Author Topic: newbie unraid build  (Read 10946 times)

Offline barbapapa

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newbie unraid build
« on: January 02, 2009, 05:17:44 AM »
Hi everyone!  Taking a deep breath and plunging into the unraid pool for the first time.  I'm also pretty new at building systems so I'd welcome a little hand-holding.  Basing this build on the one ilovejedd recommended for RussellinSacto in this thread: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=2917.0

Case: Cooler Master Centurion 590 - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119152
Motherboard: SUPERMICRO MBD-C2SEE-O -  http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813182162
CPU:  Intel Celeron 430 Conroe-L 1.8GHz - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116039
RAM: CORSAIR 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820145183
PSU: CORSAIR CMPSU-650TX - http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817139005
HDDs:  4x Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EACS 1TB
USB Flash: Kingston DataTraveller 1GB
unRAID PRO license

Chose this case and PSU with an eye to adding many more HDDs as my storage needs increase.

This will mainly be a media server.  Needs lots of expansion room as I want to eventually store my HDDVDs and Blu-Rays on it.  I figure I won't need to use it for torrenting or anything like that so hopefully the CPU will be enough.

Any feedback/red flags?


Some specific questions:

1)  Will the RAM work with the CPU & motherboard?  Being a newb to building systems I don't really understand how to choose RAM, so I went by price and user ratings.

2)  Should I use a faster drive than the WD Green for the parity drive?

3)  Am I missing anything?


Thanks everyone for all the information you've shared in these forums before I got here.  Great stuff (if a little overwhelming!    :)  )

Offline bjp999

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 07:22:32 AM »
1)  Will the RAM work with the CPU & motherboard?  Being a newb to building systems I don't really understand how to choose RAM, so I went by price and user ratings.

The RAM looks fine, although I have no experience with DDR3 yet.  My guess is that if you plug in the RAM it will work.  I have been building systems for years and found that most problems with RAM come from people that buy very fast RAM and try to run it at standard settings.  Very fast RAM typically requires voltage boost and timing adjustment.  Some motherboards provide options to make such adjustments and others do not.  So if you buy a basic motherboard and fast RAM that requires you change settings that the MB does not support - SOL.

Motherboards try to do things automatically in terms of setting up the RAM, so chances are good your memory will be recognized correctly and settings adjusted.  If you have problems, there are some posts on the Newegg site about timings and voltage adjustments.  I'd recommend reading them and looking at the MB manual so that you understand what setting changes you need/want to make.  Post back if you have questions and I will try to advise you. 

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2)  Should I use a faster drive than the WD Green for the parity drive?

It will work fine.

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3)  Am I missing anything?

Only time will tell.  Seems like you have the basics covered.

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Thanks everyone for all the information you've shared in these forums before I got here.  Great stuff (if a little overwhelming!    :)  )

Welcome aboard!  May sure to take some pictures to post in the "Pimp your rig" thread!

Offline barbapapa

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2009, 09:25:17 AM »
Brilliant, thanks so much for your feedback!

Offline RobJ

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2009, 06:45:23 PM »
Have you ever built a computer before?  If so, you can ignore this.  If not, be aware that building a computer is more than just the selection and assembly of good parts.  There are some important gotcha's, that do require some attention.  Probably the most important, I think, is the application of thermal paste or pad to the CPU, followed by the installation of the CPU heat sink.  Please follow the instructions very carefully here, because if the paste is improperly applied, you can quickly fry the CPU.  Another thing often forgotten is sufficient drive cables and splitters, and you will find that out very quickly, whether you have enough of the right connections.  Another issue, especially important to unRAID users, is sufficient airflow over all of the drives.  It is not enough to have plenty of fans, you have to make sure that the air is going where it needs to go, across the chipsets and RAM on the motherboard, especially those chipsets with heat sinks, and around all surfaces of all drives.  It doesn't have to be very much air moving across them, but you don't want any dead air pockets where heat can build up.

There are many guides to building your own computer that can help you.  Once you have done it once, you will probably always want to do it.  Have fun!
Need help, start here:  Troubleshooting      Questions?  Try the FAQ      Please contribute to the unRAID Wiki

Offline RussellinSacto

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2009, 08:59:40 PM »
Hi Barbapapa,

Looks like you're headed down the same road...   I appreciate the companionship...

I've bought all the hardware and it arrived today...   I haven't built a computer in about 10 years, but it was relatively easy...

1.  Take the sides off the case.

2.  Attach the power supply inside the case (it was recommended that this be done upside down, such that the fan opening is INSIDE the case) - four screws provided by the power supply company - or just use four of the rounded head screws that came with the case.

3.  Install the nine standoff screws to the "floor" of the case (look at the motherboard so you identify which ones... NINE of them, they kinda have a Star pattern of solder in the motherboard holes.  The other holes on the motherboard are for other things (processor heatsink).

