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June 24, 2010

OCZ Agility 2 120GB SandForce SSD Review

OCZ’s Agility 2 120GB is a new generation of drive based on the SandForce SF-1200 controller. Unlike the OCZ Vertex LE and OCZ Vertex 2 drives, the Agility 2’s SandForce controller has an IOP limit artificially limited in firmware. With that being said, it is also cheaper than the Vertex 2 120GB and is still a very fast SSD, especially with compressible loads.

The short story of the SandForce controller is that it uses an internal encryption/ compression algorithm to write data to NAND faster than other drives. The SandForce based Agility 2 120GB is therefore fairly fast with compressed workloads (i.e. pictures, music files, zip files, ISOs, and etc) and much [...]

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June 8, 2010

Supermicro X8ST3-F Motherboard Review

My main server, the Big WHS now houses over 60TB of storage, runs multiple VM’s, and has over 10 Gigabit NICs. At the heart of this server, is a Supermicro X8ST3-F. It was not the first motherboard I tried in the server, as I originally tried using an ASUS P6T7 WS Supercomputer in the Big WHS, but it has been running solidly since its first installation. Aside from its stability, it also comes with many PCIe slots, an onboard LSI 1068e based 8 port SATA/ SAS controller, dual Intel Gigabit NICs, onboard video, and IPMI 2.0 with KVM over IP.

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June 1, 2010

Intel Xeon X3440 for the Windows Home Server Mini-Review

As a follow-on to the Supermicro X8SIL-F review, I had some interest in seeing power consumption figures for the CPU’s involved. I have already discussed the Intel Core i3-530’s low idle power consumption and relatively low maximum power consumption extensively. As I have a habit of doing, I decided to use an Intel Xeon X3340 in the new server for two reasons. First, I wanted to see a performance of the X3440 versus the other CPU’s I have tested for video encoding and transcoding on a Windows Home Server platform. Second, I wanted to have a server running Microsoft Hyper-V Server with Windows Home Server and Ubuntu 10.04 as guest operating systems running in Hyper-V [...]

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May 24, 2010

The Big WHS: May Update 60TB Edition

The Big WHS was originally supposed to house approximately 30TB of storage when the plans were first detailed on an Excel spreadsheet BOM in December 2009. This was a big upgrade to my first DIY Windows Home Server box that had well under 20TB. About five months later, the storage capacity has crested 60TB, with further room to expand. The Big WHS now spans two 4U Norco cases (using a total of 8U of rackspace and another 4U chassis is in the works) has over 60TB of storage, and requires well over a dozen ports on the gigabit switch.

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