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Upgrade Pool / Separating Pool from Workstation



Hey Guys - 

I've used DrivePool + Scanner for a few years now after switching to it from a similar product and it's worked great overall.  Just wanted to ask three quick questions, please.

Question #1

When posting this, I found out that I'm actually a few releases behind on DrivePool.  Given my setup (below) and current version ( Beta), is an uninstall then install of (latest) still the suggested route?  Would I need to reinstall the plugin afterwards and/or reconfigure any balancing settings or will they remain intact?  I see that Scanner is still at the same version so any need to reinstall it afterwards?

Question #2

The PC I currently have my pool in is my primary workstation at home which I use for everything including hosting web services, gaming, Oculus VR, office apps, file server, Plex host. and much more.  As you can see in the below specs, it has a good amount of hardware therefore gives off a ton of heat - enough to where I must keep a fan in the room constantly or it almost gets unbearable.  It seems obvious to me that all of the physical disks generate the majority of the heat, so am looking to separate them from the server and put into another case in a separate room which is less frequently used.

My question is, what would everyone suggest be the best way to go to do this?  What software and/or hardware would yield the best result with the smallest cost?  Anything else it could host besides being a file share like Plex would be icing on the cake.  Examples of what I'm looking for include:

  • Move pooled disks + SAS Controller to new case with Windows Server/Workstation & DiskPool + Scanner installed
  • Move pooled disks + SAS Controller to new case & run a specific linux distro
  • Move pool to a NAS (Doubt will do this as a NAS for the # of disks I have is too expensive for me
  • ...

Question #3

Given my pool's specs, what would be the recommended resources needed / suggested for a system which would only run DrivePool + Scanner (and an OS of course)?  I'd just request minimum specs, but still want it to perform well and be stable.  I've got enough spare parts to throw something together, but want to make sure it's worth it.

Current System / Pool Specs

  • Quad Core Intel Core i7-3770K (Slightly overclocked to 4000 MHz)
  • 32gb RAM (x4 - 8gb DDR3-1333 SDRAM)
  • Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H Motherboard
  • HighPoint RocketRAID 2720 SAS Controller (With x2 SAS -> SATA break-out cables connecting 7 of the pooled disks below)
  • GeForce GTX 970 (4 GB)
  • NZXT H630 Ultra Tower Case (CA-H630F-W1) /w x3 200mm fans & x2 120mm fans
  • Oculus Rift CV1 (Plus Touch Controllers & 3rd Sensor)
  • Windows 10 Professional x64 (1709)
  • Logical Drives
    • C:\ - 256mb SSD - Samsung 850 Pro SSD (OS + Apps)
    • D:\ - 43.7tb Disk Pool (details below)
    • E:\ - 1tb Hybrid Disk (Game installs + Plex Media Server Cache)
    • G:\ - 256gb SSD - Samsung 850 EVO (Oculus Installations)
  • Specs for the 43.7tb Disk Pool
    • 327gb of 43.7tb currently free(almost time to add or upgrade a disk!)
    • Total: x10 Platter disks + x1 SSD
      • x4 - 4tb Seagate ST4000DM000-1F21
      • x1 - 4tb ST4000VN000-1H4168
      • x2 - 4tb HGST HDN724040ALE640
      • x1 - 4tb WDC WD40EFRX-68WT0N0
      • x1 - 8tb ST8000AS0002-1NA17Z
      • x1 - 8tb Seagate ST8000AS0002-1NA
      • x1 - 120gb OCZ-VERTEX4
    • DrivePool Beta / Scanner Beta
    • SSD Optimizer Plug-in ( used with SSD to cache and balance files
    • All drives are connected to a SATA III interface

I think that's about it (as if it wasn't enough).  Thanks!!

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  1. You should be able to just in place upgrade (and reboot). 
    but yes, we do recommend upgrading
  2. hahaha, I know what you mean. 
    I ... opted for an AC unit in the window, though. 
    To be honest, there isn't a best solution here.  
    A rackmount with powerful and loud fans work, but you still need to cool the room off. A basement works well, for this. 
    But any of the listed solutions should work for you. 
  3. A minimum system requirements? 
    Celeron with a single PCI-e port. That's all you should need.  I'd say an atom/embedded system, but .... you'd need room for the drives.
    But if you wanted to run Plex on it, then it would depend on your usage.  
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As far as heat goes, I find watercooling to be an effective solution... but not like most people use it.  I don't move it from the components into water, then directly into the air with radiators.  Instead I have a ~30 gallon denatured water reservoir (basically an insulated camping cooler) that I use two submerged pumps with, one moves water through the CPU/GPU/Chipset coolers on the workstation, the other cycles water through a Hydroponics chiller which vents the heat through heating/cooling duct pipes to push it straight out the window at night.

The practical effect of this is that very few BTUs of heat make it into the room during the day during the summer.  In the winter I disconnect the ducting from the window and have it dump into the room - providing extra and practical heating to help save on power use.

The only drawback is the initial purchase cost - the 1/2 HP Hydroponics Chiller and Industrial fan to move air were around $700, and the watercooling elements around another $300.  But I've been using the same setup for around 4 years now, with only water changes for maintenance, and it's delightfully cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  I don't have to run A/C or Heating in that room if I don't want to, and it's one of the most exposed in the house here.

Interestingly, your GTX puts out the most heat, on average.  I can run my CPU with Prime95 for days on end (24/7), and not begin to approach the amount of heat my 980ti or 1060 dump into the water in even one day.  The drives by comparison (unless fully loaded 100% of the time) don't use that much power compared to even your GTX at idle.  A dozen spinners at ~4 watts each (average of idle vs loaded) barely take 50 watts.  The idle spec for your video card are 71 watts Idle, 288 under full load.

To sum up:  consider controlling the heat by using watercooling to keep it in a large reservoir during the day, then push it out at night using either a chiller, or radiators.  Simply using air cooling means no matter what mechanism you use to remove the heat, you're just dumping it back into the room immediately.

Edited by Jaga
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