Presenting "The Coffin"

ddrueding

Fixture
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Horsens, Denmark
Just finished putting together my new home system.

Objective: Computers for my wife and I, and a WHS to store everything and back everything up. Low power is good, silent is a must.

Contents:

Server:
Intel DG45ID
1.8Ghz C2D
Scythe Ninja HSF
4GB RAM
3Ware 9650SE-16ML
120GB OCZ Vertex
6x 2TB WD Green
Antec Basiq 550+

Wife:
Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3
Intel 670
8GB RAM
60GB Vertex
Antec Basiq 550+

Mine:
Gigabyte GA-H57M-USB3
Intel 670
8GB RAM
2x 120GB Vertex
Antec Basiq 550+

Additional bits in the coffin:
Linksys WRT600N Router
Netgear GS108T Gigabit Smart Switch
Vonage POTS adapter
6x Scythe S-Flex 800RPM Fans
3x Antec SpotCool Fans
Powerstrip
Kill-a-Watt

All this built into a single case 7 feet tall, 18" wide, and about 9" deep made of Douglas Fir with acoustic panels lining the inside. It also has baffles and air filters top and bottom, with the airflow operating like a chimney. With everything running, power draw is currently 222 watts for the whole thing and it is nearly silent.

I brought my camera home, but left all my SD cards at the office. Pictures to come soon.
 

ddrueding

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An interesting note: Not only is the server "headless" in that it doesn't have a monitor, it doesn't even have a video card. Connecting the 3Ware card into the 16x PCIe slot disabled the onboard video, and I have unplugged the PCI card I was using to set it up.
 

CougTek

Serial computer killer
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Is low power the reason why you opted for i5 670 instead of something with more cores, more powerful, costing the same or less?
 

ddrueding

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Low power is one. The other is that I was looking for a really fast single core. These aren't hardcore workstations, just fast home machines. Firefox, Winamp, and Media Player Classic is pretty much all they do. Having 8 slower cores gets me nothing.
 

CougTek

Serial computer killer
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Also, why three 550W power supplies since every computer (at least yours and your wife's) doesn't even draw 100W? Wouldn't have been more effective to use 300W power supplies, like Seasonic 300W SFX units or something similar? Power supplies tend to be more effective at 50% their maximal charge than at 15-20%.
 

ddrueding

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I wanted power supplies with modular connectors to clean things up a bit. The lowest wattage PSU with modular cables from a company I trust was these.
 

CougTek

Serial computer killer
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Firefox, Winamp, and Media Player Classic is pretty much all they do. Having 8 slower cores gets me nothing.
You'll never notice the difference between a 3GHz core and a 3.6GHz core doing the above described tasks. But you'll notice the difference between 4 virtual cores and 8 virtual cores if you really push the machine though.
 

ddrueding

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You'll never notice the difference between a 3GHz core and a 3.6GHz core doing the above described tasks. But you'll notice the difference between 4 virtual cores and 8 virtual cores if you really push the machine though.

Notice? Probably not. But it is the fastest CPU for single-threaded apps, and therefore the best CPU for my application.

If I need horsepower, I RDC to my machine in the office (the one in my sig).
 

MaxBurn

Storage Is My Life
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You guys have pictured layouts with the tall chimney before and I am now again thinking it is a really interesting idea for noise and looks.

Are the fans etc mounted with rubber feet? I know boards that have no vibration damping can act like a soundboard and amplify noise like an acoustic guitar.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
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Dave, I really admire your engineering instincts and have to admit that you've made your equipment more secure than probably anyone else here; I really can't see a burglar making off with a 7' x 18" x 9" coffin.

But you have to understand that you're completely crazy.
 

ddrueding

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Are the fans etc mounted with rubber feet? I know boards that have no vibration damping can act like a soundboard and amplify noise like an acoustic guitar.

All 9 fans, 6 HDDs, and 3 PSUs are mounted with some kind of vibration damping. Plus the entire rear panel is vibration isolated from the wall it's mounted on. The noise at the moment is still coming from the drives; I plan on suspending them with elastic on the next revision.
 

timwhit

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The cover is beautiful, really. A perfect (no knots) sheet of Douglas Fir with Walnut trim, made by a cabinet maker friend of mine. Hence the name.

How about a picture with the cover on next?

Also, can you fit inside should the unforeseen occur?
 

MaxBurn

Storage Is My Life
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I don't think this is crazy, looks good and puts the computers up and out of the way. I was moving my desk this past weekend and thinking with all these cables under here this thing is fugly. I spent a little extra time and mounted the power strip and KVM etc up inside the desk on the back and that alone was a huge improvement.
 

ddrueding

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If I were in better shape, I might fit ;)

I still haven't finished the wood, once we move into the house and I see the color scheme I'll choose finish.

