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NAS Build Check - Plex and PC backups

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE
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GPSpiderMKII

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
19
Hey everyone,

New to posting on the forums, however I've been reading a bunch of threads, studying the hardware guide, and following a few builds (namely Stux's Norco Build). My primary use of this NAS will be to backup and store my personal media collection with enough redundancy that I hopefully never have to rip my entire library again. I'll be running Plex from the NAS and generally I have 1 to 2 transcode streams active but have peaked at 4 1080p transcodes. I additionally use Plex with an HD HomeRun to stream live HD (720p) TV throughout my house. I currently have a few set top boxes, but if I can pull this build off, I may scrap them completely and utilize the HomeRun/Plex set up with the CableCARD and save myself a few bucks a month.

Eventually, I'm going to open up my Plex to more of my family, so I'm thinking the number of transcode streams could increase and am hoping the build will allow me the room to grow. Additionally, I've seen some people use their NAS to automatically back up their computer images and I'd love to utilize this NAS to do that as well. Unfortunately, I'm not as well versed in those programs so I'd just hope that I can keep a separate zpool for that and the server still be able to handle it as I learn more.

Proposed build below for use with FreeNAS v11.0-U1

Chassis
SuperMicro 4U 24- Bay Server Chassis CSE-846BE16-R1K28B
  • Amazon's pricing is pretty high here, but I haven't been able to find this model number on eBay. The best I could find is the SuperMicro SUPERMICRO 4U SC846A-R1200B in JBOD empty chassis for approximately $450 (no longer available it looks like), but I'm not sure if this is a worthy replacement to the 846BE16-R1K28B?
Motherboard
SuperMicro X10SRI-F
  • I was looking at the X10SRL-F (since both are listed in the recommended hardware guide), but figured for the $10 difference it might be worth it for the Intel i350 NIC.
CPU
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4 @ 2.4 GHz
  • Choice here was that it was a compatible LGA 2011 E5 chip that was high on the Passmark scoring rank, Amazon sells it, and it isn't too insanely priced for the power.
RAM
Samsung 32GB DDR4-2133 LP ECC LRDIMM (MEM-DR432L-SL01-LR21)
  • I pulled this model number straight off the SuperMicro compatible memory list, but definitely not married to it. Not sure if I should push to 64GB sticks or go with a completely separate brand (or LRDIMM-2400)?
Boot Device
2x SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 32GB USB 2.0
  • I may switch this to Samsung 250GB SSDs - realize it's a complete waste of space, so if I can find smaller/cheaper SSDs may go with that option.

So overall, will this fit build successfully and are there any glaring issues that you may see from the above? Is there anything I'm missing that I should be thinking of (or build components I forgot to post)? I feel like at this point I've almost looked at these parts too much and I'm starting to confuse myself. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
 

tvsjr

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
943
On the chassis, there are many permutations on model number. What you're primarily concerned with is SAS1 vs SAS2 backplanes (SAS2 required for anything over 2TB) and a reasonably modern chipset. Personally, I would stay in the X9 or newer family. Oh, and the power supplies... the older ones scream like banshees. You want the newer 1K28 Platinum supplies.

You're going to outright buy a $2K E5-2680v4 for a home box? That's a ton of money for a current-gen Xeon. People seem quite able to run multiple 1080 transcodes with the hot E3s and Xeon-Ds, or with older E5 stuff.

Personally, I would recommend a real SSD or SATADOM for the boot device. Back up your config file and you can be just fine with a single drive.

Assuming that you are happy with a 4U chassis (meaning you recognize the size, noise, power consumption, why not consider something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Supermicro-...902205?hash=item1ecb202c3d:g:-OsAAOSwCmZZTA5i
This just came from a fast eBay search. The seller even markets it for FreeNAS. It's a virtual clone of my system (I have an X9DRi-LN4F+, but very similar) with 16 cores, 128GB RAM, a 64GB SATADOM for boot, and the ubiquitous LSI9211 controller. Flash the controller to IT mode (this may be done already), slap some drives in, and you have much more processor power than what you're trying to build for much less money. And this gives you 36 bays rather than 24. If you really get exotic, you can get 2 dual-2.5" drive brackets internal if you wanted to add drives for a SLOG, L2ARC, or just a small SSD array.

