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MicroServer N36L/N40L/N54L - 6 Drive Edition

703 posts in this topic

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Preamble

I had been looking to replace an older server that had 10 small drives with a smaller machine with less drives, but with larger capacity.

 

A deal on the Proliant Microserver had been posted last year, which I didn't take up, but was recently re-promo'd by HP and now with a slightly larger drive, up from 160GB to 250GB.

 

This time, I couldn't resist. At £121 (US $195) for a chassis, PSU, low power dual core CPU/mobo and RAM with 4 coldswap slots and potential to add a 5th drive, I think it's the bargain of the decade as far as small servers go.

 

OS at time of building: unRAID 4.7 Pro

CPU: AMD Athlon™ II NEO? N36L (1.3GHz Dual Core, 12W TDP)

Motherboard: ? Here is a photo of the motherboard

RAM: 1GB ECC (standard, upgradable to 8GB)

Case: HP

Drive Cage(s): 4x Cold Swap plastic and metal + 1x Icy Box IB-168SK-B

Power Supply: 150W

SATA Expansion Card(s): None (motherboard includes 2x PCI-E slots)

Cables: n/a

Fans: 1x 120mm fan for whole chassis + 1x 40mm PSU fan

 

Parity Drive: 2TB ST32000542AS

Data Drives: 2x 2TB WD20EARS, 2x 1.5TB ST31500341AS

Cache Drive: 320GB WD Scorpio 5400rpm

Total Drive Capacity: 7.32TB

 

Primary Use: SABnzbd, Transmission, Blu-ray server, day-to-day file storage

Likes: Very lower power. Very Quiet (21dB). Compact. Very cheap. Well designed and constructed. Easy to swap out drives. Slide out motherboard tray. IPMI card option. A screwdriver (which fits all screws in the system) and drive screws are held in place in the front door!

Dislikes: You can almost fit another 3.5" drive in the top part of the chassis, but not quite! Plastic parts of coldswap bays feel a little flimsy, but these should be easily user-replaceable if they do break. 250GB drive is a waste of money. They shouldn't have bothered including it.

Add Ons Used: SABnzbd, Transmission, SickBeard, Bandwidth Monitor NG, unMenu, lighttpd, php, nzbgetter, ntfs-3g, screen, unrar.

Future Plans: Upgrade RAM. Upgrade 2.5" cache drive.

 

Boot (peak): 115W

Idle (avg): 27W (all drives spun down)

Active (avg): 35W (downloading to cache drive at 20mbps with SABnzbd)

Light use (avg): 36W (unpacking rar with SABnzbd)

 

Parity check speed (at start): 64,271 KB/sec

 

This photo shows the standard 4 drive slots and the 5th slot added in the 5.25" bay with the use of the Icy Box IB-168SK-B:

 

8g8cB.png

 

In order to run the 5th slot at full SATA speeds, you will need to modify the BIOS. Thanks to zheka_ppp for his help in locating the files needed to do the mod.

 

 

I ran an eSATA to SATA cable back in through a PCI slot, up in to the cavity behind the 5.25" bay:

 

fbMTU.png

 

 

It's easy to fit a 2.5" drive below the 5.25" bay. Viola! 6th drive! I chose this to be the cache drive, so I don't have to worry if the eSATA cable accidentally gets pulled out of the back at some point:

 

r2Vcj.png

 

 

And the Icy Box IB-168SK in place with the 5th drive:

 

lXIyF.png

 

The eSATA to SATA cable is a bit thick and long, but there's plenty of room in the case to accomodate it. I have a thinner cable somewhere (I do not have Cable OCD  ;D ) so when I find that, I may replace the current one.

 

Closing comments

 

Other tweaks made:

  • Write caching turned on in the BIOS
  • VGA set to 32MB in the BIOS
  • PCI Power saving turned on in BIOS
  • wdidle3 /d for WD drives

 

I think the HP Proliant Microserver is a fantastic little box. If you are in the market for a server with relatively few drives, and you can get it on a promo price, I highly recommend it.

