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steven33
2006-02-15, 13:14
I am looking at building a mini-itx server for slimserver use only (as a form of NAS). What do I need to run slimserver?

It will be connected to my wireless network (other pc's running windows). I don't want to waste processing power running programs/applications that I am not going to use.

As a complete novice, what do I need to do?

Thanks

mattybain
2006-02-15, 14:09
I guess it depends what you want to do with it, how many GB's of music you will havee, whether it will be left on 24/7, whether you can remote desktop or need a monitor.

I have a small ITX motherboard PC which is on all the time but goes into standby when not needed (the squeezebox brings it back to life) and has no monitor. CPU was a cheap Celeron 2.8 with 512mb of RAM and a 300Gb Hard disc, total cost about 300.

Re-reading your post however it seems that you may just have been asking what software you need to run. In this case just slimserver, you don't have to have anything running at all hence you don't need a fantastically powerful cpu.

steven33
2006-02-15, 16:28
Sorry, perhaps I needed to be a bit more specific. If I take my bare pc with no OS, what is the minimum software I need to run slimserver?

I want the PC to behave like a NAS (but with a bit more oomph). I am worried that Windows XP will use up valuable resources and won't really use hardly any of it's functions. I don't know anything about Linux.

All I want it to do is store my music files (which will be ripped on my laptop) and run slimserver.

ceejay
2006-02-15, 16:36
Sorry, perhaps I needed to be a bit more specific. If I take my bare pc with no OS, what is the minimum software I need to run slimserver?

I want the PC to behave like a NAS (but with a bit more oomph). I am worried that Windows XP will use up valuable resources and won't really use hardly any of it's functions. I don't know anything about Linux.

All I want it to do is store my music files (which will be ripped on my laptop) and run slimserver.

Well, you do need some kind of OS. If you wanted the simplest possible system with no unnecessary bits, then a small Linux system would work well - but if you have no knowledge of Linux you could easily spend a lot of time trying to get it set up.

Two suggestions:

(1) stick with what you know. If you know Windows, use it. Sure you'll only be using a fraction of it, but who cares? You won't be short of CPU cycles.

(2) search the forums for "SlimCD", a ready made Linux build with Slimserver...

HTH

Ceejay

radish
2006-02-15, 17:04
Sound advice from ceejay - I wouldn't be concerned about running XP on the box provided you have at least 256mb of ram, I do so on a fairly lowend cpu with no issues at all. Plus, if you know windows it makes life easier. However, if you do want to run linux (probably worth considering if for some reason you have <256mb) there are a number of fairly easy to install distros, including SlimCD which is slimserver specific.

Here's my thoughts after building a similar server a while ago:

The mini-itx boards & cases are cute and small, but expensive. They're also harder to use because you will need some special hardware (optical drives, power supplies, etc). Most importantly to me, you're heavily restricted when it comes to hard drives (most only have room for one or two). If you're building the box specifically as a big data store, that seems kinda silly. I went with a regular size tower case (space for 8 drives!), a cheap (reliable) board and psu, low cost/power cpu and half a gig of ram. Works like a dream, and I can keep adding drives as my requirements go up (currently on 4).

So in short - unless you're really restricted on physical space, use a regular size case and throw it somewhere out of the way.

RiccardoR
2006-02-15, 17:06
I have two tips:

1) Use a small (normal, non mini-ITX) used PC to use it as Slimserver. I use an HP e-PC 40 (PIII-1000) now with a 300Gb HD;
2) If You don't know anything about Linux (as me), try to use XP and XPLite, that is a fantastic software that uninstall all that unnecessary things of Windows so to free much memory and make Slimserver very fast.

Ciao, Riccardo

audiofi
2006-02-15, 17:29
Mini-itx can be an option, my own personal server uses an Epia M1000 which I then put in a Silverstone LC11 case which has space for 3 hard drives and looks good.

If you can store it out of the living room, the used computer option is a lot cheaper though (my case alone cost 100 where as I get fully built old pc's for a very small fraction of that!)

If you need any help along the way, drop me an email (andrew AT audiofi.co.uk), I sell a range of music servers and would be happy to help you set things up, choose hardware etc.

Andrew

mattybain
2006-02-16, 02:51
Pretty much agree with everything that has been said here if you are comfortable with Windows then stick with it. Hadn't heard of XPLite but does sound like a good way of stripping away the chaff that isn't needed.

I was like you and had no experience of Linux and was a windows guy through and through. When I was thinking of setting up a server I dabbled with Linux - Ubunutu and also SlimCD. Whilst they are very easy to use there are two caveats one less important and one a killer for me.

First you have to use FAT32 as NTFS isn't properly supported, this was a pain as all my other computer use NTFS. However this isn't a big problem and could have been got around quite easily.

The killer for me was the lack of support for my wireless network card, it is still unsupported and I wasted a lot of time trying to get it to work. However if your disks are in FAT32 format and you are connecting the server directly to a router via ethernet then you are laughing.

