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BUILD Scrub's First Attempt at FreeNAS

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devianz

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Jul 9, 2016
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Hi guys,


First attempt at FreeNAS. I've been dreaming about a decent FreeNAS build for a few months, but this weekend I really buckled down and started doing some research/making spreadsheets of what I want to achieve. I'd like a sanity check from some veterans before I go ahead and blow a few thousand on something that doesn't work or is drastically different from what I need - which is problematic because I live in Australia, which isn't the best place in terms of hardware availability.

Type of use: Home - 2, maybe 3 devices streaming media, along with use as a dumping ground for my old files. Obviously I need to find an off-site backup solution as well.

Anyway, here's what I have in mind:

CPU-i3-6320
- I have no idea which of the i3s (i3-6100, i3-6100t, i3-6300, i3-6300t, i3-6320) I need for this build - naturally I'm leaning towards the one with the most grunt, but I don't even know if it's necessary. Is the cache and clock beneficial for FreeNAS? Or is extremely low TDP the way to go?

Mobo - AsRock C236 WSI
- Really wanted a mini-ITX solution without going all the way for the E3 prefix board - I couldn't find any Supermicro ITX boards (aside from Xeon Ds which are out of my price range). If there are serious issues with this particular board though/if anybody has had any terrible experiences with it, I'd like to know before I buy a $400 brick and get it shipped in from the States.


RAM - 2x8GB or 1x16GB Crucial DDR4-2133 ECC Unbuffered [CT8G4WFD8213 or CT16G4WFD8213]
- Had extreme difficulty finding the ECC RAM on the QVL for the C236 WSI, so I searched all around and found this on the website of a RAM specialist store. Not sure if the 1x16 version is compatible (I'd like the option to upgrade to 32 whenever), so I'll need to check with them when I get a chance.

Boot - Sandisk Ultra Fit SDCZ43 16GB (boot USB)
- Self-explanatory (non-garbage?) boot USB

NAS Drives - 4x WD Red 4TB / Seagate ST4000VN000
- Here is where I'm stuck. From what I can see, the C236 WSI has 8 SATA ports, but how to distribute these and get a decent drive topology is where I'm having trouble deciding. I know I don't want a L2ARC and ZIL SSD mirror cache because it'll have little impact on my home use, so I should have full use of all 8 ports. I want to preferably start off with 2-4 drives (my wallet won't really like it if I buy the whole lot at once, and neither will the vdev when everything starts failing at the same time). I would like to maximise the amount of space available whilst having a decent amount of redundancy.

1) 2-4 vdevs of mirrors?
e.g. VDEV 1 - 2 x 4TB, VDEV 2 - 2x4TB, VDEV3, VDEV 4 etc

2) RAID Z1 or RAID Z2?
I'm not sure how to configure this though, as 8 ports is in the odd space between the traditional RAID-Z1 5/9 or RAID-Z2 6/10, and I want to maximise the number of ports used.

- Second question - would mixing WD Reds / Seagate 4000VN000s and even HGST DeskStar drives create performance/redundancy issues? I have read about some individuals preferring to mix different vendor drives of the same capacity, along with purchasing them at staggered intervals to ensure batch defects don't become a problem.


Also, I'd like opinions on which of the following Case + PSU combos to buy:

1)
Case - Silverstone DS380B
- Has anybody had issues with the Hotswap function of this case? From what I understand, you naturally have to configure from within FreeNAS in order to disconnect/replace a drive, but aside from that, are there any other issues with the hotswap?

PSU - Silverstone ST45SF-G
- Just your classic 80+ Gold efficiency SFX PSU.

2)
Case - Fractal Design Node 304

PSU - Seasonic SSR-360GP
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
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Low TDP processors are for for people who really have an environment where they absolutely positively cannot exceed a thermal rate. They tend to eat more power, cost more money, and deliver poorer performance. Since they idle at about the same power consumption as a standard processor, you may be better off getting a CPU that just gets its work done quickly.

Your PSU sizing may be a bit shy for 8 drives (implied by 4 vdevs). https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/proper-power-supply-sizing-guidance.38811/

CIFS in particular does better with a higher clock, because each client is singlethreaded.
 

Ericloewe

Not-very-passive-but-aggressive
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17,452
RAM - 2x8GB or 1x16GB Crucial DDR4-2133 ECC Unbuffered [CT8G4WFD8213 or CT16G4WFD8213]
- Had extreme difficulty finding the ECC RAM on the QVL for the C236 WSI, so I searched all around and found this on the website of a RAM specialist store. Not sure if the 1x16 version is compatible (I'd like the option to upgrade to 32 whenever), so I'll need to check with them when I get a chance.
Definitely get 16GB DIMMs. There's no point to 8GB DIMMs now that Skylake takes 16GB per DIMM.

Also, if you end up buying that memory, do me a favor and post some pictures of the labels on the DIMMs.

