I am building a FreeNas machine and I wanted some advice on which processor to purchase. The recommended is a Xeon multi-core processor, but my needs are simple. I just want a better media server than my WD EXT2 and to store programming projects on to.
How does the Pentium G3220 and an i3 hold up?
A Pentium would probably do fine, as long as there isn't anything insane going on, like ginormous transfers or 100TB sitting on it (though that might be more of a RAM problem). A lower end CPU might slow down somethings, like backups and what not, but it'll do the job it was meant to do.
I had a Freenas server on an Athlon II X260 with 4GB of RAM, it did OK till the single drive in it died. It was a short term low priority thing anyways, just allowed me to transfer files between places without having a full power rig on all day/night.
Yeah you will probably be fine with an i3 just for storage and streaming the major reason freenas says to go with the Xeon is for ecc memory which zfs uses a lot of.
I have a Feenas with an intel atom duel core and 4 gigs of ram and it dose pretty good to with its 500g hard drive it keeps on trucking along dose get a little spotty with streaming to lower powered Linux OS like xfce but its pretty good.
APUs would do fine also, and is what I'm planning on doing, though mine won't be Freenas based.
APUs provide really cheap processing power, while having non-crap graphics onboard, in case you decide to turn it into something else, like a file server that doubles as a HTPC. I haven't tested this personally, but a mid-level APU can probably drive 4K with some compromises.