Iris

  • Desktop
  • File server
  • Back in 2015, when I transitioned to using a laptop as a primary computer, I also transitioned my previous desktop computer to the role of being a file server. I felt it was a better approach to have a computer that was dedicated to being powered on all the time, with software oriented around making my data useful and safe -- media streaming, automatic backups, private cloud, and so on.
  • Clementine was fine as a first file server, but had three primary drawbacks: 1) Physically, Clementine was a large desktop computer, which limited options for placing her out of the way. 2) Clementine was overpowered for this use case, and leaving her powered on all the time meant a lot of electricity was being wasted. 3) Windows is not a great operating system for servers -- it reboots frequently without warning, and many programs can only run within a user account, not as a system service, so after a reboot it was necessary for me to manually log in so that those programs could start up.
  • My plan all along was to replace Clementine with a machine more optimized for this purpose, but it took a long time to settle on the right approach. I considered simple hard drive network adapters, dedicated NAS devices such as Synology, and even a completely different approach of utilizing cloud services. In the end, I decided on a custom-built, small PC, running Linux.
  • Which brings us to Iris. Iris is a Mini-ITX form factor (just 10 inches tall), but still with room for two hard drives -- one fast but small SSD for the OS and applications, and one big mechanical hard drive for data. She's built around an i3-6100 CPU, which provides surprisingly good performance (enough to handle media transcoding in real time), but at a low cost and with low power consumption. And she runs Ubuntu Linux, which is a stable, powerful, reliable operating, where every piece of software I use can be set up as a system service. Thanks a large amount of planning, the transition to Iris wen very smooth, with almost no downtime -- the only challenge was cable management in this new, small case. Iris is capable of doing everything Clementine could do, but more reliably, in a more power efficient way, and while being physically out of the way.
  • This computer was originally built January 11th, 2017.
  • Images and commentary from the building of this computer can be found here.

 

 

Oldest Components
Component Origin Date Notes
APC Back-UPS ES BE750G 1/20/2009
Western Digital WD Black 2TB SATA 3/3/2013

All Components:

Processor

Intel Core i3-6100

History Added Notes
1. Intel Core i3-6100 1/11/2017 Dual core, 3.7 GHz

 

Motherboard

Gigabyte GA-H170N-WIFI

History Added Notes
1. Gigabyte GA-H170N-WIFI 1/11/2017
  • Form factor: Mini-ITX
  • Socket LGA 1151
  • Chipset: Intel H170
  • Memory slots: 2x288pin, DDR4 2133, dual-channel, 32GB max
  • Expansion slots:
  • 1 PCI Express x16 slot
  • 6 x SATA 6 Gb/s
  • 2x SATA Express
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3
  • Onboard Audio: Realtek ALC1150
  • Onboard LAN: Intel GbE LAN
  • Onboard WIFI: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
  • Onboard Bluetooth: 4.2, 4.1, BLE, 4.0, 3.0, 2.1+EDR
  • 1 PS/2
  • 1 DVI-D
  • 2 HDMI/font>
  • 2 RJ-45
  • 4 USB 3.0
  • 1 USB Type-C / USB 3.0
  • 1 S/PDIF
  • 5 audio connectors
  • 2 x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)

 

Case

In Win BP655 Mini ITX Case

History Added Notes
1. In Win BP655 Mini ITX Case 1/11/2017
  • 2x front USB 3.0 ports
  • 2x front audio ports
  • 1 external 5.25" drive bay
  • 1 internal 3.5" drive bay
  • 1 internal 3.5" drive bay (0.8")
  • 1 80mm fan
  • Came with TFX 200W power supply

 

Operating System

Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS

History Added Notes
1. Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS 1/11/2017

 

Memory

8GB Crucial DDR4 2133

History Added Notes
1. 8GB Crucial DDR4 2133 1/11/2017 One DIMM of PC4 17000 (DDR4 2133) Kingston ValuRAM

 

Hard Drive

Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB SSD

History Added Notes
1. Kingston SSDNow V300 120GB SSD 1/11/2017
  • 2.5"
  • 120GB
  • SATA III
  • Controller: Sandforce
  • Model: SV300S37A/120G

 

Hard Drive

Western Digital WD Black 2TB SATA

History Date Added Origin Date Notes
1. Western Digital WD Black 2TB SATA 1/11/2017 3/3/2013
  • 7200 RPM
  • SATA 6.0/Gbps
  • 64MB Cache
  • Model: WD2002FAEX
  • Inherited from Clementine

 

Uninterruptible Power Supply

APC Back-UPS ES BE750G

History Date Added Origin Date Notes
1. APC Back-UPS ES BE750G 1/11/2017 1/20/2009