B.t.w. on the HDDs, I don't know about all the other manufracturers but Seagate's 7200.11/12 are doing quite fine on power consumption, esp. the one with only 1 disc (320GB often, maybe even 500). Not as low as a 2,5" but good anyway, nice idle values.
Maybe with the increasing data density they already use less platters on your mentioned 1TB drive.
I have some of these 320/500 and until now they seem to be quite sturdy (like all mine Seagate drives did). (I had a loose power or data cable a few times but no real horror. Unlike with some other models that died from now to now+1minute.)
That's an intersting read.
Well, I found a recently published book (1st press) on embedded linux in German, dunno if it's also transalted to English) but I guess I'll get myself a copy.
What makes me wonder, too, are these pricey boards beyond all reason. But I saw a few offers in Germany, Swiss and maybe Austria and they offered some headless and with GPU boards for... well... more reasonable prices (150-300E maybe, you could probably calculate this 1:1 in US$ since overseas electronic equipment is far cheaper). So there should be boards that are buyable.
Thing is, that only few bear a lot of storage options. Which sucks of course.
Then there was that mentioned external storage solution by WD which is running a Linux on a headless ... ARM? Actink to the outside as NAS or something. Still there is probably only 1 disc attached. (But at least you get em with >1TB if you need it.)
When you look around there are tons of cheap Linux on non-x86 hardware parts around, problem is that most of them are routers and designed to just exactly fit this purpose. So they often only have a storage chip (not even a slotted CF card or something) and no mass storage or USB connectors. Otherwise they sell for 30-80 bucks and should have everything else neccessary. Just the missing storage. :/
>to make some off-the-shelf SATA card play with these.
Aren't all the Kernel-internal drivers working on all arches the kernel is ported to? Maybe only if PCI bus/slots are absolutely uncommon on the specific arch. I would expect (or hope) them to run.
>These are not realistic solutions unless some mass-market
>product contains the features I need.
I fear there won't be a mass market so soon. Look at these mini-ITX invented by VIA. They're still not cheap at all even though the HW is lame when it comes to computing power. I mess with these VIA stuff for some years now and slowly offers are getting better. More stuff to choose from. Still the small hulls for a MiniITX-HTPC are very expensive, like a full big tower.
The only thing is see atm are these already finished black boxes meant as storage solutions where you must file a Harald-Welte-GPL-violations lawsuit until you get any access to the device. And then these things will be limited often to the pure purpose only so you may not have the best conditions for encryption, networking/filtering and so on.
I also wonder when there will be encryption chips like the VIA padlock for insertion onboard or in PCI slots etc. That would be a really nice addition, taking a lot of load off the CPU.
>Laptop drives have little or no power advantage on a "per
*nods* But then it depends how much of a storage you need. For a file server it's of course not enough but for a HTPC which is used for playing music and a DVD from time to time it should be fine.
>Also I'm not seeking a truly silent system, but I would prefer
>to offload the cooling to 120mm case fans.
Scythe (Japanese firm I think)is offering some nice fans, quiet but still getting air in/out. Not the cheapest though and you still have to compare between models since not all of their products will fit perfectly.
>Another approach is the use of a solid state drive.
Nah, as you mentioned they're very expensive and then they suck about the same power all the time (a 2,5" laptop drive in sleep mode sucks less power I read some weeks/moths ago). They may be a fine speedup as a system/bootup drive though when one has the money.
Generally I wonder when the principles of design will turn 180° in terms of power usage. Until now systems where meant/built to be always on, and some things may go to sleep when not needed. But why not start design where the default is being off and only being waked when needed?
Prof. Luithard told me that there is a long way to go, both for HW manufracturers as well as the Linux kernel.
>even a simple RAID1 improves the reliability dramatically
Humm, I always counter this.
a) twice the price, but only one time storage
b) twice the power, heat, noise
c) it's only pure HW failure reliability. If a program runs amok, some malware fVcks your system or an ext4 chooses to keep your data round in RAM for 10 hours even though you closed your apps... *cough* well. Then nothing is gained with a Mirror RAID and the defect data or no data is written (or not) nice and synchron to both drives.
I don't understand why everybody packs these RAID capable chips on every board.
Furthermore I know some guy with a RAID5 and the 3 discs failed after a few months within some weeks. One by one.
So I came not to trust too much into any RAID system.
Okay, maybe it weren't the best conditions how he used his HDDs, I dunno exactly what he did.
>using the remainder for non-RAID backup
Yes, that's what I do. Only that I have no RAID at all and tons of new, old and even older PATA discs (from 320 GB to 250 MB from the 486). But once they were so cheap and quicker than a CDR(W)/DVDR(W) I use them for backups. And with good handling they should do well many further years.
Well, feel free to tell your experiences if you find a suitable system.