[Tfug] NAS again

John Gruenenfelder jetpackjohn at gmail.com
Fri Feb 14 18:47:21 MST 2014

Hash: SHA256

On February 12, 2014 1:34:31 PM MST, Bexley Hall <bexley401 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>Hi John,
>[Are you here?  Or, freezing your cookies off?  :> ]

I'm back in Tucson.  I've been back since 2008 when I graduated from UMass Amherst.  Although, truthfully, I'd rather still be in New England.  Maybe it's because I was born here and have spent all but three years in Tucson, but I miss the snow and going through four distinct seasons.

>> A bit late to this party, but here's my two cents:
>No problem -- but we're running low on *beer*... hopefully you
>brought some along with you??

Already imbibed.  :(
That said, I tend towards beers of a thickness that require a knife to separate from the tap.  They may not be... universally appreciated.  :)
>And, I've got a variety of external USB enclosures!
>But, this is really a kludgy approach.  Each drive would have its
>own wall wart -- plus the wall wart for <whatever> is driving them.
>[I am already sorely stressed by the lack of "available products"
>that will support multiple wall warts on a single power strip...
>having to spend 3 WIDELY SPACED outlets to accommodate *one*
>such "dual drive NAS" would just change the complexion of the

Hmmm...  I hadn't thought about the wall wart issue, and a router certainly isn't going to provide enough bus power for those enclosures that can be run that way.  However, I have noticed some improvement in wall wart design lately.  I've seen more and more that are no longer dense cubes but are instead, say, half-cubes, with prongs on the side so they occupy approximately the same strip space as a normal three-prong plug.

Also, SWS sells this really nice "spider" power strip with five outlets.  It's cheap and I've got two myself.  No more issues with plugs not fitting.  But... I know from mail on this list that your work area is... ordered?  :)  So, your milage may vary, offer void in Puerto Rico and Pinal County, etc.

>I've also had frustrating results with external drive enclosures.
>Many suffer from the "128GB" (IDE) limitation.  I spent several hours
>two nights ago trying to understand why two "*identical*" external
>enclosures mated with identical *disks* gave different results:
>one enclosure reported the internal 500GB drive as being 128GB while
>the other reported the full 500GB.

That's just bizarre, but I, too, have encountered enough firmwares with "shortcuts".  Hey, it works with device X.  Job's done!

>> I wholeheartedly recommend Shuttle PCs... but not for what you need
>> here, I think.
>To be clear, are you recommending *against* their use in this
>application?  Or, just not recommending *for* their use?

Oh, I like their products plenty.  I just thought it wasn't quite what you were looking for.  I thought you wanted a one-device-one-drive setup, but if you're looking for a box that can hold 1-3 drives then a low-end Shuttle PC might be a good fit.

> From some casual research, it seems like fan noise is probably
>the biggest woe -- small diameter fan, "big" processor (vs. what
>I could get away with).

It can be, I suppose.  All of the Shuttles I had supported automatic fan speed control in the BIOS.  Also, I always replaced the stock 80mm fan with a "quiet" model and I, personally, never found the noise to be too loud.

>> The case design is quite nice and you can pack a surprising amount
>> into one.  A normal Shuttle case can hold up to two 3.5" drives
>> (one has a faceplate available),
>I'm guessing this to be the floppy/media card "slot" below the
>"optical/5.25 drive"?

Yes, though I always used both 3.5" bays for HDDs.

>Yes, the photos I have seen suggest a *shoehorn* is supplied with
>each purchase to help you assemble the thing!  :-/

Indeed, once filled the amount of working space is at quite a premium, especially if you ever need to reach in to fiddle with a jumper and don't want to remove the drives rack.

As for the shape/stacking issue you mentioned in the other email, I don't know that it's a big concern.  They seem very stackable, but then I never had to mix them with rack mountable machines.

>> Cooling is achieved via a nifty heatpipe system that sits on the CPU
>> and curves up to the back of the case where there is a big radiator
>> and fan.
>But the fan is a small diameter -- leading to higher RPM to move
>a comparable amount of air past/through the heat exchanger.  Hence
>the noise issue (?)

If you consider 80mm to be too small.  I never keep stock fans regardless of size, though.  I consider the small price of one or more quiet replacement fans to be part of the cost of assembling a new case.

>> Also, the last few generations of video cards generate *so* much
>> I don't think a Shuttle case could adaquately cool it.
>I suspect the power supplies in a machine that size couldn't
>*power* it, let alone keep it cool!

Yes, quite true.  The PSU in a Shuttle case occupies very little space and as a consequence doesn't supply as much power as a regular PSU.

Go Minutemen!  :)

- --John Gruenenfelder    Systems Manager, MKS Imaging Technology, LLC.
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