Tim's 7.24TB "Tiddler" Unraid NAS.

Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
This build log was originally based on the N36L Microserver which has been superceded by the newer N40L, the build is still relevant as the newer microserver is almost identical, caution is advised however when it comes to flashing the BIOS, use the links provided & read & then read again

I've been wanting to build my own NAS for years so when HP announced that the Proliant Microserver would come with a £100 cashback i couldn't resist:

A bargain i thought, but will it work with Unraid? As it turn's out, it does, & very well accordingly

I'm going to fit 5 drives into this with maybe a cache (2.5") drive later.

To fit these drives & to upgrade the memory you will have to remove the motherboard, don't worry though it's on a purpose built tray held on by 2 thumb screws, you also need to disconnect 6 cables.

I'll now post a build log of my 7.24TB "Tiddler" NAS;) my apologies for my (non existent) photography skills.

This build was inspired by neilt0 on the Unraid forums:

MicroServer NL36 - 6 Drive Edition

Server came well boxed, the super quick delivery i paid extra for.


A thing-o-beauty






A 2GB USB stick


As this server only comes with 1GB of memory I've decided to upgrade it to 2GB & I purchased a 1GB stick off of Ebay:eek: for a tad over a tenner.
For info the the memory is made by Hynix HMT112U7BFR8C-H9 it is DDR3 & is unbuffered but with ECC I've read that this server will also take ordinary unbuffered non ECC DDR3 DIMM's provided you do not mix.


The next item is the Icy Dock IB-168SK single cold swap bay to be fitted where the ODD (if you were to fit one) resides


 
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Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
The next items are a right angled SATA to straight SATA cable, a ESATA to SATA cable & a Molex to SATA power connector (already in the Icy Dock box).

The most expensive part of this build 5 of these beauties: Western Digital WD20EARS 5400RPM HDD's.

Server with it's door open showing the cold swap bays.

Top off showing the ODD bay, NOTE: You must have the door open or removed to slide the top off.

Now with door removed.

Closeup of the cabling most of which are to the front of the motherboard.
NOTE:The SAS (4xSATA) connector is a bugger to disconnect to aide removal snip the cable tie above the connector.

this the reverse of the door showing the 4 special ODD screws & the 16 HDD screws along with the TORX screw driver, nice touch i thought.
NOTE: the first 2 HDD screws are meant to be missing.

This picture shows the top of the server from the reverse side to show the ODD steel blanking plate, you will need some patience here as this a sod to remove, why they had to make the blanking plate snap points so strong is anyones guess:lesson:anyway i removed the plastic cover first exposing the steel blanking plate from both sides, then it's a case of pushing & pulling till one of the snap points breaks be very careful this plate is sharp.
 
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Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
This picture shows the motherborard nearly out, the thumscrews mentioned earlier are to the front and are easily found because they are blue, they are tight though, you will need a screwdriver to loosen. The first cable to disconnect is the SAS cable (big black one to the left of the picture) snip the cable tie to aide removal NOTE: there is a locking mechanism also press to remove. Next to remove is the fan cable, next are the 2 USB cables one white, one yellow, the next is the black connector (don't know what this is). When those 5 cables are removed gently lift slightly with the tray handle & pull out the motherboard until the 24 pin PSU connector is uncovered disconnect & the motherboard is now easily removed.

Motherboard out & the new stick of memory in.

Putting the motherboard back in only goes in one way but can be fiddley trying to keep cables out of the way. the angled SATA cable is now fitted as is the PSU connector push slightly in then reconnect the SAS cable, the fan cable, the USB cables & lastly the black cable (I think this maybe the power,reset, hdd led header)

These are the cold swap caddies with the supplied 250GB Seagate HDD, i'll use this elsewhere as it's not going into this server

These are the 4 special ODD screws mentioned earlier to be fitted to the Icy Dock.

Screws fittedto the Icy Dock.

The Icy Dock fitted to the ODD bay, I also routed the SATA cable this will be fitted to the Icy Dock. NOTE the dock doesn't fit that well into the ODD bay due to the fact it has rubber mounts but firms up nicely when the top is refitted.

The Molex to SATA power cable adapter fitted.

The back of the server showing the ports, I'm going to fit a ESATA to SATA cable


There is a handy pull down flap above the half height PCI slots this is where the ESATA to SATA cables going.


