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Old 11-13-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
jaggoraj
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Default Free NAS server hardware configuration

Hi,

I'm planning to setup my own NAS server at home. It'll act as central storage of all my media files also i will be using it for torrent downloads , so the machine is expected to run 24x7. Which means less power consumption , low noise . For software part, i'm thinking of using FreeNAS . I'd like your suggestion on hardware part. Please suggest a decent configuration (cpu ,ram, harddisk, psu , hot swap cabinets, motherboard).

Thanks,
Jagadish
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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We have several questions for you. Those you haven't answered include but may not be limited to: Where are you and what's your budget?
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:57 AM   #3
jaggoraj
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Hi Ken,

Please find my answers below,

1. What YOUR PC will be used for. That means what types of tasks you'll be performing.
A : Store and Play HD bluray movies, Music, Sattelite radio, download torrents 24x7, want to setup virtual machines on it for programming and other study purpose. I might do some low end gaming, but very less.

2. What YOUR budget is. A price range is acceptable as long as it's not more than a 20% spread

A: 35,000 Indian Rupees ( ~650 USD).

3. What country YOU will be buying YOUR parts from.
A: Bangalore, India

4. IF YOU have a brand preference. That means, are you an Intel-Fanboy, AMD-Fanboy, ATI-Fanboy, nVidia-Fanboy, Seagate-Fanboy, WD-Fanboy, etc.

A: Intel , nVidia

5. If YOU intend on using any of YOUR current parts, and if so, what those parts are.

A: I don't have any parts with me now.

7. IF YOU plan on overclocking or run the system at default speeds.
A: I don't plan to overclock.

8. What resolution will you be using?
A: Most often I'll be throwing the output to a 40 inch led tv display. So the resolution should be optimal for that.

9. WHEN do you plan to build it?
Note that it is usually not cost or time effective to choose your build more than a month before you actually plan to be using it.

A: In a Couple of weeks.

10. Do you need to purchase any software to go with the system, such as Windows or Blu Ray playback software?

A: I don't have anything in my mind. You can suggest if any. If it fits in to my budget, I've no problems.

Regards,
J
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:40 PM   #4
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To my knowledge you can't game or playback movies on FreeNAS. Its a server distro (command line or web interface only).
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantomaniac View Post
To my knowledge you can't game or playback movies on FreeNAS. Its a server distro (command line or web interface only).
Nope. There's a DLNA plugin.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantomaniac View Post
To my knowledge you can't game or playback movies on FreeNAS. Its a server distro (command line or web interface only).
Correct. While you could theoretically compile an X server and run it with a desktop, at that point you'd rather just install Ubuntu.

OP, can you tighten up your requirements a bit? What's more important to you, a server or a PC to hook up to your TV.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:27 PM   #7
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Thanks all for ur suggestions so far......
At first i thought of building htpc and hook it directly to the tv....but i want the machine to be downloading stuff in the night's......then i came across this freenas thing ....i thought of building a dedicated NAS server with torrent client...and probably buy a low end media player like wdtv and hook to the tv and access files from NAS storage.....to be frank i'm in dilemma now.....i need a system which can be both..and should be with in my budget of building ~ $620. Seems like the configuration phantoms suggested goes behind my budget.

Any suggestion?

Regards,
J
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:36 PM   #8
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I will start by saying I have no idea what prices are like in India compared to the USA.

If you are looking to simply build a NAS machine then you can do that easily within your budget. I have run both FreeNAS and unRAID on dual core Atom hardware with no problems at all. Something like that or an AMD C60 setup will get you the lowest power and noise for sure, but your price to performance ratio isn't all that great.

My current unRAID setup is being upgraded and these are the parts I am using with their prices. I am sure this same setup would run FreeNAS just as well.

-- Asrock mini ATX MB : $69
-- Intel G530 : $49
-- 2x2GB RAM : $20

You have no need for a video card with the built in graphics on the CPU so the base system will be right around $140. Assuming you need a case and power supply then you can figure on another $100 or more depending on how many drives you want to stick in the system. For a bunch of drives figure on closer to $150 for the case and PSU. I am using a Fractal Design Define Mini which is right around $100. This gets us to $240 - $290.

