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Hardware recommendations (read this first)

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cyberjock

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A new version is available in the Resources section of the forum. Or just click here.

The old version will be unstickied after a while, but will still be available.

If you want the FreeNAS Engineers official take on this subject then read this:

http://www.freenas.org/hardware-requirements/


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The old guide can be found below. Note that specific hardware recommendations may be partially out of date, although the general concepts aren't.



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So to make way for the new the old hardware suggestion thread is being locked. It was from April 2013 and was getting a little outdated. Back then Haswell wasn't released, the new Intel Atoms didn't exist, etc.

The old thread is still available here if you want to read it.

This guidance is not based on my opinions of things. People want to argue AMD vs Intel or ECC vs non-ECC can go elsewhere. This post is about how you can build a relatively cheap FreeNAS box that can potentially give you years of happiness. Some people will choose to settle for alternatives to what is commonly recommended and that is their choice. Just don't be surprised if you settle for something in the name of saving money and find yourself with an error or problem that nobody else has. Or worse, lost data.

Remember these rules:

1. This isn't Burger King. You can't build your server 'your way' and expect it all to "just work". It might. But it might not. Do you want to build it right the first time or the second time? You ready to throw down money to build a single working box with double the hardware?
2. I'm not a baker. I don't sugar coat things. I'm here to give you some cold hard facts and that's about it.
3. If you post a build in the forum that doesn't follow these recommendations, expect them to be reiterated to you all over again. Quite literally, the people looking at builds and comment have standards that are relatively in-line with this thread. So if you have a build on paper and it doesn't pass this post you can kind of guess what kind of responses you are going to get.
4. Be careful what you settle for. Often when you settle for less than you deserve you get even less than you expected.

Chassis

One thing to consider with any chassis is disk replacement. Disks can and will fail. The real question is how you are going to deal with it. Easily replaceable disks can be great, but sometimes the cost isn't worth the benefit. Also you need to ensure that the chassis provides good airflow. As a general rule if a hard drive is installed and you don't have direct airflow over the hard drives you will probably overheat them. If you are looking for that ultra-silent-itty-bitty FreeNAS server you can definitely build it. Just don't be surprised when you start cooking your hard drives later.
  • Large Systems (10+ disks)
    • The common chassis for large systems are basically Supermicro 3U & 4U Chassis. Yes, they are fairly expensive for an initial investment. However they give you reliable (and sometimes redundant) power supplies, very high airflow fans (which can also be loud at full throttle), and generally are "high end". Keep in mind one thing with Supermicro Chassis.... used isn't bad. If you are okay with a slightly dinged model from yesteryear you can often buy a full system for $350 or so on ebay, gut it and put your hardware in. Poof, cheap and yet high grade chassis! Many will come with platinum efficiency dual redundancy power supplies. Hard to say no to that, even at $1000 for the whole thing.
    • Norco cases like the Norco RPC-4224 are pretty cheap. The also come with no PSU and the fans kind of suck. Airflow is less than ideal with the stock fans and people have had problems with lower RPM Green drives overheating. Norco cases are pretty flimsy compared to Supermicro. The actual hot-swap bays are very flimsy and probably not a good long-term investment, especially if you plan to replace disks regularly. After you buy your own PSU and replace the fans with something that has more sucking power you're already finding that the Supermicro chassis are only $100-200 more and are *significantly* better designed. So think long and hard before going this route.
  • Medium Systems (6-10 disks)
    • Many people re-purpose an old desktop chassis. This is totally do able and if you are trying to save a few bucks an easy place to save money. Just make sure you've got direct airflow over your disks and buy fans to fit all of those fan slots in your chassis.
    • The fractal design R4 is also fairly common if you are looking for a tower chassis that can hold as many as 8 disks. You can re-purpose the 5.25" bays to store more hard drives if you desire.
  • Small Systems (2-6 disks)
    • The fractal design Node 304 seems to be all the rage if you are looking for small. It's tiny. It's sleek and it provides all the cooling you need. This does fit Mini ITX boards and you can store up to 6 disks inside it. Many users have had good luck with this chassis and it works well as long as you don't decide to drop high-RPM disks in the chassis.
    • Keep in mind that small chassis are almost synonymous with "poor air flow". Be careful what chassis you use and make sure that your hard drive are staying below 40C during typical use. Nothing sucks more than building a small server that is nothing more than a hotbox to cook expensive electronics.