A wonderment to behold:)

The first drive fitted in the Icy Dock this is going to be the parity drive. It will save you lot's of time later if you make a note of the hard drives serial numbers & to which sata port they go in Unraid for your info sees the ODD sata port as host 5 & the rest as hosts 0,1,2,3 looking at your server from the front host 0 is to the far left & host 3 to the far right.
Please note the red Esata cable is not connected & is just routed for now.

Top on & drive in you may have to jiggle the top a bit but it will go.

The other 4 drives with the cold swap caddies fitted these are made of plastic but feel quite robust.

This is a close up of the USB memory stick motherboard header, nice and neat IMHO this stick is not the one mentioned above as it came late.

Tada....Finished, total time about an hour.


To fully utilise the 5th ODD SATA port you have to flash the bios with a modified HP bios it works just fine & is essential if you want the port to run at full speed.
I ran the ESATA cable as i may fit a cache drive later on. just below the ODD bay is an area that will take a 2.5" HDD
I'll add more to this later i'm now going to have a beer:D
Tim
 
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Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
Things have certainly moved on since the original post forum member Thebay has a thread dedicated to the Micro Server's BIOS':

HP N36L/N40L/N54L Microserver Updated AHCI BIOS Support. | AVForums


I'll keep the original BIOS flashing method if only for library purposes, however my advice is to check out the above mentioned thread.

The standard BIOS will have to be modified to make the 5th SATA port run at FULL SATA speeds.

NOTE: The setup mentioned below assumes that you are running a PC with Windows (in my case XP). This procedure will not work with 64 bit Windows

To update the BIOS you will need a monitor & a USB keyboard connected to your Microserver.

Please be aware that flashing BIOS' contains an element of risk, i cannot held accountable for any potential problems

Download this BIOS from HP:

HP ProLiant MicroServer series*-* * RECOMMENDED * Systems ROMPaq Firmware Upgrade for HP ProLiant MicroServer (For USB Key-Media) - HP Business Support Center

Run the exe file & follow the prompts, don't change anything keep everything as is, when done a HP web browser GUI pops up, this, (for me) did not work so for clarity close the browser.
Open My Computer & navigate to the C:/ drive there you will see a folder called SWSetup inside that is another folder called SP50582 inside this folder navigate to a folder named USB Key open this, then put a USB memory stick in a convienient USB slot (make a note of where the memory stick is in My Computer). Go back to the folder USB Key & run the application HPQUSB.exe, select your USB stick from the devices drop down menu, the program will then warn that you will lose all data on your USB key, press OK, when finished the program has renamed your memory stick ROMPAQ open it to check that these files are on the memory stick:

flash.bat
IBMBIO.COM
IBMDOS.COM
kbd.exe
O41093010.ROM
readme.1st
Readme.txt
rev_hist.txt

There are some hidden system files (these make the USB stick bootable) if you want to check they are:

AUTOEXEC.BAT
COMMAND.COM
CONFIG.SYS

Next step is to download the modified BIOS from here:

ahci.rar

You should have a file called ahci.rar, open this file & extract:

ahci.bat
ahci_o.rom

Put these 2 files onto your USB stick.

The Microserver is already setup to boot from a USB stick by default, put the USB stick into ANY of the Microservers USB ports & start the server, the BIOS update will run automatically & will take about a second to complete, if successful you will see a c:/ prompt now type ahci.bat hit enter, this will load the BIOS mod & again take about a second to complete.
Turn off the server & remove the USB stick, wait a couple of seconds & restart, hit F10 to gain access to the BIOS make any adjustments as per the pictures in the BIOS config section then save & exit.
If for any reason you're unable to download I have these files, PM me.

NOTE: A new BIOS & hack for the N36L has become available for those of you who want the latest, the link is below with install instructions, big thanks to Knight01:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/15113684-post355.html


The BIOS tweaks mentioned above are for the older N36L Microserver, there are reports that the BIOS tweak will work on the N40L, I personally would not recommend this.
Use & flash the new bios here:


http://www.avforums.com/forums/netw...6l-microserver-updated-ahci-bios-support.html

This BIOS definitely works with N40L look here:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/16332889-post114.html
 
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Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
These Pictures are of my BIOS settings after the BIOS tweak has been applied, they work for me, if anyone knows of any other tweaks please LMK
















This part of the BIOS is why you flashed it in first place:)


Setting the highlighted part to disabled unlocks the 5th SATA port.