I don't use my system for anything except VM (NFS/iSCSI) and file (primarily SMB) storage (transcoding/Plex/backups/etc. are handled on the vSphere cluster) and I can assure you it's TOTAL OVERKILL. My load average is usually around 0.10, on a system where 32.00 would represent 100% utilization (assuming perfect hyperthreading). Each member of your home could run 3 1080p transcoded streams simultaneously and you'd still be good.
 

danb35

Wizened Sage
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
11,933
SuperMicro SUPERMICRO 4U SC846A-R1200B in JBOD empty chassis for approximately $450 (no longer available it looks like), but I'm not sure if this is a worthy replacement to the 846BE16-R1K28B?
No, it isn't. It has a -A backplane, which requires a SAS cable for each four bays. It isn't as bad as the -TQ, which requires an individual SATA cable for each bay, but it's bad enough. You want the SAS2 (or SAS3, if you're willing to pay for it) expander backplane, which takes a single SAS cable to wire all the bays. I second @tvsjr's recommendation of the used system from eBay; it's nearly a clone of mine as well.

Otherwise, if you're set on buying and building new, consider the E5-1650v4 instead (or a higher-spec 16xx if you really need it)--with the 26xx, you're paying a considerable premium for the ability to use it in a dual-socket configuration, which you won't be able to do with the motherboard you've picked.
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2014
Messages
99
I would echo the previous comments and add that the SataDOM's are a much better boot device. I have mirrored SATADOM's. Smaller and cheaper than dedicated SSDs, but more reliable (in my opinion than USB sticks...
 

Spearfoot

He of the long foot
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
2,266
Hey everyone,

New to posting on the forums, however I've been reading a bunch of threads, studying the hardware guide, and following a few builds (namely Stux's Norco Build). My primary use of this NAS will be to backup and store my personal media collection with enough redundancy that I hopefully never have to rip my entire library again. I'll be running Plex from the NAS and generally I have 1 to 2 transcode streams active but have peaked at 4 1080p transcodes. I additionally use Plex with an HD HomeRun to stream live HD (720p) TV throughout my house. I currently have a few set top boxes, but if I can pull this build off, I may scrap them completely and utilize the HomeRun/Plex set up with the CableCARD and save myself a few bucks a month.

Eventually, I'm going to open up my Plex to more of my family, so I'm thinking the number of transcode streams could increase and am hoping the build will allow me the room to grow. Additionally, I've seen some people use their NAS to automatically back up their computer images and I'd love to utilize this NAS to do that as well. Unfortunately, I'm not as well versed in those programs so I'd just hope that I can keep a separate zpool for that and the server still be able to handle it as I learn more.

Proposed build below for use with FreeNAS v11.0-U1

Chassis
SuperMicro 4U 24- Bay Server Chassis CSE-846BE16-R1K28B
  • Amazon's pricing is pretty high here, but I haven't been able to find this model number on eBay. The best I could find is the SuperMicro SUPERMICRO 4U SC846A-R1200B in JBOD empty chassis for approximately $450 (no longer available it looks like), but I'm not sure if this is a worthy replacement to the 846BE16-R1K28B?
Motherboard
SuperMicro X10SRI-F
  • I was looking at the X10SRL-F (since both are listed in the recommended hardware guide), but figured for the $10 difference it might be worth it for the Intel i350 NIC.
CPU
Intel Xeon E5-2680 v4 @ 2.4 GHz
  • Choice here was that it was a compatible LGA 2011 E5 chip that was high on the Passmark scoring rank, Amazon sells it, and it isn't too insanely priced for the power.
RAM
Samsung 32GB DDR4-2133 LP ECC LRDIMM (MEM-DR432L-SL01-LR21)
  • I pulled this model number straight off the SuperMicro compatible memory list, but definitely not married to it. Not sure if I should push to 64GB sticks or go with a completely separate brand (or LRDIMM-2400)?
Boot Device
2x SanDisk Cruzer Fit CZ33 32GB USB 2.0
  • I may switch this to Samsung 250GB SSDs - realize it's a complete waste of space, so if I can find smaller/cheaper SSDs may go with that option.

