type-A ($7.99)

   - Add a power backup

Completed Photos:




(more below)

Closing:
(08/09/2013)
   Parts are on the way. Updates will be happening very soon.
   Going on vacation for a week(08/10-08/15), moving into a new apartment(08/16) and hopefully building before school starts(08/21).
(08/18/2013)
   Everything has arrived. I put together the whole build in ~3-3.5 hours. This includes me setting everything up to take pictures as I went.
(08/20/2013)
   Started pre-clearing two 3TB drives today. Going to have to migrate data over before I clear out the other drives. Guess it'll be a few days before we are at max-capacity.



Future Edits:
Boot (peak):
Idle (avg):
Active (avg):
Light use (avg):


ADVICE AND COMMENTS WELCOME!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 11:57:32 PM by phillipppp »

Offline dirtysanchez

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2013, 08:36:17 AM »
Looks like a great build.  You've obviously done your homework and you're well on your way to having a great media server and NAS.

Any particular reason you went with the Sandy Bridge 2120T as opposed to the Ivy Bridge 3220T?  The 3220T should be the same price or a few dollars less, has a little more horsepower, and it also idles with slightly lower power draw. The difference in power draw is really negligible to be honest, a difference of a few dollars a year on your power bill.  But since you stated power usage was a factor in your decision, I thought I'd ask.

Enjoy your server!  I love mine and its been a fantastic build.
Landfill - SFF unRAID: unRAID v5.0 Plus | 2.8 GHz Core i3-3220T | Lian Li PC-Q25B | Noctua Fans | Asus P8H77-I | 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM | Silverstone SFX ST30SF 300W | 3x 3TB ST3000DM001 | 2x 2TB ST2000DM001 | 320GB WD3200AAKX (cache) | unMenu, Plex Media Server, SAB/SB/CP

Offline drawz

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2013, 08:42:03 AM »
You could save a fair amount on the CPU IMO - an Ivy Bridge Celeron or Pentium is around $60. At idle, which is where your CPU will spend most of it's time, it will use the same or less power compared to the low voltage Sandy Bridge you listed. Not sure if Plex can take advantage of hardware video transcoding offered on the i3 (and missing on the Pentium/Celeron?). You could save even further by going with an Atom or AMD Brazos CPU if you won't be transcoding. You really don't need that much CPU power for a NAS that's mostly serving files and downloading a few things.

Don't forget to factor in an unRAID license, which you'll need for more than 3 drives.
HP N40L Microserver| 2GB | Sandisk Cruzer Fit 16GB
WD WD10EAVS 1TB | Seagate LP ST32000542AS 2TB | WD WD30EZRX 3TB parity
unRAID 5.04-i386 | Dynamix | apcupsd

Offline phillipppp

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2013, 08:52:14 AM »
You could save a fair amount on the CPU IMO - an Ivy Bridge Celeron or Pentium is around $60. At idle, which is where your CPU will spend most of it's time, it will use the same or less power compared to the low voltage Sandy Bridge you listed. Not sure if Plex can take advantage of hardware video transcoding offered on the i3 (and missing on the Pentium/Celeron?). You could save even further by going with an Atom or AMD Brazos CPU if you won't be transcoding. You really don't need that much CPU power for a NAS that's mostly serving files and downloading a few things.

Don't forget to factor in an unRAID license, which you'll need for more than 3 drives.

Looks like a great build.  You've obviously done your homework and you're well on your way to having a great media server and NAS.

Any particular reason you went with the Sandy Bridge 2120T as opposed to the Ivy Bridge 3220T?  The 3220T should be the same price or a few dollars less, has a little more horsepower, and it also idles with slightly lower power draw. The difference in power draw is really negligible to be honest, a difference of a few dollars a year on your power bill.  But since you stated power usage was a factor in your decision, I thought I'd ask.

Enjoy your server!  I love mine and its been a fantastic build.

Overall, I think it was a balance of price and performance. I do plan on streaming upwards of 1080p to an Apple TV and possibly laptops.

Also, I just wanted to place one order on Newegg and get as much as possible and from a reliable source and newegg either doesn't carry the 3220T or it has been discontinued.

I don't know how much of an effect it will have but I also got the LoVo RAM.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 08:54:28 AM by phillipppp »

Offline dirtysanchez

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2013, 09:05:14 AM »
You could save a fair amount on the CPU IMO - an Ivy Bridge Celeron or Pentium is around $60. At idle, which is where your CPU will spend most of it's time, it will use the same or less power compared to the low voltage Sandy Bridge you listed. Not sure if Plex can take advantage of hardware video transcoding offered on the i3 (and missing on the Pentium/Celeron?). You could save even further by going with an Atom or AMD Brazos CPU if you won't be transcoding. You really don't need that much CPU power for a NAS that's mostly serving files and downloading a few things.

Don't forget to factor in an unRAID license, which you'll need for more than 3 drives.