4.  Put the metal panel backing panel into the case (optional)...  this is the lightweight little metal thingee that makes the keyboard/mouse/usb/network/etc ports look pretty.

5.  Drop the motherboard into the case and attach it with NINE of the rounded head screws.

6.  Install the processor by gently pushing down the arm on the socket and unlatching it, then lifting up.  There's a little clasp door you open... then align the processor and gently place it in (align the pins - one corner doesn't have a pin - make those match) - there's guiderails too - I don't think you can install it wrong.

7.  Close the socket with the arm and latch it - done correctly, a black protective shield on the "clasp door" will pop free.  (This takes some force!)

8.  Align the heatsink (no processor gunk required - it's got the stuff on the heatsink already).... and push down hard on each corner one at a time until they CLICK.  (This takes force!)

9.  Put the two memory sticks in - can't really do that wrong.

10.  Connect the rear fan and processor fan to the motherboard (FIVE places to connect fans - they're marked on the mainboard itself - or in the book on page 2-17).

11.  Connect the front face cables to their respective connectors on the motherboard:
A - Power + LED goes in the top left pin of the JF1 Connector.
B - Power - LED goes in the top right pin of the JF1 Connector.
C - HDD LED takes up the second row of the JF1 Connector.
D - Power SW takes up the very last row of the JF1 Connector (this one makes the power switch work - others are optional).

12.  Now connect the power cables - the really big one connects to the motherboard.

13.  You'll find a pair of four wire connectors - these go to the motherboard also, right near the processor (between the processor and the rear ports on the motherboard).

14.  Run a power cable (only one that will fit) to each of your SATA hard drives (I've started with SIX, but connected TWO for testing)...  See BELOW on these drives.

15.  Connect a SATA cable from the mainboard/motherboard to your various drives (the port numbers are labeled on the main board - as you look at it, start in the top right corner, use those, going down... once those four are done, you can use the two on the left, starting with the one on top)...  Beyond SIX drives and you'll need to add a PCI SATA controller - I suggest getting the unRaid official card.

16.  Plug your USB flash into one of the INTERNAL USB ports (nice to hide that sucker!).

17.  Connect Monitor, KB, Mouse, Network, etc.

18.  Hold the DELete key to get into the BIOS and change it's boot order to boot from the USB drive.

19.  Save changes, exit...  and let it reboot.

20.  I think it should work - but mine isn't...  :-P     See this thread:  http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=2993.0

Few other things to know:
*  This motherboard does not have any physical IDE controller ports
*  This motherboard does not have a physical parallel port - logic connector is provided, but no physical port.
*  The motherboard includes two SATA cables - if you're adding more than TWO drives, you'll need to add additional SATA cables to your order.  (Power supply, by the way, is awesome... tons of connectors).
*  These 1.5TB drives I purchased are well known for needing FIRMWARE to solve a locking up problem.  Following a procedure I learned from traditional RAID, I bought my drives in pairs from three different sources (trying to get different batches - the theory being they won't all fail at the same time):  Two from Fry's Electronics and Two from NewEgg arrived with Firmware CC1H, while the two from MWave came with CC1J (I believe to be the newest)....   At this time, I've only run the CC1J drives since i can't get unRaid functioning - but then I expect to firmware upgrade these other drives.
*  Other threads seem to show that the 1TB Seagates may also have issues that require (as yet unavailable) firmware.  I haven't researched the drives you're looking at - but you should.  :-)      On a GB/$, why wouldn't you do 1.5TBs?

Hope all of that helps!

Russell

Optional:  Taking out the four screws from the back of the two additional 4-in-3's, you can get rid of the "Cooler Master" face and hide the entire units behind the main faceplate - like the one unit that comes with this case...  I think it looks very sharp this way.

Reviewing the other comments you've received:  I think airflow will be good - but I plan to seal over the large holes in the top of the case to increase air flowing over the drives.  Having problems, I've looked into the processor power/timing - which this motherboard seems to set automatically by reading the settings directly from the processor.

Offline RussellinSacto

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2009, 09:33:02 PM »
Just an update...  I post my issue...   within 15 minutes I had two replies...  one solved my problem...

The community here is awesome!

My first unRaid is up and running...


I've been LIMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!       :-)


Russell

Offline oconnellc

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2009, 10:09:20 PM »
If this thread hasn't died...  I'm a couple days behind you.  I'm trying to figure out a hardware configuration before putting together my unraid server and it looks like Barbapapa and I have been reading the same thread...  I have a few questions, though.  First, I don't anticipate ever needing  15 drives.  For starters I will probably pick up 3 drives, expand to 5 (and a pro license) in a few months and then just gradually upgrade drive sizes.  I priced out the parts (minus the HD) from the original post and the total is less than $500.  Not that I have a problem with that, but my budget is actually a little bit higher than that, so I'm willing to upgrade some of the components.