So overall, will this fit build successfully and are there any glaring issues that you may see from the above? Is there anything I'm missing that I should be thinking of (or build components I forgot to post)? I feel like at this point I've almost looked at these parts too much and I'm starting to confuse myself. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
I third the suggestion to purchase used gear off eBay. You can find a more-than-suitable system for a lot less money.

I prefer the Supermicro 24-bay 4U chassis: these have a full 4U-sized motherboard compartment while the 36-bay units only have 2U, which limits your options for CPU cooling fans, PCIe card height, etc.
 

danb35

Wizened Sage
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
11,933
2U, which limits your options for CPU cooling fans
The chassis fans over passive heatsinks are just fine for my pair of E5-2670s. I guess card height could be an issue, but it isn't one I've encountered so far.
 

tvsjr

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
943
The chassis fans over passive heatsinks are just fine for my pair of E5-2670s. I guess card height could be an issue, but it isn't one I've encountered so far.
Concur. Mine was built from components (didn't come assembled), so when I bought the heatsinks I added the Supermicro fan-cooled sinks just because... they also work well. Right now, both processors are basically idling... 40C/43C.

I guess I wasn't concerned about the limited height because a. it came with a compatible motherboard that I never intend to upgrade short of replacing it some year (and that's a long way in the future) and b. I didn't intend to add a bunch of cards, since my NAS is a pure NAS... all the other fun stuff runs on the vSphere cluster.
 

Spearfoot

He of the long foot
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
2,266
@danb35, @tvsjr : We have very similar systems: mine is an X9DRi-LN4F+ with 128GB of RAM and a pair of E5-2660s in a Supermicro CSE-846 case with the BPN-SAS-846A backplane (further details in 'my systems' below).

It's probably a good thing for my pocketbook that I only have 24 bays to fill... with a 36-bay chassis I'd just have that much more temptation to squander gelt on disks! :confused:

I like to run my systems as cool as possible... so I removed the shroud and installed Supermicro CPU fans, connected to the FANA & FANB headers. I pulled the PWM pin on the CPU fans so they run at full speed (~3675RPM) and the CPUs never break 41C. I also installed a 120mm fan on a Zalman bracket (pic below) to blow down on the 10GbE Intel X520-DA1 NIC, Dell H200 HBA, and 3xLSI-9210 HBAs. All 5 of these cards run hot, as you guys probably know, and this really seems to help. My system has the 920W 'SQ' PSUs and the noise level isn't bad at all with this configuration.
zalman-bracket-with-fan.jpg
 

tvsjr

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
943
Very cool (ha). My CPU fans show to be running at that speed anyway. I don't have the collection of cards (just a 9211 HBA) so not such a big deal there... the 4 GbE ports are in LACP with VLAN trunking.

I do have to wonder if pulling the shroud actually hurts a bit. These things are meant to move lots of air front to rear. But, with enough fans, it's all good.
 

Spearfoot

He of the long foot
Moderator
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
2,266
I do have to wonder if pulling the shroud actually hurts a bit. These things are meant to move lots of air front to rear. But, with enough fans, it's all good.
I may be mistaken... but I believe the main purpose of the air shroud is simply to channel airflow over the stock passive CPU heatsinks, so it's okay to pull it if you install active heatsinks. In any case, pulling it hasn't had any adverse affects on my system.

I've written a mind-numbingly simply shell script to monitor the HDD temps and toggle the system fan mode appropriately between 'Full', 'Standard', and 'Optimal'. This works well, too - my HDD temps never exceed 38C, with the fan setting pretty much always in 'Standard' mode.
 

GPSpiderMKII

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
19
First, thanks everyone for the responses - very helpful across the board and a lot of great information.

On the chassis, there are many permutations on model number. What you're primarily concerned with is SAS1 vs SAS2 backplanes (SAS2 required for anything over 2TB) and a reasonably modern chipset. Personally, I would stay in the X9 or newer family. Oh, and the power supplies... the older ones scream like banshees. You want the newer 1K28 Platinum supplies.
Thanks for the breakdown here. I was definitely getting a bit confused with all the different chassis model numbers, so this helps a lot. Personally, I think I'm sold on the X10 boards. I didn't want to jump to the X11 since they all seemed to be microATX and not able to support higher amounts of RAM and more powerful CPUs (also, was going off the hardware recommendation guide here for "large" NAS systems of 10+ disks).

