New To Raid need advice

I currently have a Freenas server setup for media sharing and am running Raid Z ( Similar to Raid 5 from my understanding ) I am running this off of old hardware ( core2duo E6700, 4gb of ram, and 4x2tb western digital caviar blue drives. So i have 5.18gigs available in my raid config ) I am worried that if this hardware dies i will be in a situation were it would be difficult to retrieve my data so i was wanting to buy a second system to backup everything on all computers in my house along with my current server. I was looking at buying a server based board with a intel xeon processor and ecc ram with 6x2tb western digital RE4 drives in other raid 5 or 6. Can someone give me some suggestions on which kind of raid setup would be the best as well as if i should bother buying server quality parts and drives along with what would be the best OS to run this. My current server is using a software based raid and am also wondering if i would benefit from going to hardware based raid. As it is right now i have speed issues when transferring from and too the drives as ill get 900mbps then will drop to 0 then back up. Any information would be greatly appreciated thanks for any help!
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  1. Unless you really what to build it, go for a qnap, synology or thecus nas. i run two thecus, one with seven, the other with five disks, both in raid6. rsync does the backup from one to the other.
    If you like to build it yourself, go for amd. Amd cpu's and most asus boards support ecc ram. Hardware raid5/6 is very expensive though. All the cheap controllers are really only supporting raid1 in hardware and everything else in software.
  2. Unless you experience multiple disk failure, there should not be any difficulty in retrieving your data. The largest single advantage of software RAID is you can move the disk to another system, install the OS and all your data will be intact. However, a reliable backup is still recommended for those important files. Your performance issue my be memory related. RAIDZ requires lots of RAM for decent performance. Trying doubling the memory on the existing NAS as test the performance.

    A Xeon base system is way to powerful for backup only. An Atom base system would be more than sufficient for backup. You should build the Xeon system as a replacement for the existing NAS, and use the current NAS as the backup. Stick with freenas since you already have it in a working environment and should be familiar with it. For a 6 disk array, go with RAIDZ2 (RAID6), as that will give you better redundancy. Throw as much memory as possible to the new build. A dedicated hardware RAID may provide better performance. If a high end card is not outside your budget, get one that supports RAID6 or RAID50 (or both). With the RAID card, you won't need to enable RAID in freenas, thus removing the high memory requirement. You should do some testing with different RAID levels to see which fits your need. RAID50 offers better performance over RAID6, with similar redundancy. Again, this depends on the type of RAID card.
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