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ASUS C60M1-I, ultimate NAS board?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have experience with the ASUS C60M1-I motherboard's onboard RAID? With 6 sata ports and a CPU with an 18w tdp, it seems like it would be awesome for a nas without dropping 300 for a PERC card and going for "real" raid.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131843

500
post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 
Scratch that, I just read it doesn't support hardware raid.

312
post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
Well, reading some more it looks like software raid doesn't suck anymore. So the discussion can commence.
post #4 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyson Poindexter View Post

Scratch that, I just read it doesn't support hardware raid.

312
Why do you need hardware RAID?

NAS's usually run Linux or FreeBSD or something built off them. Odds of running software RAID are about.... 99.85%? tongue.gif


Windows Software RAID sucks. (In the sense that performance is pretty bad and weird stuff like partitions vanishing is not unheard of.)

Linux/BSD Software RAID is very mature and has very good performance when provided with enough memory. The majority of webservers connected to the internet run some sort of Linux software RAID.

Solaris (Sun!) had one of the most advanced Software RAID & Filesystems to date - ZFS. Too bad the company crumbled and got bought out. Some of their engineers created absolutely amazing software.
     
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post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kramy View Post

Why do you need hardware RAID?
NAS's usually run Linux or FreeBSD or something built off them. Odds of running software RAID are about.... 99.85%? tongue.gif
Windows Software RAID sucks. (In the sense that performance is pretty bad and weird stuff like partitions vanishing is not unheard of.)
Linux/BSD Software RAID is very mature and has very good performance when provided with enough memory. The majority of webservers connected to the internet run some sort of Linux software RAID.
Solaris (Sun!) had one of the most advanced Software RAID & Filesystems to date - ZFS. Too bad the company crumbled and got bought out. Some of their engineers created absolutely amazing software.

I'm only familiar with hardware raid, and held the opinion that software raid was "fake" raid and could never work as well. Research has shown me otherwise. So, what do you think about this board? Surely parity calcs wouldn't hit the cpu too hard, would it?

Looking at getting something like a Habey EMC-600 and mounting the hard drives vertically on top.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyson Poindexter View Post

I'm only familiar with hardware raid, and held the opinion that software raid was "fake" raid and could never work as well. Research has shown me otherwise. So, what do you think about this board? Surely parity calcs wouldn't hit the cpu too hard, would it?
It can work very well, but you still need an efficient SATA controller with high per-port performance. Luckily these boards deliver in that regard.

Well, what kind of performance level are you aiming for? Parity calcs certainly do hit the CPU. That one is about as fast as an atom, so you can't expect more than ~90MB/sec reads, and probably slower writes. Still, if your OS does proper read and write caching, you won't notice any slowdowns. That's what hardware RAID controllers basically are - self contained operating systems which manage about 512MB of cache and try to keep data flowing as quickly as possible. Linux is quite happy to do the same job (while simultaneously doing other stuff), but it may not do it quite as memory efficiently, and could certainly benefit from ~4GB of RAM to help it along. biggrin.gif
     
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post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
It's finally back in stock, I think I might get it. I'm thinking of trying to use this as both a HTPC and a NAS. I really just need ~5MB/s read and write performance to use it as an HTPC, if my calculations are right. Anything else is just gravy. It will get 8GB of RAM which should help greatly as a cache. I think I will run Win7 with freeNAS inside of vmware player. People use the board for ESXi so surely it can handle some basic media shuffling. I'm currently using my desktop as a storage array for a laptop running as my HTPC so I stand to save a ton in power consumption. Hate leaving the desktop on all day.
post #8 of 27
I've used the 'big brother' of this board, with an AMD E-350, for a NAS. It easily handles 10 SATA disks, with plenty of room for expansion, and that board only has 4 SATA ports.

The trick: get the board, get a BIG case, with loooooads of 5.25" bays in the front, get a couple of those 5x3.5"-to-3x5.25" bays (in which you can put 5x 3.5" drives on their sides, and take up just 3x 5.25" slots), and.. the magic wand: a 'port multiplier'. Newer SATA chipsets allow you to have a port multiplier. One cable from the motherboard to the PMP (as it's also referred to), and from there you can usually connect 5 more drives.

