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NAS - Parts & OS Choice and options for down the line

StoNe!
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Parts List:

Case - Original Jonsbo V4S V4 Silver HTPC case MATX with All Aluminum 1.5mm

PSU - Corsair CV Series CV550 550W 80 Plus Bronze Power Supply

Mobo - Gigabyte H510M-H Intel S1200 mATX LGA 1200 GAH51MH-00-G13

CPU - Intel Core i3-10105 Comet Lake 3.7GHz (4.4GHz) S1200 CPU

RAM - Crucial Ballistix BL16G26C16U4B 16GB PC2666 288-pin DDR4

HDD - 2 x 6TB Western Digital Red Plus 3.5" SATA3 NAS Hard Drive

SSD - 120GB Western Digital Green 2.5" 7mm SATA3 Solid State Drive

 

So I chose the case because it fits my TV cabinet, and will have some further HDD storage 3D printed next to the case, the mobo was one of the cheapest m-atx i could find, the CPU was the cheapest with onboard graphics to connect it to the TV to diagnose a problem, the rest I have some questions.

 

I will be choosing Unraid mostly because I could add mixed HDD down the line. This will be used mainly as a plex server (max 2 clients) and maybe a bulk storage of 1 Tb at max. I might try some Home Assistant down the line.

 

Here are my questions about the parts:

- As the mobo only has 2 ram slots, is 2x8gb more than enough or should i get 1x16gb for future upgrade (Note that the plan is having some but not a lot of docks)

- Ram choice - Gigabyte Mobo official ram support "Memory modules listed as above is for reference only. Due to massive memory models in market, we can only verify some of them." So how do I chose as my local cheap ramp 'GOODRAM' are not on the list at all, and with Corsair I had compatibility issues on another build, and so  do not want to have a repeat of that.

- Do I need cache SSD and if so what size? (Only 2 plex clients with media varying from 700Mb to 60Gb)

 

On Unraid:

- So I want to start with 2x6Tb hard disks so the other hard disks I buy down the line can be a max of 6tb, but 4tb hard disks will also be accepted for expand ability. If I have lets say 2x6tb and 3x4tb and I set them as follows:

Parity 1: 1x6Tb

Disk 1: 1x6Tb

Disk 2: 1x4Tb

Disk 3: 1x4Tb

Disk 4: 1x4Tb

 

It is my understanding, but I wish to confirm this, that if the HDD set on Parity 1 fails I can change that drive to a new 6Tb (Can I increase the size when it fails?) and I will lose no data. Is this correct? The disk 1-disk4 can also fail (always one at a time as I have only 1hdd on Parity) and can be changed without losing anything?(can I increase the HDD capacity)

 

If I lose unraid or mess something up, or maybe 2 drives fail, if i connect the hard disks that did not fail to my Windows PC can I get the data or everything is lost (assuming I did not encrypt any data)?

 

Thanks for your time, any advice or recommendations are welcome

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  1. For starters, 2x 8GB RAM is enough. If you do run into issues requiring more RAM, an upgrade is easy and fairly cheap. You want RAM running in dual channel mode anyway, it's faster then a single stick.
  2. You may not be able to configure XMP on the RAM you've chosen (purchased?) or it may not be stable. That's fine, you don't want an overclocked NAS anyway, stick to the default speeds.
  3. Cache is a "nice to have" not a necessity. Having said that, I do recommend you upgrade the SSD to a 1TB NVMe drive instead (on average about 100 bucks US, so not overly expensive). This allows for a decent cache in the future, if and when it becomes a requirement for your use case. It also frees up another SATA port, you only have 4.

As for the OS, try a free version first, like Proxmox or just a regular Linux distro (Mint, Ubuntu, Debian, Funtoo if you're feeling adventurous 😉 ). It won't have the slick GUI but it will do everything Unraid does, be it differently (Proxmox has a GUI not unlike Unraid, IIRC). One major difference is the way you set up the HDD's. My recommendation is to have both 6TB drives you're starting with as RAID1 while the OS goes on the NVMe drive. This simplifies the setup considerably while you can read either HDD separately if the system fails. Mind, Win-OS does not support Linux file systems natively. You may be able to access a Linux FS with specific tools on Win-OS, but the FS you want is either BTRFS or JFS, neither are supported at all on Win-OS. ZFS is all the rage right now, but for most (read as: vast majority of) users it's overkill for their use case. Plus it's not native to Linux, whereas BTRFS and JFS are.

 

HTH!

"You don't need eyes to see, you need vision"

 

(Faithless, 'Reverence' from the 1996 Reverence album)

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15 minutes ago, StoNe! said:

- As the mobo only has 2 ram slots, is 2x8gb more than enough or should i get 1x16gb for future upgrade (Note that the plan is having some but not a lot of docks)

Should be fine. I'm running my Plex server for a few years now with 16 GB of RAM a bunch of Dockers and haven't run into issues so far. It also depends on if you need to transcode files and do that to RAM, for example.

