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RimBlock
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What is your setup like and why.

Postby RimBlock » Wed, 21 Nov 2012 11:59 am

I have started this as a thread where techy people can talk about their nerdy setups.

Often someone will start a thread with a question and it will get derailed as tangents start forming all over the place or people will stop rather than derail the thread even though the tangent may be of interest to others.
So here we have an open discussion of setups and the reasons behind them. It is not intended as a ‘bragging’ thread but more of a “This is what I have done, maybe this configuration may be worth thinking about for your needs”
Without dialogues, if you tell them you want something real bad, you will get it real bad.

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x9200
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Postby x9200 » Wed, 21 Nov 2012 3:25 pm

Wow! I have to show it to my wife. I am much more minimalistic with my needs so forgive me not going into that level of details. I don't think you would find interesting I am running some Pentium 4 or Sempron machines. I am not an IT guy and in my case it's mostly for fun :) Software wise I am into everyday functionality so do my own wepages (i.e. front-ends for sql data handling) via php or shell scripting.

1. Connection to outside word
: just standard cable bb.
WRT-54G under Openwrt with segmented networks connected to 2nd WRT-54G router on standby for low security grade connection (some older devices can only take WEP and for visitors) and 3rd one (WL-500G premium) on standby with mobile BB connection - backup if the main connection fails.

2. Internal connection
Two logical networks /24 (well, more than this but 2 in everyday use) over 4 physical networks: wifi, Ethernet over powerline, 100 and 1000 base separated by a server with FW. Internal LAN (1000/cat5e/6) and 100 for the parts running over hotplugs. I am running cctv within the network so it is structured this way to provide enhanced security. Wifi is behind 1 FW while anything else including the mentioned cctv and storage is behind 2FWs.

3. Servers,
a) Whitebox, general-storage, linux based, 1/1 cpu/cores, 2GB, 4TB (3x WD green), two physical ethernet cards; NFS, Samba, http, sshd, vnc, UPnP, smpt, dns caching, proxy, sql. All except Ssh and http (running on non-standard ports) accessible for LAN only.
b) Whitebox, storage-backup, linux based, 1/1 cpu/cores, 1GB, 6TB (6x WD green, 1x Hitachi), Raid-5 - automatically doing backups for the servers (including routers) and external webpages/servers I handle
c) 2 NAS, dlink

4. PCs and similar
a) Whitebox, multimedia processing, windows 7 / linux based, AMD FX 6k1, 8GB, 400GB - encoding of HD media
b) Whitebox, rescue station, linux based/windows XP, 1/1 cpu/cores, 512MB, 200GB - unfortunately with all that backups it still hapens sometime I have to recover something and especially with bad sectors it may take time
c) Whitebox, multimedia station (hooked up to the TV), mATX low profile, linux based, 1/1 cpu/cores, 768MB, 80GB - multimedia streaming
d) Sun Sparcstation 10, Solaris 4 or 5 (for sentimental reasons). I use to have SGI Onyx at home. When it worked the power cord was warm and I am not sure how the fuses managed it (8kW?). I got rid of the beauty after it dented parquet in the flat we rented :)
e) PS3 (used to have it under Yellow Dog but proved very impractical)
f) 2 media receivers: acryan play-on hd and astone at-380dt
g) potato couch computing, wife and myself - macbooks air, 2yo son - ipad

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Postby RimBlock » Wed, 21 Nov 2012 4:31 pm

Haha, mine was 3-2 pages worth so I thought I better cut it back :wink: .

I found I also had to segment my network as well due to the MIO TV boxes not liking another DHCP / DNS server running on the same network as the Singtel router.

I have a DLink router that the Singtel box connects to (wan on the DLink) and then this connects to the Procurve. Works fine now. Previously before the fiber upgrade I had a 8Mbit connection and ended up having 3 telephone lines to the apartment as we have two MIO TV boxes and one for the ADSL.

On the networking side, I will probably get another 1810-24G or 1810-8G (they don't do a 16G :cry: ) which will be purely for the iSCSI data. At the moment the netowrk ports on the three servers allocated for iSCSI are on a VLAN on the switch away from the other traffic. The switch also allows me to use LACP (link aggregation) to bond the quad port nic in the SAN for iSCSI traffic so there is plenty of bandwidth available at the moment. The ultimate would be to go diskless for the PCs and get them booting off the SAN but I am not willing to spend the cash to get it up to SSD speeds so that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

I used to use Powerline adaptors and still recommend them to clients but with the caveat that on decent wiring they are great but if you have dodgy / not so good electrical wiring then they are unlikely to work very well. The first HDB we bought here we did a full reno on including the electrics. The home plugs worked very well. The current place we bought we did a basic reno on but didn't change the electrics partly due to cost and partly due to the cornices with the wiring behind them. When I tried the homeplugs, the performance was terrible. If you have good wiring then I much prefer them to wireless. Of course wireless has its uses for tablets, laptops and other mobile devices :) .

