Advice on NAS build for home

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Ethnod

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Oct 12, 2020
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TLDR:
Read specs below in "New build, your help needed:", advice needed on new NAS build for home entertainment by newbie to NAS's building and operating but has hardware exp


I'm going to build a new NAS for my sitting room, the last Plex update on my QNAP Server (TS-453A) caused issues, seems the CPU seems to be the issue, my skew is no longer supported.
In fairness it has served me well and I’ve rolled back the server but that does not seem to have worked :rolleyes:, I think wiping all the plex files might work but in reality its an old system so maybe its time to retire it to a security server and create something new.

I've been doing a little research, reading and so on over the last couple of weeks and gone through a few iterations, mainly due to the location I had initially intended for the NAS to go in (small area) which I've now scrapped.

Originally I had thought:
Fractal Design Node 304, B460M-ITX/AC m-ITX, Intel Core i5-10400, Noctua NH-U9B, Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB, Intel 660p M.2 512 GB, EVGA 500 W2 80+ & 4 port SATA 6 Gbps PCI Express SATA Controller (I already have tonnes of HDD's for it, most 4TB WD reds)

But since between restrictions and budget I've moved away from that.

I'm now thinking (unless someone posts a good argument against it) of getting a cheaper ATX case (like the Antec NSK-4000B II RaidPirate2020 talked about in another thread), recommendations welcome as the small mITX case just had too many restrictions and I'm on a kind of budget.

Things I want would be 6+ HDD's, M.2 boot drive (unless there is any reason not to go there), 2k streaming, torrent server and mostly that's it. Its at the side of the TV cabinet, sort of hidden, and can be as large as 60cm deep, 36 wide and don't particularly care about height, although the wife would say smaller is better I'd imagine :D

New build, your help needed:
Corsair Obsidian 750D Case (buying 2nd hand, getting 2 cages and will buy a 3rd as I read they are scarce and its in stock now)
Suggestion needed for motherboard
Intel Core i5-10400
Noctua cooler (suggestions welcome)
16/32 Gig advice wanted
Intel 660p M.2 512 GB (suggestions welcome)
500X power supply, looking for reliable but cheap, ideally modular (I can always want it all and compromise later :D)
I already have tones of HDD's for it, most 4TB WD reds so all good here.

Questions:
Looking at unRAID, any hardware I need to avoid?
Any reason to go for 32 gig of ram?
Any reason I should include SSD's in the build as well as the M.2?
I've a APC by Schneider Electric, is there any reason why that cannot be sat on, below or around the NAS once built? I will want the NAS to be powered by it.

Thank you in advance
 
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sboesch

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I noticed you chose the F processor, I do not see a video card listed. You're going to need a GPU for the machine and for Plex encoding. What operating system were you thinking of running?
 
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Ethnod

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I noticed you chose the F processor, I do not see a video card listed. You're going to need a GPU for the machine and for Plex encoding. What operating system were you thinking of running?
Thanks, that's just a copying error, should have copied the one without the F. Edited to fix that
 
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itronin

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Nov 24, 2018
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I have the correct drive cage CC-8930032 if you are looking for one - it has not been installed - just opened to verify what it was. - which was wrong for me.. I did not realize they were becoming scarce.

Why was it wrong? corsair carbide 300r 4 drive plate was same part # and the seller didn't want it back. <--- this is a SCARCE part...

PM me if you are interested.
 

BoredSysadmin

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Mar 2, 2019
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What's the point of Intel 660p M.2 512 GB SSD? OS boot drive? I'd rather go with a 3D TLC drive, like Samsung EVO - higher speed and longer life.
 

itronin

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What's the point of Intel 660p M.2 512 GB SSD? OS boot drive? I'd rather go with a 3D TLC drive, like Samsung EVO - higher speed and longer life.
for some reason I thought unraid booted off a USB stick (requirement, license etc) - I don't use unraid but could have sworn I read that... Wouldn't you want to use that m.2 for some sort of cache too (assuming nvme)...

linux/freenas/unraid it mode HBA's are cheap too if you have enough slots, probably slightly better performance than the onboard SATA if you get used enterprise SAS drives as well.
 
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BoredSysadmin

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I can't speak about Unraid, and it's caching. For ZFS, you need quite a specific caching SSD requirements (there is a master list somewhere on STH). I recon a 2nd hand enterprise 12g SAS SSD with PLP, and solid SLC caching is likely to be a much better choice for caching than a cheap consumer-grade NVMe drive.
Again, QLC only fits as a boot/os disk for low-end pc or near-line enterprise storage.
 

