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Streaming Server Raid - Completed PC Build

I have grown tired of my HTPC Server build making a lot of fan noise in my living room in combination with not using the build as an HTPC hence not needing to be in the living room at all. I decided to change things up a bit and clear out the space under my TV.

Purpose

completed build

I have always wanted to have a raid server ever since I got into building computers back in my first build. I however have never been lavish enough to actually buy the drives it takes to do so. When I created my first build I had it in my mind to buy 6 drives to fill up the case with all 6 3.5inch drive slots. In fact with the build I choose in 2014, I choose a motherboard that could accommodate 6 SATA ports for this purpose. Now I am finally getting around to doing what I wanted to all those years ago. This build is the next step to one day having a substantial amount of space in a raid array machine.

Parts List

Here are the parts I used for my build thanks to PCPartPicker Part List

Type Item Price
CPU Intel Xeon E3-1231 V3 3.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor Purchased For $246.79
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-L9x65 33.84 CFM CPU Cooler Purchased For $49.95
Motherboard Asus Z97I-PLUS Mini ITX LGA1150 Motherboard Purchased For $153.00
Memory Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR3-1600 Memory Purchased For $111.99
Storage Intel 600p Series 256 GB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive Purchased For $104.99
Storage Hitachi Ultrastar 2 TB 3.5” 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $31.95
Storage Hitachi Ultrastar 2 TB 3.5” 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $31.95
Storage Hitachi Ultrastar 2 TB 3.5” 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $31.95
Storage Hitachi Ultrastar 2 TB 3.5” 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive Purchased For $31.95
Video Card Gigabyte Radeon RX 550 - 512 2 GB Video Card Purchased For $99.04
Case Fractal Design Node 304 Mini ITX Tower Case Purchased For $55.00
Power Supply Fractal Design Integra R2 500 W 80+ Bronze Certified ATX Power Supply Purchased For $59.99
Total $1008.55

Parts Explanation

parts

With this build I do not have 6 SATA ports but it does have 4 SATA ports and I did pull the trigger on four 2TB drives. At $32 a piece I figured this is a perfect opportunity to get set up with a software array in place of a single drive. I went with a striped array since 2TB would give me a total space of 8TB only 2TB less than my current single 10TB drive. If I were to mirror these I would only end up with 4TB of usable space. Until I can get some higher capacity drives I will get my feet wet with software array in raid 0. When I am able to get larger drives I will use raid 10.

I decided to keep the current system mostly the way it is and only change the case and internal drives. I am recycling the NVMe drive from a previous build and the Node 304 which I have had without a system inside it for some time.

Build

The most difficult part of this build was not actually installing it into the new case (that went straight forward for the most part) was removing everything from the Node 202 case. I like how the Node 202 looks but I have a couple things against the Node 202 after using it for almost 2 years:

  • runs hot all the time.
  • is really noisy.
  • hard to access parts of motherboard when mounted to case.
  • awkward GPU bracket system.
  • really tight fit overall.

These all are mostly excusable after the build is over and your server is tucked away in another room. In my case the server was set up in my living room to use as a HTPC, making the noise unbearable when watching a movie.

backup usb

I am reusing the 10TB drive I was previously using as a single storage source as a backup drive in this system. You can see this hooked up in the picture to the right.

I had to figure out how to copy the operating system drive to the newly introduced M.2 drive which turned out to be really easy because I was already using LVM. The transition from one drive to the other was amazingly seamless.

One of the issues I ran into was the graphics card is too long for one of the 3 drive bays to fit. I had to remove the third bay to make room. This is fine as I will only need 2 bays to mount my 4 SATA drives, I just would much rather keep the bay inside the 304 so I don’t misplace it.

Another issue I had was the 2 intake fans in the front have wire extenders that travel the whole length of the build and were difficult to work with because of this. I zip tied it with other wires but I am still not happy with it. My power supply is non-modular so that didn’t do me any favors either.

Date Build Completed: October 30, 2019