The rest of your cost is going to be in drives and that I will leave up to you. This leaves enough room to get a dedicated streaming device. Depending on how you want to setup FreeNAS the drives might be a problem at your budget if you plan on going with a RAID setup. You might also look at something like unRAID which is much more friendly when it comes to adding drives in the future. This way you can start with a couple of drives and add more as you run out of space.

Last edited by DaveStall; 11-15-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:35 PM   #9
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FreeNAS is just that, a NAS. All it does is store files. What you probably want is some sort of Linux or Solaris distro to act as a general server. It will take a lot more research on your part, but it is easily done. You will probably want another device connected to your TV to stream to such as a Roku box, Xbox 360, PS3, etc.

The problem you are running into is trying to be a file server AND download files AND run a virtual machine. You need a full OS to do that, not just FreeNAS. I'd look into using Ubuntu with something like remote desktop to log into from your day to day device.

A Roku is only ~60USD.

As for a decent starter server:

i3 2120 or E3-1230
Supermicro board
HDD's for ZFS pool using Linux or Storage Space using Windows 8
At least 8GB of RAM (ECC if using an E3 Xeon)
Antec 300
~400W PSU

Note: you probably will not realize the benefits of a Xeon processor for your needs, so the i3 will save you ~200USD in total by not having to buy ECC RAM and forgoing the E3. I would stick to a server specific board such as a Supermicro though since they allow headless booting among other imperative features.

Be sure you have a Gigabit switch/router and Cat6 cabling to get full use out of the system. Good luck.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Subyman View Post
HDD's for ZFS pool using Linux or Storage Space using Windows 8
Ain't gonna be doing ZFS in Linux without some really dodgy kernel patches. ZFS proper will probably never be in mainline Linux due to licensing issues.

OP, you don't really have the budget for two full systems. You can have one machine be both, but you're not going to be able to use FreeNAS to do it. Full stop.

Another good question is: how much (usable) storage are you looking to get out of this thing?
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:10 AM   #11
jaggoraj
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Yep...looks like having just free NAS would not solve all my purpose. I guess getting decent server,install ubuntu and probably a wdtv or roku would be good for now.

Compared to USA the prices are ~15-20% higher in India. Could you please provide a configuration(including noiseless psu, processor cooling) for $500 budget. Also i'm noticing some of the part models are not available in India, so while suggesting please give me 2-3 options.

I'm having around 1TB of data scattered between laptops and a external hardrive .i'm planning to move every thing to this machine, and I'll be doing some heavy downloading so the data size is expected to grow.

Thanks a lot !

- J
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Old 11-17-2012, 01:51 PM   #12
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We're not so US-centric here that we don't know how do an Indian build. I will tell you up front that a "noiseless" build would be very difficult on your budget unless you go with something extremely underpowered like an Atom. A very quiet build is doable though.

Pentium G620 Rs. 3535
Gigabyte GA-B75M-D3H Rs. 4500
G.Skill DDR3 1333 4GB Rs. 1290
Kingston SSDNow V100 64GB Rs. 4550
Seagate Green 2TB x2 Rs. 13090
Corsair CX430 Rs. 2689
CM Elite 310 Rs. 1800
Total: Rs. 31454

You could add an aftermarket CPU cooler if you wanted, but it shouldn't be necessary since the Pentium will run very cool at idle.

The SSD is there for the OS, but it's goal is not to increase performance (though it will do that). Rather, it's there to keep a clear separation between system and storage so that you can swap storage in and out as you please. There is 4TB of total storage, but I recommend that you mirror the two drives using Linux md RAID or LVM.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:30 AM   #13
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Thanks mfenn...I'll go ahead with this configuration...will post later how it goes...
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:40 AM   #14
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build a HTPC... vnc a FreeNAS box to run auto-torrenting
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