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Lundman's RAID


In the recent years the very small Intel Atom reference boards have become very affordable. For example, the D945GCLF2 has a Dual-Core 1.6GHz Intel Atom 330 chip on board. Just needs memory and it is ready to go. Sure it could be even better suited, for example; better SATA controller that supports AHCI, faster than 32bit PCI bus for the extra PCI card.



I wanted to build a RAID as cheaply as possible, with already working parts, and minimal fuss. So, Intel Arch for Open Solaris, preferably 64 bit to handle all current and future sized hard disks. Green, as in economical would be good. Fan-less for noise and all those other things.

All prices are in Japan Yen unless otherwise specified.

 7,825 Atom
 5,000 dac-sata-mv8
 2,880 memory
 1,800 usb stick 
 9,800 32GB SSD

The memory is actually rated at 800MHz, which is better than the Atom can use, so potentially it can be cheaper, but at such a small cost it does not seem relevant.

I picked the Supermicro MV8 card on auction. It is the older SATA-1 card. For just a little more, the AOC-SAT2-MV8 is probably just as good. I don't know if SATA-2 will give you any speed increase on the 32 bit PCI bus over all. But we will get numbers from both cards soon. If you want to get your own card, remember it has to be supported by OpenSolaris, and hot-swappable.


I have replaced the Atom board, memory and Supermicro SATA card with a:


This is an AMD Fusion dual-core 1.6ghz board, with 6 onboard SATA (AHCI working in Solaris!). DVI plug, 12 USB etc. Still a disappointing Realtek NIC though, when will they learn. But I can use the PCI slot for a better nic if it comes to that.


sata_card research



Currently, I am looking at a small Mini-ITX case. I don't want something that looks like a PC. I want something that looks like a RAID/NAS. One option is the case called "QBox-4" at servercase.com, also used in Addonics Storage Tower, IOI NAS etc etc. It is actually made by Chyangfun. I have contacted them for buying a case, price and shipping. I have yet to receive it, so I do not know if it will work out.

It was very hard to find the manufacturer of the case, lots of effort here :)

CGN-S40X case: $100US (10,000).


S40X Case

I have already picked up the picoLCD. Ported the drivers to Solaris and confirmed that it works. I will need to work out what to display though. Everyone who knows me know how terrible I am at designing GUIs though.

picoLCD: 8,400.

picoLCD design ideas here.

The final piece of the puzzle is the 5-in-3 mobile rack. There are quite a few options available out there, most of them are indeed the same. There is one model that should be mentioned, as it has USB ports exported as well. Which I guess would be neat to allow users to attach whatever random storage to copy to the NAS, but that would add extra complications for the support as well. At the moment I am looking mostly at the length of the unit (size it will take inside the Mini-ITX case toward the PSU, for heating and other considerations).

5in3 research

Image Gallery


Image gallery is available.


If I were to guess the costs for the final product:

 7,825 Atom D945GCLF2 
 5,000 dac-sata-mv8 Supermicro SATA 8 port 
 2,880 memory Elixir M2Y2G64TU8HD5B-AC 
 1,800 usb stick (4GB random stick) 
 7,800 Elixir 8GB 2x DDR3 sticks.
 9,000 21 GB SSD boot and slog.
10,000 case CGN-S40X
 8,400 LCD PicoLCD 256x64
11,400 5in3 Century CWRS5-BK
61,600 total.

As you can see above, the USB stick for booting really isn't worth it. I spent a little more and got a cheap SSD. This now has 2 boot environments, plus stores the ZIL cache. Full speed, and full redundancy. It is very fast.

Much more than I really had in mind. Possibly it can be made cheaper with bulk buy, registering as a company and all that. I purchased everything as a regular person using online shopping. It is getting close to commercial RAID/NAS prices (cheapest 5 HDD raid is around 90,000 or so) which is sad, at least they do not do native ZFS support yet.


I have performed various iozone stats. I am hoping it can compare to a ReadyNAS/QNAP at least.


Power Usage

Disks used are Samsung HD103SI 1TB "Green" disks. Not powered on (but PSU active) it reads 0W. When the readings are fluctuation between two values (say 38 and 39) I took the highest value (39).

Values in italics are estimated from previous readings, and not tested at this time.

disks      PowerOn       Idle       iozone
  0            34W        32W          N/A
  1            39W        33W          41W
  2            42W        34W          45W
  3            45W        35W          49W
  4            48W        36W          54W
  5            51W        37W          58W



ZFS Commands

ZFS Commands Basic administration commands