16 minutes ago, StoNe! said:

- Ram choice - Gigabyte Mobo official ram support "Memory modules listed as above is for reference only. Due to massive memory models in market, we can only verify some of them." So how do I chose as my local cheap ramp 'GOODRAM' are not on the list at all, and with Corsair I had compatibility issues on another build, and so  do not want to have a repeat of that.

You've pretty much answered your own question already. Memory on the qualified vendors list has been tested and/or is guaranteed (well, meant) to work. Others probably work, but don't have that guarantee, so it comes down to how much you don't want that off-chance of it not working.

20 minutes ago, StoNe! said:

- Do I need cache SSD and if so what size? (Only 2 plex clients with media varying from 700Mb to 60Gb)

I don't use one. Cache is used for stuff that will be accessed multiple times within a relatively short time window. Streaming is not really one of those cases.

26 minutes ago, StoNe! said:

On Unraid:

- So I want to start with 2x6Tb hard disks so the other hard disks I buy down the line can be a max of 6tb, but 4tb hard disks will also be accepted for expand ability. If I have lets say 2x6tb and 3x4tb and I set them as follows:

Parity 1: 1x6Tb

Disk 1: 1x6Tb

Disk 2: 1x4Tb

Disk 3: 1x4Tb

Disk 4: 1x4Tb

 

It is my understanding, but I wish to confirm this, that if the HDD set on Parity 1 fails I can change that drive to a new 6Tb (Can I increase the size when it fails?) and I will lose no data. Is this correct? The disk 1-disk4 can also fail (always one at a time as I have only 1hdd on Parity) and can be changed without losing anything?(can I increase the HDD capacity)

Unraid has a parity swap procedure to upgrade the parity drive size. I'm not sure if you can simultaneously replace and upsize the parity drive in case of an actual failure as the size upgrade, to my knowledge, uses the old parity drive to make the new, bigger parity drive, but if the drive failed perhaps it can simply rebuild parity without doing the whole parity swap procedure (I haven't had a disk fail on me yet, so I haven't had to deal with this).

 

When using a single parity drive one drive can fail without data loss on the array. If a second one fails, the data on the failed drives is lost.

 

Finally, your data disks can only be as big as your parity disk. In your example you can upgrade disks 2-4 to 6 TB, but if you wanted to put in a 12 TB one, for example, you'd first have to upgrade the parity disk to 12 TB. The Unraid docs havae a guide outlining upgrading data disks as well.

42 minutes ago, StoNe! said:

If I lose unraid or mess something up, or maybe 2 drives fail, if i connect the hard disks that did not fail to my Windows PC can I get the data or everything is lost (assuming I did not encrypt any data)?

Yes, each drive can be read outside of Unraid. Not on Windows though, as the file system is XFS or Btrfs which Windows can't read, but any Linux distro should have no problem reading your drives.

Crystal: CPU: i7 7700K | Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z270F | RAM: GSkill 16 GB@3200MHz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti FE | Case: Corsair Crystal 570X (black) | PSU: EVGA Supernova G2 1000W | Monitor: Asus VG248QE 24"

Laptop: Dell XPS 13 9370 | CPU: i5 10510U | RAM: 16 GB

Server: CPU: i5 4690k | RAM: 16 GB | Case: Corsair Graphite 760T White | Storage: 19 TB

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Excellent thanks for both your input.

- I'll be going with no cache, at least for now as the m.2 slot will be filled by a M.2 (PCIe 3.0) to 5 Ports SATA III 6G SSD Adapter once I buy more hard disks.

- I'll be sticking with the compatibility list as I already had a bad experience and find 2x8Gb. Just curious, how do you now XMP would not be stable? On their site it says 'XMP 2.0 support' (no, the ram & ssd where the only things I did not order yet)

- Just in case raid fails at least I can retrieve some data, thanks for clarifying that.

- The OS....grrrrrr. Before I get lost in another research hole (i'm very unfamiliar with anything not windows related) is there an advantage for using proxmox instead of unraid apart from being free. A quick search on getting things running it seems that there is more information and help on unraid.

 

Again thanks for your time and help

 

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20 hours ago, StoNe! said:

- As the mobo only has 2 ram slots, is 2x8gb more than enough or should i get 1x16gb for future upgrade (Note that the plan is having some but not a lot of docks)

This depends on the apps or any VM's you might want to run. It's very subjective, memory can quickly be eaten up once you have a few apps running, though using something like Docker/Kubernetes does take al ot of the bloat out of assigning memory to VMs. 

 

20 hours ago, StoNe! said:

- Ram choice - Gigabyte Mobo official ram support "Memory modules listed as above is for reference only. Due to massive memory models in market, we can only verify some of them." So how do I chose as my local cheap ramp 'GOODRAM' are not on the list at all, and with Corsair I had compatibility issues on another build, and so  do not want to have a repeat of that.

