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Case Mod - In Progress "Cloud" N54L Microserver MediaPortal [HTPC,NAS,DVB-T,PVR,Torrent Box,24/7,SnapRAID]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by m.standish, 1 Aug 2014.

  1. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    Project Cloud - HTPC, NAS, DVB-T, PVR, Torrent Box, 24/7, SnapRAID

    Following on from my first modding project "Storm" which can be found here http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=668540 I decided to continue the weather theme, and with this box due to the storage link and that it wasnt going to be a powerhouse but rather a 24/7 storage box i went with "Cloud"

    I decided I would like to run a low powered box 24/7 as i had previously had one PC for all which never got switched off, I debated getting a NAS but looking at the offerings i simply wasnt impressed.

    I saw the HP microservers on offer a while ago and when i spotted the offer again i jumped on it.
    £215 with cashback = £115 +
    2x 3Tb Hitachi Drives = £140
    All in all £250 for a 6tb nas which seemed fairly competitive with a standard 2 bay NAS.

    This solution came with a few major pluses:
    4 bay
    Full x86 pc
    Upgradeable
    *Moddable*

    Credit card out and 3 days later.......
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 5 Aug 2014
  2. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    Moved to modding until there are pics of work in progress as that's what is needed for a thread in the Project Logs section. Once there are some pics of work in progress please PM a mod (for example me, Margo Baggins, jinq-sea) to have it moved back.
     
  3. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    Shiny New Toy :)
    [​IMG]
     
  4. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    GeorgeK, i am unable to PM you yet as i do not have enough posts, but I would appreciate if you could do me a couple of favours please?
    - Can you move this post back to modding as it is complete and i have many more pictured in an album to add
    - Can you move the other thread http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=277247 Into modding as this is in progress, I have added pictures and this is WIP
    - Can you enable me to post immediately without getting admin to approve posts or tell me how I get this myself

    I wanted this as a fully functioning NAS Server and I had 2 vfds left over from dismantling the storm project which I wanted to use on this, Due tho this being a dual purpose system HTPC & NAS/torrent then this would be headless quite a lot of the time so the displays would prove very useful
    I tested the fitting in the DVD drive as i rarely use media anymore and if i did I could rig up and external Slim BD Drive, this would also allow me to house 4 more HDDS in the DVD Drive area
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The PCBs fit almost perfectly

    Full steam ahead.........
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 5 Aug 2014
  5. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    Good point about the PMs - you need 10 posts for that. Also, your posts will appear automatically after the first 10 have been moderated.
     
  6. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    The VFD,s were extended in ribbon cable so i could relocate the main PCB out of the HDD & Bezels way:
    [​IMG]

    I used the original bezel as a guide for the new bezels size, stuck this to the rear and cut the new part
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I then masked out areas for the VFD's & also a MediaPortal logo:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Roughed up the exposed acrylic to match the finnish of the Mediaserver and Painted
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next was the rear logo, I wanted this to be backlit so it was printed on thin paper and mounted on the rear (inside of the acrylic) ging it a 3D depth
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This left me with slight gaps around the bezel which once backlit i was converced would leak light so I plugged up any gaps by covering with aluminium tape
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Mounting the VFD's involved cutting away a tiny part of the plastic around the USB Ports and Hot Gluing the displays into position
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:


    Happy with that :D, The VFD's are slightly different brightnesses but I will adjust that in the LCD Smartie software later
     
  7. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    Looks nice :)

    I've fiddled with some settings so your posts should appear straight away now. One thing though - could you please use the edit button to add more information rather than double post. I have merged your previous double posts.
     
  8. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    Internals

    First i needed to wire in the VFD,s, there it an internal USB which is there to run an OS from a usb, this I used to mount a USB port (please excuse the make... it was spare, and fit) :)
    This was also used to connect a 16gb USB Stick & RF Remote which its wired out to the rear of the case
    [​IMG]
    Snug Fit
    [​IMG]


    Waited on Mr postie again......

    Postie Came ;)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This allowed me to Dual purpose the machine into a HTPC as it dosent have audio out and at 2.2Ghz Dual Core 4GB ram and the 5450 is quite powerful, well enough for 1080p Playback & Mediaportal which will be the extent or its power use.

