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Hey guys, I'm planning to build my very first NAS, and I want to use it mainly for storage and making backups. I am planning to use FreeNAS 9 as my operating system, and have 3x 2tb WD hard drives. Now I'm going to start my question. Since I'm going to use RaidZ, do I need a raid controller? I've seen on Youtube a tech-expert named Linus where he had five drives operating on Raid5 where he used this one. I think it was branded Adaptec. His operating system was Windows Home Server, and I think that Raid5 on the Windows Home Server is much the same as RaidZ on FreeNaS.

Will a RAID controller help speed up this kind of RAID? Or is it too speedy enough that I'm not even going to need it?

By the way, thanks for any info!
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RAID 5 isn't the best choice for your planned use, intense write. This is due to the write penalty when the array must do the parity bit calculations and subsequent write. I would go with RAID 10 with 4 or six drives or more based on your performance needs. Also, just about any WD drive will work but have you considered the WD RE series, designed for RAID: Western Digital RE WD2000FYYZ 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236352

EDIT: and to maximize storage capacity, chose a fairly small clustersize, 8K would probably be best. A lot of space is wasted when using large clustersizes.

EDIT2: forgot to mention, a hardware RAID controller is always more reliable than software RAID. Nothing more of a PITA than rebuilding an array.
 

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You CAN'T use a RAID controller or hardware RAID with FreeNAS. So if you're planning to use FreeNAS, don't waste your money buying a RAID controller.

Personally, I prefer hardware RAID 10 over everything else, but others prefer ZFS over hardware RAID. It's all personal preference, and while one may be better than the other, they both have differences, and they both will get the job done.
 

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@OP

Since FreeNAS uses ZFS, hardware RAID is of no use. The ZFS RAID engine benefits most from having full visibility into what each individual hard disk is doing. Hardware RAID controllers tend to hide that away from the operating system, and therefore away from ZFS.

So in summary, when using ZFS just use a "plain Jane" SAS or SATA controller.
 
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