The IB Celeron G1620, for example, would indeed be more than enough for transcoding (even multiple concurrent streams) and is half the price of the i3. Plex can't yet take advantage of the Intel hardware transcoding in the i3 (at least as far as I am aware), but should be able to in the future once the FFmpeg devs add that functionality.

As for the Atom and AMD Brazos, they would indeed be the perfect fit IMO for a low power NAS that only serves files.  That said, most people that use Plex also do transcoding with Plex, so unless the OP is using Plex in a very specific manner (no transcoding, as you stated), I'd stay away from these CPUs.
Landfill - SFF unRAID: unRAID v5.0 Plus | 2.8 GHz Core i3-3220T | Lian Li PC-Q25B | Noctua Fans | Asus P8H77-I | 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM | Silverstone SFX ST30SF 300W | 3x 3TB ST3000DM001 | 2x 2TB ST2000DM001 | 320GB WD3200AAKX (cache) | unMenu, Plex Media Server, SAB/SB/CP

Offline dirtysanchez

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 09:17:33 AM »
Overall, I think it was a balance of price and performance. I do plan on streaming upwards of 1080p to an Apple TV and possibly laptops.

Also, I just wanted to place one order on Newegg and get as much as possible and from a reliable source and newegg either doesn't carry the 3220T or it has been discontinued.

I don't know how much of an effect it will have but I also got the LoVo RAM.

Yes, while I ordered most of my components from NewEgg, I did have to get the 3220T from Amazon. I don't know how much of a difference the LoVo RAM will make, should be interesting to see. Again, we're talking a few dollars of electricity a year, not going to break the bank either way.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier, if you are running Plex/sab/SB/CP/etc on 4GB of RAM you MAY see issues.  A number of people around here suggest more than 4GB if you will be running that many plugins. FWIW, I have 8GB in my server, but I've never seen RAM utilization exceed 4GB (or even come close to it for that matter).
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 09:19:40 AM by dirtysanchez »
Landfill - SFF unRAID: unRAID v5.0 Plus | 2.8 GHz Core i3-3220T | Lian Li PC-Q25B | Noctua Fans | Asus P8H77-I | 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM | Silverstone SFX ST30SF 300W | 3x 3TB ST3000DM001 | 2x 2TB ST2000DM001 | 320GB WD3200AAKX (cache) | unMenu, Plex Media Server, SAB/SB/CP

Offline phillipppp

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 09:29:19 AM »
Overall, I think it was a balance of price and performance. I do plan on streaming upwards of 1080p to an Apple TV and possibly laptops.

Also, I just wanted to place one order on Newegg and get as much as possible and from a reliable source and newegg either doesn't carry the 3220T or it has been discontinued.

I don't know how much of an effect it will have but I also got the LoVo RAM.

Yes, while I ordered most of my components from NewEgg, I did have to get the 3220T from Amazon. I don't know how much of a difference the LoVo RAM will make, should be interesting to see. Again, we're talking a few dollars of electricity a year, not going to break the bank either way.

One thing I forgot to mention earlier, if you are running Plex/sab/SB/CP/etc on 4GB of RAM you MAY see issues.  A number of people around here suggest more than 4GB if you will be running that many plugins. FWIW, I have 8GB in my server, but I've never seen RAM utilization exceed 4GB (or even come close to it for that matter).


All very good points, all that I'd probably never know on my own. This is very much a learning experience for me (my first build). I think by far one of the greatest features of building my own vs buying a drobo (for example) is the upgradability. If, later on, I do realize 4GB isn't cutting it, I'm able to simply swap it out. In the same sense, even if the CPU isn't the best, being overpowered can't hurt. And may aid in the longevity (hardware-wise) of the whole system.

Offline phillipppp

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 05:49:37 PM »
Overall, it was a pretty easy build. I got it up and running with no drives. Since I am moving, I decided not to start pre clearing as I will have to unplug it and move it. I haven't even powered it up with the drives in it yet. Once I start pre clearing, I will update again. For now, I'll show the build process. Also, a link to the whole album with full-res images on imgur.

Full Imgur album

Well, here it all is. This is pretty much everything, just waiting to be ripped open.


This Lian Li case is great. From the outside, it's so clean and simple. On the inside, it's packed full of features. You can look more photos up on this case if you want.


It even looks good from the back. Here is all the hot swap bay connections.


Here's what comes in that little white box inside the case.


So let's begin building!

Unboxing the motherboard (minus the metal mounting tray from the case).


Mounting the MoBo to the removable case tray.


Unboxing the CPU.


CPU and Fan/Heatsink all attached.


LoVo Ram, ready to go.


Ram loaded onto the motherboard.


The unboxed PSU. Somewhat regretting that I didn't buy a modular, but it works.


The case has a bracket that you mount to the PSU in order to attach it to the case.


I had to remove the long CX430 stickers from the sides in order for the PSU to fit. Thats how tight it is, but it fits!


And here is the back side. You can see the open space quickly fading away.


Now for the fun part: connecting it all. I realized later on that I forgot the ATX-12V connector (doh!). Scared myself for a minute...


