VectorLinux

The nuts and bolts => Technical General => Topic started by: haywire on August 18, 2010, 08:25:28 pm

Title: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 18, 2010, 08:25:28 pm
I would like comments or suggestions on building a linux combo server/workstation on the cheap..

http://haywirepc.homestead.com/index.html


Also does anyone know where I can order some extra long IDE cables? I'm kinda stuck there now because the cables won't reach to the hard drive mounts really, which are way up the case. Tomorrow is another day. This may take awhile. Why do we always think a project will be easy before we get into it? I mean this isn't hard so far...

Just a bit aggravating but I think I can manage to get this going. Lots of stupid roadblocks I didn't even think about...

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions. I'm all ears. I'm glad for the help. Please chime in if you've built some boxes like this or know how.

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: retired1af on August 18, 2010, 08:26:30 pm
Already replied in your other thread with a source for some 2 footers.
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 18, 2010, 11:00:49 pm
According to the ATA spec, cable length should not exceed 18 inches. You can find longer cables and people do use them successfully, but you also risk data corruption with a cable longer than 18 inches.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 19, 2010, 10:51:11 am
retired1af, Those will work, but for the time being I will pile the hard drives that will be connected to ide ports on top of the power supply... At least I can get it going for now then mount the drives properly once the longer cables arrive.

Granny,

Really? I never heard that before. I don't think adding a bit of length them would cause any problems, I've done it before in a monstro case like this, with no problems...

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 19, 2010, 05:15:52 pm
Going to try and power the beast up for the first time tonight... This should be interesting...

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: retired1af on August 19, 2010, 05:37:59 pm
Just make sure you don't let the smoke out of the wires. Once you let the smoke out, things don't work for some reason.  ;D
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: MikeCindi on August 19, 2010, 05:38:09 pm
Hopefully we'll hear from you again...soon.  :P
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: retired1af on August 19, 2010, 07:10:42 pm
Did someone just hear a "boom"?  :D
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 19, 2010, 08:11:57 pm
Granny,

Really? I never heard that before. I don't think adding a bit of length them would cause any problems, I've done it before in a monstro case like this, with no problems...

Google on
ide cable maximum length
and you'll get lots of hits on the spec. Or go to
 http://www.buildorbuy.org/cabling.html
and you'll find explanations and links directly to the standards.

Of course, numerous people have used longer cables with no apparent problems. I read something that compared using longer-than-spec cables to overclocking. It often works but there are no guarantees.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 19, 2010, 09:08:12 pm
I'm very happy to report there was no smoke let out of any boards or wires.

In fact, I know very well that once that smoke comes out, the magic is gone, so I try to always be careful
so the smoke stays in. I learned this by letting smoke out of many computers on accident. Once the smoke
leaves, your right, its really all over!

Also, there was no BIG BOOM, well actually in a way there was a small boom. I have a BIG monster old 21inch crt monitor (which I love even though its ancient) When the computer powers up, it sometimes makes a boom or bam while the screen goes on and adjusts. This happened on first power up and I almost jumped a mile.

So the computer powers up, but I have now changed back to a better nvidia video card. I forget what I had in this machine but it needed to be low profile
and while using compiz, the cpu usage jumped to 90%. With my other video card, it has 512megs and a better gpu I suppose so performance should be
much improved. I really missed using compiz more.

I'm going to go see what happens if I plug the boot drive in. Will also order those longer cables, but for now I will just stack em up while I work.
Thanks for everyones help and support. ITS ALIVE...!
Steven













Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 19, 2010, 09:26:11 pm
Now its definitely alive, first post from frankenstien. I put the boot drive in, and my desktop came right up. I can honestly say I've never been so happy to see my desktop in my
entire life... Tomorrow is another day, I think I have to reconfigure the video card drivers and also, I forgot I have to put the pci ide controller in and see if vector will work with it.

