Tag: Hardware

Synology DSM 5.2 – How much has it changed

Been a long time since I ran a Synology NAS. So it’s been a little while since I seen DSM. Just purchased a Synology DS215j so that I could increase our storage capacity a little, since another 2TB RAID1 NAS is full pretty much.

Below is a screen capture of DSM 5.2 logon screen (I removed the Date/Time widget from the left corner – which is on by default);

Synology DSM 5.2 Logon Screen

Below is the initial Management Screen upon logon.

Synology DSM 5.2 Management

I should point out that I wasn’t able to have the Synology DS215j show up on network when it had 2 drives installed. It was never visible to the Synology Assistant application to install DSM for the first time. However, as I determined from my research at the Synology Forums. You can boot the unit with only the 1st drive installed and perform the installation and add the 2nd drive when done (and expand it to create protected storage pool).

I am waiting on the drive expansion process to complete, and will do further configuration. When that finally completes I will create shares and move some data onto the unit. Want to also enable NFS server too.

Synology DSM 5.2 - Storage Manager

ESXi Whitebox

Wanted to share my success in the installation of ESXi 6.0 onto some generic hardware. This is typically know as an ESXi Whitebox.

I purchased an Asus B85M-G mainboard which has supported onboard sata controllers, however the onboard Realtek driver needs to inserted using the creation of some custom installation media. But it too will work following that process.

To create the custom installation media you will need to use ESXi Customizer which can be found over here. The process was very easy. You’ll also need to grab the net55-r8168 offline bundle which can be found here and the entire process I covered is documented here.

The Asus B85M-G mainboard will give you 6 x sata ports with 2 x pcie x1 slots and an pcie x16 slot. Board can take 4 x DDR3 memory chips for a total of 32GB. Should make a reasonable home ESXi Whitebox for many.

If you need some additional network ports, I noticed in the post here, that some folks suggest you can buy HP NC360T dual network cards and hack them to be used in the pcie x1 slots. I haven’t got one of these yet to attempt it, but I might consider it. As using up those slots and leaving the pcie x16 available for a hardware raid card with battery backup would be ideal.

Below is a screen capture showing the network card as being detected and used by the installation.

20151220-esxi6.0.0-realtek-nic

Intel i3 NUC Update

The Intel i3 NUC is going great. It’s awesome to have 16GB of ram installed, and a 500GB laptop drive. I also put in a m.2 SSD from Samsung. It’s a fantastic machine for the form factor. I was surprised to find that it runs Minecraft well with the onboard Intel GPU.

I think I will be building another one in the next few months. First I need to probably consider setting up another NAS.

 

Intel i3 NUC

My Intel Celeron NUC has been a fairly good machine, however really wanted something with a little more CPU grunt. So sold off my Celeron based unit with ram (minus storage) and happen to pickup a week old i3 unit.

Will post my feedback on the differences once I have it setup and installed. I am considering populating the i3 NUC with 16gb ram, and a combination of m2 SSD + Laptop drive for storage (eventually).

Western Digital Green 2TB – WD20EZRX Ordered

I ordered another Western Digital Green 2TB – WD20RZRX, as I said to my wife we should now upgrade our 2nd Tivo Series 3. This way we will have replaced the hard drive in both our units and hopefully they should last much longer.

I expect the drive should arrive on Tuesday. We ordered from Shopping Express as they had a sale over the weekend which was $99 AUD delivered.

TiVo Series 3 Internal 2TB Hard Drive Upgrade

We’ve had a TiVo Series 3 for a very long time, in fact we actually have two units. I purchased the first one very early on when they came out and the second unit I got during a run out of refurb units (a year after I got my first).

We did have a 1TB DVR Expander for each unit, as I bought one at full price on first unit purchase and got the second at a promo price with the refurb unit. Unfortunately they never stood the test of time and died some time ago. You can imagine recording with a 160GB internal drive is not that great when it comes to space available.

About 4 months ago, I stumbled across some discussion on Whirlpool relating to upgrading the internal hard drive on these units and what would be required to be performed. You can read all about it in this thread here. I downloaded everything required and figured I would do this sometime. I actually also have and older computer that would work as the machine to perform this.

Recently circumstances changed and subsequently with the fall out associated with IceTV failing to deliver our Skippa.tv we decided to upgrade one of the internal drives in our TiVo Series 3.

I purchased a Western Digital Green 2TB – Model WD20EZRX, and proceeded to follow the directions on the forum post here and here (later link the one I followed, shown in summary below by bullet points).

Basically I got my computer I was going to use, hooked up my new WD20EZRX drive (and booted the wdidle3 ISO I downloaded). I executed wdidle3 /D to disable IntelliPark on the WD drive, if it has worked you will see “Idle3 Timer is enabled and set to 3720 seconds (62.0 minutes)”. This means it had worked. Shutdown the computer, disconnect the drive. Since you should remove power from the drive to ensure this change takes place on next restart. You could boot wdidle3 ISO and check it by running wdidle3 with no switches to see that it reports it back.

Next you need to burn the JMFS ISO and ensure that you have removed the original drive from the TiVo Series 3 and connected it to first sata port, and your drive you will clone to (WD20EZRX) onto the second sata port. I now used a USB cdrom, as I had no free sata ports. So booted the JMFS ISO.

  • Run the menu item to do the disk copy from original drive to new drive.
  • Run the menu item to do the expansion of your new drive.
  • WD20EZRX doesn’t support AAM setting, so nothing to be ran relating to that.
  • wdidle3 already performed earlier.
  • I opted to supersize my drive, which means after all steps above done, shutdown. Using WinMFS to “turn on supersize”. This requires your machine booting from Windows, having new cloned drive connected on sata bus and selecting it and enabling the supersize. After this is done you can shutdown, install drive in TiVo Series 3 and look at all the new space.

