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BUILD New FreeNas build (3 possible builds) - looking for your input

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

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Nov 26, 2014
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94
Dear members,

I'm coming to you with a request for help regarding a new Freenas build.

My needs are: centralise all the storage data in my house.
  1. Several laptops (3), smartphones and tablets (about 1TB)
  2. DVR target for recorded programs (these can get quite large depending on the length and resolution)
  3. Plex (transcoding - about 5 streams maximum)
  4. Torrent download client
  5. Maybe one Windows machine for me to remote access. That way I could use Windows programs on an Android tablet.
After reading most of the stickies here and several articles I have reduced my options to these three builds.
  1. Microserver HP Gen8
  • this one with E3-1220L v2 and 8GB RAM
I live in Europe and they are selling one of these for about 680 EUR. With 16GB it would cost 770 EUR.

The advantages of this build are:
  1. One purchase of all the components and a nice form factor (I like the case)
  2. Reasonably powerful, with a low energy consumption
Concerns:
  1. Expandability
  2. Freenas compatibility (read many articles where people had difficulty setting it up, requiring iOL subscription for ISO mounting)
  3. Power - as the E3-1220L is dual core I'm not sure it would keep up with everything.
  4. Expandability - 4 HDD with some moding I could add some more. Not sure how good the on-board SATA controller is.
  5. Price / quality
  • Even with the above mentioned price, I can still assemble something a bit better with a few 100 EUR difference
2. Avoton build
As I'm not able to get the freenas mini here in Europe I would build something very similar specifications:
  • Asrock C2750D4I - 356 EUR
  • 2x Crucial CT102472BD160B - 180 EUR
  • Fractal Design Mini - 85 EUR
  • Corsair RM Series 550Watt Voll Modular 80 PLUS Gold - 100 EUR
Total - 721 EUR

PROS:
  1. Similar hardware to the FreeNas Mini - thus should be compatible
  2. 8 CPU's with low power consumption and passive cooling
  3. Expandability - many SATA ports
  4. Remote access - no need to pay any subscription
CONS:
  1. Not sure the price / quality is good enough as the Xeon E3 is not far away (price wise)
  2. Not sure if Plex can use any hardware acceleration with Atom CPU's
  3. I have read a few negative things about the on-board SATA controller and network Gbit
The last option is the popular build I've seen here.
  • X10SL7-F - 260 EUR
  • INTEL Xeon E3-1240v3 or INTEL Xeon E3-1231v3 - 250 EUR
  • CT2KIT102472BD160B - 180 EUR
  • Fractal Design Mini - 85 EUR
  • Corsair RM Series 550Watt Voll Modular 80 PLUS Gold - 100 EUR
Total price: 875 EUR

There you have it my fruit of long hours reading and trying to better understand the fascinating world of servers.

I would maybe just add that most of the things will be accessing the server by WiFi, thus iSCIS is highly discouraged, even if my inner Geek wanted to try it :).

Now I would like to know what do you think about my builds, and given the requirements above what would you price / quality / expandability choose.

Please feel free to suggest other components if you think something is out of balance. I'm not sure about the power supply, however it had reasonable reviews and it was 80 plus gold.

Thank you in advance for all your time spent trying to assist me with this build.
 

SweetAndLow

Sweet'NASty
Joined
Nov 6, 2013
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6,395
I think the last build you mentioned is going to be the closest to doing everything you want. I would go with the 1240 CPU and 16gig of memory to start and think about upgrading to 32G if you want to run windows in a VM. Running a DVR target is going to need lots of ram for caching.
 

Johev

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Messages
94
I think the last build you mentioned is going to be the closest to doing everything you want. I would go with the 1240 CPU and 16gig of memory to start and think about upgrading to 32G if you want to run windows in a VM. Running a DVR target is going to need lots of ram for caching.

Dear SweetAndLow, thank you for your input. I'll just give some additional information about the DVR. I currently have a Vu+ DUO2 and I need a target place where it can record the programs. It will be connected by the Gbit Ethernet.

Will it actually need that much RAM? I thought that 16GB was already overkill :). My HDD setup should initially be 4x4TB HDD WD RED or Seagate NAS (no money for 6 HDD), where I would use use it in the with the file system where one disk could fail and my data would still be OK (not sure how it's called, similar to the RAID5).

PS: Any difference between E3-1240v3 and E3-1231v3? Same clock, same cache, same power consumption (so confused) :)
 

SweetAndLow

Sweet'NASty
Joined
Nov 6, 2013
Messages
6,395
You should read the stickies for hardware recommendations. After a little bit more reading you will see that RAID5 or RaidZ in the zfs world will not cut it in most cases. If you want to use 4 drives you will be better off with raidZ2 and have 7.3 TB of usable storage, I might even suggest 2 mirrors striped for higher IOP's.