Have you considered seeing if vSphere would be a good option for your server requirements. I still consider it one of the best moes I made and it came about when I decided to try it out with Windows Home Server 2011. After installing and using it I found that I was only using 5-10% of the machines CPU power and a fraction of memory available. I then started adding other virtual machines and still I am nowhere near what would be required to max the hardware. The otehr thing is that while reusing old stuff can seem like a good idea, newer models tend to be a lot less power hungry. This is especially true of new compared to old servers. Entry level E3 Xeons come in between i5s and i7s and there is also a cheaper low power version. They also support ECC ram which is much cheaper than it used to be now. Prices have really dropped in the last year. You can even do direct hardware passthrough to a virtual machine of various hardware if your setup supports VT-d (i5, i7, E3/5). Maybe something worth looking at, especially as vSphere (ESXi) hypervisor is available for free.

How have your WD Greens been working for you. I had 5x 2TB drives fail within 3 months when I first bought them. They were the original generations and 4 were put in a software (mdadm) raid 5 array but the other one was not.

I built my HTPC after my my media players were not quite man enough to handle full Bluray ISOs over the network. A lot of the media players use 'soft' networking and couldn't power the networking and the video decoding. I also have a HD projector and 100" screen in the living room so it is nice to have the full quality Blurays. The projector setup was much cheaper than I ever expected with the Panasonic 3500 projector, 100" manual screen and cables coming in for around 3.5k which is not so far from a 50" tv now and the quality is very good. Night time is of course better but even on a cloudy day it is still repectable.

8kW.... I bet the power company loved you.

We have a couple of XBox 360s (old and new) but use them just for games. I have been known to get roped in to a few games of Borderlands, Modern Warfare or one of the other multiplayer games with the kids. The PS3 never really appealed to me although we do have a PS2 and PSP (both rarely used now).
I have never really go on with laptops. Apart from work I only have ever used them for entertainment when travelling. I do, however, have a Sony tablet which I use day to do for reading books or watching shows whilst on the MRT but also for explaining various proposed solutions for clients as being able to do some basic drawings and checking pricing / compatibility and availability of various items is really handy. The fact it fits in to my shoulder bag is also a bonus for me. My sone tends to latch on to our WiFi with his mobile for spending hours watching YouTube clips (he's almost 14), the middle one is playing counterstrike online (he is 4 1/2) and the youngest just likes turning off my PC at the most inopportune moments (he is around 18 months now).

Future projects...
Once I have the external to internal connectivity sorted out (yep probably using dynDNS as well) I will be finishing off setting up a MineCraft server for clients to use. Unfortunately the latest version of Bukkit (a Minecraft server spinoff with extra features including better user management and control) is not compatible with the latest client so I have to wait for the server software to catch up. The fans on top of my server cabinet are also quite noisy so I will most likely be replacing them. I am looking at a RGB LED strip reel and controller to make the rack a bit more 'acceptible' in the home :) and as a test before trying it in the living room. I also need to replace my 2 port KVM with a 4 port one so will be getting one of those. Maybe another set of rails for my SAN to use and a couple of cable management arms but just tidying up stuff really. The core computing stuff I think is pretty much set for a while.

One other project I am working on which is pretty interesting is a Wifi Mesh setup for someone. Multiple access points all linking together to provide WiFi with users only having to login once and the APs hand off to each other as the user moves in and out of range. Not cheap but quite an interesting project. All the APs will be Power over Ethernet and it is just seeing if we can do it with D-link porducts (no controller and a 8 AP limit) or if we need to move to a HP solution which has a controller but the entry level controller is EOL next year and the next model up is almost twice the price at over S$3k.

RB
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Postby x9200 » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 8:48 am

RimBlock wrote:Haha, mine was 3-2 pages worth so I thought I better cut it back :wink: .

I found I also had to segment my network as well due to the MIO TV boxes not liking another DHCP / DNS server running on the same network as the Singtel router.

It may be a problem sometimes. I have two separate dhcp servers for each sub-net and two dns cashing (second one on the router).

