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Truenas Boot - USB vs SSD

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
Hi folks,

I am actually building my first NAS DIY for mainly stream from Plex 4k videos. I read a lot during past months to get started. My system configuration will be :
- Asus Prime B460-I Plus (4 sata)
- Intel I5 106000
- Fury Beast 32go
- Seagate 4x8 To
- Samsungo evo 250 Go Nvme
- Corsair alimentation CX 430

I read that it's not encouraged to install the boot on a USB stick as obviously it doesn't build to support continuous write/read. The solution is to mount the boot on a SSD or M2. HOWERVER, all my SATA ports will be use for HDD and it is a pain for me to use the M2 for a boot of 4 Go instead of using it for cache.

A though to plug a SSD HDD on the USB 3.0 of the motherboard with SATA cable adapter (USB to SATA) and install the boot in it.

What do you think about it ? Is it a smart solution to save SATA and M2 port or is it not recommended at all to use USB port for boot even on a SSD HDD ?

Thanks a lot for your feedback.
Alex
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2019
Messages
516
That mobo has a RealTek NIC, which are not supported.

Realtek® RTL8111H, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s), support LANGuard

Also has a SATA controller with HW RAID, which is also not supported.

Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
 

Etorix

Guru
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
1,005
It is feasible but the recommendation would still be to get a small M.2 NVMe drive and boot from that.
A media server hardly needs a file cache (metadata cache possibly) and 32 GB is not enough to work with a 250 GB L2ARC. Using a L2ARC takes up RAM.
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
That mobo has a RealTek NIC, which are not supported.



Also has a SATA controller with HW RAID, which is also not supported.
Hi Elvis,

Thanks for your quick feedback. I don't understand your point as I am talking only about to use USB on SSD HDD for the boot drive to start Truenas. Not the drives used for storage (4x8 To in raid 5 for my case). On the other hand I selected this motherboard because in the spec it is supporting raid (0,1,5).
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
It is feasible but the recommendation would still be to get a small M.2 NVMe drive and boot from that.
A media server hardly needs a file cache (metadata cache possibly) and 32 GB is not enough to work with a 250 GB L2ARC. Using a L2ARC takes up RAM.
Hi Etorix,

Thanks for your very quick feedback.

Much appreciated your comment about the cache of 250go. I didn't know that L2ARC is requiring a lot of RAM and 32go was enough. I calculated the RAM usage base on the rule (1Go for 1 To of disc).

I will go with the Nvme M2 then as the cache will not add significant perf for streaming videos... a pain to use 250go for a simple boot of the system.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
16,475
On the other hand I selected this motherboard because in the spec it is supporting raid (0,1,5).

That's a super-bad reason to SELECT it; it should more likely disqualify it. Some of the boards that "support RAID" have funky chipsets which make the ports unusable with FreeNAS/TrueNAS. You should pick hardware out of the FreeNAS Hardware Recommendations.

I didn't know that L2ARC is requiring a lot of RAM and 32go was enough. I calculated the RAM usage base on the rule (1Go for 1 To of disc).

That's a rule that gives you a vague idea of what size of RAM is appropriate for a particular pool size. It does not mean that it is always correct for every use. Once you start throwing more challenging things such as block storage or L2ARC at a filer, it often needs more RAM, sometimes gobs more.
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
That's a super-bad reason to SELECT it; it should more likely disqualify it. Some of the boards that "support RAID" have funky chipsets which make the ports unusable with FreeNAS/TrueNAS. You should pick hardware out of the FreeNAS Hardware Recommendations.



That's a rule that gives you a vague idea of what size of RAM is appropriate for a particular pool size. It does not mean that it is always correct for every use. Once you start throwing more challenging things such as block storage or L2ARC at a filer, it often needs more RAM, sometimes gobs more.
Hello,

Thanks for your feedback. Are you saying that this mother board will not run Truenas correctly in raid 5 with 4x8 To ? My config will only be used as media server for Plex screening on TV.
 

danb35

Hall of Famer
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
13,538
That mobo has a RealTek NIC, which are not supported.
It'd be more accurate to say "not recommended." They're generally garbage, but TrueNAS generally has drivers to support them. But with that said, a Realtek user with network issues is almost certain to be told to get an Intel NIC as the first troubleshooting step.
Also has a SATA controller with HW RAID, which is also not supported.
It's highly unlikely there's proper hardware RAID controller there (especially at this board's price point); odds are it's some kind of weird driver-based fake RAID. Odds are it will work, though it's again not recommended.
motherboard because in the spec it is supporting raid (0,1,5).
As @jgreco says, that's a very bad reason to choose a board for a TrueNAS server. TrueNAS uses ZFS and thus handles its own RAID, and doesn't need (or want) any help from anything on the disk controller that's trying to act like RAID.

If you don't have this hardware already, I'd encourage you to reconsider your choices. If you've already bought it, and returning it isn't practical, it can likely be made to work, though you may need some additional hardware (like a replacement NIC or disk controller).

But to your original question, a USB SSD would likely be fine.
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
It'd be more accurate to say "not recommended." They're generally garbage, but TrueNAS generally has drivers to support them. But with that said, a Realtek user with network issues is almost certain to be told to get an Intel NIC as the first troubleshooting step.

It's highly unlikely there's proper hardware RAID controller there (especially at this board's price point); odds are it's some kind of weird driver-based fake RAID. Odds are it will work, though it's again not recommended.

As @jgreco says, that's a very bad reason to choose a board for a TrueNAS server. TrueNAS uses ZFS and thus handles its own RAID, and doesn't need (or want) any help from anything on the disk controller that's trying to act like RAID.