Motherboards

Consumer boards and often "prosumer" boards are not good choices for FreeNAS. All that extra hardware to allow you to overclock, have great audio and video, etc is a waste of power. Even when disabled in the BIOS they will use power 24x7 nonstop. It might have all sorts of great features that are useful for desktops but we aren't building a desktop. We're building a server and we're looking for reliability and high uptime. You want a motherboard that has as much on-board that you need without the extra stuff you don't.

Here's where I'm going to be accused of being an Intel shill. AMD systems, on average, do not make good FreeNAS boxes. Why? because AMD is targeted at the lower end market. AMD doesn't put the kind of resources into R&D that Intel does for FreeBSD code, doesn't provide the kind of driver support that Intel does to FreeBSD, and AMD sells a CPU while Intel sells a chipset and CPU which narrows down the options of what motherboards will use. AMD boards often have just about any model of addon that exists while Intel's are typically a pretty narrow range. You buy an Intel board and it's virtually guaranteed to have an Intel SATA controller. These work quite well. AMD can be almost anything. Random things that aren't listed in the specs have been problems for people. Go with AMD and there's a significant chance that you'll lose out on little things like CPU temperature monitoring that will probably drive you nuts. Sorry but the fix is to go ask AMD to fix their problems.

Edit: I have removed the AMD hardware that was listed below because it's just not recommended by iXsystems, so recommending it here seems silly. To quote the CTO of iXsystems "We simply don't have any AMD machines to test with and the FreeBSD discussion lists are full of issues concerning AMD interoperability, which of course FreeNAS has inherited."

Don't be fooled because I'm about to recommend server boards. Contrary to what you've heard they are NOT significantly more expensive unless you are comparing the cheapest motherboard you can find against a very good and trustworthy server-grade board. In fact, for most people on the forums the limitation is actually acquiring the recommended parts and not the cost.

Supermicro is mostly the king here and is about the only brand recommended. Other brands are starting to make their own server-grade boards and with it comes with the fact that they don't have good engineering experience with server-grade. They aren't used to building systems that are designed around server chipsets, must support a whole bunch of features in the BIOS that aren't part of a desktop, and aren't shooting for high uptime hardware. I love manufacturers like Gigabyte, ASUS, and MSI, but they are just entering the server market. If you want to take the risk you are welcome to. I'll stick with my tried-and-true Supermicro though.

Do note the following:

