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Server/Networking Build in progress

booyaka

Moderator
Just thought that it would be useful to chart the progress of my server/networking build that i am starting tonight.

I thought i would start a thread so that others may give it a go/slag it off/chart it's progress etc.

Recently moved house so that we now have much more space and i was getting fed up using my main pc, which 80% of the time, is gaming/downloading etc.

I wanted the option to store 8gb and rising of pictures and videos of my little boy, more central storage for music/films etc and the ability to at some point in the future, stream music/films etc to other parts of the house. Also to be used as a low powered download box.

I wanted to strip my main pc back to the minimum single drive and store all my other files in a more storage oreanted place

I started to consider prebuild NAS devices but the cost started to put me off. I have a rumble round all the old bits of pc's i have lying around my house and decided that i would probably be better to build a cheap fileserver etc and put it in the loft.

Also i liked the idea of the upgradablility of a diy build rather than a prebuilt NAS or alike.

Parts already i have -

Old Coolmaster case (way to big tbh but it's lying about doing nothing)
Old 530W Tagan PSU (again way to much but very efficent and costs nothing)
15" lcd monitor (again no cost)
120gb hard drive.

Parts needed

CPU
Motherboard
gfx (or onboard the m/board)
ram
hard drives

Got hold of a motherboard and gfx from a friend. Gigabyte P31 board and an X1600 passive gpu. Cost £25
Ram - again a friend, 2gb PC5400 ram - £10
CPU - ebay special! - got an E2180 for £25 inc postage
Hard Drive - 1TB Samsung F1 - £60.

I have a sagem 2054 stock Sky router at the moment and have purchased a gigabit switch (netgear) that i will use to hook up fileserver, main pc and a couple of outlets in the lounge for the laptop and/or WD TV streamer.

Got a bunch of Cat5e cable from a recent office move that was kindly left by the IT boys!!

So basically it's probably way over spec'd/powered for a fileserver/streamer but it's cheap and straighforward to build.

Now i will say at the outset that i know nothing about linux etc etc. So i decided to use an old copy of XP that i have lying around for the time being to get things up and running.

The idea is to build the server - get that up and running as it will be going in my loft. Once up and running then get the Cat5e cable installed and wired in to connect my main pc to this new server. After that it will be connecting the router (downstairs) to the switch.

Main pc is currently wireless connected to the router. All the cabling will have to be under carpets and cupboards etc so as "she who must be obeyed" is happy.

Started tonight and put all the bits together for the server - running a quick boot test and all good so far. Installing XP on the 120gb drive and then will put all the components in the case after that.

Will update as we go and any comments or questions -fire away.
 

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mickevh

Distinguished Member
I wanted the option to store 8gb and rising of pictures and videos of my little boy

Have you thought about backup? Hard disc drives are mechanical devices and as such they all break down in the end. Not the time to discover that your new server hosts the only copy of your precioius pictures. For things like photo's & "home videos" I'd cut a few copies to CD/DVD's for archive.
 

booyaka

Moderator
Have you thought about backup? Hard disc drives are mechanical devices and as such they all break down in the end. Not the time to discover that your new server hosts the only copy of your precioius pictures. For things like photo's & "home videos" I'd cut a few copies to CD/DVD's for archive.

indeed i have that already. Backed up on another hard drive and also on 3 DVD's for security.:thumbsup:
 

booyaka

Moderator
Update one.

10.30pm 1st June

All systems go. Installed XP on drive - up and running in about 40mins. A quick test by hooking up a network cable between my laptop and the new server confirms that i can transfer files direct from laptop to server and vice-versa. All seems to be good so far.

Need to obviously look into this Remote desktop issue and how that works as i would like to be able to download files to the server eventually if i was away from home working etc.

Main thing of concern tonight was that all the component pars were/are working correctly.

Need to get an electrical socket installed in the loft for the server and then look at the various cabling needs over the next couple of days.
 

booyaka

Moderator
What about using powerline adapters or the such to create your ethernet saves running cables all round the house...

yeah good point but got cat5e cable for nothing and most of it will be either hidden in the back of cupboards or 2 min just to lift the carpet and position, and put back down.

Would need 2 pairs at least of plugs so the additional cost is a consideration.
 

kaidiez

Active Member
Now you are setup I would setup remote access to the fileserver and get rid of the monitor, now you never need to actually go to the machine to configure it which is a bonus to me.

