Customized CPU for FreeNAS

David Christensen dpchrist at
Wed Apr 3 22:38:22 UTC 2019

On 4/2/19 11:27 PM, Naveena Chary (Attra) wrote:
> Hi Team,
> We are planning to build FREENAS in our environment and below is our requirement. Please suggest the best hardware and its configuration
>    1.  6 HDD Connectivity
>    2.  32 GB RAM
>    3.  Suggest me Which Motherboard and Processor will suit?
>    4.  Dual Power Supply
>    5.  Dual Cooling FAN's
> Kind Regards
> Naveena Chary
> Senior System Administrator
> Attra Infotech Private Limited
> 10B Electronic City Phase II, Industrial Area, Begur
> Bangalore - 560 100
> Website :<>
> T: +91 080-61841000
> M: +91 9731008242
> [cid:CB376D97-9715-42C3-8C4D-676B3CF6A7E7]
>      "We believe it can be done,
>                             So we make it happen"

An advantage of built-your-own is that you have a wide choice of parts 
and combinations.  A disadvantage is that the total parts cost is often 
higher than an equivalent commercial-off-the-shelf product.

I needed to replace my Debian 9 SOHO Samba/ CVS file server last year -- 
Intel D945GNT desktop board, 3.4 GHz Pentium D, 2 @ 1 GB memory modules 
(failed memory slot for 3rd or 4th memory module), single 3 TB desktop 
disc with ext4, and 1 Gigabit port.  After much research and many 
delays, I bought a recent and lightly used Dell PowerEdge T30 for $375 
on Craig's List.  It came with a mini-tower case, single 290 W power 
supply, single rear cooling fan, half-height 5.25" DVD+-RW drive, 4 
internal 3.5" drive bays, 1 @ 1 TB SATA drive, Intel Xeon E3-1225 v5 
processor, 1 @ 8 GB ECC memory module, 4 SATA III ports, 1 PCIe x16 3.0 
slot, 1 PCIe x16 3.0 slot (x4 speed), 1 PCIe x4 3.0 slot, 1 PCI slot, 
and 1 Gigabit port.  I removed the 1 TB drive, added a second 8 GB ECC 
memory module (system supports 4 @ 16 GB), and installed 3 @ 1.5 TB SATA 
desktop drives.  The goal was a SanDisk Ultra Fit 16 GB USB 3.0 flash 
drive as the system disc, encrypted swap, encrypted ZFS root, one large 
encrypted partition per SATA disc, and RAIDZ1 for data.   I tried Debian 
9 with contrib ZFS -- it ran for a while, then broken when I forced a 
kernel update.  Then I tried FreeNAS, thinking it was FreeBSD with a 
nice web GUI on top -- I was wrong.  Then I tried FreeBSD 11.2 -- 
success!  This computer rocks, and should be overkill for years to come.

The problem with having a computer with several discs in RAID is that 
you want another computer with several discs in RAID as a backup and 
maintenance mule for the first.  So, I am currently rebuilding my old 
file server, keeping the ATX full-tower case, power supply, optical 
drive, and hot-swap bays.  I found an Intel S1200V3RP motherboard with 
Intel E3-1225 v3 processor and 2 @ 4 GB ECC memory modules on eBay for 
US $110+.  (I believe this motherboard has 6 SATA III ports and supports 
32 GB ECC memory.)  The motherboard also has an unusual 5-pin connector 
for communicating with the power supply; my power supply does not have 
the matching cable.  If it works, it should be equivalent to a Dell 
PowerEdge T20.  This approach may or may not work for you.

In either case, if you plan to do disc encryption, be sure to get a 
processor with AES-NI.  Ideally, one core per disc plus additional 
core(s) for everything else.

You might get more/ better replies if you stated your workload/ 
applications/ services, number of concurrent users, compute 
requirements, RAM requirements, storage requirements, network 
requirements, etc., and the make/ model of parts you plan to re-use.


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