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In my build I could never get the hot swap bay to seat snugly in the ODD because the mounting mechanism is squirrelly.  Did you have any problems?

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In my build I could never get the hot swap bay to seat snugly in the ODD because the mounting mechanism is squirrelly.  Did you have any problems?

 

It looks like the bezel might be slightly at an angle, but the IB-68 has adjustable wibbly bits, which I haven't tried to wiggle yet.

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The Kingwin I used didn't have any way to make such adjustments.  Oh well.  :/

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Hi

 

looking at buying the same NAS. I though am considering putting uraid on a usb stick and placing it into the internal USB port. Did you consider this and if so, why did you rule it out?

 

Thanks

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Hi

 

looking at buying the same NAS. I though am considering putting uraid on a usb stick and placing it into the internal USB port. Did you consider this and if so, why did you rule it out?

 

Thanks

 

Huh? unRAID can only be installed on a USB flash drive, and yes, it's on the internal USB port.

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I read the power meter too soon. On idle, with all drives spun down, it's measuring 27W!  ;D

 

I've updated the first post.

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Hi

 

looking at buying the same NAS. I though am considering putting uraid on a usb stick and placing it into the internal USB port. Did you consider this and if so, why did you rule it out?

 

Thanks

 

Huh? unRAID can only be installed on a USB flash drive, and yes, it's on the internal USB port.

 

Maybe he just can't see it in the picture.  I too used a USB flash drive and stuck it directly on the board.  That's one of the great features of this pre-fab rig.

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Hi

 

looking at buying the same NAS. I though am considering putting uraid on a usb stick and placing it into the internal USB port. Did you consider this and if so, why did you rule it out?

 

Thanks

 

Huh? unRAID can only be installed on a USB flash drive, and yes, it's on the internal USB port.

 

Maybe he just can't see it in the picture.  I too used a USB flash drive and stuck it directly on the board.  That's one of the great features of this pre-fab rig.

 

Yep, good point. I used a very tall Cruzer Contour:

 

pgxdd.jpg

 

Which will not fit unless I use a flexible USB adapter:

 

KHs3f.jpg

 

So, it's sitting flat against the PCI-E slot:

 

tNUmz.png

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Yep, good point. I used a very tall Cruzer Contour...

Which will not fit unless I use a flexible USB adapter...

So, it's sitting flat against the PCI-E slot.

 

I can confirm a Lexar FireFly fits perfectly in there.  Regardless, the point is that the USB port works as advertised for booting unRAID.

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This is such a cool little build. I just dig how compact and everything just fits.

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This is such a cool little build. I just dig how compact and everything just fits.

It really is one of the sexiest OEM designs I've seen for this niche.

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This is such a cool little build. I just dig how compact and everything just fits.

 

It really is. And it's an excellent performer. And...27W with 6 drives installed!

 

There are some really nice design touches. See more photos here:

 

http://www.tenniswood.co.uk/technology/windows-home-server/review-hp-microserver-for-windows-home-server/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=review-hp-microserver-for-windows-home-server

 

 

and here:

 

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tamasrepus/sets/72157625461896900/with/5204509633/

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I have an Intel P4 2.8ghz machine I use for daily torrents and what not. I was compairing the specs and this thing blows it out of the water and appears that it would run a lot quiter and I'm sure it would put out a lot less heat.

 

2.8 http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+4+2.80GHz

HP http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+II+Neo+N36L+Dual-Core

 

2.8 - 415

HP - 847

 

Damn so many options and so little money. LOL

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I have an Intel P4 2.8ghz machine I use for daily torrents and what not. I was compairing the specs and this thing blows it out of the water and appears that it would run a lot quiter and I'm sure it would put out a lot less heat.