Does anyone have any feedback on 'where' I should spend some extra money.  I doubt I will ever use this as a torrent machine or use it for ripping, well, anything.  However, I don't know what the future will hold regarding video.  My current plan is to just stream video using an XBOX360 or a Popcorn Hour (or equivalent) and audio using my squeezebox (which, by the way, prompts another question...  unraid is based on the linux kernal, so I'm guessing unraid will run a slimserver.  Is that correct?  Anyone got any ideas?).

So, the possibility exists that someday in the future I might put a video card on this thing and do, well, who knows?  Any ideas for where I should spend a few hundred extra dollars on my unraid machine.

Regarding the config originally listed, I checked the reviews of the motherboard on newegg, and they weren't so good.  Anyone have any experience with it?  Also, unraid will take advantage of a dual core cpu, so it seems like that would be the first place to throw a few dollars.

Thanks in advance to anyone who might still be reading.

Chris

Offline ilovejedd

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2009, 12:24:12 AM »
I don't anticipate ever needing  15 drives.  For starters I will probably pick up 3 drives, expand to 5 (and a pro license) in a few months and then just gradually upgrade drive sizes.  I priced out the parts (minus the HD) from the original post and the total is less than $500.  Not that I have a problem with that, but my budget is actually a little bit higher than that, so I'm willing to upgrade some of the components.

Note, if you only anticipate needing 5 drives worth of storage space, you could go with the less expensive Premium license (6-drives: 1-parity, 5-data) instead of Pro. Upgrading the CPU is a good step. I'd go with either the Pentium Dual-Core E5000 series or Core 2 Duo E7000 series for performance and low power usage.

Add more RAM, too. 4GB DDR3 (2x2GB) isn't very expensive nowadays as long as you don't buy the gaming/high performance versions. In fact, I'd steer clear from high performance RAM since those often need high voltages to run (2.0~2.1V) which aren't supported by some boards. Go with value memory models instead.

Another thing to consider is the purchase of hot-swap bays. Not having to open your case in order to add/change hard drives is very convenient. Heck, one of the reasons I'm rebuilding my unRAID server is to include this functionality for all hard drives (currently have 6 internal and 3 external/hot-swap drives). The Lian Li EX-H34B seems to be ideal for this job. It's got a 120mm fan behind the drives which promises decent cooling with minimal noise. Other hot-swap bays use 80mm or even dual 60mm/40mm fans which aren't as effective at cooling and are a bit (okay, make that a lot) noisy. Sure, the hot-swap bay is more expensive than the case, but imho, it's easily worth the price with the time and effort saved having to unplug wires and open the case every time you need change drives. Another option is the iStarUSA T-5-SA but then, you'd still have to do something about cooling.
unRAID 4.3.3: Antec Three Hundred/ABIT AB9 Pro/Intel Celeron 430/Kingston 2GB/ATI Rage XL 8MB/9x Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB

Offline bubbaQ

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2009, 09:05:49 AM »
Quote
Upgrading the CPU is a good step. I'd go with either the Pentium Dual-Core E5000 series or Core 2 Duo E7000 series for performance and low power usage.

Not really.  You won't see any improvement in stock unRAID performance with anything much faster than a single-core P4.  unRAID is bound by disk I/O.... not CPU.

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Add more RAM, too. 4GB DDR3

Again, not going to help much.  The only benefit would be:

  - more buffers, so you can write a wireline speed until the buffers are filled (3GB of buffers on a 4GB RAM system rather than about 800M for a 1G RAM system).
  - more directories can be in cache
  - larger space on root file system (RAM disk)

You can accomplish this similarly with a cache disk and a swap file.

Offline jonathanm

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2009, 10:16:43 AM »
A couple observations. I think the ATX rear shield is more important than just making things look pretty. It mostly blocks a source of air leaks that may make it hard to get good airflow through the drive cages.

Also, the black plastic on the motherboard piece can be removed before you close the door, I'm not positive if leaving it on and allowing the initial close to force it off will harm anything, but it might leave a bit of plastic behind. I've always removed it before installing the CPU. It's just there to keep stray junk from bending the motherboard mounted CPU pins before the CPU covers them.

4.  Put the metal panel backing panel into the case (optional)...  this is the lightweight little metal thingee that makes the keyboard/mouse/usb/network/etc ports look pretty.

7.  Close the socket with the arm and latch it - done correctly, a black protective shield on the "clasp door" will pop free.  (This takes some force!)

