Build PC with FreeNAS or a Stand-alone NAS?

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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I might be buying a NAS in the future. I also might be upgrading to an i7-7700k when it comes out and using my current parts to build a NAS with FreeNAS installed instead of selling them. The NAS would have a i7-4930k, Asus P9X79 Pro motherboard, 32GB DDR3-1600 RAM, GTX 780 Ti, 850w power supply (not sure if it work because it fell on the tile floor), 2x6TB WD Green HDDs, 512GB SSD (if I upgrade to a bigger SSD on my main PC), CM690-II ATX case. If I get a stand-alone NAS instead, it will most likely be the QNAP TS-251+. A stand-alone NAS would be much less obtrusive than a giant tower PC and consume less power.
 

FFFF

Member
Dec 20, 2015
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Are power consumption and size important to you? If yes, go with a NAS otherwise a regular PC will do. Myself, I'm partial to Asustor, their NAS models are both pretty cheap and feature rich.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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I might be buying a NAS in the future. I also might be upgrading to an i7-7700k when it comes out and using my current parts to build a NAS with FreeNAS installed instead of selling them.
Before even addressing the NAS portion, but you've read the various reviews on the 7700k, right?

Depending on what you use your PC for, the 7700k will not be a big update compared to the 4930k you have now.

I'm not trying to talk you out of upgrading, just making sure you are aware of what to expect.

As far as using your old PC as a NAS, that's quite a system just for that use.
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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Well I'm having a hard time selling my GTX 780 Ti for $180 on Craigslist. I upgraded to a GTX 1080. I don't want to get less than $180 ( paid around $650 for it 2.5 years ago) for the card and just thought that I might as well use it towards building a NAS or a media server since the 4930k does not have integrated video.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Lemme see if I remember . . . that's the low-end hex-core Ivy Bridge K processor? And you want to use it for a server on your LAN, is that right?

Test the power supply, or -- if it were me and I were using used parts to build a "new system" -- replace it with one of lower wattage spec -- maybe 650W or 750W. Or simply use a PSU calculator based on the number of devices, processor, overclock, RAM etc. and get the improbable "all-devices-at-once" minimum. You might only need a 550W.

Then, pull the GTX 780 Ti and either redeploy it, sell it, mothball it. If you need a graphics card at all for something that can actually run "headless" once configured, and since the X79 mobo doesn't have a graphics function because the CPU lacks an iGPU, find a low-end $50 PCI-E graphics card which also uses less power. It just seems that the 780 Ti would be wasted on a server-as-NAS. I think I'd actually spend the money on a low-end gfx card, sell or redeploy the 780 Ti, set up the system initially with the low-end card and then remove it if I can run the server headless.

I'm guessing -- with no personal experience -- that FreeNAS can be accessed headlessly from a workstation. For myself, I'm slowly replacing a WHS-2011 server on a 680i mobo and Q6600 processor. I chose to buy a license for MS Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials. I will feel more than overpowered for just using an i5-3470 and 16GB of Corsair XMS. Since it has built-in graphics, I can turn off the motherboard SATA controller, and add an 8-port Super-Micro SATA-III controller with basic RAID options to use in AHCI mode with pooling. I could add a second 4-port or 8-port card on the Z68/Gen3 motherboard, and still use the third PCI-E slot for an x4 device or controller. And of course I could use the onboard Intel controller and any combination of the storage controllers I only mentioned by example.

It depends on your business and activities. That's really a high-power configuration for building a server out of "old" parts.

It must've been short of 3 years ago when I was planning and doing the initial parts-option spreadsheet for an X79 system with that very motherboard. It just didn't seem as cost-effective as the Skylake I just built, and I chose to wait through Haswell and its E model. There were some two more plans before I settled on this.

The tempting thing for me about a 7700K is the overclockability factor. I think some of those in the upper silicon lottery will run at 5Ghz on good air cooling. Otherwise, the consistent performance improvement in every area except for power consumption over the 6700K doesn't seem worth the outlay for a Kaby Lake.

But for you? Absolutely.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
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Well I'm having a hard time selling my GTX 780 Ti for $180 on Craigslist. I upgraded to a GTX 1080. I don't want to get less than $180 ( paid around $650 for it 2.5 years ago) for the card and just thought that I might as well use it towards building a NAS or a media server since the 4930k does not have integrated video.
No way would I want a hot 780 ti (it is the big GPU from that generation) sharing case space with my hard drives. I would actually prefer a GTX 710 in that case.

For a homebuilt server you want: ECC ram, easy expandability, and a really good single rail PSU.

Unless you have a reason to build a server (you need the power for Plex transcoding or you plan to put in capture card for OTA content) often a NAS is an easier option.

Now you COULD use the 780 ti in a HTPC. That would make sense. It would be a monster for MadVR upscaling.
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
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The GTX 780 Ti would not be running at full throttle if it's in a PC that is just going to serve mkv files through the local area network in my home, so it's not going to run as hot as it does in gaming. A GTX 780 Ti can't hardware decode a few 4k formats and does not support HDMI 2.0 which is required to display native 4k sources on a 4k TV. A GTX 780 Ti is good for 1080p video sources since it can hardware decode all 1080p video formats, so if the HTPC won't be used for 4k then a 780 Ti is a good choice and in fact it's overkill for 1080p video.
 

Dave3000

Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
1,163
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91
I recently bought a QNAP TS-251+ NAS but returned it the next day. I returned it because I was hearing something like coil whine from the power brick, even when sitting about 4' away from it in my bedroom with everything turned off except the NAS and I could here the coil whine from the power brick over the NAS at idle. Other than that I found everything else about it great. I did notice that 16.2GB gets reserved by the NAS and can't be used by other things from one my hard drives that was in the NAS. Drives I set as single volumes. Also is it normal for hard drives to get accessed like every 20-25 seconds in a NAS even when you are not accessing the NAS, because I heard my hard drives clunking every 20-25 seconds even when I was not accessing the NAS and I disabled the 8 second head parking on my Greens using WDIdle3?
 

CA19100

Senior member
Jun 29, 2012
634
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Having considered both options recently, I'd go with a standalone NAS. The system you're describing would be such overkill for a NAS, and a standalone unit would be much smaller, quieter, and less power-hungry. I'm using a small 2-bay Synology DS216j (currently $169 at Amazon), and it's perfect for what I need. (There are larger and more expandable units available for more money, but for my purposes I just didn't see the need.) It also has lots of add-on modules to do things like run a VPN server, run a web server, email server, monitor and record my security cameras, and much more.

It needs no display or graphics card, and uses a small ARM processor, meaning it draws a max of 15 watts of power under load, and less than half that while hibernating. It has a powerful but simple graphical interface accessed through a web browser, and is virtually silent. I run my two drives as a RAID, and it does automatic backups to an attached USB 3.0 drive, and offsite backups to Amazon Glacier. It can host a private "cloud" that can sync to a folder on your computers and phones, similar to the way Dropbox works, but without it leaving your control. It's really slick.

It works better and does more than I anticipated, and I like that security updates and feature upgrades are as simple as clicking "install." I want a NAS I can more-or-less treat like an appliance, and a standalone does that very well. I've used retired tower PCs as servers in the past, and honestly the noise drove me nuts.
 
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