Hardware For Idol’s Ultimate Active Automatic Backup System( 'Takes about 8 minutes to read. )

~~ Idol & The Goblet of Fire ~~
- 'Simply one more edifying post. Thumbs-up smiley - Enjoy.

I recently put my Revised Ultimate Active Automatic Backup System and associated hardware to the test:

For some reason a C: drive on one of my machines got messed up. – FUBAR in other words. The hardware was fine; it was just the software that was screwed.

So the first thing to do is reset the PC: Reinstall Windows 10 keeping as many files as possible. – Then, having completed that, restore any “lost” files from the local backup on the server computer… There is also an online backup via Backblaze, which is an integral part of the integrated backup strategy – but there was no requirement to restore from that this time: That’s mainly kept for cases of a ransomware attack and/or total system hardware failures. ‘No such biggie this time round.

One thing you might be asking is:

“What the F- does this have to do with music or entertainments?”

Oh a lot. – If you’re in business as a musician or an entertainer of some other type you’ll have a lot of data that you can’t afford to lose. This article will tell you about a piece of hardware that; when used in tandem with my Ultimate Active Automatic Backup System; will ensure that your precious data is backed up automatically – so that when the inevitable happens – as it will do eventually – you don’t lose your data and also probably lose money as a result.

The Revised Ultimate Active Automatic Backup System requires extra hardware; but it will work with and will keep a constant steady up-to-date backup of, theoretically, anything between one and around twenty computers, and an unlimited amount of WordPress installations: – ‘Most useful for businesses.

Being the geek that I am; I came up with a small computer which will handle the total backup job of around twenty Windows computers, and an almost unlimited amount (theorhetically) of WordPress installations. The machine in question is a development upon the design of Idol’s Budget Premium PC; but using an almost completely different set of components throughout, and including, in addition to a small-capacity SSD as the system-drive only, a 4-terabyte HDD ( You may opt for a larger one. ) which is split into several partitions to accommodate the local backups – as discussed in the original article.

I Can Build It For You

I can build the entire piece of hardware for £350GBP with a 4TB HDD. – Larger HDDs cost extra so that isn’t a fixed price.

In the linked article I suggested using a laptop and an external hard drive. Assuming that your office or studio already has a UPS fitted; this extra piece of hardware – which is a lot more solid-state than a laptop connected to an external hard-drive via USB3 – can be powered via the existing UPS, as it’ll only ever drain a maximum of around 50 watts if that.

It’s £350GBP+ extra expenditure, granted; but for the convenience of having all the office computers plus all the company websites backed up automatically on an ongoing basis it’s easily worth the cost; and will save money at the end of the day, even if it’s never called on.

Build It Yourself

If you’re a computer-builder then you shouldn’t have a problem building it for yourself. If you’re an experienced computer builder then doing so will be a doddle.

Let’s take a look at the parts I chose to build it with. The total cost of the parts comes to around £255UKP with just a 4TB HDD; which is rather nice because it means that you don’t have to lay out much expenditure to create a small box which automates your office or whatever’s backup.

The first component I chose was: –

Thermaltake Versa H18 Windowed Case

– I chose this case because it was small, cheap, and well ventilated with good potential for great cable management (Cable control.). It is not supplied with any fans, but will need some fitted at both the front and rear of the case; to straight away get the cooling sorted before we even start building. The case is priced retail at around £40.00GBP Inc VAT.

We’ll be using a m-ATX motherboard; so although it’s a small case there’ll be plenty of room for airflow – which is important as the processor will be using a fanless heatsink.

Let’s take a look at the motherboard: –

Asus N3050M-E Socket Intel Celeron Dual-core m-ATX Motherboard

– The SoC ( System on Chip ) using a dual-core pre-fitted Celeron saves money, as the cost of the processor is incorporated with the price of the motherboard; which in  this case is no more than your usual low-end mobo at around £37GBP Inc VAT. – That’s a good price for a fairly decent small motherboard and a dual-core processor.

You’ll notice that the processor heatsink has no fan; which is why we have fans both front and rear of the case, to keep the heatsink cool and maintain optimal airflow.

