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This is something I've been wanting for well over a year. Perhaps even 2 years. My character is an anthropomorphic Cinccino, a Pokémon hunted for their fur nearly to extinction. He has tried desperately to find some way to bring his species back, but has had no success. Worse yet, his goal has cost him everything. His job, his money, his trainer license,... all gone. But he keeps trying. That's where you hopefully come in.
I won't mince words. What I'm looking for is someone capable of granting this poor fluffball the fertility he wants so badly. I would prefer it not happen via sex, as I am terrible at writing sex scenes. However, as I have been looking for quite some time, I may be willing to bend that rule. But I would much rather he come across some magical creature, such as Jirachi, a fertility deity of some sort, Kyubey, a kitsune,... anything that can grant wishes or dish out curses. Either they hear his wish and take pity on him, or they find him and, not knowing him, cast a fertility curse on him. I should also note that I'm not looking for simple mpreg. I want massive litters; how else will he repopulate his species?~
I would greatly appreciate help from anybody. But I can't do long posts consistently.
This is a Cinccino.
What do you get if you cross a server with a desktop computer?
An IBM X3200 M3, apparently.
Just a little amount of time after I took purchase of the HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Server, I also spotted this on eBay for (At the time) £8.00; plus free postage. Like with the previous one, my first thought was “Alright… What’s wrong with it?” Well quite a bit more than the previous one, but the seller wasn’t entirely honest about all that was wrong with it… We’ll get to that in a moment. I decided that the highest I’d go is £20 for this early on in the bidding; seeing as there was no postage and package costs. It was advertised as: IBM X3200 Tower Server M3 with a X3430 Quad Core 2.4Ghz processor and 16GB RAM with a 500GB server. They specified that it was in good clean condition, a few blemishes present consistent with age and use, only 1 HD and only the one caddy for it. They said that it had an evaluation version of Windows Server 2016 on it and that it worked fine.
Alright… At £20 I was willing to take the risk. This was placed on the 21 Oct 2018 at around 05:55hrs (Nearly 6 in the morning). Which bumped it up to £8.50, which it remained until 2:24:05PM BST when a series of highly suspicious bids took place on it on an account that only had 1 feedback score and seemed to bump the price up in increments repeatedly. Seriously… Check this out (I used inspect element to change the names):
And hiding automatic bids:
Now I have no proof but this s***i ( 1 ) was extremely suspect to me; almost like he was trying to inch up the price for the seller; and what made it worse was that this guy’s bidding history at the time was 100% on the same seller. Is it possible that it was a legitimate person? Sure! It’s possible. But to me it was just as likely to be the seller’s alt account or a friend of the seller. But that wasn’t going to deter me. Whilst £20 was the highest I was willing to go; it was only that early on in the bidding. I was planning on bid sniping if it was under £40 which is the absolute highest I’d go, incase something like this happened. Using a buffer of £30 as my max I put another bid on it on the 22nd Oct 2018 at 09:30 BST. With plans to put £40 in on it on the last moment of bidding.
23rd October 2018, seconds before the bidding ending, I put £40 as my max, exactly as planned anticipating another snipe bidder. But there was none. By the time my computer refreshed the page - I had won the bid at £27.00, with free postage!
I am not going to name the seller because I don’t recommend them…
Item: IBM X3200 Tower Server M3 Xeon X3430 Quad Core 2.4Ghz 16GB RAM 500GB HDD server Price I paid: £27.00 Shipping: Free (Courier) Total Cost: £27.00 Came With: More damage than advertised. So I briefly touched on the damage that this server had; in the listing the seller specified:
And that certainly is true to a point. There certainly are blemishes on the case, but whether or not it’s consistent with age and use… Well, as you will see in my bonus part, which isn’t something I bought on eBay, I have a system that is much older, and isn’t anywhere near as damaged. Hell the HP Proliant DL380 G5 Server wasn’t as damaged at this server either. It looks quite beaten up in some places, with deep gashes that go beyond the black paint of the case, and hit the shiny surface below.
In addition; the one and only hard drive caddy that came with this server has an unremovable hard drive in it because someone damaged the screw so much that no screwdriver will release it. This wasn’t mentioned on the listing.
But that’s not a problem; I just purchased extra caddies (Buy it Now)
Item: 4x 3.5" Drive Caddy Tray For IBM 3200 Price I paid: £19.88, -£2,00 Special Offer Shipping: Free (Royal Mail Tracked) Total Cost: Server (£27.00) + Caddies (£19.88 - £2.00) = £44.88 Came With: Two of them came with 4 screws. The other 2 came with 0 screws. Except one of these Caddies will not fit this server; they sent the wrong item… My luck with eBay as it seems is starting to come to an end...
But with the three that I have and the one HDD that is unremovable from the Caddy, I can now have upto 4 HDDs in the server. Which I will come back to in a moment. Compared to the HP Proliant Server from the last topic; this machine is a lot quieter. Let's put it this way, my USB desk fan on my main workstation desk is a lot louder than this server is. Which is good, because it means I can install it somewhere in my home, and it won’t be a loud nuisance. Its power draw is also significantly less than the HP server too. So this has become a really strong candidate of being a server that I can use here, as an internal private intranet server. It is also smaller (Mini-Tower 5U), and I can install it in a range of places, that will be quite discreet.
Update: I of course raised this issue and we got it resolved in the end, and I got a replacement that did fit.
The initial specs of this server is as follows:
CPU: Intel Xeon X3430 Socket H1 (LGA1156), 45nm Chip X86-64 Architecture Quad Core @ 2.40GHz (4 Threads) L1 Cache 4 x 32 KB 4-way set associative instruction caches 4 x 32 KB 8-way set associative data caches L2 Cache 4 x 256 KB 8-way set associative caches L3 Cache 8 MB 16-way set associative shared cache 160W Max Sustained Power Consumption (95W TDP) 32GB Max Supportable RAM* Chipset: Intel DMI Host Bridge rev. 11 (Northbridge) + Intel 3420 Rev. 05 (Southbridge) RAM: 16GB DDR3 (6 Slots Total: 4x 4GB, 2x Slots are empty) 4x Samsung (4092MB each) Low ProfileECC RAM Bandwidth: PC3-10600 (666.7 MHz) JEDEC timings table CL-tRCD-tRP-tRAS-tRC @ frequency: JEDEC #1: 6.0-6-6-17-23 @ 457 MHz JEDEC #2: 7.0-7-7-20-27 @ 533 MHz JEDEC #3: 8.0-8-8-22-30 @ 609 MHz JEDEC #4: 9.0-9-9-24-33 @ 666 MHz Model: M392B5273CH0-CH9 2x Empty Banks Optical Media: HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GH60N Firmware: NY03 (2009-12-23 12:34:56) Can read: CD-R DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL Can Write: CD-R DVD-R DVD-RW DVD+R DVD+RW DVD-RAM DVD+R DL Network Cards: 2x Intel 82574L Gigabit Network Connection Graphics: *reportedly* Matrox MGA G200eV (Integrated) VGA Output only. 16MB SDRAM Video Memory PSU: 1x 400w Power Supply Model DPS-400-AB-9 A (Rev: 00F) HDD: 1x 500GB 3.5” SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM) Western Digital Caviar Blue WD5000AAKX (500GB) 3x Empty Banks So unlike the last server I showcased, this has a few noticeable differences. The Hard Drive is something, I sincerely doubt came with the server, as it’s as a Western Digital Blue HDD, that has likely come out of a Desktop Computer. It certainly isn’t enterprise grade, nor is it what I’d expect to find in a server. It’s also pure SATA, where as the HP Hard Drives are SAS, and the difference that I’ve noticed can be seen on the SATA Connection themselves. This appears to me like an ordinary desktop HDD. It also appears to be considerably well used:
The RAM is extremely low profile, but at least all of it matches, and doesn’t get anywhere near to the temperatures of the HP server. The CPU does run a little hotter, but since reapplying the thermal paste with Arctic Silver 5, this has greatly reduced and become far more manageable.
