Using a laptop as a NAS

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by U187146, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. U187146

    U187146
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    How about this as an idea. I have a laptop that is about 4 years old, battery has given up the ghost so it is run off the mains. I have been looking at various options for NAS and have concluded that I can either spend about £500 + hard drives for Linkstation, Infrant barebones etc.) or build my own.

    I was thinking of using this old laptop and attaching these to the USB ports.

    http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/99223/rb/20644118874

    I have a couple of 250gb drives anyway, though I see that you can now get 320 for about £70 so prices are coming down rapidly. The laptop runs an intel celeron processor and it not going to win any speed contests, though I am assuming it would be fine, particularly if I upgraded to Windows XP MCE.

    I will probably automatically power it up between 0800 and 1200 and send it to standby mode overnight. A couple of questions.

    1. Would this be suitable for running as a media server (music, pics, films etc..). It will be connected to a wire 100mb LAN.

    2. How can I tell what power it is using. The transformer gets hot, I know that much. I know nothing about the electrics side of things. How can I tell how many watts are being chewed up by leaving it on. Is it safe to leave a laptop running for 16 hours a day.

    Any other ideas, please feel free. I reckon I can get this running with minimal cost as I already have the hard drives. I also have a 6 year old Carrera PC running an AMD KIII-500 processor with an ASUS P5A Super 7 mobo. Very loud, but would well out of the way. Not even sure this would cope as a media server, though it does still work fine.

    What's the general view on this. Not worried about RAID.

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  2. Andy98765

    Andy98765
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    It all sounds a good idea, buy the caddy and try, not a lot to lose as the caddy would always be useful.
    Leave the operating system alone, I assume it must be running ME.
    Issues, speed of USB ports, if USB1 then you may need to upgrade to 2 via a PCMIA card.
    Is the ethernet port 100M or 10M, if 10 then it may struggle with video streaming.
    Power can be worked out. Example my laptop gives 15V @ 5amp = 75watts, allowing for losses in conversion from mains it would then draw about 90 - 100watt.

    OR try this http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/95885
     
  3. willsy2

    willsy2
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    Have a look at Nalite+ http://www.serverelements.com It would probably work ok with your laptop using vesion 2 with the usb linked hard drives, although i'm not sure about the transfer rates via usb particularly if it's version 1.1.
    The AMD KIII 500 would probably be a better bet, you can use the free version of Naslite which boots from floppy, has no problems with bios hard drive size limitations, only limitation is no file sizes bigger than 4gig which the + and version 2 don't.
    If you want to try the free version and have problems making the floppy disk image, let me know and i'll send you one.

    Here's a power calculator http://www.epiacenter.com/powersim/powersim_v2/epiasimulator_v2.htm
     
  4. U187146

    U187146
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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I've decided to put a SATA controller PCI card in my old AMD K3-400 PC and installed my SATA drives in the PC and also install a USB2 card for future expansion possibilities. Not sure if this will be powerful enough for media files though I won't know until I try. It's not costing much either way courtesy of ebay. Bryan from BigBry is also being a great help (anyone wanting to build an HTPC but doesn't have the confidence to do so themselves I would recommend talking to Bryan - BigBry.co.uk).

    A quick question on PSU's. The one I currently have is very noisy and probably filled with dust from 6 years service. I may replace this with a modern quieter unit, though I am not sure what power output I'll need. It may need to run up to 5 drives, though not concurrently, the processor (which is fairly old and I don't think these draw as much power as say a P4. Also running ASUS P5A mobo, 384mb RAM. I'll be removing graphics card (assuming I can VNC from another PC) and the soundcard. I may add additional hard drives via USB over time. I am running Windows XP and may put MCE on this as well to keep the network consistent (I run this on my other PC also). Currently the PC runs very cool 27-34c.

    What do you think I will need from a PSU perspective - any recommendations welcome - or perhaps a good clean might do the trick !! Any other suggestions or comments on the proposed server set up welcomed. I know I could install NASLite or Linux, but not sufficiently confident in my own abilities to work through something new (I have enough problems with MCE) whilst I need the ability for advanced power on/off options that MCE gives me.

    Cheers.
    Chris
     
  5. willsy2

    willsy2
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    Using the powersim calculator, you're looking at about 250 watts minimum, and powering up 5 HDD's at once is going to need a pretty stable PSU. I couldn't get a cheapo 300 watt supply to start with 2 hard drives and a Celeron 2gig.
    I'm using a 380W TAGAN TG380 which is whisper quiet in my Naslite server with 3 HDD's up to now, with another to be fitted. Seems OK ATM, but i'll find out when i fit the extra disk next week.
     

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