Small power efficient home NAS server, revisited

By , March 9, 2010 15:41

Two weeks ago, my small home-server died (I assume, of heat, but am not sure, as it had been running more than a year without glitches, still it’s dead).

As I also wanted to upgrade it regardless, this is a good time to do so… ;-)

So, my new preferences are:

  • Disks no longer attached externally via USB. (USB 2.0 isn’t as fast as SATA)
  • Less power draw (5 external PSUs aren’t that efficient)
  • All in one chassis (less waste of space, possibly also a bit better noise reduction)
  • Still IDE for the boot disk

So, in order to have the 4 disks directly attached via SATA (all my 4 USB disks are internally SATA, so I will detach them from their cases, and attach them directly to the SATA ports on a new motherboard) I need a board that has at least 4 SATA ports.

I also wanted to stick with Intel Atom (although, if they would add VT-x support, I would really appreciate that! But that’s not yet a real requirement, so I can live without that feature).

From the new Atoms the N450 or N470 Atoms aren’t useful to me, as these CPUs are 32-bit only. So, in order to be able to do a bit more than pure NAS, I want the new D510 CPU.

To that effect, I was scanning the new Intel Atom D510 boards. There aren’t many yet (the Asus not yet buyable), the Gigabyte, the Jetway, or the Zotac being the ones, that do fulfill my current needs.

When I ordered my new board, I was not aware of the Gigabyte board. And the Zotac has WiFi, which I was not willing to pay for, as well as the fact, that it uses Mini-DTX, and not Mini-ITX (OK, not a big issue!). From the Jetway, I love the fact, that it does not need a PSU, as I can run it with a standard external Laptop 12V PSU, which I already have from my old setup.

So, yesterday, I did order the Jetway NC96-510-LF board. The nice thing is: I can re-use the RAM from the old board, as well as the external PSU. I also hope to not need to re-install the OS-disk, as this board seems very close to the old Intel board. I hope, a reconfigure boot will solve that…

So, now, my only concern is a new chassis… ;-)

Requirements for that are:

  • Mini-ITX capable
  • No PSU
  • Hosting 4 x 3.5″ disks
  • Hosting 1 x 2.5″ disk (my 1.8″ disk is mounted to a 2.5″ adapter)
  • Low noise fan (if at all!)

Any recommendations for such a case?


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