Before I got to really play around with it, I did exactly what I did to the last server. I took a look at the hard drive to see if there was remnants of data left over on them from the previous owners - of which I found that there absolutely was. Which means this hard drive wasn’t properly wiped at all. Oh dear… So what did I find?
To be honest, I am not sure. I’ve found evidence of previous operating systems installed on this hard drive; such as EULA’s for Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7 Enterprise and Windows 10 Enterprise. I’ve also seen update CAB files for Windows 6.1 and Windows 8.1 updates, as well as CAB files that contain files like: DesktopTargetCompDB_ENTERPRISE_ko-kr.xml as seen below:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> <CompDB xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" CreatedDate="2017-09-30T15:48:06.0289147Z" Revision="1" SchemaVersion="1.2" Product="Desktop" BuildID="863b33d6-5d47-3ae6-5284-31cc06b48473" BuildInfo="rs3_release.16299.15.170928-1534" OSVersion="10.0.16299.15" BuildArch="AMD64" ReleaseType="Production" Type="Build" xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/embedded/2004/10/ImageUpdate"> <Tags Type="Edition"> <Tag Name="Edition" Value="Enterprise" /> <Tag Name="Language" Value="ko-kr" /> <Tag Name="UpdateType" Value="Canonical" /> </Tags> <Features> <Feature Type="DesktopMedia" FeatureID="Enterprise_ko-kr" FMID="MSDE" Group="Microsoft"> <Packages> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Foundation-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Client-Features-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Client-Features-WOW64-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-RegulatedPackages-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-RegulatedPackages-WOW64-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Merged-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Merged-WOW64-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Analog-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionPack-Enterprise-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionPack-Enterprise-WOW64-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionSpecific-Enterprise-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionSpecific-Enterprise-WOW64-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-QuickAssist-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-Optional-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-MediaPlayer-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-OneCore-ApplicationModel-Sync-Desktop-FOD-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="AMD64_Microsoft.ModernApps.Client.All" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="AMD64_Microsoft.ModernApps.Client.enterprise" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Client-LanguagePack-Package_ko-kr" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Basic-ko-kr-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Handwriting-ko-kr-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-TextToSpeech-ko-kr-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-OCR-ko-kr-Package" PackageType="FeaturePackage" /> <Package ID="Enterprise_ko-kr_esd" PackageType="MetadataESD" /> </Packages> </Feature> </Features> <Packages> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Foundation-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="+wrnS73RVfhDnBBNpVujYmajNVLE7L5Zm1oklaL+RXQ=" PayloadSize="2286690" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-Foundation-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Client-Features-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="vQBvfoo+j/2gnPAr3D2mG2SkCu8cYjBHUD4aA97N8BI=" PayloadSize="880381462" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-Client-Features-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Client-Features-WOW64-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <SatelliteInfo> <DeclareInfo> <Declare Type="arch" Value="wow64" /> </DeclareInfo> </SatelliteInfo> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="SS6IfGMo3omwr+HN1/YYX6OaVnTAlcDp9boDK4HK/mE=" PayloadSize="264049316" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-Client-Features-WOW64-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-RegulatedPackages-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="vFWYTitDL+/wwWyHj76BApHyuZf8fjcwe2/b0QeTBD8=" PayloadSize="25781426" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-RegulatedPackages-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-RegulatedPackages-WOW64-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="SEg4Oxzjs9CnNepslha9IVlEI8pr3hhkrCODpBvuzLw=" PayloadSize="22229744" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-RegulatedPackages-WOW64-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Merged-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="yqf0RvQn+YklfTgKUetuU+dS2+HTO1Ovj/IGRVpQiZw=" PayloadSize="5190740" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Merged-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Merged-WOW64-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="areJOF0n8tRCHNZvXof7rlnTHqcetUP+P+8vmiVbLJE=" PayloadSize="99460" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Merged-WOW64-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Analog-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="KMXFQjtx2Bn5dp7yWAKYtt1n4xvabBnSQ9cQf40kUk0=" PayloadSize="8293796" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-Holographic-Desktop-Analog-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionPack-Enterprise-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="HD109q+JSvMYIc2/bya+A0L4YMYcIMaW8rOQ6ZLJaL0=" PayloadSize="504868788" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-EditionPack-Enterprise-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionPack-Enterprise-WOW64-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="0ipelbg2f3GE77S+XioBLi2i7+tkIh0udRabkH5C96Y=" PayloadSize="67978176" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-EditionPack-Enterprise-WOW64-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionSpecific-Enterprise-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="zZT9JM4Ey4vP+9Qm6DlBM9tpQPG6coeD/CxK86ACMKE=" PayloadSize="13836388" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-EditionSpecific-Enterprise-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-EditionSpecific-Enterprise-WOW64-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="sZzd0urLY1F/gMJUmcKZN66PWIS1b5BuNuEl80RXyPw=" PayloadSize="19871364" Path="UUP\Desktop\editionPackages\neutral\Microsoft-Windows-EditionSpecific-Enterprise-WOW64-Package.ESD" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-QuickAssist-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="eNxYefEk+1bQcZTb2zrr5RGcuMNstmdv71wuHpuQx4E=" PayloadSize="367627" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-QuickAssist-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-Optional-Package" Version="11.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="ht7tgr1cDeBkUIuyjbZxY4JK/s0rEBtMiFIRgDDdA7s=" PayloadSize="296038" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-InternetExplorer-Optional-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-MediaPlayer-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="mT08yTE4X5NJiKfb6aW8WSDaFWTkHas+Ueqv6OOv7M4=" PayloadSize="25500439" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-MediaPlayer-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-OneCore-ApplicationModel-Sync-Desktop-FOD-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="1mwEJAfTpz2sxZ/n71yo3XaPHmyIvAPpacLnEyF4kf4=" PayloadSize="4122962" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-OneCore-ApplicationModel-Sync-Desktop-FOD-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="AMD64_Microsoft.ModernApps.Client.All" Version="0.0.0.0"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="HcejkXuxAxiG5calWGUrbsEHgBOtDy5aF9U9GIgzAM8=" PayloadSize="271834360" Path="UUP\Desktop\Apps\Microsoft.ModernApps.Client.All.esd" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="AMD64_Microsoft.ModernApps.Client.enterprise" Version="0.0.0.0"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="ZsN5P42CYFIad+8bmmTZPt59Hh5J9TVB3mzjKfMj0pQ=" PayloadSize="27003996" Path="UUP\Desktop\Apps\Microsoft.ModernApps.Client.enterprise.esd" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-Client-LanguagePack-Package_ko-kr" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="APjQ1Bxm4LPVqKTmQvD1f/V7p/k0L3sZ0SxJJZmU//8=" PayloadSize="28549716" Path="UUP\Desktop\EditionPackages\ko-kr\Client\amd64fre_Client_ko-kr_lp.esd" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Basic-ko-kr-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="OU/NB7fOktLb5r/kXaqTmQO/aRYac5txCov6fo6/liw=" PayloadSize="4337536" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Basic-ko-kr-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Handwriting-ko-kr-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="VYa6KHQnxONo1IkMi6gyOd+FWeOvrZPmvN/BqRyrECU=" PayloadSize="23326233" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-Handwriting-ko-kr-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-TextToSpeech-ko-kr-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="2zKYivZ90rQkFk9cUCotV4iA8qeEh6a/gQDhYmbGJzY=" PayloadSize="14278698" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-TextToSpeech-ko-kr-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="amd64_Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-OCR-ko-kr-Package" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="SRYNd4ITZDnXZUen+Dtj9rJS6fIvNU9935j5kSfX0GM=" PayloadSize="3412608" Path="FeaturesOnDemand\neutral\cabs\Microsoft-Windows-LanguageFeatures-OCR-ko-kr-Package.cab" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> <Package ID="Enterprise_ko-kr_esd" Version="10.0.16299.15"> <Payload> <PayloadItem PayloadHash="Ew37BM+a4208gMxnZMpvP8KEEWBnZ9kbBsJ6MFQSnM8=" PayloadSize="530003885" Path="UUP\DESKTOP\MetadataESDs\Enterprise_ko-kr\Enterprise_ko-kr.esd" PayloadType="Canonical" /> </Payload> </Package> </Packages> </CompDB> But perhaps the strangest of all is that there were files on the hard drive at some point that seems to contain (What looks to me like) Development Assets of King’s Candy Crush Saga… Stuff like images, OGG/WMA/MP3 files which seem to be from the Candy Crush game as well. Now; I could be wrong and this stuff could get installed by default (as it is a tile on Windows 10 from the Windows Store), or was installed through the Microsoft Store and these files are installed with that, but I’m not honestly sure. To me; they look like developer assets and sprites. Some of the Candy Crush files are in different languages. There was nothing “Personal” in the files I recovered; but there were a couple of databases, that could contain sensitive information… Thankfully the SQL, SQLite and .accdb (Microsoft Access) files were either damaged/corrupted beyond recovery or were encrypted - and I have no inclination nor desire to attempt to repair or decrypt them.
