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Suggestions for home use NAS build

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I currently have a Synology DS418j with 4x 2TB HDDs and am starting to run low on space so I'm taking this as an opportunity to get something a bit beefier also. Because the Realtek CPU in the Synology is pretty anemic, especially if you want to do any transcoding. Which would be nice given pretty much all of the storage on it is taken up by BluRay rips. While considering my options I realised I can probably just re-use an older machine. Putting TrueNAS on it and going that route. As an expectation setting here, I'm not expecting to transcode 4K content but it would be nice to be able to have Plex downscale 1080p rips to 720p/480p for mobile use

 

So here's the spare hardware I have to play with:

- Asus H97M-E (4x SATA, Gigabit LAN, 1x 16x PCIe, 3x 1x PCIe, NVMe)

- i5-4590 (quad core, no HT, HD-4600 iGPU)

- 16GB DDR3

- Multiple spare 120GB SATA SSDs

- Spare case with 4x 3.5" HDD bays, 3x 2.5" HDD bays, 3x 5.25" bays

- Nicer spare case with 3x 3.5" HDD bays, 3x 2.5" HDD bays

- 450W Power supply

- R9 285 (I probably don't want to use this but it is spare, if I was to go down this road I have more power efficient GPUs currently in use I could put on it later)

 

Currently I'm considering purchasing the following:

- 4x 4TB HDDs. RAIDZ1 giving me 12TB of storage, doubling my storage

- 250GB M.2 SSD, basically the smallest I can get. Possibly partition some of it for L2ARC?

- 2.5Gbps NIC, not immediately but given I only have one other device with >1Gbps and no >1Gbps switches yet

 

This new server would be home to all of the files currently on my NAS in addition to any new rips going forward. Including UHD rips. The old NAS I'll delete all the UHD vids from and have at my parent's place for off-site backup. Probably sneaker-net to start with but I might consider some kind of automated backup over the internet down the line. At least for the smaller files (home videos, photos, that sort of stuffs)

 

So my main questions are:

- Is using the existing SATA ports on the motherboard fine or should I get an expansion card?

- If I do get more SATA ports, would it be worth using one of my spare SATA SSDs as an L2ARC?

- Would using an SSD for L2ARC give me much of anything? Note, will cost me nothing other than possibly a SATA port

- Any other particular suggestions/changes I should make here?

Fools think they know everything, experts know they know nothing

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I run Plex on a similar CPU (i5 4690k) and for transcoding one or two 1080p streams it's fine. If you foresee needing to transcode often, however, the better option would be to just store a pre-transcoded copy in the correct format and bitrate so it can just stream that. A spare 720p or 480p copy probably won't take up a significant amount of space.

 

Can't comment on TrueNAS as I use Unraid.

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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13 hours ago, tikker said:

Can't comment on TrueNAS as I use Unraid.

At risk of opening a can of worms on this sub-forum why Unraid over TrueNAS? Any particular reason?

 

I was leaning towards TrueNAS purely because it's free and I can basically start from scratch here but perhaps that's not the best approach given my random assortment of hardware. Eg if I go Unraid I might be able to get a couple of 6 or 8TB drives now, "borrow" one of the 2TB drives from my existing NAS and get myself upto 8-10TB of storage with mis-matched drives. Then down the road if/when I use that capacity then I can drop in another 6/8TB drive in the 4th SATA port

 

Now I'm curious what any of the possible TrueNAS evangelists might suggest and why

Fools think they know everything, experts know they know nothing

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7 hours ago, skywake said:

At risk of opening a can of worms on this sub-forum why Unraid over TrueNAS? Any particular reason?

