Looking to Build NAS

I am looking to build my own home NAS to be used to stream media to my HTPC. I will be watching blu-rays and other hd content. I am looking to use 12 Caviar Green HDD and am unsure if I need a raid card or port multiplier. I don't know what to look for in a RAID card either. I am looking to use RAID 5. Can I put multiple RAID 5 arrays on one controller? Should I use a PCI or PCI-e RAID controller? Do I want a SAS or SATA card? I want to keep this as low budget as possible but not buy crap. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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  1. I think that the first question here is "Why is a 12-drive RAID array needed?" Very, very few people build such things at home. If we knew what you are trying to accomplish, we might be able to make simpler suggestions.

    That said, search the forums for "freenas" for advice on NAS-building.
    You should use a PCI-e RAID controller, it will be a) faster and b) more modern. Take a look at what Tom's used here for anexample:,2915.html

    The only reason to get a SAS-capable card is to use SAS drives. The Caviar Green are not SAS drives. SAS drives are typically much more expensive than the SATA drives because they are meant for high-volume mission-critical applications. They are sort of the modern SCSI.

    Edit: Here's an example discussion:
  2. I currently have 7.5 TB of movies and tv shows, and I am continuing to expand rapidly which is why I need that many drives. I had wondered about SAS because from what I had read and saw it appeared that you could attach four SATA drives to a SAS port using a special cable. I might be wrong I just wasn't sure.
  3. Best answer
    1) You can attach five SATA drives to an SATA port if that port supports expanders. You will also need an expander. The ports on your motherboard probably don't support expanders. Wikipedia has decent information; just keep in mind that whatever it says about SAS drives and expanders applies to SATA drives too.

    2) Couldn't your NAS just have five different drives with 2 TB of data on each volume? Does it absolutely have to be a single volume? I admit that the RAID5 would give you protection from a single spindle failure, but it's still a lot of learning and support.

    3) Also, search the forums for "MBR" and "GPT". Volumes over 2.2 TiB have to be formatted as GPT volumes; the much more traditional MBR volume is limited in size to 2.2 TiB.
  4. I was looking to actually have two volumes. One for movies and one for tv shows. I am using 2TB drives and I have my movies on multiple drives and tv shows and would like them all on one drive which is why I am looking at RAID, plus the protection from disk failure. Does the GPT and MBR formatting apply to RAID arrays also? Right now all my drives are in MBR because they are 2TB.
  5. Yes, GPT and MBR do apply to formatting RAID arrays. Another member just closed out a thread where that was the solution: .

    Please remember that while RAID5 will protect you from the failure of a single drive, you should also have backups. Controllers fail, RAID arrays die in power outages, viruses (virii?) wipe volumes...
  6. Best answer selected by dmacke.
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