Yet another FreeNAS!

Hi all –

I’m looking to either building a new FreeNAS box, like I did before with hand picked components, or purchase the cheapest solution from Dell that would do the same.

These were my instructions to the Dell rep, to advise me on their ‘cheapest’ offering

Basic requirements:

- Fit into the DINTEK rack I previously purchased.
- Rail equipment to install into rack.
- Server without HDDs (I will install these).
- This will run FreeNAS (FreeBSD)

- Intel® Xeon® processor (anything around 2-4Ghz is fine); single socket is fine as this is purely a storage node.
- RAM expandable to 32-64GB is fine.
- Storage:
- 24x 3.5" SATA HDDs (hot-pluggable)
- Support for SAS drives, nice to have, not required.
- Optional storage for SDD cache (optional)
- Networking:
- Intel X550-T2 with minimum 2x ports RJ45
- Intel NIC with SFP for 10GbE (optional)
- Latest iDRAC
- HBA should be RAID controllers in 'IT' mode (operating in non-RAID mode); this is to allow them to pass SMART data back to the host.
- 2x redundant, hot-pluggable PSUs.

I am currently running 2x LSI9211-8i PCI cards in IT mode, refer my repo here for details:

As usual, if I go the hand-built route, I would look to order everything from Amazon; the trouble I’m facing is there is a lack of decent X99 WS Asus boards listed.


I am anti freenas. It doesnt do anything you cant do yourself, but better. I got tired of its ‘quirks’ and moved to unraid which has a ZFS plugin BTW. Alternatively you could just use Ubuntu.

As far as hardware goes, the enterprise requirements kinda dont matter as much because you have wider support with linux. Feel free to ignore my ramblings entirely. I just got tired of freenas.


i’m a bit confused. Your question about the x99WS boards seems to imply that you want to buy such an old platform in new condition for probably more then the original msrp, which does not make any god damn sense to me.

Sure, V3,V4 Xeons, especially with QS/ES is the current Budget option, but since you are thinking about buying something new, x99 or C612 is the last thing i would think about.

I also have to admit that i’m probably a supermicro fanboy, so i can’t recommend Dell, but i haven’t had any Dell gear so far, and that is also probably not gona change.

So why not go Epyc ?
Or at least Xeon scalable, even though that platform sucks compared.

Another question is, why does it have to be a Asus WS board?


I have a Ryzen 3 1200 on X370 with 32GB ECC DDR4 running my SSD NAS. As long as you can live with one LSI controller and one NIC, you’re fine.


If you are looking to do a “SSD cache” you probably want to make sure you have some nvme slot(s) on that motherboard. That way you can drop an optane drive or the like for the SLOG.

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I should have started, with that I currently have one FreeNAS box running, which is an Asus X99 WS board; I wasn’t really sure if X299 is worth it, especially for “just a FreeNAS” box, as I don’t need high compute capacity.

Epyc: I’ve read a fair bit about AMD issues in FreeBSD/FreeNAS (even just recently @wendell ran into something similar); slapping something Intel together has in the past lead to far fewer issues and surprises.

Also to note, I do not have access to Supermicro stuff, since I’m way out in obscure Asia. I typically order from Amazon US.

Can not confirm.

Freebsd 12 works well with tr


Was there problems with Ryzen as well or was it just TR/Epyc?
Because I’m on FreeNAS 11.2 on a Ryzen 3 1200 and everything seems fine.

Just tr. Ryzen even 3k was fine. Baffling. Obviously no qa/qc.


Another Question, why do you import from the US?
Isn’t Europ or the other “Asian” tech countrys closer or cheaper?

For just a storage node, i don’t see any reason against any old and used Intel hardware. New would be way too expensive though. Not worth it at all in my opinion.

A thing i like to ignore until it is too late, is the “it just works” factor.
You pay big money for it to not need to spend time on all of this.
So if dell comes around with a good deal for new and hopefully decent Hardware, if i had the money and not the time, i’d go for that.
i wouldn’t take anything older then xeon scalable, to have said it.

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Recommended case without going Supermicro (I am unfamiliar with dimensions and rack requirements of DINTEK racks however)

Threadripper 1900x/1920x should be sufficient for a NAS, and should be pretty cheap these days, however you’ve also indicated iDrac so I’m assuming you want some form of IPMI, in which case I’d go with 1st gen EPYC and a server motherboard

For HBAs, 9201-16i, 9211-8i, and 9305-16i are decently priced options, depending on if you plan on needing all 24 drives right away/how many PCIe slots you’re going to use for HBAs.

Intel X540-T2’s are fairly cheap on ebay, but unsure about shipping to your region if that’d make any sense


I run that case that 2bitmarksman posted and that’s a fantastic case, you’ll be happy with it.

I bought 3x SAS 9211-8i Controller - There cheap and reliable

@teapack @2bitmarksman Heh, that’s exactly what I’m using in my current rack. This is running 2x LSI-9211-8i’s to drive 16 drives (only 8-installed so far). I need a 3rd card to drive the balance 8-bays.

Could anyone recommend a WS board off Amazon + Xeon scalable options? Dell is asking for $6,000/- minimum for the unit without the HDDs. Feels like a bit much.

What’s your use case for the system? e.g Just FreeNAS with nothing else or FreeNAS with VM’s

Without VMs – Ran into several issues with recent Bhyve

Why are you not running Sara Port multipliers?

If you’re using rust, a single sata port can sustain 3-4 drives going full-tilt with no problems.

I don’t get it. What do you need that class of hardware for if it’s just storage?

Sorry, I hadn’t looked at Xeon scalable at the time of writing. Not entirely sure if going Skylake is worth it for just storage as you’ve said. I don’t see such an issue with X99 though, as it is the last version to support older/cheaper Xeon.

I went Xeon to try and use bhyve in FreeNAS, so while I said ‘No’ to VMs, if I can get it to work ~8-12 cores could be handy. Right now, I’m using an older Threadripper to run xcp-ng (Xenserver) and connect to the FreeNAS box over iSCSI (on a 10GB/e link).

Preferred going the HBA route @SgtAwesomesauce. The more I look at this, it looks like I’ll do another Norco build.

The Dell reps are now trying to sell me “Enterprise” Synology, which is a no for me as I want to stick to ZFS.

Since @wendell confirms that FreeNAS 12 works with Ryzen 3k I’ll look at options.