 

I was leaning towards TrueNAS purely because it's free and I can basically start from scratch here but perhaps that's not the best approach given my random assortment of hardware. Eg if I go Unraid I might be able to get a couple of 6 or 8TB drives now, "borrow" one of the 2TB drives from my existing NAS and get myself upto 8-10TB of storage with mis-matched drives. Then down the road if/when I use that capacity then I can drop in another 6/8TB drive in the 4th SATA port

 

Now I'm curious what any of the possible TrueNAS evangelists might suggest and why

What I like about Unraid is how easy it is to expand total capacity and its ability to use different sized drives. I couldn't deploy a full 20 TB solution in one go, so I started with a 3, 2, and 1 TB drive I had lying around and slowly replaced and expanded with 4 TB drives over time. Plus, since it's not really RAID and data is not striped across drives, each disk is readable independently. I don't intend to test it out, but should I lose two or more drives (I only run one parity drive) I should be able to read the others outside of the array.

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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10 hours ago, skywake said:

At risk of opening a can of worms on this sub-forum why Unraid over TrueNAS? Any particular reason?

 

I was leaning towards TrueNAS purely because it's free and I can basically start from scratch here but perhaps that's not the best approach given my random assortment of hardware. Eg if I go Unraid I might be able to get a couple of 6 or 8TB drives now, "borrow" one of the 2TB drives from my existing NAS and get myself upto 8-10TB of storage with mis-matched drives. Then down the road if/when I use that capacity then I can drop in another 6/8TB drive in the 4th SATA port

 

Now I'm curious what any of the possible TrueNAS evangelists might suggest and why

As @tikkersaid, unraid is a lot more “forgiving” in setting up a beginner NAS. By this I mean adding storage down the line. 
 

I run truenas and am a huge fan and proponent of it; ZFS is amazing, and it will go to huge lengths to keep your data intact and free of corruption, but it comes with downsides. The big one being you can’t easily just add space in the future. The only way to add space to a ZFS array is to add a new vdev (each vdev is also responsible for its own redundancy), or you can upgrade each drive in a vdev 1 by 1 to larger capacity, and once all are the larger capacity the vdev will then be able to use the new found space. 
 

Unraid you can simply chuck any size drive in at any time, and boom, more space. 
 

ZFS is fantastic and I highly recommend it, but to make the most of your money, it makes sense to buy effectively all the space you will ever need up front, or understand the “gotchas” of adding space later. 
 

Also, do you need to transcode? The first 3 rules of 4k are “don’t transcode 4k, keep a lower res copy”. This is becoming less true as cpu/GPU power increases and transcode is more plausible, but for any local playback you should always be direct playing files. 

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Headphones/amp/dac: Schiit Lyr 3 - - Fostex TR-X00 - - Sennheiser HD 6xx

 

Homelab/ Media Server: Proxmox VE host - - 512 NVMe Samsung 980 for VM's/Proxmox boot - - Xeon e5 2660 V4- - Supermicro X10SRF-i - - 64 GB ECC 2133 - - 10x4 TB WD Red RAID Z2 - - 10TB WD Red for expendable data - - Corsair 750D - - Corsair RM650i - - Dell H310 6Gbps SAS HBA - - Intel RES2SC240 SAS Expander - - TreuNAS + many other VM’s

 

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19 hours ago, LIGISTX said:

Also, do you need to transcode? The first 3 rules of 4k are “don’t transcode 4k, keep a lower res copy”. This is becoming less true as cpu/GPU power increases and transcode is more plausible, but for any local playback you should always be direct playing files. 

Yeah, I'm not really going to be transcoding UHD files. For one thing, kinda defeats the point a bit, you have a UHD copy so it can be at a stupid resolution. And secondly when I get a UHD BluRay usually it'll come with a regular BluRay which I'll also rip so I'll always have a 1080p copy also... well almost always. At this point the only UHD movies I don't have a 1080p copy of are the LotR trilogy and Justice League

Fools think they know everything, experts know they know nothing

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I use Unraid because it's simpler to set up and understand, and because it's much easier to expand in the future if I need to do that.

 

I don't use VMs personally (I only use dockers, that are easy to do) but some said it's easier to set them up.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. 
It matters that you don't just give up.”

-Stephen Hawking

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