Screen grab below showing output post JMFS expansion (step following clone operation);

tivo-series3-jmfs-expansion-screen-capture

Screen grabs below showing before and after capacity obtained;

Before Upgrade
Before Upgrade
After Upgrade
After Upgrade

IceTV and the Skippa pre-order disaster

I pre-ordered my Skippa back on 2nd June, like many others. Looked like a fantastic unit, based on initial suggestions. Hence I put up the money to be an earlier adopter.

IceTV wasn’t overly forth coming with an exact delivery, however we would get updates every so often.

Below is a timeline of updates that progressed along from the initial purchase along with some of the marketing emails they sent that includes specials for the units.

If you click the dates, you’ll get an image or pdf of the email in question.

  • Apr 3rd – Skippa Announced.
  • May 22nd – IceTV sends email “We’re bouncing with excitement!”
  • May 28th – IceTV sends email “Good bye ads, good bye subscriptions – hello SKIPPA”
  • Jun 2nd – Ordered unit
  • Jun 4th – IceTV sends email “No ads, big savings, act now”
  • Jun 5th – IceTV sends email “No ads, big savings, act now”
  • Jun 12th – IceTV sends email “Last 100 Left”.
  • Jun 19th – IceTV sends email “Skippa Update”
  • Jul 2nd – IceTV sends email “Now you can choose” – Pricing changes to shift more units?
  • Jul 16th – IceTV sends email “By popular demand, but not for long”
  • Jul 24th – IceTV sends email “Missed the boat?”
  • Jul 25th – IceTV sends email “Missed the boat?”
  • Jul 31st – IceTV sends email “Two new horses in the stable” – Delays
  • Aug 18th – I change my delivery address as the unit is likely to come while on holidays.
  • Aug 21st – IceTV sends email “First Skippa review published”
  • Aug 28th – IceTV sends email “Your SKIPPA Pre-Order”
  • Sep 11th – IceTV sends email “SKIPPA Shipping” – Note Heinz (CEO) clearly says Mass production of SKIPPA remains on schedule.. guessing this was a fib.
  • Sep 14th – Support ticket raised to ask where is my Skippa. Response from Leon (Customer Support) – Could be upto a week and a half before your skippa is posted.
  • Sep 25th – IceTV sends email “First steps with SKIPPA” – Be nice if they just delivered what we paid for.
  • Sep 30th – Support ticket raised to request update on my Skippa. Dave (Customer Support) responds “Sorry for the delays. Your Skippa will be posted tomorrow or Friday… etc”
  • Oct 2nd – IceTV sends email “SKIPPA Update” – Heinz (CEO) still not indicating any lack of stock to supply demand. But still no unit shipped.
  • Oct 6th – No email from IceTV or anyone indicating unit I ordered shipped. Was very annoyed. Voicemail left and email sent off my last query of where is my unit.
  • Oct 7th – No return call from IceTV regarding the voicemail left yesterday. Only an email again, this time detailing that they won’t be delivering unit at this time. However, look what is published on IceTV when you try to order one. Seems they telling public they are out of stock of SKIPPA. Oh really.

You can’t seriously tell me that this all unfolded just this week (i.e. Oct 6th first day of work post public holiday Monday). I find that impossible to understand myself.

New AMD Gaming PC build

In the last week or two I have come to the conclusion I really want to get another Gaming PC build going, as I really want to play Battlefield 4 with some friends. In addition to playing a few other games on Steam.

As I looked at pricing, I came to the conclusion that I will end up going with an AMD based system this time around for a change, since the price point works well for what I want. I am still throwing ideas around of end product and specs, but so far I have concluded that these will probably form the basis of the build itself.

CPU:

AMD FX 6300 6-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.10 GHz,Total L2 Cache 6MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 95W ($157)

OR

AMD FX 8320 8-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.00 GHz,Total L2 Cache 8MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 125W ($217)

MAINBOARD:

Gigabyte GA-970A-D3P ($123)

VIDEOCARD:

Gigabyte Radeon R9 380, 4GB GDDR5, 1792 Steams, WINDFORCE 2x (GV-R938G1 GAMING-4GD) ($368)

I’ll continue to post updates as I determine any additional items.

Mikrotik RouterBoard RB951G-2HnD First Look

As noted in yesterday’s blog post here, our Mikrotik RouterBoard RB951G-2HnD arrived and I have managed to take a few pictures.

You’ll note I have taken photos of the unit with the recently purchased Mikrotik RouterBoard RB260GS switch. As you can see the enclosure for these units is exactly the same.

If you want to check out the product specifications you can do so by clicking the model name on this post or refer to the table below;

Product specifications

Details
Product code RB951G-2HnD
CPU nominal frequency 600 MHz
CPU core count 1
Size of RAM 128 MB
10/100 Ethernet ports 0
10/100/1000 Ethernet ports 5
MiniPCI slots 0
MiniPCI-e slots 0
Wireless chip model AR9344-DC3A
Wireless standards 802.11b/g/n
Number of USB ports 1
Power Jack 1
802.3af support No
Supported input voltage 9 V – 30 V
PoE out No
PoE in Yes
Voltage Monitor No
CPU temperature monitor No
PCB temperature monitor No
Dimensions 113x138x29mm
Operating System RouterOS
Operating temperature range -20C .. +50C
License level 4
Antenna gain DBI 2.5
Current Monitor No
CPU AR9344-DC3A
Max Power consumption Up to 7W
SFP ports 0
SFP+ ports 0
USB slot type USB type A
Number of chains 2
Serial port None

I still need to spend the time to plug it in and configure it, which won’t be too difficult, as I will take the configuration off hAP Lite I am using currently. Will post up another post in a couple weeks on how I progressed with the configuration of the unit and what not.