I have a DLink router that the Singtel box connects to (wan on the DLink) and then this connects to the Procurve. Works fine now. Previously before the fiber upgrade I had a 8Mbit connection and ended up having 3 telephone lines to the apartment as we have two MIO TV boxes and one for the ADSL.

:)

On the networking side, I will probably get another 1810-24G or 1810-8G (they don't do a 16G :cry: ) which will be purely for the iSCSI data. At the moment the netowrk ports on the three servers allocated for iSCSI are on a VLAN on the switch away from the other traffic. The switch also allows me to use LACP (link aggregation) to bond the quad port nic in the SAN for iSCSI traffic so there is plenty of bandwidth available at the moment. The ultimate would be to go diskless for the PCs and get them booting off the SAN but I am not willing to spend the cash to get it up to SSD speeds so that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

The only manageable switch I have is in WRT-54G (they are manageable under Openwrt) but I only use it to separate different notworks. I have no need for more speed at this moment at least :)

I used to use Powerline adaptors and still recommend them to clients but with the caveat that on decent wiring they are great but if you have dodgy / not so good electrical wiring then they are unlikely to work very well. The first HDB we bought here we did a full reno on including the electrics. The home plugs worked very well. The current place we bought we did a basic reno on but didn't change the electrics partly due to cost and partly due to the cornices with the wiring behind them. When I tried the homeplugs, the performance was terrible. If you have good wiring then I much prefer them to wireless. Of course wireless has its uses for tablets, laptops and other mobile devices :) .

Fully agree. Homeplugs are rather sensitive. You may forget to put it to an extension cord for that instance. In our previous place they worked well everywhere (i have mostly aztech 200Mbps) but in the current one which is two story flat, they only work reasonably within the single floor but not across the floor and it shows rather weird way - in some random moments the plug appears to reset itself and not go online again until it is made on and back off the hard way. I bought a pair of TP hotplugs and they work fine. Go figure. And I don't really like wifi too. Damn unreliable. Primary reason I use home plug. Unfortunately I am still renting the flats so can not go for cross-house ethernet option.

Have you considered seeing if vSphere would be a good option for your server requirements. I still consider it one of the best moes I made and it came about when I decided to try it out with Windows Home Server 2011. After installing and using it I found that I was only using 5-10% of the machines CPU power and a fraction of memory available. I then started adding other virtual machines and still I am nowhere near what would be required to max the hardware. The otehr thing is that while reusing old stuff can seem like a good idea, newer models tend to be a lot less power hungry. This is especially true of new compared to old servers. Entry level E3 Xeons come in between i5s and i7s and there is also a cheaper low power version. They also support ECC ram which is much cheaper than it used to be now. Prices have really dropped in the last year. You can even do direct hardware passthrough to a virtual machine of various hardware if your setup supports VT-d (i5, i7, E3/5). Maybe something worth looking at, especially as vSphere (ESXi) hypervisor is available for free.

It looks good but I really think I don't need it. My only computation extensive work is the HD video encoding (I do BD authoring etc). For this I have a single a bit more powerful workstation that allows me to shorten the encoding time from like 3 days to one day (I typically use the highest quality setting). No other machine I have can come even close so regardless all other factors any form of clustering/distributing will probably give negligible results. And I don't do it so frequently. For this task I need like 100-200GB of the disk space. When the job is finished typically 50-150GB data is produced (the final iso files and all the working/temporary files) and gets transferred to the general server and into BDs. This, plus what I encode from DVDs to my kid so he can watch it on his iPad when in the car. That's all.
My most disk extensive task is the backup when it goes in full mode (normally incremental). But then it is done this way that the backup server wakes up after midnight and do it all overnight so typically is pretty transparent.

Reusing old stuff and energy saving: I used to run my main server on Duron 700MHz. At the time I set up another server for my wife (her company). The server for her was ITX based with very low power consumption double core cpu (Asus mobo, cpu atom or something similar). It did not need cpu fan, just a heatsink.The server performed very well (http, sql, ssh, samba) and I was contemplating to replace my Duron based with similar to this. Then I took a real power consumption meter and do the measurements for both of them and recalculated the costs of running and it happened that I would get to a breakeven point in about 3 years. I stayed with Duron as likely in 3 years I would be replacing the hardware anyway.


How have your WD Greens been working for you. I had 5x 2TB drives fail within 3 months when I first bought them. They were the original generations and 4 were put in a software (mdadm) raid 5 array but the other one was not.

