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We Rely On Your Support: As the lead author of this site, I haven't even had a day off of work in over three years due to my commitment to enriching the Linux hardware experience and the financial struggles of running such an operation single-handedly.
Now that Skylake Xeon processors are appearing at major Internet retailers in sufficient quantities (such as the recently reviewed Intel Xeon E3 1245 v5), prices on older-generation Xeon CPUs are falling further. In needing another Linux test system for a Phoronix Test Suite enterprise customer, I opted to do a Haswell Xeon build rather than a Skylake Xeon system. First up is a look at the components used for this cost-effective Xeon build followed by a number of Linux performance benchmarks.
For this build I opted for the Intel Xeon E3-1231 v3 processor, which retails for about $250 USD. This motherboard works fine under Linux, my only complaint is there's only a single fan header on the motherboard (for the CPU heatsink). The mission at Phoronix since 2004 has centered around enriching the Linux hardware experience.
You get better quality hardware with Linux vendors; the typical discounted low-end Windows laptop is built as cheaply as possible, and depends on software hacks to do the work of hardware. Finding commercial Linux vendors is still harder than it needs to be, because of Microsoft and Apple's lock on the retail chain. Laptop computers make viable desktop computer replacements with their large bright screens, abundant power and storage, and well-made keyboards. My pick for top-of-the-line ultimate rugged powerhouse Linux laptop is System76's Bonobo Extreme. The Scorpion has a 12.5-inch convertible touchscreen, Intel Core Duo i5 CPU, 4GB memory, and a 500GB hard drive. These little notebooks are not cheap, starting at $2,550, but they're designed to withstand environments that would wreak havoc on a standard laptop.
The Bonobo Extreme is a super-duper hotrod with a price tag to match, so what if you like the large screen but don't need all that power? Both introduce two more computing platforms that do not support Linux or Windows applications, and are only partly-compatible with each other.
You must also beware of installing apps that are little more than spyware; read the fine print carefully and avoid apps that want access to parts of your system that are none of their business, such as your contacts, email, text messages, and your location. However, you can use Android devices and Chromebooks as productivity and creative devices, and do email, serious writing, and simple multimedia production and management. I have an ASUS Memopad 8 (Android) and a Fintie Bluetooth keyboard, which is a good sturdy metal keyboard.
Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook,and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Most people have heard of VMWare and its virtual machine for emulation of desktop systems, VMWare Desktop. This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. What specific question do you have that isn't already answered in the question you linked to? Speed -- The benchmark results of most the cheaper NAS boxes will show one common trait; they are slow. Flexibility -- Like other posters have said, you'll gain the ability to add features without being limited by the NAS vendor. Expansion -- A standard PC case can provide much greater expansion room for additional drives.
A full PC is much more noisy then a dedicated NAS, especially when the NAS goes idle (many dedicated NAS have near silent cooling even when active, it's the harddrive you'll hear). Further, with a NAS you have a choice between a consumer grade NAS, of which a descent one (like the DLink DNS-323) starts at about $150, or server solution, which is your $400+.
The only question you have that isn't answered in the question you linked to is the cost difference.
Update - the other posters are talking about noise of a PC, which is why I suggested the HP D530. But really, if you were just going to backup some windows boxes, the HP solution is amazing because it's a 4 drive NAS and a (partially limited) windows server in the size of a very large book. The downside of building is that you're probably going to have a bigger case, more noise and probably more power consumption, unless you're really take those issues into account and are willing to spend money to address them. I would suggest the HP Media Smart Windows Home Server if you want minimal time investment, or building your own Windows Home Server. Windows Home Server allows for automating backups and restores of your windows based machines. I was hesitant to buy it, but its probably my favorite software purchase I've personally made.

