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Just a few questions about my planned FreeNAS build

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HockeyNomad

Cadet
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
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Hi there Ladies and Gents first post here

Just looking for a little help Im planning on utilising my old neglected rig as a very useful NAS server, and i have a few questions about compatability with freeNAS

My main questions are about the motherboard, as i think it will be quite well suited to a NAS server as it has 8 Sata ports, and gigabit ethernet. 4 Sataports are on the ICH7-R and 4 on Silicon Image Sil 3114 Serial ATA (SATA)controller.

its the Intel D955XBK, more indepth reading available here

The question i need help with is, can freeNAS work with its main components?

Intel 82801GR I/O Controller Hub (ICH7-R) with DMI interconnect
The ICH7-R’s Serial ATA controller offers four independent Serial ATA ports with a theoretical maximum transfer rate of 3 Gbits/sec per port.
This Supports Raid 0, 1, 0+1(10) & 5.

and the other 4 Sata ports

Silicon Image Sil 3114 Serial ATA (SATA)controller and four connectors.
The Sil 3114 controller uses the PCI bus for data transfer and provides a maximum data transfer rate of up to 1.5 Gbits/sec. The discrete SATA interface supports the following RAID levels: 0, 1 & 0+1(10)

Lan Port?
Intel® 82573E/82573V/82574V Gigabit Ethernet Controller

If anybody knows if the FreeNAS can support these please let me know, thanks in advance,
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
566
i used an Sil 3114 in my FN 7.2 box and it should still work in 8.0. however, try and avoid using the PCI bus, it's slow and antiquated. use the PCI-e bus if you can.
 

HockeyNomad

Cadet
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
7
Hi thanks for the feedback, I am actually thinking about using FN7, as it seems to have more features available until FN8.1 is coming out, trasnmissio for BT etc,

but yeah, The SiL 3114 is actually on the motherboard,

MoboB.jpg


SBs.jpg


as you can see they are the 4 blue sata connectors, that are controlled by the SiL3114, and its connected on the PCI bus according to the motherboard manual, I know its not as fast as PCI-e, but could be useful for non speed essential shares, and as its on the board already its free, and with nothing else on the pci bus, then i would hope it wouldnt be too restrictive,

i had a play with it tonight, i just went head and installed the freenas (amd64), and all seemed to work well, it connected to the network and i was able to access the webGUI, which was a bonus, it all went very easily,

i didnt use the Sil 3114 controller, but i did have 4 x 2TB drives on the ICH7R sata connectors and those all showed up just fine,

I am confident that freenas will work with my hardware, from what ive seen tonight,

Im hoping to have it up and running and go onine full time around december, which should coincide with the completion of the fibre optic broadband in my area, and with 10mb upload it should prove useful. so plenty of time for testing and hopefully freenas 8.1 to be finalised,
 
Joined
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Messages
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using the pci bus won't blow your system up, you just need to realize it's a very limited bus and if your network card also happens to be on it, your performance will plummet.

10 mb/s up, nice... I'm stuck with this slow 5mb/s up ;)

i also see that you have a free IDE slot, you should look into a CF card and an IDE to CF adapter. much faster than USB for a faster boot and then it's pretty much never used again.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820171416
~60 MB/s read

plenty of mounting options, i use the one with the bracket so i can swap cards without opening my case.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=cf+ide&x=0&y=0
 

HockeyNomad

Cadet
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
7
Just done a bit more indepth reading about the onboard gigabit LAN port that i will be using, its on the PCI-e bus, so the SiL 3114 will be the only connection in use on the PCI bus, as i have no PCI card i need to add in, so i should have the full PCI bus bandwidth for the 4 hard drives connected via the Sil 3114, so thats a bonus,

Thanks for pointing out the limitations of the PCI bus, i was aware its slower, but it shouldnt pose a problem to me, especially since it has the full bandwidth exclusively available to it,

I have been looking at a CF card and adaptor, ive seen CF cards with integrated IDE connectors so you just plug them into the motherboard, nice and neat,
4GB_EDC_4000_Dual_Channel_Flash_Disk_Module_44pin_IDE_main_large.jpg


is their any advantage to be had using a 4GB flash card over say a 2GB?

also system RAM i currently have 2GB of DDR2-800 (2 x 1GB) so have 2 spare slots and with the price of RAM these days i may just throw a little more in, I have been reading the ZFS file system loves Ram, and what file system would you reccommend? but thats another question for another part of the forum i guess.

also one more question, am i best letting FreeNAS controll the raid arrays, or use some of the inbuilt features of the motherboards raid capabilities?
 

BakCompat

Dabbler
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
17
Looking at the FN7 hardware compatibility list there is a link to Silicon Image based controllers.

If you are interested in running FN7 and NOT FN8, then I suggest you go over that info, particularly apollo567's post which links several more postings about these chipsets.. In short, several people reported issues with Sil chipsets.

matthewowen01 has reported on this forum that the Sil3132 works fine in FN8.

You are certainly welcome to try it out for yourself and see if it works for you. YMMV. If you choose to do so, you are probably best off using FN 0.7.2.6694 which is the most recent iteration of FN7 and likely the last. If that fails, consider using rev 5543 instead. It seemed to be very stable for a long time while FN8 was being written prior to it's own release. I believe that the majority of improvements were bugfixes, not new features. You can check the changelog to verify if you wish.
 

HockeyNomad

Cadet
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
7
Looking at the FN7 hardware compatibility list there is a link to Silicon Image based controllers.