1. All of the boards I'm about to recommend use ECC RAM since this is the only type of RAM recommended for FreeNAS.
2. IPMI is awesome. You can remotely connect to your server's video and keyboard/mouse inputs. If you don't want to leave a monitor hooked up all of the time this *is* something you should get. Keep in mind that adding it after the fact is expensive/impossible so buying a board with it built-in is a major win for you.
3. Motherboards with Intel NIC are supreme, especially with two of them. Realteks and many other brands are known to not work at all or work very intermittently with FreeBSD/FreeNAS so they aren't recommended. There's so many threads complaining about NICs I won't even try to link them. It should be easy for you to find at least 50 threads on this "problem area".
4. Many Supermicro boards have tons of combinations of hardware on-board. Make sure you aren't buying a board with on-board audio or things that are useless.
5. USB3 is not particularly reliable with FreeBSD at this time. You shouldn't have a pressing need to plug in lots of disks to USB nor should you for reliability reasons.
6. SATA2 and SATA3 don't play a big part in your server's performance. Most rotating platter media can't even saturate SATA1 speeds, so don't spend money on that board that has all SATA3 because you think it will matter. Your bottleneck is almost certainly going to be your Gigabit LAN. SATA3 is useful for ZILs and L2ARCs which means large (and expensive) systems will benefit but home users won't.
7. Multiprocessor really isn't required unless you actually plan to run lots of jails, Virtualbox VMs, and the like. The main reason to consider multiprocessor is the extra RAM slots. There is a *significant* price jump if you want a motherboard and CPUs that support multiprocessor setups though. So this isn't for those looking for an inexpensive build.
8. Consider future expansion when picking a board. Beware of reusing old server-grade hardware that might be limited to 8GB of RAM. Starting out a FreeNAS build where the minimum for FreeNAS is the maximum your hardware can handle isn't a good starting place.
  • Supermicro X9s (32GB of RAM max)
    • The Supermicro X9SCM-F is a big favorite ($150-170). It's got 4 SATA2 and 2 SATA3 ports, dual Intel Gigabit LAN, built-in IPMI, a bunch of USB2 ports and you can even fit it in a 1U chassis if you really want. It also has 4 PCIe slots for expansion in case you want to build that really large server with a bunch of addon hard drive controllers. This board is not the latest generation but it's very well known in these forums and is guaranteed to give you many years of happiness. If you need PCI and PCIe slots for compatibility with legacy stuff the X9SCA is a good alternative to the X9SCM. This is a socket 1155 board so it uses the E3-1200v2 series and 2nd and 3rd gen i3s, Pentiums and Celerons. You will be limited to 32GB of ECC RAM with this board.
  • Supermicro X10s (32GB of RAM max)
    • The X10SLL+-F ($170) is a very good board if you are looking for a box with 6 disks or less. It supports the E3-1200v3 series as well as 4th gen i3s, Pentiums and Celerons.
    • The X10SL7-F ($240) is amazing if you are planning to go with more than 6-8 disks but don't want the cost jump with going beyond 32GB of RAM. It has a built-in LSI SAS 6Gbps controller which you can reflash to IT mode fairly easily which saves you from the mess of buying an M1015 and using it as an add-on card (not to mention the cost savings). On-board gives some small performance gains and this is a clear choice if you are looking for a good long-term system that is highly expandable. It has IPMI, dual Intel Gb LAN, lots of SATA and SAS and is a proven winner for many users in the forum. This is the current winner for those that are looking for that ultimately expandable server for home use.
  • Supermicro X9 (>32GB of RAM)
    • The X9SRH-7F ($420) uses the E5-1600/2600v2 CPUs, up to 512GB of RAM, has PCI and PCIe 2.0 and 3.0 slots, built-in LSI-2308 SAS 6Gb/sec controller, IPMI and dual Intel Gb LAN. If you are looking at this category you are going to have to spend some cash. But, the potential wins can be amazing. If this is for a company that wants performance, expandability in the future, and reliability, this is the board for you. Likewise if you are that home user that plans to go really big with FreeNAS this is the board you should look at.
  • Intel Atoms (Avoton generation)
    • The new Intel Atoms kick butt. They use ECC RAM and can be loaded with 64GB of RAM if you buy special 16GB UDIMMs.
    • The Asrock C2750D4I ($250-300 but sometimes as high as $400) is pretty popular. The Marvell SATA ports have been known to be problematic for some people but the mainboard has built-in IPMI, 6 SATA ports on Intel SATA, dual Intel Gb LAN and has a single 8x PCIe 2.0 slot for expansion. This CPU has 8 cores (no hyperthreading) and seems to be very powerful despite its size. It is capable of doing transcoding of video streams with Plex and is the board found in the FreeNAS Mini. A review of what this board can do is available at Cyberjock's Blog. A 4-core version exists, the C2550D4I and is slightly less expensive for those looking to save a little money with a less powerful box.
There is a reason why some of the Asus boards aren't listed. They aren't recommended.

CPUs

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to buy an ultra expensive CPU. When choosing from the recommended CPUs make sure your CPU is compatible with your motherboard. Since only Intel-based motherboards are this list I'll only be discussing Intel.

Keep in mind a few things:

1. TDP is not what it's all about. All of these CPUs shutdown most of their unused CPU sections when idle. This means that you shouldn't be picking CPUs by TDP alone. Performance of the CPU, CPU frequency, and number of threads and cores is what you should be aiming for. Samba is single-threaded on a per-user basis so don't go for that 1.5Ghz ultra low power CPU and expect miracles. All of these CPUs idle within about 3w of each other, so you should be looking at what you want your performance ceiling to be and not what your power floor will be.
2. AES encryption can bring the fastest CPU to its knees without AES-NI. If you plan to use encryption you shouldn't consider any CPU that doesn't have AES-NI (or AMD's equivalent).
3. Top CPU frequency is important for Samba as Samba is single-threaded on a per-user basis. Generally any 3Ghz+ CPU will be more than capable of hanlding Samba at Gigabit speeds without a problem.

