Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

NAS How To


Intel's D945GCLF Atom motherboard

In parallel with the work on the Fast NAS series, I also have been experimenting with a dual-drive RAID 1 NAS using Intel's D945GCLF Atom motherboard. There are no commercial NASes yet that are based on Intel's little wonder, so I thought this was as good a time as any to see what the future might bring.


Table 1 shows the components used in the NAS. The case is a real cheapie, but has room for four 3.5" drives and two 5.25" drives.

Component Cost
Case APEX MJ-16 $46
CPU Intel Atom (included in mobo)
Motherboard Intel BOXD945GCLF $80
RAM Kingston 2GB DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) $33
Power Supply 200W (included in case)
Ethernet Intel PRO/1000 PCI $25
Data Drives Hitachi Deskstar HDS721680PLA380
80GB 7200RPM 3.0 Gb/s SATA 8MB
$80 (2 x $40)
Table 1: Atom NAS component summary

The total cost without drives was about $185 without shipping. This is $20 - $30 more than D-Link DNS-323 and almost $50 more than a DNS-321, which are the current price / performance leaders in off-the-shelf dual-drive BYOD NASes.

You could shave a bit off this by going for less RAM and the Intel board actually has gone down by $10 as I write this. But you shouldn't try to save money by not buying a gigabit NIC if you are going for the maximum performance that can be squeezed from this board. The onboard Realtek RTL8102EL onboard Ethernet is only 10/100, which will definitely limit your throughput. I also had OS install problems as you'll see shortly.

Figure 1 is a photo of the board, which, unfortunately, has a fixed-speed fan on the Intel 82945GC GMCH Northbridge. The Atom CPU is under the heatsink to the left. From what I understand from Googling around, Intel used this Northbridge for low cost and not low power. I moved the Northbridge fan from over to the variable speed case fan connector and that seemed to quiet the fan down a bit.

Intel D945GCLF Atom Board

Figure 1: Intel D945GCLF Atom Board

Speaking of power, I measured my rig with two Hitachi SATA drives at around 54 W while running iozone tests. This is over twice what I usually measure for off-the-shelf dual-drive NASes (including drives), so low power is not one of the Intel Atom board's advantages!

Figure 2 is the board's block diagram if you're interested. There is a single 240 pin DIMM socket for DDR2 667 (PC2 5300) RAM, one PCI connector, one IDE connector, two SATA connectors and six USB 2.0 slots. You also get basic onboard video and audio.

Intel D945GCLF Board Block Diagram

Figure 2: Intel D945GCLF Board Block Diagram

I have to say that the mini-ITX form factor of the board really helped to make the assembly a breeze by leaving plenty of room in the case (Figure 3). No component collisions and no cuts or skinned knuckles for me!

Atom NAS system
Click to enlarge image

Figure 3: Atom NAS system

More NAS

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

Hi all,I recently have my AC86U and AC68U switched duty for NAS. When the AC86U is set to access point (AP) mode, the "USB Setting" option under Admin...
brand new ac86u using merlin 384.19. SHould I return the router? is it related to qos or something? Seems like it happened as I logged in to make a...
Hi everybodyI am new to here and need help to get the latest Wireguard ipk version for Asus rt-ac86u.Somebody wrote that I could get the latest versio...
Hi,My AiMesh network consists of RT-AX86U (main router)->RT-AX82U->RT-AC86U all over WiFi 5GHz.When I switch AiProtection or Adaptive QoS on, upload s...
Sorry,I've looked through the forums and find anything. Is Merlin planning to release his FW for the AX86U?Thanks and soz once again.

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3