I was able to recover around 62,000 files (8.77GB) all of which are deleted now, and I did the right thing; I wiped the hard drive (And the storage medium I restored it to) completely using DoD 5220.22-M, which is a bit overkill for hard drives nowadays but it ensures the data is unrecoverable by peasantry (Me) means, it essentially wipes over the entire drive with all binary zeros, then verifies that write, before making a second pass that overwrites all addressable locations with binary ones, I believe it then verifies it again before making a third pass of a completely random bit pattern, then verifies that again. For good measure I did a binary zero write afterwards, for another purpose; to test the hard drive and root out any bad sectors.
Then I was free to continue on and use it. I want to urge everyone here; if you’re selling your computer/laptop then please at least do a proper format (Not a Quick Format), or worse yet don’t just *delete* your files and call it job done, it most certainly isn’t. Do not be lazy about this. Overwrite that data. So assholes like me can’t come along and recover it; I really can’t stress that enough. In most cases a single pass of random bits will do, but if you want to be sure, 3 passes like with the DoD 5220.22-M is usually a good idea, but if you’re a little paranoid, a 7 pass write like DoD 5220.22-M ECE I guess is alright. But if you’re extremely paranoid - just don’t sell the hard drive, and physically destroy it, and sell/give the rest of the computer. Chances are if you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to be told that.
There are far worse people out there and I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve purchased second hand hard drives online, that people haven’t properly formatted the hard drives of. I’ve had access to various kinds of sensitive materials that have either been too hot to handle or have been wiped properly by myself. To see someone actually take data protection seriously and to wipe their drives before selling them is a good thing to me. I actually like that they do it properly. But I always format again; just to be sure, it roots out any bad sectors, and makes sure that the drive is properly cleaned and conditioned, ready for use. You don’t need to use the Gutmann method (35 pass write) because that is most certainly overkill.
For more information you can read the following:
• https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html - Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory (Floppy/Tape/HDDs)
• https://www.cs.jhu.edu/~astubble/600.412/s-c-papers/remanence.pdf - Data Remanence in Semiconductor Devices (Flash/SSDs)
So with the hard drives wiped; I installed a temporary installation of Windows Server 2016, as I was going to benchmark the system and turned the machine off for a good look inside. Before I did this though I took a temperature check of the CPU and RAM and found them to be the opposite way around from the HP Server and more in line with what I expected. The RAM was pretty cool, at around 30-40oC but the CPU was quite high even under idle loads, at around 60oC, and under 100% Prime95 load it was around 97-98oC which is a little too hot for my liking. But again, I could be wrong and this could be normal for this CPU. I did not leave Prime95 running for long, not at these kinds of temperatures, and I shut down the system and opened it up.
This server is laid out near enough exactly like a Mini-Tower. The first thing I noticed in there was this very fine amount of dust everywhere inside the machine. The second thing I noticed however was the CPU Heatsink was chock-fucking-full of dust which had compacted into the fins and was skewing my head test results for sure. The CPU fan was also caked in dust which severely reduces the airflow that the fan can draw through the heatsink.
Immediately I got to work in dismantling the server for a full and proper clean.
The Hard Drive Bay had to come out first, as you can see in the above picture; it is above the CPU heatsink and fan. So that came out, although the process seemed convoluted and impossible at first but after referencing the service manual it was as easy as taking out the hard drive caddy and pressing on a tab to make it swing outwards. I decided to give that fan a clean too as it was filthy, and I knew I was going to have four hard drives in there which will generate quite a bit of heat.
Once that was done I disconnected the fan power supply from the motherboard to the CPU Fan and removed the heatsink, only to find that the thermal paste had hardened into a cement like substance. So I removed the processor and delicately cleaned this up.
I also spent some time cleaning the heatsink out with various pieces of equipment, and clearing off the junk on the bottom of it. I then put the CPU back into the socket and applied some Arctic Silver 5, in a vertical line up the CPU (as instructed by their site) before putting it all back together and ran the system through another intense benchmark.
This time, at idle the CPU was around 30-35oC and under heavy load it was around 70-75oC so as far as I was concerned this was mission accomplished.
As I said in the previous part: I use Arctic Silver 5; which is a high density micronise Silver and ‘Enhanced Thermally Conductive Ceramic Particles’ (What I call Enhanced TCCP), which is typically around 88% thermally conductive materials (by weight) with ‘Three Unique Shapes and Sizes’ of 99.9% pure silver to maximise the particle contact area and thermal transfer, suspended in Polysynthetic Oils. It is not electrically conductive either. You can find more information here. This is not an advert; and I am not sponsored by Arctic Silver, but it is in my experience, the best stuff to use for thermal paste solutions, at the very least it is almost usually much better than stock solutions. It is not cheap though (~£1,800 per KG. You buy it usually in 3.5g syringes that cost around £6-7 and it does lots of applications).
All in all this was running quieter than the HP Server, cooler than the HP server and taking in half of the power of the HP Server, so far this was looking like the best solution to use around the “Office”.
But the next thing I wanted to do was run some benchmarks. Unfortunately the benchmark program CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 defines the following benchmarks as the stupid 1KB = 1000 bytes therefore 1000KB = 1MB, and if you want it to mean 1024KB = 1MB you’re actually talking about MiB… Which I’ve already ranted about in the previous topic.
In the last topic of ‘Shit I’ve bought from eBay’ I stated that with the HP Server it had better numbers but the test files took a lot longer to create; this is absolutely true. But there was something I hadn’t read in the results that was showing me in the numbers that write speeds were much slower. Whilst the read speeds of the HP server was far better than the read speeds of the IBM server, the write speeds are a completely different story. Inside the computer was one single Western Digital (Blue) WD5000AAKX (500GB) HDD (7200 RPM, 16MB Cache, SATA III - 6Gbps).
So here is the raw data of the test using Crystal Diskmark (Freeware):
Here is a comparison of the HDD speed between this server and the HP Server. Red indicates where the IBM server is slower and green indicates where it was faster:
But I could argue that this test isn’t exactly very fair either. There are few points of differences to raise here:
The IBM System did not have a full complement of disks, and it wasn’t set up in any kind of RAID system. Where as the HP system has all 8 disks in a RAID 5 set up. The IBM System does not appear to be able to do, let alone support RAID 5. In fact the letters “RAID” doesn’t even come into it. The best I can tell this has four options. Each disk is a stand alone drive (Which I guess could be configured in an OS) Integrated Striping: Which I am guessing is RAID 0. Integrated Mirroring: Which I am guessing is RAID 1. Integrated Mirroring Enhanced: Which I am guessing is RAID 1E. There are some reports that this only works with an odd number of drives, yet when I selected three of my drives I had around 750GB of total space, and when I selected four I had around 1TB of total space. I had also tried using 4TB drives in the server however the RAID Controller, a IBM ServeRAID BR10il SAS/SATA Controller v2 (Which is actually a: Symbios Logic/LSI 53C1064E PCI Express Fusion-MPT 4-Port SAS Controller) can only see 2TB (2048GB) and even then it can’t process it properly. Everything else after that Linux, Windows, and even the BIOS only sees it as a 2TB Hard Drive and is incapable of installing anything onto it. So I am limited in this regard and can only use 2TB Drives or lower.
