Kevin — August 6, 2006, 4:46 pm

Pardon me Sir, can you spare a Drive?

What a fantastic way to spend a Sunday!

I finally finished my long overdue home network upgrade this weekend; moving the drives of my main RAID from my primary Mac to the new “Cryptic Server” which will serve as my main backup system.

See, i’ve put a lot of time and money into my G4; it’s got the super quiet Verax fan upgrades, a Decklink card for uncompressed video capture, and it’s got a decent sized RAID 0 (about 600 gigs) composed of three IDE 200gig Western Digitals hooked up with a Sonnet ATA-133 expansion card. Problem is, if one of the drives fail, the raid will die – since it’s RAID 0 (the only setup that will handle uncompressed video). Data is written across all three drives at the same time, which is fast, but if one goes, they all go, and everything is toast.
So I had this grand plan of installing a SECOND Mac which would hold a similar load of drives, so that I have a place to backup to. So this weekend it finally happened and WHAT A CHORE!

First, I had to find a host Mac – Buckley sold me his old G4 400 Sawtooth that he’s no longer using. The thing sounded like a tractor, and it’s got to be quiet (my apartment, as you probably know, is very small, and the last thing I need is some rattling computer to keep me awake at night). So first task was “silencing” that old G4 – I got a replacement fan for the Power Supply and tried to find a new fan for the case, but both fans in a Mac are… you guessed it, ONLY FOR MAC! Standard PC fans have an extra wire. Some googling revealed that “The Souce” carried a fan that would fit the power supply, so I dis-assembled that, spliced the end of the loud dust-choked old fan, and attached it to the bare wires of of the new fan. I should have gotten some pictures of the disassembled power supply – but in case you don’t know, Power Supplies are marked with this big warning screaming at you “DO NOT OPEN THIS POWER SUPPLY” because the thing is stuffed with high voltage capacitors which can, if you hit one with an errant screwdriver, zap the living shit out of you. So I focused more on not dying than photographing it, which seemed to work – the fan is installed, the power supply re-assembled, and it’s much, much quieter (and I’m not dead). I re-installed the main case fan after a through cleaning and quick blast with WD-40, and before sticking it back in the sub-frame I lined it’s attachment point with really spongy double sided tape and used rubber washers at the screw points so that it didn’t vibrate (which wasn’t my idea, I just followed the instructions from this site – some other guy thought of it).

It’s REALLY quiet now, which is great.

THEN, I moved the three Western Digitals out of my main Mac and installed them in the Server; then I installed three new Seagate 320’s with a 16 meg cache in the main mac which I got from the fine, angry and impatient cocks at Atic. Man, like, who is that fat dude who sits in the chair who builds PC’s for new customers? He is just one grumpy dude. Anyhow, that’s a lot of drives to install, remove, re-install, test, troubleshoot, and such.
The most frustrating part was that when I installed all the new drives in my main Mac, the thing wouldn’t start up with the door closed. With those Verax fans in there, there isn’t a lot of room – and one of the IDE cables, I guess, was pressing on a plate or a cable or SOMETHING that caused the computer to shut off. I had to re-route the cables, like, fifteen times just HOPING I’d somehow manage to get the cable to rest in a spot where it would work… which it finally did. However, I have a new video card in the mail from Ebay, (I want to start playing around with Motion 2, and my current card isn’t fast enough to support it – it won’t even load) so I’ll be opening it up and repeating this fun little troubleshooting process all over again in a week or two.

So as of now, at my pad, I have main RAID of almost a Terabyte, I’m networked directly to the backup server which has almost 600 gigs of space, and now I can finally get rid of this rats nest of firewire drives and go down to a more elegant solution!

Now that my data is all clean, let’s see if I can’t do something about the bathroom.

lotsa_drives.jpg

1 Comment »

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  1. Comment by Cameron @ August 7, 2006, 8:22 pm

    1) It looks like you broke the tron.

    2) There are better places to shop than ATIC. Cheaper, too. (Because I know that’s always the arguement for shopping there.) Don’t shop at ATIC. Please. Maybe I can convince Dodos to write an article about the evils of ATIC. (Of course, I’ll have to supply him with all the info.)

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