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Recycling old PC for Home Server/NAS duty


Best Answer NfiniteZERO , 02 March 2017 - 06:35 AM

Thanks for the great responses!

I'm going to mark this as "Solved" and maybe get to work on setting this thing up - mostly because my laptop is still out of commission and it looks like I need to buy tires for my truck.

Hoping to pop back in with pics once it's up and running.

Cheers!

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#1 NfiniteZERO

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 08:47 AM

Hi all.

I'm currently researching into the feasibility of using my old tower PC for home server duty.  Knowing that there are a lot of ways to currently do that (Linux, FreeNAS, etc etc), I would rather try it my preferred way - which is running a copy of Windows 10 Pro with DrivePool and Scanner.

First off, the hardware (prepare to cringe!)

  • AMD Phenom II x3 710
  • ASUS M4A780 uATX w/ Realtek GbE on board
  • 4GB DDR2-800, 2 open slots. (ASUS board is ECC compatible)
  • Corsair Force 120GB SSD for boot
  • 2x WD Black 1TB to start off with
  • OCZ ModXstream 600W power supply

Main goals for this rig are:

  • Plex
  • File Sharing within home
  • iTunes Server
  • Local backup for 1-2 PCs & 2 iPhones' worth of photos
  • BackBlaze to backup

The main reason I want to stick with Windows since that's what I'm most familiar with.  I plan on using RDP on Win10 Pro to manage the machine headless from my laptop.  While not the most power efficient, I do not plan to have it up 24/7 - more like "as needed, when needed" for a few hours at a time.  After burning my brain out with RAID-this, along with RAID-that...I don't really want anything to do with RAID on this which is why DrivePool is perfect.

I don't think it's too far-fetched of an idea, but I've never really done anything like this before.  What do you folks think?


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#2 Spider99

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 11:52 AM

Yep it should work fine as you describe

 

Only thing that will not work that well is the Plex server for any transcoding thats needed - you dont mention you clients to play any media as they dictate what does and does not need transcoding

 

You can overcome this by making sure your media is in a format that the clients can play natively so your server streams the media directly

 

If it were mine i would increase the Ram to give windows and plex room to breath say 8gb or 16gb but you could do that after you have it running to see if it needs it and its a cheap upgrade :)

 

Have fun


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Tim

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DrivePool & Scanner on 2012R2 Essentials Server Gigabyte Z87x OC Force, i7-4790S, 32 GB, LSI 9211, HP SAS Expander, 27 Storage disks, 6 SSD Cache, ~115 TB Storage


#3 NfiniteZERO

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 06:22 PM

Yep it should work fine as you describe

 

Only thing that will not work that well is the Plex server for any transcoding thats needed - you dont mention you clients to play any media as they dictate what does and does not need transcoding

 

You can overcome this by making sure your media is in a format that the clients can play natively so your server streams the media directly

 

If it were mine i would increase the Ram to give windows and plex room to breath say 8gb or 16gb but you could do that after you have it running to see if it needs it and its a cheap upgrade :)

 

Have fun

 

Thanks for the reply, Spider99.

I've done a couple of trial runs with Plex and it should be up for what I need it to do.  As it's currently the wife, me, and the little one - probably isn't going to be too much streaming going on (2 streams max).  Since I have to rebuild the media library anyway, I'll just put everything into h.264/AAC/M4V and call it a day.  Blu-Ray will probably get an SD version too just to make things easier.

I'll price out some more RAM while I'm shopping for a new case and Intel GbE NIC.



#4 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:46 PM

StableBit DrivePool and StableBit Scanner are designed to run on very lower end hardware (eg, to be fairly light on resources).  

 

In fact, Alex and I test on very low resource VMs.   And I used to run DrivePool on a MediaSmart Server (Core 2 Duo era). :)

 

 

 

Though Spider99 is right. Plex is a beast.  you need a LOT of CPU power if you're transcoding media.  But if you're not transcoding, then there should be absolutely no issue. 

