Recommendations for ZFS storage upgrade

I currently have a hand-me-down system running a Q6600 CPU, 4 GB of RAM, and 3x 1TB HDDs in a ZFS mirror (1 TB of usable space). This runs 24/7 and is my main machine that all my other systems backup to via Rclone. This has been working pretty well but I have noticed some issues.

  • The machine will just lock up randomly requiring a restart
  • With snapshots, my storage is basically maxed out at this point
  • Performance is OK but not great, I think the lack of RAM is an issue. I’d rather not upgrade the RAM at this point.

I’m looking to upgrade into a newer Dell machine I have and retire the old one. From a storage perspective, I’m thinking about the following:

  • Mixed HDDs and SSDs in a ZFS pool from what I’ve read is NOT a good idea
  • Swap or expand the pool to larger HDDs. This would be cheap but the heat and noise in particular leaves me concerned. I’m trying not to buy any more HDD storage in general for my homelab at this point.
  • Swap to SATA SSDs, relatively cheap, still takes up a fair amount of space
  • Swap to m.2 NVME drives via a PCI Express adapter card. This is the most expensive although I saw some Solidigm P41 m.2 2TB drives are $70 on sale recently.
  • I’m not writing tons of files daily since Rclone just copies the delta changes, even consumer budget grade SSDs and NVME drives should be fine I think?
  • Is DRAM-less SSD/NVME storage ok?

Any thoughts? Anyone else make the switch to pure SSD/NVME based ZFS storage? Thanks

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