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I'm going to solder cables or possibly ports to the clipped PCB. This is going to be a NAS, it doesn't require much USB devices. I also want to keep the external looks as original as possible and I can always mount a few extra USB ports in one of the four expansion slots.

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My new NAS hardware has arrived !

 

qDg5YIU.jpg

  • Asrock B75 Pro3-M
  • 4x Western Digital WD20EZRX (2TB each)
  • Intel Pentium G2020
  • 2x 4GB DDR3 VLP memory
  • Arctic MX-4
  • Scythe kit to mount the Mugen 2 Rev. A on Socket 115x
  • Startech USB header to 2x USB
This is for the ZFS-based NAS I'm going to run, which is memory-intense and uses very little CPU. I'm currently copying my media to different drives so I can use the two WD20EARS (also 2TB each) I have in my computer, to put them into a RAID-Z2 volume, which is the equivalent of RAID-6.

 

And this is how it currently looks:

 

xLBXISA.jpg

 

The two WD20EARS will be installed on the bottom. The top slide is free for an SSD, the top connector is also connected to the only native SATA-600 port on the motherboard.

 

8cv5ehI.jpg

 

Worked from the first start ! Wasn't sure about the CPU mount, felt a lot more fragile then the Socket 775 and 1150 I have experience with.

All four new hard drives are working (not stress-tested) and optimized the UEFI to leave more resources and RAM for important stuff (32MB for GPU is enough).

 

I'll be focussing on the ZFS-software I'll be using, I'm still dounting between FreeNAS and NAS4Free, I have experience with the former so it's probably going to be that one. That is where the "USB header to USB port" thingie is for: both those OS'es can install on a USB stick since the OS is loaded into RAM when booted.

 

 

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This makes another milestone for my build as it is now going be used for something. The only two things I have left to do is to make the rear connectors into something "real" and then the mod will be finished. But I'm already contemplating the next project which will be a lot more hand-work and built-from-scratch, although I'll be needing some professional help on that one.

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The two drives added:

 

Dtr0Xyq.jpg

 

And all is working as expected:

 

B0io928.jpg

 

All I need to do is find a suitable NAS OS. FreeNAS isn't a candidate as it doesn't support 4K drives, although it says it does, it is probably going to be NAS4Free or ZFSguru.

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Thank you !

 

 

After some fiddling I got my install working with NAS4free like I wanted it. All six HDD's are 4K "Advanced Format" drives and FreeNAS (or atleast the current version) only handles those correctly IN THEORY, not in practice. But NAS4free is equally up to the task and at the moment I have it configured like I want it.

 

Current running specs:

 

99yT10i.png

Drives are all well withing acceptable temperatures.

 

JERQ42J.png

CPU is about the same. Mind you that all six the hard drives and the CPU are cooled by only the two 92mm fans in the back.

Zpool free space is in reality 7.02TB because it loses 4TB with two disks in RAID-Z2 (equiv. of RAID6) and formatting.

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Phunczz, I have to say your build looks absolutely great! 

 

I'm planning on doing something very similar to what you've done; storage server with a hotswap rack for drives. Where did you find the rails for the drive screws to rest in? More specifically, where did you find anodized rails?  I've been looking around at local hardware stores but everything I'm seeing is brushed aluminum, as opposed to anodized.  Also, how wide is the whole rack assembly? 

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Thank you !

 

The rails were from a local hardware store and were basically curtain rails. The strips and L-shaped beams of annodized aluminium were also from that same store at the building materials. I guess I lucked out as I can believe it could be hard to find annodized aluminium beams.

 

The total width of the rack is ~130mm.

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Nice build.  I'm looking to do a similar one, with at least 5 drives, but using the ports on the back of the MB.  Great to see that your drives are running at cool enough temperatures with no direct fans!  This is great, as I had assumed that they would need more cooling in a server environment, particularly ZFS where they don't spin down.  Excellent work and thanks for sharing all the details.

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Thx for the compliments ! It's not really running as in a server environment, it has not enough load for that. It functions as a basic NAS for me and it can handle it very well. I think the disks are so cool because the PowerMac G5 has a "windtunnel" effect, with all the air being pulled from the front, through the drive system, through the CPU cooler and back out. The only drives that are warmer are the WD20EARS, which are about 5-6°C warmer than the four WD20EZRX drives. If I average all disks, they're about 33°C.

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The airflow sounds like plenty for the drives.  Mine will be used more like a NAS than a true server as well, and with unRAID the drives not in use will spin down, so I shouldn't have issues. 

