The Hard Drives (storage): Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB
I know some of you are wondering about my sanity and choice of timing. Yes, I do know Seagate will launch a two-terabyte hard drive in the first half of 2009. I am also aware of the problems plaguing their 1.5TB drives. So why have I opted for the 1.5TB drives then?
I carefully examined my options with these drives. Initially, I was reluctant to go with the 1.5TB drives. The 1TB drives offered me proven reliability. Only after Seagate announced a firmware updates for the 1.5TB drives and I found prices as low as $163 CAD per drive did I decide to go with them.
Instead of buying these drives impulsively, I emailed my contact at Seagate and had a heart to heart about the problems these drives have encountered. I asked him straight out, should I be trusting large amounts of data to these drives? I got a solid answer back, YES.
I have opted for 14 of these drives to give me 21TB of storage. This allows me to meet my goal of 20TB of storage space while leaving six drive bays available for future expansion.
The Power Supply: Corsair HX1000W
I am going to be up-front and honest. I am a long-time fan of OCZ and ThermalTake power supplies. The last system I built, I had to get a 550W Corsair power supply. It turned out to be a decent, reliable power supply. When I spec'd out this system, I looked at OCZ and ThermalTake first, but quickly found that neither of them offered a power supply around the 1kW mark that offered enough 4-pin molex connectors for the hard drives.
The Corsair HX1000W popped up on my radar after a quick Google search. I checked it out and found it had the necessary number of connectors. As a bonus, this power supply is modular which makes it ideal for better airflow through the case. For a server with fourteen to twenty hard drives and between one and two passively cooled processors, airflow is going to be important.
The RAID Controller: Adaptec 52445
My choices were limited in this department. I could choose between the Areca ARC-1680xi-24 and the Adaptec 52445. I required a 24-port card to meet the demand of 20 internal drives. I did not want to buy a card as a stopgap solution and then sell it for a better card with more ports later. I chose the Adaptec 52445 because it offers a user-friendly RAID management application whereas Areca uses a web-based management system that looks out of the early ‘90's.
The Adaptec 52445 comes with a whopping 1.2GHz dual-core RAID-on-Chip (ROC) processor and 512MB DDR2 memory for high RAID 5 and RAID 6 performance. The PCI-E x8 interface should provide sufficient bandwidth for the array.
The Operating System: Windows Vista Ultimate x64
Why Windows? I know that is what you are thinking. It is a fair question deserving a fair answer. I am familiar with it. I have access to a Windows Vista Ultimate license and decided it would be the quickest way of getting the box up and running smoothly. I naturally chose the 64-bit version of the operating system to support the current 8GB and future 24GB of memory. It also allows me a bit of flexibility when native 64-bit applications make it into the mainstream market.