I used SiSoftware (Sandra) to get an overall benchmark of the system as I hold a valid licence for the software (2016 version). Which I have compared to my desktop computer (Because as unfair comparaisons go this was the best baseline I have; other than old Pentium 2 Processor machine I have in my airing cupboard). I also compared them to the HP server that I spoke about in my last topic.
As I mentioned in the last topic it is important to see how the benchmarking software see’s the hardware, as there were discrepancies with the HP Server, that I wanted to rule out here too.
SiSoftware Sandra ID Host Name : WIN-F1VD50H6AMM Workgroup : WORKGROUP Computer Model : IBM System x3200 M3 -[7328EAG]- Serial Number : (REDACTED) Chassis : IBM Tower Mainboard : IBM 81Y6793 Serial Number : (REDACTED) BIOS : IBM Corp. -[GYE163AUS-1.20]- 03/19/2018 TPM - Trusted Platform Module : 1.02, WEC Total Memory : 16GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 Processors Processor : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Socket/Slot : FC LGA1156 Chipset Memory Controller : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI 2x 2.4GHz (4.79GHz) Memory Controller : Intel Xeon (Lynnfield) UnCore 2x 2.4GHz (4.79GHz), 2x 8GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 798MHz 128-bit Memory Module(s) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Video System Monitor/Panel : Dell Computer DELL S2440L (1920x1080, 24.0") Video Adapter : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 8GB) Graphics Processor Storage Devices WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) : 466GB (C:) HL-DT-STDVD-RAM GH60N (SATA150, DVD+-RW, CD-RW) : N/A (D:) Logical Storage Devices System Reserved : 500MB (NTFS, 4kB) @ WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) Hard Disk (C:) : 465GB (NTFS, 4kB) @ WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) Optical Drive (D:) : N/A @ HL-DT-STDVD-RAM GH60N (SATA150, DVD+-RW, CD-RW) Peripherals LPC Hub Controller 1 : IBM 3420 LPC Interface Controller Serial Port(s) : 2 Disk Controller : IBM P55/PM55/3400 6 port SATA AHCI Controller Disk Controller : IBM ServeRAID BR10il SAS/SATA Controller v2 USB Controller 1 : IBM P55/PM55/3400 USB2 Enhanced Host Controller USB Controller 2 : IBM P55/PM55/3400 USB2 Enhanced Host Controller SMBus/i2c Controller 1 : Intel ICH SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 2 : IPMI T1 Controller Printers and Faxes Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer v4 (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft Shared Fax Driver (200x200) Printer : Microsoft Print To PDF (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer v4 (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft Print To PDF (600x600, Colour) Network Services Network Adapter : IBM USB Remote NDIS Network Device (Ethernet, 9.73Mbps) Network Adapter : Intel(R) 82574L Gigabit Network Connection (Ethernet) Network Adapter : Intel(R) 82574L Gigabit Network Connection #2 (Ethernet, 1Gbps) Operating System Windows System : Microsoft Windows 2016 Server 10.00.14393 Platform Compliance : x64 But this is the results compared to my PC (Blue) with the Server (Green):
This is really not unsimilar to the HP server results when compared to my computer. It is striking how very much the same they are. So to get a more complete picture let's take a look at how this IBM server (Green) is compared to the HP server (Blue):
Now that’s interesting.
And of course the raw data, which you can freely compare to the previous topic:
SiSoftware Sandra Display Connection : Local Computer Processor Multi-Media Analysing... Aggregated Score : 67.17MPix/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Cryptography Analysing... Aggregated Score : 0.680GB/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Processor Financial Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 8.00kOPT/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Processor Scientific Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 6.57GFLOPS Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes .NET Arithmetic Analysing... Aggregated Score : 14.15GOPS Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Memory Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 6.251GB/s Result ID : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 (798MHz 128-bit) PC3-10700 (6-6-6-16 4-22-6-3) Speed : 798MHz Capacity : 16384MB Power : 19.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Cache & Memory Latency Analysing... Aggregated Score : 34.1ns Result ID : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 (798MHz 128-bit) PC3-10700 (6-6-6-16 4-22-6-3) Speed : 798MHz Capacity : 16384MB Power : 19.00W Finished Successfully : Yes File System Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 106.438MB/s Result ID : WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) (NTFS, 4kB) Speed : 7200rpm Capacity : 500.11GB Finished Successfully : Yes File System I/O Analysing... Aggregated Score : 1929.7IOPS Result ID : WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) (NTFS, 4kB) Speed : 3000Mbps Capacity : 500.11GB Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Processing Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Video Shader Compute Analysing... Aggregated Score : 6.03MPix/s Result ID : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 8GB) (D3D 11) Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Cryptography Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : High Security (AES256 + SHA2-256) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Standard Security (AES128 + SHA1) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Higher Security (AES256 + SHA2-512) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Cryptography Analysing... Aggregated Score : 0.683GB/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Financial Analysis Analysing... Finished Successfully : No Processor Financial Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 8.02kOPT/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Scientific Analysis Analysing... Finished Successfully : No Processor Scientific Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 5.28GFLOPS Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Media (Audio/Video) Transcode Analysing... Aggregated Score : 1.508MB/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) (Microsoft H264 Video Decoder MFT > H264 Encoder MFT; Microsoft AAC Audio Decoder MFT > Microsoft AAC Audio Encoder MFT) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Bandwidth Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Video Memory Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 4.070GB/s Result ID : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 8GB) (D3D 11) Capacity : 8186MB Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Memory Latency Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Cache & Memory Latency Analysing... Aggregated Score : 34.2ns Result ID : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 (798MHz 128-bit) PC3-10700 (6-6-6-16 4-22-6-3) Speed : 798MHz Capacity : 16384MB Power : 19.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Overall Score Aggregated Score : 2.13kPT Results Interpretation : Higher Scores mean Better Performance. Decimal Numeral System (base 10) : 1GPT = 1000MPT, 1MPT = 1000kPT, 1kPT = 1000PT, etc. Result ID : IBM System x3200 M3 -[7328EAG]- System X (IBM 81Y6793) (Intel Xeon CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz; Intel Core DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Regis; WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0; Microsoft Basic Render Driver) Finished Successfully : Yes After I ran these tests I began to make some modifications to the server. During the time that I was writing this up, I actually sourced together three additional 500GB drives, two from my next topic of ‘Shit I’ve brought from eBay’, and one from my computer so that the total complement is as follows:
Western Digital (Blue) WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA III (6Gbps) Western Digital (Blue) WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA III (6Gbps) Toshiba DT01ACA050 500GB HDD 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA III - (6Gbps) Seagate Pipeline HD .2 ST3500312CS 500GB HDD 5900 RPM 8MB Cache SATA II - (3Gbps) This to me is not ideal to say the very least. Yes all the drives are 500GB but there is a variance of how much cache they have and in once case there is a wild variance in speed of the platters, cache and even type.
So at the moment I am looking to replace them all with 1TB Western Digital Blue HDD’s (WD10EZEX) at some point, which isn’t too expensive, but it’s not exactly something I’m going to rush to do. They’d all be the same make and model with 64MB Cache, and 7200 RPM on a SATA III connection, it’s not ideal but it’s cost effective, and certainly more ideal than the current loadout, for sure.
The reason I am not in a rush to do this however is because of the limitation mentioned before. I have no idea if the RAID controller can work with 4x 1TB drives, or if it would only see 2TB maximum even if I tried to (Although I’d never) use RAID 0. If this is not viable, I might just go and buy two more WD5000AAKX’s.
Obviously the ideal solution would be using 4 drives of the same model, spec and everything else that are designed to be used in servers such as a NAS drive or other enterprise drive solution rather than crappy WD Blue’s, which lets be honest here; are only being used because they’re already here.
IME Volume is what I went for in the end because I avoid RAID 0 like the plague and straight up mirroring will allow me to have three drive failures but only ~500GB of useable space. So RAID 1E/RAID 10 is the best I can hope for in this server.