If you don't have this hardware already, I'd encourage you to reconsider your choices. If you've already bought it, and returning it isn't practical, it can likely be made to work, though you may need some additional hardware (like a replacement NIC or disk controller).

But to your original question, a USB SSD would likely be fine.
Hello,

Much appreciated for all your comments. For a basic usage of occasional storage and video playing with plex on a smart tv, do you think this board will do the job or I will meet failures ? (no virtualization etc)
 

Etorix

Guru
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
1,005
It should do fine… as long as the Realtek NIC behaves.
If it's still a shopping list, consider looking for a board with an Intel NIC. It could well be older hardware (an i3-9xxx would do), preferably server-grade (said i3-9xxx on a C23x board: ECC possible), possibly second hand ("server-grade" does not have to mean "breaking the bank"). There are many threads here discussing such builds.
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
It should do fine… as long as the Realtek NIC behaves.
If it's still a shopping list, consider looking for a board with an Intel NIC. It could well be older hardware (an i3-9xxx would do), preferably server-grade (said i3-9xxx on a C23x board: ECC possible), possibly second hand ("server-grade" does not have to mean "breaking the bank"). There are many threads here discussing such builds.
On the Way to be delivered but I can return the product. In the budget and still in mini ITX I found the Asrock Z590M with Intel Lan with even I5-11xxx compatibility. Do you think it is a better choice ?
 

NugentS

Wizard
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Apr 16, 2020
Messages
1,662
Watch out for the weird Intel chipsets they put on some consumer boards. They do not necessarily have support in TrueNAS
 
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On the Way to be delivered but I can return the product. In the budget and still in mini ITX I found the Asrock Z590M with Intel Lan with even I5-11xxx compatibility. Do you think it is a better choice ?
Which Z590M were you looking at?

It has a RealTek 2.5G NIC in addition to an Intel I219V NIC, and also has SATA controller that supports HW RAID

1 x 2.5 Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000/2500 Mb/s (Dragon RTL8125BG)
Supports PXE 1 x Gigabit LAN 10/100/1000 Mb/s (Intel® I219V)
Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices

Everyone is advising you to stay away from RealTek NIC and HW RAID SATA controllers.
 
Last edited:

NugentS

Wizard
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Apr 16, 2020
Messages
1,662
Avoid RealTek like the plague
The Intel I219V may not be supported in TrueNAS. I don't have one to test - but looking through the forums doesn't look promising
Do not under any circumstances use RAID - TrueNAS needs unfettered access to the disks
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
@elvisimprsntr @NugentS thanks again for your time ! Much appreciated...

I am confused. I don't find other motherboard in mini itx that fit with the I5 10600 or I5 11600 following your recommendations. On the other hand there are a lot of videos on YouTube from people that build a NAS DIY on Truenas with priceless motherboard (Asus, Asrock B H Z series) without any issues.

I will use the NAS for domestic purpose and not professional backups (write and read each second). Only for stream videos on TV with Plex.

At the end, what will be your recommendation of hardware to install?
 

NugentS

Wizard
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
1,662
I have no critical issues with the hardware - it should run TrueNAS.
Its a home NAS using consumer grade hardware
The major issue is the NIC - realtek's cause problems and the Intel I219V is probably not supported. You could try and use the realtek - but be aware that should you have any issues then its likely that the first suggestion would be to change the NIC for something decent.

I don't like mini-itx as there is a distinct lack of expansion capability. Limited SATA, and only 1 PCIe which I suspect you will need for a decent network card which means you won't be able to add an HBA for additional disks later on. A bigger board with a bit more expansion will probably save you major hassle later on (assuming you like TrueNAS)

I am assuming you will boot from NVMe and with 4 HDD you can add nothing extra so you are maxxed out from the start (although you can swap to bigger disks)

I have already commented about the PSU - I don't think its a 24*7 PSU - but that doesn't mean it won't work and it may serve you well.

You never mention the case - just make sure its got good airflow to keep everything as cool as possible.
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
4,013
I'm not sure why everyone is going on about RAID here. It's the usual Intel fakeRAID stuff that only presents an issue if you're silly enough to switch the BIOS/UEFI away from the default AHCI option.

A though to plug a SSD HDD on the USB 3.0 of the motherboard with SATA cable adapter (USB to SATA) and install the boot in it.
This works well for boot devices. Just make sure the USB-to-SATA bridge chip is of decent quality (the $2 unbranded one from eBay probably not, the $10 Sabrent more likely) and watch for xHCI errors on boot.
 

Alex240990

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 20, 2021
Messages
15
@NugentS again thanks again for all your details provided. As you said, if I have a issue, I will first know it's coming from the realtek ;)

The case is a Fractal node 304 with 2 90mm fans on the front against the HDD then 1 of 140 at the back to defuse the air outside of the box.

Do you think it is a big issue to put it I a close wardrobe/closet with 50cm free space around it ?
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
4,013
Do you think it is a big issue to put it I a close wardrobe/closet with 50cm free space around it ?
Any closed air environment will eventually heat up. If you have vented doors (or a vented rear panel in a standalone wardrobe) that will allow some natural convection to move air in and out, but I would generally suggest against locking any heat generating electronics in an "air coffin" to suffocate.

1632230812725.png
 

NugentS

Wizard
Joined
Apr 16, 2020
Messages
1,662
@NugentS

Do you think it is a big issue to put it I a close wardrobe/closet with 50cm free space around it ?

Yes - the case needs air, and the air surrounding the case needs air as well.
 
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