I had 2 failures of the Greens within 2 years for in-server use (24/7). No raid. The first one 2TB got problems only after 3 months and it was a weird failure as it affected only the transfer rates. It took me a month or so to recover the data as the rates where like 2-4kB/s. No bad clusters at least judging from the system messages.
The 2nd one was 1TB and worked in a small office server and I believe it might have been overheated. Although the smart records did not show any out of spec overheating but the drive was working like 2y at 45-50 deg C.
For what I have in the raid server all of them are 1TB and fine so far but they are not used 24/7 (once a week for a couple of hours average).


I built my HTPC after my my media players were not quite man enough to handle full Bluray ISOs over the network. A lot of the media players use 'soft' networking and couldn't power the networking and the video decoding. I also have a HD projector and 100" screen in the living room so it is nice to have the full quality Blurays. The projector setup was much cheaper than I ever expected with the Panasonic 3500 projector, 100" manual screen and cables coming in for around 3.5k which is not so far from a 50" tv now and the quality is very good. Night time is of course better but even on a cloudy day it is still repectable.

I have the same problem with the BD ISOs but I did not bother so far also for the reason that the traffic to the receivers goes via homeplugs. Sometimes it works with full HD (single files) sometimes not and there is not much I can do about this.


8kW.... I bet the power company loved you.

We have a couple of XBox 360s (old and new) but use them just for games. I have been known to get roped in to a few games of Borderlands, Modern Warfare or one of the other multiplayer games with the kids. The PS3 never really appealed to me although we do have a PS2 and PSP (both rarely used now).
I have never really go on with laptops. Apart from work I only have ever used them for entertainment when travelling. I do, however, have a Sony tablet which I use day to do for reading books or watching shows whilst on the MRT but also for explaining various proposed solutions for clients as being able to do some basic drawings and checking pricing / compatibility and availability of various items is really handy. The fact it fits in to my shoulder bag is also a bonus for me. My sone tends to latch on to our WiFi with his mobile for spending hours watching YouTube clips (he's almost 14), the middle one is playing counterstrike online (he is 4 1/2) and the youngest just likes turning off my PC at the most inopportune moments (he is around 18 months now).

:) I have only one 2yo who is more than enough to wreck my nerves when he goes too close to the machines :) He has fallen in love with the tablets since he was 1y old and actually he showed us many things we were not aware of (we all have ipads) and probably never guess (I am typical member of the male part of the society so I read manuals only if I have problems to solve). I can setup an ssh or http server under iOS but majority of this multi-gestures and hidden options (press long enough and they appear) I learned from him. Fortunately enough he is more into puzzle solving so far and sometimes movie watching.


Future projects...
Once I have the external to internal connectivity sorted out (yep probably using dynDNS as well) I will be finishing off setting up a MineCraft server for clients to use. Unfortunately the latest version of Bukkit (a Minecraft server spinoff with extra features including better user management and control) is not compatible with the latest client so I have to wait for the server software to catch up. The fans on top of my server cabinet are also quite noisy so I will most likely be replacing them. I am looking at a RGB LED strip reel and controller to make the rack a bit more 'acceptible' in the home :) and as a test before trying it in the living room. I also need to replace my 2 port KVM with a 4 port one so will be getting one of those. Maybe another set of rails for my SAN to use and a couple of cable management arms but just tidying up stuff really. The core computing stuff I think is pretty much set for a while.

One other project I am working on which is pretty interesting is a Wifi Mesh setup for someone. Multiple access points all linking together to provide WiFi with users only having to login once and the APs hand off to each other as the user moves in and out of range. Not cheap but quite an interesting project. All the APs will be Power over Ethernet and it is just seeing if we can do it with D-link porducts (no controller and a 8 AP limit) or if we need to move to a HP solution which has a controller but the entry level controller is EOL next year and the next model up is almost twice the price at over S$3k.

RB

Again, I am rather minimalistic. I need to transfer to N wifi. Supposed to be more reliable and of a wider range. Any real life experience with the differences? To do this I need to unbrick two routers I killed with some errors in the starting scripts. I have some suitable serial adapters but not enough time at this moment.
And one day I would like to have a rack like yours but not working in IT I have not enough excuses to spend probably ~3k to get all my servers transferred.


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Postby RimBlock » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 10:51 am

x9200 wrote:
The only manageable switch I have is in WRT-54G (they are manageable under Openwrt) but I only use it to separate different notworks. I have no need for more speed at this moment at least :)


The 1810 procurves from HP are very good. They are also not so pricey especially as they come with a lifetime warranty. HP have a procurve sale on at the moment so the 8 port version is around S$210 locally which is pretty good for a web managed business level switch. They are, however, not routers. Worth a look if someone is in the market.


