High capacity, high performance, energy efficient rackmount build

I’m looking to build a new energy efficient rackmount homelab server to handle a glut of hd video and high resolution image editing over the network. I’ve been limping along using a Synology RS2414+ for way too long. I’ve run out of room on it. It’s slow. it’s started hard-locking on me.

Rather than another overpriced Synology that underperforms, I’ve decided on a(n overpriced) server build that will also allow me to handle a variety of vm/docker containers as well.

The general rule is: performance, low cost, and low energy usage… pick two. For some stupid reason I’m caught up on the idea of high performance, low energy usage :stuck_out_tongue:


• Running 8+ drives in a ZFS RAID-Z2
• 10Gbe SFP+
• At least 16 hotswap bays for future expandability (and maybe taking the old disks out of my synology)
• Non proprietary where possible, I want this to be able to grow with me.

I’ve already purchased 8, 16TB Exos drives as I found a good deal.

The case I’m looking at:
I like that it has the sas3 backplane for the simple hookup, and so I don’t have to worry about bandwidth limitations of sas2 if I start throwing in SSDs.

The Memory:
With ZFS, it seems that it is recommended to have 1GB per TB of disk, so I was thinking that 128GB of ECC would meet my needs. I don’t have a particular model in mind, but I was just thinking of an ebay deal.

The boot/cache drive:
Samsung 980 PRO, 2TB

Build option 1:
The motherboard:
I like the built in SAS controller, but I’m a bit nervous about having to flash it to HBA/IT Mode. The extra PCIe slots for nvme or GPUs down the road is nice too.

The CPU: I’m thinking that the Xeon Gold 5215 strikes a good balance given its TDP. Does anyone know if the Xeon Gold 5215L would work in this board as well? I found a good deal on one, but not sure if a board needs to be specifically approved. (even if I don’t max out the memory)

Build option 2:
I’m very tempted by this from a power usage standpoint, but if seems a bit cramped for my needs, plus I think it would still need an HBA (…does it? The details on the onboard MiniSAS HD ports is a bit limited) A2SDi-H-TP4F | Motherboards | Products | Super Micro Computer, Inc.

Build option 3:
Is there a route I’m forgetting here? Short of going full SSD, if you were doing a high throughput, low energy, NAS build what parts would you use?