AMD Athlon 3000G good for ZFS file server?

I am looking to build myself a ZFS file server on ubuntu server 22.04.
I have two WD 18TB drives and i want to set up a mirrored pool.

I am trying to consume as little power as possible (live in California) , so i am thinking of using a AMD Athlon 3000G as it has a tdp of 35 watts on a ASUS Prime B450M-A II AMD (these parts i would buy specifically for the server)

I already have a box, a 450W power supply, 64GB of memory (Crucial Ballistix 3200mhz, though i know the athlon can only go to 2667, so i don’t plan on OCing it)

From what i described, would this set up be all-right to run as a ZFS enabled file server?

thank you


Welcome to the forum!

Good. The Athlon 3000G is plenty powerful for this task.

I want to run ZFS on an Odroid HC4, which is way weaker than the Athlon. And I only have 4GB (well, 3.58GB of usable RAM for some reason). And ZFS should still run just fine. It doesn’t have a big resource requirement. The amount of RAM you have will allow you to speed up writes to it. I’ve ran file servers with way less resources for 70 people and they were fine. I was not running ZFS, but again, ZFS can run on a core 2 duo and 2GB of RAM and still be fine. Just don’t expect stellar performance, but HDDs these days are plenty fast for home use and SOHO.


Ubuntu is probably not ideal if you want to run ZFS but apart from that I’d guess so.

You might also want to consider something Intels G7400T CPU instead of that rather old AMD CPU.

You can knock down the timings one or two bumps since the freq won’t be as high on your ram

Golden cove cores are stronk but boards are 2x as expensive
Is what I would say but then I found these 2 boards

Turn of the recommendation on the top right in blue

Gonna be honest I’d use Debian or RHEL (rocky Linux if you don’t want the LM debacle)

Otherwise it should be okay. It’s not ideal but it will work.

TrueNAS is the most sane option with ZFS. Honestly you say file server but what we really mean is network attached storage

I applaud the whole two big mirror drives, but the reality is that only gives you one level of redundancy. Depending on how important your data is to you, you may want to consider a larger setup like raid Z2. I’m not going to try and change the way you’re going at it but just make sure you know what you’re getting into

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Can you give any hint, why some distros are better suited for zfs, than others?

I’m gonna second the trueNAS, it’s just designed from the ground up to be a file server

Where as other OSs is kind of a tacked on deal

Sure! Well most people avoid ubuntu due to quality issues lately Its not bad when on LTS. Also why use ubuntu when its a server and you can go straight to its source (Debian). With a server you dont give one iota about bleeding edge. You want it stable, bug free, validated with as few packages as possible. Its easier to audit and maintain stability that way

Most of the time OpenZFS lags behind the kernel. If the kernel updates too quickly you get a loss of the ability to build the module. Its recommended to choose a distro aimed at enterprise stability. Its slow to update. Verified. Tested and proven to work with most of the stuff you want. For example I run rocky linux

Now as for why peopl recommend truenas. Thats because ZFS is actually built into its kernel sanely from the source. This is due to having the compatibility with the BSD license and not GPLv2. TrueNAS is probably the best OS for ZFS hands down

…and just run a plain os such as FreeBSD or whatever you prefer? :wink:

A 3000G will be more than sufficient- I have one running as a nas/router thing, with zfs storage, an bit has more chooch than I really need.

But if energy saving is the goal, do you require all that ram?

You may save a bit by just running 1 stick of ram
ZFS will happily use a half of the available ram, and more if you tell it, but you can get away with very little ram, perhaps just one stick?

I personally run the O/S on a separate, el-cheapo SSD, and the data on an array of HDD’s, and I fully expect the SSD to die- I have not made it redundant or anything, but having a separate boot device that just runs ext4 for compatibility, but that’s just me.

Ubuntu is pretty stable, especially as they test build the packages pretty well before release, but it has some non-standard features compared to plain Debian, or a nas-focussed distro, which might, or might not agree with your stance on stuff.

As you are using it as a nas, then a way to manage it via a web page might be really handy.
Truenas Scale (linux based) comes with a web gui, or if Ubuntu Rocky / RHEL , install Cockpit with the ZFS plugin

The 3000G might not have the right instruction set to speed up some functions, like compression / encryption, but for normal nas duties, it really is fine. And a B450 does not have many drive headers, which again, for your use case, is nor a problem

encryption and checksumming are fine, instruction set wise Compression wants cores/threads/L3 cache, once you spill out of L3 then memory bandwidth, to feed the cores more.

Disks are cheap, don’t use compression and use 1M record size at least unless you’re storing lots of tiny files.

And if you are, drop in about $100 worth of SSD (dm-writeback and/or bcache) between zfs and spinning rust. That should take care of random writes and any frequently accessed data.

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The aging Zen+ arch does however require quite a few mitigations by know which hurts noticeably though…

Still plenty over head for OP’s use

For many people the main draw for truenas is that it is designed for the use cases of acting as a file server and VM/container host.

The integration with the ZFS file system is well done and it comes a GUI - which is more than what you typically get when just using any Linux/BSD OS variant.

There is no reason why you couldn’t use any other OS. They can provide access to the same functionality as truenas (packages are available), but it takes more time, knowledge and ongoing commitment (to deal with regular updates as mentioned above).

If you don’t immediately agree to the extra effort it’s a good starting point to get your feet wet.


Using Debian or TrueNAS is a valid point i will consider. i mainly was using ubuntu because that is what i tested on a VM set up and it was “easy”. i will need to research TrueNAS though, i don’t know a lot about it.

i did omit my back up strategy for simplicity’s sake… my plan (and what i am doing now, minus the zfs mirror) is to have an additional (single) internal drive that i rsync to from the zfs mirror on a cron task nightly. also i currently have two wd usb drives that i manually rsync to periodically via my workstation, and i keep one usb off site and physically switch them out . kind of a 4-2-1 . i know manually moving data off site is not ideal, but i it is what i have access to. (this is a home set up)

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excellent. thank you. this is very helpful

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But noticeble less headroom, one should probably mention that the cheap AMD motherboards uses Realtek LAN which is less than ideal for at least FreeNAS Core which is to recommend for ZFS usage.

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Good point on *BSD drivers.

I know some of the USB NIC’s don’t have built in drivers, even in Linux. I am pretty sure the motherboard one does, Will try and check my one tonight

If you decide to stick with an AM4 board, I would look at the 2400G(E) and the pro variants. I don’t know what it is like elsewhere, but in the US they are available used on ebay for a similar price, and you can adjust the core count and CPU speed, as well as the speed of the integrated graphics. Turning things off or down can substantially reduce energy usage.

It is capable of doing everything a 3000G can and more, while being just as efficient. It can also make better use of the bandwidth made available by your RAM. The extra CPU and GPU power is there if you ever need it or want to sell in the future. I saw they came down in price in recent weeks and have been considering grabbing another one, as I have been very happy with my 2400G. I would only go for the 3000G if it was under $40.

Super turn key and very painless. If you thought ubuntu was easy arguably truenas is set and forget level turnkey.