 

2.8 http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Pentium+4+2.80GHz

HP http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+II+Neo+N36L+Dual-Core

 

2.8 - 415

HP - 847

 

Damn so many options and so little money. LOL

 

Yeah, it's as fast as an Intel Core Duo T2350 @ 1.86GHz.

 

I kept an eye on the CPU usage with htop while transferring data over Samba and simultaneously running SABnzbd and Transmission and it copes perfectly well.

 

Even though the AMD CPU clocks at 1.3GHz, it's faster than the Intel Atom D525 @ 1.80GHz (also dual core), which has a score of 711.

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Hi Matey,

Got my server up & running mainly due to you & this topic ;D

My build is on the AV Forums if you're interested:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/networking-nas/1429720-tims-7-24tb-tiddler-unraid-nas.html

Many thanks.

Tim.

 

Nice stuff. Thanks for the credit on avf. I'm too lazy to take more than a couple of photos, so yours might prove useful for others.

 

I've found that 1GB RAM is a bit low, but mine works fine if I don't use Transmission or cache_dirs. I do use sabnzbd, sickbeard and nzbgetter.

Are you running Transmission, and if so, how is the RAM usage? I was thinking of adding a 4GB DIMM, but I may drop it down to 2GB for 3GB total.

 

Where did you get your eSATA to SATA cable? Mine are uber-long and I need a shorter one.

 

Finally, let me know how you get on with the drives spinning down -- whether you notice any interruptions to streaming.

 

Cheers ears,

 

Neil.

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Hello matey,

I got my ESATA to SATA cables from this Ebay seller:

http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/tm-direct/

I purchased 2 one 500mm & one 1m the 500mm length is perfect.

With regards to drives spinning down; I've set mine to spin down after 30mins of inactivety.

Interruptions to streaming are minimised by setting a split share on a folder i.e movie folder,

this then keeps the VOB files together on one drive.

I've set aside one drive solely for music, photos, & some data, the rest is set for various media (films & Xvids).

Not storing HD of any quantity as my cinema & plasma are SD only & to be perfectly honest if you were going to

rip BD's you're gonna need a lot more space :o

My setup is for streaming only so i can't really comment on the other apps you mention.

I still haven't set my parity drive yet as i'm still upping data, i am a bit concerned though as this drive hasn't been

formatted yet, do you know if it needs to be?

I've checked the Unraid manual where there is no mention of formatting the parity drive.

Cheers.

Tim.

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Thanks for the eBay ref.

 

You won't need to format the parity drive before installation, unRAID will do everything for you.

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Well I was so impressed by yours and mitrepooc's builds that I ordered myself a microserver NL36, should be here tomorrow :)

 

Before I go buying all the bits I wondered if somebody could give me a bit of advice, it is basically going to be used as my HD movie storage server, I don't have a streamer yet but will probably be a PCH or similar but obviously this will not allow me to rip the blus from it, what is the best way to get a bdd to rip to the server without using up one of my drive spaces from on the microserver as the disc space is going to be important?

 

I don't have any OS or any other software yet so I am totally flexible, any help or info would be gratefully received.

 

 

Why do I think this is going to be a costly hobby ;D 

 

Thanks in advance K

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Nice to see the post was useful. Don't forget to redeem the rebate, assuming you're in the UK.

 

Blu-ray: Rip from a PC over the LAN to the unRAID server.

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I received my server today (US) and the order was in no small part due to members on this forum giving this little box good reviews. I'm sure I'll be referring to this thread over the next couple of weeks or so as I build out the machine.

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I received my server today (US) and the order was in no small part due to members on this forum giving this little box good reviews. I'm sure I'll be referring to this thread over the next couple of weeks or so as I build out the machine.

This is the thread that started it all.  Lots of good info there as well.

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such a shame that's not available here - Canada/US

 

what is the power requirement for it?

 

can we import it and wil it run on 110V?

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such a shame that's not available here - Canada/US

 

what is the power requirement for it?

 

can we import it and wil it run on 110V?

 

It is available in the U.S. -- but the rebate deal isn't.

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