With the RAID set up I went ahead and inserted a WiFi Dongle inside of the Server, on the motherboard, because I’m not going to trial goodness knows how many feet of Network cables to where it’s going to end up just for the server - at least not yet. I may do that later on, for sure, but right now I just want a quick and easy setup. The next thing I did was installed my Linux Flavour of Choice to mimic the EcchiDreams Server and set it all up accordingly.
After I made sure it was all set up and stable. I simply powered down the server and stored it elsewhere in the home to see if it would work - and it did. And now I will finish the topic with some comments I have about the machine as well as some neat pictures of the server itself.
This machine arrived to me more damaged than advertised; not only has the case got deeper cuts, and outright surface chunks missing, but it’s HDD caddy that came with it has a damaged screw meaning that replacing that HDD is not going to be possible without breaking, damaging or destroying the caddy completely, the server was unhygienically filthy and the hard drive was not wiped properly. In addition the fourth HDD slot (Slot 3, as 0 is a starting number) has defective LED’s which resulted in confusion earlier on in the process as I was concerned that the bay wasn’t working, as it’s not just one LED gone, it’s both of them. This is why I will not recommend the seller, he seems to be absolutely fine with falsely advertising things and potentially (Although unproven) boosting his own eBay auctions with fake bidders, that have 100% activity with the seller.
The system can be opened up with as few screws to get in the way as possible. There is literally a lever on the side of the chassis that will allow you to open it up and reveal the goodness inside. It’s quite intermodular in a form factor I am instantly all too familiar with. I am uncertain as to what the launch price of this server was, or when it was released although if I had to guess I’d guess 2011 or thereabouts. Everything within the tower is easily accessible and potentially replaceable/upgradable with ease.
The one thing that is noticeably screwed in is the PSU; which seems to be almost a standard 400W ATX PSU (DPS-400AB-9 A) which distributes power to the system. This is an extremely quiet PSU, which is surprising as the HP Server I last looked at was quite loud.
The Hard Drives look to be in a hot swappable format, although I have not tried this yet. They take standard or enterprise grade 3.5” Hard drives and have the standard caddies that allow air to flow over them in an optimal pattern as it gets sucked into the system through the fan at the end of the bay. Again, this fan is extremely silent, and seems to do the job pretty nicely. On my model there are four 3.5” bays that will only accept upto 2TB drives (Although I have not tested 4 X 2TB, or even 4 X 1TB as of yet, it seems to have able to handle 4 X 500GB very well. The lack of hardware RAID options however on the IBM ServeRAID BR10il RAID controller really lets this system down however, as it doesn’t appear to allow for a RAID 5 setup which is what I had wanted, and the RAID options that it does give you aren’t in clear English - it’s stated in IBM RAID terminology such as IM, IME and IS rather than RAID 1, RAID 1E and RAID 0 respectively. I can understand why the RAID controller can’t accept bigger drives than 2TB - and that is purely because the RAID Controller is old. All in all this is not very ideal for me, but I can live with RAID 1E (Or IME Volume) for the time being. The controller is fairly fast and responsive, so I have no complains on that part. Receiving files over Ethernet in the Windows Server installation was quick and painless, and sending files from the server to my main PC was even quicker. So no complaints there either.
The RAM in the machine is DDR3 which I am quite surprised at, in addition it’s ECC RAM which you can find out more information about here from Luke Lafreniere over on Techquickie. The total in the system is four sticks of 4GB totalling at 16GB, but it can be taken even higher with the official IBM Spec saying it can take about 32GB of RAM, and there is no conflicting information between this and the CPU Vendor - Intel. However there are only 6 slots; which is extremely unusual. You’re not going to be able to fill all those slots, with the same kind of RAM at the same size; because they don’t make 5.33(recurring)GB sticks. The RAM seems to run quite cool, and I have no further issues with it.
The CPU in the system is an Intel Xeon CPU X3430 clocked at 2.40GHz, which seems capable at stepping down the clock under idle loads which reduces the temperature as well as the power consumption of the CPU. After replacing the thermal paste of the CPU the temperatures keep well within my tolerance level which keeps the fan from running at full pelt, to give it some wiggle room later down the line, such as the heat sinking become less effective by dust build up, as well as the fan, or thermal paste becoming dry and in need of replacement. Not that I anticipate the latter being needed for a long time to come. The CPU also has a fan on the side of the heatsink.
There is a VGA port on the back as well as four USB2 ports, a serial port, and two Gigabit Network ports, as well as having two USB2 ports on the front. So it’s about what I expect for a server. Inside the unit is two SATA cables for CD/Tape drives, and several spare molex connector cables tied up in what I would assume was IBM’s cable management system. There is also another USB port inside of the machine which is where I put a WiFi dongle.
The graphics processor is reportedly a "Matrox MGA G200eV" which has 16MB of GDDR2 RAM, which is about half of the amount of RAM as the HP Server, but you’re not really going to run games on this machine and for command line interfaces, I don’t really see much purpose of having over 16MB RAM at all. Considering the fact that once the server is setup I’ll mainly be using SSH (A command line tool) to access the server remotely this integrated GPU suits my purposes as and when I need it to set the server up.
Inside the system as I mentioned before, I put a WiFi dongle in it, because fuck trialing an ethernet cable across the home - through walls and so on. It was intended to be a temporary solution, and for a short time it worked. After I installed Linux and preformed a ‘yum update -y’ command, whilst it was still on my desk I set it up via the Ethernet cable and used the command ‘yum NetworkManager-WiFi install -y’ to install the WiFi component to NetworkManager which could then be ran (after a reboot) by inputting ‘nmtui’ so I could activate the WiFi dongle and put in my WPA2 Password.
After that I unplugged the server and moved it across the room putting just the power in, and tested it out. It worked flawlessly. Until a few days ago; where it started dropping out and being intermittent. I checked with the PING command from my Windows Computer and I was getting 44% packet loss, with some packets being sent and received within 2ms all the way up to 2850ms. Speeds in FTP also dropped to around 40KBps to 170KBps, and this became unworkable.
I hooked it back up to the ethernet cable and it was fine again, transferred a 2.82GB file at ~ 101MBps - 152MBps no problems. But it seems that my crappy free USB WiFi dongle is crapping out. So I am looking at getting either a PCI-E ASUS PCE-AC68 WiFi Card for it; or actually stop being a lazy arse and go for the more secure option of neatly trailing a long ethernet adapter from the Router to where the server will be located. Objectively the latter option would probably be the most cost effective solution all round as it would be a pure gigabit connection between the server and the router as well as the other computers on the network that are connected via LAN.
With a bit of TLC the server can be repaired; and some parts can even be upgraded. There is certainly a fair bit of upgradability with this machine. I fully intend on using this server too for various purposes, such as:
Development and Testing - Currently I do this on the very same server that EcchiDreams is hosted on in a separate area, I don’t need to say why that’s a very bad idea and it’s something that I can thankfully stop. Host private content that is not for the general public - Content such as the Wiki project I am hosting in a secret directory on the EcchiDreams server, this is around 2.8GB big when it’s compressed, and it’s not something I really want to host on the EcchiDreams Server at all. A server that will download EcchiDreams backups - I want the EcchiDreams server to frequently download snapshots and backups to this server, currently I am doing it all manually and it’s something I want to move away from now that automatic backing up is far more reliable than it’s always been. But I can also use my NAS for this purpose. A place where Neptune can test and create new things - Neptune is semi interested in web development too, and it’s something that she can do without fear of breaking anything. Host our internal-private Intranet site for the “Office” and “Home”. Eventually look at moving away from Google Docs for our Collaborative Document Editing needs (Which we’ve somewhat already tried to no success, yet.) With the increasing presence of Google in our lives, we (Neptune and I) are actively trying to back away from it, having done so already with our web searching needs, email, and more. We are currently writing stories on Google Drive and I frequently back it up because I’m always thinking ‘What if someone from Google takes exception to what we write?’ and the fact that when Google bans you from one of its platforms like YouTube, you’re banned from all of it, with little to no recourse. This is not without merit; it’s happened to us before, when EcchiDreams was vindictively removed from Google Search with little to no warning and no explanation as to why, or any hope of getting your data back. We’re already transitioning from YouTube to other video platforms as well like BitChute. I will even be killing Google Analytics across all my online properties and as soon as I’ve moved from Google Docs to my own solution, I will be changing my daily browser too. There might be some other ideas that come to me for running on this server, as it won’t be open to the general public, and only accessed by a small handful of people, I think the overall specs of the machine will be more than sufficient for our needs. But I think this is certainly a keeper.
