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Hardware Recommendations Guide

Hardware Recommendations Guide Discussion Thread Rev 1e) 2017-05-06

MatthewSteinhoff

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I am seeing a lot of sellers on Amazon selling a 'certified refurbished' drive and promising a 3 year warranty with it:
Drives are the only thing we don't buy used/refurbished. Still, for the price, I'm tempted. At that price, you could afford a few spares.

Cheers,
Matt
 

Ericloewe

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Some people have needed more than a few spares, though.
 

Constantin

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FWIW, I had a better experience with a "certified refurbished" reseller than the OEMs. Whereas the reseller will send you a pre-paid shipping label to return / exchange a drive, the OEM will typically make you pay for shipping to them.

I'm currently using a set of "certified refurbished" 10TB He10 drives that were about $219 ea w/3-year warranties. That's similar to the OEM warranty and with a Z3 array and multiple layers of backups I'm not too concerned. There was an even better deal on Amazon for 8TB He8 drives over the holidays that featured 5-year warranties.

The only downside to the latest set of HE10's was that the reseller was out of units for exchange (1 out of 9 drives experienced SATA errors) so he/she refunded me instead. That's where a OEM may perform better. I say may because supplies were kinda tight worldwide after the floods in Thailand a few years ago.

EDIT: Apologies, see below. The screaming deal over the holidays for the He8 8TB drives seems to be finished. However, it may come back...
 
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Constantin

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Just got a private message here re those He8 drives and thought the group would also benefit re: clarifying availability / price.

IIRC, the 8TB He8's w/5 year warranties were available over the holidays at Amazon for about $186/ea. Now they're not on Amazon any more but the reseller has his/her own web site. See here for the drive in question. It's no longer the same screaming deal as during the holidays but still, $209 for a 8TB Helium HGST drive with a 5/year warranty is not bad at all.

FWIW, the 10TB He10 drives w/3 year warranties were about $219 at the time. They are still available on Amazon at that price (albeit from a different reseller) so the 8TB drives are somewhat questionable re: $/TB value unless you associate a lot of benefit w/the 2 year additional warranty coverage.
 
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SweetAndLow

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I have been buying the Western digital easy store 8tb external enclosures. They are usually the red helium filled drivers and occasionally the white label which is probably the same as the red. Cost is $129.
 

-MG-

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I have been buying the Western digital easy store 8tb external enclosures. They are usually the red helium filled drivers and occasionally the white label which is probably the same as the red. Cost is $129.
My only issue with those would be that they won’t honor the warranty if it has a problem. I saw a post around this awhile back. I’ve never shucked a drive and don’t know how obvious it is with the case.
 

SweetAndLow

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My only issue with those would be that they won’t honor the warranty if it has a problem. I saw a post around this awhile back. I’ve never shucked a drive and don’t know how obvious it is with the case.
There is no way they would ever know. Just keep the old case so you can put it back. My drives live in a much better environment than that enclosures could ever provide. And at that price I could buy 2 for the price of a normal drive.
 

Ericloewe

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The enclosures are more like miniature ovens for HDDs. Temperatures can really get out of hand...
 
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Information.
This Sata card works perfect with FreeNas 11.2
CSL PCI Express 2.0 Controller/Interface Card for SATA III eSATA III SSD and HDD Drives)/6Gbps 2x Internal SATA 2x External eSATA – ASMedia
 

Ericloewe

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With all due respect, I cannot recommend it unless someone can provide evidence of thousands of successful card-hours in operation with no serious hiccups, to counteract the thousands of card-hours for all the dime-a-dozen AHCI controllers out there that suggest they're a veritable crapshoot.
 
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Dell drives are UNBELIEVABLY good. I haven't had ONE Dell drive fail on me in 4 years in all of my RAID arrays (RAid 6). It's insane. The Hitachi CER Refurbished. I had maybe 3 or 4 fail on me in 2 years, but all in different arrays, and always shave spares. They are cheap as hell too.

Don't even bother with WD black drives. ALL the ones I had failed on me in in 2 months. Thank goodness that RAID array had nothing on it yet.
 

Holt Andrei Tiberiu

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Dell drives are UNBELIEVABLY good. I haven't had ONE Dell drive fail on me in 4 years in all of my RAID arrays (RAid 6). It's insane. The Hitachi CER Refurbished. I had maybe 3 or 4 fail on me in 2 years, but all in different arrays, and always shave spares. They are cheap as hell too.

Don't even bother with WD black drives. ALL the ones I had failed on me in in 2 months. Thank goodness that RAID array had nothing on it yet.
Wich dell drives? the ones that are WD, Seagate or HGST?

