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alienjon
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:42 am    Post subject: NUC setup recommendations Reply with quote

I'm thinking of transitioning my home server from the old tower I built it from into a smaller NUC. As such I'd be connecting storage drives into a different setup (Currently inside the tower with sata cables). I wanted to ask for input as to what might be good options to look out for. The transition is *ideally* two fold. Firstly to save on power (the idea being that the larger tower would use more power than I'd need for a smaller home server) and secondly to save on space (I'd love to mount the server somehow, or at least put it on a shelf and off the ground, which wouldn't be possible with the tower). As such, I'm figuring that I'd connect the drives somehow via USB (v3) to something like this. That's mostly an example, as I'm still looking around. Still, I wanted to solicit feedback and see what others are using and whether I should consider a different track entirely.

I also looked into standalone NAS' (such as, but those tend to come with partial servers already installed. I'd rather have a separate unit that I would install Gentoo on and would encapsulate the storage portion of the server (sans the OS drive).
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bunder
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

usb is a terrible interface. i'd stick with a desktop chassis and sata. :?
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bbgermany
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bunder wrote:
usb is a terrible interface. i'd stick with a desktop chassis and sata. :?


Copy that, and if you do not tend to do heavy task, like kvm or special cpu intensive servers, you should be fine with a small system with onboard cpu. For example the Asrock J4105-ITX (https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/J4105-ITX/index.de.asp). It should do quite a good job and it has 4 SATA connections onboard as well. A small case, like the Coolermaster Elite 110, it will be a very small and nice server.

But if you want a bit more like enterprise, you should have a look at the older HP Proliant MicroServer Gen8 (not Gen9) with a Celeron G16xx. I have seen builds with up to eight hdds/ssds and they are quite small as well.

greets, bb
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erm67
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:40 am    Post subject: Re: NUC setup recommendations Reply with quote

USB3 is full duplex and in theory should work for storage, there are some interesting 4 disk USB3 boxes out there but probably an e-sata 4 disks box cost the same. Often the problem is the USB3 interface on the server, some just cannot transfer at full speed.

To save on the electricity bill probably an arm board is better but gentoo arm is a bit too focused (sponsored?) on toy boards like the raspberry-pi (at least when I left a couple of months ago). Otherwise, if you have money to invest, a macchiato bin is a great home server with 3 sata, 16Gb ram and 3 10 Gbit ports ...... Also cheap considering all the goods, and really fast. There is also a reduced version with only 1 10Gbit port that costs a bit less.

Apparently cabling optical 10Gbit SFP is not difficult, and better than copper 10Gbit since everybody complains copper requires too much power and overheats.

Recently a lot of Intel Atom C3000 boards appeared that are really interesting, it's gentoo AMD64 so it's reasonably updated.

If you get an arm 64 board avoid gentoo-arm, it's a waste of time. ACCEPT_KEYWORDS=* (or amd64) is the ideal choice, if you don't want an expensive rasptoy :-)
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alienjon
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, thanks for all the input. I had seen several places note that USB3 is sufficient (speed-wise) for network drive access, but I'm getting the vibe that in practice this isn't really the case? My current server is amd64 and a standard tower size. While I'm not looking to get precise on being efficient, I'd like to keep it in the equation (that's why I figured a smaller system and separate drives would likely use less power). I haven't used non x86/x86_64 builds before, but wouldn't be opposed to considering it as an option.
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erm67
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only have one first gen USB3 rotational disk (5Gbps interface ~100MBps raw disk speed) and using a recent computer with a USB3.1 gen1 port I can access the disk at full speed without problem, I did even run the OS on it briefly when I replaced the internal disk.
I have read however of people having problems so maybe I am lucky, or the rotational is slow compared to an ssd or a raid of ssd.
The newer USB3.1 gen2 has a theoretical interface speed of 10Gbps, real world speed ~7 Gbps, but 4 SSD in a raid box can probably saturate even the fastest USB3.1 interface, a board with several SATA controllers will be able to access multiple disks in a raid config more efficently.


There are a lot of nice Atom C3000 boards out there, it's probably stil too soon to jump on the arm wagon ....
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Amity88
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used a RasberryPi, RasberryPi 3 and a NUC (5CPYH - Braswell N 3050) as a NAS for a while. What I observed was:

1. Both Raspberries use the USB bus for Ethernet so, when you connect the disk via USB, you don't get much speeds. Data transfers over the 100 Mbps ethernet to the Pi 1 was capped to ~ 4/5 MBps, Pi3 gave me about 8-10.
2. You can have too many stuff running in the background, heck if I use SAMBA shares instead of FTP, the Pi 1 would crawl to a halt. Checksumming large files took forever.
3. The other major issue that you might face is with the USB to SATA converters. I used a Sony USB 3.0 case and it failed after about 7 Months of use. I also had some difficulty using certain SMART features via the converter as opposed to a direct SATA bus.

4. Coming to the NUC, it's fast enough to be a headless server. It can compile Gentoo fast enough on its own.
5. The best thing I liked about the NUC is that all the parts in there (WiFi, Ethernet, GPU) have good OSS drivers. Even the BSDs work fine on it.
6. If you're gonna be using the USB - SATA converter, get something with a good controller and a separate power source. That's my opinion.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget a serious switch to handle all that heavy network traffic :D :D :D :D a gigabit switch to match the USB3.1 gen 2 disk of course :D :D :D :D
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