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IDE Fileserver
Section: Hardware / Device Reviews

IDE Fileservers:

Bombshell mass storage devices

This review will look at my home Fileserver (Carla), giving you benchmarks, pros and cons of running an IDE Fileserver. I am a poor data-miner, so I do not use an RAID schemes to backup my data if a drive fails, always keep that in mind, and try to backup the very importaint items.

To get started, below is the specifications of the Fileserver all these Hardrives were benchmarked in:

  • Chieftech ATX Mid-Tower Case
  • Epox EP-8K5A2+ Motherboard ( with onboard IDE 133 RAID Controller)
  • AMD 2100+ XP CPU
  • Thermalright SLK800 Heatsink
  • Sparkle 400W PSU Model # FSP400-60GN
  • 2x256MB Corsair PC2700 DDR RAM
  • Pioneer 16x DVD-ROM Model # DVD 120
  • Abit Geforce4 Mx460 64Mb Video Card
  • Total Fan Count: 4x 80mm Fans

  • 1x 80mm on CPU Heatsink (flow direct to heatsink)
  • 1x 80mm on rear of case (outflow)
  • 1x 80mm Power supply Fan (outflow)
  • 1x 80mm front case fan (inflow to cool HD's)
  • You may ask, What happened to the fan on the Video card? It Died, and makes a terrible noise while running.

    The file server is primarly used for storage and TV-Out, so the Video Card is currently being passively cooled by the heatsink and dead fan. All 4 fans are pretty quiet, and that is an added bonus since the server is in our bedroom, hooked to the TV, and a KVM switch on the other side of the room.

    Proceed to page 2 for Server Performance Info

    IDE Fileservers:

    Server Performance

    Here is some benchmarks to show the perfomance of Carla (Fileserver Testbed) used in this review. Some compairison info to use when building a server, or benchmarking your own. The server is Currently running default (1.75v) CPU Voltage, and running @ a constant 136 Front Side Bus. This is my old CPU from my gameb0x, so running it at stock, when I know it can do more at Def voltages, would be a sin :).

    Below is the Wcpuid readout of Carla. Wcpuid is a great App, is free, and can be downloaded here.


    Below is a readout of average temperatures using Motherboard Monitor 5. MBM can be downloaded here.


    Next, I will list some scores using SiSoft Sandra 2004. Version is listed below, and a good mirror to download from is OCAU. The build I used is pictured below, and was used for all benchmarks in this review.


    Below lists the CPU Aritmitech Bench. Looking Below, Carla ranks in above P4 2.66 GHz machines, and just under an AMD XP 2200+, While being quite beaten out by the P4 3.2 GHz @ 800 FSB.


    Looking Below , we see that Carla does not do too well in the Mutimedia department, but considering the server is Primarly used for Storage, Tv-Out, and Encoding, It gets the job done, quite well.


    By the current benchmarks, we see that the server is a relativly good performing PC, It's no P4 3.2GHz, but does well for what it's used for.

    Now that we know what else is in the server, let us move on to the focus of this review, the hard drives, and thier perfomance.

    IDE Fileservers:

    Hard Drive Performance

    The following Hard Drives are in Carla, and were and are all active at the time of this review:

  • 4x 120GB IBM Deskstar HD's
  • 1x 180GB IBM Deskstar HD
  • 1x 80GB IBM Deskstar HD
  • Here is the Score for IBM 120GB #1. This Hard Drive is primarly storing large files in the ~650Mb range per file. For an ATA 133 drive, the speeds are a little slow, but nothing to be concerned about.


    Below is IBM Deskstar #2. This disk contains the same type and size of data as the previous one. Very similar scores, and once again, nothing to be concerned about.


    Below is the bencmark on the IBM Deskstar #3. This drive is split in 2 partitions, half for Mystery Science Threater 3000, and the other half for misc files. From the looks of the slightly higher score, perhaps larger file sizes on a single partiton slow a drive down a little bit.


    Below is the score for IBM Deskstar 120GB # 4. This drive is archived with ISO images and Rar files. From the looks of the benchmark, this drive is performing quite slowly, Either due to the contents of the disk, or possible Hard disk failure in the near future.

    Another factor could be, since this drive is one large partition holding lots of archives. Perhaps the combination of archived files and many more folders, could contribute to the speed loss.

    This is the score for the IBM 180GB. This drive is split into 3 partitions, and mostly contains small music files, and Anime. Looking at the scores, this drive performs the best, and is also the newest.


    Finally, we have the IBM 80GB. This disk is the Primary HD, Split into 5 partitions, and also contans the Operating System. This HD is the only one in Carla with a primary partition, and from the looks, runs almost equally as well as the IBM 180 GB.


    Continue to Page 4 for the conclusion and overview to running an IDE Fileserver

    IDE Fileservers:

    Conclusion

    Pros:

  • Cheap mass storage
  • Fairly Quiet
  • Great for LANS/Dedicated Servers
  • Add Tv-Out, you and your Girlfriend are happy puppies.
  • Cons:

  • No data redundancy
  • Making sure Hard Drives are not overheating
  • Partiton Management
  • Defrags take quite awhile
  • Servers are very heavy with 5 HD's in them
  • After awhile, you will want to run Fiber to your server for home use.
  • Overview:

    If you are looking to mass backup and store your data, but understand that a Hard Drive can die/fail at any time, IDE Fileservers are your ticket. This server is used for home/personal use, and for a Business or Corporation, I would suggest a tape backup drive at the Very least.

    IDE RAID controlers are good for mass storage servers, you can use the RAID options on your RAID controler if you have the free HD's and don't mind loosing half or more of your capasity. Carla is ~ 2 years old now, and so far, only 1 HD has died, and that was a IBM Deskstar 75GB DTLA-307075 - Made in Hungary.

    If you wish to Discuss this review, or have some comments, Hit the Forums up. ;)

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