My previous linux box was an generic whitebox with an intel desktop board that this additional pci ide card wouldn't work at all well, either linux or windows.
If I can get that working, it will dramatically reduce the # of USB to IDE adapters I need for the rest of the hard drives. So far, I have 9 hard drives that I am aware of that I would
like to put in this beast. The built in ide controller can do 4 and this card can do 4. The ide dvd rom will take one spot, so 7 hard drives should work if I can get this card working.

The last bunch of usb hard drives will use USB adapters but will stay inside the case.

I should mention, that most of this project will be made just from junk I've collected over the years or parts from upgrades people gave me and so on.

I am ordering cables and a few odds and ends. I will be also adding a few power splitters, but other than that and nightflier kindly sending me the power supplies...
Its all from my junk piles.

I will be so happy If I can get the beast working well...

Thanks again will post some more pics when its relevant to do so. Right now, looks like something blew up inside the case. Once I can properly mount some stuff, I'll post more pics.

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: GrannyGeek on August 19, 2010, 10:01:25 pm
Congratulations! I'm glad it's going so well and am looking forward to seeing the photos.
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 20, 2010, 08:12:43 pm
Looks like the bios on this board dosn't see or allows the pci ultra ide controller add on card to work or find the drives attached to it, then proceeds to boot to vectorlinux. No sign of the drives being there in vector...

I think I give up on that card. It worked great in older pc's but I haven't had any luck with that or another kind like it I bought.

So today, I just worked on mounting the drives I could, now 3 hard drives and one cd-rom which are running from the motherboard ide controller.
I think I'm just going to use the usb to ide adapters for the rest. I have two now, and I'm ordering 6 more I guess.
Also ordering those extra long cables so I can put it all together. This is turning into a much bigger PITA than I'd hoped.

Will post new pics after something worth showing happens. Right now... STALL.

Steven






Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: retired1af on August 20, 2010, 09:05:46 pm
Is it possible to update the BIOS?
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: MikeCindi on August 20, 2010, 09:07:35 pm
Does lspci show the ultra IDE card or was there any reference to in in dmesg? Does the bios require the card to be in a particular PCI slot (usually the second one as the first is occupied by a graphics card)?
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on August 21, 2010, 11:16:30 am
The board really only has one pci slot, there is a riser card that won't fit that will turn the one pci slot into two but it won't fit in the case with the board and so on. I have one agp slot and one pci slot so I figured agp video card and the pci slot would be the ide controller...
When I put the card in I get all kinds of "Plug and play configuration error" messages. I think it has to do with the irq settings between the onboard lan, sound, video and so on... conflicting with the card...
Tried screwing around with all the settings in bios, but nothing seems to help. I'm content with just pulling the card and using usb to ide converter cables.

Tonight I'm working on the power supply stuff. I have to add a bunch of power connectors. The AT power supply only has 3 hard drive power connectors I think... I had some y-splitters before but can't find them, so I'm just going to use some power connectors taken from a couple of dead power supplies I have and wire up my own ghetto way. I have some black tape and shrink wrap, its farily straightforward so long as I follow the right colors should be fine.

So 3 power connectors will soon become 10 power connectors. This is the first step towards getting all the hard drives installed and powered on. Afrer that I will be stalled again waiting for usb to ide adapters, hd long cables and the usb hubs I ordered...
I'll have 14 usb ports if the two 7 port hubs work. That should be enough...

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 12, 2010, 09:16:52 pm
Here is some more geek porn for you....

http://haywirepc.homestead.com/index.html

I mounted some hard drives, the AT power supply is rewired with 12 hard drive power connectors, power switch ghetto mounted. The computer powers up fine,The first 3 hard drives, which are connected just by the motherboard ide controllers, and the cd-rom are all working.

Next up, floppy, front face plates, then on to internal 10 port usb hub, then hard drives, hard drives, hard drives, all connected via usb to ide adapters.

This has turned into quite a project. Like most things, I thought it would be a quick project. I'm ordering the 10 port usb hub and some more usb to ide adapters this week. (I only have 4 now, those things get expensive when you need 10 or 12 of them. Once I have those, I can finish the beast. Gotta also find some case badges and odds and ends to finish her off.