Fully agree. Homeplugs are rather sensitive. You may forget to put it to an extension cord for that instance. In our previous place they worked well everywhere (i have mostly aztech 200Mbps) but in the current one which is two story flat, they only work reasonably within the single floor but not across the floor and it shows rather weird way - in some random moments the plug appears to reset itself and not go online again until it is made on and back off the hard way. I bought a pair of TP hotplugs and they work fine. Go figure. And I don't really like wifi too. Damn unreliable. Primary reason I use home plug. Unfortunately I am still renting the flats so can not go for cross-house ethernet option.

Well not and keep the WAF (Wife Approval Factor) I would imagine. Ours is an EM and so two storey as well. I ended up going up the outside of the building in order to get between floors or the cables would have been all across the dining room ceiling with little chance to hide them. It worked quite well but then we bought the unit so have a few more options.

Pulling a couple of cables from down stairs front door, up and along the front of the unit, through the wall of the front bedroom, through a pipe hidden behind a light box in the stairwell to the back bedroom and around to the TV point only to find it snagged and was damaged was frustraiting to say the least. It only happened once though :) .


It looks good but I really think I don't need it. My only computation extensive work is the HD video encoding (I do BD authoring etc). For this I have a single a bit more powerful workstation that allows me to shorten the encoding time from like 3 days to one day (I typically use the highest quality setting). No other machine I have can come even close so regardless all other factors any form of clustering/distributing will probably give negligible results. And I don't do it so frequently. For this task I need like 100-200GB of the disk space. When the job is finished typically 50-150GB data is produced (the final iso files and all the working/temporary files) and gets transferred to the general server and into BDs. This, plus what I encode from DVDs to my kid so he can watch it on his iPad when in the car. That's all.

It would be interesting to know the specs of the video encoding machine (if different from the first PC listed in your original post). I would of thought throwing an E3/E5 with a decent amount of ECC ram and some SSD storage for scratch disks would have had a pretty big impact but then I guess it would also depend on how well the software scales up. I was looking at the possibility of a server side CAD rendering setup for a client where the server had all the heavy hardware (storage, ram, dedicated Quadro video cards etc) and the client just connected, kicked off jobs and viewed the results. It looked good but was still pretty expensive. The client software and control was centered around VMware View but he licensing was pretty heavy.

Of course the cost / benefit for you of upgrading to that level is another matter.


Reusing old stuff and energy saving: I used to run my main server on Duron 700MHz. At the time I set up another server for my wife (her company). The server for her was ITX based with very low power consumption double core cpu (Asus mobo, cpu atom or something similar). It did not need cpu fan, just a heatsink.The server performed very well (http, sql, ssh, samba) and I was contemplating to replace my Duron based with similar to this. Then I took a real power consumption meter and do the measurements for both of them and recalculated the costs of running and it happened that I would get to a breakeven point in about 3 years. I stayed with Duron as likely in 3 years I would be replacing the hardware anyway.


Yeah, whilst the move to more energy efficent hardware may be the better way to go long term, again, it is the cost / benefits for individual situations that really needs to rule the decisions. The cost to you is negligable in the short term so would make very little difference. In my case, it is not unusual for my wife to leave her computer on overnight. Changing from an E8400 to a Sandy Bridge with SSD will probably make a fair difference and enabled me to move from MATX to mITX so the unit is not on the desk rather than on the floor.

Again, I am rather minimalistic. I need to transfer to N wifi. Supposed to be more reliable and of a wider range. Any real life experience with the differences? To do this I need to unbrick two routers I killed with some errors in the starting scripts. I have some suitable serial adapters but not enough time at this moment.
And one day I would like to have a rack like yours but not working in IT I have not enough excuses to spend probably ~3k to get all my servers transferred.



With N, a lot of the time the speeds is at the cost of range. Outside of the marketing hype you have to remember it is a two way street so whilst the router plugged in to the mains may have quite a good range, the mobile battery supported device may not and listening is not much good if it cannot talk back. Wireless G is much more device friently in those terms. I ended up getting a couple of TP Link wireless extenders. They were around S$40-S$50 in price and are tiny, around the size of 1 1/2 matchboxes. They work pretty well although they do have a rather annoying bright blue LED which is great if you are at a disco but rather annoying blinking away at night in a bedroom.

