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Robert's NAS - more

HD: I have always liked Seagate and Western Digital drives, with the main advantages for the Seagate being price and 5 year warranty. In the past, I seem to have had problems having drives die on me, so I felt that having a 5 year warranty would be handy in the long run.

OS: I had an old out-of-commission computer with a copy of Windows XP Pro so I used that for my OS. I know that my system would be much more efficient if I was using a Linux distribution. But I still have not gotten around to learning the ins and outs of the OS. Hopefully, I can get onto that sometime in the near future.

The system was pretty easy to put together. I had little to no trouble installing parts, since I have put together a number of computers in the past.

After about two weeks of use, I decided that the onboard 10/100 LAN port was not doing the job so I went out and got a D-Link DGE-560T gigabit NIC. I chose it because it supports jumbo frames and because I have had good luck with Marvell. The card cost approximately $40.

Lessons Learned

After about a month of steady use the system decided to die due to the failure of the ECS motherboard. At the start, I knew that ECS made terribly cheap mother boards. I had never used one before, but everyone I knew who owned one didn't like it and were plagued with random restarts. In spite of the warnings however, I took my chances and failed. Of course I was unable to return the board to the store.

So I went online and bought a board Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3 from Newegg. (This is the board you see in the pictures if you are wondering.) The new board cost me $75, bringing the total cost of my NAS to $875.

The good news is that even with the motherboard swap, when I booted the system the RAID array came right up with no problems. I think this is due to using the Promise RAID controller instead of software-based RAID.

Since I'm not familar with benchmarking software I didn't run any on the NAS. I don't have any complaints about performance other than noticing a slight slowness in writing from a computer over the network to the NAS.

I'm really glad that I put this NAS together, as the project and experience overall was a good one and also educational. From here, I feel like this system will give me a good reason to learn some kind of Linux distribution and possibly make it double as a low level web server.

The only major frustration was when the ECS motherboard died on me. I tried to RMA the board to ECS, but never received a response and their web site at the time was poorly structured.

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