At some point, I may indeed consider upgrading the RAID Controller if I can, I have more than enough spare PCI-E slots in the server.
The current one (the LSISAS1064E) seems to be a little lacking in many respects, however I am uncertain as to what BIOS Limitations there are and it may require me to do further research into the system itself. Currently I suspect that this has a LBA size of 32bit which explains why would have a limit of 2TB. You see it’s rather simple; 32 bits is essentially 256 (times by) 256 (times by) 256 (times by) 256, which gives you; 4,294,967,296 this number times 512 (Because there are 512 Bytes in a sector) gives you 2,199,023,255,552 - which is exactly 2048GB (2TB). Yes, yes before you start typing away in the comments that I’m wrong about definition of GB/TB please read my rant in the last part.
I’m not sure if the BIOS would except it or not, but if possible I want to try going for a RAID Controller that has an LBA Size of 48 or 64 bits, so I can use a 4TB drive, or more. If possible I’d like it to have a battery backup too for the write cache. This RAID Controller is also only SATA 2 capable; but seeing as I am only using hard drives for the seeable future so I can’t really see any benefit by upgrading this to SATA 3, unless there is a speed performance to be had that I am not aware of (As most HDDs are well under the max speeds of SATA 3 and SATA 2), like to the queuing of data or something.
So that’s pretty much it. I will be keep this server. I really like it, despite its age.
Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - Synology DS212j NAS
When is a NAS no longer just a NAS?
Since Synology, apparently.
I remember when a NAS (Network Attached Storage) was just a NAS, and whilst I like the features ingrained in a Synology NAS sometimes for lower end NAS’s it’s a bit much even for it to handle and it drags the device down. Now before any fan boys start kicking off, hear me out. I don’t think this is a bad thing as such, at all. I see it as giving the user a choice as to what they want to use their NAS for, and the rest they have to decide on. If they have feature X; they can have feature Y and feature Z but it might choke on that. Unless they have a more higher-end NAS that can handle it. I am pro-choice in this regard (And no, that’s not a political statement).
I used to have a Netgear Stora MS2110 which was slow, loud and frankly the worst NAS I ever owned. It had a read (download) rate of around 1.5MBps, and a write (upload) rate of around 750KBps. It had a loud fan and the hard drives in it echoed around the machine and you could really hear the clicking of the heads flying across the disk and all around crunching of the hard drive that hard drives made back then.
@Manni introduced me to Synology though as a user, he was an administrator of a NAS and I had access via the web interface and it was the strangest thing I had ever seen. Eventually I went onto eBay and found that these NAS’s started at around £140 - £190 for the DS212j, at buy it now, although some started at £250.
So a premium brand then?
I then found one on eBay starting at 0.99p and was currently at £17.52 with a few days left and decided ‘why the fuck not?’ and put my opening max price at £30, with plans to go up to £40 and have an upper limit of £50. I didn’t really matter too much though; because on the 25th of October I won it for £28.00.
Item: Synology 212J 1 TB NAS Price I paid: £28.00 Shipping: £7.50 (Courier) Total Cost: £35.50 Came With: Network Cable, Power Supply, Two HDD’s (500GB) The package arrived on time, and it seemed to be extremely well packed wrapped in layers of bubble wrap. The first thing I did however was open it up (Of course!) and take a look inside, the hard drives in the unit came out, and I gave the machine a quick clean down and replaced the CMOS battery with a Kodak Button Cell 3V lithium battery. Taking the device apart was actually insanely easy, and this is the whole computer board:
That’s pretty much it. There is a board that goes off and acts as the LEDs and power button as well as a board that extends the SATA ports for the hard drives, but this is pretty much the hub of the NAS right there. I am hoping that I can somewhat overclock the processor, or something or add a heat sink on it with adhesive thermal pads but I am not currently sure how feasible this is.
Marvell Kirkwood 88F6281 (Sheeva 88SV131 CPU core) (Feroceon 88FR131) @ 1.2GHz - Single Core L1 Data cache = 16 KB. L1 Instruction cache = 16 KB. L2 cache = 256 KB. DDR SDRAM Controller DDR2 400 MHz, Dual channel, 16-bit, 3.2 GB/s. supports up to four DRAM banks (four DRAM chip selects). supports all DDR2 devices with densities up to 2 Gb. supports up to 32 open pages (page per bank). It supports DRAM bank interleaving, as well as open pages (up to eight pages per chip select). Up to 2 GB total address space. DDR:CPU Clock ratio of 1:N and 2:N support. support for 2T mode. supports up to a 128-byte burst per single transaction from the Mbus port. supports up to a 32-byte burst per single transaction from the Mbus-L port. contains a transaction queue, read and write buffers. It can absorb up to 4 transactions of 128 byte each, in its buffers. Transactions from the Mbus are pushed into the transaction queue. The SDRAM controller arbitrates between the transaction from the top of the queue and transactions received from the CPU Mbus-L path, always giving priority to the CPU. For a CPU read from the DRAM, read data is not pushed to the read buffer. It goes directly to the CPU bus interface unit via a 64-bit wide Mbus-L path. This minimizes read latency. Cache: 256MB RAM 1000Mbps Ethernet Connection Hardware wise; there isn’t really all that much to show you, the motherboard of the device is shown above, this is the the SATA Bridge:
Which I find absolutely interesting. The one towards the top of the picture (As the unit is upside down compared to the next image) is HDD Slot 2, where as the one on the bottom is HDD Slot 1. HDD Slot 1’s SATA connector looks very different to HDD Slot 2, noticeably the port between data and power. This is what I was talking about with the server hard drives in part 3 of my Shit I brought from eBay, the hard drives in that server will only fit into the HDD Slot 1, not HDD Slot 2, because of how the ports are made. They’re both as far as I can tell - SATA, except one seems to have a gap between the power and data where as the other has a stop bar that isolates the ports. I defined the difference as being SATA/SAS But who knows. I could be wrong. Please feel free to correct me in the comments below.
This is what the NAS looks like with the hard drives in:-
As you can see from the top screws, these are screws that I have replaced, they have rubber washers around them (As you can see in blue) this is what I put in to further reduce the vibrations caused by the hard drives (which translates as noise) by absorbing the shock of it. At least that was my theory. I have no idea how loud this was before this modification.
When I plugged it in and got it set up I learnt that there was an update for the device which I downloaded and installed… Immediately bricking my NAS. It wanted me to open the port forwarding on my router and contact Synology so they can access it and unbrick it.
“Get fucked” I thought. Then I tried to do it myself… Telnet was disabled, SSH was disabled, and nothing was working. The device was completely inaccessible and refused to boot. I had a similar problem with the Netgear Stora once, and I remembered what I needed to do.
I took the hard drives out, and decided to mount them as a RAID under a Linux Installation on my computer and scan them to see if they were properly formatted before I came to own them (They were! They had absolutely no data on them from the previous owner) and I wiped them clean with a binary zero write from the first sector to the last. Although I could have used Windows DiskPart to delete everything off of them, and clean the drives up. I put them both back into the device and used the Synology setup manager to restore DSM - and it worked!
Once it had installed, as I was only going to go around and test it, because the HDDs were going to get used in my Part 4 project (My IBM Server), I decided to play arounnd with the interface and settings and I did some file transfer tests. So during my test, with the Synology version of RAID enabled, I installed an anti-virus scanner because I figured that this thing is going to be connected to the network, it’d be good to have a layer of protection on there, and I didn’t think anything of it.
So I went to test the transfer speeds and… Oh my.