  • Low-end
    • If you are looking for an inexpensive CPU that gets the job done the Pentium G2020 (socket 1155) and G3220 (socket 1150) are your prime targets. They are around $55-75 and can do most things you need to get done on FreeNAS. These are dual core and are around 3Ghz. These don't handle high compression very well, they aren't a good choice if you plan to run jails with high CPU needs (such as transcoding video streams with Plex) and don't support AES-NI which makes encrypted pools out of the question. But as a file-sharing CPU these are extremely capable and will provide years of happy file sharing.
  • Middle-of-the-road
    • Update: Per this thread the 2nd Generation and 3rd generation i3s do not have ECC support (there are a few exceptions, but they are so expensive that you'd be better off buying a Xeon at the prices the i3s are selling at). The entries on the Intel ARK were in error and I know that many of you bought i3s expecting ECC support. Sorry, but you'll have to get a new CPU if you want to use ECC as it appears you probably never were. The *only* i3s that support ECC and are reasonably priced are Haswell i3 CPUs.
    • If you are looking for a good CPU for a good price this is where to look. Some of the boards above will take various i3 CPUs. These usually support doing compression on your pool and can often do decently. Keep in mind that the above boards do not support i5s or i7s. i5s and i7 CPUs do not support ECC, so they are automatically poor choices for FreeNAS. Keep in mind the socket sizes and do not try to put a socket 1150 CPU in a socket 1155 motherboard. It won't fit. ;)
  • High-end
    • The Xeon E3-1230v2 (socket 1155) and the E3-1230v3 (socket 1150)is about $220-250. Both are powerhouses and can do amazing things. Both are 4-core/8-thread CPUs and are 3.3Ghz+. Many users use these and are very happy with these CPUs. It takes a lot of loading to make these CPUs break a sweat. As a home user this is about the most powerful CPU you can reasonably use. Keep in mind that the idle power usage between the Pentium and the Xeon is virtually non-existent. So if you are trying to save power by going with a Pentium, you aren't going to save anything. The Xeon is a better choice in those cases because if/when you need more processing power, the Xeon will outperform the Pentium hands down.
    • For socket 2011 the E5-1620v2 is the CPU of choice ($350). This CPU won't do multi-CPU systems but it is basically the top of the line when you want to go with single-CPU. It is a 4c/8t CPU with a clockspeed of 3.7Ghz and turbos to 3.9Ghz making Samba very zippy. This CPU is great because you can put up to 256GB of ECC RAM on it. Unless you plan to go with very expensive DIMMs you aren't likely to be in a position to install more than this amount of RAM.
Memory

Do not try to guess at compatible memory. Use the memory selection tools for the manufacturers to ensure your RAM is compatible. This isn't always easy as many parts of the world cannot easily get some types of RAM, but making sure it's compatible is very important.

Right now Kingston memory (and really everything Kingston) is avoided by many because they seem to be playing games with their part numbers. Kingston 8GB DIMMs used to be on Supermicro's recommended list until Kingston changed the design but kept the part number (a major no-no in the industry). As a result many users were tricked and bought DIMMs that later wouldn't work. You are welcome to pick Kingston, but if they decide to pull another fast one with parts swapping don't expect much sympathy.

Your build should only be considering ECC RAM. Do not try to argue that ECC RAM is expensive. It's only fractionally more expensive than non-ECC RAM. This is 2015 and the horrible markup for ECC RAM doesn't exist for 99% of the world any more.

In order for ECC RAM to function you must have 3 things on Intel systems:

1. Motherboard with a server chipset (this excludes all desktop boards by definition)
2. ECC RAM
3. CPU that supports ECC RAM.

AMD's are a mess so I won't even try to discuss how you even validate that ECC "functions". Not that "supporting" ECC RAM is not the same as actually using the ECC feature. Do not be fooled as many have been. You don't want to be that guy that thinks he's got ECC and when the RAM goes bad you find out the ECC bits aren't used.

Registered RAM is only supported on certain configurations. Your board will say that it supports unregistered (aka unbuffered) or registered RAM. Make sure you pick the right kind. If you don't your system won't work right and you'll be very upset about it.

ZFS loves to use memory. The more you have the faster it will be. If performance starts slacking that's your queue to add more RAM. 8GB is the minimum for FreeNAS and do not go below that. You aren't as special as your mommy told you and you risk your data if you think you are.

For most home users 16GB is a very good sweet spot. If you plan to run lots of jails like Plex or Minecraft you should consider going with 32GB of RAM. It is better to have too much than too little.

Be careful bout filling your slots with low-density RAM. It is better in the long term to buy 2x8GB sticks than 4x4GB sticks as this save you money in the long term when upgrades are going to be desired.

