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PROJECT LOG FDs Semi-Interactive Server Build Log

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Dec 13, 2005
Right Here Right Now

Seeing as how a few of you have shown interest in AMDs new AM1 socket, I'll be spanning a build log over the next several weeks. There won't be anything special hardware wise with this build. There will not be any special cooling, there will not be a custom case. What makes this log special is how I will be testing it as it goes. Since I'll be testing several OSes and seeing how I can configure them to my liking, I will make several disk images over the course of the build.

That is where this log will be unique. If anyone is curious how these low budget, low power chips handle, let me know. I'll test it as the build progresses, within reason. I'm sorry but as cheap as these chips are, I'm not about to test how tossing it in the pool acts as water cooling :D

Hardware List

Current HW:

As the build progresses, I will update this section with what hardware the system currently has installed.

Case: DIYPC SW-9001 - This is your typical bottom of the barrel case I had laying around. Cheap, flimsy, what many would consider "disposable". The type of case someone would pick up for a cheap build. What makes this relevant is that with only two 80mm fans, it shows what an AM1 would do in a limited cooling situation, one of the main selling points given the 25w TDP.

PSU: Older Corsair CX430 - Your typical budget build will use a typical budget PSU. This is the power supply I had in my current NAS up until about a year ago, since then I've been using it as a bench supply for low power side projects. Although some may not be crazy about the CX line, I find them passable, and are probably the cheapest supplies I'd trust in a system. The one I'm using is actually the slightly older 80+ only version.

Motherboard - Gigabyte GA-AM1M-S2H - A whopping $35 at time of purchase, most AM1 boards seem to be within this price range, one of the main selling points of this socket. Reading about what Gigabyte offers with this board, I immediately noticed they advertise a board-mounted Real TIme Clock. They describe how these boards manage to stay in the sub-$40 range, as some of the chips formerly on the board, such as the CMOS, are now on the CPU itself, easing the hardware requirements for motherboards.

What I like about the GA-AM1M-S2H over the slightly more expensive GA-AM1M-S2P is the PCI slot is swapped for a second PCIe 1x slot, the parralel and serial ports are dropped, and the GA-AM1M-S2H has an HDMI port. So unless you know you will be using those ports and a PCI slot, might as well go for the cheaper board with newer tech.

Also, both boards have USB3, SATA6, and the GA-AM1M-S2H is capable of outputting 7.1 channel audio over HDMI.

CPU - Athlon 5350 - $65 followed by a $8 discount at purchase when bundled with the GA-AM1M-S2H. That means for roughly the same price as a motherboard with a dualcore Atom or Celeron, the AM1 platform offers a 2.05GHz quadcore with an 8400 iGPU. At first glance this makes it a good option for a small HTPC or server.

RAM - 2x4GB set of 1600mhz Crucial Sport - 1.5v, CAS 9, and picked up for $76. I ordered it because I wanted 8GB and the Crucial set was one of the cheaper ones, but since the AM1 system only offers a single memory channel, if you are planning on utilizing the iGPU a lot, I suggest possibly trading off for higher clocked ram.

Storage - SSD - 120GB Samsung 840 EVO - One of the more recommended SSDs I've seen lately, the 840 EVO will of course be used as the boot drive. Outside of a few programs and the OS, most data will go on several RAIDed storage drives added later, so the smaller size and lower write bandwidth compared to the 250GB EVO shouldn't make a difference. Going with an SSD for this build should have the same effects as in other builds - decreased boot times and freeing space on the actual storage drives while not adding much power draw, helpful since I'll have this build hooked up to a USPS. Speaking of which...

UPS - APC BR700G- This is a 700VA, 450W battery backup that I used with my old NAS. Based upon a Sempron 140 (45w TDP), five 7200RPM hitachi drives, and a single old WD drive for the OS, the old NAS would draw between 65 and 100W with a SeaSonic SSR-360GP, which will be put into this server after I move everything over. Under average load, the UPS will power the NAs for 25-30 minutes.

Router - Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H - Although based on the slightly older Wireless N technology, the WZR-HP-AG300H is running Buffalos custom version of DDWRT, allowing a wide variety of end user customization. I haven't had a reason to put any stress on it wirelessly, but it handles streaming video while transferring files over gigabit ethernet flawlessly.

Expected HW:

This is what I plan to install over the build. This may change over time as sales occur, I find better matches, etc.

