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2 TB added to my Home Server

January 27th, 2009 Comments off

398_LRG It wasn’t easy and I’m not sure I’m totally satisfied but I added 2 TB to my Windows Home Server.  I stuck with the Vantec eSATA card I had already purchased (that doesn’t support Port Multiplier) and bought a Fantom 2TB hard drive from NewEgg as the external drive.  It’s just a nice looking enclosure with 2 1TB hard drives inside it.  The Fantom enclosure lets you pick RAID, individual drives, or SPAN which combines the two drives into one contiguous space.  I had to use the latter mode since I didn’t have a PM capable eSATA card.

The not easy part was the fact that the first Fantom external HD I got from Newegg sounded like a jet engine when it was turned off (the cooling fan is incredibly loud).  I RMA’d it with Newegg and got a replacement unit and it was just as loud, which sucks since Newegg now charges 15% to restock no matter what.  Ugh.

Then I purchased a replacement cooling fan (40mm x 40mm x 10mm) from Fry’s, a Silenx model but it had a 3 pin connector instead of a 2 pin connector that was in the stock fan in the enclosure.  Double ugh.

I ordered a replacement from Xsfan.com (cheap and fast delivery!) that had the right connector and seemed to be quieter (albeit less CFM and slower fan speed, but that seemed like an ok tradeoff).  I plugged in the replacement fan but no joy, didn’t work.  Triple ugh.

This evening I decided to lop off the original 2 pin connector and soldered it on to the replacement fan and voila! now it’s working..

So after a lot of work I got the enclosure to work (and not sound incredibly loud!) and have the extra 2 TB of storage I was looking for.

Parts list:

Vantec UGT-ST300 (Vantec SATA/eSATA PCI Host Card)

Fantom G-Force MegaDisk eSATA / USB 2 (in 2TB capacity, drives included)

AddA 40mm x 10mm 12v VGA/Chipset 2-pin Ball Bearing Fan

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Vantec UGT-ST300 doesn’t support port multiplier

January 6th, 2009 Comments off

Vantec tech support sent me a prompt response back regarding whether the eSATA PCI card I bought supports port multiplier:  it doesn’t 🙁

The UGT-ST300 does not support SATA port multiplier.  The UGT-ST400 does, but you will need to have PCI-Express slot in order to use the UGT-ST400.  If you have any further question, please don’t hesitate to ask and we will do our best to answer them.

So now it looks like I’m back to the drawing board on my storage expansion plans for the Windows Home Server box.

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eSATA Dual Enclosure for Windows Home Server

January 4th, 2009 Comments off

180px-ESATA_Logo I am filling up the 2 GB of space that I have on my custom WHS box.  Digital media is piling up fast especially the HD video from our Flip MiniHD.

My Windows Home Server box has two internal SATA drive slots which are both filled (1TB Greenpower drives) so I’m looking into external storage at this point.  I’ve got a bewildering amount of options and am trying to future proof as much as I can.  There are two main options that I can pursue to increase storage on the WHS box:  USB 2.0 or eSATA.  The main benefit of eSATA would be increased throughput for disk read/writes vs. the inherent line speed of USB 2.0.

ugt-st300-02 Unfortunately my WHS box (a Shuttle K45) doesn’t have an eSATA port built-in (doh! should’ve planned ahead).  I bought a PCI card that provides an external eSATA port and one internal SATA port (not useable in my chassis though) from Fry’s and installed it with no issue into my box.  I bought the Vantec UGT-ST300 (Vantec SATA/eSATA PCI Host Card) since my box supports PCI not PCI-E (again the latter would’ve been preferred.)

Then I set about to find a good external enclosure that I could populate with drives, or find an all-in-one unit that comes with drives.  I have too many choices to go with and still haven’t figured out the right answer.  One issue is that WHS has its own disk duplication methodology separate from straight RAID and I want to continue to stick with that to not introduce in any other issues.  However, since I’m limited to the single external eSATA port I think I need to support something called Port Multiplication but it’s unclear to me if my PCI eSATA card supports port multipliers or not.  On top of that I do have a bit of concern on both visual aesthetics 🙂 and more importantly on sound volume from cooling in the external enclosure.

Here is the list of options I’m currently considering:

SAT3520U2ER.small StarTech 3.5in Silver eSATA USB Dual SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure w/ RAID (purchase drives separately)

 

B_03_angleview_450.gif Thermaltake Muse R-Duo RAID N0006USU (purchase drives separately)

 

 

g4cemd_med Fantom G-Force MegaDisk eSATA / USB 2 (in 2TB capacity, drives included)

 

 

astb_webAddonics Black Storage Tower with 1 5×1 Hardware Port Multiplier installed ST5HPMES-B (purchase drives separately)

 

I’m leaning towards trying the Fantom drive first (cost is favorable since it includes drives), though the Addonics Storage Tower should provide the most forward options.  I am waiting to see if WHS comes out with a v2 and am guessing that it would make me buy entirely new hardware so am a little cautious about the drive investment.

If anyone else in the Windows Home Server world has made a decision like this I’d welcome the input on what worked for you!

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