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Need Advice on my First NAS Build

LukeH

Neophyte
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
4
Hi Folks!

I want to build a NAS for document and media storage and stream the stored media via Plex.

After reading the Hardware Recommendation Guide and several forum/blog posts, I came to the following configuration:
  • Case: Fractal Design Node 304
  • Mainboard: ASRock E3C236D2I
  • CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230v6
  • RAM: 16GB Samsung M391A2K43BB1-CRC bulk DDR4-2400 ECC DIMM CL17 Single
  • Boot-Drive: 120GB WD Green M.2 2280 TLC NAND (WDS120G2G0B)
  • Storage: RAIDZ2 with 6x4000GB WD Red Pro WD4003FFBX
  • PSU: 550W Seasonic FOCUS-PX-550 Modular (80+Platinum)
What are your thoughts on this?

I've built PCs before but I'm new to the NAS world and just want to make sure I didn't overlook something.

Any opinion is greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance!
 

Evertb1

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
452
Welcome to the forum. I think your choice of hardware ticks most boxes for a decent FreeNAS capable system. Your CPU should be more then sufficient even when running some HD media streams. The amount of RAM should be OK and with your choise of a 16 GB stick you will be able toe expand it when needed. A RAIDZ2 pool with 6 drives is in a lot of cases a very good choice as well. It offers (in my opinion any way) a nice economic balance between usable storage space and redundancy. And I don't think anything bad can be said about that Seasonic PSU. I like that brand a lot myself. Succes with your build.
 

pschatz100

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 30, 2014
Messages
926
This is a good system. But I would think about the drives. The WD Red Pro WD4003FFBX runs at 7200 rpm. The WD Red WD40EFRX runs at 5400 rpm and will run a bit cooler. Your use case doesn't really call for maximum performance, so unless you need the performance of the faster drives, I would consider the WD40EFRX.

Regardless, watch your temps after you get the system together.
 

Evertb1

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
452
@pschatz100 has a point there. I somehow missed that you planned for the pro's. Not needed in most cases. I am running my FreeNAS box with normal reds for over five years now and they have performed great. You can always use the saved money for an extra memory stick :smile:. The case you selected is a nice one and you would not be the first to use it for a FreeNAS build, but temperature management can be a bit of a problem. But it should be managable.
 

LukeH

Neophyte
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
4
Thank you for your responses!

@pschatz100
Thank you for pointing out the drive speed - that's something I did not consider so far.
I ended up with the Pro's when I read about the labeling issue of WD Drives and it being mentioned that Pro's are guaranteed to be CMR Drives.
However now that you pointed out WD40EFRX, I saw that they also use that technology.
So I will definitely follow your advise and go with them.
 

KrisBee

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,083
@LukeH Check the m/board specs because it looks like using an m.2 SATA on the that board reduces you to 5 usable HDD ports. And it only supports m.2 2230.

- C236: 6x SATA3 6Gb/s (SATA0 share with M.2 connector), support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10

i don't know if BIOS allows boot from a m.2 drive with adapter in pcie slot.

+1 for normal reds. But make sure they are the EFRX CMR dives.

Is the compact mini-itx from really a must? Limits you to 16GB - may be enoguh now, but if your usage pattern changes it coudl be a constraint. Cooling can be an issue in compact cases.
 
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LukeH

Neophyte
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
4
@KrisBee
Thank you for pointing out the shared SATA port - that would have been an unhappy surprise...
Is RAM really limited to 16GB? Reading the specs on asrockrack.com I got the impression that I could go up to 32GB.

As all of you have pointed out that cooling might be an issue with this case, I'm currently reconsidering that choice and might instead go with a larger one.
There seems to be a lot more freedom of choice with the microATX form factor anyway.
 

KrisBee

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,083
My error, I was thinking of the E3C226D2I, which I own. You're right about 32GB support, but only with 2x16GB modules as opposed 4x8GB on a micro-ATX/ATX m/board. I suppose you could the use the same m/broad in a bigger case and use a HBA to free up the on-board SATA ports. But my hcoice would be a microATX/ATX server m/board in a tower case for home use, unless you want to rack mount.
 
Last edited:

LukeH

Neophyte
Joined
Aug 1, 2020
Messages
4
After some reconsideration I think I might opt for the "Define R5" Case by Fractal.
As it allows to house a microATX-Mainboard, I also switched to the "X11SSM-F" by Supermicro with 8 SATA ports.
The mainboard doesn't seem to have a M.2 slot, so I will go with a regular SATA SSD instead of the NVME one.
For the one remaining SATA port I might put in a hot spare HDD as it might alleviate the replacement in case of HDD failure.

All in all the configuration now looks as follows:
  • Case: Fractal Design Define R5
  • Mainboard: Supermicro X11SSM-F
  • CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1230v6
  • RAM: 2x16GB Samsung M391A2K43BB1-CRC bulk DDR4-2400 ECC DIMM CL17 Single
  • Boot-Drive: 120GB WD Green 2.5" (6.4cm) SATA 6Gb/s TLC NAND (WDS120G2G0A)
  • Storage: RAIDZ2 with 6x4000GB WD Red WD40EFRX
  • PSU: 550W Seasonic FOCUS-PX-550 Modular (80+Platinum)

I'm already a lot happier with this setup than the one I started with, so thank you all a lot!
 

KrisBee

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,083
@LukeH Good choice of hardware. I think a NVMe device would be a waste as a boot drive and you might even pick up s/hand small SSDs, like Intel 40/80GB S3500, cheaply enough to use in a mirrored boot setup (no hot spare then) or as a single boot device.
 

Evertb1

Senior Member
Joined
May 31, 2016
Messages
452
But make sure they are the EFRX CMR dives.
Good advise. After years of almost blindly advicing for WD RED drives as a good choice you need to pay attention these days. Chasing the bucks made WD forget about their customers best interests I think.

After a lot of bad publicity about the mess they created with SMR they announced that there will be a rebranding of the WD RED line AnandTech - WD RED topic. All the CMR drives in the RED line should be branded WD RED PLUS (or WD RED PRO of course). But I haven't seen anything branded this way in the shops yet.

I still think it is a bit of mess though. Below 8 TB, the drives with a code ending on EFAX are SMR drives. While the codes for CMR drives of 8 TB and bigger are also ending on EFAX. Talking about confusing your customers. And I hold my breath for the pricing of the RED PLUS drives.

For now I have replaced the 2 TB drives in my lab server with 4 TB Iron Wolfs. CMR drives for sure (I think, maybe?).
 
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