 

How loud or noisy is yours?

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Not silent, but quiet enough for me. For some reason, the motherboard doesn't seem to throttle the fans although I've set them lower. But it isn't loud for my taste. I can hear the HDD's, two 60mm PSU fans (original ones) and the rear two 92mm Noctua fans when I listen closely.

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Are we done ? No not at all ! Still some details that need to be worked out. Like these:

 

2fJZX9C.jpg

 

Mmm minty fresh Apple power cable. Even a power cable can be made sexy by Apple.

 

qeq6Zq3.jpg

 

qbSxuM8.jpg

 

ULZBywc.jpg

 

I'm just a sucker for clean lines.

 

PTjowXn.jpg

 

Well worth it !

 

 

One more thing:

 

PkXPKLI.jpg

(held by sticky magnet tape to the heatsink)

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Another detail I'm planning to address:

 

llUix6j.jpg

 

If anyone knows a PCI-bracket with just an HDMI cutout or atleast one that allows enough width to screw it on, I'm very grateful because I can't find any. And I'm not willing to buy a 80$ Chinese HDMI capture card just for the bracket.

 

Flat White HDMI v1.4 1.5m cable: http://dx.com/p/115293

HDMI to HDMI v1.4 male-female: http://dx.com/p/240922

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how handy are ya with the Dremel? You could just mill out the slot and drill two holes into a blank PCI bracket if you are feeling adventurous... you could burn thru a hell of a lot of blanks for 80 bucks!!

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Well, that's the problem: I'm very iffy about fit and finish, I want it done right and I know I can't do it right most likely. It is precision work even a Dremel seems to be to unwieldy for. I'm not afraid of drilling two holes but the HDMI cutout seems more daunting. If I only had a laser cutter or water jet :D

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So I went the old-fashioned way and drilled a few holes, followed up by filing the cut out. Took me quite a few hours but I'm happy with the result. Although Apple choose some specific screws for the PCI brackets, they just seem to love that...

 

bJXf3KX.jpg

 

1tkczB6.jpg

 

After this picture I realised I'd best put the network cable over the slot above it to reduce the force on the PCI-e slot. I know it's not a good idea but as long as I don't have my rear I/O port PCB ready, this will have to do. Or maybe a flexible PCI-e extension ribbon cable ?

 

kvBihPI.jpg

 

And it works !

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looks great! I invested in the Dremel stand that basically makes it a small milling machine... cheaper than a real mill and works great on the small stuff. Now that you have practice, you can make one for your LAN connection too! You can always get a flexible PCIe extension cable, saw one at Meritline.com for less than 10 bucks, but if you want it now, and you have some free time, you could make the bracket and the cable extension (assuming you have the parts) today rather than waiting for shipping.

 

Me, personally, I like it when I find a solution to a problem using my resources rather than my wallet - but I also consider my time to be free, yours might be worth more than mine.

 

And I love the flat cable as well - I changed all mine to flat cables and love the look.

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Thanks for the tips ! I already got a mill last summer. I used it to drill the holes to get started. But the problem is the connector is so small and I don't want a rough cut out with scratches all around :) So I had to do it manually with files the rest of the way.

 

I'm going to look for a flexible PCIe extension as 10-20$ isn't something I want to skimp on, seeying the amount of money that already went into the hardware. My wallet will survive this better than the new GPU I need to play Battlefield 4 next month, Radeon HD 7770 isn't going to cut it this time :)

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So it's been a while since I've been here. I started a new job which demanded a lot of my attention, along with a new computer and some other stuff I have going on.

Now I wanted to finish my case, starting with the rear I/O ports. MiniHack hooked me up with a rear port clipped PCB and I sourced the cables I need. But I'm having difficulty figuring it out.

 

1: The RJ45 connector on the PCB: the multimeter doesn't give anything when I test the pins on the back of the PCB and the pins inside the port. But when you test any random two pins, they do seem to be connected. What voodoo is this ?!

 

2: the +5V on the two USB ports seem to be connected, is this supposed to be this way ?

 

I hope someone can clarify me on these so I can finish my mod :)

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Hi, nice work, i have a question:
Where i can find this cable?

 

30w9vcy.jpg

Thanks

 

 

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Thanks,but this cable it's ok for europe customers?


This is, right: http://store.apple4less.com/Apple-Mac-Pro-Power-Mac-Cinema-Power-Cable-p/pcp-eu-a.htm ?

 

Also I will use the original psu, according to you, if can use it, i can have some problems?

 

At the end, it's an normal cable extension, right?

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