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Storage Argon EON

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Omnislip, 7 Sep 2021.

  1. Omnislip

    Omnislip Minimodder

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    This pretty-looking NAS case seems to be close to launch: https://www.kickstarter.com/project...bay-network-storage-powered-by-raspberry-pi-4

    Thought I'd ask here if people have experience running a NAS from one of these new Pis? I have an old n36l in my cupboard (purchased from the marketplace here!) but it seems like it would be prudent to replace it with something less decrepit. I don't push anything too hard through it - would this be a worthwhile change?

    Cheers!
     
  2. meandmymouth

    meandmymouth Multimodder

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    Checkout Jeff Geerling you YouTube, he has some videos on running a pi nas.
     
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  3. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Yus. The Pi 4 no longer routes the Ethernet through USB, so you get USB 3.0 (a single lane split across two ports, though) and full-speed gigabit Ethernet at the same time. Which is nice.

    If the case above - which I haven't looked into yet - is using an unmodified Raspberry Pi 4, as the title suggests, then it'll be connecting all four hard drives over a single USB 3.0 lane. Not ideal, and a definite bottleneck - plus USB has measurable CPU overhead.

    If it's using a Compute Module 4 instead and just using "Raspberry Pi 4" for name recognition, it could swap the USB-to-SATA bridge for a PCIe SATA controller - which would drop the overhead considerably. You'd lose USB 3.0 connectivity, tho'.

    I've enjoyed all the Argon 40 cases I've tried, though, and I've a one-slot NAS in an Argon One for Raspberry Pi 4 as my remote backup server. Works fine. Will probably back the new one - hell, it'd mean I could get rid of the ever-annoying Helios64 and clownshoes Armbian...
     
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  4. Omnislip

    Omnislip Minimodder

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    It has come in pretty expensive - £90 plus shipping plus a Pi.

    Probably too much for me, given that I can continue to use my microserver, and put the savings towards something more seriously designed as a home NAS.

    I hope it works well for you, Gareth!
     
  5. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    As do I! Missed the Early Bird discount, sadly, and there was postage on top so £110 - then there'll be 20 per cent import VAT and a courier's handling fee... Yeah, not cheap.

    My biggest complaint about the Helios64 I'm using now, though, is the software. Switching to a Pi-based system means I can use mainline Ubuntu instead of clownshoes Armbian - and that's worth its weight in gold.
     
  6. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'm actually writing this up for Hackster right now, and spotted something I missed the first read-through: it's a four bay NAS, true enough... but it won't actually take four 3.5"drives. It'll only take two 3.5" drives... and the other two have to be 2.5" drives.

    Bit disappointing, that, but to be fair I've only got two 3.5" drives in my current four-bay (five bay, but the fifth is disabled if you install an M.2) NAS...
     
    Last edited: 10 Sep 2021
  7. Krazeh

    Krazeh Minimodder

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    This (assuming it gets put into production) looks like it could be an interesting alternative.
     
  8. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Crowdfunder's over, and my payment's just gone through: £111-ish. Assuming 20 per cent VAT and a ~£10 handling charge, it'll be £142 landed.
     
  9. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    New update, and it brings with it an added feature: an internal USB port and mounting points for an NVMe-to-USB adapter, letting you boot from USB and still use all four hard drive slots for storage.
     
  10. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    This just landed. I'll be reviewing it, so it's staying boxed until I've time for a build-and-photograph session. Reassuring heft to the box, though, and nothing rattling so far.

    Looks like it's come Royal Mail Tracked 48, too, from an address in the UK - which with a bit of luck means no VAT to pay...
     
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  11. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Took me longer than I'd have liked to get around to it, but it's now built.

    argoneon-contents.jpg

    argoneon-hero.jpg

    argoneon-rear.jpg

    argoneon-drives.jpg

    argoneon-oled.jpg

    Observations so far:

    Instructions a bit vague, skipping a step: you *really* need to remove the rear IO shield before you try to shove the Raspberry Pi in. It also tells you to remove the screw holding the AV daughterboard in place, but never tells you to put it back again...

    Thin plastic side-panels are absolute dust magnets.

    The hard drives are very close together, almost touching. The problem's compounded by the fact the fan is triggered by CPU temperature alone - meaning that, thanks to the big ol' chunk of metal it attaches for passive cooling, the fan's unlikely to spin up even when the drives are under heavy load. You can put the fan on all the time, but it's really noisy at full speed. Still audible at whatever "1%" equates to, but less so. When I get time(!) I'm going to dig into the fan control script and see if there's a way to add hard drive temperature monitoring in there - the USB-SATA bridge passes SMART through with '-d sat' in smartctl, so it should be doable.

    The OLED panel on the power button's a nice touch. Gets a bit confused about btrfs drives with no partitions, tho': it says "sd" instead of "sda" on the storage utilisation screen.

    Current sat at 1.11A/12.4V, so about 14W with two hard drives in it. Seems high - I forgot to take a reading before I installed the drives, so I need to remove 'em and check again.

    Oh, and it came with a free screwdriver.

    EDIT:
    0.44A with the drives removed. So, 5.5W. According to my latest figures, a Pi 4 on its own draws... 2.9W. Some of the extra will be going to the OLED panel, but I dunno where all the rest is being sunk. Inefficient 12-whateverV conversion, maybe?
     
