September 05, 2017
Choosing the right DC-DC PSU
August 27, 2015
AMD's Project Quantum
August 13, 2015
The Redstone PC is the ultimate Mini-ITX Minecraft Machine
October 09, 2014
The "Restomod TV"
April 09, 2013
February 28, 2013
Building an XBMC 12 Home Theatre PC
January 25, 2011
XBMC Guide updated to version 10.0
August 06, 2010
Building a Green PC
February 15, 2010
Building an ION powered HTPC with XBMC
October 10, 2008
The "Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle 2008"
September 12, 2008
"Florian", the DVD burning robot
September 05, 2008
May 22, 2008
April 14, 2007
The "Digg" Case
January 19, 2007
December 07, 2006
The "Tortoise Beetle"
October 02, 2006
The "DOS Head Unit"
August 31, 2006
The "Janus Project"
August 05, 2006
The "Leela PC"
June 26, 2006
Nano-ITX in a Football
May 17, 2006
The "EPIA Alloy Mod"
April 11, 2006
Neatorama's Collection of Case Mods
February 18, 2006
October 24, 2005
The "ITX TV"
October 06, 2005
August 05, 2005
The "Waffle Iron PC"
July 21, 2005
July 18, 2005
July 07, 2005
May 25, 2005
The "Accordion ITX"
May 16, 2005
May 15, 2005
The "Mini Falcon"
May 13, 2005
The "Bender PC"
May 11, 2005
The "BBC ITX B"
May 10, 2005
April 20, 2005
March 09, 2005
The "Cool Cube"
January 30, 2005
First Nano-ITX Project?
January 17, 2005
January 15, 2005
The "Gumball PC"
December 15, 2004
The "Deco Box"
December 03, 2004
October 06, 2004
September 17, 2004
August 26, 2004
The "C1541 Disk Drive ITX"
August 25, 2004
August 13, 2004
The "Quiet Cubid"
August 06, 2004
July 14, 2004
The "Moo Cow Moo"
July 02, 2004
The "Mini Mesh Box"
Full alphabetical archive on right hand side of page...
The "Tux Server Project"
or "Roll-Your-Own" Network
Attached Storage Device
By Michael Charrier - Posted on October 4, 2003
- Choosing the Hardware
- Parts List
- Mounting the Motherboard
- Altering and Mounting the Power Supply
- Building the Disk Array
- Building the Disk Array (2)
- Adding the CD/RW Drive
- Bringing All The Hardware Together
- Setting up the Software
Note: Yes, I know there is another project called TUX
Server that deals with adding a http server to the Linux kernel. I'm
not trying to ride the coat tails of that project; that's why mine is the
T"ux" Server project. Linux
is case sensitive and, I hope, you are too.
"Why can't I get to my fscking files?!?," is becoming an often heard cry in
homes, apartments, and dorm rooms with an active network when the server is
down. Most setups have a central machine (usually the machine with the
largest hard drive) that gets turned into a file and/or printer server. If
you are like me, however, that system is typically down for hardware/software "upgrades",
booting into a different OS, or undergoing occasional troubleshooting after
doing a hardware/software "upgrade".
When most people decide to add a Network Attached Storage
Device to their network they usually put a handful of IDE hard drives into
a spare case with
a IDE RAID controller, NIC, memory, and motherboard. Some use Maxtor,
some use Western Digital, Seagate, Intel, AMD, etc; but what they all have
in common is that it's just another mid-tower beige box. In many situations,
that beige box can be an unwelcome addition due to space, power, noise, and
Most of us geeks have drooled over the NAS devices from
Maxtor, Quantum, Dell,
and others, but balked at the prices the companies want
for them. Even (relatively new) NAS boxes on Ebay run regularly top $500.00
and you're locked into the manufacturer's hardware and
software. This project was started to give my household a reliable, always-on
file server so that my family can share files while
I'm tinkering around.
While talking it over with my wife, we came up with the following criteria
for the system:
1. Inexpensive Hardware and Software (under $500.00 total was the
3. As small as possible
4. Uses standard, off-the-shelf parts
5. Upgradable (both memory and hard drives)
6. RAID-5 capable
7. 100Mbps full duplex network connection
8. Easy data backup
Choosing the Hardware
Locating the hardware for this system was not easy, especially
when you're on a budget. The first decision was what case would be used
to house the NAS. I investigated a number of Flex/Mini ATX cases and
was rather uninspired
by them. After reading through several case-modding sites, I decided I
wanted to use a case no one else had. My first break came when I acquired
the empty shell of a Quantum Snap Server 2000 from my friend, Gabriel, at a local
asset recovery company. It has a slight defect (front of the case gaps
a little) and only cost $5.00. Also, I thought that this would be an apropos
case for my project.
The interior dimensions of the case are 176mm width x 340mm length x
66mm height. Not a lot of room to shoehorn in a motherboard, power supply
The next item on the my list was the system board since this
is the part that typically takes up most of the real estate in a case (square
mm, that is). Almost a month was spent looking evaluating dozens options
for a system board. Both
MicroATX and FlexATX motherboards were too big. Next, I investigated PC104
type systems but ruled those out as too expensive, too unwieldly, or lacking
Junking this project crossed my mind until I ran across a reference to a Mini-ITX
form factor while searching on Google. A search for Mini-ITX lead me to
the EPIA 800 and hope that I could pull this off
was restored. At 170mm x 170mm, it is a perfect fit for the Snap Server
case. And with a 800MHz C3 CPU, 2 USB, 10/100 Ethernet, Video, Serial Port,
and PCI slot, it fitted my specifications perfectly.
Now for the power supply: I discovered the FSP090-50PL, a
power supply measuring 100mm wide x 125mm long x 50mm high. This
unit is is great for anyone who wants
to build a very small system or a case mod system.
Next came storage. Once again, Gabriel came
through. He had just recovered a batch of 10.05GB IBM Travelstar laptop
hard drives from a local company and sold them to me for $10.00
each. After carefully straightening many bent pins, a quick spin with IBM's
Drive Functionality Test software showed these drives to be in excellent working
At this point, the decision was made to set these up in a RAID-5
array. A quick test fit of parts showed that I could fit 7 of the 10.05GB
drives in the Snap Server case
pretty easily. Unfortunately, ALL of the IDE RAID controllers capable
of supporting RAID-5 arrays were too large to fit in the Snap Server case or
would block the DIMM slots. Redhat Linux 8.0 came to the rescue with the
software-based RAID driver created by
A SIIG Ultra ATA/133 Dual Channel controller (Model CN2487) was purchased for
$40.00 at a local Best Buy to supplement the 2 IDE
channels on the system board. This controller was chosen due to it's very
To meet the requirement to backup data and to have a boot device,
a Sony CRX700E CD-R/RW drive was
purchased from a vendor on E-Bay. In order to connect the drive
to the system board, I purchased a Laptop
CD-ROM to IDE Adapter (attached to the drive in the picture).