Dual Xeon Freenas to what?


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I currently run FreeNAS and I am going to move to Unraid in an effort to get more energy efficient / hdd efficient.  Currently running dual Xeon E5-2670v2 with 20 WD Red 6TB drives. 


Looking to do something more modern / energy efficient but with the same stability as enterprise grade.  Also looking to add discrete GPU (e.g. P2000) to enable hardware transcoding.  I am looking to start converting my 1080p library to H265 to reduce storage needs.  Ideally I would be able to re-use by SC846 case, but not a requirement.  My current server has about 80TB usable.  I'd like to get over 200TB on less than 20 disks in the future.


I have been looking at Ryzen builds due to efficiency/passmark scores, but moving away from Xeon stability has me concerned.  Looking for some advice on a new processor / mobo combination that will be more efficient than what I'm using and allow me to move to Unraid.  I don't have a budget really, but looking to for under $1k on mobo / processor combo.

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with unRAID spin down alone you'll probably see a dramatic drop off in power consumption.

yanking a processor and some memory will help as well, if you don't need it.

adding a GPU for transcoding is going to negate any power savings you gain from all of the above, or reducing your drive count.

to get to 200TB raw you're at best looking at 5 disks, but there are drawbacks to doing that (chiefly, parity check/rebuild times.)


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@bigzaj yeah your drive first needs to spin up to access the media you would play/convert/access.
That takes a few seconds loading, and then your media will play fine...

Spinning down is very useful, and the power consumption of the drives you don't directly use is almost none.
You spin only the drive up that has that particular file on it.

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38 minutes ago, uldise said:

feel free to comment more why such decision :) 

All my E5 v2 Xeons are quite dated.  I went dual proc way back when simply for PCIe lanes and RAM slots. Now, I can get 128 lanes with a single Epyc, plus the DDR4 RAM comes in higher densities.  And, I get to the added benefit of some power savings.


My storage nodes (other than unraid) are using H11SSL-NC with Epyc 7251s.  I will likely use 7302s in my compute nodes (which unRAID will run on). I will re-evaluate though once the Milans come out.

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20 minutes ago, StevenD said:

All my E5 v2 Xeons are quite dated.

thanks for sharing! i'm in very similar boat - one of my servers are still running on E5 v1 cpu, so looking for some replacement. and it's mainly for storage with some dockers.


21 minutes ago, StevenD said:

My storage nodes (other than unraid) are using H11SSL-NC with Epyc 7251s

how is these Epics according stability/compatibility? i have no experience with AMD at all.. 

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6 hours ago, uldise said:

how is these Epics according stability/compatibility? i have no experience with AMD at all.. 

They are just as stable as any Xeon.  I have two Epyc servers have home that have been rock solid for 6+ months.  I am about to place a large HP Epyc order when I get back to work this year.

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5 hours ago, StevenD said:

They are just as stable as any Xeon

Thanks for that! are you ever considered new X12SSL-CT with PCIe version 4? and yes, they work with 7002 CPU's only..

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I've never really noticed the delay from spun down to active data transfer to be something noticeable.  Then again I may be a more patient person. :D


Also, OP, have you done any actual power measurements so far?  I've seen various threads from people wanting to use "less", but none who've ever quantified what that means.

Edited by sota
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On 12/30/2020 at 9:36 AM, bigzaj said:

Will the spin down cause a material delay in load times for media?  I have a massive power / heat generating device in the closet and I really want to get more efficient across the board ideally without much performance hit.

Also a former FreeNAS user. Now would be a decent time to take a killawatt or something to look at your servers power consumption figures before you make the change just to have something to reference back to at a later time.


I set my disks to sleep after 15m inactivity. Opening a movie on Plex still takes less time than it would me going to select a BD, eject the drive, insert then wait for it to load up, skip commercials then hit 'start'. In that metric you'll have to decide if the 4-10 seconds of delay to wake a drive up makes sense for you.


The way unRAID works is you'd have Dockers/Plex cache on an SSD (probably an NVMe), so nothing really spins up until you open a file.


With regards to the P2000, that's a 75 TDP card, it wouldn't hurt to compare it against a P400 and see if there might be any capabilities one has over the other, read some accounts of how people are getting on with that maybe and determine if the extra power draw is worthwhile.


Also have a big 24 bay server. I thought the future was going to mean I'd keep getting comparatively low capacity HDD's but apparently the more disks you add, the more your power bill is. So, instead I wait for sales on high capacity externals and shuck them. Might also be downsizing my 24 bay chassis to get better thermals which should translate to improved drive longevity.

Edited by Trunkton
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Thanks for all of the replies.  I have never measured my power consumption, but with older Xeon E5v2's plus 20 drives always spinning, the heat it throws off (which I added a mini-split to help with) I have always assumed it was fairly high power consumption.


My goal is really to take advantage of higher HDD density (fewer disks as mentioned above) and get a newer gen processor that allows me to take advantage of DDR4, keep the thread count up and still be more energy efficient.  HW transcoding off a video card isn't a requirement, but from what I've read and seen if I try to focus on converting my media to x265 it might be required to keep the # of concurrent transcodes up.

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