The board has a couple of PCIe x 1 expansion ports, as well as a PCIe x 16 port. – However the PCIe x 16 port operates in PCIe x 1 mode; therefore adding any graphics card would be a waste of time. – We only need basic graphics anyway; which are provided by the on-chip Integrated Graphics Processor – Intel® HD Graphics support, and outputted to a monitor via the VGA, D-sub, or HDMI ports on the rear.

The memory required is 2 x U-DIMM DDR3 1600/1066 MHz, Max 8GB, non-ECC, un-buffered memory. We’ll be using 2 sticks of 4GB DDR3 as pictured further down.

The board incorporates that old chestnut; the Realtek 8111H PCIe Gigabit LAN controller. – But since there are  a couple of PCIe x 1 ports available, you could connect wirelessly if need be by adding a wireless card, if you can absorb the small extra expense

The board has audio capabilities; a Realtek ALC887 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC is incorporated; but this is pretty much wasted.

There are 2 x USB 3 and 2 x USB 2 ports on the back panel, with connectors to enable another 2 of each on the board. The 2 x USB2 ports on the case are connected to one of these connectors, as is the single USB3 port.

The RAM: –

Patriot SL 4GB 1600MHz CL11 DDR3 HS

This Patriot non-ECC unbuffered DDR3 is exactly what’s needed: We’ll be putting in 2 sticks, giving a total of 8 gigabytes of random access memory. The cost is only around £27.00UKP Inc VAT per stick.

Next Up Is The SSD

Kingston A400 120GB SSD

Speed is good; but it’s not critical here. – So I incorporated an OK-performing SSD into the design, on which to store the operating system only + to give it a few gigabytes of space in which to function. 120GB is plenty enough room for everything, and using a small and relatively cheap SSD keeps costs low: This one costs around £25.00GBP Inc VAT.


Thermaltake Smart RGB 500W PSU

This is the bit where the millennial-geeks get their kicks: A power supply with RGB lighting… ‘See it was worth having the side-panel on the case after all. Smile It’s a stonking-great amount of overkill with its 500Watt rating; and no matter if that rating is exaggerated or not, and no matter how much that rating is exaggerated by; the PSU will supply all the power that this system could ever ask for and more.

I’ve looked in to using a lower-rated PSU; but it just doesn’t make sense to use a lower-wattage-rated PSU from a cost-perspective.

Lastly It’s The Hard Drive

Seagate BarraCuda 4TB Desktop Hard Drive 3.5 SATA III 6GBs 5400RPM 256MB Cache

Let’s not forget that we’re going to be storing a number of local backups of everything, as well as having an online backup with Backblaze.

In the previous plans, where I’d suggested to use a laptop connected via USB3 to an external hard-drive, it all maybe sounded a little Heath-Robinson. In this piece of hardware we’re building; the gubbins will be connected by a SATAII-lead to an internally-mounted 3.5” hard-drive.

If you’re backing up more than a couple or three of computers and a few websites; then I suggest using an 8TB HDD rather than a 4 TB HDD: Remember that the HDD has to be partitioned into 3 virtual-drives – as discussed in the original article.

Conclusion: –

That’s what it’s made of; and you might choose to build it yourself for around £270UKP, or you might choose to have me build it for £350 + UK delivery. I’ll only build for UK customers who have a UK delivery address.

This is a very useful thing to have, as it handles all your backups automatically without you having to remember to constantly make manual backups. If anything goes wrong at some point, and you need a backup to rely on; then you’ll have both local and online backups to fall back upon, and you never need worry about losing your valuable data.

At the end of the day what’s best? – Paying out £350UKP + (Around £255 if you build it yourself.) , and an additional £5 a month to Backblaze, for an automated online & local backup solution – or paying £1000s for data recovery – or worse still losing it forever?

I know which I’d rather do; that’s why I devised this system and its associated hardware.

If you have a UK delivery address and you want me to build it for you, then contact me via the Contact Idol form, or via my Facebook.



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I'm a singer - songwriter - producer, as well as an electronics & computer geek. 1 lifetime is not enough! S to the H to the A to the Zee; to the Zee to the A, L.I.V.E. - Shazzalive is alive! YOLO.

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