Power Supply

Rule #1... Don't buy a cheap power supply.

Rule #2... Don't buy a cheap power supply.

It's your data, don't let a crummy power supply eat your system and take your data with it. And they will and they have.

Keep in mind that a system that is on 24x7 can benefit from an efficient power supply. Do yourself a favor and buy an 80Plus Gold rated supply, at least. You probably will never recover the cost differential of an 80Plus Platinum supply though so don't spend a bunch of money for that extra 3% savings.

Sizing a power supply is kind of a multidimensional problem. Remember that drive spin-up takes a LOT of current.

  • In terms of watts, a supply that is running at about 30-50% of its rated load is likely to be within its peak efficiency window, but is also likely to be relatively unstressed, leading to a longer life and reduced likelihood of premature failure.
  • You also need to estimate (by adding up the start currents for all the drives, usually around 2 amps each, and then estimating other 12V loads such as fans, CPU's, etc.) the 12V load, and verify that that will remain under the rated capacity of the power supply. You can cheat at this by hooking up the system without powering on the drives, letting it run memtest86, and checking power consumption. Take the watts, divide by 12, and that's an overestimate of the maximum 12V amps that the base system takes. Then you add the peak amps for all the drives, maybe add 10% more, check against the power supply rating, and there you have an easily derived pass-or-fail test.

But you need both these tests to pass and be reasonable, or you need to adjust your gameplan (mandatory staggered spin, etc). And for a NAS or other server with lots of 3.5" disks, this typically means selecting a power supply that runs at something closer to 30% of its rating, in my experience.

Additional SATA/SAS connectivity

The IBM ServeRAID M1015, crossflashed to IT mode, is probably one of the best choices available if you need a bunch of extra SATA/SAS ports. It does take an extra ~12 watts however. Don't buy it new. They're available cheap on eBay all the time.

Random RAID controllers that are operating in RAID mode (showing virtual or logical devices to FreeNAS) are a very bad idea. If your controller costs more than a few hundred dollars, it may not be a good choice for FreeNAS.

If the controller you want to use is an Adaptec, Dell Perc, Highpoint, or some no-name brand you shouldn't even try to use them. All of these may or may not "work" but you'll find out later they don't properly handle SMART monitoring, SMART testing, passing of errors from the disk to the system, etc. Don't put your data at risk and go with *any* of these brands. You can thank us for saving your data later. They also can cause major performance problems.

If you are using a Dell Perc and think that when we say "JBOD" we mean RAID0 of single disks, you are in error. JBOD is not the same as a RAID0 of a single disk, and you are making a grave error by thinking otherwise.

Do not obsess over SATA3. You do not need SATA3 ports, except to get the most out of a SSD. The average hard drive these days can read at about 150MBytes/sec. 3Gbit/s SATA2 works out to something like 375MBytes/sec.

Avoid the LSI SAS/SATA 3Gbps HBA/RAID controllers. They have a 2TB size limit which is almost considered to be amateur-sized disks by today's standards.

The new LSI SAS 12Gb/sec cards are "supported". I put it in quotes because the driver is listed as "early alpha" and is basically unstable by everyone who has tried to use it. If you use this, you are a fool and deserve the hell's wrath you will get for using it. :p There is no ETA on when the driver will get better, but I wouldn't expect it to be "stable" before the end of 2015.

Do note that with LSI 2008 chipset based cards the firmware and drivers must match. If you are on v16 drivers then the firmware had better be v16 too, without exception. 9.3 will give you a warning if you break this cardinal rule. We've seen a few people with problems that could have led to lost data if they hadn't been caught early. Do not try to change this philosophy, you will only hurt yourself. Do not try to update the driver. Downgrade/Upgrade your card. Believe it or not the v16 driver is the most stable driver that exists for the LSI 2008 chipset based cards.

Avoid using SATA Port Multipliers at all costs. If you don't the cost is very likely to be "your data". These are error-prone and built by the lowest bidder and are about as reliable as you can expect.

SAS expanders can be used with SATA drives. It does require you to use a SAS controller though. Many people have had success with Intel 24-port expanders ($250). I've been using one with my WD Green SATA drives for over 2 years without a single problem. Just don't buy a no-name brand SAS expander and you should be okay.
 