If you use torrents to download you could use utorrent and set it to automatically pick up torrents from a folder or alternatively set up the web interface then you can just login and set your downloads that way.

I am considering the same thing was looking at NAS' last night but a good price / feature ratio was looking to be a problem
 

booyaka

Moderator
Now you are setup I would setup remote access to the fileserver and get rid of the monitor, now you never need to actually go to the machine to configure it which is a bonus to me.

If you use torrents to download you could use utorrent and set it to automatically pick up torrents from a folder or alternatively set up the web interface then you can just login and set your downloads that way.

I am considering the same thing was looking at NAS' last night but a good price / feature ratio was looking to be a problem

absolutely the idea - the monitor will get dumped and i will probably strip the gfx card out as well to save on power when it's fully up and running. I will have a gander at the web interface for utorrent as that is what i already use.
 

booyaka

Moderator
Netgear gigabit switch arrived today (£20 from another forum) and got 80m or so of cat5e cable from work (free!)

Need to get a couple of sockets in the loft fitted and should get things up and running for the server at least this weekend hopefully.
 

kaidiez

Active Member
post pictures of the completed build when its done please would be interesting to see how it all looks finished, might give me a few ideas for whatever i decide to settle on as well ;)
 

booyaka

Moderator
post pictures of the completed build when its done please would be interesting to see how it all looks finished, might give me a few ideas for whatever i decide to settle on as well ;)

will do. Server is build but need electric socket to be put in the loft and also all the cat5e cabling to be done!:eek::eek:
 

booyaka

Moderator
ok

Two issues tonight i have run into:

One being the missus!:devil:

She has veto'd the server in the loft idea, as she doesn't want something running/being switch on 24/7 in the loft. She thinks it's a fire risk etc.

Secondly, getting a socket fitted in the loft (i.e spuring off the ring mains upstairs) is going to be a bit of a hassle as there is no ring mains circuit wiring in the loft already so i would need to run a new cable from an existing plug etc up into the loft (again missus not happy!)

So where do i go from here-

New thoughts are - server to go in the garage (watertight and cool).

If i do that it's going to get very messy with cat5e cabling as it's about 25m to the study room and means lots of hiding cable etc.

Do i try wireless N, i already have a wireless N router and a wireless N card in my main pc so it only means a wireless N card for the server and see what happens.

Homeplugs? - a possibility but i will need 2 pairs (4 plugs) and could get costly and not sure how they would work as the garage electric (although perfectly useable) doesn't appear to be a particularly tidy wiring job.

Hmmmm
 

booyaka

Moderator
I did think of putting my server in the loft but decided against it in the end, probably for similar reasons to your misses. Although I've never actually heard of one catching fire things can get a bit toasty up in the loft in the summer plus it's good to put the server somewhere where you can have a look at it once it a while to check everything's ok, ie. that the fans are not making funny noises and to give it a quick once over to blow out any dust etc.
I ended up sticking mine in a cupboard. It took a while to sort of the ventilation but now it's done I'm very happy with it. The network cabling runs from the cupboard into a 16 port switch in the loft and from there drops down into each of the bedrooms. I went down the outside of the house a couple of times (using exterior grade cat5e from these guys) for the downstairs rooms since it was easier than chasing walls out. I clipped the cabling to the back of the drain downpipes and you have to look hard to see it.

Wireless N can be handy and depending on your bandwidth requirements might suffice. Obviously cable is best. I’ve used probably 300 metres of it and you can get quite cunning trying to hide the cable without disturbing your décor. For example, behind skirting (for those rooms with wooden flooring) and you can quite easily chisel out a back box for an rj45 outlet without messing up the wallpaper. If you can go to the effort of wiring everything rather than using wireless and/or homeplugs then you won't regret it.

cabling is the best option now doubt but thinking for the time being getting the server up with a wireless n card and then taking my time to get some cat5e options.
 

booyaka

Moderator
Seems sensible. Given you're initially just going to be using it as storage (unless I've got the wrong end of the stick) then wireless N should keep you going. As and when you start streaming video then you might have to reconsider.

You can test out your wireles theory now without buying a card for your server, can't you? Put your desktop in the garage and then walk around your house with the laptop testing out the signal strength/quality?

yeah mainly storage/backups etc and a torrent box.
 

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