MAC Pro for Freenass?

I need to upgrade my current Freenas build as it currently uses my old gaming PC's hardware (non-ecc ram etc).

A few months I sourced a few parts that I thought would be appropriate:
SuperMirco X8STE - £110
ECC Ram x6 - £38
Lian Li PC-10NB - £120
Intel Xeon X5677 - £60

Total: £350 ish

I was procrastinating the other week and found myself looking at MAC Pros and discovered that for a comparable amount of money as the build above you can get a lot more hardware:

Mac Pro - £350

Anyone used a Mac for a similar project before, or know of any issues that could arise?

Maybe I'm mistaken, but the mac pro doesn't have ecc ram, which every freenas should have

The older ones, 2009 and below have ECC, no idea about the newer ones.

@Azulath "Which every freenas should have." No. Not exactly. ECC is nice, but that's only going to protect you if you have "evil ram". Read this article if you want to better understand why.

The problem with using a mac pro from 2009 is that you'll have limitations in PCI and SATA bandwidth, which is important for ethernet and hard drives, which is basically the only thing you'll be doing with the software.

A 2009 mac should work fine, but I think you'll get more performance out of either something like the x58 system you have spec'd out, or, even better, get an AM3+ system FX-6300 are great options and provide excellent Linux/BSD performance.

Here's a build similar to what I have. Same price as your parts, but better performance. This only works if you haven't already purchased the x58 though.

The PC-10NB is a bit overkill for your needs. The NZXT Source 210 has 8 internal 3.5 bays, and the capability to add a 5-in-3 on the 5.25 bay area.

As a note, that ram you linked may be showing incorrectly for me, but the model you liked is NOT ECC.


Nope. SATAII is faster than any HDD and PCIe 2.0 is fast enough even for 10GBit NICs. Not an issues on the 2009er.
Problems I could see are the Mac EFI and power consumption.

The link shows a 2007 Mac Pro though and I don't know a lot about that one.

Old mac pros suck a shit ton of power, also the EFI is a bitch to deal with if you don't have bootcamp, which only supports up to windows 7 (thanks apple).

Good spot, attention to detail clearly needs some work.

yeah, it's faster than any hdd, but you'll run into limitations when you deal with SSD's.

When did the mac's start using EFI? I'm not too familiar with that.

@andrewdfogg No prob. Another thing to note is that from what I remember, mac pro's don't have a ton of hard drive slots. If you're looking to throw in upwards of 10 drives eventually, you may run into limitations imposed by physical space in the case.

What hardware do you currently have? That will help us figure out the best course of action.

Irrelevant for a freenas box. Especially for a build on a budget. And if you want to go nuts, there is a hack available to use NVME PCIe storage. ;)

That switch must have been before 2007. My first MacBook Pro even had EFI.

Yup, only four HDD bays + two 5.25" bays in the front. So six drives is your maximum.


I can't see me ever going for SSDs with this build so SATA2 shouldn't be much of a worry.

Current build:
Intel i7 2600k
P8Z68-V PRO (which I think has a faulty RAM slot)
Corsair Vengence 1600Mhz DDR3 4gb x2
3 x 3TB HGST Nas Drives (RAIDz1-0)
Seasonic 450w psu (SSR-450RT)
NZXT Guardian (Don't judge 13 year old me)

I may possibly add a drive or two in the future for a CCTV Pool so that should just be enough. (Apparently the constant IO isn't recommended for NAS Drives).

I really think you're fine. The 2600k is a strong cpu, maybe get more ram if you'd like, but you're really all set here.

The case has plenty of HDD bays for your needs for now.

Apparently the constant IO isn't recommended for NAS Drives

That's why you should set up a SSD cache and ZIl device. Helps a lot, and it doesn't have to be super powerful/fast, just enought to handle the read/writes of 1GBPS.

What other data is stored on that nas? Is everything personal, the irreplaceable stuff, is that backed up somewhere? If so just keep it like it is.

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It's mostly used as a media library. My mum stores family photos etc and I also store OS iso's and a backup of my steam library. Maybe I will leave it for a bit and see if I can find some cheap ram.

Things like family photos have to be safe. Make a backup! Actually, make two! Your NAS will die! Every machine will fail. It doesn't matter how well built, how expensive or how well thought out. Stuff has to exist in multiple places or it is just a matter of time until it is all lost.

So, use the NAS as is and make backups of everything that you can not simply download or rip again.
And thank me later.

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