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Retail Therapy
Tuesday 2nd June, 2009 14:46 Comments: 4
My fileserver is rapidly running out of free disk space and has recently experienced a few unusual freezes. This has resulted in a few reboots and lots of resynching of the two RAID5 volumes (and a couple of hairy moments where I was worried I'd lost terabytes of data). I'm not sure if it's the dying motherboard, a dying SATA controller card, buggy x64 drivers, a dying hard disk, or just good old fashioned bad luck. I decided to bite the bullet and do The Big Upgrade. I now have several expensive computer components sat on my desk at work (£1341 worth), which I'll use to help build a new fileserver when I get home tonight. Yes, despite my bad luck with the WD 1TB Raid Edition drives, I've decided to purchase their 2TB drives (not the Raid Edition though, as they're only avaliable for pre-order).

You'd think that would cheer me up. No, what cheered me up was today's purchase, a shiny new graphics card that costs a fraction of what I've spent on everything else. I guess it's because I won't really see any benefit from upgrading my RAM (I don't even use 4GB right now), and because the fileserver really needed to be upgraded (and I'm used to having a lot of disk space/never deleting stuff). The graphics card, however, is completely non-essential.

So, more importantly, what did I get? After several days deliberation, I stumbled across this interesting card, MSI's N275GTX Twin Frozr OC with a dual-fan and 5-heatpipes design. I was persuaded by the non-reference cooler:


I'm not sure if it'll be louder than my current chunky heatsink and 120mm fan solution (although it probably will be), but it will be almost 3x faster. I mostly use my main system for LAN parties, so it'll be worth it. You can't usually hear my machine after everyone else there have turned theirs on.
Avatar Robert - Wednesday 3rd June, 2009 10:00
The new fileserver is slowly getting there. The first couple of old (potentially dodgy) DVD drives I used didn't appear to want to boot the DVD; after switching to a nice SATA DVD-RW I was able to boot the DVD, but it seemed to get stuck at one point until I removed the (potentially dodgy) SATA hard disk and hooked up an older and very reliable IDE hard disk. The installation went fine, I was even able to use the motherboard driver CD to install the missing drivers on 2008 x64, and at some point tonight I'll hook up the new hard drives. The plan is to move all of the data across to the new array and then steal one of the nice 1TB hard disks from the existing array and do yet another install of Windows 2008 so everything will be running off nice SATA drives. The PSU I'm temporarily using makes one hell of a noise though.
Avatar Robert - Friday 5th June, 2009 11:38
It took well over a day just to resync the new array (I could have copied the data over as it resynced, but I'm in no desperate hurry), but the migration of data between the old (2.72TB) and new array (spookily, 7.27TB) is going well so far, averaging about 86.6MB/s: https://www.robnicholls.co.uk/files/file_copying_going_well.png

Once the first array's done I'll do a reinstall of Windows Server 2008 onto one of the 1TB drives and then look into moving the contents of the bigger array over.
Avatar Robert - Wednesday 17th June, 2009 17:19
It appears that one of my disks might have been playing up, as shortly after copying the data off the old big array onto the new one, I was back to Failed Redundancy and one of the 500GB drives had disappeared again. On a different port on the controller, so it's less likely to be the controller (which has otherwise worked fine for the last few days).
Avatar Robert - Tuesday 23rd June, 2009 15:51
After using rivatuner to drop the minimum fan speed to 25% instead of the default of 40%, it runs pretty quietly (until it gets warm, but even then I haven't seen it go above 40%).
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