First Build Critique

Hello all! Awesome forum, I’ve always loved building PC’s and I have built dozens going all the way back to the 486x days. I’ve always dreamed about running a server and owning a XEON Processor, so it’s been great fun going through the forum and reading what everyone is doing.

Just wanted to get your opinions and make sure I’m not doing anything crazy with my build here. My primary use will be for storing family photos and documents, nothing too large or crazy (4TB will be plenty). Thinking of going the UnRaid/TrueNAS route as far as software. I would love to be able to install an app on Android phones and have media automatically uploaded.

Here goes:

Motherboard: SuperMicro X10SLM-F
CPU: Intel Xeon E3-1265l v3
RAM: Kingston 4x4 GB PC3-12800E DDR ECC 1600MHz
O/S HDD: Undecided, thinking of going SSD
Storage HDD: x2 WD Red Plus 4TB
Power Supply: Cooler Master 500W Ver. 3
Case: Undecided, thinking of using an old ATX case I have lying around
Fans: 5x120mm Arctic fans

I’m at $284 so far, have yet to purchase SSD(s). I’m unsure of the RAID implications, can I run 1 or 2 SSD(s) and 2 HDD NAS?

Raid 1 on the 2 HDD NAS drives and running operating system off of 1 or two SSD(s).

Thanks again for your input!

Have you already bought most of the hardware?

I would not put the SSD’s in raid and I wouldn’t use RAID 1. I see you are talking about using UNRAid or TrueNAS - both of which will use a software redundancy system. I hesitate to call it raid but some people do. TrueNAS is what I use and it functions with ZFS file system and while called RaidZ1 or Z2, etc it’s not RAID in terms of hardware function.

It will come up but I wouldn’t waste the money on the WD red drives - don’t get me wrong WD is my usually go to. I would use Hitachi or WD enterprise 7200 RPM drives. I current run 4, 4tb Hitachi drives that cost me 60 per drive. With ZFS Z1 setup I have over 12Tb of useable space and can take one drive failure without issue - I also keep a spare sitting on the shelf if I have to drop it on.

If you haven’t bought the hardware listed I would give a hard look at refurbished workstation computers. I made my rig of an HP Z420 workstation refurbished and it’s similar spec. Xeon E5-2690 - 8 core processor, 64gb ECC DDR3 ram (started with 32). When I bought it the box with all the bits tested as functional was 230 dollars. Which included case, power supply (85 silver roughly), processor etc. so it was worth it for me to just buy that box. So far so good.

I run 2 SSD’s right now but I started with just 1 and could have stayed with just one. I had some laying around though. Anyway with one SSD at 256 gb I had TrueNAS as OS and plenty of room for a few applications. So that part is easy moving to a 512 or 1TB SSD will have plenty of room today.

With the cost of drives and whichever OS you plan to work with I highly recommend getting more than 2 HD’s for the storage pool. If for no other reason than read speed increase.

There are any number of ways to have your mobile sync though to your NAS box I’m still playing around with some options but thngs like OwnCloud work with unraid or truenas. Seems easy enough. I don’t live sync at the moment so instead I use tasker on my mobile to set a rule that when on home wifi and plugged in it pushes the contents of 3 folders over to the NAS share. But I used OwnCloud in the past and it’s a good option. There are others.

Right now I run my Server as a media storage machine and it serves Jellyfin to some ROKU players in the house and any PC or mobile in the house if they want.

Good Luck and welcome.

Thanks for the thoughtful reply! I already purchased most of hardware except for SSDs. You got a killer deal on your rig, will keep that in mind for the next one. I purchased the WD HD’s for $70 a piece, but I will take your advice and buy two more enterprise 7200RPM HD’s. Where did you purchase them?

Also, do you use one of your SSDs for cache?

Napalm… Where did you score your refurb? I am looking currently at parts and was thinking about a refurb as a possibility. Thanks!

I don’t currently use an SSD for cache as I was told earlier that it wouldn’t matter for me. However I have one laying about so I might do it anyway.

Mine are SATA SSD’s not NVME ones. but still anything helps right.

Spinning disks I have had good luck using for the source. They sell on Newegg also but I go straight to their website.

SSD and other stuff I go to newegg.

The Refurb rig came from PCserverandparts. But there are other stores out there and again some have ebay fronts also. At the time the cheaper one I found from a place I knew people used before.

It’s not perfect - this machine doesn’t have a full UEFI implementation so it won’t flash the LSI HBA adapters if you go that route. Uses it just fine but you can’t run the flash utility. so you need another machine to pull that off. Little quirks here and there but it’s a cost savings.