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philip July 27, 2016

Update: The live stream is over. Thanks for everyone who tuned in to watch. If you missed it, you can watch the archive on Twitch.

Another Update: The video is now also available on YouTube with a time index so you can skip to your favorite questions.


Join us Thursday, July 28th at 2pm CST on Twitch for a live FreeNAS build and Q&A. We'll be assembling a small rack-mount FreeNAS build for internal use.

This isn't a sponsored build, so we'll be treating it very informally. Feel free to hop in and chat or ask us any questions (related to the build or not).

For reference, here is the build we'll be assembling:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Integrated with Motherboard -
Motherboard ASRock C2550D4I Mini ITX Atom C2550 Motherboard $285.74 @ Amazon
Memory Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $89.99 @ Newegg
Storage A-Data Premier Pro SP600 64GB 2.5" Solid State Drive $29.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $119.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $119.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $119.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $119.99 @ Newegg
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $119.99 @ Newegg
Case Rosewill RSV-R4000 - 4U Rackmount Server Case $79.99 @ Newegg
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA G2 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $75.98 @ Newegg
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $1123.60
Mail-in rebates -$10.00
Total $1124.59
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-07-27 16:48 EDT-0400

Comments Sorted by:

ewhac 1 Build 6 points 9 months ago

Lemme make a couple of changes for you:

PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

Type Item Price
CPU Integrated with Motherboard -
Motherboard ASRock C2550D4I Mini ITX Atom C2550 Motherboard $304.09 @ SuperBiiz
Memory Crucial 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory $87.99 @ Adorama
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $113.33 @ OutletPC
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $113.33 @ OutletPC
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $113.33 @ OutletPC
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $113.33 @ OutletPC
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $113.33 @ OutletPC
Storage Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB 3.5" 5900RPM Internal Hard Drive $113.33 @ OutletPC
Power Supply EVGA SuperNOVA G2 550W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply $81.97 @ Newegg
Other SanDisk 32GB Ultra Fit CZ43 USB 3.0 Flash Drive $9.49
Prices include shipping, taxes, rebates, and discounts
Total (before mail-in rebates) $1173.52
Mail-in rebates -$10.00
Total $1163.52
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-07-27 18:59 EDT-0400

Dropped the 64GB SSD. Once FreeNAS boots, it runs entirely out of memory, and almost never touches the boot volume again. Therefore there is no real advantage to having it installed on a full-fledged SATA SSD. FreeNAS can and does run very well from a USB memory stick, so I swapped in a 32GB SanDisk. Install it using one of the on-board USB headers.

Added a sixth HDD. This will allow you to create a RAID-Z2 vdev in a 4+2 config. This is a fairly optimal config, because:

  • Eight (bits per byte) is evenly divisible by four (data drives), so read/write performance will be minimally impacted when data is divided up among the drives,
  • For HDDs larger than 1TB, a single parity drive is no longer considered sufficient, since the probability of a second drive failing while a replacement drive is resilvering is too great. Hence, two parity drives. This increased reliability does not absolve you of having a backup regimen.

Also: For this amount of storage, 16GiB of RAM is going to be a little cramped. Consider going to 32GiB, especially if you're planning on running any plugins.

In the BIOS, configure the video to use the smallest amount of RAM possible; you will never be using anything other than VGA text.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 9 months ago

Thanks for the feedback. We're set in our parts as we've already ordered them and have them in hand.

We will be running RAID-Z2, so we're aiming for 12TB of usable space. I think that will be sufficient for what we're using it for, but the door is always open to adding to the pool if we need to.

For RAM, our file sharing is very, very basic, and will be operating in a very tightly controlled environment (i.e. we know exactly how many machines, what they will be transferring, how large those files are, etc.) We debated going to 32GB, but for our case it really isn't necessary.

ewhac 1 Build 3 points 9 months ago

We will be running RAID-Z2, so we're aiming for 12TB of usable space. I think that will be sufficient for what we're using it for, but the door is always open to adding to the pool if we need to.

Recall that, while you can add more vdevs to a zpool, once you've created a vdev, you can't add more drives to it: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzHapVfrocfwblFvMVdvQ2ZqTGM/view?pref=2&pli=1

For RAM, our file sharing is very, very basic, and will be operating in a very tightly controlled environment [ ... ]

Reasonable conclusion.

For extra credit, set up LACP/link aggregation :-) .

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

Good catch on the vdev/zpool issue. I'm mentally prepared for adding another five drives if need be. My wallet on the other hand... Though I'm pretty confident that 12TB should be sufficient for what we need.

To fit 10 drives we'd need another cage drive mount (this version only has two of the three bay areas using them), but those are only $15 at Newegg.

We won't be doing link aggregation - instead we'll be using the two NICs to serve two different networks that we want to keep isolated from each other.

Sephius 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

And no case?

ewhac 1 Build 1 point 8 months ago

There was no case in the originally posted build.

Cases are very subjective, but if I were to pick one whose job was to hold a pile of HDDs, yet still be small and unobtrusive, I'd pick a Fractal Design Node 304.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

If we were building for a desktop type environment, we'd opt for something much more build friendly. In our case though, we're putting them in a rack so we needed a rack mount chassis. We didn't need anything fancy like hot swap bays though, so that's why we went with the really basic case that we did.

vcn13 1 point 9 months ago

January 28th?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 9 months ago

Whoops, should be July (i.e. tomorrow). At least I got the first letter right!

vcn13 7 points 9 months ago

Wow, you are the creator and owner of this site? Let me take the chance to thank you for building this amazing site for everyone. I just finished my first build couple weeks ago and this site made the experience really pleasant.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 9 months ago

Thanks! Glad you found it helpful!