Look at the QVL for your motherboard. You should be able to get away with 3600Mhz easily for 2 sticks on Intel, but you can at least get some 3200Mhz sticks which is the sweet spot for performance value. I would go with 3200Mhz, memory speed still makes a difference even in servers (Servers just prioritise capacity and features over speed). 

20 hours ago, StoNe! said:

- Do I need cache SSD and if so what size? (Only 2 plex clients with media varying from 700Mb to 60Gb)

You don't need one, but some SSD space can be benefitial for Plex for putting the Plex "config" folder which also contains the "Plex Media Server" directory. This includes all the thumbnails and meta database for Plex. Putting this on SSD/NVMe is a significant improvement for response when loading navigating around in Plex, loading info, etc...

Using it as an actual array cache though is generally pointless, especially for such a small use case..just use it as a standalone disk. 

 

20 hours ago, StoNe! said:

On Unraid:

- So I want to start with 2x6Tb hard disks so the other hard disks I buy down the line can be a max of 6tb, but 4tb hard disks will also be accepted for expand ability. If I have lets say 2x6tb and 3x4tb and I set them as follows:

Parity 1: 1x6Tb

Disk 1: 1x6Tb

Disk 2: 1x4Tb

Disk 3: 1x4Tb

Disk 4: 1x4Tb

 

It is my understanding, but I wish to confirm this, that if the HDD set on Parity 1 fails I can change that drive to a new 6Tb (Can I increase the size when it fails?) and I will lose no data. Is this correct? The disk 1-disk4 can also fail (always one at a time as I have only 1hdd on Parity) and can be changed without losing anything?(can I increase the HDD capacity)

Yes, just like in every other array configuration (Hardware, ZFS, MDADM, Storage Spaces, etc...) you can always replace smaller disks with larger disks. You can do any of the disks at any time as long as you are only down 1 disk at a time. With UnRAID your largest disk must always be your Parity though. UnRaid will not start if your Parity drive is smaller than any of your data drives for the sake of data protection.

 

As an example: say you get a couple of 10TB disks, you must upgrade your Parity first and wait for that to rebuild. Once thats rebuilt you will not have any additional usable space, however you can now upgrade say Disk 4 from a 4TB to a 10TB....once that has finished you will now have an additional 6TB. You could then replace Disk 3 with the old 6TB which was Parity before, and that gives you another 2TB, so you are now up 8TB while removing 2 old 4TB drives which you could sell or use elsewhere. 

 

20 hours ago, StoNe! said:

If I lose unraid or mess something up, or maybe 2 drives fail, if i connect the hard disks that did not fail to my Windows PC can I get the data or everything is lost (assuming I did not encrypt any data)?

 

Thanks for your time, any advice or recommendations are welcome

Losing UnRAID doest matter, you can always mount the array to a new UnRAID install. Additionally you can make periodic backups of your UnRAID Flash for all of its configs. UnRAID you can also enable cloud backups of your Flash...so you can restore to a new flash drive from the cloud. 

 

In Unraid, each of the data disks is its own independant file system. In the event lets say your Parity disk dies, you replace it, and during that rebuild Disk 4 dies...Disk 1, 2 & 3 are still intact and can be accessible through their mount. 

 

The "RAID" is accessed via /mnt/user or /mnt/user0 which is a virtual filesystem. That lists the files of every device within the array. 

So in this example below...you can see disk1 has "share" and "system" folders, while disk 2 only has "share" folders. But the "RAID" at /mnt/user0 has "Docker / share / system" folders where the "Docker" folder is on one of the other disks. 

 

So if I lost both Parity disks, and disk 1....I would lose that "system" folder, and whatever sub files are in that "share" folder on Disk 1...however every other folder/file for "share" would be intact on every other disk..and I could still access disk2-8 through its /mnt/diskX path. The data disks just use XFS so they could be used on practically any Linux OS. 

 

image.png.23e97855189a9c2c676a322e2b5420a6.png

 

 

Spoiler

Desktop: Ryzen9 5950X | ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wifi) | EVGA RTX 3080Ti FTW3 | 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Pro 3600Mhz | EKWB EK-AIO 360D-RGB | EKWB EK-Vardar RGB Fans | 1TB Samsung 980 Pro, 4TB Samsung 980 Pro | Corsair 5000D Airflow | Corsair HX850 Platinum PSU | LG 32" 32GK850G Monitor x2 | Ducky DK2108 Keyboard | Steel Series Sensei Ten | MicroLab Solo 7C Speakers | Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 LE Headphones | TC-Helicon GoXLR | Audio-Technica AT2035 | LTT Desk Mat | XBOS-X Controller | Windows 11 Pro

 

Spoiler

Server: Fractal Design Define R6 | Ryzen 3950x | ASRock X570 Taichi | EVGA GTX1070 FTW | 64GB (4x16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000Mhz | Corsair RM850v2 PSU | Fractal S36 Triple AIO | 10 x 8TB HGST Ultrastar He10 (WD Whitelabel) | 500GB Aorus Gen4 NVMe | 2 x 1TB Crucial P1 NVMe | LSI 9211-8i HBA

 

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