Articles in the Hardware category

  1. Some Pretty NAS Case Designs

    January 08, 2011

    If you are planning on building your own NAS box, I have some suggestions regarding the case.

    In my opinion, most computer case designers have absolutely no taste. Antec and Lian Li do create nice cases, but not that spectacular. And Lian Li is just very expensive. A fairly new company called Fractal Design seems to be different. To me, their designs are a breath of fresh air. For instance, if you want to build just a small NAS system and you think that 6 drives is enough, take a look at this beauty:

    small nas box

    Just a small box with room for 6 drives. No hot swap stuff, but for personal use, that is not that important I guess. Unfortunately, I also found this review which also agrees that the case is pretty but there are some drawbacks. Too bad. I would still want to see more of such cases, but maybe with a better designed interior.

    If you want to store more drives, Fractal Design seems to have another nice case in store:

    mini case

    More like a regular computer case but small and very sleek. Has room for 6 drives but you can use the 5,25 inch slots to store two or three additional drives. It is still very small. It's fairly new, I found no product reviews.

    If that is not enough, just take a look at the Define R3 case:


    Seems very pretty to me, has room for 8 disks by default and can host at least 10 disks if you also use the 5,25 inch slots. This review is quite positive about the case.

    A rather old case from Chieftec which I still like and is quite cheap:


    This case is not in the same league as the Fractal cases, but is cheaper and still does the trick. I used this case to build my first NAS and I don't have much to complain. It is no problem to fit in 10 disks. There are two things to note:

    1. there are no filters on the case. You have to create something yourself.
    2. De space between the side panel and the drive connectors is 'limited'.

    If you have any suggestions for nice NAS cases, feel free to leave a comment.

  2. Belkin Gigabit USB 2.0 Adapter Works Perfectly With Linux

    December 08, 2010

    My ISP upgraded my internet connection speed to a whopping 120 Mbit. I am using a mac mini as my internet router. As you may be aware, the mini has only one network interface, so I added a second interface using a USB to ethernet adapter. This adapter was limited to 100 Mbit, so to make full use of the 120 Mbit connection, I had to upgrade this adapter.

    I took the gamble and bought the Belkin Gigabit USB 2.0 adapter. I could not figure out if it would work with Linux, but on the box it officially supports Mac OS X, which is always a good sign.

    This adapter is recognized by Debian Linux without a hitch:

    Mini:~# ethtool -i eth0
    driver: asix
    version: 14-Jun-2006
    firmware-version: ASIX AX88178 USB 2.0 Ethernet
    bus-info: usb-0000:00:1d.7-5

    lsusb output:

    Bus 005 Device 004: ID 050d:5055 Belkin Components F5D5055 Gigabit Network
    Adapter [AX88xxx]

    I did not test the actuall performance of this adapter, but it at least goes beyond the 100 Mbit (it does 120 Mbit at least). I expect it to be limited at say max 300 Mbit, being constrained by the maximum speed of USB 2.0.

    Tagged as : Uncategorized
  3. Debian Lenny and Dell R410 Network Card Not Supported

    August 20, 2010

    For those who are running Debian Lenny and want to order the new Dell R410 server, beware!

    There is no safe solution to get Debian Lenny working with the on-board Broadcom network cards. A fairly recent kernel is required. Basically, you will have to install back-ported kernels, more recent modules and thus must violate the reasons why you were running Debian Lenny in the first place.

    There is one solution, although it may not be an option: run VMware on the hardware and run Debian Lenny in a virtual machine. I think that in most cases, this will be sufficient for many cases and it has all the benefits of virtualisation and the stability of Debian Lenny.

    It is unfortunate that Broadcom or Dell do not support Debian.

    If you do have an easy and quite safe solution to get the Broadcom network cards working with Debian Lenny, please drop a note.

    Beware though: the H200 and H700 RAID controllers are also not supported by Debian Lenny.


    Tagged as : Uncategorized

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