So, my current storage system is finally full.  I’ve been forced to delete some of my movies that I ripped from my BluRay and HD-DVD discs to make space for my DVR recordings.  My current solution is an Ubuntu 9.10 install with six 1.5TB SATA drives.  I am adding eight 2.0TB drives in this external enclosure that uses eSATA and port multipliers (two eSATA connections for eight drives), so hopefully this lasts awhile.  Right put all my media on my server and share it throughout the house.  For video I rip my discs to the shared array and depending on the content I will convert them to x264 .mkv files.  Many I end up leaving as the original streams, making it easier and saving time while keeping the HD Audio tracks which eats up a ton of space.

Anyway, on to the details.  Amazon (Prime Rocks!) had a good deal on Seagate Barracuda 2.0TB LP (5900 rpm “green”) drives.  I also ordered the Sans Digital  TR8M-B eight bay eSATA enclosure (Did I mention that Prime rocks?).  Everything showed up in the Big Brown Truck yesterday and I got to building it.  I took some pics for the heck of it:

Here’s the box and drives:

The Box and Drives


Here’s the unit unboxed:

Out of the box, with accessories

Note the really crappy PCIe card in the pic above.  It’s supposed to be super slow being 1x, and I have already ordered a replacement.

Here’s a shot of the front of the unit with the door open and the top drive bay partially removed:

Front Door open, one bay partially out.

The drive bay units are pretty nice, aside from the cheesy, definitely Chinese feeling clips that lock the drives in place.  Don’t get me wrong, they are sturdy enough… they just have a super cheap feeling that a lot of chrome covered plastic has.

Side view of the inside of the case.

Not a lot going on here, since the drives front-load.

Here you can see the inside of the unit from the side panel.  It’s pretty basic, but one thing to note is the crap-tastic fan.  That’s the first thing I removed.  I really hate the fact that almost every fan you get in a case today has either a Red, Blue, or Neon Green LED light built in.  My office glowed at night enough to wake me from down the hall before I started smashing LEDs. 😉

Here’s the fan, and the one I replaced it with (original on the right):

The replacement is listed as being <14 db and still moving a decent amount of air.  It seems to be living up to it’s claims.  with the unit on, I can feel the air being pulled out the back of the unit.

Update 06/10/2010:  The fan died this week and I had my drives running at 70C!  Replaced it with a loud, conventional 120mm fan and the drives are running at about 40C now.

Here’s a picture of the back plane board that the drives directly connect to:

Pretty basic, but nice for the price.

Here’s a shot of the eight Barracudas in their mounting brackets, ready to be popped into the enclosure:

Eight 2TB Seagate Barracudas.

And here it is complete:

Loaded up and ready to init the drives.

On the front you can see the  status indicator lights for the drives on the lower left.  They are numbered 1-8, drive #1 being at the bottom of the case and #8 being at the top.  In the middle are two lights for the eSATA link, and on the right is the power button.  I’m glad the button is on the front and not in the back.  This will allow easy access to power off the unit when I’m on vacation without having to crawl under the desk and fumble with the power cords since the PSU is mounted on the bottom of the case.

I decided to use mdadm to create a software RAID 5 array with this unit.  I put the cheapo 1x card into my Linux machine and booted the system.  The drives were immediately recognized by the system and I was able to create the partitions and start creating the array.  mdadm is estimating 23 hours to build the array completely, so it’s still going with about 12 hours left.  Once it completes I’m going to perform some read/write tests on the array and then tomorrow swap out the 1x PCIe controller for the new 8x PCIe card that is coming.

More to come…