Mobo - AsRock C236 WSI
- Really wanted a mini-ITX solution without going all the way for the E3 prefix board - I couldn't find any Supermicro ITX boards (aside from Xeon Ds which are out of my price range). If there are serious issues with this particular board though/if anybody has had any terrible experiences with it, I'd like to know before I buy a $400 brick and get it shipped in from the States.
It should work, but it's a workstation board, built for different sensibilities than its server counterparts (no IPMI, but instead has audio).

I'm not sure how to configure this though, as 8 ports is in the odd space between the traditional RAID-Z1 5/9 or RAID-Z2 6/10, and I want to maximise the number of ports used.
Don't worry about it. An 8-wide RAIDZ2 is perfectly ok.

- Second question - would mixing WD Reds / Seagate 4000VN000s and even HGST DeskStar drives create performance/redundancy issues? I have read about some individuals preferring to mix different vendor drives of the same capacity, along with purchasing them at staggered intervals to ensure batch defects don't become a problem.
No, no issues. Don't overdo it, though, otherwise you'll waste time chasing different lots and different models. What's far more important is to have at least one spare burned-in and ready to go.

1)
Case - Silverstone DS380B
- Has anybody had issues with the Hotswap function of this case? From what I understand, you naturally have to configure from within FreeNAS in order to disconnect/replace a drive, but aside from that, are there any other issues with the hotswap?
That chassis has dubious thermals that need to be worked around. I recommend you read up on the matter before you get it, to determine what is needed to prevent it from baking your drives.
The backplane seems appropriate for hot swapping, though. I can't see the SATA connectors, but they'll probably be of the appropriate type. It also has a few caps to deal with inrush current, as is normal.

2)
Case - Fractal Design Node 304

PSU - Seasonic SSR-360GP
That's cutting it a bit tight. A G-450 would be the minimum to consider. Modular cables also help a lot.

PSU - Silverstone ST45SF-G
- Just your classic 80+ Gold efficiency SFX PSU.
I hear Corsair's new SFX models are quite nice and a good step up from the Silverstones.
 

devianz

Newbie
Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
3
Thanks for the enlightening answers jgreco and Ericloewe! Really made my day.

Based on your replies, I think I might get the following:

i3-6320
AsRock C236 WSI
Crucial 1x16 GB DDR4-2133 ECC Unbuffered CT16G4WFD8213 (I checked with the RAM specialist seller, they said it'll work. If it doesn't there will be trouble.)
Sandisk Ultra Fit SDCZ43 16GB
2 x WD Red 4TB
2 x Seagate ST4000VN000
Silverstone DS380B
Silverstone SX500-LG



I have a few more questions.

1) Can you elaborate more on the dodgy thermals in the DS380B?



2) Would the following topology work? (Not just in terms of being technically feasible, but in terms of performance and sufficient redundancy too).
VDEV 1 - RAID-Z2
4 x 4TB

VDEV 2 - RAID-Z2 (for later expansion)
4 x 4TB
 

Ericloewe

Not-very-passive-but-aggressive
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17,452
1) Can you elaborate more on the dodgy thermals in the DS380B?
Airflow in the chassis as it was designed is crap. Some people, even on this forum, have documented their fixes, some more warranty-voiding than others.

2) Would the following topology work? (Not just in terms of being technically feasible, but in terms of performance and sufficient redundancy too).
VDEV 1 - RAID-Z2
4 x 4TB

VDEV 2 - RAID-Z2 (for later expansion)
4 x 4TB
Easily.
 

devianz

Newbie
Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
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Airflow in the chassis as it was designed is crap. Some people, even on this forum, have documented their fixes, some more warranty-voiding than others.

What would you suggest instead? The Node 304?
 

Ericloewe

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What would you suggest instead? The Node 304?
I don't have any real recommendations for a chassis. That's something that I think everyone has to choose for themselves, according to their requirements.
 

nojohnny101

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Messages
1,474
@devianz if you are going to go the USB route for your freeNAS boot, i would recommend mirrored USB drives so your server doesn't go down when the USB fails.

not very expensive to pick up another one, peace of mind!
 

Nick2253

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Apr 21, 2014
Messages
1,455
Airflow in the chassis as it was designed is crap. Some people, even on this forum, have documented their fixes, some more warranty-voiding than others.

I'm one of the more warranty-voiding fixers (https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/thoughts-on-plex-build.38278/#post-230842). After having put quite a bit of work into the case, I do like it. However, if I were to do it again, I would get a different case.

If your requirements are strict about case footprint, and you must have 8 hot-swappable drives in that footprint, then I'd give a tepid recommendation of the DS380 with modifications. However, my real advice would be to forget the hot-swappable thing. The real value of hotswap drives is being able to easily remove the drives without either turning the server off or opening the server's case. If you are a typical home user, then having your server offline for a couple hours is no big deal. Ditto opening the case is no big deal.
 

Stux

Wizened Sage
Joined
Jun 2, 2016
Messages
4,222
Get two of the Cruiser Fit drives and use them in mirror mode.
 
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