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Building my first NAS

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March 10, 2010 5:31:33 PM

Hi all,

So, as the title says, I'm looking to build my first NAS. I plan on running FreeNAS. I have a few questions before I list my hardware specs.

1. Is there a way to have the NAS computer go to a low-power mode while not in use? Most of the time it will be just sitting there with no one connected. If not, then minimal power usage is a big deal for me. I've tried to pick parts that will be efficient.

2. How bad will it be to run the NAS on wireless g? All computers in the house are connected only over wireless anyway, so my guess is this will not cause any further problems. They will already be limited to the 54 mbps, so no harm in putting the NAS on that as well, right?


OK, now here is my hardware choices for anyone who's interested. I imagine *at most* there will be two computers using it at once, so I'm not including a RAID card. I will just use the motherboard's onboard controller for RAID 1. Let me know if you think this will be an issue, but remember, I'm not looking for blistering performance here and 99% of the time I will only be transferring files to one computer.

Motherboard: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Power supply: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
CPU: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Memory: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
HDD x 2: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Thanks in advance!

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a c 127 G Storage
March 10, 2010 6:06:56 PM

1) CPUs already do that; and if you pick the right hardware your idle power usage would be very low. FreeNAS can also put the HDDs in sleep mode after x minutes of inactivity. So idle usage should be low with the right hardware.

2) I would vote against it, it may be more difficult to configure FreeNAS this way, and not all wireless NICs work all that well in FreeBSD/FreeNAS. The most headache-free solution is connecting the NAS by wire to your wireless access point, which should have wired ethernet ports as well.

Other than that, the advice i can give you is:

Do not use onboard Driver/Hybrid/Firmware/FakeRAID; instead use real software RAID by FreeNAS. The onboard fakeRAID doesn't work with any OS other than Windows; Linux and FreeBSD have their own RAID engines, which are more advanced anyway. In fact, the geom_mirror driver is one of the more advanced RAID1-implementations, which several algorithms available which affect I/O performance.

As for hardware, i would opt for another motherboard and other HDDs.

These Samsung 1.5TB HDDs offer more capacity-per-dollar:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Some motherboards that offer six onboard SATA in the same price range:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Please keep in mind some boards use DDR2, some use DDR3. Adjust your memory accordingly.
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March 10, 2010 6:29:49 PM

2) Yeah, I'm worried about the setup for it. I want to put the NAS in my basement, but there are no wires going down there. I might just buy a new wireless NIC, see if it works, and if it doesn't then I guess I will have to drill a hole for ethernet wires.

OK, I will use the FreeNAS RAID instead.



One other question I thought of - do I need to install FreeNAS on its own separate drive? If so, can I just get any USB pen drive and install it there?

Thanks for your help!
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a c 127 G Storage
March 10, 2010 9:24:05 PM

Yeah FreeNAS works excellent on a USB stick. The embedded version will also limit the number of writes to the USB device, as they may fail quickly if normally used as operating system drive.

You can get a wireless NIC that works with FreeBSD 7.2, though i'm not sure if wireless encryption can be configured with a GUI. You may need to connect the box by wire first, then set it up via the web-interface so the wireless works too.
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March 11, 2010 1:25:57 AM

as for the wireless connections, if all of the computers were getting data from the NAS at the same time, the wireless on the NAS could be a very bad bottleneck

i would recommend just dropping some wire down to connect it
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a c 127 G Storage
March 11, 2010 11:07:51 AM

Well as he said, he doesn't expect the NAS to be used by multiple computers that much:
Quote:
I imagine *at most* there will be two computers using it at once


So i wouldn't worry about the wireless bandwidth too much; if the clients are on wireless then putting the server on wire doesn't mean all that much for the performance. It only makes setting up the NAS simpler.
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March 18, 2010 1:40:21 PM

Best answer selected by SkittlesAreYum.
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