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freenas build


Mr_Cool59
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I am looking to build a freenas server to replace my windows home server. I am looking for some feedback as to what to build. I want it to do everything that my windows home server does. It will mainly be used for data storage and streaming videos and pictures to other devices. I know it should have ECC memory but pcpartpicker does not have any ECC memory I was thinking about putting in 32 GBs of memory in it which would max out the board. Here is what I am looking at from pcpartpicker. Thoughts and suggestions would be nice.

Fell free to edit the list just let me know why you edited it if you do.

http://pcpartpicker.com/user/Mr_Cool59/saved/VMGwrH

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I want it to do everything that my windows home server does.

... which is what, exactly?

It will mainly be used for data storage and streaming videos and pictures to other devices.

I'm going to assume for this that this is solely what it will be used for, rather than mainly.

Does 'streaming videos' mean it sends out an already decoded video stream, or does it mean it serves the encoded video file as-is which subsequently gets decoded elsewhere (XMBC and its ilk)?

If all you want is storing and serving files, I recently did a little project for that although my build is limited to 5 drives however the cost for the full build, not counting the drives, was well below $100 and uses next to no power aswell so the operating costs are very low aswell. Serves file without a hitch.

Other things people tend to do with their fileservers these days my build would be, for all intents and purposes, insufficient. Like, say, MP3 recoding, which a single core on this board (it has 2) does at about 2.25x playback speed which is a far, FAR cry from what an intel can do. Don't even think about re-encoding video. But since you're not specifying this, I can only guess if such features would be a requirement to you.

I can't imagine a single reason to need 32 GB of ram in a fileserver, ECC or otherwise. And I've had a fileserver around in one way or another for the past 20 years, not once employing ECC memory. Wanting maximum performance is understandable, but with this build you're limited solely by the speed of the harddisks. I feel all that memory would just be wasted.

Did you pick the separate intel network adapter because you need to have 2 network adapters, or are you unhappy with the one that comes with the Mobo?

If all you really want is to serve a few files to your HTPC, provide fileshares for the family to chuck their cute cat videos onto and have some sort of secured means to store home videos and photographs, my feeling is you're overkilling the overkill concept. I would say 8 gigs memory tops unless the other stuff you want to do with the box demand more. If you really need the storage and speed, consider going with the 4TB WD drives rather than the 3TB ones as the 4TB ones spin at 5900 rather than 5400 rpm and are only 5% more expensive per gig.

Things to consider:

SSD for the OS drive. It can be small so it doesn't have to break the bank. If you use 5 4TB harddisks you get 2TB more storage than with your current list and you get a spare SATA port to plug that SSD into.

Specialised RAID adapter. Gives better performance, offloads the CPU so it can be used for other stuff and allows you to pick a mobo with less sata ports so you might be able to save a little there aswell.

If the CPU is of little consequence, go with an AMD Mobo. They tend to be (much) cheaper and have more SATA ports available by default. Their GPU tends to be more capable aswell which might help with those 'other things' you want to do with the box.

Edited by Cooper
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... which is what, exactly?

I'm going to assume for this that this is solely what it will be used for, rather than mainly.

Does 'streaming videos' mean it sends out an already decoded video stream, or does it mean it serves the encoded video file as-is which subsequently gets decoded elsewhere (XMBC and its ilk)?

If all you want is storing and serving files, I recently did a little project for that although my build is limited to 5 drives however the cost for the full build, not counting the drives, was well below $100 and uses next to no power aswell so the operating costs are very low aswell. Serves file without a hitch.

Other things people tend to do with their fileservers these days my build would be, for all intents and purposes, insufficient. Like, say, MP3 recoding, which a single core on this board (it has 2) does at about 2.25x playback speed which is a far, FAR cry from what an intel can do. Don't even think about re-encoding video. But since you're not specifying this, I can only guess if such features would be a requirement to you.

I can't imagine a single reason to need 32 GB of ram in a fileserver, ECC or otherwise. And I've had a fileserver around in one way or another for the past 20 years, not once employing ECC memory. Wanting maximum performance is understandable, but with this build you're limited solely by the speed of the harddisks. I feel all that memory would just be wasted.

Did you pick the separate intel network adapter because you need to have 2 network adapters, or are you unhappy with the one that comes with the Mobo?

If all you really want is to serve a few files to your HTPC, provide fileshares for the family to chuck their cute cat videos onto and have some sort of secured means to store home videos and photographs, my feeling is you're overkilling the overkill concept. I would say 8 gigs memory tops unless the other stuff you want to do with the box demand more. If you really need the storage and speed, consider going with the 4TB WD drives rather than the 3TB ones as the 4TB ones spin at 5900 rather than 5400 rpm and are only 5% more expensive per gig.

Things to consider:

SSD for the OS drive. It can be small so it doesn't have to break the bank. If you use 5 4TB harddisks you get 2TB more storage than with your current list and you get a spare SATA port to plug that SSD into.

Specialised RAID adapter. Gives better performance, offloads the CPU so it can be used for other stuff and allows you to pick a mobo with less sata ports so you might be able to save a little there aswell.

If the CPU is of little consequence, go with an AMD Mobo. They tend to be (much) cheaper and have more SATA ports available by default. Their GPU tends to be more capable aswell which might help with those 'other things' you want to do with the box.

Freenas runs zfs, which is a ram hog and works better with ecc. All of the servers I admin use ecc, won't work without it, so not sure what servers you're using. As for what windows home server does, well, it's a windows media server/streamer, bare metal desktop backup system for up to 10 clients, file server(duh), print server, remote access gateway, think RDP, but over a https connection. It also allows you to connect and get to your files from anywhere over the internet, microsoft gives you a domain name, whatever.homeserver.com.

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All of the servers I admin use ecc, won't work without it, so not sure what servers you're using.

The typical 'chuck some spare parts in a chassis and slap an OS on them' server you would run at home to play with. :smile:

When people are asking about "a home server" I don't think enterprise-class hardware with 9 9's reliability and performance up the Yazoo. I'm thinking a box that supplies you with the movie to play on your HTPC after you get home from work. Something which idles 90% of the time and whose performance just has to be good enough.

As for what windows home server does, well, it's a windows media server/streamer, bare metal desktop backup system for up to 10 clients, file server(duh), print server, remote access gateway, think RDP, but over a https connection. It also allows you to connect and get to your files from anywhere over the internet, microsoft gives you a domain name, whatever.homeserver.com.

Well, I'm getting that on my dinky little fileserver - only the RAS part would be something I'd have to improve upon. But really, I'm comparing a tonka toy bulldozer with a mining bulldozer.

So, back to FreeNAS.

Looking at their hardware recommendations they list this guide to freenas hardware design which focusses on the hardware which basically says "Intel platform, ECC RAM and NAS drives". Your parts list follows the recommendations, so I don't see anything wrong in that regard. Except for maybe the intel network adapter, but 40 bucks on a $1080 build is barely noticable. Picking the 4TB version of the harddisks over the 3TB version for increased performance could be worth it to you, but that's something you need to decide on yourself.

I was suggesting you get hardware raid and they're quite explicitly telling you not to - I'd take their advice on this over mine any other day and twice on fridays. :lol:

Edited by Cooper
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