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Help me upgrade or redesign my DIY NAS

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone.

I hope you can give me some advice and push me in the right direction. For about 1½ years, or thereabout, I have been running a small form factor DIY NAS. Its hardware and software configuration can roughly be summarized as:
  • ASUS E35M1-I Mini-ITX motherboard with onboard 2x 1.6 ghz Brazos CPU
  • 2x4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3x 3TB Western Digital RED Series NAS drives (pooled)
  • 1x 2TB Western Digital Green Series desktop drive (pooled)
  • 300w PSU of decent quality
  • Windows Home Server 2011 w/ StableBit DrivePool, StableBit Scanner

I have been happy with my relatively low budget DIY NAS, but less happy with the state of my home network in general. I use Powerline adapters with intermittent connection dropouts, my HTPC is hugely overpowered with an I5-2500K and my Linksys E2000 router is quite unstable. Accordingly, I have decided to give my entire home network an overhaul starting with the DIY NAS. After all, the DIY NAS is the "heart" of the setup. Then, I am considering replacing the HTPC with a 4th generation Intel NUC and replacing the Powerline netwok adapters with a gigabit network.

I am requesting your advice as to how I might upgrade or redesign the NAS to bring it up to date. I already know that I will install Windows Server 2012 Essentials and buy at least one more Western Digital Red Series drive. I have been looking into hardware RAID and HBA controllers, ECC RAM and so forth but I am having difficulties figuring out what - if anything - that I will actually gain from such upgrades.

Any advice is much appreciated.
Edited by Gnavox - 7/28/13 at 3:31am
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post #2 of 5
What, exactly, do you expect to gain by bringing "it up to date"? What do you want to do with it that you feel you cannot do currently?
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post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnavox View Post

Hi everyone.

I hope you can give me some advice and push me in the right direction. For about 1½ years, or thereabout, I have been running a small form factor DIY NAS. Its hardware and software configuration can roughly be summarized as:
  • ASUS E35M1-I Mini-ITX motherboard with onboard 2x 1.6 ghz Brazos CPU
  • 2x4GB DDR3 RAM
  • 3x 3TB Western Digital RED Series NAS drives (pooled)
  • 1x 2TB Western Digital Green Series desktop drive (pooled)
  • 300w PSU of decent quality
  • Windows Home Server 2011 w/ StableBit DrivePool, StableBit Scanner

I have been happy with my relatively low budget DIY NAS, but less happy with the state of my home network in general. I use Powerline adapters with intermittent connection dropouts, my HTPC is hugely overpowered with an I5-2500K and my Linksys E2000 router is quite unstable. Accordingly, I have decided to give my entire home network an overhaul starting with the DIY NAS. After all, the DIY NAS is the "heart" of the setup. Then, I am considering replacing the HTPC with a 4th generation Intel NUC and replacing the Powerline netwok adapters with a gigabit network.

I am requesting your advice as to how I might upgrade or redesign the NAS to bring it up to date. I already know that I will install Windows Server 2012 Essentials and buy at least one more Western Digital Red Series drive. I have been looking into hardware RAID and HBA controllers, ECC RAM and so forth but I am having difficulties figuring out what - if anything - that I will actually gain from such upgrades.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Do you send and receive as well as write read data constantly? I would imagine if all you're serving is media to an HTPC you would be more than fine with a teamed gig connection and a low end RAID card (if you need one at all).

I'm trying to figure out what to do with storage myself right now. I was going to get a PERC 5/i RAID card off the eBay and use some larger drives on this but then I was told about FreeNAS and unRAID. They seem like pretty interesting alternatives. FreeNAS: http://www.freenas.org/ unraid: http://lime-technology.com/

As for the RAM, do you need more than 8GB? I read in a few threads here that home users most likely don't need ECC. You wont be able to run buffered ECC in most non-server motherboards.

I use a linksys consumer grade router but it is pretty stable. I flashed the DD-WRT software to it. You might want to look into that.
Edited by Mr.N00bLaR - 7/30/13 at 7:11am
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post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
I have thought about it, and what I want to do, is to change my NAS into an all-purpose server for both storage and virtual machines. Accordingly, I have been looking into virtualization and server hardware.

I think that I will need a Haswell Xeon, a Supermicro or Intel motherboard that supports VT-D and ECC ram - however, which parts exactly, I do not know. I will also need a new micro-atx upright standing server enclosure, possibly mSATA or SATA SSDs and possibly a RAID or HBA card. Any advice is much appreciated.

Why do many freeNAS users buy HBA cards or flash RAID cards to HBA cards? Solely for the purpose of being able to connect more drives? I cannot figure out whether a HBA or RAID card is superfluous or not.
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I5 2500K @ 4600mhz ASUS P8Z68-V PRO EVGA GTX 460 1GB SC (SLI) @ 810mhz 4GB PC-12800 Mushkin Redline CL6 @ 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
3x 1TB SpinPoint F1 + 1x 1TB SpinPoint F3 Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Panasonic G10 50" Logitech K340 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
XFX XXX Edition 650W Thermaltake DH-103 Logitech M510 Icemat 
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HTPC
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
I5 2500K @ 4600mhz ASUS P8Z68-V PRO EVGA GTX 460 1GB SC (SLI) @ 810mhz 4GB PC-12800 Mushkin Redline CL6 @ 1600mhz 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
3x 1TB SpinPoint F1 + 1x 1TB SpinPoint F3 Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Panasonic G10 50" Logitech K340 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
XFX XXX Edition 650W Thermaltake DH-103 Logitech M510 Icemat 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnavox View Post

Why do many freeNAS users buy HBA cards or flash RAID cards to HBA cards? Solely for the purpose of being able to connect more drives? I cannot figure out whether a HBA or RAID card is superfluous or not.

Because they do not need the card to perform raid functions, as freenas pools the drives (hardware vs software raid)
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