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[X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

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bgravato
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:06 am
Location: Aveiro, Portugal

[X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#1 Post by bgravato » Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:40 am

X230 has a 6-port SATA controller, so I was just wondering if it's possible somehow to connect more than one HDD directly to SATA.

I'm trying to build a low-power NAS (running Linux) and I have a working X230 motherboard collecting dust that I'd love to reuse for this purpose.

I'd like to connect two 3.5" HDD drives in (software) RAID-1 (linux mdadm).

I know they need to be powered externally, that's not a problem.

As for data connection... One can be connected to the internal SATA port, but what about the second one?
From what I googled so far, my options seem to be:
- docking station with ultrabay slim
- docking station with eSATA port
- ExpressCard to eSATA adapter
- SATA port multiplier connected to internal SATA port (is it supported?)
- SATA to mSATA adapter connected to internal mSATA port
- USB 3.0

My concerns are how reliable those connection are and how it can hit performance.
The disks I'll be using are 2 WD Red 4TB.

So here is my breakdown of each option:

docking station
I'd guess this is probably the option that is most reliable and that offers best performance... Though might be the most expensive, since I don't own a docking station.
I wonder if there's a simpler way of connecting to SATA through the docking station port, since I don't need all the other ports (VGA, USB, etc), but I couldn't find anything on that matter so far...

ExpressCard
I've never used an eSATA ExpressCard, so not sure what to expect... but I guess the major con will probably be on performance...

SATA to mSATA adapter
No experience with this either, but I'd expect it to be reliable and fast (yes the mSATA port is SATA II only, but that shouldn't be limiting for an HDD).
On the other hand it conflicts with my idea of putting the OS on a mSATA SSD and will force me to run the OS from an USB pen (not ideal).

Port multiplier
Not sure if SATA port multiplier is supported by this board
Even if it is, this article suggests it might not be the safest option:
https://www.zdnet.com/article/are-sata- ... iers-safe/

USB
Not reliable, so I'd prefer to stay away from it.

Any thoughts and suggestions are most welcome!

Thanks in advance.

dr_st
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Re: [X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#2 Post by dr_st » Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:57 pm

bgravato wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:40 am
- docking station with ultrabay slim
- docking station with eSATA port
Yes.
bgravato wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:40 am
I'd guess this is probably the option that is most reliable and that offers best performance...
Yes.
bgravato wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 11:40 am
Though might be the most expensive, since I don't own a docking station.
You can find them remarkably cheap sometimes. This one seems like it might be a winner. Or this one, since you are apparently in Portugal.

Search eBay for Ultrabase Series 3 (you will also need the hard drive caddy, bought separately) or for "Mini Dock Plus eSATA" (not all of them are with eSATA, so be specific).
Thinkpad 25 (20K7), T470p (20J7), Yoga 14 (20FY), T430s (IPS FHD + Classic Keyboard), X220 4291-4BG
X61 7673-V2V, T60 2007-QPG, T42 2373-F7G, X32 (IPS Screen), A31p w/ Ultrabay Numpad, A21m 2628-GXU

bgravato
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:06 am
Location: Aveiro, Portugal

Re: [X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#3 Post by bgravato » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:16 pm

dr_st wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:57 pm
You can find them remarkably cheap sometimes. This one seems like it might be a winner. Or this one, since you are apparently in Portugal.

Search eBay for Ultrabase Series 3 (you will also need the hard drive caddy, bought separately) or for "Mini Dock Plus eSATA" (not all of them are with eSATA, so be specific).
Thank you for the quick reply.

The USB 3.0 version seem to be more popular on ebay, but I found a few eSATA version as well, specially on the German ebay.
I think I can get one in the 30-35 EUR price range (including shipping), which is not bad.

Krissharm
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:03 am
Location: BIRMINGHAM, UK

Re: [X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#4 Post by Krissharm » Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:01 am

Had exactly the same idea. Seems a good use of the board.
How are you powering your 3.5 drives?
X230 IPS 16GB RAM, 1TB Samsung (x220 chassis, keyboard & palmrest) SSD MX18 Linux
X201s 8GB RAM, Samsung SSD MX18 Linux x200s screen

bgravato
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:06 am
Location: Aveiro, Portugal

Re: [X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#5 Post by bgravato » Mon Jun 15, 2020 2:21 pm

Krissharm wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 5:01 am
Had exactly the same idea. Seems a good use of the board.
How are you powering your 3.5 drives?
I haven't decided yet... but I also need a power supply for the x230, so one option is to get a PSU (and some regulators) that can power everything (20V for the board/dock and 12V/5V for the HDDs).

I'll need to put the disks somewhere... so I could get an old PC case with a normal PC power supply (I should have some old ones still working, though their fans tend to be annoyingly noisy).

The alternative would be finding some HDD enclosure/dock with eSATA and its own power supply. I actually just remembered that I have a very old DLink NAS that I no longer use... Maybe I can somehow reuse it for this... though it mighty be too much work for just a simple thing...

What did you have in mind?
Last edited by bgravato on Tue Jun 16, 2020 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Krissharm
Posts: 15
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:03 am
Location: BIRMINGHAM, UK

Re: [X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#6 Post by Krissharm » Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:43 am

The old PC case is a good idea. I only had the thoughts of power for the laptop, then power for enclosures for the HDD's but that seems a bit messy.
X230 IPS 16GB RAM, 1TB Samsung (x220 chassis, keyboard & palmrest) SSD MX18 Linux
X201s 8GB RAM, Samsung SSD MX18 Linux x200s screen

bgravato
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:06 am
Location: Aveiro, Portugal

Re: [X230] best way to connect two 3.5" HDD to build a NAS?

#7 Post by bgravato » Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:40 pm

For anyone interested here's my first attempt at a low power home NAS server built from a x230.
This is just a temporary setup, just to verify that it works (and it does!).

Image

Gear:
- (bottom-half of a) x230 laptop
- Dock station (with eSATA connector) + 90W power brick (not in picture)
- WD Red 4TB connected with SATA/eSATA cable to the dock station
- WD Red 4TB connected with male SATA/female SATA cable to internal SATA
- Old HDD IDE-USB enclosure with external power supply (PSU not in picture) used to power both HDDs
- SO (OpenMediaVault) installed on mSATA SSD (internal mSATA connector)
- Gigabit Ethernet

Total power consumption from the socket:
- cpu idle and HDDs sleeping: 13W
- cpu idle and HDDs spinning but idle: 18.5W
- cpu low load and HDDs busy: 21-29W
- cpu heavy load and HDDs busy: 39-44W

It's not a raspberry pi, but I think it's very good power consumption, specially when idle (most of the time).

For final setup I will likely power the HDDs from another source (and probably save 2-3W extra from a more efficient PSU).
Put everything fixed with screws inside of a case (probably an old ATX PC case).
I might replace the x230 90W PSU with a 65W version of it

.

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