I got a little carried away connecting everything and forgot to take some pictures.
You get the idea though, here it all is installed and connected. I liked that the PSU had one cable with 3 Molex connectors, that way I could just run one cable to the hot swap bays.
You'll also notice that I removed the tray at the bottom of the case. I was having trouble getting the MoBo back in and once I took out that bottom tray (two thumb-screws), I was able to slide it right in.


From the other side, you can see how it's all connected and managed with the PSU removed. Not bad, if I do say so myself.


With the PSU back in and the extra cables tucked away, it cleans up pretty nicely.


Fingerprints everywhere. Oh well……


Last shot of the back of the MoBo, I swear!


Okay, one more. But this is really to show the backside of the case and the connections. You can see my tiny USB drive in there.


Final shot of cable management before the drives go in.


Not too much to look at on the outside…just the way I like it. 


The drive just slid right out of here.


So here's what I'll be running. Not the best, but eh.


Drive number two.


Just as easy.


Attaching the drive rails.


Two drives in. 3TB parity, 3TB data so far.


A little size comparison. It's insanely small.


All closed up.




Full Imgur album

Offline dirtysanchez

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 03:19:29 PM »
Very nice detailed build with lots of pictures.  BTW, I had to remove the PSU stickers as well to get it into the chassis, it's a very tight fit!
Landfill - SFF unRAID: unRAID v5.0 Plus | 2.8 GHz Core i3-3220T | Lian Li PC-Q25B | Noctua Fans | Asus P8H77-I | 8GB DDR3 1600 RAM | Silverstone SFX ST30SF 300W | 3x 3TB ST3000DM001 | 2x 2TB ST2000DM001 | 320GB WD3200AAKX (cache) | unMenu, Plex Media Server, SAB/SB/CP

Offline phillipppp

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 03:54:24 PM »
Very nice detailed build with lots of pictures.  BTW, I had to remove the PSU stickers as well to get it into the chassis, it's a very tight fit!

I was amazed at how tight of a fit it was!

But I wanted to document as much as possible for anyone else trying to do a build as well.

Online garycase

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 11:02:00 PM »
It's indeed a very tight fit if you use a CX430.    I've built several systems with that case -- one with the CX430, but for all the others I've used an SFX power supply [This one:   http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256084
and this one:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256063

Fits MUCH better -- the case is nowhere near as crowded.

Offline phillipppp

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 11:51:37 PM »
It's indeed a very tight fit if you use a CX430.    I've built several systems with that case -- one with the CX430, but for all the others I've used an SFX power supply [This one:   http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256084
and this one:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817256063

Fits MUCH better -- the case is nowhere near as crowded.

Maybe if this one dies on me, I'll go with one of those. But at $19.99, I'm not complaining for now!  ;)

Offline hilljd00

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2013, 05:44:44 PM »
I've been looking at this case as well but there are not many ITX boards with 8 SATA ports.  I read you can fit 7-10 drives in the case.

Online garycase

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2013, 05:43:02 AM »
I've been looking at this case as well but there are not many ITX boards with 8 SATA ports.  I read you can fit 7-10 drives in the case.

The case is designed for up to 7 3.5" drives [there are 5 hot-swap bays; and a bottom-mounted tray that will accommodate 2 3.5" drives or 3 2.5" drives].

Most ITX boards with 6 onboard ports also have a PCIe slot that you could add a controller card to for additional ports if needed.    This board has 7 SATA ports if you'd prefer to not use an add-in controller:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157357

Offline henris

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Re: My SFF media server/storage tower: Colossus
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2013, 09:22:16 PM »
Thank you for sharing your build, very nice! I'm just building a system in the same Lian-Li case and to my surprise there seems to be quite a few differences in the case itself. I think my case is an older revision, so far I've detected the following differences:
- Corsair CX430M fits nicely without the need for removing the stickers
- Backplane of the drive cage has a different sata and power port alignment. In mine you cannot use normal right angle cables since they would go over the power ports. But straight cables just as good
- Motherboard tray does not have a cut out so you cannot replace the CPU-cooler with backplate without removing the MB (see also next difference). Minor issue since most low-clearance coolers won't utilise back plate.
- I couldn't find a way to remove the motherboard tray nor it was documented in the user manual.
- The center horizontal divider in the drive cage is misplaced. This is an actual error and prevents installing one of the drives in the cage. I've reported it directly to Lian-Li to.

I'm planning on using this case when building several SFF-systems. I think I have to order a few samples from different sources to see which can provide the latest version.
Viper_Unraid1 15TB: UnRAID v5.0, MSI K9A2 Platinum, 2x Kingston HyperX 2GB 800MHZ DDR2, AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850E 2.5Ghz, Antec TP3-650 EC TruePower Trio 650W, Antec P180, Highpoint RocketRAID 2310 4-port, AOC-SASLP-MV8, Fujtech 76611A 2-port (Sil3132 based), 3x Samsung 2TB HD204UI, 2x Samsung 1,5TB HD154UI,  6x Samsung 1TB HD103UJ