    Last edited: 11 Mar 2022
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  12. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Should be writing right now, but had a quick further play. The fan, located at the top of the case, is set up to pull air and blow it downwards... which is, to my mind, exactly backwards. I've taken it out and flipped it around, so it's extracting hot air from the top of the case instead of just redistributing it. Monitoring what that does to drive temperatures now - running it at "1%" permanently, only speeding up if the CPU gets above 50°C.

    It's clearly not designed for that, though: the fan sits on extruded mounts which slot into the plastic only one way round; flipping the fan means it sits on top of rather than over those mounts, increasing the overall height. There's still plenty of room between the fan and the drives, tho', so it's not too bad. I think it's even made it a bit quieter, now it's not as snugly pressed against the solid metal lid...

    I'm also thinking about picking up some cheap silicone thermal pads and slapping 'em on the side of the hard drives, where they mount to the back panel. I know it's only one side out of six, and not the biggest side at that, but it might make a teeny-tiny difference in drive temp.

    EDIT:
    Hmm, now the OLED's stopped working. Reseated the cables, nowt. I get the logo on boot, but nothing afterwards. Annoying!

    EDIT EDIT:
    Turns out that setting "0" for "Turn OFF OLED Screen when unchanged after X secs," which says "0 for MANUAL"... just turns the screen off altogether, rather than disabling auto-off. Amaze.

    EDIT EDIT EDIT:
    Nah, something in the software's gone screwy. Now it only shows me CPU usage, and then only when I'm in the argon-config menu. Otherwise the display's blank. Wonder how that broke?

    EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT:
    Answers that question: it works fine... so long as I don't set the fan speed to "1". If the fan speed is set to above 1 and the fan has *not* been triggered, it seems to work fine; if it *has* been triggered the bottom few lines are entirely missing. Bizarre!

    EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT EDIT:
    Looks like the screen corrupts when the fan's set below "100" and breaks entirely at the slowest speeds. And the whole thing's pointless anyway, 'cos I've got it running at full tilt now and the hottest hard drive has gone from 37°C idle to 36°C idle. Not worth the noise, that! Maybe I should turn the fan back around again...
     
    Last edited: 11 Mar 2022
  13. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Did some experimentation, 'cos I'll do literally anything instead of actual work: the OLED works fine at fan speeds of 14-100. At 13, you start to see minor corruption; as you approach 1 the corruption gets worse until the OLED stops working altogether.

    I've also added the missing hard drive temperature monitoring feature: now it'll trigger the fan when the CPU or the hottest hard drive in the system reaches the target temperature, whichever comes first. Dunno if it'll get merged into the official script, but at least I've got it for mine!
     
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  14. meandmymouth

    meandmymouth Multimodder

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    It's all going well then!
     
  15. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Picked up some thermal pads, reinstalled the hard drives with some cut to size and squished between the drive side and the heatsink-like back panel. They shifted while I was installing 'em, but it should still offer improved contact over the bare metal.

    ...and it's made little difference. The hot-running Seagate that was idling at 39°C is now idling at 38°C. It's an improvement, sure, but nothing to write home about. Worth a try!
     
  16. David

    David μoʍ ɼouმ qᴉq λon ƨbԍuq ϝʁλᴉuმ ϝo ʁԍɑq ϝμᴉƨ

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    Is there room to affix heatsinks to the opposite edge of the drives? Thermal pads will easly hold alu sinks in place.
     
  17. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Yeah, I was thinking the same - there's room. M.2 heatsinks would be perfect, I reckon. Might pick a few cheap ones up.
     
  18. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    They've really given no thought to drive temperatures in this thing...

    Code:
    KINGSTON SA400M8240G: 44°C
    ST6000VN001-2BB186: 41°C
    WDC WD60EFRX-68MYMN1: 40°C
    
    The top one's a 240GB M.2 SATA drive shoved into a cheap M.2-to-USB adapter and thrown into the internal USB port.

    Let's compare and contrast with the Helios64, which is clownshoes for entirely different reasons:

    Code:
    KINGSTON SA400M8240G: 33°C
    ST6000VN001-2BB186: 32°C
    WDC WD60EFRX-68L0BN1: 30°C
    
    Effectively the same drives, though the Helios64 ones are newer and what was a WD Red is now a WD Red Plus, in the same room, at the same 20-degree ambient temperature: 9-11 degrees cooler across the board. Now I'm not sure I should even go ahead with my plan to replace the Helios64 with the Eon - what's going to happen when summer hits and the office reaches 30°C?!
     
  19. David

    David μoʍ ɼouმ qᴉq λon ƨbԍuq ϝʁλᴉuმ ϝo ʁԍɑq ϝμᴉƨ

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    Hmmm, stylish looking but ultimately sh!te. Apple will buy them any day now.
     
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  20. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Lover of bit-tech Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Tell you what it needs, never mind faffing around with stupid heatsinks: a decent fan. I've got a 120mm fan 'ere with a USB connector and a manual three-speed-and-off control switch: set to its lowest speed, which is pretty much silent despite being within arm's reach on my desk, and pointed at the heatsink-like rear of the case...

    Code:
    KINGSTON SA400M8240G: 34°C
    ST6000VN001-2BB186: 30°C
    WDC WD60EFRX-68MYMN1: 28°C
    
    No surprise to see the SSD's still running a *little* hotter, 'cos it's not actually connected to the chassis, but lookit those two hard drives: colder than in the Helios64.

    Sadly, the chassis is aluminium so I can't just mount the fan with a magnet and be done with it. Hmm...
     
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