NASLite Network Attached Storage

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Task-specific simplicity with low hardware requirements.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 11:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:31 am
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I'm prepairing to build my NASLite box. I'll buy the software from here so that I can get the fastest speeds. I have read that you do not need a "fast" processor, but I would assume that there is a point where a faster proc. is good. What is the optimal processor and memory? Any idea when version 2 will be released? Thanks, Ron


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:18 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
I have an old 200MHz machine with only 64Meg of memory and I still get 7-9MB/sec read speeds on a 100Mbit ethernet with NASLite+. If your processor speed is faster than mine you will likely get better performance. I think the motherboard DMA speeds are only 33MB/sec too. Getting a 66 or 100MB board would help.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:49 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, I had already read that you could use a 200mhz and get satisfactory results. My question was at what point do you gain no benefit from a faster processor and memory. If a 200mhz works ok, would a 1000mhz be better or just wastefull? Whats the best configuration?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 12:16 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:18 pm
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Location: North Carolina, USA
Right now my limiting factor is the motherboard using DMA33.

If I upgraded the motherboard to a faster processor with UDMA100 I would probably get 9-11MB/sec rates. Then the limiting factor would be my 100Mbit ethernet. Upgrading everything to gigabit ethernet could jump the rates up into the 30+MB/sec range.

You could get an old motherboard with a 1GHz processor and 512MB memory for less than the price of some of the newer hard drives. Anything more powerful than this is probably a waste of money even with gigabit ethernet.

I don't know if there is a "best" configuration. The idea behind NASLite is you use what you have laying around :wink: If you have a 1GHz computer you're not using, it's the "best" one available.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 8:01 am
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Location: Staffordshire UK
I don't think processing power is that important, something around the 1ghz is fine, you need RAM, 256mb is ok but if your buying new 512mb for the price it is now is a better deal, if your running a gigabit network then a gigabit NIC is obviously an advantage, and a motherboard that supports UDMA100 at least and with an eye on Vers 2.0 one with SATA ports too :wink:
My first NAS had a 330mhz AMDK6-2 board 128mb RAM and used an onboard 100mbs nic. It was only when I started to push NASlite as my media storage device and wanted to stream some High Def movies off it that I needed to upgrade the hardware, I have overkilled on the processor but it was the cheapest socket A processor I could get at the time. 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:35 pm
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The biggest factor in overall speed performance, in my experience with NASLite, is choosing the right mainboard.

If the BIOS does not natively support the size of the hard drives you will be using, you have to configure the BIOS with NO hard drives installed, and let NASLite handle everything on it's own. Doing this results in a maximum of 33MB/s transfer speeds, which is the default setting on the mainboard.

If your BIOS will support the drives you intend to use, then configure them in the BIOS, and select either 33/66/100/133 UDMA speeds, the faster the better. Although I have not tested this, I would think that if you were using mixed drives with different speed capabilities, you would be advised to keep slower drives on the same channel, and faster drives on the same channel, but that is just a theory, since my drives are all identical.

128 Mb of ram is more than enough.

According to the sytem specs on my NASLite box:

---------------------------------------------------------
131072 = 128MB installed on Mainboard
- 7885 = Ramdisk set up for NASLite system (5MB used / 2.7MB free)
= 123187 = available for I/O buffers
- 121732 = 4248 I/O buffers created by NASLite (more than enough)
= 1455 = Ram free (+ 2.7MB unused in Ramdisk)
-----------------------------------------------------------

Also remember that the onboard cache size of the CPU affects performance. A celeron has a smaller cache than a P3, even at the same clock speeds, so the P3 will give slightly better throughput.

On my 733Mhz P3 NASLite box, with 128MB, and four 200GB Maxtor drives configured in BIOS for UDMA 100MB/s, I can stream MPEG4 video to as many as 5 seperate machines on a hardwired 10/100 Ethernet connection with no discernable lags in any of the machines. I suppose I could upgrade to gigabit Ethernet, but so far, this has not been an issue. Since my NASLite server functions as remote storage for the workstations on my network, there is very little incidence of 'high demand' on it.

Conclusions:
--------------

1) By all means, use whatever spare equipment you have lying around to build a NASLite box. Depending upon what equipment you use, you will get varying levels of performance.

2) Fo most users, the NASLite box will spend most of it's time doing absolutely nothing. Even with 10 machines on my SOHO lan, the demands on the NASLite box most of the time are small or nothing.

3) If you must BUY components for your NASLite box, the mainboard, and it's BIOS, are the most critical component. The more modern the mainboard, the more likely it will support larger hard drives in the BIOS, and the more likely you will be able to use the higher UDMA speeds, which result in overall superior performance.

4) CPU speed is secondary to the mainboard used. I.E, a faster processor in a board that only supports UDMA 33MB/s will give less performance than a slower processor in a board that supports UDMA 66/100MB/s.

5)Use whatever RAM you have available. No need to go out and buy a 128MB stick of ram if you already have a 256MB stick. But 128MB seems to be the "sweet spot". Anything more is overkill.


Just my 2 cents worth...


DaveJ45


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:29 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 25, 2005 11:50 pm
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davej45 wrote:

Conclusions:
--------------

1) By all means, use whatever spare equipment you have lying around to build a NASLite box. Depending upon what equipment you use, you will get varying levels of performance.

2) Fo most users, the NASLite box will spend most of it's time doing absolutely nothing. Even with 10 machines on my SOHO lan, the demands on the NASLite box most of the time are small or nothing.

3) If you must BUY components for your NASLite box, the mainboard, and it's BIOS, are the most critical component. The more modern the mainboard, the more likely it will support larger hard drives in the BIOS, and the more likely you will be able to use the higher UDMA speeds, which result in overall superior performance.

4) CPU speed is secondary to the mainboard used. I.E, a faster processor in a board that only supports UDMA 33MB/s will give less performance than a slower processor in a board that supports UDMA 66/100MB/s.

5)Use whatever RAM you have available. No need to go out and buy a 128MB stick of ram if you already have a 256MB stick. But 128MB seems to be the "sweet spot". Anything more is overkill.


Just my 2 cents worth...


DaveJ45



Any insight as to the achievable performance when using those Promise UDMA 100 & 133 PCI controllers on an older machine?


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