I upgraded to a DIY mounted 5-monitor setup almost two years ago. Since I’m planning to switch to another setup I figured it was about time I’d share my build log, as well as the pros and cons of using an all-portrait 5400×1920 (or as I like to refer to it: 5K) setup on a daily basis for programming, browsing, gaming, video and general productivity.
I had been using a Synology DiskStation for a while. Great software, very easy UI, lots of apps to extend functionality. But my current system at the time, a DS411j, was becoming too limiting for the workload I was putting on it. So it was time to think about an upgrade.
Now I wanted something that would accommodate at least 8 drives, with a CPU & RAM that could handle various extra ‘apps’ so it could serve as a general server for me. Nothing really intense, mainly an SQL server and something to centrally handle all my downloads, plus occasionally maybe something I’ve written myself that needs a place where it can always run. But I also didn’t want to break the bank. After carefully weighing all my options between both open-source and commercial NAS solutions I decided to build my own DiskStation-compatible NAS with an Atom processor. This also had the added advantage of being able to migrate my existing data simply by moving drives.
A few weeks back, I was resurrecting some old PC components to create a file/torrent server. After checking all the components, replacing the CPU & the RAM, I had a fully functional system.
However, when I added a few terabyte HD’s I found the embedded SiI3114 controller wasn’t so happy with them; The system hung at the controller’s BIOS drive detection.
After a bit of Google-ing I found it could be solved with a simple BIOS update. Phew, saved right? Guess again…
Apparently, the latest BIOS update was only for PCI cards using the SiI3114 chip. The embedded chips have their BIOS integrated into the system’s BIOS. Checking DFI’s support site, it seemed I already had the latest system BIOS.
So I was left with only one option: assemble my own BIOS.