[kwlug-disc] remote storage

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Fri Nov 20 13:17:08 EST 2009

Richard Weait wrote, On 11/20/2009 10:57 AM:
> What is a decent EIDE drive for an older local Linux box?  I have 
> three 3.5" drive bays and would like to add 1 to 2 TB.
> Which drives are most and least likely to fail early and without
> warning?

Not what you asked, but a thought for you ...

Go SATA II. A cheap controller card isn't much, and the drives will
still be useful in any other later computer. e.g. motherboard failure,
pop drives into new box with SATA on the MB, and get on with your day.
SATA I controller (1.5 Mbps) will do you fine - the PCI bus (or older)
that your computer has won't be able to keep up anyways. NOTE: (1) 
Watch the bus connector when you buy, many are PCIe, (2) Keep an eye 
on price, if it's rather expensive, you're into a RAID card / Promise 
controller level, which may be rather more than you want. (3) Watch 
your cables and connectors - some enclosures take sata, not esata, 
connections, or the brackets. There are sata <-> sata, sata <-> esata, 
and esata <-> esata cables, and you can end up with your last cable 
and incompatible connectors. Solution - buy an extra bracket, put it 
inline if you need to.

The real bonus is an eSata port (even if you have to buy a bracket)
for backup. No limitation to firewire or usb2 speeds for backing up to
that external drive. You could buy the cheapest enclosure you can find
if you like and rip it apart. All you want is the power and data
connections to the drive, the place to connect the (e)sata cable, and
the power adapter. i.e. 2.5" enclosure guts will do for a 3.5" drive
- just let the thing sit on top of the computer. In case of disaster,
grab the drive and run. Or, this gives you more drives than bays if
you want - in this case 4, for striping and/or mirroring if you are of
that mind.

For that matter, you could go to a multi-bay external drive enclosure.
At SATA speeds.

You might also need a molex to sata power cable adapter per drive. In
my case, I went to drive bays (same scenario, in case of disaster,
grab drive and run - same as external drive above, but within case),
and they happened to have molex power connectors rather than sata.
$9.99 each from factory direct at the time. Others for $19.99 from
Canada Computers. Or less. Stock is intermittent though - if you go
this way, buy all the bays (+ TRAYS!) you think you might ever need at 
once. Models / connectors / form factors, change, and extras may not 
be available next week. Or: 
http://kingwin.com/products/cate/mobile/racks/kf_4000_bk.asp. (x+1) 
drives in x bays. (-:
	NOTE: These are bays only, not the controller. If you went 4 drives 
in 3 bays and want RAID/stripe/mirror, you still need to buy the 
expensive promise-like controller.
	NOTE 2: Keep an eye that you probably want a DVD +/- R taking up one 
of the bays, too. Or go external eSata on that too / instead.

- if you or Charles don't have one kicking around from another case.

- I give up ... canadacomputers.com is unusably slow at the moment. I 
was going to dig up a SATA only controller card or two, one of 2 
ports, one of 4.

It may seem like a lot of aggravation to do this, but it really isn't. 
A little bit of purchasing / technology learning curve (e.g. 
controller card / bay / esata), but not much and probably no more than 
you'd spend wandering around Canada Computers gawking, anyways. And, 
say, <$50 more expensive for a forward looking, non-dead, solution.

And having an external esata dvd writer kicking around and mobile is 
no bad thing, either. Nice thing about e/sata - it's part of the bus 
when the computer comes up, no waiting for usb/firewire to start up 
then figure out it has a (boot) device connected to it - dvd or hard 

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