BSD Hardware

Matthew Seaman matthew at
Fri Apr 8 15:02:23 UTC 2016

On 2016/04/08 15:31, JosC wrote:
> I am looking for a reliable replacement of my current BSD server.
> Could someone tell me which mini business pc would fit? NoSSD, but plain
> vanilla SATA 2,5 or 3,5 WD Red.

Most server- or desktop- class machines will work fine with FreeBSD.
Machines from big name manufacturers like Dell are well supported, or
for smaller suppliers, you can generally compare their list of
components against devices known to be supported by FreeBSD.  Small
suppliers are generally receptive if you tell them that you need a
machine to run FreeBSD, and might even be prepared to plug in a USB
stick and boot up a live system image to confirm everything works.

The type of hard drive you use is in fact just about the *least* likely
thing to result in compatibility problems.  You want to worry more about
things like RAID controllers/ HBAs (Host Bus Adapter), Network cards and
on-board chipsets.

You'll have to be rather more specific about your requirements if you
want any more concrete suggestions: what services is this machine
expected to provide, in support of how many users?  How much disk space
do you need?  Are you going to have any unusual requirements, like you
need to transcode video streams or compile quantities of source code?

Are you intending to use ZFS?  If so, then you'll need to spec more
memory than otherwise but you can use a pretty bare bones HBA rather
than a full-featured RAID controller, which would probably save you a
bit of money overall.  Beware though of some types of RAID controllers
which don't provide a 'JBOD' or pass-through mode: ZFS works best when
it has full control over the hard drives.

Oh, while I'm here: don't dismiss SSDs out of hand.  They've really come
of age over the last 18 months or so.  Good quality SSDs (eg. Intel or
Samsung) nowadays have a longer MTBF than spinny disks.  A lot of the
price differential is down to whether the SSD has a supercap (in order
to be able to complete any pending writes should your system lose power
unexpectedly), so assuming you can cope with the potential missed
filesystem writes they needn't cost you a great deal more.  Plus, of
course, they are that much faster than rotating media.



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