If you are interested in running FN7 and NOT FN8, then I suggest you go over that info, particularly apollo567's post which links several more postings about these chipsets.. In short, several people reported issues with Sil chipsets.

matthewowen01 has reported on this forum that the Sil3132 works fine in FN8.

You are certainly welcome to try it out for yourself and see if it works for you. YMMV. If you choose to do so, you are probably best off using FN 0.7.2.6694 which is the most recent iteration of FN7 and likely the last. If that fails, consider using rev 5543 instead. It seemed to be very stable for a long time while FN8 was being written prior to it's own release. I believe that the majority of improvements were bugfixes, not new features. You can check the changelog to verify if you wish.

Thanks for that link, Im still at the play around & see whats what stage. I have a good Idea how i want to configure the Server, but only by playing around and seeing what its capable of will i really know the final setup, I will probably be waiting until 8.1 is finalised before "going live" full time with the server as once its fitted and installed, i dont want to have to think about it again tbh, i just want it to sit there and work. Bit of Bittorrent, DLNA Server(on the fly transcoding?), FTP/HTTPS file access from the internet and maybe if it could integrate with some backup software i might consider that, but im very new to freeNAS.

This motherboard currently has a Pentium D 3.2GHz Dual core processor, and 2GB of Ram installed, which im hoping should be plenty of processing power and RAM for the FreeNAS setup,

I have 4 internal Drive bays, and 4 x 5.25" external bays in my case, which i plan to fit one of these, and keep one of my two sony dvd-rw's for live cd's as backup or reinstallation,

Here is the case,
fa7a2031.jpg


and this is what i plan on fitting in the lower of the 3 5.25" drive bays,

IB-554_front_beleuchtet-1.jpg


IB-554_rear-1.jpg


IB-554_seitl_links_offen-1.jpg


This should allow me to keep my DVDRW drive, and have enough HDD mounting points for up to 8 HDD's,

I currently have 4 x 2TB drives "kicking about" 2 seagate and 2 samsung, so plan to fit those to use during my testing, and i have the option of expanding by another 4 drives in the internal HDD mounting points, if the SiL 3114 controller works correctly,

If not then i guess i would have to look into spending some cash on a decent PCI express Raid card, as i have a couple of spare pci express slots,
 

Thai Raconteur

Dabbler
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
10
"is their any advantage to be had using a 4GB flash card over say a 2GB? "

Actually the way FreeNAS is going I think you should be thinking about buying an 8 gig CF card. The minimum for 8.0.1 is now 2 gig and when I got into FreeNAS it was 64 meg!

Building systems it is always good to have more space available then you really need. The cost of CF cards on Newegg are: 2 gig $16, 4 gig is $10 and an 8 gig is about $20! Seems like a no brainer to me!

My Kingston 4 gig card boots in a flash and has a lifetime warranty. Just to be sure I don't get caught out, it was so cheap I bought 2 and two IDE CF adaptors and have a mirror of the my system drive waiting if I have a CF problem.

Also remember if you are running 64 bit and ZFS you are going to need 4 gig of ram!
 

HockeyNomad

Cadet
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
7
Thanks for the advice on the ram, ive added it to my shopping list, should i go for the board maximum of 8GB?

I've been doing some reading on the ZFS file system and it seems it has some advantages, but loves ram, the more the better seems to be the general consensus.

This is my next dilemma which filesystem, and whether to use the motherboards built in RAID control features or just let the freenas sort it all out,

I have had thoughts of using the FreeNAS to handle the raid arrays, instead of utilising the built in RAID features on the motherboard. i guess i will just had todo some testing to see what gives the best file transfer speeds, for my setup.

Also, the graphics card thats in the pc at the moment is a smidgen over kill, an old x1900GT so once i have it all setup is it possible to shut it down remove the card and reboot, then use telnet or another method of connecting to and maintaining the device, so i can have a truely "headless" server.
 

survive

Behold the Wumpus
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
875
Hi HockeyNomad,

Here's my thoughts....

I boot form CF using a CF to IDE adapter and it works great. It seems to boot faster that USB, but then again I don't boot it very often. I would certainly encourage you to get at least a 4GB device because sometimes the advertised size is a little smaller than you think....I have a couple of 4GB SanDisk USB keys that format out to ~3.7GB. The EDC you posted above is another very slick solution and should hold up very well in a NAS box.

I would certainly move to 8GB of RAM if it's an option, just don't look at the prices of DDR3! ZFS does indeed like the RAM & will make use of every bit you give it.

As for the Sil 3114 controller, well I must admit to having a huge bias against them. Other users have had good luck with them but I would never recommend them. The problem you will run into is that since it's PCI even 1 disk can come close or even completely saturate the bus. That shouldn't exactly hurt anything, but you will see it affect performance. For grins, when you are testing try running a volume on the ICH-7 ports...do a little benchmarking and then move the volume over to the Sil ports and run the same tests. Do that and you will know for sure!

You can't actually use the ICH-7 built-in RAID with FreeNAS so you will either have to use the built in software RAID options or get a RAID card. Personally I would much rather spend a hundred bucks for 8GB of RAM instead of several hundred for a discrete RAID controller....but you could do it in steps if you were planning to move to 8GB anyway. Try out the software options and then decide!

The video card is complete overkill, it won't hurt anything, but all you really need is a PCI video card to run the console display. Even with the PCI card sharing the bus with the Sil controller it shouldn't impact anything. Check the closets\craigslist for an old PCI card and you will be set. I don't think your PC will even boot without a card in it unless the BIOS can be set to do so.

-Will
 
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