Ethnod

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Oct 12, 2020
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If you are new to building a NAS or running servers (as they differ from PC's a bit) and have questions like mine the guys at Level1 Tech are great, see my thread there

 

bmorepanic

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Oct 24, 2020
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Fractal node 804 has enough room for eight 3.5" and drives and is easier fit than itx. You need to contact fractal for new drive carriers if you get newer drives - sometimes they have only two screw positions.

I believe Unraid needs an HBA controller. I KNOW TrueNas Core does. An ITX motherboard won't have enough slots for an HBA and a graphics card. Unraid does need a usb stick to boot - that's where the main OS resides.

A decent quality UPS is a good idea, but not on or under the server - both things can get warm. Also pick your equipment before your UPS. I (and several different online power calculators also) completely under-guesstimated the power requirements of the assembled total. If you run 8 drives and any kind of decent video card, you might need an 850 va power supply. I tried a 650 and died on that hill with 6 drives.

One thing you might think about is looking at barebones servers with 6G SAS hardware. Some of the motherboards in those already have the Controller. They are pretty darned cheap right now.
 

Spartacus

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May 27, 2019
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Ace Ventura deep breath in:

New build, your help needed:
Corsair Obsidian 750D Case (buying 2nd hand, getting 2 cages and will buy a 3rd as I read they are scarce and its in stock now)
Suggestion needed for motherboard
Intel Core i5-10400
Noctua cooler (suggestions welcome)
16/32 Gig advice wanted
Intel 660p M.2 512 GB (suggestions welcome)
500X power supply, looking for reliable but cheap, ideally modular (I can always want it all and compromise later :D)
I already have tones of HDD's for it, most 4TB WD reds so all good here.
For motherboard, if you're not overclocking just look for a cheap board with the features you want and a large number of sata ports.
That way you can put off buying a HBA until you have more than that amount of drives.
Without hearing more information something cheap but functional like the GIGABYTE W480M VISION would be my recommendation ~ $200, has 8 sata ports, has two x16 slots (one is 8x) for HBA transcode GPU or 10gb addon, can support 128Gb ram, has two m.2 slots.

For cooler, since you have that giant ass case I'd just stick with something big but reliable like a hyper 212.

Is there an power efficiency requirement you have for a PSU? If not seasonic is one of my recommendations for budget + reliability
if you need modular its $100 for the Seasonic FOCUS GX-55 for 550w, or the S12III is 650w for $70 but is non-modular.

Questions:
Looking at unRAID, any hardware I need to avoid?
Any reason to go for 32 gig of ram?
Any reason I should include SSD's in the build as well as the M.2?
I've a APC by Schneider Electric, is there any reason why that cannot be sat on, below or around the NAS once built? I will want the NAS to be powered by it.
TLDR:
1) No, but Intel recommended
2) 16Gb is plenty for a low-moderate usage plex/nas unraid box
3) You don't need nvme, so unless you already own it, any ssd are fine for cache (do get m.2 to help save sata ports)
4) No issues provided airflow for both are unimpeded and the units are not making each overly hot (I'm assuming consumer grade APC backup unit).

Details:
1) If you're wanting to do unraid, theres not really hardware to avoid, however it does have the most support and runs best on Intel (additionally for plex you get quick sync with Intel).
2) Is there any other purpose you have other than being a plex box/nas box? 16gb is likely sufficient for just that (or 32gb if you wanna be future proof or plan to add vms/other docker containers) ~ as an additional option depending on your plex load, you can consider using ram for transcoding instead of hdd/ssd cache (generally applies to remote sharing)
3) For unraid, you dont need an m.2 drive for the OS (you do for freenas/truenas core or zfs for linux), for unraid instead you need a usb flash drive (I recommend this guy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MDXBT87)

M.2 nvme is nice but overkill, for cache pick up 2x m.2 of your preferred brand and size at the best cost to put in the motherboard you get I recommend high endurance models (128Gb+ recommended, my personal box running plex and all my other docker containers is less than 80Gb ~ plex is 66G)
I've run Plex on all 3 hardware HDD, SSD, and NVME SSD. SSD is a decent response improvement and the best bang for buck. Upgrading to NVME I saw almost no difference I only did it because the NVME drives I found on sale had really high endurance for the cost (Corsair MP510).

4) There should be no issue setting any computer around a battery backup unit provided it is functioning properly and both equipment have sufficient airflow this is on the asusmption you're getting a stanard UPS. If you're getting a rack mount commercial unit thats a different consideration.

