My First Rig...sort off...

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Hello Fellow Unraiders & future Unraid peps,


Back in April when the COVID pandemic started, and staying home more often was mandatory, i decided that after all the years of dreaming of having my own server rig, the time had come...

So where do you start... google... and you find words like OpenMediaVault, FreeNas, Unraid...
Luckily i had a VERY old computer from work to just test all the different software... and i did... unfortunately i started with Freenas...then OMV, then Amahi... honestly at this point i already thought i had stepped into too deep water... i mean FreeNas... you basically need to purchase your entire array of disks at the beginning & be a networking ACE... BUT luckily i didnt give up and i came across Unraid... and frankly... i came across this blog and all you great people in here... Unraid was a breath of fresh air... I mean i'm no PRO network guy but I'm also not an amateur... i have done many gaming rig builds.... but Unraid was perfect... simple but soooo powerful... the software grows as you grow... you want 1 disk nas and thats it... unraid... 2 weeks later want a media server... no problem... want 10 more disks... want a VM... want an integrated server modem...unraid...

BUT, the real reason i am on here is both to thank Unraid, the community, guys like spaceinvader... all such a big help... BUT BUT...  there were some things i wish i knew from the beginning...

My first build.

Now i dont want to say money was or wasnt an issue, but if stuff can be bought second hand... then thats the way i go...

Today my build is:

ASRock mobo C236M WS (NEW-newegg) (i really wanted the 6th/7th Gen CPU/mobo because it was the last generation where XEON mobo could be used by the i3-i7 CPU's.... and why do you ask? You can use a server/workstation grade Mobo with a easy to find second hand 6th/7th gen CPU...
Intel i7-6700 CPU (Second Hand) (8000 passmark score)

2 x 16 GB RAM (32GB) (Second Hand)

6 x Ironwolf NAS 6TB drives (new-whereever it was cheapest) (1 is Parity) - obviously i started with just two drives
Nvidia Quadro P2000 GPU (Second Hand) (only purpose is transcoding for Plex) - (i bought the i7 + 32gb ram + p2000 GPU for 300 USD from the yellow pages -  some autocad guy sold it too cheap - great find)

LSI card for 8 more SATA connections ((Second Hand)  - ebay) (Guys get these from Ebay and just write "freenas LSI" this way they are ready to be used in unraid... dont ask  if you dont get it with the preflashed version.... i used about a week on this)

4 x SSD Samsung 860EVO 500GB in RAID10 for CACHE (Second Hand - refurbished)) (total 1 TB)- Now i know many of you will ask...why...WHY .... after doing a LOTTTT of research on this topic...
--1 SSD Cache in is great... but if you have data on it then its always at risk in case it is lost/damage/corruption...

--2 SSD Cache in RAID0 is AMAZING... you get the full space of both disks with double speed (kind off)... read up on it... its hard to explain... but its faster... BUT you still have the issue its not protected...

--2 SSD Cache in RAID1 is perfect then? - you data is protected... but... you loose the speed benefit...
--4 SSD Cahce in Raid10 - best of both worlds (nearly) - but again...why

The cache is there to (among other things) to store most recent DATA... so lets say a new episode of some legally downloaded TV show... If you share that library over plex... the file will most likely be used the most in the first few days/weeks... meaning you dont need to have your disks in use/spin up..
And why 1TB - well then i dont need to scheduled a mover more than once per month... (and for that entire month... its protected)
Case GAMEMAX with 8 HDD Bays and 3 x 5.25 ( this was actually my second case, i started with the Fractal Design Node 304... but realized after 2 months it was too small.... first big costly mistake i made..) but the Gamemax with 8 HHD and 3x 5.25 ( i used a HDD cage and got 4 more HDD bays out of it) its great...
Also its the only case i found with a Push/pull fan system for the HDD's (why? because its better, cooler; metaphorically and actually, and quieter)

Samsung 32GB flash for Unraid boot  - Guys... buy a good one (another mistake i made) (spaceinvader to the rescue again,again..again it is:




to save some space i bought 2 x 2 SSD PCI Brakets (its just a braket... doesnt connect to mobo) - bought from aliexpress)


The Fan there is to give the SSD and GPU some more air... i lowered the SSD's from 50C+ to 35C with just 300RPM fan...

The push pull fan system is great because i spit them in zones
Parity + disk 1 + disk 2 - are controlled by fan 1 (push) and fan 2 (pull) and only read these disk temps
and disk 3,4,5,6 in zone 2.
4 SSD cache in zone 3


I also bought a 4 HDD cage for my 5.25 slot but they are empty... i am so tired of opening my case and scared to screw something up every time i need a new disk... this way the next 4 disks just need to be popped in



So my 5 cents of free advice...
Everyone says plan ahead... what do you need the server for.?.. how much load?... passmark!...transcodes!...VM's!...
But honestly if you were in the same situation like me and building your first server... you have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what you want... because you haven't discovered all the possibilities yet of an unraid server.

I though i needed a small media server to play some media on... 8 months later:
I have a fully automated Media server (that auto downloads the latest legal content), a website, proxy server, PFsense modem, a Teamspeak server (to game chat), i am currently working on a satellite dish on my roof and trying to integrate it to Emby or plex...

My friends were tired of paying for dropbox so they pitched in an bought another 6TB drive where i host a dropbox solution for them now (NEXTCLOUD)....

So the advice... unraid is the way to go if you want to start small and simple... if you want to grow its so simple... if you want to make it more complex... there is so much help from everyone... and dont worry, just start and enjoy every little success and advance you get.


This was my first build in April 2020 and i had to replace the Case and mobo (same ASROCK MBO just the ATX version and not the ITX) within 3 months

Its been a HELL of a pleasure (and a bit of pain) going though this experience... learning something new almost everyday... Thanks guys and if you have ANY questions please ask (remember the stupid questions can very often help you the most)

A fellow.

Edited by Riverfrome
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  • 4 weeks later...


Thanks for your post ! I have to say that I read everything, and it really reflect my xp, as I started as you did :D Covid + server "ambition" + testing OMV first, and finally unraid, adopted !

I have a smaller config as yours, but you pov on "recent movie" on the SSD is a good one, as I'm experencing that every day almost, 2/3 of my disks are spun up... for nothing...

thanks for this testimonial !

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