I may also add a usb connected media card reader on the front panel so I can use my digital camera's memory card and so forth with my linux machine.


Steven







Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: nightflier on September 13, 2010, 04:50:59 am
I thought it would be a quick project.

They seldom are.  ;D  Looks like you're having fun with it. Remember to keep a fire extinguisher nearby!
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: sledgehammer on September 13, 2010, 07:31:46 am
Haywire,

I enjoyed your web page describing your building of a server.  What is the main difference between a server and a regular personal computer?  We occasionally get servers in never_stop_learning's computers for kids program.....long wide and narrow boxes with fans that make a lot of noise.  I tried loading VL 6 on one of those servers once and got nowhere.  Ended up turning the thing over to Computer Corps.



Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: retired1af on September 13, 2010, 07:35:19 am
Servers are designed to remain on for extended periods and "serve" multiple users at the same time. While the specifications on a server may seem "low", they don't need to be outstanding as the server is designed to serve information.
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: bigpaws on September 13, 2010, 09:28:18 am
There are a couple real differences, but not many.

One servers usually use ECC RAM vs non ECC RAM. That can really raise the price.

Most servers use SCSI drives, however newer servers are using SATA as well. The
SCSI drive are designed to run and are usually faster at read/write functions. The
use of SCSI will allow for alot of HDDs without the limitation of most MB of 4 IDE
channels. Servers use a redundant power supply for fault tolerance.

Hope that gives you an idea.

Bigpaws
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: toothandnail on September 13, 2010, 05:30:28 pm
:) servers can be almost anything.

I administer a number of servers, mainly internet gateway/file server boxes for local small business. 15 at current count. The hardware ranges from three 2U IBM rack mount servers (dual Xeon CPUs, 16 GB of RAM) to a Mac Mini which lives in a cupboard and handles the mail for a company with about 30 employees. Quite a lot of the others are low-end P4's, mainly HP/Compaq small form factor boxes. All running SME Server (based on CentOS) or, for internal file servers, Amahi (based on Fedora 12).

My home server is currently an old AMD Duron 1.6 GHz machine, though it due to be upgraded to something smaller and more modern sometime soon, I hope....

Paul.
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 13, 2010, 09:25:39 pm
My idea for this project was for a file server, but also since I'm very short on desk space it will also be used as an extra computer. It will store all my personal files and I will back up to it from my other workstations (2) currently. If I can't find something on the workstations, I can have it on this server too. Basically, it will be a data dump for graphics, music and video projects.

I also just like the idea of a computer with like 10 or 12 physical hard drives for organizational purposes. Never had one computer with so many hard drives, so I can have one drive for graphics, one drive for hundreds of dos games and programs,
one drive for video files, one for amiga programs and games,one drive for mp3's, one drive for drumloops and sound samples I use for music production, and so on.... Like I said one big data dump. I'm broke or I would order the USB hub right away. I need the 10 port usb hub, and 8 more usb to ide adapters. Everything seems to be working so far, but I don't have the usb hard drives hooked up yet. I'm not sure if that power supply will power 10 or 12 hard drives, but I think so.

Steven








Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 13, 2010, 10:12:48 pm
Nightflier,

Forgot to mention, but your right... This thing looks like it could let the magic smoke out at any moment!

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: GrannyGeek on September 13, 2010, 11:26:44 pm
I also just like the idea of a computer with like 10 or 12 physical hard drives for organizational purposes. Never had one computer with so many hard drives, so I can have one drive for graphics, one drive for hundreds of dos games and programs,
one drive for video files, one for amiga programs and games,one drive for mp3's, one drive for drumloops and sound samples I use for music production, and so on.... Like I said one big data dump.

You could get the same effect for less money if you'd buy a 1.5 or 2 terabyte drive and just set up partitions for each kind of data you want to organize. Or you could avoid  the very real possibility of guessing wrong about the size of partitions you need by keeping the mammoth drive in one partition and setting up folders for each type of data and arranging your stuff in those folders.