:thumbsup:
 
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Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
The hard drives I am using are the Western Digital 2TB WD20EARS 5400RPM HDD's, they were chosen for their cool running & quietness, BUT these drives use the new Advanced Format system & are not compatible with Unraid unless you fit a jumper to pins 7 & 8. Since Unraid 4.7, however, support for these Advanced Format drives has been implemented so the jumper is no longer necessary, BUT you will be unable to use previous versions of Unraid.

NOTE: If you are going to use the same USB stick you used for flashing the BIOS it will need the BIOS files deleted, best way is format it .

Connect a monitor & keyboard to the Microserver.

Download your chosen version of Unraid (i used v4.7):

Downloads | unRAID Server

Tutorial covering installation of Unraid to a USB stick is here:

unRAID Server Installation

This next section is quite involved it is essential that these instructions are followed closely:

http://www.lime-technology.com/wiki/index.php?title=Configuration_Tutorial#Introduction

Anyone building an Unraid server may also want to look at some of the manuals :

Un-Official UnRAID Manual - unRAID

UnRAID Manual - unRAID

Lime Technology - unRAID Server Community - Index

UnRAID Add Ons - unRAID


Think that's about it, i've enjoyed building this, all was pretty straight forward & the Microserver is an absolute steal, it's relatively quiet, well featured, & well built, i may buy another.

The cost with HDD's was £608 & with the £100 cashback from HP makes ummmm.....£508....did i say bargain:)

Tim.
 
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HugoFJH

Active Member
Good luck with the rest of the build / install - hope it goes well for you (and that you dont run out of storage too quickly lol - Ive already filled 6 out of 10TB on my unraid server lol :)
 

Bolle

Active Member
Very nice build, and with the cashback an amazing value little server!
 

Demon

Active Member
I got two of these microservers, for the money, they are just too cheap to pass up, if you have the experience to tinker!

Nice pictures, I think it's good to show people how easy it is to pull apart!
 

Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
Thanks for feedback lads. I'll add the unraid config when i get some time :)
Tim.
 
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Qactuar

Distinguished Member
Are these still on offer somewhere? I am hugely tempted to buy a unit and wait for 2TB disks to come down some more ...
 

jameson_uk

Novice Member
OK need to not buy one of these (although stock is rapidly vanishing anyway)

What sort of real world speeds are you getting from this?
 

Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
OK need to not buy one of these (although stock is rapidly vanishing anyway)

What sort of real world speeds are you getting from this?
With the parity drive off i can get 60MB/s from my computer to the NAS pulling data off the NAS to my desktop i'm seeing 40MB/s uploading from my USB external HDD's i'm getting 30MB/s.
I have upgraded my wired network to gigabit & the streaming to my PCH is faultless, i haven't tested HI-Def as yet nor concurrent streaming, i'll do some more testing & let you know:)
Tim.
 

Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
I got two of these microservers, for the money, they are just too cheap to pass up, if you have the experience to tinker!

Nice pictures, I think it's good to show people how easy it is to pull apart!
I'm really tempted to buy another....just because:devil:
 

mip.palmer

Novice Member
Added BIOS flash section :)
Hi Tim, I'm one of the many sucked in by this thread. Waiting for my microserver to arrive from IT247.com (Crescent had sold out by the time I made the decision to go for it).

Don't know if I have missed it, but which OS are you using/going to use?

Thanks for the info so far and no doubt more that is to come.

Regards mipmip.
 

Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
Hi Tim, I'm one of the many sucked in by this thread. Waiting for my microserver to arrive from IT247.com (Crescent had sold out by the time I made the decision to go for it).

Don't know if I have missed it, but which OS are you using/going to use?

Thanks for the info so far and no doubt more that is to come.

Regards mipmip.
Hello matey,
Yes you missed it;) i'm using Unraid:
Home
Lime Technology - unRAID Server Community - Index
Cheers.
Tim.
 

mip.palmer

Novice Member
Thanks Tim, still had to read it twice to see it! :oops:

Will you be covering installation and using unraid at all?

Regards mipmip.
 

Tim Cooper

Well-known Member
Thanks Tim, still had to read it twice to see it! :oops:

Will you be covering installation and using unraid at all?

Regards mipmip.
Yes I will as soon as i get some time. I'm going to cover the BIOS settings next, then basic settings for Unraid.
Tim.
 
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