You will also want to use software raid, especially when you will use something like FreeNAS. If you use a hardware RAID, and that breaks, you either need to get the -exact- same family of RAID card back or you won't be able to get to the data. If you use software RAID, you just hook up your drives to the new mobo or whatever, and you're back in business. Performance of software RAID is generally at least as good as hardware RAID, especially since the 'home use' hardware RAID isn't exactly truly hardware RAID... They still make the CPU do all the work, so there's no gain, really.

If you worry that the 5 drives will fill up the single link to your mobo, I wouldn't worry too much. Usually, you will end up with performances of up to 50-100MB/s. Theoretical maximum for the single SATA link is 3Gbit/s, which makes 375MB/s. Sure, drives can burst pretty high, but steady throughput is generally quite a bit lower. So, with 5 disks you'll fill it up, but you won't overrun it by much.

And finally: linux support for PMPs is a bit iffy, so I'd suggest going with FreeNAS, which has MUCH better support for it. OpenFiler is linux based, so that'd be a nono. Not sure how windows handles it, but I honestly do not see any reason why you'd want to run FreeNAS in a VM on a windows host. And finally, remember that if you build any serious fileserver, your power consumption won't be in the mobo, but in the disks. Make sure your drives can go to sleep, by preventing silly programs to wake them up all the time.

Besides the NAS, I've used the same board for an OpenELEC build. Set me back about 200 euros for that one, and can handle anything I throw at it.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyson Poindexter View Post

It's finally back in stock, I think I might get it. I'm thinking of trying to use this as both a HTPC and a NAS. I really just need ~5MB/s read and write performance to use it as an HTPC, if my calculations are right. Anything else is just gravy. It will get 8GB of RAM which should help greatly as a cache. I think I will run Win7 with freeNAS inside of vmware player. People use the board for ESXi so surely it can handle some basic media shuffling. I'm currently using my desktop as a storage array for a laptop running as my HTPC so I stand to save a ton in power consumption. Hate leaving the desktop on all day.

It's not powerful enough for HTPC especially on non-hardware accelerated video.... i.e. It will cause Netflix HD to stutter. The bigger E-350 at 1.6GHz cannot even do it.

It might be fine for DVD-quality local media playback though.

I also noted the the E-350 LAN eats up a large amount of CPU resources during large file(s) transfers. I assume the same applies to the C-60.
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post #10 of 27
I use one of these Asus C60M1-I running debian as a file server, backup destination, torrent downloader, ssh tunnel/proxy, compiling software, DLNA-server, and everything else for an "always-on" computer, and think it rocks. I use an SSD for the system, and then have 4 regular harddrives for data, two in a raid-1 configuration for valuable irreplaceable files (photos, work products, etc), one drive for media, and one for software projects. The drives spin down after 30 minutes of inactivity and the processor scales down when idle, which brings the total system running load down to under 20W (including power supply which I think is the biggest user, measured by kill-a-watt) and nearly silent, with just one small fan that runs at mid-speed. It certainly smokes any stand alone (ARM-based) NAS solution I had tried, and a much better price and comparable power rating. Especially once you consider the benefits of a standard boot process, a regular operating system instead of some funky half-cooked firmware, regular keyboard/mouse/monitor, desktop environment and apps, and being able to remote in to a full desktop using VNC or XDMCP. Depending on the day and the protocol, I get 20-40 MB/s transfer speeds over gigabit LAN.

I also use an ASUS E-350 running debian for my HTPC, hooked up to the TV. It also works great showing the files served of the C60M1. All but the most high def/high bitrate videos play smooth even without hardware acceleration. XBMC now has a port with Xvba hardware acceleration that these use. With that I can play full HD 3D videos very smooth - files that are either 3840x1080 or 1920x2160 resolution, although I have the output display set only to 720p.

I don't monitor the CPU usage of the C60 very closely, but I have had no problem using it to run torrents while serving media and sometimes a remote desktop simultaneously.

Since I got it set up, I often am using it for quick tasks, web searches, etc, instead of booting up my main desktop computer.

Happy computing!
Edited by tmgoblin - 8/15/12 at 9:13am
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