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cyberjock

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Boot device

USB devices are slowly being phased out because of all of the problems they can have with FreeNAS 9.3.0 and newer. USB works, bootup times are about the same as your typical fast SSD, but their reliability is lower. Couple that with the fact that USB is just flat out flaky for many people, some USB sticks don't seem to work right with FreeNAS, and other issues that seem to be resolved by not using USB, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that USB is not the "de facto" any more with FreeNAS. They often/usually work great as long as you don't grab the cheapest USB drive you can find. Name brands that are 4GB+ are highly recommended. If you have a problem with FreeNAS not booting or some other bootup problem the first questions asked will be "what brand and size?" and you'll be "that guy" that couldn't afford to buy a good $10 USB stick.

FreeNAS 9.3 has made many changes, notably the boot device is now ZFS. This creates problems for many USB devices since USB devices just can't handle random writes very well. This allows for snapshotting the OS and a whole host of fun things that are available as a result of ZFS. For this reason (and others) larger devices are going to be useful. The minimum size is 8GB and the recommended size are 16GB. More than 16GB is probably going to be overkill. My 16G device has about 40 boot environments, so you can see 16GB gives you a boatload of potential expansion. You are still not able to use the device to store user-data, so do not go overboard here.

USB devices aren't known for being ultra-fast. But since FreeNAS boots up and loads the OS into ram drives the performance of the USB stick is unimportant in the big scheme of things. Do not try to use SD cards or other devices. The memory controllers and their performance characteristics make them a poor choice. They stand a very high chance of having intermittent problems and will be nearly impossible for you to ever diagnose, except to buy another device. So why not just buy a device that will work right off the bat and use that?

If you want to do some forward thinking consider a SATA DOM or a really small SSD (even 30GB of disk space is seriously oversized). There's plenty on ebay. There is relatively little information on what brands work very well and what is reliable. Performance isn't going to be particularly important so don't focus on things like high MB/sec or SATA3. Shoot for brands that are well known. Innodisk SATA DOMs are very reliable and work very well. But finding a seller is nearly impossible. If anyone can find a company that sells these to end-users please PM me so I can add the info.

I've recently purchased a SATA DOM from Memory Depot and it has take almost 3 weeks to deliver when it should have take 3 days. Apparently when they run out of stock they aren't quick to tell you this fact, nor tell you when it will ship. I'm just hoping I don't have to RMA my DOM as I can't imagine waiting another month to get one. I purchased the DESMV-32GD06SC1QC (32GB for $53). It's a little expensive and over-sized for my use, but since I'm constantly doing tests and such for people I figure I should consider going overboard. The 8GB and 16GB versions are $26 and $34, respectively.

Note that the process of upgrading FreeNAS from one version to the next is very slow on USB. Some people have claimed it took more than 20 minutes to update. By comparison SATA DOMs and SSDs will be able to power through the update in just a couple of minutes.

Hard Drives

Of course, you want to use cheap hard drives. But consider that you're building a system for hundreds of dollars. Add up the total cost of the system you propose with those "cheap" 2TB or 3TB drives, then divide by the number of usable TB you get. Then add up the total cost of a system built with 4TB drives, divide again. Shocked? The 4TB is often the less expensive choice per delivered TB, despite the drives being a bit of a price premium.

What not to do...

So I've told you what stuff you should get. Here's stuff you should NOT get:

Note: this list is compiled by people that have used hardware and lost all of their data as a result. If you can't learn from someone else's screwups you probably shouldn't use FreeNAS at all.
  • Highpoint controllers (they'll work until one day when you suddenly have no data)
  • Adaptec controllers (they'll work until one day when you suddenly have no data)
  • Dell PERC RAID controllers like the 5i (if you have to do RAID0 of individual disks you have failed to follow the "do not use hardware RAID" rule... that is NOT a JBOD. End of discussion.)
  • The H7xx series of controllers. They have a JBOD mode that isn't JBOD. So don't try to say you are using one in JBOD. It's doing all the nasty bad things you don't want a RAID controller to do.
  • Try to use less than 8GB of RAM (If you plan to use Plex you should have at least 12GB of RAM)
  • Hardware that has a FSB (front-side bus). The FSB will be a performance killer for ZFS
  • Hardware that is older than the Intel Sandy Bridge (older stuff burns LOTS of watts)
  • Anything that doesn't use DDR3 or newer RAM (DDR2 and FB-DIMMs are just too expensive to try to upgrade later)
 
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