If you want a ton of fun (I say this very much tongue in cheek) then check out the Wifi Range Calculator on the Radiolabs site here. You can work out your power, signal loss due to cable, free space loss, receiving antenna sensitivity and put it all together to work out usable range with line of sight in an uncluttered environment. Of course then you have to account for radio blocking materials like reinforced concrete, that Singapore loves so much, various types of glass, metal framed false ceilings etc.... oh the fun :???: .



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Postby x9200 » Thu, 22 Nov 2012 6:24 pm

No doubts if I have lots of money to spend I would go for 1810-24G or similar (I agree they are not that pricey but still...) also to satisfy curiosity but being pretty pragmatic sometimes I will be probably buying 16port TP-link TL-SG1016D. It's ~$S150 only and I already ran out of sockets in my 8 port Planex :)

With the cabling you are definitely more hardcore than I am but I would not go in my case outside as this is the last, 17th floor and I prefer not to compete with the lightning protection installation :)

Yes, my top PC workstation was included to the list: FX6k1.

Running i7 at full power would be ~130W if I am not mistaken vs ~20W of the low power ITX dedicated CPUs. With the rate of something like $S0.3 per 1 kWh it gives a difference of ~$S300 a year but you seldom run machines with 100% cpu 24/7/365 so it will probably be closer to $S50 :)

N vs G. I thought it might be like this. Then no rush as I am rather happy with stability of WRT-54G (uptime > 180 days typically not a problem with 6y or so of total product life).
I have a TP range extender, WA-830RE and it works but kind of weird way. It boosts the signal but not too much the transmission rate. On the other hand if I think about it this looks like the way it should be. It still relies on the bridging connection so if this sucks miracles should not be expected.

I noticed you use an ASRock mobo. How are their products in terms of reliability, stability etc? They appeared on the market only few years ago and so far I have not bought anything from them.

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Postby RimBlock » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 10:36 am

x9200 wrote:No doubts if I have lots of money to spend I would go for 1810-24G or similar (I agree they are not that pricey but still...) also to satisfy curiosity but being pretty pragmatic sometimes I will be probably buying 16port TP-link TL-SG1016D. It's ~$S150 only and I already ran out of sockets in my 8 port Planex :)


TP Link are pretty well respected at the consumer level and I have had no issues at all with my TL-WR703N units. The 1810 is more of a entry business level with lifetime warranty and advanced next business day replacement. Important for businesses but maybe not so much for home users. I paid just over S$500 for mine but they can be had for around S$400 locally now.

x9200 wrote:With the cabling you are definitely more hardcore than I am but I would not go in my case outside as this is the last, 17th floor and I prefer not to compete with the lightning protection installation :)


It is not quite as bad as it sounds as the wiring goes up the wall on the block coridoor so just a short ladder was required. The trunking matched what was already there and the only issue was having to get over the main power cables for the block which I did by threading behind them at right angles to avoid interference and then run along above them with around a 3" gap. Works fine, the trunking is above trunking already there so no mess of new trunking on the outside of the building and speeds are good. It was just a bit of a pain to do but it was done when our renovation was done so it was easier than retrofitting. The outside of the block was also repainted by the local council around 6 months ago which also helps hide the trunking.

x9200 wrote:Running i7 at full power would be ~130W if I am not mistaken vs ~20W of the low power ITX dedicated CPUs. With the rate of something like $S0.3 per 1 kWh it gives a difference of ~$S300 a year but you seldom run machines with 100% cpu 24/7/365 so it will probably be closer to $S50 :)


Yeah but you are comparing with an i7 and not an E3. An E3-1230 v2 (Ivy Bridge) sits next to an i7-3820 in terms of performance. The E3 is cheaper and has a TDP of 69W compared to the i7s TDP of 130W. The E3 has 4 cores with hyperthreading just like the i7 plus all the nice Xeon features like ECC ram support (motherboard chipset permitting), VT-x, VT-d etc. People are now getting these and adding them to consumer boards instead of i7s as they offer more bang for buck with a much better power profile. It is only the top level of i7 where it beats the E3 and ties with the E5 but then the E5 is quite a bit more expensive as it is designed for dual or quad CPU installations.

The E3-1220L v2 is only 4 core with no hyperthreading and lower performance, as you would expect, but with a TDP of 17W.

x9200 wrote:N vs G. I thought it might be like this.


