FreeBSD and large harddrives

Andy Wodfer wodfer at
Thu Nov 18 12:16:55 UTC 2010

I'm going to build a server that's intended to store uncompressed videofiles
(where 1 hour film equals about 500GB). I plan on using Western Digital 2TB
or 3TB SATA harddrives.  Total storage in version 1 of this server will
probably be 8-12 TB. Harddrive speed is not so important so a 5400rpm drive
would be OK. Seems like the green line of WD harddrives use both 5400rpm and
7200rpm. I will use RAID 5.

The processor will be a 64bit capable Intel processor and I plan on using a
Highpoint Rocketraid or 3ware Raid controller.

So now my questions:

1. Which FreeBSD version should I install? (it must support large drives).
I'm currently using the standard FreeBSD 8.1 (STABLE) on several servers,
but this is a 32bit version, right? I suppose I need a 64bit version when I
use large harddrives?

2. I know that the 3ware Raid controller supports larger drives than 2TB (or
was it 1TB?). The Highpoint controller I'm not so sure of, but I've had good
experience with these on a few Windows servers and on one FreeBSD server. My
setup would be to use the entire disk for both operating system and
filestorage (in version 1). How can I create this huge partition/slice? I
don't think the installer (atleast on the standard FreeBSD version) supports
these large drives?

Thanks for your help. I might have follow-up questions as my project make


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