Offline ilovejedd

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2009, 10:52:48 AM »
Not really.  You won't see any improvement in stock unRAID performance with anything much faster than a single-core P4.  unRAID is bound by disk I/O.... not CPU.

True, but it might help if/when "RAID-6" is implemented. Also, he mentioned that he doesn't know if he might find more uses for it in the future. The E5200 or E7300 will probably consume around the same amount of power as a Celeron 430 idle so upgrading the CPU is a logical choice.

Again, not going to help much.  The only benefit would be:

  - more buffers, so you can write a wireline speed until the buffers are filled (3GB of buffers on a 4GB RAM system rather than about 800M for a 1G RAM system).
  - more directories can be in cache
  - larger space on root file system (RAM disk)

You can accomplish this similarly with a cache disk and a swap file.

As mentioned earlier, he might find more uses for it in the future. In that case, more RAM would probably help.

Besides, he was just asking for suggestions. I think he's already clear that he doesn't need the above for a good system. They're just upgrades and it's up to him to assess his current and future needs and decide if they're cost effective or not.
unRAID 4.3.3: Antec Three Hundred/ABIT AB9 Pro/Intel Celeron 430/Kingston 2GB/ATI Rage XL 8MB/9x Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB

Offline oconnellc

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2009, 11:37:28 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  I was looking at the E7300 on newegg and it is $119, which doesn't seem too bad to me.  Newegg has a combo deal with that CPU and this motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813141015   It is a bit more expensive than the mobo of the original poster, but the newegg reviews seem a little better.  Anyone see any issues with that mobo I found and unraid?

Also, I'm curious about the 'stock unraid' comment...  What does that mean, exactly?  I have seen other threads where people talk about stuttering performance with a Popcorn Hour.  What can I/should I do to really turn this into a screamer?

Also, this may be the wrong place, but I'll ask it again here (sorry if I'm in the wrong spot, but since I have your attention anyway), does anyone know if you can run a slimserver on unraid?

Thanks again for the time and the posts,
Chris

Offline bjp999

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2009, 12:27:22 PM »
Welcome aboard oconnellc!

The design concept for unRAID is rather "appliance" oriented.  The ability to add new features to a plain unRAID install is rather limited.

BubbaQ has created an alternate version that includes several sizeable addons incluing slimserver.  You might want to take a look.

unRAID does a great job of serving content.  It is pretty fast, but largely bottlenecked by the speed of a gigabit lan, which is a bit slower than hard drives in practical use.  Bandwidth requirements fo audio and video are not typically a problem, even with HD content.

Using a faster CPU will be of little or no value, unless you are planning to use add-on software (like slimserver) which require horsepower.  unRAID will not benefit in any meaningful way.

More RAM is a similar story, although the increased RAM may yield better caching for certain applications.  Some users run special scripts to force directory entries to stay cached and prevent drive spinup.  You don't need a ton of RAM for this, 2G to 4G is plenty, unless you have special requirements.

If you haven't already, you should read the FAQ and the Best of the Forums.  You'll find a link in my sig to the "Best of", and from there you will find a link to the FAQ.  Both of these are great sources of info that RobJ and I (and others) have spent many many (many) hours compiling.  They will help answer a lot of the questions on your mind and even questions you haven't thought of yet.

Good luck!

Offline oconnellc

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2009, 12:41:42 PM »
Thanks for the note.  I just discovered 'bubbaraid' about 15 minutes ago...  This seems like a great community and a great product.  I'm a computer programmer with 13 years of experience.  However, I have been writing java programs in a windows environment for the great majority of my career.  I always laugh when people I work with say things like 'Unix is easy to learn once you know it'.  I'm looking forward to getting started and playing with bubbaraid and Slackware (I love the name, no idea what it does, but it sounds cool).

Thanks again for the comments about the hardware.  I have a few extra bucks, so I'm willing to upgrade processor and CPU to give myself some horsepower to run things like slimserver, etc.

Chris

Offline bubbaQ

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Re: newbie unraid build
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2009, 12:42:10 PM »
Quote
Also, I'm curious about the 'stock unraid' comment.

Stock unRAID is a file server, with no other applications, such as NZB or torrent downloading.

Stock unRAID uses very, very little CPU, and gets no benefit from extra CPU power.  None.  Nada.  Zip.  A waste of money.

"Screamer" and "Popcorn Hour" don't go together in the same sentence.  Don't get me wrong, the PCH is a nice box, and I like mine.  In terms of format, it plays almost anything and everything.  But it only has 100Mbps Ethernet, which really pisses me off.  It chokes on files via the LAN that, if you copy to the internal hard drive, play just fine.

Or in short, the issues of stuttering with the PCH are the fault of the PCH, and not unRAID.  When you encode your source (i.e. rip Blueray) you need to transcode to h.264 with an appropriate profile (4.1 and lower).