If you are new to building a NAS or running servers (as they differ from PC's a bit) and have questions like mine the guys at Level1 Tech are great, see my thread there

The name of this forums is called serve the home while we do personal computing also, this is an ideal place for server and NAS build information as well.

for some reason I thought unraid booted off a USB stick (requirement, license etc) - I don't use unraid but could have sworn I read that... Wouldn't you want to use that m.2 for some sort of cache too (assuming nvme)...

linux/freenas/unraid it mode HBA's are cheap too if you have enough slots, probably slightly better performance than the onboard SATA if you get used enterprise SAS drives as well.
You are correct unraid boots off a flash device and loads the OS into memory, you can use any SSD for cache SATA, SAS, NVME, or U.2 alike.
There is little to no performance difference using an HBA vs onboard SATA, as you noted the HBA do often support SAS drives too though so you can get more drives in smaller spaces.

I believe Unraid needs an HBA controller. I KNOW TrueNas Core does. An ITX motherboard won't have enough slots for an HBA and a graphics card. Unraid does need a usb stick to boot - that's where the main OS resides.
Unraid does not require a HBA, you can use onboard SATA fine as well, it just has to have direct access to the drives (so if using a raid controller it should be in HBA/it-mode I think thats what you were inferring)

Even with a high end selection gpu for plex transcoding ~ a GTX1660, HDD dont take that much power, with that i5 (as long as not overclocked) the maximum calculation I show to be 450w (thats the top end assuming 7200 rpm drives and 100% TDP ~ which is rare on a plex/nas box). That said some overhead is always recommended, but as long as its a solid built PSU a 550w should cover it IMO.

@Ethnod Can you expand in a little more detail what you're looking to get out of your unraid build and what kind of load on plex? (# users/transcodes?)
What is the maximum number of drives you think you will be using? (sounds like at least 9 drives since you're going 3 cages?)
What budget are you targeting?
Let me know if you have any other questions
 
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bmorepanic

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Actually, neither one needs m.2 cards at all. But since they're on a lot of motherboard, one may use them.

I had to laugh at the power requirements spartacus stated, it was so familiar and yet didn't work out in real life. It was what I thought, what several different pc power estimators said, and yet, it didn't work.
 

Magic8Ball

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Nov 27, 2019
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I'm going to build a new NAS for my sitting room
How much of a priority is it for you (or your wife) that this is a silent or near silent build? I ask because it can be a drvier for your decisions and something you may want to consider. 8 hard disks + gpu + cooler/case fans can add up in noise if you're not careful, but everyone has a different tolerance to this sort of thing.
 

Markess

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May 19, 2018
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Ace Ventura deep breath in:
Haha! I like it. :cool:

I had to laugh at the power requirements spartacus stated, it was so familiar and yet didn't work out in real life. It was what I thought, what several different pc power estimators said, and yet, it didn't work.
Many times the issue is the difference between VA (which you mention in an earlier post) and the Wattage required by the hardware (which the PSU calculators provide) and the poor way the industry and its manufacturers explain the two to consumers.

The PSU calculators are mostly accurate in determining how much power needs to come out of a PSU. There's some inaccuracies, of course. For example, there's a significant range of power draws across SSDs.

Generally, a 650 watt PSU can put out 650 watts of power to the connected hardware. But, if you're a boring guy like me who knows a bunch of nerd trivia, you'll know that even if its 80+ Platinum efficiency, a "650 Watt power supply" can draw as much as 790 watts, or more, at the wall. And of course its going to be even more for lower efficiency ratings. Typical 650w non-80+ supplies can draw 1000 watts, or more, at the wall at 100% load.

Making it worse is the VA ratings the UPS Manufacturers use, which is a measure of stored energy, and not how much power they can actually supply. Most UPS manufacturers tell you to assume a power factor of .6. Pulling out the nerd trivia again, that means that a typical 850VA UPS can only reliably supply 510 watts of power to the connected computer.

So, for example, if someone tries to load test their new rig with a 650Watt PSU wanting almost 800 watts from the wall plug, and an 850VA UPS that is only able to give up 510 watts.....bad things happen. If you're a boring nerd trivia guy like me, you know that. IF you're the other 99.9999999% of society...not so much ;)

@Ethnod : I have very little some to add. If you've searched the forums, you'll see that @Spartacus is an "industrial strength" Unraid user, so I defer to his advice. I will say he's been very helpful to me with my own Unraid set-up. Two Three things to consider:

1. A GPU for Plex is great if you transcode multiple streams at once. If you're just serving to one TV in your sitting room though, you can try CPU transcoding first to see if its enough. A CPU with Intel QuickSync will help in this regard, but even my low end CPU works fine for the single stream I ever need.

2. Check how many watts your UPS can actually output. The .6PF example I gave above is just an average, your UPS may be more (or less) efficient than that. But generally, the Watts a UPS outputs are a lot less than the VA rating.

