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Custom low power home nas

I’ve been wanting a low power nas for archiving my media collection, and misc files, but I didn’t like the idea of proprietary parts, and lack of expansion for the cheap compact solutions available out of the box… this will be just enough to run with freenas. i have a pciex1 to 8x sata3 card, has a slot for a 10gbit networking card in the future, if I need more ram I can throw another 8 in it, so this seems pretty good for the expansion part. But I’m really not happy with the case, other than that I think it will suit me fine. I’ve decided on 4hdd’s and maybe a cache ssd. plan on using a usb for freenas. if anyone has a case in mind that’s cheaper or about the same price, and stays a small foot print, Im open to suggestions

i have a pciex1 to 8x sata3 card

FYI The card in the wishlist has only 4 ports. Did you just include that as an example?

Years ago my second NAS was built on an ASRock QC5000ITX/ph. Worked great other than the single pcie slot and limited sata ports, but for the time it was amazingly affordable and low power, performance be damned it was just storing files. Also, while it may be passive, airflow is still good. I also recommend changing out the thermal paste with something decent.

Do make double sure that the board/proccessor will be compatable with freenas, and can handle whatever workload you want to actually us it for. Storing and serving files is easy because the hard work is likely being done by the computer accessing the file. Streaming/encoding as a home media center is another ball game.

You have (supposedly) have an 8 slot sata adapter, but be aware that a pci-e 2.0 1x @ 4.92Gbit/s (if my math is right) is going to bottleneck you at roughly 3-4 HDDs depending on their speed. It usually won’t be noticeable issue for actual use as that’s still a theoretical 615MB/s of throughput to work with. Hopefully someone can double check me on this.

I recommend against using a single USB drive for an OS. Just because people can, doesn’t make it a good idea. It’s less of an issue if the OS is taking steps to write as little as possible to the drive, but you have to make sure that’s what’s going on or a year or two later shit goes south because USB sticks aren’t meant to have log files constantly being written to them. A quick look at freenas seems to indicate that it’s fairly simple to mirror two usb sticks. I’d definitely do that.

As an aside, I just found this out, Sandisk USB drives have a basic version of wear leveling. [1][2] It’s a shame that in my experience they tend to turn to convert from a data storage device into a heat generating resistor.

What sort of files are you storing? Is it stuff you could lose at anytime and not care? Or is there going to be some valuable stuff? If it’s the latter, I recommend making sure that:

  • ZFS data scrubbing happens every month or two to catch errors (usually due to bad cables or other hardware malfunctions instead of cosmic rays)
  • Snapshots are automatically being created (and pruned) so you can revert malicious or accidental changes/deletions. I don’t know of the best way to do this on freenas.
  • You have (preferably multiple) backups. Raid isn’t a backup. If you have a backup and lightning, fires, floods, thieves, or other bullshit wreck it, then you don’t have a backup. How valuable your data is should determine how far you want to go to insulate your data from such events. Make use of ZFS’s send/recv to send your snapshots to the backup.
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Odroid HC2 + openmediavault

But I’m guessing that it’s totally unsuitable for your needs looking at the requirements …

the card, yeah, its just an example because I already have the x8 card.

the files im storing will just be games, music and movies, for the most part. no I’m not planning on using zfs. I know raid isn’t a backup, its just redundancy. just want to access files without my power hungry gaming rig on 24/7 (movies/music) the games archive drives would be just for that, separate for that reason.

also, the 10tb drives, ill be shucking them, not using the usb interface.

thanks for the tip about the thermal paste. will do. it wont be completely passive though, there will be a fan in the front and rear of the chassis, so there will be airflow.

I know usb drives aren’t intended for lots of rewrites and whatnot, but I didn’t think, from what i’ve read, and from what I’ve been told it isn’t a huge deal to use it as the boot device for freenas/unraid.

this is all off topic, but I intended to see if anyone knew of a cheap, compact case that would fit that board, and 4-6x 3.5 drives

thanks but I’ve decided on the hardware in the list, just curious about a sff case option to fit it all in.