Hack a Day reader [The_Glu] shared with us a project of his. He used an Eee PC 701 he had lying around with a broken LCD, along with three 1TB SATA drives to create a custom NAS server for his house. The server features a number of other interesting components, including USB2SATA converters to connect the hard drives, as well as a 2 line LCD to display RAID information and server status. The entire  project is wrapped up in a custom made Plexiglas enclosure with case fans to keep the whole thing cool. While this may not be the first Eee PC NAS, or the fastest, this is a wonderful way to repurpose a broken netbook. We also love the idea of netbooks being used more and more in projects like these as the first generation reaches its end of usefulness age. More pictures after the break.

Thanks [The_Glu]






21 thoughts on “Eee PC NAS

  1. NAS are supposed to keep your data safe… but USB to SATA bridges are pure crap… EPIC FAIL :(

    He’ll be crying when he’ll have lost 2TB of data (and I know what I’m talking about, this happened to me when I was playing with cheap RAID controllers).

  2. @cri

    You shouldn’t loose data even with a shit Fakeraid controller. Unless you mean the power went out and you didn’t have battery backup on the controller, or a couple disks failed and you didn’t have enough parity left to recover the array.. that’s not really the controllers fault. Cheap controllers are essentially normal SATA controllers with a extension rom to manage the array setup,.. everything else is done by drivers in software.

    As long as those bridges don’t corrupt the data (parity covers your arse there too though) and the driver for the bridges can restart them if they hit an error condition he shouldn’t have much of a problem. Other than it being a slow as hell. Anything cpu bound (encrypted filesystems, parity calculation..) should be avoided on atom machines. ;) I hope he’s configured mdadm’s daily checks max throughput correctly.

  3. This is a nice way to use broken hardware. However I’m fascinated by the statement that the 701 and similar are reaching the end of usefulness – They may not be able to play back HD video, but they can browse, blog, edit documents, send email – and play youtube clips… Just like they did two to three years ago. The internet hasn’t gotten all that much heavier in the intervening time – so I don’t see how the 1G netbooks are any more or less handy than at purchase time.

  4. end of their usefulness?
    I’m snapping them up while I still can.

    701SD + OpenBSD makes an excellent firewall/ WAP/ file server. If you automount the external drive they use minimal power while idle.

  5. >Can you power down a drive via a
    >USB2/SATA adapter?

    Depends on the bridge. I think some bridges can forward SMART stuff, raw SATA commands etc, but it’s vendor-specific.

    >do this unless I could spin-down the drives
    >when the PC sleeps.

    Spinning down drives is actually bad for them. There was a site somewhere that showed that the power saved by spinning down drives was wasted spinning the drive back up to speed and the wear on the drive mechanism was higher than leaving the drive spinning 24/7. The only reason to spin the drive down is maybe to avoid damage if the drive being moved around.. “defragging” drives is fairly pointless with a decent FS too.

  6. I have looked in to the issue of spinning down drives for power saving, and concluded that it makes sense to do so.

    People worry about the drives failing to re-start. Consider that a standard Seagate drive with 5 year warranty is designed with at least one start/stop cycle per day in mind, and laptop drives far more so.

    The reality is, motor technology has got so good these days that it really isn’t a big issue, unless you keep all your data on just one drive in which case you are doing it wrong anyway.

    Running the drive 24/7 probably increases the likelihood of failure far more. Heat is the biggest factor in drive lifespan. Google have masses of stats on this. The drive is coolest when it and it’s neighbours are powered down.

    The power savings are not huge, to be fair. I calculated that a single HDD requires around 50-70p of electricity to run for one solid month, depending on how efficient it is and how much you pay per kwh. That works out at around £8/year/drive.

  7. I think the link to the project got lost somewhere in that mess of a description. Why are there so many links in the post that don’t go to the actual project site? It’s one thing to inform your readers what a NAS is, but I think most of us can figure out how to google, bing, or wikipedia something we don’t understand.

    I still can’t figure out where the actual project writeup is….

  8. Certainly not redundant! Using the 4Gs here as audio receiver boxes, using an x101 as a backup crunching box, another x101 as a field music player, a trio of 701 for experimenting with os for 4Gs, and a couple of 2G surf to replace 4G when os is small enough.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.