Storage Drives - 3TB Western Digital SE drives - Number of drives and storage levels may change, but one thing I do like about the SE drives over the NAS-oriented Red drives is the enterprise orientation and 5 year warranty while still being cheaper than their big brothers, the RE drives. 4x3TB WD RE drives purchased 7/28/2014. A seller on Amazon had them for only ~$5 more than the SEs on Amazon. Was really tempted to get some Reds or other consumer NAS drives, but from what I can tell most companies haven't gotten the hang of the higher capacity drives yet, with many buyers reporting at least one drive out of 4/5 either DOA or showing signs of failure within 6 months.

PowerSupply - Seasonic SSR-360GP - The power supply in my current NAS, and will be transferred over after I move the files over. One of Seasonics lower end models, the SSR-360GP is an 80+ Gold rated DC-DC supply. This means during the AC-DC converion process, power is converted directly to 12V, and then converted to 3.3V and 5V from 12V. The benefit to this is that if needed, all 360W the supply is rated for can be pulled solely from the 12V rail. This makes it good for a storage server on power up, when multiple hard drives are all initializing at once.

RAID Card - IBM M1015 Ordered 7/22/2014- Frequently found in the $100-$120 range, the M1015 can actually be flashed to the more expensive LSI 9211-8i. Those unfamiliar with RAID cards may be wondering why I'm still going with a $100+ card instead of the cheapo $30-$40 SATA cards that can be found on Amazon or Newegg. The problem with those is that they are generally software based
cards, which tend to have a fair amount of CPU overhead, which having a hardware based controller like M1015 can help offload some of that strain.

Case - Rosewill RSV-L4000 Purchased 7/28/2014 (Thank you Prime shipping)- Lots of storage bays, good number of fans, and fits standard ATX spec parts. I do wish to rackmount this at some point, otherwise I'd toss it in an Antec 300.


Primary OSes:

This is a list of OSes I want to try as I'll want to either use them long term or for testing. This may expand as the project continue. I'll install them and add updates and drivers, then create an image so if anyone has any requests, it'll be easy to recover afterwards.

Overclockix - Overclockers.coms very own Linux testing distro. I already downloaded the .ISO and will be using this as a live CD to perform basic tests of the hardware. I'd like to take the time to thank any and all who deticated to its development.

Ubuntu Server - Based on one of the more popular Linux distros, the Server edition includes some useful server centric software pre-installed.

Debian - I could spit out what they put on the Debian homepage, that it was "designed in the free spirit of Linux", but it's also one of the more well known Linux distros.

"Test" OSes:

These are OSes I don't think I'll actually use, but since some have shown interest in this build I figure if I have time I'd give these a try for testing purposes.

Windows 7 - I don't have any spare keys so I won't be using this permenently. I do have a disc though and since several of you may be interested in an AM1 Windows build, I'll run a few tests within the 3 day activation window, such as game benchmarks, stress tests, etc. (I'll take the time to mention the forum rules about pirating software, as in don't, so I'm not about to run off to find a keygen.)

XBMCbuntu - Ubuntu powered XBMC based OS centered around multimedia. One of the advantages of the APU is it's ability to drive 1080P video, but when I tried it on my current HTPC (E-450 based Zotac), the GPU drivers fell flat and the CPU side wasn't up to the task. I'll see if the 5350 is Linux ready on the multimedia front.

Current Stage

I'll post links to the latest relevant post here.
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You sir are awesome!

I plan on using Windows 7 with mine...or 8.1 if I see a deal and just using it to stream files from locally, and also as my Subsonic server. (Proud user for the last two years).
My athlon quad hasn't ever hardly been stressed, so I'm hoping the am1 will be plenty. My build won't happen till late this year tho.
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No problem. Check back in a few days, tracking for the incoming parts shows they'll be here Monday, I'll try to get everything built and start testing by Tuesday.

Update: Sorry Angry, time to get Angry. Everything just got pushed back a day. UPS guy didn't realize it wasn't a package that needed to be signed for and that there were actually people here to sign it when he stopped by. Kind of hard to make a complete test station with just the power supply, SSD, and case.

Update #2: Mild snag, spent yesterday evening piecing it together, no display over HDMI. Did the basic "Remove everything except one stick of memory and PSU" route, no luck. Pulled a stick of Kingston out of my main desktop before work this morning to see if it was some sort of RAM incompatibility and that didn't work. Will put more time into it this afternoon.

Update #3: This is getting annoying. Talked to Gigabyte over the past few days thinking motherboard issue, they're blaming the CPU. If true, it would be my second dead CPU in ~10 years of system building (first one died when dried thermal paste plus a waterblock torqued the cpu out of the socket, leaving several pins behind). I'll do a bit more testing tonight and then see if Newegg or AMD will exchange it.
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