Hello there, Forum!
After many years of grinding by with an insanely underpowered Synology NAS as my storage server, I have finally acquired all the necessary hardware to build my own FreeNAS server. Only with the help of a free Xeon E5645 and 24GB of unbuffered ECC memory from work.
Motherboard: EVGA X58 FTW3
CPU: Xeon E5645
GPU: Some old thing just for video output
Storage: 6x WD Red 3TB (intended for Raid-Z2)
1x 8GB USB stick (bootable FreeNAS installer)
2x 8GB USB stick (FreeNAS install location)
This motherboard has given me nothing but grief so far. First it took me 3-4 hours of troubleshooting and researching to figure out that the mobo has an idiotic limit of 8GB for bootable USB sticks. Goodbye freshly bought 2x 32GB USBs and multiple boot environments
That aside, I have absolutely no problems installing FreeNAS to the 2x 8GB USBs . That works perfectly and I made sure to select the “Boot via BIOS” option (NOT “Boot via UEFI”) during the install seeing as I have a much older motherboard (no UEFI). Unfortunately the FreeNAS installer creates GPT partitions on the dual USBs, which my mobo is incapable of booting from. If either or both of the FreeNAS install USBs are plugged in, the system gets stuck at the POST screen with a POST-code of 50, meaning “USB Initialization”.
I have read a bit about flagging the partition as “boot” instead of “grub_boot” with the help of a GParted-Live bootable USB, which I was not able to do on either of the USBs with the fresh FreeNAS install.
Elsewhere I read something about creating a hybrid MBR partition, but gdisk (GPT fdisk?) in windows constantly has errors reading the USBs.
At the moment I am at a serious loss and any help or nudges in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
EDIT: The versions of FreeNAS I tried installing were 11.1-U6 and 11.2-RC1. Both with the same outcome. Both times the bootable USB was created with Rufus with the partition scheme set to “MBR” and target system to “BIOS (or UEFI-CSM”. Both the ISO and DD creation options didn’t make a difference as far as I can tell.