Assuming that you are happy with a 4U chassis (meaning you recognize the size, noise, power consumption, why not consider something like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Supermicro-...902205?hash=item1ecb202c3d:g:-OsAAOSwCmZZTA5i
I'm definitely leaning towards the 4U chassis and think I want to stick with it just because of the amount of stuff I'll need to store and can see my collection growing. I also have no problem buying used off of eBay. In fact, for the chassis, I would probably prefer that as there seems to be a huge price difference. As I mentioned, I just didn't see the specific model number I was looking for and didn't know enough about the various options to be confident in selecting another one. @tvsjr and @danb35's descriptions on backplanes helped a lot here.

I prefer the Supermicro 24-bay 4U chassis: these have a full 4U-sized motherboard compartment while the 36-bay units only have 2U, which limits your options for CPU cooling fans, PCIe card height, etc.
That's exactly what I was thinking when I was opting for the 24 bay 4U chassis as opposed to the 36 bay. I've seen a ton of posts about making sure the airflow within the server is unrestricted and felt that the compressed 2U space for the motherboard might be too tight for the amount of hardware I'm putting inside of it.

Otherwise, if you're set on buying and building new, consider the E5-1650v4 instead (or a higher-spec 16xx if you really need it)--with the 26xx, you're paying a considerable premium for the ability to use it in a dual-socket configuration, which you won't be able to do with the motherboard you've picked.
I think my thoughts here with the E5-26xx series is that it was high on the Passmark scoring system and I want to make sure that after I buy this, it effectively doesn't become obsolete within a few months with how much load I'd be putting on it. Granted I'm running Plex off my home desktop now (and older i7 chip) that's connected to a cheap Synology NAS, and can usually handle one or two streams, but every once in a while I get buffering. I'd hate for that to happen on this new system, no matter how many of my family members are trying to watch something.

At first I was thinking about the E5-1650v4, seeing as how a bunch of users on this forum seem to have that CPU in their systems; especially when they are using Plex. If I switched to this, would it be recommended to also look at a dual socket board like the SuperMicro EATX X10DRI-F? I'm assuming that I can fill just one of the sockets now and upgrade at a later date? From my calculations it looks like two E5-1650 v4's would still be cheaper then the E5-2680 v4 and provide a bit better performance. Does that seem correct?

Again, thanks for everyone's help with sorting this out. Ultimately I'm just trying to figure out the best configuration for a 4U server, so any insight that helps be pick parts is definitely appreciated.
 

danb35

Wizened Sage
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
11,933
At first I was thinking about the E5-1650v4, seeing as how a bunch of users on this forum seem to have that CPU in their systems; especially when they are using Plex. If I switched to this, would it be recommended to also look at a dual socket board like the SuperMicro EATX X10DRI-F?
No, you can only use a single 16xx CPU in a board. If you want to use two CPUs in the same board, you'd need 26xxs. I'm not sure if you could use a single 16xx in a dual-socket board, but you definitely can't use two of them.
 

GPSpiderMKII

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
19
No, you can only use a single 16xx CPU in a board. If you want to use two CPUs in the same board, you'd need 26xxs. I'm not sure if you could use a single 16xx in a dual-socket board, but you definitely can't use two of them.
Then I'd worry that with a Passmark score of around 13,000 I may peak the cheap sooner rather than later? I realize that equates to 6-7 transcode streams already, but I worry I may hit that (even if infrequently).

I see that you have 2x E5-2670s in your build and also run Plex. Mind if I ask whats the most amount of streams you've supported with that configuration and how the hardware handled it?
 

danb35

Wizened Sage
Joined
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Messages
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It's very rare for me to run more than one stream--my hardware is much more than I really need. But it was relatively cheap on eBay, so I jumped on it.
 

GPSpiderMKII

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2016
Messages
19
Gotcha... but theoretically (assuming I can find a cheaper 4U chassis with at least a SAS2 backplane), that fit I had will work for FreeNAS v11.0-U1 with the E5-2680 v4 or a E5-1650 v4? None of the parts seem to be incompatible?
 
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