Time to free ourselves from those DOS era notions about how to "organize."
--GrannyGeek
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 14, 2010, 10:13:31 am
Granny,

Your certainly right but I happen to have 15 or 20 80-200 gig ide hard drives around already.
I also had the monster case and just figured it would be a cool box to have around.

I've also always just preferred physical drives to partitions. Yes since the dos days. :)

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: M0E-lnx on September 14, 2010, 12:40:54 pm
I bet by the time you're done, this thing is going to weight in at around 50lbs
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 14, 2010, 05:19:53 pm
Yes your probably right, but it won't be moving from my basement much. This is no laptop!

:)

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 27, 2010, 07:01:56 am
Today, I finally got around to ordering the remainder of the parts I need.

There will be a 10 port USB hub, which I might expand to two in the future, but one for now.

Also ordered 6 more usb to ide adapters, I will have 10 of them now....

Will continue the build once parts arrive. In the meantime, I'm putting in the front panel blanks, which I still have to paint since I can't find any white ones...Also installing the floppy and I may get some castor wheels going on this beast, since yes,
It will be awfully heavy chock full of hard drives like this.

Steven


Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: M0E-lnx on September 27, 2010, 07:26:15 am
Casters, Nice....
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 27, 2010, 09:25:44 am
I think I could save myself alot of trouble by just buying this :

http://cgi.ebay.com/PC-CPU-Stand-Adjustable-Width-Computer-full-tower-Case-/250701316660?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a5ef68234

What do you guys think?  The original case has a flat stand of sorts at the bottom. Its current disconnected so I could plop the case right in this stand I think.

Might look nicer than the ghetto way I'd have to add casters and drilling metal sucks. Looks nice in these pictures.

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: M0E-lnx on September 27, 2010, 09:33:42 am
I think you're right... and for 6 bucks... you can't beat that... your casters would probably come up to that price if not higher
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 27, 2010, 12:39:25 pm
Well its like 15.00$ with shipping, but your right. 4 castors of decent size at home depot were 2.99 each, then I'd have to drill and buy nuts and bolts.

I decided to save myself some cursing and just get this stand. Lots of parts are now on their way. The beast is shaping up. I may actually take the time to
make it look not so ghetto, but my first priority is just making sure everything will work.

Going to go look for a few more odds and ends/parts. Will update the sight when the new parts arrive and some more progress is made. This is kind of a back burner project.

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: M0E-lnx on September 27, 2010, 12:44:03 pm
Its cool though... I'm thinking of doing one myself.

One of my co-workers got his box infected with a virus last week to a point that the IT group in charge of our system maintenance could not get the thing fixed. It's descent box, atx tower with a pentium D inside which is now just sitting in the back of a closet along with an older dell like the one you started off with (the little gray one on your site)

I'm thinking about building me a box and maybe i'll work up the nerve to ask my boss if I can recycle this box for him.
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 27, 2010, 02:59:45 pm
When I'm finished, I intend on this thing being one big data dump. Movies, pictures,mp3 collection, sound sample collection, digital art collection, video games and archives. I've got multiple computers, but no central place to backup and store things. Hopefully this will improve the situation, but then, it could also just be one big nerd toy.

Steven
Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: sledgehammer on September 28, 2010, 09:27:45 am
The $6 + shipping movable stand looks like something out of star wars.  Perhaps the beast could get a bit part in the movies.

Title: Re: Adventures in LINUX - Building a linux server on the cheap..
Post by: haywire on September 28, 2010, 10:11:28 am
Yeah looks kind of funky.

I think this may be the most interesting computer I've built or rebuilt, whatever.

I built some clones back in the day, but nothing very customized and special,like this.

I'm very frustrated by the wait for parts. Can't wait to plug 10 hard drives in and see what happens.

Today, I ordered the wheeled stand. It will look great under the beast.

Steven