After looking it up you are right there ins't really any difference between the 1240 and 1231(http://ark.intel.com/compare/80910,75055).

IMO 16G of ram is the recommended amount for most home use cases but as drives sizes increase and people start exploring more plug-ins that is slowly going to drift to 32GB as time goes by.
 

hertzsae

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Sep 23, 2014
Messages
113
I am in the process of testing a build very similar to your third option. I went with the E3-1240v3 since my local store had it in stock. I am not positive that the first two options will keep up with your plex needs if they all need to transcode.
 

Johev

Member
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Nov 26, 2014
Messages
94
I would also like to ask you what do you think about the:
Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 - (3.2 GHz, Intel Xeon, E3-1225V3, Serial ATA III) - 373 EUR (including shipping)


This looks very tempting at it already comes with a reasonable Xeon CPU, pity no HT however it's still reasonably clocked and should be up for the tasks and the price of less than 50% of the above setups is very tempting.

Possible CONS: I was able to find about was the 4 HDD limit, max 5 without the DVD Drive and some people were a little worried about possible heat problems.

  1. Can anyone let me know if I would have to pay for a licence in order to access Lenovo remote management as HP is charging with their iOL?
  2. Would this box be a good FreeNas / Plex server, given I'll upgrade the RAM to at least 12GB?
  3. What do you think about the price/quality for this system?

Many thanks in advance for all your advice.
 

marbus90

Neophyte Sage
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Aug 2, 2014
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818
If you're good with the Dell T20, the Xeon E3-1225v3 version is sold for even less than that. Takes 4 drives easily, up to 9 with Lian Li MF-30 and a common 3in2 frame, has only 4 onboard SATA Ports, only 4GB ECC RAM standard, would require some SATA Power adapters - but 4 disks in that is easy and even fully precabled.
 

Ericloewe

Not-very-passive-but-aggressive
Moderator
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I'll add that a Seasonic G-Series is a much better deal than a Corsair RM.

Corsair RM is average, but Seasonic G-Series PSUs are very good. Pricing should be similar.
 

Johev

Member
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Nov 26, 2014
Messages
94
@Ericloewe, thank you very much for your input on the power supply. I really didn't know anything server wise for the PSU, I just wanted it to be as silent and efficient as possible while keeping the price reasonable. I will definitely check the recommended brand if I go for the custom build. Thank you :)

@marbus90, your input has been extremely helpful. I was not aware of the Dell T20 series, only HP/Fujitsu/Lenovo and out of them all the Lenovo appeared to be the best price / quality wise.

Now that I have been checking the Dell T20 - I can let you know that I find it similarly priced as the Lenovo above, however with more space for extra HDD's in the case. However the Dell version is not something Amazon likes to send to my address. The only one I was able to have delivered to me is the G3220 for about 350 EUR (quite steep when compared to the Lenovo Xeon).

I was also checking Fujitsu VFY:T1203SXG10IN Primergy Tower Server (Intel Xeon E3-1265, 2,5GHz, 4GB RAM, 2x RJ-45, DVD, 10x USB 2.0) - 541 EUR however I believe that it only takes two 3.5 HDD's .

Could I get any opinions on the Lenovo vs Fujitsu above? Would there be a way to add more HDD's to the Fujitsu model?
If not would you recommend the Lenovo TS140 - (3.2 GHz, Intel Xeon, E3-1225V3, Serial ATA III) for a freenas / plex build?

Many thanks for all your input, it's highly appreciated :)
 

marbus90

Neophyte Sage
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Yeah, I recently bought the Xeon version for 269EUR shipped. Now the Xeon price is ~330EUR, not shipped... is amazon required or just a convience option? Via paypal or Amazon Payments there may be an offer for 360EUR shipped EU-wide.

The Fujitsu is a SFF system and based on older hardware. But if 2 disks are enough and you would love a "Made in Germany" sticker (they really are), go for it. 2.5" HDDs would be easier to squeeze into, 6-7 of them should fit.

The TS140 is also one often seen here. It has 2 individual 5.25" bays, so no 3in2 adaptor possible there. Easy way there would be 2 disks compared to the 4 of the Dell... Also the Dell features Intel iAMT Management without requiring iDRAC licenses. I didn't look at it too close since after the initial setup everything is done remote. Got one of those for a Windows Server and another for a Workstation.
 