Yeah, my advice, for what it is worth, would be to stick with G if you are fine with the speed. One other advantage of N though is that it can opperate on the 5GHz band which is a lot less cluttered and so less prone to interference. Of course any connecting devices also need to be able to communicate on the 5GHz band as well though.

x9200 wrote:I noticed you use an ASRock mobo. How are their products in terms of reliability, stability etc? They appeared on the market only few years ago and so far I have not bought anything from them.


I have 3 of their boards and apart from the Z68 Extreme board in my main PC they are all fine. The extreme had an issue with the sound chipset which was fixed with a replacement. It was a model wide manufacturing issue. ASRock are part of ASUS. They are the slightly cheaper enthusiest version but have faily decent warranty and support.

Gigabyte, ASUS, Intel and MSI tend to be more top tier manufacturers quality wise but you pay for it. ASrock, ECS are a step below. Intel do a big range of boards on all levels but not many places stock them as they don't have the 'bells and whistles' of other consumer boards. They do tend to be pretty rock solid though (well apart from their H61 boards). Zotac have some nice models especially mITX but, personally, I don't like the techniques the one guy doing local distribution uses to get customers to buy. He setup a thread on one of the IT sites and built a reputation as an 'expert' on mITX builds. I read the thread for a while and and it was quite good but I did notice a pattern of what he kept suggesting as the best solution for peoples questions for recommendations even though there were a number of brands that would have been suitable. When starting my own small business and signing up with distributors I happend to notice that he was, in fact, the local distributor for Zotac in Singapore :shock: . He did not thank me for pointing out that fact in the same thread. It was interesting to see a number of others jumped to his defence and refused to believe even when shown the evidence but by all accounts he was in the IT scene for quite a while and built up quite a reputation before leveraging it. Honestly, giving advice and recommending items he had a financial interest in didn't bother me, it was the fact that he deliberately went out of his way to hide that financial connection in order to appear impartial. He also hated me offering alternatives, especially ECS boards as they tended to have most fo the Zotac boards features at a significantly lower cost (exclufing WiFi but that could be fixed with a cheap mPCIe Wifi Card). I have also butted heads with the representative for a well known SLS shop in the same place when he recommended a 'K' series i5 for a ladies business PC. When asked why he recommended the 'K' series CPU (the only advantage being a slightly better video ability and it is unlocked for overclocking enthusiasts but at a premium price) he replied along the lines of "well it would give her the option of overclocking if she felt like it in th future"..... :???:, A ladies home business desktop machine.... :???:.

I have moved away from consumer items and solutions, probably to the relief of those two, and concentrate more on entry level business setups and special projects like this WiFi Mesh setup I am currently doing.

Rb
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 3:38 pm

Interesting thread. One that both x9200 and Strong Eagle can appreciate. While it's beyond my scope of things, I am still watching this thread as we surely wouldn't want you to overstep your boundaries (of which you are aware of by the pointing out of what happened with one of your distributors on another forum). ;-)

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Postby RimBlock » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 4:44 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Interesting thread. One that both x9200 and Strong Eagle can appreciate. While it's beyond my scope of things, I am still watching this thread as we surely wouldn't want you to overstep your boundaries (of which you are aware of by the pointing out of what happened with one of your distributors on another forum). ;-)


Hi SMS,

We have already discussed the bounderies, you and I, on another occasion although from another side (informing and helping without going over the advertising line).

I am happy to be as open as you are willing to let me.

I am unclear as to whether just stating that I can supply even without contact details would be a breach of the advertising rules. If so there there would appear to be no way to inform readers of any financial interest whilst not advertising unless you have any other suggestions. If it is ok to make that statement as long as no contact details are provided then great.

Honestly, if people wanted to purchase computer related items then there are better local and international sites to go to that specialise in that area. Any posting here is purely to help others as I have been doing on other sites for years.

I do appreciate it is a difficult one to rule on and if it is too awkward then there is no issue with me not posting. I enjoy helping others but I do not want to step on any toes.

RB
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 5:03 pm

The simple way, is to just put a passive hyperlink in your signature which is allowed - but you are not allow to refer to it your posted messages) and then your good advice alone, if warranted, will drive people to your hyperlink out of curiosity. However, by advising that you can provide this or that, really does smack of solicitation which is just another form of advertising. My suggestion. Just put a hyperlink in your signature block and don't mention your ability of being able to provide said wares or services in your posts. That way, when they contact your passive link, the world is your oyster and you can further explain your wares and services. In the meantime, your posts are extremely interesting and should be well received by those with similar needs.

cheers,
sms

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Postby RimBlock » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 5:10 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:The simple way, is to just put a passive hyperlink in your signature which is allowed - but you are not allow to refer to it your posted messages) and then your good advice alone, if warranted, will drive people to your hyperlink out of curiosity. However, by advising that you can provide this or that, really does smack of solicitation which is just another form of advertising. My suggestion. Just put a hyperlink in your signature block and don't mention your ability of being able to provide said wares or services in your posts. That way, when they contact your passive link, the world is your oyster and you can further explain your wares and services. In the meantime, your posts are extremely interesting and should be well received by those with similar needs.

cheers,
sms


Thanks SMS, sounds good.