I personaly don't care about the brand, i use refurbished/used SAS drives, they usualy last me 3 years, and after 3 years if they go bad, i don't care.

I still have 6 x 4tb sata drives, can't wait to get rid of them, i personaly prefer sas drives because they wer enginierd to work 24/7 and last for 5 years at least ( in theory :) )
 
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Just chiming in on recommended USB boot drives. I've seen resources online recommending the SanDisk UltraFit USB 3 range. I think there honestly couldn't be a worse choice for FreeNAS boot drives.

I've killed 3 in a matter of weeks (camcontrol would spew media errors and timeouts and system would eventually die); until I realized 1) these drives get _really_ hot (after I noticed I could barely touch them immediately after power off, I measured over 60C casing temp with an IR cam while system was idle) and 2) they're only rated for up to 35C operating temperature, which is ridiculously low (ambient temp in the summer can get higher than that where I live). They're absolutely NOT suited for 24/7 operation.

After a little bit of investigating I went for Kingston DTSE9: yes it's Kingston, but they have a metal casing (certainly helps with thermal management), are fairly low profile, are rated for up to 60C operating temp and come with a 5-year warranty. Right now I've been happily using a USB2 thumbdrive with no problem whatsoever and I'll try the G2 (USB3) version soon (also rated for 60C operation), see if it's any good. With USB2 the boot is a bit slower but all my woes are gone, so I'm happy :)

I think it would be really nice to have a short list of known proven working devices from a few manufacturers in the guide.

HTH
 

Ericloewe

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With SSDs as cheap as they are right now, USB flash drives don't make sense for most applications, given all the pain and suffering they cause.

As for proven working devices, experiences vary so wildly with USB flash drives that maintaining such a list becomes a kafkaesque endeavor.
 
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With SSDs as cheap as they are right now, USB flash drives don't make sense for most applications, given all the pain and suffering they cause.
I've also read that argument many times and I'm afraid it makes no sense to me. USB sticks go for less than 10 bucks. The cheapest SSD + USB-to-SATA adapter or enclosure is going to set you back 4 or 5 times that (and no, I don't want to dedicate a SATA port to a boot drive that's basically useless for anything besides booting the system). And that also doesn't address the wastage that throwing 120GB at the freenas boot pool is, either, or the extra physical space and power usage vs a thumb drive ;)

tl;dr: I think USB thumbdrive boot still has very plausible use cases and can do the job just fine.
 
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danb35

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that also doesn't address the wastage that throwing 120GB at the freenas boot pool is
There are at least a half-dozen 120 GB SSDs on amazon.com for under $20, so the "waste" amounts to $10--and since you'd really want to mirror the USB sticks, that "waste" goes away. There's no significant difference in power consumption. A 2.5" SSD can fit in free space inside anything larger than a NUC, which has no business being used as a FreeNAS box in any event.

Really, there's one, and only one, valid reason for not using a SSD, and that's that you don't have a SATA port to spare. If that's the case, I guess, suck it up and use a USB stick. Otherwise, use a SSD.
 

Holt Andrei Tiberiu

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Agree with others, go with SSD, 60, 90, 120 GB
I went USB at first, but it is a NO-GO, system boot's slow, and i am guessing USB will be to slow for freenas 12, as 11.2 is already past 1 GB of system install.

Get a PCI-EX to SATA card, and install on that, 2 SSD's and let freenas do the mirror, or if you have some 2.5 HDD's go with that, anything is better at speed and reliability than a USB FLASH, and yes, premium USB Flash is more expensive than a entry level SSD.


There are at least a half-dozen 120 GB SSDs on amazon.com for under $20, so the "waste" amounts to $10--and since you'd really want to mirror the USB sticks, that "waste" goes away. There's no significant difference in power consumption. A 2.5" SSD can fit in free space inside anything larger than a NUC, which has no business being used as a FreeNAS box in any event.

Really, there's one, and only one, valid reason for not using a SSD, and that's that you don't have a SATA port to spare. If that's the case, I guess, suck it up and use a USB stick. Otherwise, use a SSD.
 
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There are at least a half-dozen 120 GB SSDs on amazon.com for under $20, so the "waste" amounts to $10--and since you'd really want to mirror the USB sticks, that "waste" goes away.
But what's the reliability on those cheapo SSDs? Any time I've gotten a cheap SSD they've failed more than the USB drives I've gotten.

In the four years I've been using FreeNAS on USB drives, I've killed a total of one, and that one was a used one anyway. Get good quality USB drives, you'll be fine.

Of course, a decent SSD will be better than a USB, but if you'd rather not spend the money, I don't think its a big deal.
 

danb35

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