Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back to Linkstations



I've played for some time with various machines such as the Zonbu (the low cost Linux box), Linkstation (a Linux NAS), Shuttle KPC (a full PC) and with a HTPC (homebuilt based on AMD's 780G chipset). All the while I have been looking for a low cost, low running cost machine to act as a download box and a central server. The Linkstation came close but not quite the whole way there.

Latest purchase is a 2nd Linkstation. I'm going to store Music, Documents and Pictures on a 250gb Linkstation and Video and Download role to be homed on the 1tb Linkstation I already have. The total consumption of two Linkstations being on 24/7 is 26W, still well below almost all PCs (even those new Atom systems) and with two 3.5" SATA hard disks.

Now here are the clever bits.

When "She Who Must Be Obeyed" is using a PC and working on editting photos as she does, she has almost exclusive use of that LS. The other LS might be downloading away and even unarchiving but that won't slow her down. Good thing too!

Overnight, the two Linkstations talk to each other and backup the key files. All the Music, Docs and Pics are echoed to the 1tb LS and the important files (not the huge chunk of video) are backed up in the other direction. So I have data security too. That is something that doesn't need to involve the PCs I normally use for the job and will be all automatic.

One final green twist? I needed a new Gigabit switch as I hadn't enough ports on the router. I bought a DLink one (same dimension as my router which is also DLink) but this one is the new "green" one that powers down the bits not being used. I can leave my two Linkstations plugged into the router (as they will be on and active all the time) and my less active devices can be on the switch which will save a few microwatts of power as they are not on 24/7.

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