3. Yes, SSDs are fast and have no moving parts. NVMe are even faster. But at the end of the day, your Unraid system inputs/outputs through your network connection. If its a 10G network, then yes, SSD! But for the Gigabit most people have, you can probably do without if you need to save a dollar (or a Euro or whatever).

Some day, I'll learn to be brief. But not today I guess. :p

Cheers!
 
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bmorepanic

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Hey Markness - thanks for that. I know that about ups units, but never connected it to power supplies. They used to be rated in watts as a default right? I noticed the change to VA but didn't change my own thought pattern to match...
 

Markess

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Hey Markness - thanks for that. I know that about ups units, but never connected it to power supplies. They used to be rated in watts as a default right? I noticed the change to VA but didn't change my own thought pattern to match...
Most vendors still rate their power supplies in Watts, at least for the US market. But, they have always, and still do list them in terms of output wattage, while the input wattage is always higher....sometimes much higher. So you wind up with a situation where the UPS puts out less wattage than people think, while at the same time the PSU draws more wattage from the wall plug than they think. The gap between the two is huge sometimes.

My 1500VA UPS, which had easy to find/replace but innefficient old school lead acid motorcycle batteries, is only rated for 550 output watts...for 5 minutes. So, not only can I only hook up one machine reliably, but I have to be quick if the power goes out! The UPS had a driver for triggering a shutdown in case of a power outage, but they haven't updated the driver in years and it doesn't work right with any current operating systems. So, after the latest set of batteries died a short time ago, I didn't even bother getting new ones. I'm in the process of shopping for a new one.
 
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BlueFox

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Generally, a 650 watt PSU can put out 650 watts of power to the connected hardware. But, if you're a boring guy like me who knows a bunch of nerd trivia, you'll know that even if its 80+ Platinum efficiency, a "650 Watt power supply" can draw as much as 790 watts, or more, at the wall. And of course its going to be even more for lower efficiency ratings. Typical 650w non-80+ supplies can draw 1000 watts, or more, at the wall at 100% load.
You're a little off on the math. 80+ Platinum, even at 115V (efficiency is higher at 230V), would be 730W at the wall with a fully loaded 650W PSU at worst. Efficiency is better when not fully loaded too and any power supply that isn't 80+ rated is going to be ancient at this point (or of poor quality) and shouldn't be used. Even the 14 year old PC Power & Cooling 1KW PSU I keep around on hand for testing is 83% efficient.

I'd be surprised if the file server uses more than 100W. You don't need a huge UPS.
 

Markess

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You're a little off on the math. 80+ Platinum, even at 115V (efficiency is higher at 230V), would be 730W at the wall with a fully loaded 650W PSU at worst.
But if 80+ platnum is a minimum of 91% efficient with a power factor of .9, don't you have to divide 650w by 91%, and then multiply that wattage by the .9PF to get the theoretical maximum power draw? I thought that's how it went. If the power factor doesn't enter into it, then I guess I'm wrong and things are better than I thought.
 

BlueFox

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With active PFC, 0.99 power factor has been commonplace for more than a decade. It's not really a consideration these days.
 
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Markess

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With active PFC, 0.99 power factor has been commonplace for more than a decade. It's not really a consideration these days.
Well, that's good to know. I did my example using the base 80+ Platinum standard, which includes a PF of .9 (or higher). But, if PF isn't really a necessary consideration any more, then including it in an example serves no purpose. Thanks for setting me straight!
 

Spartacus

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I'm currently running a couple of Unraid servers on old Xeon hardware. An E3 1280 with 32GB RAM and E3 1240 with 16GB RAM and looking to consolidate and improve my transcoding capability.
I run a Plex server for a lot of my family/friends and don't currently use a GPU to transcode, so I'm keeping 4K files for in-home streaming and 1080p files for the remote. Looking for something that could transcode up to 4 simultaneous 4K video files.
With GPU prices, that's leading me to think iGPU but I haven't built a non-Ryzen computer for years.
I'm also running a bunch of dockers and a couple of VMs (Ubuntu server for online poker hosting, a couple of Windows sandboxes, and other Linux distros just to test out/play with) so thinking something with a few more cores would be helpful.
My main server is in a Supermicro 846 and I'll be repurposing everything but the CPU, MB, and RAM. Does anyone have any advice or anything I'm not thinking of I need to consider? I'm not looking to spend a ton but willing if needed.
Thank you to anyone taking the time to look at this.
Take a gander at that for gpu trans-coding estimates.
That said a high core X10 xeon E5 system would probably work extremely well (single core proc with high count or dual proc with lesser count)
I'm running a e5-2695 v4 and it works well for my needs (but i primarily do 1080p for remote users also)
First question though, do you have the upload bandwidth to facilitate 4k?