GregLedet.net That dude writing stuff about that thing.

22Dec/150

Home NAS Refresh

I think that, in this day and age, everyone should have a NAS at their house. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, NAS stands for 'Network Attached Storage'. A NAS is handy for storing all sorts of things, primarily backups of your computers and your media. In my case, I have a lot of movies and TV shows for my various media players. I also have a ton of photos and videos from over the years, as well as from my drones. Having a large NAS means that I don't have delete anything. My NAS also acts as a server for various other things that I'll get into in another post.

For your NAS to be effective, it needs to have lots of space and have enough room to expand. You also need to have an effective operating system running the NAS. For this build, I'm going to use FreeNAS. I had been planning to build this thing for a while, but didn't get around to finally getting everything setup and running until July 31, 2015. Since then it's been running pretty stable, but I used an Intel G3220 and 8GB of RAM when I first put it together and I've outgrown that processor and RAM, so it's time for an upgrade. Here's the hardware list of everything that's going into the machine:

  • Intel Core i7-4790K CPU
  • ASRock Z97 EXTREME6 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
  • G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
  • 6x WD Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM HDD
  • Rosewill R​SV-L4412 -​ 4U Rackmo​unt Server​ C​hassis, 12​ SATA / SA​S Hot-swap​ Drives
  • EVGA SuperNOVA 1000G2 1000W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply

The only thing that's carrying over from the previous build are the 6 WD Red 3TB hard drives and the actual FreeNAS install. I was going to just upgrade the CPU and the RAM, but some pins got bent on the ASUS Z87-A motherboard I had, so it needed to get upgraded too. I also figured that while I was at it, I'd put it in a nice rackmount chassis too.

The build went rather smooth. I pulled the hardware out of the old mid-tower case and moved it into the rackmount chassis. I had originally planned on using some M.2 SSDs for boot drives, but ran into some issues. First, the drives I bought weren't compatible with the Ultra M.2 slot on the motherboard. Secondly, the other M.2 slot ate two of my SATA ports on the motherboard. Because I didn't bother to read the manual, it took me quite a while to figure out why those two drives weren't being seen by the BIOS. Ultimately, I got everything put together and all 6 drives were being recognized. FreeNAS booted right up without any issues. I'll probably pick up an Ultra M.2 SSD in the future to use as L2ARC since it's so freaking FAST.

More info will be posted soon on how I'm going to automate my media collection and sharing.

4Aug/100

How to enable AHCI/RAID mode in Windows 7 without reinstalling

I recently got a wild hair up my ass to add a RAID to my desktop. My desktop is a Gateway FX6840-23 and it came with a 1TB drive. I bought an identical drive and thought that I'd put then in RAID 0 for the increased performance, seeing as my Experience Index was only 5.9 due to a slow HDD (all other indexes were in the mid-7's, and the drive is a 7200 RPM unit).

Digging around the BIOS I saw that the SATA controller was using AHCI mode. I cloned my current drive to another 1TB drive I had (yeah, I have 3 -1TB drives, a 500GB, and a 1.5 TB), rebooting into the BIOS and changed it to RAID. After a reboot, I hit ctrl-I and entered the RAID utility. I built the RAID and rebooted. Well, to put it nicely, I got a BSOD. I tried various things for the next 3 hours, including using Windows 7's extended partition utility, doing a complete restore to factory on the extended partition, and everything. After I did the restore, I saw that the HDD performance hadn't changed.

Well, I haven't messed with RAID before on a desktop, so this was a learning experience. After some Google searches, I put the computer back in AHCI mode and booted to the clone. This worked just fine. I went to Gateway's website and downloaded the RAID drivers.

I noticed that the driver was named iaStorV.sys, so I did a search for it and found it already installed in the Windows\System32\Drivers folder. I did a registry search for it and found it in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\iaStorV. This made me happy!

Some more Googling later and I figured out that if I changed the REG_DWORD from 3 to 0 that it would enable things to work. I rebooted the computer, went back into the BIOS and changed the SATA controller to use RAID, pointed it to boot from the clone, and it booted right up! No BSOD, no hiccups, no nothing!

This should work going from IDE mode as well. I tried to clone the clone to the RAID, but Acronis didn't like that too much, so I'm doing a full backup of the clone (I needed to do it anyway) and I'm going to try to restore it with the Acronis Resuce media. It's already midnight, and this is one of those things that I'm not going to be able to put down until I'm done with it. Oh well, I guess it's time to get back to work! Good luck getting your stuff working!

   
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