Thinking of a unRAID Gaming / NAS Rig

Hi friends,

the more i read about unRAID the more interesting it gets for me. Especially thinking of being able to run a Windows and Linux VM for gaming. I want to use more and more Linux, so i would actually just need to switch to Windows for certain applications / games.

unRAID seem to have a very good performance passthrough, if you can believe the Linus videos i've seen so far.

Also, i want to build a NAS with a Plex, so why not save some money and power and have everything inside of one machine?

Whats your guys thoughts on it? I just read that the GPU passthrough of Nvidia cards is basically just a workarround and isn't supported by Nvidia.

Maybe @wendell has some experience with it already?



I dont understand. just make a network share in Windows or get some software for it. i get that btrfs and zfs are better at keeping data long term but just make a windows share and its the same

You can do the same thing on a free Linux server.

While you can definitely do the same thing with a free Linux distribution, personally I would go the same route and use unraid. As you stated though, nvidia does not support GPU pass through. Only on their quadro line up.

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That sounded actually interesting to me too but I don't think is a good idea because if you need to keep a safe backup of your files if, for example a thunder strikes your machine you may loose eeverything in one shot. Also if that machine is offline for some reason you can't access your files. It might be a good idea for basic NAS but not for saftey backups or security, in my opinion.

Part of me does wonder if you'd have even considered paying before unraid before linus started lining his pockets with their corporate dollar dollars.
Not saying I know how exactly but no doubt there's a free way to do it with Linux, worth a try no?
It's free after all and no license fees etc.
Also loads of knowledgable people to help you along

@rand0mpcstuffs i guess mainly because what @rockking said. And no, actually haven't heard from unRaid before the Linus video. I guess most of us didnt.

Their distri is simply made for this reason. I dont know if GPU passtrhough is a easy thing to achieve, definitely I'm not willing to fiddle around with it myself, sounds to complicated for my Linux skills.


I get your point, but this solution would definitely be more safe than what i have now, also i keep my "very important files" on a seperate external HDD anyway. This would mainly be for media libraries and well, gaming.

I would question the benefit of virtualising (or is it written with a z? My spellcheck does not know) your gaming rig. As for the cost: I do not think it will be all that cheaper because you will have to buy more expensive hardware. (Something like: Motherboard with Virtualization support that has a PCIe x16 Slot for the GPU and a 6 core CPU (probably some 6 core Xeon with hyperthreading) that has a ton of SATA ports AND all your memory should be ECC memory.

I mean:
You won't be buying any less harddrives, any less RAM or be spending any less for the CPU just because you virtualize.
As for power usage: You won't be gaming 24/7 but your NAS will be on 24/7 or at least extended periods of time. If your wall power is shit (Brown outs or Blackouts likely) your UPS has to be bigger if it has to support the beefy hardware (the system will be idling on a higher power draw).
Plus: All the trouble of having a virtualized gaming system (bare metal is unoptimised and problematic enough as it is).

My recommendation:
Build a gaming rig with a quad-core CPU and a gaming GPU and put an SSD and a Harddrive in it.

On Redundancy: A flipped bit in a video file is bearable, worst case: an Frame is missing and you have some artefacts for a couple of seconds. Really not a deal breaker. So Really no need for BTRFS or simliar demanding file systems. You can just as well use unRAID with no BTRFS drivepool.

TL;DR: Your problem does not fit the solution you've found :)
I'd recommend a limetech UnRAID solution if you wanted to virtualise some remote-sessions for virtual clients, have a NAS, a DHCP server and a small mail server. But gaming and storage are two use-cases that are somewhat seperate of each other.

So what we need is a build-off of two rigs vs one rig. A gaming system and a NAS system vs the virtualized Gaming NAS!

So my pick would be:
Gaming system:
i5 CPU
H97/H110 chipset motherboard
the GPU (same as if virtualized)
1TB drive for stuff
PSU (okay PSU, 80+ is enough)
well ventilated case

i3/similar Xeon
2 * 3TB drives for movies and noncritical data (adjust size accordingly)
2* 1TB drive in RAID1 for critical, personal data (adjust size accordingly) + 1TB drive for monthly,cold backup
good, very efficient PSU
quiet case

NAS: honestly, any linux distro is fine. The RAID 1 will be done in software and shares are SMB shares

vs the unRAIDINATING gaming NAS
Intel 5830K
X99 motherboard (workstation class)
16-32 Gigabyte ECC DDR4 RAM
Big, very efficient PSU
the GPU (same as above)
All the drives (probably run as one raided drive-pool with BTRFS or ZFS), maybe SSD caching or SSD-RAID for gaming.
Big case with good noise dampening

The virtualized build is maybe a bit overspec'ed. But we do not really know your needs in terms of storage size and gaming. But my educated guestimation would be: Meh, not worth it.

Btw: Thanks for the opportunity to spend my lunchbreak at university.

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Why did you go RAID1 for critical data? RAID5/6 would work for everything and get a parity drive or two.