    The small board is a Sata Multiplier which i bought years ago but never used, the N54L is multiplier ready :clap:

    First i have to flash the bios with a modified bios, this allowed all sata ports to be hotswop drives and enabled port multipliers. Perfect! so 4x removable in the front and Esata>port multiplier allows another 4x 3.5" in the top with a bit of modding
    8 Bay NAS server, not bad for the price, plus HTPC capabilities. Pretty sweet! :)

    The HD5450 was chosen due to the low profile bracket and being passive
    Low profile plate was fitted:
    [​IMG]
    MB removed and GPU in
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The port Multiplier was fit at the rear below the DVD level so it wouldnt interfere with the 3.5" drives which will be added later as more space is required
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    A test of 2 2.5" drives went sucessful :)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ill leave these in for the time being until im running out
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2014
  9. Margo Baggins

    Margo Baggins I'm good at Soldering Super Moderator

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    Dude please!

    i've just merged your posts again - please don't double or triple post.
     
  10. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    Configuration

    So in addition to above, i added a USB DVB-T stick as my pci card wont fit and also a X10 RF remote & Modified the BIOS to open up the hidden options

    Storage Configuration
    - 250gb (32GB OS & Software / 200GB Temp download)
    - 2TB - Drive Pool A
    - 3TB - Drive Pool B
    - 120GB 2.5 - Drive Pool C
    - 200GB 2.5 Drive Pool D
    More drives will be added later, Next upgrade will be 2x3 TB and raided
    I would also like to add an SSD but only 32/64GB as more is simply not required but im currently focusing funds on my new Gaming system "Project Lightning"

    Software
    - HTPC software is MediPortal
    - LCD Smartie (2 instances) to control the VFD's which are very finnicky to install 2 at the same time but tweaking of the boot sequence and pauses allowed it to install ok. Took a while to master that
    - Utorrent & RSS feeds cover all the automated downloading of TV Series
    - A script based renaming tool then scans the download folder and renames and structures new shows
    - Drive Pooling allows a central drive letter to load balance the drives free capacity
    - Mediaportal scans the TV series structure folders, imports and downloads cover art and adds new media to the library
    - SnapRaid will be set up when more drives are added replacing Drive pooling


    Phone Control

    - Pulseway APP allows realtime alerts to my phone of capacity / temps ect
    - RDP APP allows fullscreen Remote Desktop Control
    - aMPDroid APP Allows Touchscreen remote control in the house and also streaming of any media to my Note 3 coupled with HDMI MHL means portable cloud media player
    - uTorrent Remote allows me to monitor uTorrent status
     
  11. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    Final Pictures

    George, im sorry, i was trying to seperate it into sections to make it more readable

    Completed Pictures
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
     
    Last edited: 5 Aug 2014
  12. m.standish

    m.standish New Member

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    Kinda forgot about this upgrade, This was back in July.
    Picked up a few drives
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Believe it or not it was cheaper to get 3x external drives than internal drives. And i picked up an SSD while i was at it. It really helped, turned a very sluggish system into a very responsive one.

    Stripped out the Drives from the caddys
    [​IMG]

    All ready
    [​IMG]

    The main storage space
    [​IMG]

    The drives are now set up as follow:
    60GB SSD - Boot, OS, Mediaportal (Databases + thumbs) & the rest of the S/W
    250GB - Temporary Incoming (gets a lot or RW cycles)
    3TB Drive 1 - RAID A - Movies & Photos
    3TB Drive 2 - RAID B - TV Ended
    3TB Drive 3 - RAID C - TV Current
    3TB Drive 4 - PARITY - Snap Raid Parity Drive

    SOFTWARE CONFIG:
    Apart from my personal programs like mediaportal and other streaming tools that serve my phone ect, My set up is as follows

    - Photos are on google photos & synched locally, which is then covered by the raid array (2 backups)

    - The SSD is not in the array but backed up ad hoc with Acronis to the Parity Drive. This is due to the way the differential runs on snapraid, I do not need the OS backed up constantly. It rarely changes but a differential would back up many changed OS files taking quite a while for not much fallback.

    - The main data drives I decided to run snapraid on a weekly schedule for a couple of reasons:
    The array can be dynamically upgraded without breaking the array.
    The drive data structure stays original meaning i can pull any data drive out and take somewhere else if required.
    The data doesnt need to be constantly backed up, if i were to lose a weeks worth of changes, it would not cause me any bother and could be recreated very simply.
    The array can go weeks without any new files added so snapraid runs quietly without affecting the performance mostly.
    Generally on the data drives, files are only added rather than changed / deleted.
    This data I dont consider critical. Whilst I would be pissed if i lost all the data on any of the 3 data disks, its not something i couldn't recover if I were to spend enough time doing so. However having the parity drive gives me peace of mind that I can suffer a 1 disk loss and be able to recover it moderatley simply
     

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