One question does spring to mind, have you already purchased your computer and copy of windows (I Suspect that from your e-mail you have a computer but no os)? if so then IMHO there is only one choice, use the equipment you have got and do a minimal install of XP.

If not then you have a more difficult choice do you spend the money on XP and a higher spec computer or do you go with Linux and spend less money with a lower spec computer?

If you do go Linux and need to buy a wireless network card please for your own sanitys sake make sure it is supported first.

Patrick Dixon
2006-02-16, 04:26
First you have to use FAT32 as NTFS isn't properly supported, this was a pain as all my other computer use NTFS. However this isn't a big problem and could have been got around quite easily.Most linuxes use ext3 as a default. You only really need to format with FAT32 if you are moving drives between windows and Linux machines (eg USB drives): if you use a Linux OS to build a NAS, samba allows you to share the NAS in Network Neighbourhood on a windows machine.


The killer for me was the lack of support for my wireless network card, it is still unsupported and I wasted a lot of time trying to get it to work.You are probably better connecting the server to an external WAP/router/bb-modem wired anyway, as it will give you more flexibility and probably better network performance too.

I recommend Clark Connect for a Linux NAS box. It's designed to run headless and can be configured and controlled using a web browser UI.

carp
2006-02-16, 04:50
First you have to use FAT32 as NTFS isn't properly supported...
What makes you think that you have to use FAT32 (or any other filesystem that Windows supports) if you are planning to use Linux? I suppose that you connect to the Linux system over (W-)LAN. That can be done e. g. by ftp or Samba. In both cases the connection is established via the network, and it does not matter which filesystem is used on the Linux system as Linux itself (resp. the ftp-daemon or Samba) takes care about how to access the filesystem.

To transfer this question to the world of MS Windows:
Take a Windows system with NTFS as the filesystem. Create a share with full acccess rights for everyone. Now it should be no problem to connect to this share with a computer that runs Windows 98, although Windows 98 cannot access NTFS by itself. The connection is done through the network protocol (well, a little bit simplified) - there is no direct access to the filesystem.

So on the Linux system you can use IMHO any Linux filesystem.


... lack of support for my wireless network card...

That can be a problem. But if one can connect the Slimserver computer to a wireless access point/router using a cable then one does not have to worry about configuring a wireless network card on a Linux system.

Another thing one should not forget is that you need a Windows XP license for this server.

Edit: It seems I was a little bit slow ;-)

snarlydwarf
2006-02-16, 09:25
My wireless card isn't supported on Linux but works better on Linux than Windows, since I never did get it to work on a friend's laptop. (I did manage to figure out that she had an internal card and how to turn it on, though.)

ndiswrapper helps immensely.

That said, I'd still rather have wired, especially for the server. No reason to clutter up my network with extra traffic: if you go from PC -> Router -> SB, that's a twice the same data has to fly through the air.

As much as I love Linux, it is good to stick with what you know unless you really want to learn Linux. You'll have to throw away all sorts of preconceptions on how computers work which is a lot of work when you should just be listening to music.

Pale Blue Ego
2006-02-16, 11:00
Using WindowsXP with XPlite is a good option. Not only can you completely remove the parts of the OS you won't need, the system will be a lot faster and a LOT more stable and virus-proof. Once you remove IE, OE, Scripting Host, IIS, Address Book, WMP, etc etc etc you can safely get rid of Windows Update, too - since all it does is continually patch the flaws in these other programs.

http://www.litepc.com/xplite.html

There are also some good websites that help you figure out which services you don't need running. Then you can completely remove them via XPlite.

Oh, one thing, though - using a wireless connection from slimserver to your router is a bad idea. You don't want to be making multiple wireless jumps. Use a wired ethernet connection from the server machine if at all possible.

steven33
2006-02-17, 09:44
Thanks for your help.

Decisions so far,

Windows XP
XPlite
Wired to router


I am still interested in the Mini ITX route. Will a 5000 or 6000 board be sufficient (with 512 RAM) or do I need the faster processors? I want to stick to the slower fanless boards if possible.

Wirrunna
2006-02-17, 15:08
Would MattyBain take time out from watching Red Dwarf and provide more details of his "small ITX motherboard PC which is on all the time but goes into standby when not needed (the squeezebox brings it back to life) and has no monitor. CPU was a cheap Celeron 2.8 with 512mb of RAM and a 300Gb Hard disc" ?
Brand of case, motherboard maker and model are of interest.

Mark Lanctot
2006-02-19, 08:48
Oh, one thing, though - using a wireless connection from slimserver to your router is a bad idea. You don't want to be making multiple wireless jumps. Use a wired ethernet connection from the server machine if at all possible.

Absolutely concur. Any other hardware/software decisions are inconsequential if the server is choking on wireless bandwidth.

jriihi
2006-02-25, 04:02
One note: with linux you just install slimcd and be done with it (if they made it right) no need for xplite kind of tricks. If they made slimcd right then its already bare minimum with maybe webmin to administration thought web browser. If not them xp is much better solution - dont know how good quality is slimcd distro.