Description

This is a thin and light mini-itx file server project I've had on the back burner for some time. Finally done with school and decided to put it together. Built this mainly for Plex (goodbye itunes) and file storage. It's something I can run 24/7 without worrying about power consumption (~22 watts, with Plex running on Windows Server). Maybe I'll eventually move it to Linux or use it in other ways.

This ECS board is something I bought some time ago from ascendtech. It uses a celeron braswell cpu, laptop ram, and gets power from a standard ac adapter (7.4mm, 65w requirement). I bought an aftermarket Dell laptop charger to power it - it's good to aim above in terms of power requirements just like standard PSUs. The board did have some quirks like getting it to recognize my display (it worked after resetting cmos and RAM). Comes with the necessary adapters for 2 sata hard drives (powered off the board), and supports msata storage or wireless. I'll probably switch to an msata for the OS at some point, but I had a spare netbook drive.

This board is good for if you want to do a NUC-type build or something Vesa mountable, but I picked up an Apex mini itx case off of ebay for $20, mainly so I can put standard HDDs in it for my server needs. Works as you'd expect. I was able to convert the dvd drive bay to another hard drive bay, and use the side vents for an 80mm exhaust fan. The included I/O shield isn't meant for standard cases, so I just use tape to close some of the gaps.

Part Reviews

Storage

I wouldn't say these perform better than blues. Takes a noticeable second to spin and it's not quiet. But WD stands by these with a 5-year warranty. It inherits a better value than the blues for that reason.

Case

Really basic as you would expect. I didn't end up using the PSU it came with, but I can always use the spare. I unhooked the Hard Drive LED because it was super bright. I wouldn't see myself doing anything super extreme with it like a gaming build, but perfect for what I needed it for.

Comments

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

This isn't like any build I've seen on PCPP

+1

1st comment :)

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for adding variety to the PCPP completed builds list!

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Why 2012 R2 over 2016?

  • 28 months ago
  • 2 points

I had it on me. Go for 2016 if you have a choice. Eventually I may switch to Ubuntu Linux when I change my OS drive.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Makes sense. I still had access to MSFT Dreamspark when 2016 released and put that on my closet server. Bother are great for learning.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

WD black dries DO perform better than the blue drives because of how HDDs work. The black drive spins at 7200rpm and the blue drive is at 5400rpm. Its the same reason 10k RPM drives were really popular before SSDs became affordable/popular. Though the higher the RPM the louder the drive was. I do use SSDs for anything important for load times but that is why I got the 5400rpm drives for my bulk video storage where speed isn't an issue. I wanted less noise in my system.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the input, I put the blurb about the WD Black out there to let people know about its main perk, but you'll still want to consider having a backup. You're right about it being a louder drive, although I think all HDDs make noise to some extent, and I would say the difference in real world performance is negligible (most laptop drives are 5400rpm). I've had Blue, Black, RE4, and Velocirator drives. Blues come in 5400 and 7200.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Yup, and you will have to have a zero RPM drive for a completely silent drive, aka a ssd lol.

For people concerned for noise though there are a lot of cases good at muffling noise within the case, such as cases from fractal design or be quite. Can be good enough to not even hear the drive outside the case.

As far as the speed difference on drives there is a difference between the different RPMs but they are very close together when you take SSD speed into account too. Thats why the 10k RPM drives died off long ago as the market nich they filled moved to a much better performing and far quieter SSD.