unraid on beefy hardware


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When I first started using unraid, I bought into the notion that storage solutions like this could run on any ol' hardware you had lying around unused in a closet. unraid upped the ante by being able to use any ol' disks. While this was and still is all true, I discovered it also led to much frustration in terms of low speed, wildly varying transfer rates, and mysterious long random waits and freezes. In spite of these frustrations, it was perfect for what it did at a very low entry cost. I just had to temper my expectations and appreciate the job it did.


A few months ago, I bought a beefy mb/cpu/ram combo from user @KeeWay. It's a gigabyte server mb with 32GB ram and a fast Xeon cpu, $1K of 3-4 year old technology for about $300.


The new machine is a real pleasure. It is liberating to actually be able to work directly against files on the array without huge delays and freezes such as when editing metadata. I had basically given up on doing anything other that copying files to the array and playing them from the old machine. Of course, I would make minor ad hoc changes, but now unraid storage behaves almost as well as local disk on my desktop. There is still the occasional delay when creating files, but that is rare now instead of typical.


I was in the process of coalescing many old smaller slower drives into 6TB drives in the months before I got the new hardware and finished that project recently. With the drives on two PCI-e SAS cards in this beefy machine, things like parity check regularly average about 100MB/s, peaking at 140MB/s.

Next I'll see just how fast data can move from an SSD on my desktop to the array using a pair of 10G ethernet cards (ebay pulls). I might have upgrade the cache to SSD to fully exploit this.


A whole level of frustration and compromise has gone away after graduating to better hardware.


- Eric


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I think it boils down to expectations, however no one should think for a second that unRAID is about speed, being that it's not hardware raid, it's never going to be as fast as hardware raid, so that is the first expectation. Running on any 'ol hardware is true, but again it's about expectations. Will unRAID run on a core 2 duo system, with slow SATA drives? Sure, will it run better on a newer core i7 or Xeon system with SAS controllers, of course. I am glad you are no longer frustrated on your newer hardware, there is nothing worse then being frustrated due to hardware limitations.

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I had an AMD 4850e low power dual core with 2gig and transfers were reasonable without much lag. The hardware dated back to around 2008. The first drives I started with were slower but as I upgraded drives I recall reaching reads speeds of 100MB/s and writes speeds of 60-70MB/s. Parity checks were around 145MB/s average speed too. It was running 3T drives on the motherboard ports in the end.


I ran SAB, Sickbeard, Couchpotato and Newznab on that server too without any issues.


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