Matthewtina2015 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Great! Looking forward to it. Should be fantastic, like all your other streams :)

sfootie 1 point 9 months ago

Looking forward to the build. May I ask why you chose that mobo+cpu combo?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

There are a couple nice things about it:

  • No need for a CPU cooler (save $$$)
  • The CPU/Mobo supports ECC RAM (which we want for file serving)
  • It has dual-NICs (which we need for our network topology)
  • It has 12 SATA ports (we're using 6 to start, but if we double the storage we'll use 11)
sfootie 1 point 9 months ago

Cool, thanks. I got an answer from the creator of the site!

tombull89 6 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

For low heat generation, I guess.

tombull89 6 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

On one hand, I hate to see people "doing a Linus" and self-building storage servers.

On the other hand, all dat 4TB goodness.

Either way I'll be around for it!

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 3 points 9 months ago

Sorry you hate it when people build their own storage. Before you judge it any more though, do you know why we're doing it that way or what we're using it for? There's a reason we're doing what we're doing and why we're setting it up the way we are.

I'm all for buying a storage solution when it makes sense. That's what we did with our main NAS.

tombull89 6 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

The reason we self-build, I guess, merely cost. That's a lot of storage, but it's slow disks, so probably raw video data that isn't going to be accessed that often. You've said it's going to be contating two different networks, so maybe CCTV.

Either way, I probably came across a bit too harsh and misunderstood the use. I thought this would be some core file server that the business relies on (a la Linus building his own file server), but if it's some internal thing that's not critical then no issue. Big fan of having storage solutions and service contracts on stuff - as soon as a disk packs up phone HP/Dell and have a new disk within 4 hours.

ewhac 1 Build 3 points 9 months ago

That's a lot of storage, but it's slow disks, so probably raw video data that isn't going to be accessed that often.

The limiting factor on a NAS these days is the network speed which, absent exotic hardware or link bonding, is 1Gb/sec. Putting 7200 or 10K RPM drives in the NAS won't make the network go faster. So 5900RPM drives are perfectly satisfactory, and should easily keep two 1Gb NICs busy.

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

We're not storing video on them. It's not CCTV. For what we're using, the disk performance should be more than adequate.

We will be relying on them business-wise, but the failure mode is such that we can tolerate downtime for a few days if we have to. We also have a plethora of components here such that for pretty much any failure of it we can be back up and running within that timeframe with minimal cost. Having it use mostly desktop components (save for the mobo/RAM) we're able to pull from what we have on the shelf in a pinch.

tombull89 6 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

Ah, I see. Wild guess on my part then. Looking forward to the build.

Enrico411 1 point 9 months ago

Is there a link to the stream? Can't seem to find it (or i must be blind lol).

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

Ah right! That would help. I'll add the link. In the meantime, it'll be at http://twitch.tv/pcpartpicker

Enrico411 1 point 9 months ago

thx.

tamnhucanh 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

What about seagates new GUARDIAN SERIES?

FACUNDO 12 Builds 1 point 9 months ago
Hey, phillip! I'm looking at the comments and your mood is changing, you seem to be more positive and cheerful :D

I love when admins are like that :)

GentlemanShark 1 Build 2 points 8 months ago

I noticed that too. I thought Philip was just a hyper intelligent AI.

unicykle 3 Builds 2 points 8 months ago

lol PCPP where various admins go to have their online personality dissected.

BodaciousBuddha 1 point 8 months ago

I'm miffed that I missed this. Does PCPP have any auto-emails for its events?

BoyScout staff 9 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

We typically announce live streams a few days in advance on our blog, but sometimes it's more impromptu. If you follow us on Twitch, you can set it to notify you anytime we go live.

BodaciousBuddha 1 point 8 months ago

Do my eyes deceive me, or is ECC RAM really that long?

lostsouloforever 1 point 8 months ago

its just a short board (min-itx). ecc and normal ram are the same length.

Hellkitty 1 point 8 months ago

What is this used for?

purpleDurian 1 point 8 months ago

For a build like this with an atom cpu, what would you guys recommend as a minimum wattage power supply? Was 500w necessary or was this just one of the cheapest fully modular psus?

philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 8 months ago

Really anything about 200W or higher should be fine, but there are diminishing cost savings as the wattage gets lower. For a standard desktop style power supply too, it gets hard finding units of good quality after you get 300W or lower that will still save you money. The 500W PSU was one we got because we know it's a good modular unit and the price was pretty reasonable.

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philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

I'm perfectly content to both look and sound foolish for being overly cautious. I've got a book behind me on ESD control in manufacturing, and it has some nice before/after failure statistics for manufacturing car electronics (not nearly as sensitive as yours I'd bet) when they implemented ESD control on their lines.

teambronze5 1 point 9 months ago

Hey Phillip. Having a bad day. Please dismiss my saltiness. My sincerest apologies. I re-listened to that portion shortly after, and your message about latent failures resonated with me. Something I see all the time, and is a huge problem for guys who have to deal with failures in the field, rather than failures at test. This is why ESD implementations exist. So, ignore my insta-self-deleted-salty-comment please, and if you want to take ESD precautions to the next level, wear a Faraday shield (smock/frock), maybe some ESD grounding shoes/footstraps, and you'll be class 0 ready!

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philip staff submitter 10 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

It's going to be pretty informal, so if we do end up uploading to YouTube it'll be unlisted (but we'll link it here). Otherwise we'll probably just leave it archived on Twitch.

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philip staff submitter 10 Builds 2 points 9 months ago

Basically the build isn't for a guide and we're not using any parts provided by manufacturers, so we can wander off-topic as much as we want. It is for internal use and it's super simple (and fast to put together), so we're going to use it as a time we can just be on stream and chat with people while we build.

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