New FreeNAS/Plex Server

Hey everyone!

Sadly last spring my old FreeNAS system quitted… Anyway after this short summer break I want to get a new one back online. I’ve already looked for some parts and got to the point where I’m hesitating to press the order button.

The setup I’ve got in my mind:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1200
RAM: Transcend 8GB DDR4 2133 ECC-DIMM 2RX8
HDD: 2 * 8TB Seagate IronWolf + 4 * 3TB WD RED (From the old build)
PSU: Seasonic Platinum 400 Fanless (400W)
CASE: Fractal Define Mini (Silent?)

First of all, I don’t know if the 8GB RAM are going to work, because of the current prices I’d rather get non-ECC than 16GB ECC… What do you think?

The purpose of this server is mainly going to be the storage of my movies/tv-shows. Additionally I will store my photos and backups of my PC/Laptop on it. However it still needs enough power to serve as a Plex-server for 3 streams (safety factor included).

Is this going to work, so I can press this button without regrets?

Please, any input is appreciated! Thanks!

If your going to go with FreeNAS, I’d suggest using a Intel based system, since BSD isn’t always that current on AMD hardware. I’d suggest picking out a few different system builds with hardware details and posting them over on the FreeNAS forum.

What resolution are these three streams gonna be?

ECC RAM will fix single bit errors from atomic particles interfering and such. Honestly, that is such a minor issue that you do not need to care about that for your use case. In my opinion, the best use of ECC RAM is to prevent data corruption in the case of errors that cannot be corrected when a stick of RAM begins to fail. Sometimes RAM can fail silently over a period of time, corrupting your data. ECC will normally catch this, but it will not catch it in your configuration since no AM4 boards fully implement ECC.

Keeping snapshots of your data should be good enough to combat data corruption for what you are doing. You will not even be writing a lot of data often. In your case, I would get regular RAM that is on the QVL list for that motherboard.

Regarding the power supply, that PSU has a maximum load of 33A on the +12V rail. Those drives have a startup current of less than 2A each on the 12V rail. So, that PSU should be plenty for that system. (For those who do not know, the power supplies on systems with many HDDs have to be sized based upon the startup current/power of the drives, not the average power of the drives during use.)
PSU specs:
HDD specs:

I cannot say whether that CPU will be fast enough for your streams or not. But, I expect that more than one core per stream would be plenty for a >3GHz modern CPU. Perhaps someone else could confirm this.

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The resolution will be at 1080p but with higher bitrate 20-30mbit/s

Furthermore I’m looking into the Dell PowerEdge T30, maybe this could be a cheaper option to fulfill my needs to avoid the FreeBSD / Ryzen problems. But I still don’t know if I can get it at an low price.

8GB of ram seems awfully low for that much storage. I believe the recommendation is 8GB plus 1GB for every TB of storage. FreeNAS likes a lot of memory.

Regarding ECC, if you have the funds, go for it. It cant hurt. That being said l, when I was running my LGA775 rig as my FreeNAS box, it was running non ECC for 2 years. I had no issues. YMMV.

ECC is nice but I would not be overly worried about it. We did some testing with ZFS and found that you really have to try hard to break it. You also might want to have 3 of those 8TB drives and set them as raidz1 as you will get better performance than mirroring them.

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Alright I at this point I’ll take these (Corsair Vengeance LPX (2x, 8GB, DDR4-3000, DIMM 288)) as RAM. Moreover I’ve read that the current state of Ryzen CPUs in FreeBSD environment is unstable. So I’m looking now into running Ubuntu with OpenZFS… does anyone has some experience with it? And is it manageable for me who’s never worked with Linux?

Yea you can get through it and get it running. But do as much research as possible and familiarize yourself with the zfs itself.

Alright, I’ll will try my best to understand ZFS and the setup of Ubuntu.

Here is a guide on installing Ubuntu onto a ZFS pool.

Installing Ubuntu onto ZFS is a little complicated, but you will notice that merely getting ZFS to work was easy. So, you could install Ubuntu to a USB (no ZFS, like how FreeBSD installs) and install ZFS on Ubuntu for managing only your storage drives rather than your boot drive.

Setting up storage and shares in ZFS is extremely easy. It is a dreamy file system to be sure. Well, you could have a little trouble if you are not familiar with addressing storage devices in Linux, but itt is not too bad. I don’t know how easy setting up the Plex server would be, though.

EDIT: Oops, that link is to a guide on installing and using ZFS on Ubuntu, not on Installing Ubuntu onto ZFS. This is the link that I meant to post, but the first link may be closer to what you want.

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Wow, thanks! Well it looks like I’ve got some homework to do. But, is a USB-drive enough for the OS or do I need an extra SSD for it?

SSD if you are going Ubuntu route

This means I don’t have enough SATA ports for all drives… Does anyone know a decent PCI-card for SATA expansion?

I run Linux Mint from a persistent Live USB without any problems. And, it is only a USB 2.0 drive (although a good one). The system will be mostly running from memory for NAS workloads anyway. And, some people do actually install Ubuntu to a USB stick. Here is a guide:

I mean, it is up to you. If you already have a USB stick, you could install Ubuntu on it and see how it performs. If it is too slow for your liking, go buy a SSD. If you already have a spare SSD, there would be no reason to use a USB instead.

EDIT: Unless you don’t have enough SATA ports. In your case, a USB would be fine. I suggest the Sandisk Cruzer Fit. It is a fast USB 3.0 drive for a reasonable price, and it is small. The average, cheap USB could be painfully slow.

Oops, I mean Sandisk Ultra Fit. But, a Cruzer Fit is what I have my persistent Live USB of Linux Mint on, so it would work too.

LSI HBA on ebay. Flash to IT Mode. Dont use cheap pci-sta expanders with zfs.

I’ll keep this in mind, thanks!

Is this one legit?
I’m not that experienced with the prices… otherwise I can get it local for 30 more…

ill let someone else chime in on epacket from Hong Kong. I tend to buy US only just form being burned one too many times from China. Not to say that the US guys probably getting their stuff from similar suppliers. I paid 75 for mine and it came with the SAS breakout cables.

According to others on the forum Ryzen seems to work perfectly OK