21 April, 2010
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So I opted to go for the Intel D510 motherboard. It was passively cooled, and had a little better support for devices to be attached to the motherboard from what I could gather. I fitted it out with 2GB RAM and 2 x SATA drives that were left over from previous laptop upgrades for starters.
I installed OpenSolaris 2009.06 from a USB key, using the Windows USB key gen method, and that worked a treat – or so it seemed at first.
My initial reasons to go for OpenSolaris was for ZFS and because it also sounds like a very mature system to run as a server.
On the other hand, hardware support is still quite young. In particular there were two bugs that caught me by surprise:
1. Microsoft mouse not supported. What? Any other mouse works….
2. Realtek ethernet driver didn’t work with multicast (Bonjour) so I couldn’t discover the network very well. Accessing the Internet, however, was just fine.
3. No Intel Graphics driver – the system runs with a bog standard vesa driver. boring.
So I proceeded to upgrade to the latest development branch (snv_134 at present) – which also seemed like quite a buggy and difficult process.
After a few hours of research, (I documented the errors and solution here) I have #1 and #2 above sorted. I’m not too worries about #3 since I’ll mostly be using the machine as a headless server anyway.
Oh, and the power consumption with 2 drives is steady at 37 Watts. Not too bad. I’ll have Time Machine backing up to this sucka as soon as I pick up a pair (or maybe a trio) of big drives)