Johev

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Nov 26, 2014
Messages
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@marbus90 thank you for all your help and suggestions. Well I live in Belgium (Brussels) and Amazon (Germany/France/Spain/UK and Italy) is what I usually use to order, just because I don't know any other competitively priced places. Anything that accepts PayPal or a credit card I'm OK ordering from :). If you would like to share a good place to buy server parts for a reasonable amount please let me know.

Now back to the topic. By going to the official dell (Belgium) website I see that they have a promotion on Dell PowerEdge T420 - 406.9 EUR for a E5-2407 v2 without RAM or HDD. As this one is only 4C and no Turbo, the next in line would be E5-2420 v2 for 576.9 EUR (again no HDD or RAM).

Would you think this would be a good option for the price for Freenas? Would it be too loud with only 1 CPU and about 4 HDD?
 

marbus90

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818
The 24xx series is basically the low-cost dualsocket solution. Personally I didn't find anything particular interesting in them - low clock, low core count, nothing really useful for freenas, also that might turn out as a real server with loud fans.
 

NiKiLLst

Junior Member
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Dec 8, 2014
Messages
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Your build is almost the same I have in my mind. Third option is my way.
There are a lot of different, interesting, suggestions.

I'll subscribe your thread.
 

Johev

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Messages
94
@NiKiLLst thank you for your kind words. I also think price/quality and based on the 3 options in the first post the last one is the most balanced and most flexible option.

I am still looking to see if I'm able to get a Dell T20 or a Lenovo TS140 / E31 (the E3 v2 have a lower power consumption than the v3 and the performance is not very different) for a good price, however it's not been an easy hunt :).

If anyone knows of a good place that sells these machines at a good price please share.

Otherwise I'm now trying to figure out the hard drives.

I thought always between WD RED and Seagate NAS, however reading these forums I see that people were able to use WD GREENs (with a small firmware hack).

I would be using the cheapest per TB, so far it's the 3TB HDD (so 3 or 4 of these). Would a RAIDZ2 be necessary. I've read so many things about the 50% chance errors when rebuilding the array if the data goes 12TB or above. However using a RAIDZ2 with 4 HDD is like using the old RAID1.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Jailer

Not strong, but bad
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
4,688
I wouldn't do anything less than RAIDZ2 with any build.
 

doomed

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2014
Messages
17
Dear members,

I'm coming to you with a request for help regarding a new Freenas build.

My needs are: centralise all the storage data in my house.
  1. Several laptops (3), smartphones and tablets (about 1TB)
  2. DVR target for recorded programs (these can get quite large depending on the length and resolution)
  3. Plex (transcoding - about 5 streams maximum)
  4. Torrent download client
  5. Maybe one Windows machine for me to remote access. That way I could use Windows programs on an Android tablet.
After reading most of the stickies here and several articles I have reduced my options to these three builds.
  1. Microserver HP Gen8
  • this one with E3-1220L v2 and 8GB RAM

If you end up with the Microserver HP, I would like to know :)
 

Johev

Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Messages
94
Thanks to everyone for your input.

Anyone has any ideas about the Lenovo Thinkserver E32 TM (Tower)

E3-1245v3
8GB of RAM
Integrated (Intel i217LM) Ethernet

Could not find any freenas build with them, and from what I could find out they only have 3 bays for 3.5 HDDs.

Many thanks,

J
 

NiKiLLst

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2014
Messages
22
@Johev I gave a look at P Series page (E32 TM is available no more in my country, that's the suggested replacement).

P500 comes with up to 11 storage driver and 11 ram slots, with E5-16xx and E5-26xx.
It comes with 3 years on site warranty, that's good.
Problem is about how warranty is considered. You should buy directly from them all the customizations (ram, disks...) to keep warranty safe. That doesn't come cheap.

If you want to upgrade it on your own every manufacturer has its own policy.

I know Dell and HP policies about warranty, that might be similar to Lenovo's, or not, no idea.
I'll make an example: with Dell you can change disks but they only work on the same build they sent you. If you have a problem you have to put the old disk back and then ask for support.
Hp's workstations on the other side are the opposite: you touch it (you brake the sigil when open the case), no more warranty. Period.
 

Johev

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Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Messages
94
@NiKiLLst

Thanks for your fast reply. I'm not buying it new but through eBay. It ends in 20 minutes.

This model has a single xeon E3 1245v3 with 8GB of ram.

The tower apparently only fits a maximum of 3-4 HDDs. However there are 5 SATA ports on the motherboard and the chipset is c226.

As its going right now below 400€ (303 right now) I thought it would be a nice freenas server for plex and some torrents.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

NiKiLLst

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2014
Messages
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... if I don't offer for it. :D
I'm jocking. Seems like a good price.
1 Sata port maybe for Cd Drive?
 
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