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Building a new FreeNAS

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  • NAS / RAID
  • Storage
Last response: in Storage
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February 4, 2013 1:41:26 AM

Hello community. I'm thinking about building a FreeNAS box but I need some help. I need to build a Box from scratch for no more than 700$ and I need at least 4tb of space to start out with and be able to upgrade later on down the road to 6, 8, and etc.

I need it to be fast and also secure from data loss. I will be editing from the files and also recording to them, and occasionally backing up files. I'm also wondering if i would need to get a bit more powerful switch. I have a single ethernet coming from the router to my room switch (which is an unmanaged desktop consumer grade switch). Then I have a single Ethernet going to my workstation where I would be recording to and editing from. (the recording speed would be around 85mb/s).

For the parts I was looking at Amd's E350 apu Or intel Atom all in one motherboard's, which can be had for around 100$, or getting a super low power intel cpu and a cheap intel motherboard. Also, would it be wise to invest in a good rain controller and get less hard drives right now then upgrade later on down the road?

Thanks for any help in advanced. If there is anything else I could explain about what I need to get an answer please let me know. Thanks!

More about : building freenas

February 4, 2013 1:50:06 AM

I can give you one advice to start with : Get a Raid card and use 2TB drives in Raid 0 (Best performance, max storage).

Any integrated processor in a motherboard should do the job. Throw some ram (about 16gb +- depends on your needs) and drives other stuff of your choice.


- The Brownie
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February 4, 2013 2:47:18 AM

Raid 0 is useless for the OP as he wants data loss protection
If you want speed and data loss protection go with a Raid 0+1 or Raid 10 setup

Also lots of Ram 8gb for Freenas (well more then 4gb) to enable its extra caching

My own testing as found Intel Atom's not good enough with Freenas for Gigabit ethernet speeds, it seems to cap out about 40-60mb/s while my Core2 machines hit the 100-110mb/s cap on network speed

Also note Free NAS is designed mostly around software raid, to use a hardware raid controller with it, you need to check its supported cards lists as not all work well with it.
A hardware raid controller will help overcome the weak performance of a Intel Atom, all my Freenas work was software raid so its hard on Atom's
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a c 78 G Storage
February 4, 2013 9:17:22 PM

Hardware RAID controller capable of RAID expand/migrating is VERY expensive.

Since you need only 4TB. For now, use the build-in RAID of FreeNAS create a RAID1 (mirror) with 2x 4TB.

Once you need more space get the SP393/SPM394 raid controller create a new volume then move data over...

It's faster and safer

Migrate/expand RAID are expansive, long time and probable data lost if runs without UPS
For home use I highly recommend to create a new and move data over.

Migrate/expand RAID only for server CAN NOT going down and with UPS

Add more RAM does not do any good - if you are not using ZFS in FreeNAS
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a b G Storage
February 14, 2013 4:41:34 PM

One of the huge benefits of FreeNAS is the ZFS filesystem. Especially if you are going to be using 2TB+ disks there is no reason not to use it, just be ready to feed it ram. I believe they recommend 1GB of ram for every TB of storage.

Another thought for you, it is strongly encouraged that you let the ZFS file system have direct access to the disks. As in simply use the sata ports on the mobo or set any raid controller you have to JOBD. So there is really no point in buying an expensive RAID controller if they recommend not using its features.
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February 26, 2013 3:31:07 PM

Your requirements are somewhat contradictory. Fast, secure, and cheap.

Just FWIW, I am running a CentOS box right now serving as a NAS controller, which is likely to get upgraded. My budget is getting stretched to make everything fit though...

Through recycling case, power supply, a spare PCIe Radeon card, DVDRW, and internal SATA HDDs, I have the basics covered to get going with something that will support my needs.

MSI AM3+ motherboard that will support 32GB DDR3 $80.00
AMD Phenom II Quad Core 3.4ghz CPU $99.00
Corsair Vengance DDR3 32GB RAM. This stuff fluctuates, presently at $180.00
Rosewill RSV-S8 8 bay eSATA RAID enclosure and PCIe controller card. $219.99 after rebate. (Already have this).
You didn't mention capacity desired. Just potential for growth. So let's just assume for a minute that you want to just start with 4 drives. I am using the Seagate ST2000DM001 2TB drives with great results. $98.00 each on Amazon...
That puts you at $971.00 and that doesn't even begin to address the SAN network and multipathing if those features are desired.

It's the enclosure / controller and the disks that suck up most of your budget.

Now assuming you want to do an internal thing (don't care about hot swap) and have the drive bay space. Subtract about $200.00 from that price tag, and you will be limited to only being able to RAID 4 disks off of one controller. (A cheap controller runs about $20.00, good ones considerably more...)
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May 28, 2013 1:12:12 PM

lozotheatheist said:
Hello community. I'm thinking about building a FreeNAS box but I need some help. ...
For the parts I was looking at Amd's E350 apu Or intel Atom all in one motherboard's, which can be had for around 100$, ...



Atom will not work well. You need at least 8GB of RAM for a ZFS system and Atom goes up to 4GB.
You also need Gigabyte Ethernet, preferably an Intel NIC. Not the cheap NIC on the motherboard.

So as long as you have the above you are good to go. The best/cheapest disk drives that add up to 4TB usable storage will be three 2TB WD "Red" drives in RaidZ2.

Be sure and back up your data to drives that are un-plugged and kept in a fire safe. Do at least two backup copies. Don't keep both copies in the same safe.
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