I shall link to PM me here for now with "Got an IT question ?." as the text. Later when my website is complete I will change it to an email me page on that site with the same wording. Would that be acceptable ?.

Regards
RB
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 5:39 pm

As long as you are only having one hyperlink (which is our limit) in the signature block you are good to go. The hyperlink short question is good. Similar to my link in my own signature. Sounds good to me.

Cheers,
sms

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Postby RimBlock » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 5:58 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:As long as you are only having one hyperlink (which is our limit) in the signature block you are good to go. The hyperlink short question is good. Similar to my link in my own signature. Sounds good to me.

Cheers,
sms


Great. thanks for the clarification.

I will probably sort it out early next week as I am off to Sentosa shortly (Mother-i-L, Casino points, free hotel room). What witht he Marine park and water park now open, I am sure the kids will be having a great time. Saying that it is currently pouring down outside :-).

Back on topic....

If anyone is looking for racks then go to the local classifieds.... Although their are stupidly expensive for home use if bought new there are some liquidation companies who take items like this and then sell second hand for a fraction of the original cost. There was no way I was willing to pay 1.4k for a basic 42U rack and after phoning around a few numbers in the classifieds I found one for S$100. I then had to locate a rack removal specialist (normal home Movers wouldnt touch it) which came in at another S$150. So S$250 for a rack inc delivery. Lucked out and got 3 shelves and a PDU as well although it all needed some serious cleaning. At a guess the owner had it outside his bungalow under a shelter (either that or down a coal mine) as the top was caked with black dirt. Scrubbed up ok though. The only thing with second hand racks is you tend to find they are the bigger dimentions (mine is 600mm wide X 1000mm deep which I could just about fit).

I am now ordering a temp sensitive fan controller unit and 4 new silent 120mm fans for the top of cabinet fan plate as the ones that came with it are quite noisy. I will then add some RGB remote control leds to the top for some disco flare :D . I was thinking about sound responsive but with the server fans etc I really don't think they would work :wink: .

RB
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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 23 Nov 2012 7:13 pm

I would have loved this thread about 5 years ago. I could have spent hours discussing my Linux router, custom iptables rules with traffic shaping and redirection, massive SCSI raids in a file server, dhcp, Dns, transparent caching proxies, the works.

Now I have an AirPort Extreme (looking to replace it with the Asus N66) attached to my absolute crap singtel router. I have a pair of MacBook Airs (13 for work, 11 for wife), an iPad mini for me and a nexus 7 for the kid. At home I do 75% of my personal computing off my iPhone. Anything questionable that I do(not much anymore) happens inside an encrypted Win7 VM, or Backtrack (that's usually work related though). I guess I practice minimalism in home IT now :)

Also have an AppleTv just to display things to the TV easily, and I'm considering a new iMac as a bedroom TV/full time download station. (Retire that encrypted VM)

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Postby x9200 » Sat, 24 Nov 2012 9:45 am

RimBlock wrote:If anyone is looking for racks then go to the local classifieds.... Although their are stupidly expensive for home use if bought new there are some liquidation companies who take items like this and then sell second hand for a fraction of the original cost. There was no way I was willing to pay 1.4k for a basic 42U rack and after phoning around a few numbers in the classifieds I found one for S$100. I then had to locate a rack removal specialist (normal home Movers wouldnt touch it) which came in at another S$150. So S$250 for a rack inc delivery. Lucked out and got 3 shelves and a PDU as well although it all needed some serious cleaning. At a guess the owner had it outside his bungalow under a shelter (either that or down a coal mine) as the top was caked with black dirt. Scrubbed up ok though. The only thing with second hand racks is you tend to find they are the bigger dimentions (mine is 600mm wide X 1000mm deep which I could just about fit).

$100! This is what I hopped to hear. 42U should fit to my car and I have a loading trolley so I should manage this part by myself. It could be dirty, worn, no problem, I have a karcher and spray-gun too :)

Why the Movers would not touch the rack?


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