Take a look at the Data Robotics (Drobo) products which have some very nice features at a reasonable price point (IMHO).
Not the answer you're looking for?Browse other questions tagged linux backup network-attached-storage bsd or ask your own question. What should I do if I want to work in computer science but my advisor actively despises the field? If you want to keep blocking ads, please at least consider joining the Phoronix Premium site to help ensure that this site can continue. With prices on DDR3, SSDs, and Haswell-compatible motherboards also continuing to fall, it's possible to build a sufficiently powerful yet cheap Haswell Xeon system. While the Xeon Skylakes are great as shown by my recent E3-1245 v5 Linux benchmarks, they are more expensive and as outlined in that earlier review really require a very modern Linux distribution to play nicely. The reason why I went with this board is that I had a brand new extra one of them laying around from when there was even a better deal available for this Haswell board. Thus for the three-pin fan connectors used with the case, I ended up buying a 4-pin molex to 3 x 3-pin fan adapter. In addition to supporting our site through advertisements, you can help by subscribing to Phoronix Premium. Not only is Linux the most secure computing platform, it’s highly efficient, which means that computing power goes toward doing actual work instead of powering a bloated operating system. However, buying a laptop preloaded with Linux ensures that you can have it customized to your specifications; it works out of the box, comes with support and a hardware warranty, and it has extended support options. It's better to spend more for better hardware; cheap hardware doesn't last, and it causes mysterious errors that are difficult to diagnose. Dell and HP occasionally offer Linux workstations and laptops, but you have to jump through a lot of hoops to find them, and you can't count on their availability. These first-rate shops offer great products and service, and they're the most likely to be around for the foreseeable future. The downsides include their short battery life and hefty weight—they're not something you'll want to tote around a lot, and you won't be able to use them on airplanes because they're too big. The 2.50 GHz Intel i7 quad-core processor is more than enough for all but the most demanding CPU-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering.
The UltraLap also comes with multi-monitor support so you can connect up to three external displays (LCD, VGA, HDMI) at the same time. ToughBooks are super-rugged little laptops that meet the MIL-spec certification for drop, moisture, and vibration-resistance.
It comes with Gigabit Ethernet, high-speed wireless, Bluetooth, a webcam, and a full-size keyboard. They have a three-year warranty, and Emperor Linux is one of the few Linux vendors that build dual-boot systems with Windows and Linux. The Kudu Professional from System76 starts at $849 and delivers plenty of bang for the buck.
They're really designed as "consumption" devices, that is, they let people consume online media content, like little portable televisions. If you need a lightweight travel computer, consider pairing an Android tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. Some years ago I bought an Intel SS4000 box to store backup on, but I was not satisfied with it, backups took like 10+ hours. This goes double if you try using some old desktop - you'll get a large, power hungry (100-200w, compared to 15-25w) box that probably isn't well designed to operate for long stretches of time without a lot of heat build up (bad for harddrives). The tags say you want to use this for home backup - what about just buying a SATA harddrive case (do some research and get one that doesn't require you to format the device inside the device) for about $50, and then drop in a harddrive of your choice. When I built my server, it came down to having the ability to add features that you need easier than an off-the-shelf box, and I liked the ability of modifying some of the things myself. If you're just looking to backup a computer or dump a bunch of big files, a home NAS or consumer product is probably fine.
They are pretty expensive but have a real hardware raid inside so the benchmarks should be very nice. This Haswell Xeon processor doesn't have any integrated graphics, but for having a 4+HT CPU running at up to 3.8GHz, at $250 it's a bargain and why many enthusiasts have been after Haswell Xeons for getting Core-i7-like CPU performance much cheaper.
This micro-ATX motherboard supports USB 3.0, Gigabit LAN, dual DDR3 memory slots, and other features sufficient for my purposes of using it strictly for carrying out Linux software benchmarks.
But for occasional toting, occupying less space than a desktop system, and ease of connecting peripherals (no crawling under desks) big laptop computers are a sound choice. The 500Gb hard drive isn't that big, but there are two drive bays and you can choose from a range of SATA and solid-state storage drives for up to 5 terabytes of total storage.
There are numerous customization options, and if you want something that's not listed, just drop the nice people at ZaReason an email and they will help you.

The usual customizations are available, plus the choice between a touchscreen and a digitizer screen that recognizes your handwriting.
The base configuration is plenty capable for word processing, spreadsheets, software development, photo editing, and lighter-weight audio and video processing. One of the reasons to embrace Linux is to have control of your own computers and do what you want with them.
They work hard to steer you to cloud storage instead of local storage, which is convenient as long as you have an Internet connection.
It is water-resistant, drop-resistant, and has channels around the touchpad to divert liquids away from the electronics.
I see the choices as being buy a home NAS solution most of which appear to be $400 or more, or build my own low powered PC and install a Linux or BSD distro on it with software raid.
If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question. Recently have set up a backup storage pc with some disks in RAID6 configuration, with very decent performance and together with rsnapshot I now finally have a fully automated backup system I am satisfied with. Kara also mentioned a big plus for me, learning the functionality and construction of this box is a great thing to have later on rather than just having another black box in the corner.
For the shared home iMac and my wife's MacBook, I bought an Apple time capsule because it just works. So in some cases, a Haswell Xeon system still makes sense if wanting to use an older, long-term-supported enterprise Linux distribution and if going after the best value. It provides a good ergonomic keyboard and an integrated carry handle, and you should find one for around $250. The parts guide I will share is intended to help you build an OpenELEC HTPC that runs XBMC without a hitch.
Any comparisons of the price I can expect to pay for hardware in the buy verses build choice would be appreciated. A The components do not have to be really expensive or powerful to give you a great HTPC experience. I have some Linux and BSD experience and to much free time since I’m a student so setup difficulty isn't an issue.
I assembled the hardware, installed, and configured the OS for my OpenELEC HTPC build in about an hour and a half. With all of the cruft removed from the OS leaving only the necessary essentials left to run XBMC, OpenELEC is quite fast on old hardware. It can be installed onto a USB Drive as a running image that can even self update for a maintenance free install.
The Celeron 847 is an underclocked Sandy Bridge cpu with Intel HD 2000 graphics that has an unbelievable 17w TDP. The processor is more powerful than AMD’s E-350 on the computing side but takes a backseat to graphics performance. The graphics performance is just fine for an openELEC build that is optimized for the Intel HD graphics and will easily handle 1080P. With an included 250 watt power supply it is ready for our components right out of the box. I have recommended this case for other builds and had no trouble getting everything assembled. This drive is large enough and fast enough to serve movie posters and artwork from cache and store a lot of plugins. You will need to setup openELEC and XBMC to playback protected movies and I will write an article in the future of how to set that up. It has already garnered a solid WAF (wife approval factor) and wasn’t very expensive to put together.
Mine runs around 50-60C which is typical in a small form factor PC with everything so close together. There is a slot on the side of the case for an optional hdd mounting that could accept a 120mm fan with a small mod.
I really like the Rasp Pi build but I’m struggling through a few things I need to work on. I’m also having difficulty getting scrapers to properly pull thumbs and other metadata to xbmc.
After reading more about it today, it may have been an issue when I initially added the share to the library, going to try to remove and re-add to see if I can’t get it to scrape properly.

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