The main thing it does is allow a bunch of low speed fans to silently move a lot of air over the components. It also allows full-size HVAC air filters top and bottom, so they actually do some good.
 

Santilli

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Hadn't thought about that;-) You're right, she'd love it...Right now she's sitting in front of the electric heater. She misses the server box;-(
 

ddrueding

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Now presenting a work still very much in progress: Coffin 2.0!

Ok, so basically it's just a 47U 19" rack with all my stuff in it, but the Douglas Fir wasn't big enough, and this is more flexible anyway. It will be integrated into some floor to ceiling Maple cabinetry built around the home theater area eventually.

From bottom to top (and left to right):

APC 1500VA 2U UPS
Trip-Lite 1000VA UPS
HP CP2025 Color Laser
Onkyo TX-NR808
Onkyo TX-8255
Monoprice 4x4 matrix HDMI switch
PS3
Phone
6x3TB Hitachi HDDs in custom heatsink
Wii
Home1 (see sig)
Netgear GS108T switch
2x Corsair AX1200 power supplies
Ubiquiti UniFi Access Point
Home2 (see sig)
Plextor PX-B310U
Vonage VDV-22VD
Comcast Modem
ISY-99i Pro
6x3TB Hitachi HDDs in custom heatsink
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
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Still in progress is the operative word. ;) How much noise does it generate?
Where do you print images?
 

ddrueding

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Vent inside in winter, outside in summer?

That is the idea that I'm currently playing with. Last winter these components were basically the only heater running in the house. In addition to a vent going up through the ceiling to a routeable baffle of some kind, I'm considering drawing the air from under the house as an option; it is easily 15 degrees cooler down there in the summer.
 

ddrueding

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Honestly, I've never had to set up a tape system before, and I seem to be fundamentally opposed more than is reasonable.

For work I need to restore something from the backup at least daily (did I say my users were smart?), so I figured tape wouldn't be that great there. For the house? It might make sense, except that the backup copy there serves as the redundancy, so being able to work directly from it is important.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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If you're doing things right, you should probably have a near-line backup on a NAS or something and something offline for archival storage. Your redundant server might or might not be serving that purpose, depending on how you're syncing it, but it's still not the same thing as having something you can stick in a safe and leave for the day when your systems get ravaged by a virus or an Earthquake.

Modern tape is fast and it can be configured to work in a changer so that you don't have to deal with the actual tapes all THAT often. It's really not a bad idea, especially when your data storage reaches the point when your only option for direct-access storage involves setting up a non-trivial array of disks. It's not like you don't have the budget to go that route.
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
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Tape is a terrible idea when you want to avoid hassles, which is the premise on which ddrueding has built his infrastructure, i.e. he's flying solo.

The drives are open, not closed. That in itself is a problem waiting to happen. Tapes are vulnerable to heat, humidity, dust and (to some extent) magnetic fields.

As a minimum, you should have two identical drives at two separate locations, and periodically check that tapes written at one site are fully readable at the other.

Unless of course, you're not really talking about backup, but archival.

Magnetic Tape Storage and Handling

Wikipedia said:
Gartner Group estimated that 10 to 50 percent of all tape restores fail. Storage Magazine and Gartner reported that 34% of surveyed companies never test a restore from tape, and of those that do test, 77% experienced tape backup failures.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Of course the ideal would be to have multiple drives. Single point of failure, etc. But in my experience from years of IT work, I've not seen issues of having a tape made in one drive not being readable in a different one.

I've seen problems with god-awful backup software not being able to do a restore without crashing the restore server, but the tapes themselves were fine.

I think we've lost some professional-level knowledge of tape and its handling. There are a lot of cases where tape handling is essentially given over to someone who has no business doing it: "The first person to get in the office every day turns on the lights, makes the coffee and puts another tape in the drive."

That kind of thing doesn't help. Tapes do need to be managed. You have to have an idea of what you're doing with rotation schemes and checking logs to make sure everything went the way it was supposed to. But we do that stuff anyway, right?
 

CougTek

Serial computer killer
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Logically, it should work to place a rackmount system face down, like your coffin, with the fan sending the hot air up. I'm having ideas with the new Supermicro 6017TR-TF. I don't know if it would be possible to build a frame around it to silence it a little since I'm pretty sure that particular 1U system makes a hell of a lot of noise.

We might move to a smaller office soon and I'm looking at options to save space. Having a "coffin tapestry" in our office is one of them.
 
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