The speeds were not very encouraging; as what I was seeing was zero bytes per second, that would occasionally jump to to several megabytes per second before crashing back down to zero bytes. After logging into the Web Panel I could see why.
The CPU spikes up to 100% and the transfer crashes. When the CPU calms down the transfer goes back up and causes the CPU to spike up to 100% which crashes the speed of the transfer back down to zero again. Repeatedly. Whilst this is objectively better than my Netgear Stora, it still wasn’t good.
So I did some research and put it off for a few weeks whilst I started writing up Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this miniseries. During part 4 I decided to move a 4TB HDD from my PC which had been previously acting up in my computer. But it was only going to serve the purpose as a backup drive in the NAS because after repeated hammering tests on the drive I cannot make the failure appear again and it seems to be otherwise fine. The NAS will serve the purpose as a backup drive, to back up data from the local network.
So let's now talk about DSM, specifically DSM 6.2:
When you go to the location that the NAS is installed on (as a website address) you’re presented with a login screen (That can actually customise and change to some degree) like you can see above. Once you’re logged in you’re then presented with a desktop environment essentially:
From here you can pretty much set up the rest of the device and how it sits on your Network, as well as set up user accounts and install features on your NAS.
So let's take a look at the control panel:
In here you have several options as you can see above that has own tree of sub menus and sub options you can look at although I won’t be putting the screenshots of which into this document.
The first item “Shared Folder” which allows you to create root(ish) level directories when viewing the NAS through the Windows Networking Explorer for the NAS. These can be locked to different permissions so if you want a folder that only user 1 can see, and not user 2, you can indeed set that up, or if you want it so that user 2 only has read access - this again is possible. I kept mine to just one; as it allowed me to easily mount it as one drive (Via Map Network Drives) under Windows:
Which allows me easy access to the NAS.
The Shared Folder setting also lets you control encryption of the folder, although I haven’t used it. I don’t think the CPU can handle it (And I will explain why in a moment).
In the “File Services” page you can set up the following:
SMB/AFP/NFS FTP/SFTP TFTP Rsync Bonjour SSDP WS-Discovery The only services I have enabled here is SMB (Samba) and SSDP (Simple Service Discovery Protocol) which allows my device to be detectable under the Windows Network, but also locks it down from being accessed from the outside, which is a layer of protection under the NAT on the router to prevent outside access to the NAS. But you can set it up so you can access your NAS from the internet - which means you can access for files anywhere. But in my opinion you’re opening yourself up to some trouble.
Consider this: You can already find Synology NAS’s that are open online merely by searching Google for it (I’m not going to give the key phrase here) but I have done it, and I can confirm you can do it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re broadcasting at that point to the internet that your NAS exists and it’s there. Things have already hit NAS’s that effectively take them and the data that they hold to ransom - just look at SynoLocker. By advertising your NAS on your IP address this is what you’re opening yourself up for. A dedicated hacker who wants access to NAS’s will eventually get in. And everything you store on it can be exposed.
So for me; I have it set to network access only; no internet. I have a private web server set up elsewhere for files I want to share with myself when I’m away from home. Something that is set up, designed and locked down to serve this purpose, which requires specific PGP Keys. It has no domain name, and doesn’t appear on any searches, not am I hosting it here at home. I won’t say what other security features I have with it, but I will say that It’s not perfect, and it can be a pain in the arse sometimes so… and it probably isn’t for everyone.
The next is “User” and this is self explanatory. This is where you set up users and their permissions to the NAS, such as what apps they can use, what folders they have access to and so on. The next on the list “Group” is very much so apart of the users setting I think its you create default group permissions.
The next setting, I assume is for advanced users because it’s the “Domain/LDAP” setting which is probably good if you have a Windows Server with a Windows Domain on it. I don’t use either of these so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what exactly it does.
Under Connectivity you have a setting called “QuickConnect” which is the Synology QuickConnect feature that allows your NAS to be accessed from anywhere (As long as you have an internet connection) I quite obviously have this disabled, and it requires a synology account. You get given a quick connect ID which will allow people to access the NAS without the need to give out your IP Address, and the next setting “External Access” with DDNS and router configuration is keyed into that. Again - I don’t connect externally, nor can my NAS be connected from outside the Local Area Network. My guess is, is that you can set up your custom domain here, instead of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (Where ‘xxx’ is a number between 0 - 255), you can connect via a domain name like ‘www.domain.tld’. So this doesn’t apply to my use case.
The next setting is ‘Network’ and this was quite important to me. In here you can set up what the server name is, where the default gateway is connected to (In my case, my router), if there is a proxy server in the way, and what it’s configuration is, the network interface, traffic control restrictions, static routes as well as the DSM settings. The DSM settings allow you to control what ports you can access your NAS on (Which I have changed from the default), whether or not you want them to be automatically redirected from HTTP to HTTPS (Which I recommend, especially if you’re accessing it externally), enable HTTP/2 and edit your own Server Header. You can also enable HSTS but if I recall correctly for enabling it on EcchiDreams - you *need* a domain name, and a valid certificate.
The next setting is ‘DHCP Server’ which on the large part - I don’t need. Because my router is my DHCP server. But… If you wanted to, you could also enable PXE (Pre-boot Execution Environment) from here too, which some computers/servers are compatible with, which is pretty much used in Enterprise environments. It essentially allows you to boot and install a computer from a central location - might not be worth it for one or two computers. But for tens or hundreds, thousands or more computers on the same network - then it’s perhaps worth it. Trip down memory lane in spoiler:
The next setting is ‘Wireless’ which, if you connect a WiFi adapter to the NAS (By USB) you can have the NAS connected via WiFi. It seems to be able to support three modes; Wireless AP, Wireless Router and to join a Wireless network. In this setting you can also set up Bluetooth, with the correct adapter. I have mine connected via Ethernet port so this isn’t applicable to me.
The next setting is ‘Security’ which allows you to set up the security of the NAS. Such as an automatic logout timer, cross-site request forgery protection, CSP headers in the HTTP content security policy, allowing or disallowing the DSM to be embedded in an iFrame, and so on. It also has a built in firewall which you can control, DoS (Denial of Service) protection, login protections (Such as get a password wrong 3 times in 10 minutes and the NAS locks your IP out), SSL Certificate storage, HTTP compression and TLS/SSL profile levels, which I recommend “Modern Compatibility”, to get the best level of protection.
The next setting section is ‘System’ and under this at the top is “Info Center”:
Which is the hub of information about the NAS itself; the General Information tab which as you can see displays the status of the NAS. The Network tab shows the information pertaining to the network setup. The storage tab shows the information on the hard drive, such as size, free space, how much data is on it, what RAID format it’s in (In my case SHR), the model, temperature, location in the drive bay and whether or not it’s operating normally or malfunctioning. The next tab - Service, shows what services are enabled on the NAS and allows you to manually enable/disable them and allows you to test the connection. The next tab is device analytics which is data sent back to Synology on how you use your NAS. I’ve obviously disabled this because frankly it’s none of their business. The last tab here is for you to connect your Synology account to the NAS - which I don’t have one, nor will I ever get one.
The next setting is the theme setting:
This is where you can control the look of both the login screen via the “Login Style” and the general theme of the device via “Theme” although you can only seem to select light or dark. The login screen lets you put in your own pictures as a background which is pretty nice, and allows you to put in your own logo, which I have used the EcchiDreams information and logo to demonstrate for this write up.
The next setting is “Regional Options” or perhaps better known as Localisation. This allows you to control the timezone, and time settings as well as update your NAS to automatically synchronise the time with an NTP server. The next tab language is self explanatory it lets you set the default languages of the NAS, it’s notifications and codepage. Then of course you have an NTP Service which allows you to set up the NAS as an NTP Server (To syncronise time across devices attached to the network), the problem is though, most modern OS’s have this built in like Windows 10.
“Notifications” setting, in a nutshell lets you control how it sends notifications to you. It can do so via email, SMS or push service. With email it has a built in Google connect like interface that allows you to hook up a Gmail Account, Yahoo, Outlook, QQ or your own SMTP server to it; and it’ll send off email notifications automatically, including any welcome emails to new users. With SMS, you pretty much have a choice of ClickaTel, ClickaTel-2017 and Sendinblue-v3 all of which I do not use. With the push notifications you can use a Synology email server you download an app to your smartphone (Apple/Android) and pair your device with that. As seen with the mobile phone screenshot.
