18 January 2007

Half Terabyte Media Server


"Half Terabyte" media server at home -- sounds good, yeah?! True. It was just few years ago then Microsoft demonstrated 1 TB storage SQL test. It was something! Now I am honored to own 0,5 TB storage at my home. Being exact, its not 0,5 TB, but 0,45 TB, but "Half Tera" sounds much nicer.

Base of my media server is Dell Dimension 8200, equipped with 2MHz Intel P4 and 0,5GB RAM. My son used it about 3 years as gaming and internet surfing entertainment equipment. It had 1 good feature -- big tower case, lots of internal HDD bays, 4 available.

I took out powerful sound card. I replaced Nvidia gaming 3D graphics card with passive (fanless) one. I throw out HDD.

Disk configuration

I installed 4 SATA disks 'a 160 GB into RAID 5 configuration. As my old base computer had only 32 bit PCI slots, I had tu use relatively slow PCI SATA RAID controller RocketRaid 1640 from HighPoint Tech USA.

RocketRAID 1640 Highlights
http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/rr1640.htm#top


  • PCI 32bit@33/66MHz


  • 4 Channel PCI to SATA RAID Controller


  • Support up to 4 SATA Hard Drives(compatible with SATA II Hard Drives)


  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD


  • Support Windows, Winx64, Windows Vista, Linux, FreeBSD

HD Tune gives some 47,4 MB/s average data transfer speed and 16ms acess to this system. Enough for home system, but a tad less what I was expected.





Network adapter

I replaced old CNet 100 Mbit NIC with Intel PRO/1000 GT card.
http://www.intel.com/network/connectivity/products/pro1000gt_desktop_adapter.htm

It gave some 60% raw throughput speed (yes, not 10-fold). Its ment for desktop computers and stresses CPU a lot. I should try server NIC and see, is it stressing less. Currently CPU is near 90% stressed during backup copies.

I installed MS Windows XP Pro SP2 with all updates. I installed TwonkyMedia, copied all data from my old server, shared directories for local users -- and voilĂ ! My Half Tera server was up and serving!

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