 

https://support.plex...-for-my-Server-

 

The main reason I want to stick with Windows since that's what I'm most familiar with.  I

 

This is the single best idea ever.  Seriously.   

 

I'll recommend not using our software in specific cases, because it's best to use what you're comfortable with.  If that's Linux, then use it. If that's Windows, then use that. 

 

Because at the end of the day, when things break, YOU are the one that will be fixing them.  If you have no idea what you're doing, it's 100 times harder to fix things.   So please do use whatever you're familiar/comfortable with.  


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Christopher Courtney

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#5 NfiniteZERO

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 07:19 AM

Thanks Chris!

I've lived too many horror stories of builds gone wrong, so I've decided to keep it simple.  I know my way around a Linux system, but at the end of the day I use Windows.  Given my job, the mandatory overtime, 9mo baby, exhausted wife, and the endlessly dirty house - I simply don't have time to play sysadmin anymore!

I did some testing with Plex.  With the Realtek GbE in Direct Steam 480p, I was hitting about 30%-45% CPU while having a few desktop apps open and running.  Intel NIC will help with that a little bit.  While that was happening, I tried a stream to my iPhone and peaked at 100% CPU as it was actually transcoding the 480p - honestly, no issues with playback as long as I didn't do anything on the computer. By this, I'm thinking 2 streams is my limit, which works for now.  I'm planning on making iPhone-capable M4Vs to mitigate this, as well as for travel purposes.  Do note that my library is more DVDs than Blu-Ray right now.

 

I'm planning on a fair bit of reading for DrivePool to make sure I know the ins and outs before committing to building this thing.  I've also got to wait for my laptop to be returned from Mythlogic (hopefully they can fix the chassis or I'll have to build a new tower, which puts this plan on hold.)

 

The only thing I cannot seem to find is a guide to configure Win10 Pro to run headless, which either tells me that it "just works" or I'm not putting the right stuff in when I'm searching the web.
 


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#6 Spider99

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 02:48 PM

Win pro just runs headless - just need to ensure RDP is enabled IIRC its off by default - other than that you are good to go out the box

 

 

You must be one of the few people in the world happy to watch 480p :) :P

 

with 30-45% cpu Plex was transcoding that movie - if it was direct streaming then it would be similar to a file copy probably less than 5% - its the client software/device that determines if transcoding is needed or not

 

Good Luck with getting some sleep


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Tim

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DrivePool & Scanner on 2012R2 Essentials Server Gigabyte Z87x OC Force, i7-4790S, 32 GB, LSI 9211, HP SAS Expander, 27 Storage disks, 6 SSD Cache, ~115 TB Storage


#7 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:40 PM

I can understand not wanting to be the "sysadmin at home" (says the guy with a partially filled 42U rack). 

 

As for the realtek NIC, try turning off any setting that has "checksum" or "offload" in the name.  These dump processing onto the CPU and may reduce performance overall. 

 

 

 

As for the streams, yeah, 2 is going to be be about your limit here.  You'll need a better CPU for more than that.  
(If power isn't a consideration, you can find datacenter pulls for very cheap on ebay and the like!)

 

 

 

And Spider99 is right, set up Remote Desktop Connection, and then it's smooth sailing. :)
That or set up VNC or ... teamViewer. 


Christopher Courtney

aka "Drashna"

Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

Lead Moderator for We Got Served

Moderator for Home Server Show

 

This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.


#8 NfiniteZERO

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 06:35 AM   Best Answer

Thanks for the great responses!

I'm going to mark this as "Solved" and maybe get to work on setting this thing up - mostly because my laptop is still out of commission and it looks like I need to buy tires for my truck.

Hoping to pop back in with pics once it's up and running.

Cheers!


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#9 Christopher (Drashna)

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 08:29 PM

Well, let us know how it everything goes!

And yeah, cars/trucks are expensive, as well. :)


Christopher Courtney

aka "Drashna"

Microsoft MVP for Windows Home Server 2009-2012

Lead Moderator for We Got Served

Moderator for Home Server Show

 

This is my server

 

Lots of "Other" data on your pool? Read about what it is here.





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