Not only can you receive notifications from this app, but you can actually pretty much control the device with an administrator control panel if you have the right privileges. It’s a pretty handy app to have, and I’ve not yet experienced problems with it. Under the advanced tab, like with EcchiDreams, you can select what notifications you get, and how you get them, like by push, SMS or email. So all in all pretty good.
Then there’s the ‘Task Scheduler’ setting that allows you to set automatic tasks that the NAS performs, such as DSM Auto Update and S.M.A.R.T Tests on the Hard Drives. It’s pretty simple. You can select how often these tasks run, or if they run at all.
Next you have ‘Hardware & Power’ which is interesting, and I’m going to go through this one by starting with a screenshot.
This has some handy little features that really put you in control over your own NAS. Much needed, especially after my Netgear Stora. Specifically the Fan Speed Mode. I have it set to quiet, because the current max temperature the hard drive gets to in the device is around 37oC - 40oC. Which is within tolerance. But then again it’s one hard drive. But I have to say that even on Full-Speed mode, the system is impressively quiet, although I am still considering on switching it to Low-power mode. Which completely stops the fan when it’s cool. In this menu is a power schedule that will allow you to have the NAS on at certain times of the day and off at others. HDD Hibernation allows you to power down the hard drive to minimise power consumption which I do (After 20 minutes), and further reduces noise when the system isn’t in use. This is something that if memory serves me right - existed on the Netgear Stora, but when it booted back up - my goodness it was loud. Then of course you have UPS which allows you to connect the NAS to an uninterruptible power supply. Seems like more of a server than a NAS, and I will get to that.
In the External Devices settings you can pretty much set up USB External HDD’s, Flash Drives and printers. I have tested this feature and it seems to work nicely with my flash drive. But I don’t use it.
‘Update & Restore’ is next. This is basically for DSM (Disk Station Manager) to make sure that the Operating System of the unit is up-to-date and so on. It also lets you configure backups as well as reset the NAS and restore it to factory defaults. But that said, I’d advise caution against the resetting feature. It seems that every time I’ve used it, I’ve needed to take the hard drives out to completely clean them under Windows using Diskpart to delete the volumes, partitions and then clean the disk… Because it bricks the NAS… Completely.
‘Privileges’ seems totally pointless to me, it’s to setup features enabled on a user/user group level which is already available in the User and Usergroup settings.
‘Application Portal’ is something I’ve not used. Nor do I really know what it really is. The help file says “Application Portal allows you to configure the connection settings of various applications so that you can directly access and run these applications (e.g. File Station) in independent browser tabs or windows.” However there’s a problem with this - that as I have said I will get to. Because you can’t enable too many features on this NAS.
‘Indexing Service’ or ‘Media Indexing’, pretty much just scans for multimedia files automatically such as photos, music, videos stored on the NAS. It also lets you control what kind of quality you want thumbnails to be in and enable video compression for mobile devices. You know that problem I mentioned in the previous paragraph- yes. I will get to that in a moment. It even warns you as a hint here “Note: Enabling this option will take more time and CPU resources.” The idea is to compress it, and I assume Transcode it for lower end Mobile Devices.
The next setting is ‘Shared Folder Sync’ which requires me to use RSync, which I don’t. I assume it lets you sync multiple NAS’s together. I only have one, so I don’t use it.
‘Terminal & SNMP’ Setting is the last setting in the control panel and this is something I will not use, nor leave open. The Terminal is basically Telnet/SSH which allows for command line access to the NAS, I have tested it and it is basically a Linux server. I see no need to enable it at this time. As for SNMP, if I recall correctly is some kind of Simple Network Management Protocol which I do not need to enable on my NAS.
And that’s it for the settings. The next thing you might have noticed in all of the screenshots is the ‘Package Center’ this is where you go to install new software features on the NAS… And we’re drawing near to my problem with this device that I have said repeatedly “I will bring up later.”
Just look at all these additional features… It’s… Well, it’s a lot.
One has to ask: How often are these applications - especially by third parties, updated? Because the MediaWiki app is version 1.30.0 which is out of date, there is 1.30.1 and even 1.31.1 which are both security updates. To make matters worse; Apache HTTP Server 2.4 is version 2.4.29-0011… The latest is 2.4.37 which I am pretty sure that between .29 and .37 there are a number of security updates as well as bug fixes. I wouldn’t consider this secure, especially if you’re hosting a website on that has access to the internet. Node.js only seems to go upto 0.10; the version now is 11.3.0, with security fixes released just a few months ago.
Same things with:
phpBB, what you get on the NAS is 3.2.1 (July 2017). Current Version is 3.2.4 which was a security fix. WordPress, what you get on the NAS is 4.9.7. Current Version is 5.0. Python3, what you get on the NAS is 3.5.1 (2015). The Current Version is 3.7.1. Drupal8, what you get on the NAS is 8.4.8. The current version is 8.6.3. Ruby, is the most egregious of the lot that I found. On the NAS: 2.4.3… Latest version: 2.5.3, with tonnes of security fixes and patches. So when is a NAS, no longer just a NAS? Since Synology apparently… In this day in age we need to keep things updated and this NAS has all the features of a web server, it lets you even make on… But you can’t keep it up-to-date and in my opinion this is not ideal to say the least. Now some of these - maybe no problem. Sure. But some of them are missing critical security fixes and are severely flawed. Control has to fall with the user, and if Synology insists on making it easier for the user then Synology has to update the software, or have the NAS download the latest version of the software.
I would not recommend using any of this, personally.
Don’t get me wrong - this is hands down the best NAS I have ever owned and it’s a low end model. I love it. But come on. I have to be critical here, and some of these might open pandora’s box of security holes, exploits and bugs that could run the NAS into the digital ground.
But the temptation - and this is where my problem comes in, is to start enabling all of the features willy nilly. But the problem is… Just loading this screen, this package centre takes about ten seconds at full CPU usage, and if it does that just loading up the screen then how can it run any of these things? Certainly at the same time as you’re trying to use it as a NAS… It’s going to choke.
Even with just the Anti-Virus scanner enabled; the system was unable to maintain good read/write speeds, constantly breaching 100% CPU usage, and holding up the upload/download, until it went down again, and even then the web interface freezes up repeatedly whilst 1 person is transfering files to and from the NAS… I’m sorry but to ask it to do more than one of these things in addition to being a NAS is simply not going to be as responsive and the more you install the worse it will get.
But maybe it’s not a problem if you’re going to say - use the NAS as a mini-web server instead, with Apache, PHP, PHPMyAdmin and MariaDB. But there are several problems here too, the complexity of the web application you want to use will pretty much be your limiting factor. Installing and running something like IPS (The Forum Software we use) might not be feasible, or quick and responsive at all, and may even require modifications that you cannot make such as installing additional PHP Extensions like GD2 extension or the mbstring extension.
That tiny 1.2GHz Processor doesn’t even have a heat sink, it’s passively cooled so I don’t know what kind of power people expect to really get out of it. As I said I couldn’t browse the web interface with ease when someone was using the NAS and that was just one person transferring files to the NAS. So I have no idea how it’s going to handle transcoding video to one device let alone several, or how you can really enable any of these features if multiple users, use the device.
Maybe with a more powerful NAS you can run these features side by side, I don’t know. But with the DS212j… I really wouldn’t recommend that if you want advanced features.
As for transfer speeds with barebones - no extra features:-
Download from the NAS:
Upload to the NAS:
It’s certainly better than 1.5MB/s download and around 750KB/s upload. So I am happy about that. I have been able to download on some occasions at around 50-100MB/s which is amazing. But these are far and few between. I spent £35.50 on it second hand, and it works. Do I really have a right to complain at all? ... Probably not.
I might include one final topic, either this year or next year as a bonus. It’s not something I bought on eBay but it might be fun to look at.