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FreeNAS Hardware Guide (Up-To-Date)

Newfoundland.Republic

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
368
I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere (I have searched and didn't find anything) - but once I have built my FreeNAS machine (it is working well), can I remove the dedicated gpu (the CPU does NOT have built in graphics), or does FreeNAS require a GPU at all times? Thanks!
AS @Ericloewe notes, FreeNAS doesn't need a GPU. You will have to determine if the lack of video error can be ignored in the BIOS. You might want to have IPMI (BMC) on the board if you want to do any remote (or local, for that matter ;)) management.
 

Newfoundland.Republic

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2019
Messages
368
@jcouturemobile - IIRC, you will not be able to use the WiFi that is built into that board. Have you thought about another motherboard without the WiFi, can use ECC RAM, etc.?
 

Chris Moore

Wizened Sage
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
9,651
I apologize if this has been answered elsewhere (I have searched and didn't find anything) - but once I have built my FreeNAS machine (it is working well), can I remove the dedicated gpu (the CPU does NOT have built in graphics), or does FreeNAS require a GPU at all times? Thanks!
There have been a few posts about this over the years but I don't think there is an official guidance. FreeNAS is very flexible and could be configured to output console data over a serial port so it is absolutely not a requirement to have a video output. It might make troubleshooting easier under certain circumstances, but it is not a requirement.
Like @Ericloewe said, there are many computers that will not boot correctly without a video output and that is purely a limitation of the system BIOS / EFI firmware and not related to FreeNAS. I don't know what hardware you are using but I highly recommend server system boards that have integrated VGA with a discrete video processor integrated in the board.
 

Chris Moore

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May 2, 2015
Messages
9,651
@jcouturemobile - IIRC, you will not be able to use the WiFi that is built into that board. Have you thought about another motherboard without the WiFi, can use ECC RAM, etc.?
Correct. The FreeNAS GUI has no means of configuring a WiFi interface and very likely has no driver for it.
 

patrickjp93

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
48
Hi Team,

Is there a short list of RAID cards that are recommended for FreeNAS use? I feel like the hardware guide is missing so many potential helpful links like this (I'm not advocating bloat the document with in-line hardware lists).

And the reason I ask is getting decently priced small motherboards with both 5/10GbE and at least 8 SATA ports is, well, a nightmare.


~$500 for just the all-in-one board (yes, the new X570 model does not have a publicly listed price yet)
vs.
$220 for a board that I can get a 10GbE to Thunderbolt adapter and a secondhand RAID card for that'll probably come to total $400. https://www.amazon.com/X570-Phantom-Gaming-ITX-TB3-Thunderbolt/dp/B07VXYYG7F
 

Redcoat

Dedicated Sage
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
1,519
Is there a short list of RAID cards that are recommended for FreeNAS use?
From the Community Hardware Guide found in the Resource section:

"SAS2 By far the most popular option, SAS controllers based on the LSI SAS2008 or SAS2308 chips provide up to eight lanes of SAS connectivity and are available in a number of configurations, with external and/or internal ports. Some cards are configured as RAID controllers and require a crossflash to standard HBA mode. Popular models include the LSI SAS 9211, SAS 9240 and SAS 9207 series, the IBM/Lenovo M1015/M1115 and the Dell H200 and H310. All of these, except for the LSI SAS 9211 and 9207, must be crossflashed. An additional option is the LSI SAS 9201, a 16-port card which uses the LSI SAS2116 controller, which is also known to work well and only supports HBA usage, not hardware RAID. It is not very popular because it is more expensive than a pair of 8-port HBAs."

and from the guide that is the subject of this thread:

"Storage Controllers
The uncontested most popular storage controllers used with FreeNAS are the 6 and 12 Gbps (“Gigabits per second”, sometimes expressed as “Gb/s”) Broadcom (formerly Avago, formerly LSI) SAS host bus adapters (HBA). These occasionally ship as embedded controllers on some motherboards but are generally PCIe cards with four or more internal or external SATA/SAS ports. The 6 Gbps LSI 9211 and its rebranded siblings that also use the LSI SAS2008 chip, such as the IBM M1015 and Dell H200 are legendary among FreeNAS users who are building systems using parts from the second hand market. Broadcom controllers should be flashed with the latest IT or Target Mode firmware to disable the optional RAID functionality found in the “IR” firmware. For those with the budget, newer models, like the Broadcom 9300/9400 series give 12 Gbps SAS capabilities and even NVMe to SAS translation abilities with the 9400 series. FreeNAS includes the sas2flash, sas3flash, and storcli commands to flash to perform reflashing operations on 9200, 9300, and 9400 series cards respectively. The FreeNAS Certified line ships with Broadcom 12 Gbps controllers."
 
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Chris Moore

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May 2, 2015
Messages
9,651
Is there a short list of RAID cards that are recommended for FreeNAS use?
Absolutely not. Hardware RAID is completely incompatible with ZFS which is the file system that FreeNAS uses. Don't even think about it.
 

patrickjp93

Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2020
Messages
48
Absolutely not. Hardware RAID is completely incompatible with ZFS which is the file system that FreeNAS uses. Don't even think about it.
With all due respect, it's common practice to flash them or set them to "IT Mode" or "Dummy Mode" or "Passthrough Mode" depending on whose circle you're in, which basically disables the hardware RAID functionality and exposes the bare disks. Some of them allow this, and some don't. Can we put together a list of the ones that do?

I am not the only one trying to run 8+ disks off an M-ITX board
 

Chris Moore

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May 2, 2015
Messages
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With all due respect, it's common practice to flash them or set them to "IT Mode"
You are using the wrong terminology. If you look at the hardware I am using, you will see that I have controllers in my home NAS that were flashed to IT mode. While some people might call them RAID controllers, there is a big difference between a hardware RAID controller and a SAS controller that can be flashed to IT mode. Please do more reading. Here are links to some resources that will help:

Don't be afraid to be SAS-sy
https://www.ixsystems.com/community/resources/don't-be-afraid-to-be-sas-sy.48/

Confused about that LSI card? Join the crowd ...
https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/confused-about-that-lsi-card-join-the-crowd.11901/

There is also a link in my signature to even more useful reading.
 

Mark Knutson

Neophyte
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
6
I have looked at these materials a bit, and am not seeing an overall set of motherboard recommendations. Any guidance along these lines is appreciated.
 

Redcoat

Dedicated Sage
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
1,519
I have looked at these materials a bit, and am not seeing an overall set of motherboard recommendations. Any guidance along these lines is appreciated.
Did you look in the Resources, Hardware, section at the forum's guides?

Also, Moderator Chris Moore posted a couple of complete system lists - based on budget.

It's not clear to me what is expected by "an overall set of motherboard recommendations". What I have observed to be successful here in the past is the enquirer describing the intended use of the target system to the degree possible, including constraints such as budget, system physical configuration, noise tolerance, etc., and soliciting comments on that basis.
 

Divatz

Newbie
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
Messages
1
Hello , i have this old configuration : Thinkstation S20 , 8GB DDR3 RAM, Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 920 @ 2.67GHz (8 cores) , 1xSSD , 3 HDD TB .
I installed Freenas 11.2 and i have tried to create VM , i cant acces any VM (Linux or Windows) , in browser or thru VNC Viewer. Its my configuration not compatible with FREENAS ? Thank you in advance !
 

Ericloewe

Not-very-passive-but-aggressive
Moderator
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Feb 15, 2014
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16,259
From the manual:
FreeNAS® VMs use the bhyve(8) virtual machine software. This type of virtualization requires an Intel processor with Extended Page Tables (EPT) or an AMD processor with Rapid Virtualization Indexing (RVI) or Nested Page Tables (NPT). VMs cannot be created unless the host system supports these features.
You will find that an i7-920 does not meet this requirement.
 
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