15 April 2008, 01:34 by mark hoekstra

shuffling around

server boards on top of my webserver on top of ...a VAX
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This last weekend I shuffled around… a lot of hardware. Most of it because I bought a ‘new’ server board for my encrypted fileserver, The reason wasn’t exactly performance or such, but because I wanted to (be able to) upgrade my fileserver later on and with the old board (an Asus SK8N) I pretty much reached the max of that. There were no PCI-E or PCI-X slots on the board and if I want(ed) to go for hardware raid, I do need something better than just 32-bit PCI. Next to that, for the current softraid setup I also already reached a point, since the old board only had 2 SATA-ports. I could get a nice Asus P5CR-VM cheap (most of the hardware that can only run single core P4s is dirt cheap at the moment), with Intel ICH6R (although I’m not using the raid of that) with 4 SATA-ports and Intel E7221 server chipset and PCI-E x8 for future upgrades. I did try a PCI-E 4-port SATA raidcard this weekend, but I decided I’m going to save a little further until I can afford a 8-port model and a proper case with eight drive bays. Until then scramjet (that’s the name of the fileserver) will run OpenBSD with softRAID. I believe there are some fixes for raid related utilities in upcoming OpenBSD 4.3 so I’ll be installing that anytime soon after May 1st.

So, I switched boards in my fileserver, the OS installation on there ran right away, I didn’t have to do anything! (Both the Opteron and this P4 630 are running OpenBSD/AMD64 just fine).

my …erm… studio
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But… then all of a sudden I had this nice workstation class (it needs ECC REG memory, so then it’s a workstation and not a PC, right? ^_^) motherboard, so what to do with that? Well, somehow I spend more and more time in my ‘studio’ (which is also my bedroom, don’t get any ideas ^_^) and so I decided to upgrade my old XP-box there, from an single MP1800+ (on a very old A7M266) to this SK8N

my ‘new’ video editing set
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...and while I was busy, all kinds of ideas came into my head and now in the end, I think I build quite a proper box from stuff I already had and never bought for this purpose. Next to the motherboard, I also had 4× 512MB PC2100 ECC REG (because I upgraded my webserver from 4 to 6GB) and I still had two 200GB IDE drives, which used to be in my fileserver. Now in a server (or anything remotely similar to that) I would never use an onboard RAID-chipset, but… in a ‘workstation’ and being used as a scratch disk for video editing, why not? So, I installed XP on a single 80GB IDE drive and I’m using two times 200GB as a RAID-stripe for video editing. Last night I did a test with capturing analog video from an old (a very old) video8 cam and I captured an hour (12GB) without any framedrops!

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And I think I’m now going to join the world in using XP just a little longer. Somehow, for video editing it’s either this or a Mac and I couldn’t build a Mac Pro out of spare parts(...), so XP it became ^_^. As a productive environment it can not stand next to Ubuntu (watch my video to see how smooth Ubuntu runs on my workstation) which I run on my day to day workstation, but for editing good old analog video (crappiness galore!) it’s okay. I think it’s rather funny that XP now all of a sudden is loved by a lot of people like never before. You make a mediocre product and when you follow it up with something way worse, people all of a sudden think your mediocre product is the best thing ever! riiight. Still, it’s nice to have a smooth running XP-box for some tasks and my just built editing machine is just that. However, there’s an SGI Indigo2 next to the XP-box and combined they have more features than Vista. Journaling filesystem (the SGI), scalable vector icons (the SGI), real time video effects (the SGI) and you can run all of your old Windows software (the …erm… XP box).

Well, if anyone still keeps track of what hardware I’ve got (w)here… I updated my hardware inventory. ^_^

And then, something completely different and before you start thinking I haven’t been out of my apartment this weekend (well, hardly, but still). This last friday I went to Wall House #2 which is a very nice place here in Groningen. I was filled with joy that I got an invitation, along with some other people, to drink a cup of tea there with Bianca Casady of CocoRosie. And what can I say? It was nice, very nice. *^_^*

I made some pictures which can be seen in this Flickr photoset not be seen anymore, i’m sorry.

And that pretty much concludes my weekend. I think my surroundings begin to take some shape now, with such a productive environment around me I think I better start producing …erm… something. ^_^

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  1. Crystal @ 17 April 2008, 00:18 :

    Try your skills on us…


  2. Josh @ 18 April 2008, 17:10 :

    What is going on with the site? It is so slow to connect to, it doesn’t seem bad when it is all loaded up though.

  3. as @ 19 April 2008, 12:42 :

    have you decided for case for the file server?

  4. mark @ 19 April 2008, 13:48 :

    oh well, you must be psychic cause, yes, i have!

    this week i found a bargain, an Antec Titan 650 with some minor damage (scratches) and without a PSU (i've got enough of those), for scrap money… So for me that’s an ideal case, looots of disks can be placed and because my new serverboard can handle 4 SATA disks, this is an ideal case for upgrading from two to four disks (an extra RAID1-array)… And I’m doubtful of going the way of a nice 2U-case with hotswap, cause in functionality it doesn’t add a thing and how much would you spend for a nice look inside your closet?

  5. as @ 19 April 2008, 17:33 :

    i would put that on supermicro server case rack
    they have good air flow

  6. as @ 19 April 2008, 17:36 :




As mentioned in the Message from Mark's family this site has been made static. This means that it will be no longer possible to comment on his ideas and projects, but that we all can continue to cherish his creativity.

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